He Made His Own Large Format Camera and Old School Flash Powder

Nikolai Nielsen’s passion for building his own cameras, including large format cameras, was something he discovered by accident.

Most photographers who build their own cameras, especially large format cameras, started out driven by an interest in traditional photographic processes. For South Africa-based Nikolai Nielsen, however, discovering camera building was a fortunate accident. Anyone who knew of his passions — mainly chemistry, pyrotechnics, and rocketry — would be surprised that he took up making cameras for what he calls “from scratch” photography. However, motivated by his DIY spirit and a chance event that introduced him to traditional photography, it was only a matter of time before he was building his own cameras.

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Turning a Portable Scanner Into a Large Format Camera Digital Back

If you’ve ever wondered if there are digital backs for large format cameras, the short answer is yes: the long answer is you can make one yourself.

Large format photography is not only still very much alive, but it’s also evolving thanks to crafty photographers who go the DIY route and give us more ways to work with it. Among the most interesting examples are digital backs for digital cameras — even for large format cameras. Read on if that sounds like something you’d like to try for a weekend project.

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How to Make Ground Glass for a Large Format Camera

Markus Hofstaetter recently shared how he makes ground glass for a large format camera in this cool video.

Austrian wet plate and wedding photographer Markus Hofstaetter has always been our go-to guy when it comes to all things cool about large format photography, especially wet plate photography. Aside from taking impressive, one-of-a-kind snaps, he’s also quite the handyman with his cameras and often makes modifications and DIY parts required by his projects. The latest of these is DIY ground glass for the large format camera. As always, he documented the process in a cool video and shared a bit of information about it with us.

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The Intrepid 4×5 and 8×10 Large Format Cameras Get High-End Improvements

The Intrepid 4×5 and 8×10 large format cameras are now sleeker and more sophisticated with the latest improvements.

If you’re yet to get your own Intrepid large format camera, now would be a great time to contemplate your options. Intrepid Camera Co. has recently announced upgrades for both of their large format camera models. With this news comes the fourth generation of the 4×5 and the second for the 8×10, and the promise of improvements typically only seen in higher end cameras of its class.

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The Standard 4×5 Lets You Build Your Own Modular Large Format Camera

Building your own camera is always a bright idea, so you might want to give The Standard 4×5 modular DIY large format camera a shot.

If you think you’d like to progress from making your own pinhole cameras to something bigger and more complicated, we’ve found just the right stuff for you. Photographer Drew Nikonowicz offers to give you a head start to building your own large format camera through The Standard 4×5, currently being funded on Kickstarter.

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The Intrepid 4×5 Mk 3 Large Format Camera Gets a Minor Update

We’re super excited that the Intrepid 4×5 Mk 3 camera is alive and kicking!

A few years ago, the Intrepid 4×5 camera went to Kickstarter to get crowdfunded. Now, the camera is in its third version and the company is still preaching the idea of high quality at a fraction of the price of other cameras. According to the press release, the new Intrepid Mk3 “…sees the addition of leaf springs to securely hold the ground glass/film holders, rear standard tilt and swing and a much larger baseplate for use with all tripod mounts (1/4 and 3/8).” Though that sounds minor, it adds a whole lot more in terms of the durability and lifespan of the camera. Of course you still need to use your own lenses, tripods, etc. But you’re getting the body frame, the ground glass, the bellows, etc. More tech specs are after the jump.
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This Photographer Shot a Large Format Camera While Flying in a Plane as Part of a Bet

Photographer Sebastian Schweers tells us about how he got to shoot a large format camera while flying a plane

“The whole thing came out of a bit of a bet,” says Sebastian Schweers about shooting from an airplane with a large format camera. At ISO 100, f8 and 1/250th, Sebastian was able to get this pretty cool photo opening our story. Sebastian has an interesting family history with photography being a big part of it and aviation being another large part. So when Sebastian shared this image, we were able to get in contact with him and asked him for a feature.

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Chroma Camera is a Super Lightweight, Folding Large Format Camera

Chroma Camera is being pitched as a lightweight option for the large format community.

Photographer Steve Lloyd has been a camera tinkerer for many years ago, and today he’s launched his brand new Kickstarter project called Chroma Camera. The camera is a large format option designed to be even more lightweight than many others on the market. Additionally, it also folds down into a super compact package. While large format cameras have always folded down, this one does even more so. Steve worked on the development of the product for 17 months and designed it to be flexible with the type of work photographers do.

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Irene Rudnyk Shares Her First Large Format Camera Experience

Sreenshot image from the video by Irene Rudnyk on Large Format cameras

Surely, anyone who’s a fan of traditional photography today has large format photography on his or her bucket list. Thankfully, we have a lot of online resources to feed this curiosity with, whether it’s about getting the right gear to get started or learning the entire shooting process. In one of her recent videos, natural light photographer Irene Rudnyk gets to have a go with this beautiful medium for the first time, with pretty amazing results.

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Speed Magny Backs Turn Nikon F Cameras into Instant or Large Format Cameras

Screenshot image from the Speed Magny 45 video by Doug Bardwell

From the 1960s to the 1980s, photographers who wanted to check their lighting or churn out images for very quick reportage had a secret weapon: the Speed Magny. This interesting contraption allowed them to produce Polaroid prints with their Nikon F cameras. While the entire setup looks rather bulky and awkward, it was still marketed as the “Instant” Nikon.

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Oca Camera – A Large Format Camera


This is a syndicated blog post from Roger H. Sassaki. It is being republished with permission.

Can we build our own camera for chemical photographic processes?

The design of the camera Oca was born of talks between the photographer Guilherme Maranhão and I (Roger Sassaki) about the difficulty that our students and colleagues have to find a large format camera to continue the photographic practice of our courses. We talked a lot about how cool it would be to develop a camera that could be used by each person during a workshop a few days. Guilherme started by using the films in plates for X-rays in their research and work and I use large format cameras for shooting calotypes and wet collodion plate. Thus, the Oca is designed to accept in its chassis capture processes plaques, either in wet or dry processes and also with photographic film in plates to the size of 13x18cm (5 × 7-inch) or square format 16x16cm.

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Leica Camera AG Buys Swiss Large Format Camera Maker Sinar


In a totally unexpected move, Leica Camera AG has just purchased the Swiss large format camera maker Sinar. The details of the transaction have not been disclosed, but the press release states that the companies will collaborate in digital technologies, distribution and customer service. Sinar Photography AG’s headquarters will remain in Zürich, Switzerland, but Leica will henceforth manage the distribution of Sinar products.

Sinar covers the complete range of large format products, including camera bodies, digital backs, lenses, shutters as well as workflow software. The largest format camera that Leica is currently offering is the S medium format system. Leica’s acquisition of Sinar now raises the question whether we’ll see Leica-branded digital large format products in the future, which would only make sense considering that large format photography is both a niche and premium market–exactly what Leica is trying to serve.

Travelwide 4×5 Is A New Compact Large Format Camera


A couple years ago, Wanderlust put out a pinhole lens for Micro Four Thirds. And now, they’re back with this super cool 4×5 KickStarter camera. The Travelwide is a 4×5 camera meant to be ultra light and yes–shoots 4×5 film. The camera is touted as being lighter than a DSLR and not much larger. There are a couple of different versions. The TravelWide 90 is based on the Schneider Angulon 90mm ƒ/6.8 lens while the Travelwide 65 is based on the Schneider Super Angulon 65mm ƒ/8 lens which is basically a 20mm wide angle equivalent.

It’s much more than just a standard setup though: support bubble levels, viewfinders, rangefinders and flash units, they placed hot shoes around the camera.

The company needs to reach $75,000–and hopefully they’ll do it. 4×5 is positively beautiful and at that size the quality destroys nearly any digital equivalent. Check out their Kickstarter and the video after the jump.

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Notes on Going From Medium Format SLR to Large Format View Camera

Text and photos by David Krooshof. Used with permission.

A month after I bought an Intrepid 4×5 large format camera, I started taking down notes, then reviewed them after nine months. While very condensed compared to other writings, there are also a lot of notes for those who are eyeing to take the plunge into large format photography. It also includes some notes about what to look for in a large format camera. It’s detailed, because I like details. It’s not only technical, but also about what it means to the subject.

Photo above: Angela Davis is an American human rights activist, like my parents were in the sixties. She was very sweet and I am glad that I got this motherly smile from her. I never managed to contact her to give her this photo.


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Mijonju Introduces Photographers to Shooting Large Format with a Wista 45D Camera

For the latest installment of The Mijonju Show, we get some quick tips on shooting with a large format camera.

In case you haven’t heard yet, everyone’s favorite camera lover and collector Mijonju is back with The Mijonju Show. We’ve previously seen him test and review the MiNT InstantKon RF70 prototype a few months ago. In his most recent analog adventure, he takes us to a quick portrait session with a 4×5 large format camera. Step right up if you’re planning to shoot large format soon!

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A Canon Large Format Digital Camera Could Be Really Cool, But That’s Not What We’re Getting

Canon has not been at the forefront of imaging sensor development for a while, but this new development may change that.

If you have been into photography for any length of time you should likely understand the idea that generally bigger is better when it comes to imaging sensor size. Smaller sensors have gotten pretty good over the years, but no matter what, cameras with larger sensors have always had that ‘anything you can do, I can do better’ leg up over cameras with smaller sensors. While most sensor manufacturers seem to be focusing on making their smaller sensors better and better, Canon has chosen to go the opposite and just make the worlds biggest ultra-sensitive CMOS sensor – which is a whopping 20cm square. Continue reading…

The World’s First 8×10 Large Format Digital Camera is Yours for $106,000

The large format bellows camera goes completely digital in this hefty-sized, hefty-priced creation by LargeSense.

If you’ve ever wondered whether those massive 8×10 large format cameras will ever have digital counterparts, the answer now is yes. Say hello to the LargeSense LS911, which lays claim to the title of “world’s first 8×10 digital single shot camera for sale.” With this mammoth digital camera, you’ll be able to truly go big or go home in terms of image sensor size. But you’ll also need deeper pockets: it’s priced at a whopping $106,000.

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Grab a Deardorff Ultra Large Format 20×20 Camera for $25,000

Here’s your chance to get started with ultra large format photography. All you need is $25,000 for a Deardorff Ultra Large Format 20×20.

If you’ve ever wanted to get into ultra large format photography, we’ve got the right stuff for you. Our latest ebay find is an impressive-looking Deardorff Ultra Large Format 20×20 Camera, perfect for all kinds of wet plate photography. It can be yours if you’re willing to part with $25,000 for the camera body and its accessories.

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Ultra Large Format: The Building an 11×14 Camera

01 - Final Camera - Red Anodized Coating

All images by Pali Kalsi. Used with permission.

“For as long as I can remember, I have been fascinated with photography. I can recall early memories from my childhood of me tinkering with my dad’s Yashica D camera and looking at the world through the camera’s lens on it’s ground glass.” says photographer Pali Kalsi. He’s recently finishing building his own original large format camera using an 11×14 negative space.

Pali, like many other photographers before him, loves to work with the ultra large format aspects. Smaller formats aren’t always so satisfying, but the larger you get in the format the more the process changes. Some photographers shoot for the process, while others shoot for the image.

In fact, that’s how Pali first started.

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Converting a Polaroid 110A Camera to Large Format


All images by Steve Lloyd. Used with permission.

Photographer Steve Lloyd is a 37 year old shooter with a bit of a hobby on the side involving modifying older cameras. “I spend my days supporting a global IT server estate and, whenever I can, shoot a mix of analogue and digital photography.” says Steve. “I’m always on the lookout for the next project and am currently designing a bolt-on 4×5 conversion for Polaroid Land Cameras.”

Most of his work is done with mirrorless digital cameras, but Steve has a great appreciation for both medium format and large format cameras. That’s why he went about trying to convert an old Polaroid 110A camera to shoot 5×4 large format film.

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