Basic Field Camera Setup - Tachihara : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

I am getting familiar with my new Tachihara and would like to ask what might seem to be the obvious, but want to make sure I'm not missing something. After opening zeroing the front standard I will then need to use the two "toggle" style locks to free and slide the front standard to accomodate the bollows extension to the lens focal length. On my old Graphic, this was somewhat simple using the infinity stops. To date I've approximated "infinity" for my lens and then used the ground glass for finer tuning.

Is it a common practice to mark infinity stops on the focus rail to expedite things or is another method for this? Also, it would seem that it is fairly easy to not have the from standard parallel to the film plane. There is some room for play one side to the other. I have eye-balled this from the top of the camera to adjust it parallel to the camera body. Again, are there any common tricks expedite this using markings or is the eye-ball technique as good as anything.

Hopefully I've described this well enough for some advice. Thanks. Roger

-- Roger Rouch (, June 12, 2000


Roger, mark it on a piece of masking tape on the side of the rail, to avoid marring the beautiful wood.

-- Bill Mitchell (, June 12, 2000.

Welcome to the niggling little things that make wooden field cameras so appealing, from the very high priced to the bargain ones. After working a bit you will be in the ballpark on intitial settings by experience. The tape line works well as does a marking system, with the tape being removable. I carry a small level to check the standards when it is important, otherwise the eyeball check works fine. A lot of the wooden cameras don't have click stops & reference marks, something some of us add after we get them. Oddly enough, some of the cameras priced well over $4000 have the same problems or marks so poor as to be almost useless. Experienc will do it better than almost anything else.

-- Dan Smith (, June 13, 2000.

I'm going to approach your question in a funny way, but I think that it may make some sense.

You know that it takes 210 mm of bellows extension to focus a 210 lens at infinity. If my arithmatic (and trusty calculator) is correct that's roughly 8 1/4 inches. In Canada we have been using the metric system for about 20 years and a lot of it I've "gotten". For example, 20 degrees is a nice temperature for a spring day. And as another example I understand how long it takes to drive 30 km on the highway.

For some things I just have no idea what the "English" measurement would be. My friends ran track and I "know" 100 meter times. I have no idea of 100 yard times. The four minute mile I know, but have no idea of the 1500 meter times. In photography does anyone know (not translate) how long in inches a 28 mm lens would be? Oi!!

But some things I still have to translate metric to English and that includes millemeters. So that's your (and my) problem. With a 210 lens you just don't know how long 210 mm is. If you translate it to 8 1/4 inches then you can eyeball your bellows extension and be fairly accurate. "Lets see I'll rack this out to about 8 inches and have a look."

I need to have a metric ruler and just look at it until,"Oh that's six cm" becomes natural.

-- David Grandy (, June 13, 2000.

Roger I too use the eyeball technique on my Ebony field camera. It does have indents but these are not as positive as the Horseman technical camera I had previously where everything on the front standard clicked positively into place. After using front swings/shifts I return all to neutral using the indents then make the final adjustment of the front standard by sight. The only markings that I have made is on the front standard where I use rising/falling front. I simply made black dots with a permenant black felt pen every 10mm from the neutral point. Regards, Trevor.

-- Trevor Crone (, June 13, 2000.

Using a 150mm lens on my Tachihara,, I have the back standard slid forward to its full extent with the front standard at the forward end of the focus rail. Focussing is now easier for infinity and infinity stops are not needed.

-- Julian Bell (, June 14, 2000.

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