Conceived of a system to capture the look and optics of much older camera systems
Designed, engineered and prototyped all fixtures and testbeds
Took camera systems into the field and tested them
All images contained here are original work shot with their respective prototype
Despite advances in digital photography, no affordable large view cameras exist. I set out to create a simple, easy to use digital view camera to reap the benefits of large format photography in digital form.
This prototype was built from found materials: aluminum, wood, heat bent acrylic and various found fasteners.
Tilt and shift are controlled by the knobs and focus can be finely adjusted by the ball screw on the underside. This prototype was neither portable nor easy to use. With much patience, the above image was captured using the lens seen above right.
This prototype was a refined and field-portable version of the first one. Although it took a radically different optical approach, it was dramatically easier to use.
In this model, the image is collimated onto a focusing screen (ground glass and a Fresnel lens) on a modified Voigtlander field camera. A stock wide angle close-focus lens is then mounted to the digital camera behind it and a light hood is put on to prevent blowout. The dSLR was then mounted on custom fiberglass “L” bracket seen right.
Focusing is quite difficult and slow. Although overall the rig produced quite good photos and was less prone to slipping out of focus or tilt than the first, it still required a tripod and was certainly not light or quick
This third prototype was a refinement of the above two. By using the body and focusing rack of a vintage Graflex field camera to hold the lens, a dSLR was attached to a custom fabricated metal back plate. Several adjustments had to be made to get the dSLR close enough to allow the lens to focus properly. Also, a split-prism viewfinder had to be added, although this is available from Canon.
This setup proved both durable and portable. While remaining stable enough to be handheld when necessary, it allows decently quick focusing and produces a soft, deep image reminiscent of the images the Graflexs originally took.
THIS FOURTH PROTOTYPE was intended to supplant the somewhat haphazard mounting of Prototype 3. Graflex perfected and put into use a locking accessory back known as a Graflok back. This allowed equipment such as Polaroid backs and focusing screens to be quickly and easily interchanged without disassembling the camera. This aluminum unit, CNC milled on both sides, is designed to fit into the Graflok system and allow a dSLR or large format capture device to be attached quickly with no modification to the camera itself. Whereas the previous version required screwing on a new back plate in place of whatever film adapter was there, this version fits completely off the shelf with no modification whatsoever. It also allows the owner to switch instantly back to film. To solve how this mates with Canon’s proprietary EOS mounting system, the tapered ring above allows an M42 adapter (commonly available for a few dollars) to be put on and held in place with a set screw. This also allows the dSLR to rotate, a feature previously unavailable. This attachment system also greatly simplified machining and reduces the number of machine tools required.