R. Konishi Half-Plate Field Camera.

When medium format isn't big enough: 4x5, 5x7, 9x12, 8x10 and even larger.
alexvaras
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R. Konishi Half-Plate Field Camera.

Post by alexvaras » Tue Nov 06, 2018 3:04 pm

Here it's the camera, two lenses, tripod and three double film holders.

ImageR. Konishi field camera.

The lens has four elements, rear two cemented, front ones spaced. Still I need to clean them and fix the light leak from the lens thread at the wooden holder.

Image
Bellows are ok after so many years.

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The ground glass, its matte side is at the outside, is this ok or should I place it looking inside?

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I checked one and it's light tight, lets see other ones. Anyway until I don't shoot I won't know for sure.

Image
Another surprise for me, it has a glass inside to make the film plane, is this a normal thing?
Dimensions of the film are 12x16.5, half plate as many some said before. Hard to get I think, anyway I will place a 4x5 film in the middle and I make the test, or is it worthless?

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A very nice tripod with very nice points to stand still on soil, wooden floors but not ceramic as my house.

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Another lens came, Universal Rapid Aplanat Series E No.3, two elements?

So two questions to start with:
1) Glass inside the film holder?
2) Ground glass mate side inside or outside.

The cleaning will come after I fix(glue) the shutter plate guides at the front, some did force and both of them have cracks about to fall apart, so now the camera is opened and shutter holder plus bellows removed to avoid more tension on this part, tomorrow fine day, later cleaning and weekend shooting if I can place a 4x5 sheet inside in my dark bag. :D

Thank you for watching and please any advice is welcome.
Alex

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Re: R. Konishi Half-Plate Field Camera.

Post by PFMcFarland » Tue Nov 06, 2018 10:56 pm

I'm sure you'll have it in top shape before long, Alex.

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Last edited by PFMcFarland on Mon Nov 19, 2018 11:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Waiting for the light

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Re: R. Konishi Half-Plate Field Camera.

Post by Brazile » Wed Nov 07, 2018 7:00 am

Looks like a nice old camera, Alex. Yes, the ground side of the glass goes toward the lens. One of the first things you'll want to do is validate that by testing the registration of the ground glass vs the film plane via the usual method of aiming down 45 degrees at a specific mark on a ruler or longer measuring stick, exposing a sheet, developing it, and checking the result.

I haven't seen a glass backing for the film plane, but I am far from an expert on cameras of this type. Steven Tribe on LFPF would be the person I'd look to for expertise in these older European models.

Half-plate film is hard to come by, but a) Ilford does a special-size cutting once a year, so it's possible, b) I've seen whole plate film still available in several places (I have a box for my one whole plate camera, a Seneca, which I haven't tried yet) and you could cut it. But your idea of just registering a sheet of 4x5 is by far the easiest and cheapest way to go, short of cutting down X-ray film, or just shooting paper negatives to start. That latter is one I'd be tempted to do in your position.

Have fun, and keep us posted...

Robert

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Re: R. Konishi Half-Plate Field Camera.

Post by alexvaras » Wed Nov 07, 2018 9:23 am

Nice trick shooting the ruler at 45 degress, thank you!
The paper method was the one I was thinking when buying this camera, Im not sure about film negative option yet.
If I find a 5x7 set develop set gor negative that goes for this sizes I could start looking, I need to ask on forums and/or go to shops and try myself with self cut film and try it with the set available at the moment.
Also the next step is to take an Epson 4990 valid up to 8x10 and skip paying the lab for scanning.

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Re: R. Konishi Half-Plate Field Camera.

Post by Brazile » Thu Nov 08, 2018 6:33 am

Yes, I've never paid for scanning. I have a V700 (follow-on to the 4990, very similar) and am happy enough with it. If I ever produce something I really want to enlarge, I can pay to have it drum scanned, but I haven't seen the need yet.

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Re: R. Konishi Half-Plate Field Camera.

Post by GrahamS » Fri Nov 09, 2018 4:46 am

I have seen glass fronted film holders in some large format cameras, particularly older ones. The film sheet was difficult to keep perfectly flat otherwise. The glass used was optically flat so beware to take care of it.
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Re: R. Konishi Half-Plate Field Camera.

Post by Don Day » Sun Nov 18, 2018 10:48 pm

Nice score, Alex. You have a fun project ahead of you!

The reference to plate size in a field camera generally harkens back to wet plate era, which is why few films are available to fit. In this case, the glass you found in the holder may be either a "future wet plate base" that was left in the holder after a focusing test, or may be an item used as a spacer placed behind the actual wet plate to help take up room and apply pressure from behind (sometimes called a "tablet" in wet plate parlance). I lean toward the latter, especially if you find chemical residue on it.

The focusing plane is actually the inner rim of the plate holder. If you cut some enlarging paper to that size and just drop it in (backed by the "tablet" and maybe a paper towel for a bit of soft compression), the focus should line up exactly with what the focusing glass depicts (and the matte side of it should be toward the lens so that the focal plane corresponds with the plate holder offset).

From your description of the original lens, I can't tell what type it is, but the 4.5 aperture suggests a Tessar-like design (in which case the middle element should be bi-concave). If it seems to have good image quality, leave it as is but clean as necessary. The second lens, the Rapid Aplanat, is a Rapid Rectilinear design (two cemented doublets) that will have sharp central coverage that improves overall as you stop it down. It might be the better of the two lenses. Dynamite sharpness and soft-corner signature for a classic lens.

To adapt the non-standard 4.75" x 6.5" plate size (guessing) for more common film such as 4" x 5", you can cut a piece of thin plexiglass the size of the original plate and then cut a 4" x 5" opening in the center. (A discarded trophy aluminum 5x7 plate would be stiffer.) On each corner of that opening, glue a small triangle of plexi. When this adapter is placed in the plate holder, the corner tabs (facing the inside of the camera) will hold any new plate or film holder exactly at the original focal plane. Hence, you can drop a standard 4"x5" film sheath with film into the adapter, cover it with the tablet and padding (either or as necessary--if the back has a spring, you need no other pressure system), close the back, and you are good to go. (but since the side rails of this adapter might be flimsy for the 4x5 case, make sure there is not too much pressure from behind--we just need to keep the film holder from slipping out of the cavity we made.)

I'm anxious to see how your explorations turn out. I've been restoring a full plate camera and need to do a full write up for this forum. Lots of experiences to share!
Last edited by Don Day on Sun Nov 18, 2018 11:26 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: R. Konishi Half-Plate Field Camera.

Post by Don Day » Sun Nov 18, 2018 10:56 pm

By the way, I still use my Epson 4990 for all kinds of scanning. It has great resolution and tonal scale when set up for the type of scan. It will be fine for the images you get from this beast. Any scan in my gallery was done on a 4990.

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Re: R. Konishi Half-Plate Field Camera.

Post by Don Day » Sun Nov 18, 2018 11:17 pm

One more thing... here are some plate adapters from a current ebay auction. The 5x7 ones can be trimmed on the outside to fit your plate holder, as long as the internal quarter plate size seems interesting (it is the standard "lantern slide" size for which film sheaths are commonly available--trim the film down from 4x5). Mainly I wanted you to see the principle of how they transfer the focal plane to a smaller working area. Vendor doesn't know what these are for, but now we do. ;-)
https://www.ebay.com/itm/Large-Lot-VInt ... 3457048116

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Re: R. Konishi Half-Plate Field Camera.

Post by alexvaras » Wed Nov 21, 2018 2:37 am

Thanks all for your help and tips!! Highly appreciated.

More info about the camera.
It had the front wooden frame was broken, my guess someone closed this way:
FullSizeRender.jpg
And this two front knobs were pressed by the tripod holder tabs. This tripod has missing its locking screw so it can turn and if you are not aware after removing the tripod it ends this way, cracking the frame.
So I had to complete crack the whole frame to be able to glue it back (wooden glue) as wood has to be glued, letting the glue dry in both sides, stick and press during a day, no photos of how I did it sorry, cracks are still visible at a close look but it's firm now and I trust it will do fine.

This is how it has to be closed, I'm still looking for an screw to lock the tripod holder. Hard to get a bronze screw with nickel covering :)
FullSizeRender 2.jpg
About the ground glass, I did a quick measurement and my guess the matte side is outside to shoot with paper and those glass/crystal holders, I check both distances of the back holder with ground glass and the wooden holders and the papers should be located near the same distance of the matte side +-0.1mm, but I could measured badly. Only a shoot test as described will tell.

Scanner, I got a working 4990 and tomorrow I will get AntiNewton Glass so I will be able to make the holder (difference mm cardboard) at the right distance, Im placing emulsion face down but I'm open for experimenting.

What I plan with the camera, first shoot paper with it, rated ASA would be 2-3 but I cant do pre-flash the paper so I'm not sure if I could get some results at all.
How to measure ASA 2 or 3, should I follow a table like ASA 100->50>25>12>6>3? I mean measuring ASA 50 and go 4 stops open or 4 more speed slower, both my Digisix or Apps don't go 2 ASA so calculations have to be made.
Second step I would like to shoot dry plates (removing the glass at the holders and facing down the matte side of the ground glass plus some 0.xx mm on shims if required), I found a guy in USA who make them and all reviews are super.

My only problem with this paper and dry plates shooting is the 6 seconds of model stands still with natural light, firstly until spring no good light, winter sun light is too harsh.
The camera is bigger than the one 4x5, and the tripod is huge so Im working on an adapter to fit the camera in a modern tripod. I mean field work is harder to do and my home is far to be ready for shooting. Even making the bathroom as darkroom will require new door seals. Nothing undoable.

Another option is to let this camera go and do the same with the 4x5 at the moment and get a bigger (and standard size) later but I found this in such good state that's is a pity to let her go (now I have an offer for trade the camera and all the gear for a Fujinon SW 90mm f8 plus a 4x5 Polaroid holder).
My wife says I should focus in the cameras I want or just saying myself I'm a collector. I like to repair cameras but I like as well to shoot with em, having them in the shelves is something I don't like, but this discussion is another post I will open later :)

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