The Camera

Now, Let’s have a closer look at the camera gear. Compared to the normal equipment, I carry around using medium format or 35mm cameras, the pure weight of the hardware is just another league.

We have

  • the large format camera (in my case a Sinar F 4×5 monorail camera)
  • LF to DSLR mount adapter
  • the DSLR (Canon EOS 5D)
  • sturdy tripod (Manfrotto)
  • Laptop (MacBook Pro)
  • In order to more easily transport all this to the location, a medium size trolley etc. turned out to be very handy.

    The heart of this custom made camera is the sliding adapter, connecting the DSLR to the rear standard of the Sinar. So, let’s have a closer look at this adapter:


    This is a custom machined adapter replacing the ground glass in the rear standard of the Sinar camera. First of all, access to some machine workshop is a must, as some precision machining is needed here. As we need a Canon EF-mount, a macro-extender was sacrificed. To allow the desired left-right-movement of the camera, an aluminum panel (10 x 23 cm) with a central hole for the EF-mount was machined. A rectangular aluminum board with a large central opening is fixed using the original Graflok mount of the Sinar rear standard. The sliding adapter is kept in place with the help of two L-shaped bars (visible above the blue ruler. The same part is visible on the lower side). Allowing a clearance of 0,1 mm guarantees the necessary play to have smooth movements. A drop of machining oil can be of good use here. Finally, a black matte surface coating was applied.

    As the sensor of the DSLR is displaced remarkably compared to the plan film the camera is constructed for, there are a few implications concerning the choice of lenses to be used.

    In order to be able to focus to infinity a focal lens of around 120mm (or more of course) works fine.

    Schneider Kreuznach 90mm

    Taking my setup as an example: A Canon EOS 5D mounted via an “EOS EF to 4×5” adapter comes with a distance between CMOS sensor and EF-mount plane of 65mm. As large format lenses are usually symmetrically built, another 30 to 40mm for the rear lens element have to be taken into account. In the end it’s simple math. One should be careful not to risk touching the rear lens with the tube extension of the adapter. A so called bag bellow might be also needed in order to keep the flexibility to profit from all the possible movements of the rear standard.


    23 thoughts on “The Camera

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