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:


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.


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.


3. Remove the shutter! Admire it!


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


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.


6. Made sure everything is centred and solid.


7. Put it back on the Calumet!


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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