WORKSHOP HINTS AND TIPS
I MADE a 3-1/2 in. x 2-1/2 in. platecamera, after some generalexperienceof photography, toeliminate waste when my needscould be met with a single photo-graph.Like many another, I had takenup photography in the grip of anenthusiasm that left little room forreflection. For a time my EnsignSelfix 820 camera was in constantuse. I did not dream that with re-turning rationality my requirementswould be drastically curtailed.
But what can you do with a rollfilm camera, unless the one
needed photograph can be takennear the end of a film? If it is nearthe beginning, you must waste theremainder of the film or wait untilit can be used on other subjects.Soon I did not wish to do either. Iwanted single photographs, or atmost a few, without waste and with-out loss of time. Obviously, Ineeded a plate camera.By this time I had used the RossXpress lens of the Selfix for severalpurposes besides the original one. Itwas the basis of the apparatus forthe Profile Projector in ME of November 26 and December 3 and10, 1959. Mounted on a 3 in. squareof 1/8in. Tufnol, it had done copyingand enlarging in the dark room. Icould easily transfer it to a platecamera on its Tufnol mount, whichwas drilled near the corners for 2 BAbolts.This lens has everything tosimplify camera construction. Theroll-film cameras are themselves verycheap now at second-hand.Themaximum aperture is 3.8 and thefocal length 105 mm. By turningthe front cell, you can focus frominfinity to 4 ft. With supplementarylenses you can get within inches of subjects. The Epsilon shutter givesa choice of speeds from
second.With these built-in facilities, theplate camera had only to be a suit-able design of box to take lens andslides. Diagrams A and
show itsmain features.
13 SEPTEMBER 1962
The wood is oak. Front, back andsides are 1/2 in. thick; top and bottomare 1/4 in. thick. Front and back arethe full width of the camera with thesides fitted between them. Top andbottom cover all.Countersunk screws hold the pieces together.As shown, the right side is shorterthan the left to leave a space throughwhich the slide with the plate can beinserted.The left side has a step1/8 in. deep into which the inner endof the slide engages. The back hastwo integral bosses through whichthe pins
of the Y-shaped slideholder pass.These pins are stepped at the endsto bear over the outer edge of theslide as the slide holder is tightenedby its nut. They prevent the slidefrom being inadvertently withdrawn,as might otherwise happen when thecover was removed for taking aphotograph.Details of the fittingwill be given in my next article.I chose the simplest single slideholder: A. P. Paris made by PossoLtd, Paris, and distributed by
Ltd. You can buy as many as youneed at photographic dealers. Dia-gram C shows details when the thinmetal cover is drawn off. There isa spring against which you push theend of the plate until it can beslipped under two lugs XY. Thenyou replace the cover. This is donewith a safe-light in the dark, or witha changing bag.You push the slide into thecamera, tighten the slide holder, anddraw out the cover, ready to take aphotograph. As you draw out thecover, a strip of velvet in the slidecomes up against the right side of the camera at
to prevent lightfrom entering. You take the photo-graph, push the cover back into theslide, and remove the slide from thecamera. I fitted the original Albadaview finder so that I could see whatI was taking.To get the length of the camera,I checked the lens at its differentsettings, after screwing the front ona wood base with a ground glassplate in a bracket, as at
A pieceof cloth over top and sides excludedlight so that I could see the imageon the plate. The correct length Z,after the plate had been set. agreedclosely with the dimension of the