camera = enlarger ? : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread


Maybe this sounds crazy BUT did you thought that the camera could be used as an enlarger? I try to prepare an polystiren box on the back of the camera with an halogen bulb. Also I prepare an holder for 13x18 sheet and put in the casette holder in place where the ground glass should be. I put an white glass and a sheet of tracing paper which I HOPE will diffuse the light enough. I prepare some board to hold paper. WHAT YOU THINK ?


-- Martin Kapostas (, May 28, 2001


Hi Martin,

It is not as crazy as it sounds, it has been done before. One of the better jobs can be seen at

Claudio is a nice guy, and if you ask him nicely he might give you some more info. Basically the idea is just as you describe it - a light box and a negative holder. The quality of the pictures depends on what kind of lens you have and how big enlargements you want to make. I think you could get reasonable results from your the lens you have on your camera, and say 8x10 picture from a 4x5 negative.

Good luck with the project,


-- Jimi Axelsson (, May 28, 2001.

Graflex used to make a device (the graflarger) which converted a speed graphics into an enlarger. Their market was traveling press and other photographers. The work with any camera with a 4x5 graphmatic back (I have one) and are sometimes available on Ebay

-- John Lehman (, May 28, 2001.

Hi Martin

I tried this a few months ago. and it seemed to work okay. I have an Arca 5x4 monorail, and I was able to remove the groundglass frame (but still retain the camera back). I've got one of those battery- operated 5x4" thin panel slide viewers, and I taped a 5x4 B&W negative to this using removable drafting tape, and with a mask to cut out all surpless light around the negative. This light box then fitted into the space where the groundglass would normally be, and I held it in place with elastic bands stretched around the camera back and light box. A small piece of black velvet draped over the back prevented any stray light from the darkroom. In my case, I used the camera horizontally, and taped the photo paper to the wall. It was slightly tricky to get everything square and parallel and in the right position. I seem to recall that the exposures were quite lengthy at around 2 or three minutes (possibly longer), but I managed to get an acceptable 10x8" print. I used my standard Rodenstock Sironar-S 210mm lens. The light panel gives a very even, but not very strong light.

I tend to use contact printing processes, and discovered that I didn't really enjoy working in the darkroom, so I didn't take this any further (at least, not for now).

Hope this helps

David Nash

-- David Nash (, May 28, 2001.

I was wondering about this in reverse. If I use an 8x10 camera and put the paper in the film holder (it fits) and enlarge my 4x5 negs ... no light tight problems, would I just pump difused light through the neg and focus on the gg? I guess I'm a bit of a chicken and should just try it out. But has anyone ever tried this? I recall Weston used his 8x10 as an enlarger. Dean

-- Dean Lastoria (, May 28, 2001.

Hi Martin,

My enlarger is in fact a vertically mounted Cambo monorail camera. I built a neg holder with MDF board and 3 ply which sits on the rear standard. The camera is mounted on the wall with a bracket made from pine, the base board is also wall mounted on height adjustable shelving (for bigger enlargements, I must lower the shelf). The light source is a car head light with the diffusing glass replaced with plastic difusing material and the mixing head is made from white foam core and 3 ply. The diffuser above the negative is mylar tracing paper.

It can be a little tricky aligning the whole system, but it did only cost me about AU$200 sans lens, and has the added advantage of perspective control in the darkroom. If you would like to see this contraption, email me and I'll send some jpegs to you.

-- Graeme Hird (, May 28, 2001.

Linhof offered something similar. The Linhof Praxis book (1958) shows some accessories which turn a Technika into an enlarger. It consisted of a cold light adapter and a baseboard with column. The book further states that it was available for Technikas in 6x9cm, 4x5" and 5x7".

-- Stefan Geysen (, May 30, 2001.

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