Kit cameras/scratchbuilts/plans : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

I'm a watercolor artist that scans and prints my art onto watercolor paper. However, some of my art is too large to scan so I photograph it with a 35mm SLR. |The problem is, that the photos are too small to enlarge vwry much without loosing the image sharpness. So I thought of the large or larger format camera. I don't want to spend an arm and a leg on it because I'm a painter, not a photographer. So then I thought about seeing if I could build one. It doesn't have to be very versital as it just stays in one place and I would change the settings a little for each shot.

Can you offer me a suggestion on what to do or where look?

I would really appreciate your input.


Skip Gilmore

-- Skip Gilmore (, December 21, 1998


Hi Skip! Whether you need movements or not, one of the best camera kits, for the money, is the Bender camera . It seems relatively simple to assemble and all 'n all inexpensive (about $270. You can build it yourself from scratch but you need considerably more experience and some parts like bellows and film holder are difficult to build so why not buyng a kit like Bender's? Lenses ,you can use cheap reproduction or barrel lenses(incredibly cheap at times). I guess you don't need a shutter for your picture of watercolors!Maybe this will give you the push of doing more with photography. Welcome in the magic world of large format ! Andrea

-- andrea milano (, December 21, 1998.

You may also want to consider the Speed or Crown Graphic. You can find them for what the bender kit would cost, and they are well built and rugged.

-- Ron Shaw (, December 21, 1998.

You might consider looking for an older "woodie" view camera. They come in a variety of film formats from 6cm x 6cm to 11"x14". You can find a good usable 4x5 with minimal movements and no lens for under $100 and if you don't care about cosmetics, much cheaper than that. (Check bellows for pin hole light leaks with a bright flashlight). The recommendation of finding a process lens in a previous response is good. I wouldn't be suprised if you would be under $100 for the whole outfit (again if cosmetics are not important. Check local auctions ... unless you're in the Midwest then forget everything I said ... I don't need any more competition :-)

-- Bill Riley (, December 22, 1998.

If you are looking for a kit, the Bender kit is a good option. If you want to build a camera from scratch, you will find some information here:

-- Jon Grepstad (, December 25, 1998.

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