My Affordable LargE Format Comfort Camera.
My Affordable LargE Format Comfort Camera.
When I was a child, I became fascinated and acquired an interest for negative rolls. That interest is still strong, and until now, it is for me a kind of black magic. This pushed me to shoot film photographs and to understand the basics of optics: how does the camera work? What are lenses made of? And... if I build a camera? Would I able to make a camera?
I started with the very first prototype: a very simple but functional pinhole camera. Afterwards, design became better and better. Now, I've got on my desktop a fully functional large format camera prototype with a functional focus ring and viewfinder.
What I present in this campaign is a mass production, fair price, precise, light-weight, customizable, 4x5" large format body camera working with most sold large format lenses. Kickstarter gives me the chance to let people enjoy and know about analog photography for a reasonable investment.
These camera bodies will be made of black polyurethane resin - shore D1 = 71 (using injection/casting molds).
Rewarded cameras will not be 3D printed in order to ensure the required robustness.
Lenses, Fidelity/Toyo nor Polaroid backs and spirit levels shown in this campaign are not rewarded and not included in the presented design. Before pledging, please make sure to have, to get or consider buying a large format lens with Copal shutter (please take a look at the compatibility chart) as well as any compatible 4x5" film holder back.
MALEFiC camera designs can be adapted to all most-sold large format lenses in the market with Copal #0 and #1 shutters. We plan to fit the design specifically for lens requested during this campaign.
We don't have special request from you. We can fit the design for lenses with up to 150mm focal length and down to 45mm. For 45, 47, 55, 58mm we can provide only the fixed focus version (without any focusing mechanism - lenses focused to infinity).
Nevertheless, these lenses have an extraordinary hyper-focal distance that enable the photographer to take even close-up images (ie. 57mm F/22 hyper-focal distance is 136cm/53.64inches).
Just below a list of compatible lenses Scheneider-Kreuznac, Rodenstock and Nikkor.
We know that market leaders are selling this type of cameras for 10 to 15 times the price.
For sure, we are not presenting the same cameras with the same features, and they cannot be compared. Nevertheless, MALEFiC Camera is working hard, and, we daresay, there are no differences in terms of final results.
We think that such a camera can openly enable a plenty of photographers that are just now re-discovering analog photography.
Unlike other traditional folding types, this camera body is small, compact and light-weight. The 90mm version weighs only 200 grams! No more expansive, professional, and bulky bags for large format photography!
These camera bodies will be made of black polyurethane resin (using injection/casting molds). Rewarded cameras will not be 3D printed in order to ensure the required robustness.
We designed an efficient and steady plastic mechanism to get the subject focused from 70cm* to infinity using an ergonomic ring. Focusing can be done by using a traditional glass ground or using a laser rangefinder (to get subject distance).
The focus mechanism is available from 65mm to 150mm lenses.
*mimimum focus distance may vary slightly from lens to lens.
Focusing can be performed by rotating the focusing ring to the desidered subject distance.
Minimum focus distance depends on which lens (and body) is built in. We worked to get down to 0.7m at full lens aperture.
Don't miss the instant in swapping from glass ground to sheet holder. The camera can be mounted on its hotshoe adapter, a lens viewfinder for a very aggressive price. Large format viewfinders usually available on market are very expensive (up to $1500).
In accordance with the needs of this camera, we designed a wide and clear viewfinder (reversed Galilean telescopic type). We made some prototypes in ultra-clear epoxy resin.
Negative sheets, photographic RC and FB paper and collodion!
- Panama camera is 100% compatible with all Fidelity Elite and Toyo 4x5" (or 9x12cm) negative sheet holder.
- These types of sheet holders can be used also with RC or FB negative or positive paper (ISO 1-3).
- The camera body is also compatible with any Polaroid 405 holder that works smoothly to get best instant shots with Fujifilm FP-100C films.
- But the features aren’t over... We offer the opportunity to take the most beautiful and romantic photographs in the most ancient technology in the story of photography (needed to get any compatible wetplate holder).
The analog large format photography, despite the common thought, is fully comparable to the latest digital full frame cameras in terms of resolution and details.
Please take a look at the image below. These two black points are actually two persons walking on the trail.
The idea came out when surfing on thingiverse.com.
I've downloaded the design of a 3D printed pinhole camera, curious to see the results. Once printed and tested that design with a 120 film roll I've realized that pinhole photography cannot give acceptable results in terms of image quality. So I decided to re-design a large format camera body which can hold large format lenses.
- The first step was design a fixed focus camera body (Prototype A) which supports Toyo/Fidelity 4x5" negative sheet holder and make it light-proof (it was the challenge, actually).
- After several attempts, the second step aimed to improve the design (Prototype B). Also a commercial focus ring was mounted; this enable the camera to take photos focused at 1.5 meters.
- Unfortunatelly, commercial focus rings for large format photography are quite expansive (over 200€) and they may not fit the spirit of project. So, I've decided to re-design a plastic focus ring which allow the camera to focus objects at 70cm. The Prototype C was very bulky, therefore it was off to be a part of this project. Anyhow the focus mechanism worked fine and included in the last prototype.
Further design adjustments have been made until I believed the prototype was ready to be shared on Kickstarter. I've added into the design a:
- 1/4-20 UNC tripod thread;
- glass ground to focus the subject;
- non-commercial optical viewfinder;
- cable release holder;
- Polaroid 405 or compatible brackets.
The prototypes have been designed and simulated with a CAD software, then printed with a cheap desktop FFF 3D printer (now completely spoiled :-) ), then sanded and painted. Material used was both ABS and PLA, sometimes coated with glossy epoxy resin. Printing time was never below 16 hours.
If this project will be funded successfully, the massive production of these camera bodies will be done by using injection/casting molds (3D printing is an expansive process so far).
Lens for viewfinder was originally sketched with Opticalraytracer, a very powerful and free software that allowed to sketch the design. Then prototypes have been printed with a pricise a SLA resin printer. Once printed them, I've made the correspondent rubber molds. The final result is a clear plastic lens to be mounted on the viewfinder case.
At the end of the campaign I will start to collect the rewards.
We will ask for your lens ID choice after the campaign is complete.
The first step of project consists in improving the design and making molds (tooling) to start the production.
Once produced and assembled these cameras and its accessories (if pledged) will come in 100% working condition and fully tested.
Afterwards, all rewards will be shipped out.
Definitely, the aim of this project is to have on market a functional and affordable camera body for all most sold large format lens. This is possible by industrialize as much as we can all the parts for mass production.
In this campaign we reward camera bodies and accessories (we don't reward any lens, 4x5" film holders, shutter release cables and spirit levels).
Camera bodies dimension depends on which lens you are planning to mount. We will ask for your lens ID choice after the campaign is complete.
Basically, rewards depend on:
- Type of camera body. It can be "focused to infinity" or " with focus mechanism (focus from 0.7m to infinity)
- Focal length of lens that you are going to mount on camera body. Each lens has its own body camera dimension, therefore it must be specifically designed (and the related mold). After the the campaign ends, you will be asked about the lens that you are planning to use.
- Accessories. Standard accessories like 4x5" sheet holder and ground glass and other useful accessories like the optical viewfinder and Polaroid 405 holder. If you want to get all the accessories you may consider to pledge the "Deluxe" reward.
Why a 70kEUR target?
Unlike the common thought, plastic tooling is not cheap. About 38kEUR will be payed to professional suppliers to have produced the rewards (included design improvements, assembling, quality inspection and packaging).
About 24kEUR will be used to improve the design and tune it for all rewarded camera bodies and to invest on tooling and molding.
Finally, 3.6% of the rewarded total is reserved in risk mitigation (that percentage is the probability to have failed credit card transaction at the end of the campaign).
The graph below shows the budget related to 300 rewarded bodies. This is actually the threshold beyond which the project comes sustainable.
Risks and challenges
Making nice photographs is challenging, making nice cameras is even more challenging.
Just after the end of campaign the design will be improved.
As said before, the target to hit is spreading over market an affordable, fair priced, large format body camera.
Unfortunately, this is not a standard product: each large format lens has its own body camera design, therefore plastic molds must be specifically designed.
We are going to make efforts to reduce as much as we can the manufacturing costs.
We will also strive to give you updates about production, improvements either in process or design.
- (30 days)