Chroma - Lasercut Acrylic 4x5 Field Camera

StephenM

I know a Blithering Idiot
Messages
2,925
Name
Stephen
Edit My Images
Yes
I'm always willing to learn from an expert :).

I'm usually overcautious on tightening, and sometimes need to retighten one of my lenses as the scales are slipping round. Hence it stays near the camera.
 
Messages
8,792
Name
Chris
Edit My Images
Yes
The device I saw looked more like a tic-tac-toe game: 4 pieces of metal crossed over in a complicated way. Obviously I must have been looking at something else!
 

StephenM

I know a Blithering Idiot
Messages
2,925
Name
Stephen
Edit My Images
Yes
Not at all. That's the more common (and arguably most useful) type. It can be adjusted to fit anything. Mine is limited to just 5 shutter sizes, albeit the most common ones. I find it somehow comforting that in use it slips over the lens and is difficult to imagine doing any damage if it slips - unlike the "compass" type where the points could go anywhere.

But I'm the nervous type.
 
Last edited:

StephenM

I know a Blithering Idiot
Messages
2,925
Name
Stephen
Edit My Images
Yes
From memory - very, very, incredibly strong magnets hold it in place and you have to be forceful to remove the back. I think it's fairly obvious where it separates, but mine is now packed away for tomorrow (leaving early for Scotland).
 

StephenM

I know a Blithering Idiot
Messages
2,925
Name
Stephen
Edit My Images
Yes
Snap - and I think it did :D
 

StephenM

I know a Blithering Idiot
Messages
2,925
Name
Stephen
Edit My Images
Yes
It's my 6th LF camera. I had problems. In my case, it was because I had to push the front braces in the opposite direction to the one I expected. I couldn't find any instructions on the internet, so it may be trial and error. Sorry.
 
Messages
5,781
Name
Steven
Edit My Images
Yes
It's my 6th LF camera. I had problems. In my case, it was because I had to push the front braces in the opposite direction to the one I expected. I couldn't find any instructions on the internet, so it may be trial and error. Sorry.
So I've got the front standard lying down on the bellows but I can't work out how to pivot everything forward for stowage.
 
OP
OP
stevelmx5
Messages
9,465
Name
Steve
Edit My Images
No
So I've got the front standard lying down on the bellows but I can't work out how to pivot everything forward for stowage.
Sorry bud, haven't been online tonight. If you have a look in the Chroma Camera Group on Flickr, there are step by step photos showing the front/rear standards folding down.

https://www.flickr.com/groups/chromacamera/pool/

Basically;

1) Move the focusing bed forwards a little bit to give some space between the front/rear standards.
2) Loosen the rise/fall and tilt locking knobs on the front standard (both sides).
3) Loosen the two knobs that lock the front uprights in place and push the retaining pieces on each side upwards to release the uprights.
4) Push the lens surround forwards (front tilt) to release it from the locking magnets, and fold the front uprights backwards, towards the back of the camera.
5) As the uprights fold backwards, the lens surround will naturally rotate forwards as the bellows pushes it, until it sits flat to the bed.
6) Move the focusing bed back again, so that the front of the bed is in line with the front of the camera base.
7) Loosen the knobs that lock the rear standard in place, along with the rise/fall knob on each side.
8) Gently fold the rear standard forwards until it's sitting flat (with the rise/fall knobs loosened, the back will find it's place with the bellows).
9) Tighten the rear standard locking knobs again to hold the rear standard in the closed position.
10) In true Haynes manual fashion, to open the Chroma perform the same steps in reverse ;0)

Any problems, give me a shout.
 
Last edited:
OP
OP
stevelmx5
Messages
9,465
Name
Steve
Edit My Images
No
It's my 6th LF camera. I had problems. In my case, it was because I had to push the front braces in the opposite direction to the one I expected. I couldn't find any instructions on the internet, so it may be trial and error. Sorry.
Apologies, I've had the "make a video about how to open/close the Chroma" on my to-do list for a while!
 
Messages
5,781
Name
Steven
Edit My Images
Yes
Sorry bud, haven't been online tonight. If you have a look in the Chroma Camera Group on Flickr, there are step by step photos showing the front/rear standards folding down.

https://www.flickr.com/groups/chromacamera/pool/

Basically;

1) Move the focusing bed forwards a little bit to give some space between the front/rear standards.
2) Loosen the rise/fall and tilt locking knobs on the front standard (both sides).
3) Loosen the two knobs that lock the front uprights in place and push the retaining pieces on each side upwards to release the uprights.
4) Push the lens surround forwards (front tilt) to release it from the locking magnets, and fold the front uprights backwards, towards the back of the camera.
5) As the uprights fold backwards, the lens surround will naturally rotate forwards as the bellows pushes it, until it sits flat to the bed.
6) Move the focusing bed back again, so that the front of the bed is in line with the front of the camera base.
7) Loosen the knobs that lock the rear standard in place, along with the rise/fall knob on each side.
8) Gently fold the rear standard forwards until it's sitting flat (with the rise/fall knobs loosened, the back will find it's place with the bellows).
9) Tighten the rear standard locking knobs again to hold the rear standard in the closed position.
10) In true Haynes manual fashion, to open the Chroma perform the same steps in reverse ;0)

Any problems, give me a shout.
Nice one. Cheers. Had the rear standard loose at the same time and it was causing the bellows to be crushed.
 

StephenM

I know a Blithering Idiot
Messages
2,925
Name
Stephen
Edit My Images
Yes
As a matter of interest, how many are there out in the wild now?
 

StephenM

I know a Blithering Idiot
Messages
2,925
Name
Stephen
Edit My Images
Yes
That's pretty good going actually. Well done.

Pity you couldn't be in Scotland for the group photo. Or could you make a day trip?
 
OP
OP
stevelmx5
Messages
9,465
Name
Steve
Edit My Images
No
That's pretty good going actually. Well done.

Pity you couldn't be in Scotland for the group photo. Or could you make a day trip?
Thanks, I appreciate the reassurance! I’ve had a few moments where the scale of the project hits me and I start to wonder what I’m doing so it helps to hear :0)

I’d love to have been able to get up there but unfortunately my wife is working over the weekends and I don’t have any spare holidays from my day job to come up in the week. I can’t wait to see the Chroma group shot though. It’s going to be my wallpaper so make sure you all smile
 
Last edited:
OP
OP
stevelmx5
Messages
9,465
Name
Steve
Edit My Images
No
Phew, I've just finished this updated design for the new Chroma wet/dry plate and sheet film holder :D

Double Plate Holder 1.jpg Double Plate Holder 2.jpg Double Plate Holder Loaded.jpg Double Plate Holder Loading Plate.jpg Double Plate Holder Loading Sheet Tray.jpg

I haven't drawn it in, but there will be a flexible plastic (probably 0.8mm polypropylene) loop spring on each side to maintain pressure below the plate or sheet film tray. It will be secured through the slots in the holder. The dark slides are laser cut from 1mm black ABS (and engraved with "EXPOSED") and the main holder is made from 4 injection moulded parts (main body, top/bottom face and hinge plate to secure the dark slides). The holder is 22mm think and I'm estimating it at around 160-200g (without plates)

Next task is to get another 3DPrinted version to confirm the fit/functionality then work on the financials for another Kickstarter ;)
 
Last edited:
Messages
8,792
Name
Chris
Edit My Images
Yes
So, I took my Chroma out behind Kenilworth Castle this afternoon with a DDS full of expired FP4 from @Peter B (thanks Peter). Conditions dappled cloud.

DSCF4272.jpg

I'm still very slow at setting it up. Getting the (supplied) lens board in place is one issue; it seems quite stiff (but no doubt that helps it be light tight). Once set up, there seemed quite a lot of play in the camera above the Arca Swiss clamp; I was using a rather small clamp and will try again with a bigger one. It also seemed to come a bit loose at the end; not quite sure how to lock it.

I have a 135 mm lens, We found out at Onich that you can't focus to infinity with this lens with the front standard on the front peg, and (AFAIK) you can't fold the camera with the front standard on the middle peg! Might be worth mentioning this to anyone undecided about which lens to buy; it's pretty annoying to have to move the front standard each time (though maybe it's, um, standard!).

I managed to turn the back to landscape orientation after a bit of fiddling. The two metal bits were quite a bit harder to use in this orientation. I do find it hard to get the GGS to slot back into place after the DDS has been in. @sirch found a place to press that would make it pop back but I couldn't find it again.

Just for info, the scene metered at f/8 and 1/125 for ISO 125. I did some quick maths in my head and shot a frame at f/32 and 1/8. I then remembered I'd added an orange filter, so I shot a second frame at a bit wider (?) than f/22 and 1/4. Still not sure either of those are right.

Since I was quite a lot lower than the Castle, it needed a lot of front rise with a level camera base. I rather suspect some vignetting! I wasn't paying too much attention to the composition, more on getting a vaguely interesting scene focused right and trying to remember to do All The Things. I did put the dark slides back the other way round! :)

While packing up I found I had a rather annoying fan club!
DSCF4273.jpg

I did plan to take another couple of frames inside the Castle, but on reflection (and after cake!) I decided I'd better get these processed first.

Does anyone have a good example of a LF cheat sheet to attach to the GGS protector?
 
Last edited:
Messages
4,112
Name
Peter
Edit My Images
Yes
So, I took my Chroma out behind Kenilworth Castle this afternoon with a DDS full of expired FP4 from @Peter B (thanks Peter). Conditions dappled cloud.

View attachment 136867

I'm still very slow at setting it up. Getting the (supplied) lens board in place is one issue; it seems quite stiff (but no doubt that helps it be light tight). Once set up, there seemed quite a lot of play in the camera above the Arca Swiss clamp; I was using a rather small clamp and will try again with a bigger one. It also seemed to come a bit loose at the end; not quite sure how to lock it.

I managed to turn the back to landscape orientation after a bit of fiddling. The two metal bits were quite a bit harder to use in this orientation. I do find it hard to get the GGS to slot back into place after the DDS has been in. @sirch found a place to press that would make it pop back but I couldn't find it again.

Just for info, the scene metered at f/8 and 1/125 for ISO 125. I did some quick maths in my head and shot a frame at f/32 and 1/8. I then remembered I'd added an orange filter, so I shot a second frame at a bit wider (?) than f/22 and 1/4. Still not sure either of those are right.

Since I was quite a lot lower than the Castle, it needed a lot of front rise with a level camera base. I rather suspect some vignetting! I wasn't paying too much attention to the composition, more on getting a vaguely interesting scene focused right and trying to remember to do All The Things. I did put the dark slides back the other way round! :)

While packing up I found I had a rather annoying fan club!
Using front rise already? Good on you and fingers crossed for a reasonable result. (y)
 
OP
OP
stevelmx5
Messages
9,465
Name
Steve
Edit My Images
No
So, I took my Chroma out behind Kenilworth Castle this afternoon with a DDS full of expired FP4 from @Peter B (thanks Peter). Conditions dappled cloud.

View attachment 136867

I'm still very slow at setting it up. Getting the (supplied) lens board in place is one issue; it seems quite stiff (but no doubt that helps it be light tight). Once set up, there seemed quite a lot of play in the camera above the Arca Swiss clamp; I was using a rather small clamp and will try again with a bigger one. It also seemed to come a bit loose at the end; not quite sure how to lock it.

I have a 135 mm lens, We found out at Onich that you can't focus to infinity with this lens with the front standard on the front peg, and (AFAIK) you can't fold the camera with the front standard on the middle peg! Might be worth mentioning this to anyone undecided about which lens to buy; it's pretty annoying to have to move the front standard each time (though maybe it's, um, standard!).

I managed to turn the back to landscape orientation after a bit of fiddling. The two metal bits were quite a bit harder to use in this orientation. I do find it hard to get the GGS to slot back into place after the DDS has been in. @sirch found a place to press that would make it pop back but I couldn't find it again.

Just for info, the scene metered at f/8 and 1/125 for ISO 125. I did some quick maths in my head and shot a frame at f/32 and 1/8. I then remembered I'd added an orange filter, so I shot a second frame at a bit wider (?) than f/22 and 1/4. Still not sure either of those are right.

Since I was quite a lot lower than the Castle, it needed a lot of front rise with a level camera base. I rather suspect some vignetting! I wasn't paying too much attention to the composition, more on getting a vaguely interesting scene focused right and trying to remember to do All The Things. I did put the dark slides back the other way round! :)

While packing up I found I had a rather annoying fan club!
View attachment 136868

I did plan to take another couple of frames inside the Castle, but on reflection (and after cake!) I decided I'd better get these processed first.

Does anyone have a good example of a LF cheat sheet to attach to the GGS protector?

Thanks for the detailed feedback Chris, all really useful. You're right that you won't be able to get a 135mm lens close enough to focus to infinity using the front mount point. That's a side-effect of having three fixed points (at roughly 75mm, 115mm and 170mm). I made a few earlier designs with a sliding mount point so it could be locked into any position then the bed moved forwards/backwards but decided that it was too difficult to maintain a smooth glide with the materials I was using and chose to go with the compromised design instead, accepting an extra 30 seconds to fold the camera down is worth it. Maybe on a future design I could look back into the sliding mount point. In comparison, you have to remove/refit the front standard on the Intrepid to fold it down too as it uses the same fixed position mounts but also has a fixed standard that needs to be disconnected.

The front lens board is a snug fit as it goes against the rubber gasket. Like you say, this ensures a light tight fit. I'm not sure what you mean about the Arca clamp being loose? Do you mean that, after tightening the tripod foot into the camera there was still play? The rubber gasket around the tripod thread on the base of the camera should add enough grip but let me know if I'm looking at it the wrong way?

The bottom piece of the ground glass holder is cut from the same acrylic as the surrounding frame so is a snug fit. If you push down on the sides of the ground glass frame, next to the metal Graflok plates, whilst pushing the plates in they should slide in better.

I'm glad you got to use the movements, I'm looking forward to seeing the results :)
 
Messages
8,792
Name
Chris
Edit My Images
Yes
Thanks for the detailed feedback Chris, all really useful. You're right that you won't be able to get a 135mm lens close enough to focus to infinity using the front mount point. That's a side-effect of having three fixed points (at roughly 75mm, 115mm and 170mm)...
No problem, Steve. Does this mean you'd have to use the middle peg even for a 150 mm lens?

I'm not sure what you mean about the Arca clamp being loose? Do you mean that, after tightening the tripod foot into the camera there was still play? The rubber gasket around the tripod thread on the base of the camera should add enough grip but let me know if I'm looking at it the wrong way?
AFAIK the plate was reasonably well screwed onto the camera, but there was still significant play. A finger on the camera would move it back and forth EDIT: alarmingly. The movement was not happening at the ball head, but above that. I'll try again with a bigger plate (not today) and let you know; maybe it wasn't screwed in tight enough.

The bottom piece of the ground glass holder is cut from the same acrylic as the surrounding frame so is a snug fit. If you push down on the sides of the ground glass frame, next to the metal Graflok plates, whilst pushing the plates in they should slide in better.

I'm glad you got to use the movements, I'm looking forward to seeing the results :)
I got the DDS in fairly easily; out was a little harder as I was worried about pulling the dark slide out instead of the holder. But once the DDS is out, the GGS was all floppy and very difficult to persuade back into place. I don't really know how I managed it, in the end!

I wasn't planning to use movements, but the Castle would have been right at the top of the frame if I hadn't. Makes me realise how much I must have been tilting my 135 cameras up when taking previous shots from there!

And yes, I'm very much looking forward to seeing some results, too. I've got to get the exposed sheets out of the DDS and into a box, first! Bit of a pain that I don't have easy access to a flatbed scanner, so I'll have to pay for scans. Harman Labs looks cheaper than Peak with scanning taken into account, but I've asked both for prices.
 
OP
OP
stevelmx5
Messages
9,465
Name
Steve
Edit My Images
No
If you use a 150mm lens and mount to the front position, there’s enough rearward movement on the focusing bed to bring the lens close enough to the film to focus to infinity. Alternatively, mounting to the middle point and focusing the bed forwards will also work.

When the Graflok plates are unlocked and the DDS removed, the ground glass is secured by the spring plates. I agree it’s a bit fiddly on first use but I find that keeping gentle pressure on the ground glass (towards the camera), then sliding out the Graflok plates, will allow you to fit it back into position. Once it’s flat against the camera back you can then slide in the Graflok plates one at a time. As the plates are simply secured in by two posts, gravity makes them naturally slide in towards the GG. If they’re not moved out of the way, you won’t be able to slot the GG back in. Keep practicing and it will get easier
 
OP
OP
stevelmx5
Messages
9,465
Name
Steve
Edit My Images
No
Hi @ChrisR I was just thinking about you folding your Chroma down with the front standard secured using the middle point. You can actually fold the camera down without moving the standard back to the front mount point by racking the focus forward (enough to allow the front standard to fold down whilst clearing the bellows) then racking the focus back and folding down the rear standard. You'll end up with some of the focusing bed sitting proud of the front of the camera so it won't be as compact but it will save you moving the standard. I'll grab a picture in a minute.
 
Messages
20
Name
John
Edit My Images
Yes
I wasn't planning to use movements, but the Castle would have been right at the top of the frame if I hadn't. Makes me realise how much I must have been tilting my 135 cameras up when taking previous shots from there!

And yes, I'm very much looking forward to seeing some results, too. I've got to get the exposed sheets out of the DDS and into a box, first! Bit of a pain that I don't have easy access to a flatbed scanner, so I'll have to pay for scans. Harman Labs looks cheaper than Peak with scanning taken into account, but I've asked both for prices.
Looking forward to seeing them, really struggle getting a good shot of Kenilworth Castle!
Feel free to pop in to scan the negs, would be good to have a catch up...

I agree it’s a bit fiddly on first use but I find that keeping gentle pressure on the ground glass (towards the camera), then sliding out the Graflok plates, will allow you to fit it back into position. Once it’s flat against the camera back you can then slide in the Graflok plates one at a time. As the plates are simply secured in by two posts, gravity makes them naturally slide in towards the GG. If they’re not moved out of the way, you won’t be able to slot the GG back in. Keep practicing and it will get easier
Agreed, had a bit of difficulty with this myself but it gets easier...
 
Last edited:
Top