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Thread: My DIY Alpa style shift camera

  1. #1
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    My DIY Alpa style shift camera

    I am building an Alpa style DIY camera. I find the biggest challenge is to get the flange focusing distance correct. Right now, it can only focus at an object at 5 foot away when the focusing scale is set at infinity. I still need to shorten the camera body for 2-3mm.

    It uses a CFV back, Rodenstock 55mm lens. So I should be able to get 3 stitched pictures.

    Here are the photos:


    Last edited by yongfei; 12th August 2009 at 08:59. Reason: picture link

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    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
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    Re: My DIY Alpa style shift camera

    You may want to load your images to our gallery as your host site prohibits direct linking...
    Jack
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    "Perfection is not attainable. But if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence."

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    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: My DIY Alpa style shift camera

    Might have to use a router in the lens board area and mill that inside a bit and get it closer to the sensor. Than you could use shims inside.

    Looks pretty cool
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Re: My DIY Alpa style shift camera

    That is a good idea, especially for fine adjustment within 1mm. I have a Dremel tool. Thanks for the input. Never thought about that...

    What will be the best shim material? Maybe some aluminum or brass plate from Hobby Lobby? BTW, I bought this aluminum sliding rail part from Home Depot for $5.

    Quote Originally Posted by Guy Mancuso View Post
    Might have to use a router in the lens board area and mill that inside a bit and get it closer to the sensor. Than you could use shims inside.

    Looks pretty cool

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    Re: My DIY Alpa style shift camera

    Depending where you're located folks like www.leevalley.com or http://www.rockler.com/ will have all sorts of handles, knobs, track, shim stock and 1001 other useful goodies, normally used for woodworking jigs, that could be of use to your project.

    Looking fwd to picks.

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    Re: My DIY Alpa style shift camera

    Now I know what I need to fine tuning the focus: a peelable shims. Looking now. Thanks!

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    Re: My DIY Alpa style shift camera

    From my #$%^& Canon 5D focus screen shimming days ($%^&) - metallic duct tape is 0.001" thick - BUT it is VERY sticky. Something low-tack would be ideal.

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    Re: My DIY Alpa style shift camera

    Will humidity and expansion be an issue?

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    Re: My DIY Alpa style shift camera

    nice digital back

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    Senior Member etrump's Avatar
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    Re: My DIY Alpa style shift camera

    I would say humidity would cause problems with such tight tolerances. Once you get the prototype working you could always mill out of plastic, plexi or whatever.

    Sweet!

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    Re: My DIY Alpa style shift camera

    I use a wood called "Paduk" for the body. The wood store said it should be quite stable. Also, I will perform "annual health check-up" and use shims to fine tune it. The birch plywood plates could develop an uneveness problem. But for a $50 camera, it should serve me well ;-)

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    Re: My DIY Alpa style shift camera

    If it works really good than down the road you can maybe mill one out of plexiglass once you have all the tolerances setup and such. Fun project

    Please keep us all updated
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Super Duper
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    Re: My DIY Alpa style shift camera

    Great concept and at $50 you can afford to make several.
    Don Libby
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    Re: My DIY Alpa style shift camera

    The best material as far as stablity goes is that white stuff plastic stuff that they make bread boards out of. Router fences are often made of the same stuff - Rockler sells them. It is dimensionally stable and also easy to machine. Use machine screws with pre drilled pilot holes and threads, counter sunk in order to maximise rigidity. You can also try using medium density fibre board - as this is even cheaper and just as stable - standard practise in jig making. However - you will find thatthe tolerances for this type of jig - wont allow the type of exactitude required.

    by the time you have deconstructed the elements of a basic tech camera analysed the quality of the materials and gone through a few iterations of a cad shopped copy - you will probably decide that buying a TC from Alpa is cheap.

    Fun though!

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    Re: My DIY Alpa style shift camera

    I just went outside and tested it. The concept works and it is a lot of fun than using a standard Alpa! I took 3x pictures each time, which is very good:-)

    This is the result stitched from 3 cfv pictures. Now all I need is to do some fine tuning. As you can see, it has some minor lens shift from left to right. It needs to be a straight line.


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    Super Duper
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    Re: My DIY Alpa style shift camera

    Not a bad image at all considering your using a couple pieces of wood to attach the back and lens together. It'll be interesting to see just what the finish version willbe able to produce.

    Don
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  17. #17
    jjlphoto
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    Re: My DIY Alpa style shift camera

    Your choice of the plywood for parts of it make sense, it minimizes expansion/contraction. The darker wood? Is that mahogany? Tool & die/casting patten makers use mahogany for patterns because it is one of the most stable woods available.

    I use shim stock from the local hobby shop that caters to RC airplane builders. K&S brand, package #258 has .001, .002, .003, .005 sheets of brass. The .001 almost feels as thin as metallic wrapping paper.

  18. #18
    jamie123
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    Re: My DIY Alpa style shift camera

    Looks cool!

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    Re: My DIY Alpa style shift camera

    The wood you are using is Padouk, and is a good stable wood for this. Ebony and mahogany are also stable.

    Corian (used for countertops) is available in big solid pieces as well, easily milled and glues well and strong together. Imagine the camera in solid white! Or the color of your choice!

    For shims, I think Sinar makes the alum shim strips (already cut for their back) in alum strips. You could probably either use these, or cut them. They come in pre-assembled packets of several together, which I gather you peel off.

    Great project. Keep going.

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    Re: My DIY Alpa style shift camera

    Thank you all for the valuable advice, especially the Sinar shim idea! Actually I have a spare Eyelike shim frame at hand. I will use it as a last resort if necessary (because it is not reversable). Last weekend, I already got some aluminum plates from Hobby Lobby. Ready to make some fine adjustment this week.

    I am also building an Alpa TC style mini camera right now. If you like this shift camera, you will LOVE that new mini camera. I already cut the body out of Kiev 88. If the idea works, maybe the price of Kiev 88 will go up Still waiting for some parts to arrive. Will post pictures and ask more questions later.

  21. #21
    Super Duper
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    Re: My DIY Alpa style shift camera

    this looks really like fun.
    I dont know if I would have used would but you made me thinking if I shouldnt try to also build a camera. with a digital back and those kind of lenses it sure would be a lot of fun.
    Please keep on posting how it works out.

  22. #22
    Super Duper
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    Re: My DIY Alpa style shift camera

    Hey, I think this looks a little bit like the arTec by the way

  23. #23
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    Re: My DIY Alpa style shift camera

    Well, I am good at concept cameras, but I am not good at finalizing them to perfection. So I just post my DIY Nikon-> CFV back camera prototype here as an update. Have fun!




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