Visit my new blog

I´ve decided to split my blog in two. I will continue to post DIY projects and musings here, but (serious) pictures, taken on film of course, will be posted in my new blog "Silver Halides"

I now consider Caffenol to be a developer like any else. As such the new blog will focus more on the pictures, rather than the process.

Friday, 7 June 2013

Polaview camera

I originally bought a bare bones Polaroid 600SE body with a Polaroid Super Wide in mind. Ideally with a 65mm Mamiya Sekor or similar. But I never really got round to it. The body has been lying about for the best part of a year now. Then one night I dreamt of a Polaroid View camera, and thought the 600SE body might be be put to the task.

Understand that the bare bones body is just that, nothing but the frame, no front panel, no side or bottom panels, the view and rangefinder top gone, no nothing really. This meant that I had an awful lot of filling and sanding to do. The frame is mass of cavities and holes. In fact filling these and covering with leatherette took more than half the time of the build.

The body is mounted upside down, so the face to which the finder originally was attached is now mated to the base of the camera. The base has a slot front to back in which a slider with the front standard is mounted. All this is pretty simple stuff. No rack and pinion or other geared focusing mechanisms, just slide the front standard in and out. Though I have made concessions for a focus lock.

I then made a front standard and frame for the lens board, to which the bellows also are attached. The lens boards need to be custom made, they are considerably smaller than Linhof boards. Also, since the sliding mechanism dictates the lowest point the frame can rest, the middle of which is incidentally 4mm above the centre line of the camera, the lens mount need to be offset 4mm below the middle of the board.

The bellows also took a while. My first ever effort really. The first prototype was light tight, but too thick and way too stiff. The second is better. Made of black synthetic material, two layers with stiffeners in between. Not entirely light tight at first, so in order too make it light tight I coated the insides with Plasti-dip, which did the trick, and importantly - without affecting the suppleness. I then fashioned up an aluminium frame for mating with the front of camera body, and a balsa frame for mating with the frame for the lens board. It has approx 180mm of pull, and compresses to less than 10mm. The body is more than 50mm i depth, and there is another 6-7mm to the film plane once the back is mounted. Add another 20mm for the front frame and lens board and you in theory could mount a 90mm on the front of it, and still focus to infinity. There would be no movements at all however. Indeed the bellows limit movements considerably up to 127mm. Movements will be much improved at 135 and 150mm, which can also be mounted and focus down to less than 1m.

As it is, with a 127mm at infinity, there is 10mm rise (on plane, without tilt), no fall (unless with tilt, in which case up to 5mm), 45 degr tilt upwards, 15 degr tilt downwards, 5mm lateral shift left and right, and 30 degr swing. Movements improve dramatically at nominal close focus for the lens. Lateral shift, fall (with tilt) and downwards tilt most significantly.

I have yet to fork out for a proper Mamiya focusing screen, ground glass, for the camera. So until I have the means, I will make do with a glass I ground and cut down to size to fit in a used pack film cassette. With the back open and the back of the cassette removed, this works - though not overly well.

The Polaroid 600SE fasteners will allow all sorts of backs. Polaroid 100 type of course, but also 120 up to 6x9, and even 4x5 (though not with full coverage)

It is quite compact without back and carrying handle. Less than 130mm x 135mm x 160mm. And very light. Used as little materials as possible, and as light as possible. Weighs 840 grammes net, 1450 with Polaroid back and Tominon lens in Copal press shutter.

All work has been done with hand tools, and a drill.

Polaview, with 127mm Tominon (drawn out way past nominal close focus)

FP100C, Tominon 127mm f4.7, focused at 0.7m

FP 100C, Tominon 127mm f4.7,  slight forward tilt