Thursday, November 18, 2010

One set of Byron for sale!

I have one set of Byron on batch line, waiting for his master.
It is converted from 110B body, will be equipped with 4.7/127 and Angulon 6.8/90, all lenses in good condition.
the price is US$2,000
I will finish this batch and catch up the X'mas, so prize yourself a great present!

contact me if you are interested


thank you for being interested in the kit, it is sold!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Byron for Xenotar 150/2.8 demo video

Finally, I made it!
Klaus, Jong, your big eye camera is on the way!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

200cm print! Jeff made it with Byron.

Jeff Yuan, a molecular biologist and a photographer with Chinese painting style, recently exhibited his long rolls of print made with Byron.

Here is part of what he wrote to me:
"You can see some of my newest work at under Landscape Series 2010.  For the very long horizontal panoramic images, I put the camera on a tripod and shoot a picture, roll the film a bit, pan the camera and shoot another picture.  This way I create a very wide panoramic image on one roll of film."

"To print these images, I scan the interpositives and make a digital negative.  From the digital negative I make a platinum/palladium contact print.  For the very longest images, they are over 200cm in length.  It is a long tedious process."

To me, it definitely reminds me Chinese painting arts.

Friday, September 24, 2010

I am still alive!

Hey, don't get buzzed, I am still alive, just very slow on progress.........

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Welcome to Xenotar club

One goes to NY, one goes to Texas, one goes to Germany. 6 of Xenotar lenses this batch, next 3 will be on 2 weeks later.

This summer class is the most difficult one I ever met! Too hot to do the conversion, and all kind of challenges jumps out during the job, from places you never think of, take bellows as example, I made about 6 bellows prototype, and modified blue print 16 times, finally grabbed the key.

Then the front standard, factory went wrong on dimension FOUR times! can you imagine?! It is damn too hot!

Not yet mounting the RF housing, tonight's job.
Look carefully, the left one is a little bit small size on bellows, will replace it after shooting.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Bellows, bellows....

Bellows was re-sized for Xenotar 150, thinking that no matter the extension length or front opening size, is perfect fit to Big Eyes.

Mounting Xenotar 150 is an in-direct procedure, rear element needs to be taken off before front element/shutter mounted, then screw back the rear element.

I keep the bellows in no extension situation when screwing back the rear element, then the problem comes. Bellows is so perfect fit to the lens, the front opening size is just slightly bigger than rear element, so when I screwed the rear in no extension situation, some folds in front of the bellows were clipped, that is Ok since bellows has enough folds for rail movement, but it looks awful. Folds will not be clipped if you screwing the rear when bellows extended in half or full length, but that makes a deep hole and brings difficulty for screwing.

Solution? re-size the bellows, make front opening size even bigger, so no folds were clipped when bellows in no extension situation.

Byron got three version of bellows sizes now, Khaki color shows opening for #0 shutter lens, Blue opening shows the size for any other lenses other than Xenotar 150, and the Gray one shows the opening size exclusively for Xenotar 150, the Big Eyes.

All three sizes are bigger than 110B's original bellows.

And the RF parts was sent for fine tuning, for this lens, mechanist told me he needs to take part all RF parts, we will wait and see.

Before it came back, I made Byron as a simple view camera, and test the stability. Lens is heavy, but front standard works well. Without RF viewing windows, and my model keeps moving on chair, it is hard to capture him and the little tree he planted.
No folds are clipped if rear element is mounted when bellows extension in full length, but rather hard to do, and you can see one front side ridge of bellows were bumped..., reasons for re-sizing a bigger bellows is obviously clear.
Film expired? no matter developing time I changed, saturation is way less than what I saw.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Big eyes are coming

Finally, this conversion batch is going to on calibration stage, meaning they will be home soon, I hope the owners are not too rush, I can vision that calibration for Xenotar 2.8/150 is more critical compared to other 150mm lenses.

Weather is uncommonly hot, not easy to work and keep calm for a long period of time, and how is your place? Global warming is coming, and no one can stop it!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

What the hell is going on this summer?

Too hot! everyday I made jars of lemonade and still not enough to deal with the weather, my dog Sam gets very lazy, lying on the floor everyday, only thing to make sure he is alive is calling his name and to see if his tail wave or not.

I got sunburn on my arms and feet, only 30min to convenient store on bike, no way you can get rid of it, BIG HOT sun, it must be the hottest summer I ever have, but who know next year?

On the final stage of this batch, now I do works most of time in midnight, much cooler, and kids are all sleep, no need to fight with them, I am captain Hook in their game, one of the leading role.  

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Re-Open this blog for answering the request

Hi, everyone who is concerning this blog, I am working on a special batch of conversion, the Big eyes for Byron, and am re-organizing the contents, planning to re-open the blog next month, but I found that I am stupid to answer lots of mails to explain this situation, so here I re-open the blog, but you will find that most of contents are taken off, for they are going to be re-organized.

So, this blog will show you something new next month, please be patient, and, leave me some message if you really like my blog, I too need some encouragement.

Thank you very much

Thursday, June 17, 2010

This blog is going to close for awhile.

One bad news, I will close my blog from July for a short period of time, due to some annoyed people and the unknown virus attacks and I've had enough!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

"Something you should know about Byron version 2" in progress

Hope I can finish it by the end of this month......

I did not realize that Byron will develop a different version of front standard/ lens board system, all these are inspired by my dearest clients.

Inspired by HK Jack, flim holder blocking plate transfer into a rotating way, eliminate the risk of losing it; by Walter, a level bubble add at the top of RF housing; by NY Jeff, Xenotar 2.8/150 becomes available on Byron, and by German Bear, I developed new front standard/ lens board for his 270mm lens.

Thank all of you, you bring Byron system so many great ideas, and turn it more flexible.

But Jack, to bring #3 shutter into system.........., that is really scary.....

Saturday, May 22, 2010

New front standard/ lens board for big eyes

New front standard and lens board will look like this
Opening hole on front standard is 61mm in diameter, the maximum it can hold, of course I can drill bigger hole, but original front standard is not able to, so that is it.

There will be milled down  a little bit on face, to accommodate the lens board, and to make light trapping. There is no dent or opening for recessed plane, so when lens board mounting on, it is light-proof.

Two custom made screws to hold the bottom of the board, I deliberated to make them only about 1.2mm blocking the board, for this it doesn't need too great angle to slip the board in place.

And at top there is a spring locking mechanism, a very simple design, which I am proud of, will show you when all finish testing.

The lens board, no problem for #2 shutter, 2.7mm in thickness, very sturdy. and the shape is simple, even you can do your own.

And  I think Emily can use this too.

(28/05 add)
Received front standard parts I ordered, unfortunately the thickness and the holes positions are out of tolerance, factory promised to re-make these parts, all I can do now is waiting.

But I am planning to make version 2 of "Something you should know about Byron", so many improvements after version 1 released, and while this new front standard/ lens board system, there will be two kind of lens board/ front standard to choose.
  • If your lenses are all in #0 shutter, use the round circular lens board.
  • If any one of your lenses equipped with shutter other than #0, use the rectangular lens board/ front standard
conversion cost will be adjusted accordingly.

(01/06 add)
Prototype came back this afternoon, new front standard is easy to use. Here two types of front standard sit side by side, with circular/ rectangular lens board accordingly.
New front standard has a sliding lock at the top, it is big, so you can grab it with fingers very easy.
You hold the sliding lock and pull it upward, that release the lens board, you release the lock, with help of springs, lock slides back and locks the board, that easy.

Front view of prototype, light trap around lens board keeps light away.
Like I said before, this front standard is great when you use big eyes, here are what I tested.. two Xenotar 2.8/150 with #2 shutter, one Xenotar 3.5/135 with #1 shutter, one Tele Arton 5.5/270 with #1 shutter, one Super Angulon 8/90 with #0 shutter, one Grandagon 4.5/75 with #0 shutter.
Only Xenotar 2.8/150 needs to be mounted in-directly, others all are capable of directly mounted.
Thanks to NY Jeff, push me to solve problem mounting Xenotar 2.8/150 on Byron, without him, I would not make it!

This is the biggest lens Byron can hold, rear element is too big, can not mount the lens directly, what a pity.
Funny thing is that almost emails came asking about Xenotar 150  are fashion photographers, but that make sense, this heavy big lens is too bulky for snaps.
Tele Arton 5.5/270, very easy to mount on, but I need to test the rail limit.

And for Grandagon 4.5/75; SA 8/90 and Xenotar 3.5/135, this front standard is easy to mount directly.

Now is time for minor modifications, round corners, dimension adjusts......
and matte black surface paint.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Bear in Bosnia 05/10

The steam locomotive chaser....I think it is a 80mm lens on Byron, with Linhof zoom viewfinder. Wish I can travel like him, pack light with Byron.

Checking gears before leaving Germany to Bosnia, beer cheers!! This guy loves locomotives so much, watch the background!! 

I love to watch workers snap, reading their faces like reading books. reminds me Josef Koudelka.

He said 'I took some polaroids with Byron, one of them is a real artwork. And now I have a scanner (Epson V700) in Odessa and I will do my first steps into scanning. On weekend I will start with scanning :-)'

We wait, Bear.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Xenotar Byron

Target for this month-- finish first batch of Xenotar Byron conversion, one for NY Jeff, one for myself..

To breaking the limits of original 110A/B front standard, to mount bigger size lens/shutter, I did try many ways to expand its ability, from beginning the target was to accept #0 shutter only, then by add additional spacer ring, now Byron accepts #1 shutter too, but due to the 'bottle neck' that spacer ring brings, some lens with big  rear element is limited.
Lens board study
150 Lens mount study

For even bigger lens like Xenotar 2.8/150, that mount on a #2 shutter (Yes! #2 shutter, not #3!!), I had to re-design whole front standard to take it. But at least initial test showed it is possible! see here:
Project I'm possible
The nearest distance Xenotar can get

Now, for a easier way to mount/un-mount this big eye, I need to develop another front standard/ lens board system, differ from the previous version.

They will be similar to normal view camera, with a somewhat rectangular lens board, and front standard will have a spring clip to lock the board.

The board, with maximun size of open hole to 60mm, Byron surely expands its lenses option, and since front standard extrudes a little bit, avoiding struts conflicting with shutter, so #2 shutter is possible too.

But the best thing this new system brings, is the opportunity to embrace 75mm wide angle lens without any difficulty. Previous version lens board takes 75mm too, but camera bed will block a little bit at one side, shading the image.
75mm lens on Byron

With new design, it may be no problem any more, but I need test first.

New system is specifically designed for big size lenses, it may not allow lens to stay in camera body when folded. I will try to keep the lens in, if lens board reverse the direction.

Oh, another minor thing, bellows needs new size too, for those big rear...

I got a Grandagon 4.5/75mm lens in #0 shutter, the one shown in image above,  a beauty.

New front standard/ lens board system plans to take this lens as wide angle end limit, not because front standard extruding or backward some distance, to avoid the blocking of camera bed, but by rising the lens a little bit.

It is about 7mm blocking on one side of frame, caused by lens backward too much thus camera bed shades the frame. It is no use to change lens board or front standard, because the distance requirement between lens and focal plane is fixed when focusing at infinity.

The only chance to avoid the blocking, is to rise the lens. 

I checked Grandagon data, it has 195mm image circle in f22, so there is plenty area to move.
Image above shows the reason one side of frame is blocked, 75mm lens is way too much backward, thus makes camera bed extruding and blocking the frame. On other LF camera like Technika, camera bed can be dropped a bit, to avoid the blocking, but Byron can not drop the bed.

Another way to solve the problem is by rising the lens a bit, makes less blocking area, thus eliminates the shading in negative area.

This way works in two conditions, 1. lens image circle is big enough for rising. 2. lens rises enough distance.

195mm image circle is big enough for rising, the only problem is how high can we  rise the lens?
In new front standard/ lens board system, front standard opening size is big, 61mm in diameter! Even bigger than previous version's lens board (60mm). images above shows that a #0 shutter should be able to rise no less than10mm, I believe it should solve the blocking problem.

But again, I need the test to approve it.

And why 61mm in dia. opening? Well, I want to directly mount the lens, and Grandagon 75 has a 60mm dia. rear, that is why.

(16/05 add)
Just back from factory, lens board spring clip parts are so small, and complicated, very difficult to assembly, and I don't like the effect, need to find a simpler way to hold the board......

(18/05 add....)
Had reduced spring clip into one part only, with spring(s), and bolts.
(To be continued..)

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Rangefinder calibration on Byron

Rangefinder camera needs calibration for some reasons, maybe caused by vibration, camera hit the ground, loosing screws...., anyway, if you found that the overlay images in viewing window mis-aligned or the photos are out of focus, it's time to check it out.
There is not much information about 110B rangefinder calibration on internet, the best I can find is from Option8, master of Polaroid camera conversion/ modification.
While Byron is a little bit different from other conversion, so it provides more options for rangefinder calibration, easier and faster to finish the job.
In common case, calibration can be done by turning two screws on the back of mirror, that is...
  • Focus at the infinity, then turn the screws, to align the overlay images in the view window,
  • Then focus at something near, then turn the screws, to align the overlay images in the view window,
  • Leave the focus between near and far to the cam curve.

Two screws adjust mirror's horizontal/ vertical movements. as image below shows, upper left screw adjusts overlay image horizontal to move left (clockwise) or right (counter clockwise) direction; Lower right screw adjust overlay image vertical to move downward (clockwise) or upward direction (counter clockwise)

It is not so easy to remember which turn to which direction, so I developed a 'Right Hand Rule' to help remembering it.
When you adjust the overlay image, and don't remember which direction screw should turn, use your right hand like this, thumb represents horizontal screw, index finger represents vertical screw, and they are now showing the direction if you turn screws clockwise!
Now back to the calibration procedure mentioned earlier, you see that no matter at infinity or at near object, only two screws available for adjustment. Isn't that funny if you align the image at infinity, then at near object requires adjustment too, won't it ruin the first alignment???
In many forums discussing about RF adjustment, people always puzzled in this dead alley, aligned image at one end, but the other is not, and then back and forth, drives people crazy, still in dead alley.
Actually there is another place to adjust the overlay image, it is the fixed screw in the middle, by loosing it a bit, you can make whole RF mechanical part turn, thus move the image horizontally, by tighten or loosing the screw, you can move the image vertically.

So there are two sets of adjustment for overlay image alignment, with one set at infinity, and other set for near object focus, thus won't ruin the previous calibration.
In theory this should satisfy all calibration required, but there is always exception. If you align both infinity and near end, but the adjustment always ruin the other one, no matter how you adjust, it just can't match both ends, in this case, it must be something wrong on cam.
This situation happens when you use the wrong section of cam curve.
If you ever read my post of lens curves, then you knew that the relationship of distance between 'lens to focused object' (L-O) and 'lens to focal plane' (L-F) never be a linear ratio. When focusing at infinity, we set the 'lens to focal plane' as ZERO point, the least length required to utilize this lens, and an 'infinity stop' is engraved on the plate, for quickly and precisely set lens on this position.

When focus objects in distance less than infinity, rail moves and bellows extends to increase L-F distance to fulfill the requirement, as object get closer, extended distance increase more. that is, if object at about 10 meters away, maybe the L-F needs only 3mm increment, but when object at 2 meters away, increment increase to 18mm.
That explained why cam curve designed to be a parabolic curve, and if you set the wrong section, all adjustments are in vain.

Left on image shows the correct curve section on cam, infinity stop is aligned with the engraved line on cam, the ZERO point, and the curve section is match with the lens focus characteristic curve. But if the ZERO point is not aligned with the mark, then curve section must be shift, like what shows on right of image. Thus before you do any calibration, you should check if the infinity stop aligned with mark line or not.
Basic concept is clear, so we conclude the steps of calibration as following..
  • Zeroing: set the lens to infinity, and make sure the mirror arm is attached with cam, on the mark line.
  • Align overlay image at infinity object.
  • Align overlay image at closer object.
That are all steps we will follow, then here comes the detail...

1. Byron camera with prime lens, ground glass panel, magnifying loupe, tripod.

2. Screw drivers, one tiny flat head, one normal philips head.

3. A sunny day and clear view

4. Choose a contrasty object as infinity target, like a high-voltage tower, about 2 km away from my house.
What I pick is a Big number calender panel. Hang it on wall, at the same height of the tripod, parallel with camera.
Step 1. RF housing removal

Byron uses two screws to hold the RF housing, one is beneath the cold shoe, you need to remove tiny screw on top, and peel apart the plastic sheet to reveal the screw.
Another one is in the side plate of film chamber, this screw need a long neck driver, or you can temporary take off the sliding tooth set for easier un-screwing.  

Once two screws are removed, carefully take the housing off, and put it aside.

Now the RF mechanical parts are revealed, what we will adjust later are three parts, as explained at beginning, they are fixed screw, mirror, and lens cam (from left to right).

Step 2. Zeroing

Now we are going to calibrate infinity end, this is no extension for rail, so called zeroing.Mount Byron onto the tripod, face the infinity object. (high voltage tower)
Mount on your prime lens, here is a Ysarex 4.7/127mm lens as example, if your prime lens is 150mm, mount it on.
Pull the front standard to the correspond infinity stop, engage the groove. Byron engraves lens length for each infinity stop, so it is easy to distinguish.
Set shutter to B, and with a cable release lock, make the lens shutter keep opening, and the aperture to full opening.
Make sure that rail is not extended, distance scale marked on infinity. You can check with loupe on ground glass panel.
Check lens cam, mirror arm should engage cam curve at the engraved line, adjust the cam by loosing locking screw if necessary.
View through the RF eye window, align the tower in the center, observe the overlaying image, do necessary adjustments, till images align with each other.
(In this step, we use two screws on mirror for adjustment)

Step 3. Close distance calibration
After zeroing, turn camera to close distance object (calender), adjust camera distance to object about 4 feet, about the nearest distance the lens can focus.
with loupe and ground glass panel, turn the focus knob to focus the object, after focus is set, DO NOT TOUCH THE KNOB ANYMORE! Because next step you are calibrating the overlay image based on this focus, any knob turning will need re-focus.
View through the RF eye window, align the object in center, observe the overlaying image, do necessary adjustments, till images align with each other.
(In this step, we use fixed screw for adjustment)
Step 4. Re-check, further adjustment
Both infinity and close ends are calibrated, we re-check the result by turning back to face the infinity, to see if images in eye window keep align or not.
If overlay images keep align, then the calibration is done, and you can put back the RF housing.
If overlay images are not aligned with each other, then it may caused by wrong cam curve section. By loose the cam locking screw and turn the cam a bit, to make overlay images align again.
Repeat step 1~3, make necessary adjustments, till overlay images keep align on both end.
These are steps for calibration, I hope this answer some questions about the RF adjustments.
And for Byron whose prime lens is set to 150mm, the original 127mm lens cam is replaced by custom made 150mm lens cam, they look alike, but curve is little bit different. (left: 150mm cam, right: 127mm cam)
Sometimes new cam needs a little bit of filing to match the lens, because each lens got its own character! That belongs to advanced fine tuning...