4×5 frankenstein SLR

aloha !

up and early this AM. survived/celebrated Randy’s 41st surprise birthday party ! fun ! nice seeing old friends and meeting new ones ! seen clayton Yee of www.nervouswaterhawaii.com/ amazing fly fishing shop in waialae.

today i’d like to share a small project involving a very unusual 4×5-inch single lens reflex called an Arca Swiss 4×5 SLR. i first saw photographs of this rare beast in an Arca Swiss catalog years ago and was fortunate to find one in mint condition. the camera features a focal plane shutter with the top speed of 1/500th of a second. amazing ! first off, its very light in the hand and although the one i found is lacking the front focus bellows unit, i was thinking of adding a Linhof Technika as the front focus unit.

when operating this camera there is a lever on the right side, after cocking the shutter, setting the shutter speed (rear dials), you release the shutter by gently swinging lever in a downward motion. first the mirror glides up and secondly the focal plane shutter snaps and makes an exposure. the mirror then glides back into its downward position. all in one soft motion. most folks accustomed to a large mirror slapping in single lens reflex cameras will be quick to notice the fluid movement of the mechanism. i’m amazed.

arca reflex 4x5

when making photographs with a 4×5-inch large format camera, there is the lack of the ability to ‘see’ the image being made. first off, you focus, then stop the lens down. secondly, close the the shutter on the lens. thirdly, while muttering nice words to your subject, you also need to assure the subject to stay still. if u don’t they move and you need to repeat the above process. lastly, you carefully load a film back into the rear of the camera and hoping while u do this you don’t shake or rattle the darn camera, if not, you then repeat again the above ‘song and dance’. sounds laborious ?! hehe ! this is only the beginning.

with the 4×5 SLR (single lens reflex), all you need to do is load a film back at the rear of camera, focus and bam ! the moment you expose the film, the mirror flips up and the shutter opens and SHAZAM ! a lot more spontaneous images can be created using the single lens reflex large format camera.

the SLR 4×5 large format camera traces its roots back to a camera used in the early part of the 20th century called a Graflex 4×5 which was a giant 4×5 single lens reflex camera.

amazing photographers like Dorothea Lange and Joe Rosenthal toted these behemoths around the world and made iconic images that left their imprint in the annals of history. Close your eyes for a second, imagine Rosenthal’s pulitzer prize winning image of the flag raising on Mr. Suribachi or Lange’s iconic ‘migrant’ mom pieta. all created using circa graflex 4×5-inch single lens reflex camera.

below is an image of Mr. Joe Rosenthal and i and an image of him blowing out his birthday candles at Eddie Adams’ ranch in the catskill mountains of upstate New York.

joe rosenthal and a young me

joe rosenthal birthday at Barnstorm

below is an incarnation of a linhof technika IV melded with an Arca Swiss 4×5 single lens reflex, complete with Dallmeyer Pentac 8-inch f/2.9 lens.

linhof-arca 4x5 SLR


8 thoughts on “4×5 frankenstein SLR

    • hey robert. thanks for swinging in. yeah. mr rosenthal was an amazing photographer. to have met him personally was an once a lifetime experience. thank u kindly for checking out my blog.

  1. Hi Cory! Love the blog! I included a picture of this Arca/Linhof hybrid in the “Camera Porn” section of my website. I hope you don’t mind. Just wanted to shoot you a comment to make sure its ok to have the picture on there. I also included a link to your blog so that appropriate credit is given. If there are any problems email me and let me know.

    Keep it up man!

    • francesco. grazie ! thank you kindly for posting on your blog ! thank u !

      U.S. Army Signal Corps KE-12 Speed Graphic

      i have more haha !

      take care ! glad to share the little project i’m doing !


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s