Anyone building their own 4x10's? : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

Just wondering if anyone has built their own 4x10 cameras and would be interested in sharing their technique and approach? I have an old 8x10 in parts-the bellows is in very good shape and thought I might be able to use with an 4x10 rebuild in some way. Any comments, suggestions, direction would be welcome.

-- Wayne Mumford (, February 13, 1998


Wayne, Convertng an 8x10 to 4x10 is no problem, if you have some basic woodworking skills. Especially if your bellows are in good shape. A while back, I converted an old Kodak 8x10 flatbed camera to both 4"x10" and 6x17cm formats by building a set of new ground glass backs. I am currently converting a pair of Calumet "405" 4x5 view cameras to 4"x10" and 7"x17" panoramics, with full movements. The trickiest part of the project is the film holders. You can buy new 4x10 holders from KB Canham, but I understand that they are really expensive. I have found that I can convert certain wooden graflex 8x10 holders to 4x10 by spliting them down the middle then trimming and glueing. Same thing goes for converting 5x7 holders (easier to find, less $$) to 6x17cm which uses cut lengths of 120 roll film, or split 5x7 sheet film. I'd be happy to give you a hand in you project. I find both 4x10 and 6x17 quite exciting formats to work with.


-- Britt Leckman (, February 16, 1998.

Why not just shoot 8 x 10 and print (or crop) the portion you wish?

-- Ron Shaw (, February 17, 1998.

The reason for not using an 8x10 and cropping is that a 4x10 camera is so much smaller and more portable. Try to find a copy of Jay Dusard's book, "Open Country". He describes how he built a simple box camera which he calls a "brick."

The stumbling block is the holder. Dusard was given some x-ray holders. Holders are available for a price. But if you are like me the challenge of a project like this is doing it on the cheap.

I have considered cutting up and rebuilding 8x10 holders. This doesn't look easy because the old holders are built so well. I will probably give in and buy a Lotus holder (about $100) and build a camera around it.

If you can come up with a helical lens mount you could build a box camera with easy focusing. I will probably mount an old graflex bellows on the front of the box so that I can use different lenses.

I intend to use mainly a 90mm SA which will cover about 8-1/2 inches by 4 with square corners. If you don't mind the ends rounded you will get a little more. Look at the page in the current Calumet fine art catalog shot by Jay Dusard, he left the ends round. Using a lens that you already have is cheaper than any 8x10 wide angle that you don't own.

I hope this gives you some ideas.


-- Wayne Firth (, February 18, 1998.

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