Press "Enter" to skip to content

Category: cameras

5×7 Part 4, errata

Camera turned out well, but though I would compile a list of the things I wish I could do over- and probably will have to do over at some point. Will update the list as new ones are discovered.


 I cut the shaft flush with the bed, and tapped and Locktite’d 6-32 studs into each end for the focus and lock knobs. Would have been better to leave the shafts long on the focus side and pin the knobs to the shaft, as done with the gears themselves. The studs are fine for locking knobs, but probably too weak to handle the torque from the focusing knobs over time.

Continue » 5×7 Part 4, errata

Another 5×7


I’m a little puzzled by this because I’m pretty happy with the 5×7 I have. The only thing that’s always bugged me is that it’s slightly too tight of a fit in my backpack at 11″ square (including hardware and knobs). I’ve been recycling a set of homemade bellows since I made a 5×12 to 5×7 conversion back about 6 years ago, and this dictated the size of the standards when I finally made a dedicated 5×7. Since I can’t get decent bellows cloth anymore, I’m just going to order a set of custom bellows so I can make the camera whatever size I want. Continue » Another 5×7

5×7 bail back

Ever since getting the Arca Swiss last winter I’ve wanted to make a bail back for my shop built 5×7. Unfortunately the design of that camera back doesn’t lend itself very well to adding a bail. The torsion spring housing is on the tall side, so the pivot for the bail would need to be pretty high to bridge that and would increase the depth of the camera more than I’d like. Also I think a leaf spring arrangement would work much better for a bail, which is what the Arca and most other cameras use. Rather that modify the original back and risk screwing everything up, I should probably make a new back. This camera is starting to feel like the ship of Theseus. Continue » 5×7 bail back

Arca Swiss Miss

Having only ever used shop-made view cameras I’ve always wanted to try an actual production camera. I saw a used monorail on a forum for sale for $400, so thought I’d treat myself after all the work remodeling and repairing the house this year. 5×7 monorails are relatively rare, and a 5×7 Arca Swiss even more so. This is an older Oschwald-era Arca, but it appears to have a lot of the functionality of the newer F-line models. There were some issues disclosed in the listing- no ground glass, missing light gasket where the back meets the rear standard – both are really easy fixes. It also had a few other issues such as dry spirit levels and some cosmetic damage, but nothing that would impact usage. The important thing was that it had light tight bellows, or so the seller claimed in the listing. Continue » Arca Swiss Miss

Assembly Day


(5×7 Diary, pt 2)

OK, more than just a day, I actually started assembling this a few weekends ago. I always forget how tedious, how long, and how exasperating making a camera can be. 12 weekends, more or less. Continue » Assembly Day

5×7 diary

Rear Standard box joints

The creative slump continues. Rather than waste gas and film, I thought I would make some improvements on the 5×12>5×7 conversion I made last year. Except I’d really rather just start over.

I like much about the 5×7 conversion.  Well- no; it’s heavy, the back design is among the worst I’ve made or seen, and the movement hardware is bulky and heavy without being especially rigid.  But I do like the bellows- I’ll keep the bellows. Actually if I had more thin bellows cloth I’d redo the bellows, but I don’t so I like the bellows. Actually, I just remembered that I ordered some Deardorff bellows cloth. Whatever. I wasn’t sure if I would like the format before I made it, so I didn’t spend a lot of time or effort on it.

I’ve actually been kicking ideas around for a few weeks. Not much inspiration to speak of. So I started to mill some wood to rough dimensions. Maybe I’ll think better when I’m working in the shop instead of sitting in front of a CAD program.

Continue » 5×7 diary

Bellows blow…

But I found if I don’t whine too much and just do it that bellows only take a few hours. I had just enough of the old Porter’s fabric for one more set of bellows, so no point in asking me where to get the cloth these days- I wish I knew.  For the patterns I’m using 90lb Revere Platinum paper- they need to work out the manufacturing issues with this stuff before I waste any more precious metals printing with it… glad I only bought 10 sheets. But 22″x30″ is a good size for 5×7 bellows patterns. Plus the sizing helps keep it from buckling and deforming when the glue hits it. And hey, the bellows should be archival. @-]

Continue » Bellows blow…

5×7 conversion back

Rear standard and base frame for  5×7  conversion back. I use a stone ‘reference’ table to check parts for flatness. The Lie-Nielsen rabbet plane in the back is perfect for truing up small parts. Excuse the crappy 5am picture…@_@

I came close to selling my first home made 5×12, but instead decided to make a conversion back for it so it would see some more use. I missed using this camera and have always wanted to try 5×7, so I started making a new rear standard for it this past weekend. Continue » 5×7 conversion back