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Thread: What back to use in home made camera?

  1. #1
    duncan.e
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    What back to use in home made camera?

    Hi All,

    I'm new to this forum and thought I'd introduce myself and ask for you help....

    I live in the south east corner of England and have been into photography for more years than I care to remember.... I currently own a Nikon D2XS, but want to get into MF....

    I am in the process of making my own 5 x 4 monorail camera (in metal), as there is a large building I want to photograph that requires the movements the monorail camera will have. I have machine shop skills and have drawn up the designs using Cad.

    I'm not certain if I should be aiming this question at this forum, or the Analog Camera forum, but here goes...

    I am considering making another camera, a pancake design similar to a Cambo Wide.

    Initially this camera will have to use a film back as I do not currently have the funds to purchase a digital back, nor do I want to until the design has been proven, although this is my ultimate goal.

    My question is; which is the best back to base the camera on? This needs to be based on price as well as function.

    I need to select a back that:

    a) will enable me to shoot in 645 format and one that is easily replaced by a digital back. I appreciate most if not all film backs are replaceable with digital ones, but it will need to be pre-owned and at an affordable price and that could affect the choice of film back.

    b) is easy to operate when separated from its native camera.

    The options seem to be either Hasselblad A16, Hasselblad H system, or Mamiya 645. Others? The Mamiya is by far the cheapest option, but is it the most practical?

    It is very frustrating not knowing which is the best choice, but without the knowledge, I cannot make the decision - I'm hoping that you guys have the knowledge I lack and can point me in the right direction....

    Thanks,

    Duncan

  2. #2
    Senior Member Graham Mitchell's Avatar
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    Re: What back to use in home made camera?

    There are several back to body interfaces you didn't list, such as Contax 645, Hy6/AFi.

    Some of these interfaces may not allow you to trigger the back on a camera which does not support the interface. You need a back which allows triggering from the flash sync port.

    My Sinar e54, for example, mounts on a Rollei 6008AF with no direct electrical interface at all and operates via a flash sync cable. Some other interfaces such as Hass V might do the same. The Sinar backs have another trick which might be useful to you - they use an adapter system. In other words, you can use the same back with various adapters to work on a Mamiya 645 one minute, and a Contax 645 or Hass H2 the next. Very flexible.

    Sounds like an interesting project. Keep us posted!
    Last edited by Graham Mitchell; 9th April 2009 at 13:29.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Graham Mitchell's Avatar
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    Re: What back to use in home made camera?

    p.s. if you wait a few years to go digital, there may be new, larger sensors available which would suit this system a lot better.

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    Senior Member stephengilbert's Avatar
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    Re: What back to use in home made camera?

    Duncan,

    You might be interested in looking at the PAQPRO camera system for design ideas: http://www.skgrimes.com/paqpro/index.htm

    It's an MF pancake camera based on a Graflex body.

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