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03-11-2009, 10:55 AM   #1
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Ideas for Homemade Tilt-Shift Mechanism

Hi again,

I just posted a few days ago asking for advice on a medium format system to buy into and mostly thanks to drooling over Wheatfield's 67 system I opted to buy a 67 body and the 90mm f2.8 lens to go with it.

I've been curious about doing this for awhile but now that I'll be getting a camera with a larger film surface it is even more interesting to me. I would love to create a tilt shift mechanism to go on to my 67 when I get it. I'm not too concerned over weight, mainly I want it to be very functional. I don't really have the machining knowhow to make what I'm thinking of, but I think I know someone who does. If any of you all have experience in this matter I would love to hear your thoughts on my ideas. I know we have a lot of very knowledgeable engineers and the such here on the forum.

Here is what I was thinking:

Using something along the lines of the 67 slide copier bellows unit as the starting point (or something similar) remove the lens mount on the front and attach a mounting plate for a large format lens (somehow). Utilizing the enormous image circle possibilities of the 4x5 lens all matter of movements should be possible (atleast to my uninformed mind). I would like to modify the slide copier so as to allow the full complement of front movements, though I am most interested in up/down shift and tilts along the x/y axes. Another benefit I see here of using the large format lens with an in-lens leaf shutter is by setting the camera on Bulb and using mirror lock up there is little worry in regards to shutter shake or mirror slap. This strikes me as a difficult project but could be worth it in the long run and possibly keep me from spending more money on a large format system to go along with the K20d, KX, 67 systems that I already have (or will be receiving soon).

My questions are as such: Would these modifications be feasible with the aid of a knowledgeable machinist, or would it be better to start mostly from scratch and have the rails and mounting plate custom machined? And has anyone heard of someone doing something similar before? I feel like the same general idea would be pretty easy to do for a K mount camera as well. Obviously this wouldn't be a lightweight take everywhere setup but I think it could be a great setup for landscapes that would negate the need for a view camera.

03-11-2009, 11:30 AM   #2
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You may be able to find a Zork Multi-Focus System with Rodenstock enlarger lens on the used market. This is a direct 67 tilt and swing unit--they offer a shift plate too, though I don't own that. I highly recommend the Zork system--it's not that expensive on the used market--perhaps a grand...a little over two grand new. They already have the lens to film distance issues figured out and it just fits on your camera like any other lens. Most bellows units only work with macro and studio distances--no infinity focus--due to the long distance that the lens is held away from the film plane. Basically, with the bellows, you've added extension just like adding extension tubes and that limits the focus range.

Zork offers a very pricey multi-element diopter to adapt this system for macro work. Just a couple weeks ago I got a step-up ring to fit a 58mm Pentax multi-element APO diopter for the 645 system onto the 40.5mm front element of the Rodenstock and I now can use tilt movements to measure macro depth of field in feet rather than in millimeters! Can't wait for the wildflowers, as I haven't done any real shooting with this macro with movements set-up yet. Check out the Zork website...I'd link it for you if I knew how...

Horseman/Scheider also make a bellows unit with front movements that uses enlarger lenses. It was selling new 5 years ago for about $2500, but because it's a bellows, you lose infinity focus. The Horseman unit offered adapters for K mount as well as 67. It sounds like it was/is almost exactly what you are talking about building...you may want to look at theirs on-line (if it's still available) just to get ideas for your project.
03-11-2009, 11:42 AM   #3
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BTW there was a very detailed thread about this type of homemade tiltable bellows unit for Kmount several months ago. You may be able to find it with a thread search? I think it was under the General Photography heading, but I'm not sure.

I'll be waiting quite a while for wildflowers as it was minus 15 farenheit this morning at my house. Probably have to head to Washington, Oregon or B.C. soon as the early flowers are out already there.
03-11-2009, 03:50 PM   #4
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Thanks for the information. I was thinking that by using a large format lens that you could get away from the infinity focusing issues since those lenses are focused by moving the bellows instead of having an internal focusing mechanism.

I tried using the forums search thing and didn't find anything but I'll look again. Thanks alot.

03-11-2009, 04:10 PM   #5
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Ah, ok. I found the thread that you were talking about:

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-slr-lens-discussion/24004-my-self-...t-bellows.html

That's pretty much exactly what I want to do except use a view camera lens in order to fix the infinity focus issue. (Atleast I think it will fix the infinity focus issue)

I had actually read that thread back when it was first posted but I forgot about it.

I like the look of the Zoerk system but I was hoping to pay a little less than that all told, but of course I could just be dreaming.
03-12-2009, 06:01 AM   #6
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Cost is always an issue...but you know if you add the cost of a bellows unit, a set of front movements, a large format lens, machinist work...If you put a value on your time as well, I think you'll likely save money buying something premade. Of course the fun of "tying your own flies" to catch fish is part of the fun for many folks!
03-14-2009, 08:50 AM   #7
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I agree, it is better to use a large format lens on your proposed adapter becasue they are better corrected for off axis aberrations than P67 lenses (with the exception of the 75mm Shift). Also, they will stop down further, which is necessary to reduce off axis problems like astigmatism and lateral chromatic. There is a reason why large format shooters stop down when they tilt. The large format lenses should solve your infinity focus problem when tilting becasue you don't have to worry about the flange to film distance that would limit you when using the 6x7 lenses.
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