E11 Features

E11, Features and the Brainstorm

Graham starts us off with a discussion of the role features play in the design of cameras. Features here are defined as non-essential elements that make the process of making a photograph easier (6:15). As an example, he and Nick run through the features associated with focusing.

In the spirit of the thing, Nick talks about features that he would like to see developed that either has not already been implemented or have not been widely implemented (26:05).

The hosts discuss the concept of a 35mm camera that could accommodate image sizes from 24mm by 24mm to 24mm by 65mm with several sizes in between (33:50). This camera would have a drop-in mask or a mask that is adjustable from the outside and would advance the proper distance no matter what format it is shooting at the time.

Nick does his best to make the system much more complicated than the original vision but while providing a good argument on the merits of the additional complexity (46.30). Graham counters with the engineering and design process that takes many iterations to find the proper solution.

They then start to talk about what features are desirable for this type of project (55:30).

Nick tells the tale of taking apart his Nikanon scamera, shooting pinhole cameras and playing with putty (1:07:00).

Zeb Andrews’ recent appearance on The Lensless Podcast sparked a discussion about slow shooting experiences and value of a photograph of an experience vs. the experience itself (1:31:00). They also discuss the IM Back digital back for film cameras as a core component of a camera build.

E10 The Universal

Nick starts off the episode by talking about what a universal camera design is and why it might be nice to have (5:15). From there they talk about existing cameras that can be considered universal and how different qualities are more flexible than others. Nick describes the Mercury Camera System, a system that was designed from the start to be a universal design (22:40). Graham puts forward the concept that the APS film format should be considered a universal film format while name-dropping Mike Gutterman (28:30).

They move on to talking about the features of a universal camera (35:15) and what is most important about it. After that, they talk about how to approach a design of a universal camera (47:39).


This time around Nick and Graham discuss photographs they have taken and how they inform the cameras that they build and how the cameras that they build allow for photographs that are different from the ones they can take with off-the-shelf models.

Nick’s photo is here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/51834204@N07/42317986574/in/dateposted/

Graham’s photo is here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/129971511@N04/41391598034/in/pool-3976524@N23/

Graham starts talking about his point and shoot sheet film camera that he designed and printed though to start he refers to it as a 2-1/4 by 2-1/4 when it is actually 2-1/4 by 3-1/4 (27:30).

Nick’s build for this episode is the PinBlad Deluxe, a pinhole camera made from a Hasselblad and an Ilex No. 3 shutter (42:50).

Project Save the Scameras from Graeme’s Hammer gets an update (52:00) with Graham’s project of putting an SLR lens on the front of his Olympia.

This episode’s book is, The Complete Nikon System: An Illustrated Equipment Guide by Peter Braczko (https://www.amazon.com/Complete-Nikon-System-Illustrated-Equipment/dp/1883403855/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1536246746&sr=8-1&keywords=the+complete+nikon+system).

Graham corrects a shoutout from the last episode where he gives credit to Panomicron on Instagram for building an XPan type of camera using 3D printing when he should have credited it to Cody (https://www.instagram.com/james__irvin/). It is still worth looking at Panomicron’s work too as he’s building some cool cameras (https://www.instagram.com/panomicron/). Graham was confused as one of Cody’s images appears in Panomicron’s timeline. Also, take the time to look at Ethan from Cameradactyl’s timeline on Instagram as he’s been doing some crazy-fun shit lately (https://www.instagram.com/cameradactyl/). Nick also mentions an image posted by Dirk Fletcher’s ultralight 4X5 camera on our Flickr feed: (https://www.flickr.com/photos/dirkfletcher/44439938251/in/pool-3976524@N23/) Nick also mentions Walker Cameras (http://www.walkercameras.com/) whose website is worth taking a look at.

E08 Materials

E08 Materials

Graham and Nick start off by talking about light and what kind of light they like to have for taking photographs.

They then launch into a discussion of materials from paper to metal, glass and plastic. Discussions include sources of various materials and tools.

The continued adventures of the Save the Scameras from Graeme’s Hammer campaign are chronicled with the dismantling of the Olympia Scamera (1:22:50). Video of the shutter function can be seen here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/129971511@N04/29082589757/in/dateposted-public/. Photo of the two aperture blades from the lens: https://www.flickr.com/photos/129971511@N04/42353408860/in/dateposted-public/

Graham explains why a Ninoka is almost identical to a Leica (1:48:50).

Nick’s book for this Episode is On Street Photography and the Poetic Image by Alex Webb and Rebecca Norris Webb: (https://www.amazon.com/Rebecca-Norris-Street-Photography-Poetic/dp/1597112577/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1535128945&sr=8-1&keywords=on+street+photography+and+the+poetic+image) (1:50:00)

E07 Viewfinders and Scameras

Graham mentions a trip around St. Simons Island where he took a picture (https://www.flickr.com/photos/129971511@N04/36592696526/in/datetaken/) with a camera he hates that got 84,000 views on Flickr for some reason he cannot figure out (1:25) as he and Nick discuss cameras they don’t like. Neither of them like the Minolta Weathermatic Dual.

Nick talks about issues with parallax in viewfinders (13:45) and the solutions to address the issue in cameras. Graham grabs a couple of cameras off his shelf to verify what Nick says. They take a moment to revel in Voigtlander fandom (20:05) and then get back to business.

They move on to SLR through-the-lens viewfinders and their advantages and disadvantages (23:45) along with the advantages of the pentaprism on SLRs (29:30).

Some viewfinders have very little information and some have an overload of information and this balance can can affect the shooting experience (36:20).

They discus “viewfinder” cameras like the Trip 35, cameras with little or no information in the viewfinder (30:30).

Filter effects are discussed and how to use them without seeing the actual taking image (44:38).

They eventually make their way to large format cameras and viewfinder issues with view finding (53:25).

Finally, Nick and Graham start talking about how to make, adapt and scavenge your own viewfinders for homemade camera projects (1:02:54). They mention an article in 35MMC about salvaging a viewfinder from a broken camera (1:08:29) (https://www.35mmc.com/01/07/2018/35mm-accessory-viewfinder-budget-conscious-wonders-3d-printing/

With the subject of viewfinders completed, our fearless hosts moved on to poking the bear (Graeme of Sunny 16 Podcast) and his call for the smashing of all Scameras on sight. Nick and Graham (note how OUR Graham spells his name correctly) have responded to this heinous call with a call to action of their own: Modify these cameras into worthwhile photographic tools (1:26:20).   

This episode’s book is The Ansel Adams Guide: Basic Techniques of Photography – Book 1 (https://www.amazon.com/Ansel-Adams-Guide-Techniques-Photography/dp/0821225758/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1533591609&sr=8-1&keywords=the+ansel+adams+guide) (2:03:55).

Graham read one email talked about two Kickstarter campaigns for 4X5 cameras, the Standard (https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/144867732/the-standard-4×5-a-3d-printed-4×5-view-camera) that was ending in just an hour and a half and the Camradactyl (https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/416154634/cameradactyl-4×5-field-camera) that still had 16 days to go as of the recording. Both efforts had reached their goals.

E06 Focus

Show Notes E06 Focus

For this episode, Graham and Nick talk about focus and focusing mechanisms in cameras. Nick asks whether focusing is necessary and Graham talks about one of his favorite Flickr people, ChetBak59 (https://www.flickr.com/photos/129558209@N02) and his use of out-of-focus areas of images to great effect (9:15). Nick challenges Graham to take a photograph where the out-of-focus areas is the point of interest and the in-focus areas are secondary (14:58).

At 16:00 the boys finally get to the definition of focus and how the lens creates this focus on a film plane or sensor. They then talk about the different methods to adjust focus in a camera-lens system (26:41).

They also talk about how focus is verified so we get the result that is expected (38:25).

With all that silliness about focusing complete, talk turns to a camera Graham built over the previous week, the Sixty7 Woody (1:10:30)

Nick’s books this week are:

CAMERAS From Daguerreotypes to Instant Pictures by Brian Coe (https://www.amazon.com/CAMERAS-Daguerreotypes-Instant-Pictures-Brian/dp/0517533812)

500 Cameras: 170 Years of Photographic Innovation by George Eastman House, Todd Gustavson (https://www.amazon.com/500-Cameras-Years-Photographic-Innovation/dp/1402780869/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1532023200&sr=1-1&keywords=500+cameras)

Collecting and Using Classic Cameras By Ivor Matanle (https://www.amazon.com/Collecting-Using-Classic-Cameras-Matanle/dp/0500276560/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1532023493&sr=1-1&keywords=collecting+and+using+classic+cameras)

Graham’s shout-outs go to Chetbak59 on Flickr (see link above) and moonchild1111 also on Flickr (https://www.flickr.com/photos/moonchild1111/)

E05 Film Transport

Nick and Graham start off the show talking about slide film and the forthcoming Kodak Ektachrome along with some Agfachrome that Graham stumbled upon several years ago. They then begin with a description of what the purpose of a Film Transport Mechanism is and why it’s an important part of any camera build.

Graham describes the three major film handling systems in use today (14:39) and then goes on to talk about a bunch of different systems that are either no longer in use or represent only a tiny fraction of cameras in use today. He did forget completely the Disc camera system though you can probably understand why that one slipped his mind.

They talk about Heather Oelklaus (19:21)  and her pinhole panel truck Little Miss Sunshine and how she uses an array of paper negatives to produce large-scale pinhole images. You can visit her web page at CameraKarma.com to see a video of her truck and the process she uses for large-scale images.

Graham mentions Corey Canon of The Lensless Podcast and his discussion of building a single-shot 8X10 as a way of focusing the image-making process and eliminating distraction (1:08:00).

Nick talks about his dream film transport system that allows any spacing for any format in a single device. (1:10:45).

Nick reviews two books that he finds are valuable to the homemade camera builder (1:31:30), Adventures with Pinhole and Homemade Cameras, John Evans  and Experimental Photography, A Handbook of Techniques, Marco Antonini, Sergio Minniti, Francisco Gomez, and Gabriele Lungarella.

Nick floats the idea of a pinhole bird feeder (1:40:15), sure evidence that this episode has gone way too long.

E04b The Aperture

This is the second half of a two-part episode. In this half, we talk about the aperture.

Nick and Graham start off talking about the purpose of an aperture on a camera and the collimation of light that is required for a sharp image. Graham floats the crackpot concept of using variously-sized holes in lens caps as aperture controls (10:22). Nick then talks about the optical test-bench he wants to create (14:18).

Returning to the real world from their flights of fancy, they discuss the issues with apertures that get too small and the issues with the wave portion of the particle-wave behavior of light (15:48).

The effects of various numbers of blades in a given aperture are discussed in relation to the holiday movies that make their appearance on The Hallmark Channel (17:47).

Nick describes a lens that uses rotating shutters, rotating apertures, and rotating neutral density filters in a single barrel (29:00).

They discuss what type of aperture each would work with on a quick and simple build (34:32).

Nick talks about a camera he is in the process of designing that uses a dead Fujifilm GX680 body (36:42).

Nick talks about his experience with the Sixty3 plastic panoramic camera that Graham designed and built (49:50) though it takes Nick a bit of time to realize what Graham is hinting at. Graham also discusses another build, the Sixty7 pinhole camera (53:50) made with a Graflok 6X7 back.

Nick laments the lack of email interaction with our listeners (1:02:45) but talks about the cameras Dora Goodman has built (https://www.instagram.com/doragoodman/?hl=enhttps://www.doragoodman.com/) and made available for 3D printing.

E04a The Shutter

E04a The Shutter Notes

This episode was originally planned to cover both the shutter and the aperture but as the recording topped two hours, we decided to separate the two concepts. In two weeks we will continue as we focus on the aperture.

Right off the bat, Graham can’t remember the name of the camera repair guide he read. It’s Camera Maintenance & Repair by Thomas Thomosy.

Contributor to the forums on the Homemade Camera Podcast Flickr group, Flaver-D’s projection-TV-lensed experiment is discussed (12:10) and how having an adjustable aperture is not always very important. Nick brings up the concept that along with shutter speed and aperture, you can use neutral density filters to control exposure as well (12:35).

They discuss the Garbage Cam Build of listener jojonas on Flickr that uses a magnifying glass and black and white printing paper to get some very interesting effect (22:55). They also talk about how the movement of shutters can cause distortions in the image such as the famous forward-leaning race cars from the 1930s (38:25).

The boys try to tackle the concept of slit-scan photography such as that produced by James Guerin, maker of the Reality So Subtle pinhole cameras (41:15).

The Phochron XA shutter tester is mentioned at (58:00) and how it can help with determining the accuracy of settings of older shutters.

Nick reminds us that in the early days of photography the Guillotine was a handy way of creating a consistent shutter opening (1:13:00). Almost immediately afterward they talk about Flickr group member Jonas and his schematic for a shutter that employs magnets from headphones to actuate.

Thomas Thomosy’s book on camera repair: https://smile.amazon.com/Camera-Maintenance-Repair-Book-Comprehensive/dp/0936262869/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1528131057&sr=8-1&keywords=camera+repair+book

Flaver-D’s Flickr stream: https://www.flickr.com/photos/17202358@N00/

Oval-wheel race car image: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Focal-plane_shutter#/media/File:Bundesarchiv_Bild_183-1991-1209-503,_Autorennen_im_Grunewald,_Berlin.jpg

James Guerin’s slit-scan photography: https://aupremierplan.fr/page/5/

Phochron XA shutter tester: http://www.phochronxa.com/

Episode 03, The Lens

E03 The Lens Show notes:

Note: This episode contains some erroneous information about Ilford Direct Positive Paper. Graham states that it is no longer in production. This information is not correct.  Direct Positive Paper is still in production after a short interruption. For more information on this, listen to the Sunny 16 Podcast episodes 100a, 100b, 100c where they visit the Harmon Technologies Ilford headquarters. 

Nick and Graham talk about lenses and how they can impact a camera build. They talk about why the lens is the most important part of any camera build (5:40) and why it might be a good idea to blend a Debonair lens and a Leica body.

Graham explains why focusing a lens is overrated (18:28) and why you should tape the focusing mechanism of your camera in one position to try out working with a fixed-focus hyperfocal setup. Nick then suggests that the humble mousetrap could provide good functionality to a homemade camera (33:15).

They talk about different methods of attaching lenses to camera bodies including screwing the lenses right to the body and the use of retaining rings for large format lenses (34:10).

The Garbage Cam Challenge has reached its due date and the boys are not as successful in this as they would want to be (53:22). Graham describes his camera made from the discarded paperboard from a 12 pack of soda, a pinhole made from a beer can (56:11) and wooden dowels (INSERT SIZE) that fit tightly in the 135 cartridge reels.

Flange Distance Chart: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lens_mount

Hyperfocal Distance Calculator: https://www.pointsinfocus.com/tools/depth-of-field-and-equivalent-lens-calculator/#