I bought an old 13x18/5x7

Ian Grant

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I've made adapters to take modern 5x4 DDS, the adapter just slips in place like an original book form plate holdr so you use the original groun glass screen. I did the same to use a Graflex RH10 6x7 roll film holder on a quarter plate camera.

Ian
 

Marley

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I've made adapters to take modern 5x4 DDS, the adapter just slips in place like an original book form plate holdr so you use the original groun glass screen. I did the same to use a Graflex RH10 6x7 roll film holder on a quarter plate camera.

Ian
As the spring back simply slips into the 'channel' created by the lugs in the camera back it can of course be used like an adaptor ... but the original ground glass on my '7x5' is dim and has a chunk missing ... so building in a method of taking a modern ground glass that's much brighter was topmost in my list of priorities. The 13x18 ground glass 'well' in the window frame back won't securely hold a modern glass without a lot of modification, so I decided the 'window frame would be fitted with a ground glass made by me to size and put back in place, allowing me to either use old style wooden plate holders with the original film holder mounting ... or swung out of the way to allow the modern style springback.
This camera will be used ... if all goes well ... as a regular portrait camera so I wanted the most accurate and up to date focusing I could engineer.
 

David M

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Having a chunk missing would mean replacement anyway, but old ground glass is often simply dirty and will be much brighter after a (careful) wash. These cameras lived in an atmosphere of coal smoke, which deposited itself very evenly on the glass. I have the impression that they favoured a much finer grind too, which improves detail at the expense of brightness. Who would have thought there were fashions in glass-grinding?

A thought: Did people who lived with gas- and candle-light have better low-light vision? Or perhaps they confined their photography to sunny days?
 

Ian Grant

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David, older Ground Glass screens were not as bright as modern ones it's not just dirt etc. A quick re-grind and they are as bright as a modern screen. Actually they used a coarser grind probably it's improvements in consistency with modern grits that's made a difference. I make a lot of screens everything from 6x4.5 cm to 15"x12" and will adjust the grits for different formats.

I think people had more patience under the dar-cloth waiting for their eyes to adjust, these days with better GG and fresnels I often don't need to use a dark-cloth with my Wista 45DX,I never use one with my Super Graphic as the hood is always sufficient. Also we tend to be using faster lenses f5.6 or even f4.5 while older Rapid Rectinear lenses were typicallly f8.

Ian
 

David M

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I think you’r right about the patience. Our pictures can even be distributed worldwide, seconds after they are taken. We’ve been spoiled.
Not only that, but taking a likeness would have seemed unbelievably fast compared with the alternatives, painting or drawing. I recall seeing, somewhere, astonishment that the camera could capture any number of people at the same time.
 

Marley

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I think you’r right about the patience. Our pictures can even be distributed worldwide, seconds after they are taken. We’ve been spoiled.
Not only that, but taking a likeness would have seemed unbelievably fast compared with the alternatives, painting or drawing. I recall seeing, somewhere, astonishment that the camera could capture any number of people at the same time.
A little while ago I let my eight year old grandson (a totally digital generation kid) 'assist' me through a 5x4 shoot ... the look of wonder as he saw the negatives come out of the wash water was a picture in it's own right. He said a very telling thing: 'it's as lovely as waiting for Christmas'.

His Christmas present this year will probably be an Olympus OM10 and some rolls of film ...
 

Marley

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So with the back built I set about making sliding board that allows me to use my MPP 5x4 lens boards ... it's not lacquered yet ... this was a trial fit. My home brewed sliding latches need fettled a little as they are a little tight

IMG_0544.jpg

Now to try the bonkers lens ...
C7041AE2-353F-4669-808F-9B3F15C8C3ED.JPG
For those interested ... the full video will be up at the weekend on my channel.
I can't wait to put some film through the old girl.
 

Marley

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Lacquered ? It should be French polished.

Ian
Lacquering is my catchall word here ... on all the newly made woodwork so far I have used my hard wearing finish of choice: Birchwood and Casey Tru-Oil (intended for gunstocks). Technically it's neither a lacquer or a French polish ... but is old fashioned varnish that's closer to the latter as it's applied with a cloth and built up in layers to the desired shine. To be honest functionality is more of a concern than 'originality' here as this camera will be hopefully used a good deal.
 

Alan Clark

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Tru-Oil is excellent stuff. I have used it on the last six musical instruments that I have built - five guitars and a harp. Like Marley, I apply it with a cloth. When the finish is built up enough, I leave it to harden for a week then rub it down with a paste made from Tripoli Powder mixed with baby oil. This gives a silky smooth gloss finish which looks wonderful.

Alan
 

Marley

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Tru-Oil is excellent stuff. I have used it on the last six musical instruments that I have built - five guitars and a harp. Like Marley, I apply it with a cloth. When the finish is built up enough, I leave it to harden for a week then rub it down with a paste made from Tripoli Powder mixed with baby oil. This gives a silky smooth gloss finish which looks wonderful.

Alan
Since I retired from professional photography my living has been made in the musical instrument sector ... hence the Tru-Oil :)
 
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