The Calumet Project

A month ago I acquired a Calumet 4×5 monorail camera with no lens or shutter for $75. I intend to get a quality shutter and lens for it, but in the meantime I decided to improvise. I followed the steps below:

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1.  Acquire a Kodak Folding Autographic Camera from the 1910s. Don’t pay more than $30 or $40 Canadian. They made about 2.5 million of these things, and despite what some antique dealers and eBay sellers would have you believe, they are not particularly rare.

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2. Open the camera. Unscrew the rear lens element and the ring that holds the shutter in place. They just unscrew by hand, though the ring/washer that holds the shutter in place may require use of a screwdriver to help turn it.

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3. Remove the shutter! Admire it!

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4. Remove the lens board from the large format camera.

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5. Place the Kodak shutter in the lens board. Place a 1″ washer over the back, then screw it in place with the ring that held the shutter in place.

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6. Made sure everything is centred and solid.

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7. Put it back on the Calumet!

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8. Test out of the focus. In my case, I found removing the rear element made larger and brighter photos. Leaving in place makes it easier to focus on close-at-hand objects, but I need to properly test this out.

We shall see! 😀

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