Archive for July, 2012

Defocus

July 28, 2012

One of the interesting things about optics is how focus can be controlled for effect. One way is through motion blur but my own concern is in selective focus by engaging the idiosyncracies of each lens and its relationship with the film plane.

In other words, having fun messing around with engineering and mechanics as well as photography. In the series below, each of the cameras has certain strengths or capabilities so I’m showing the camera and one or two shots taken with it.

The most recent is a Mamiya C3 with a change of lenses. The pair of shutters come from Agfa Isolettes with just the rear elements left in place. Easy to use, and easy to focus where you want it.

Next, a Bencini Koroll 6×6, made in Italy in the early 1950s. It’s unusual because the body is largely made of cast aluminium, but it was a relatively cheap family camera of the time. I bought it for one particular quality – it’s easy to take out the lens and turn it around.

***

Rather than a modification this one was made from scratch using parts from several broken cameras. The lens is the rear element of an Agfa Apotar, turned around and screwed into the front of the shutter. The camera takes a 6×9 or 6×7 film back.

***

Using parts again, this time from a macro bellows and a couple of ball heads, I was able to give the 90mm Laack Anastigmat some tilt/swing capability. Like a view camera with movements, it allows the plane of focus to be angled in one direction or another and can be used with a 35mm or DSLR camera body.

***

This is a working toy that I call a ‘garden’ camera, as it is much smaller than a field camera. I made it as a research model for the 4×5 Surveyor I made the following year.

***

The Surveyor was a normal size view camera based on photos of several contemporary field cameras. It’s made of cherry wood and brass and weighed just over 2 Kg. It has full movements, front and rear, allowing for good control over the focus as well as the possibility for almost completely defocusing the subject. I made this one in 2004.

***

I sold the Surveyor some years ago and last December I rooted around for some parts to see if I had enough bits and pieces to create another 4×5 view cam.

***

This was followed by a portrait version.

***

Neither of the previous two cameras were completely practical and both lacked stability so I started looking for UK suppliers of cherry wood and brass. It has taken a while to source all the necessary materials but the new Surveyor is proving to be a worthwhile design. I’ll be making a few more in the near future.


%d bloggers like this: