What do you get when you marry this:
You get the Bender-Canon Digital View Camera.
After coming across someone else who had used a simple T-mount adapter to join their Canon to an 8×10 view camera with some highly interesting results, it seemed like it was high time I got to work on the 4×5 kit I had purchased so many years ago. That poor kit has survived 2 moves, an attack by mice, and being used for a Bible lesson twice in which I dumped the entire kit onto the floor for the kids to try to figure out – sans directions (the point being they wouldn’t have any more luck putting that kit together without the instructions than we do trying to put our lives together without the maker’s instructions-i.e., the Bible). Anyway, all of that without a single piece lost or broken . . . .
EXCEPT for 2 of the 3 monorail riders which I had broken when I first started to build the kit in 1995. Jim at Midwest Photo Exchange was a great help, both with selecting a lens for the new system, as well as spending some time looking at the original design and sending photos to someone he thought might be able to come up with a replacement. The next time I went to Columbus, though, I ended up going to Woodcraft and picking up some T-Trac and oval 1/4 x 20 nuts which worked perfectly – if the tripod gets knocked over or some other disaster happens, the camera will break into little tiny pieces long before there is enough force to make the front and rear standards or the tripod mount come off the T-Trac, and the whole setup is rock solid once everything is tightened down. Other modifications included getting rid of all of the original L-screws except the ones holding the back in place, using different material for the bag bellows than the kind of rubbery black stuff that came with the kit (Thanks, mom, for the great sewing job!!), adding rulers to various points on the front and rear standards so I have some idea of how much I’m moving one standard in relation to the other, and adding a slotted lensboard holder like I saw at Midwest Photo instead of the original L-screws.
I quickly realized that the tripod that came with my Canon kit was going to be totally inadequate for managing 7-1/2 pounds of camera. I had seen some Induro tripods at Midwest in the $100 range (which may still be an option some months down the road), but after reading some on tripods and heads, I realized that to really do it justice, it was going to cost quite a bit more to get a stable platform for the new camera combo.
THEN, I remembered that there was a telescope mouldering in my basement with a tripod that looked an awful lot like some of the wooden-legged tripods I had been seeing. Quick check – sure enough it’s still down there and just needs a little rinse off and a way to mount the camera to the tripod. Once again, everything is rock solid when tightened down. I don’t know how long the old telescope tripod will hold up, but as long as it does, I’ve got some really smooth pan and tilt action in my tripod head, along with a good solid platform for the camera.
Here are some samples with the new setup:
(Please forgive the less than inspiring subject of the first photo. The camera was barely starting to take shape, the bellows was just pressed into place without being secured in any way, and I was basically holding the Canon in mid air in the approximate location it would be held by the camera board and T-mount adapter which I had yet to design and build with the camera and my head under a dark cloth to keep out too much extraneous light. It’s a wonder I got the focus as close as it is, but I could have found something more aesthetic than the pile of trash I had been collecting. )by beakennedy