Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Afghan Box Camera Update

Paper Negative Selfie

Afghan Box Camera Testing

Post-Script: I was surprised how fast the fiber prints dried inside a little hot box aimed at the bright midday sun. Optimizing the efficiency of the drying box will certainly speed up the overall process.

For the exposures I was reflective metering my face, situated in bright shade, with the Harman paper rated at around ISO 6. Eventually I'm going to want to also use some reflectors to get better portrait lighting, but I don't want to be encumbered with excessive amounts of gear, since I foresee doing this alone, with no assistant to help. I think if I hold a collapsible reflector it should work fine; I couldn't do that today because I had the shutter release cable in one hand and a focusing target in the other,and I was the seated subject.

The way I managed these selfie tests was to use a second tripod where I would be seated, with a focusing target, attached to the front of the camera with a string stretched tight and taped to the tripod. Once I focused the camera on the target I removed the tripod and put my chair in its place. When seated in front of the camera, I would stretch the string tight and place the target adjacent to my eyes, then adjust my head position up, down and sideways relative to the front of the camera; then slowly lower the target and, without moving my head or blinking, click the shutter.

Were I making someone else's portrait I'd have a free hand to manage a reflector.

I mentioned some changes I want to make to the camera. If I dispense with the stop bath tray, I can move the developer tray back to the middle of the box, giving me more room up front, under the lens, for a bigger and easier to operate paper safe for direct positive paper. Another thing is that the film format size, being 4-5/8" by 3-3/4", was designed to fit the film plane mechanism, rather than the other way around. It would be nice to enlarge the format size a bit, ideally to 4"-by-6" so that framing and display of the prints would be easier on the clients. I'm not certain if I can enlarge the film plane mechanism and it's focusing rod system without totally rebuilding the box; which if I had to do, would be easier just to build a new box from scratch.

I've had a newer design sketched out for a while, with vertical processing slot tanks, a vertical slot paper safe and a layout with the camera part on top and the processing area below, with the arm sleeve in between; think of a box that looks something like the shape and size of a desktop PC chassis sitting on the short end and you get the idea.

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