Non-Radio – 3D printed Medium Format Camera

Decided to return to a bit of conventional Film-Based photography and as I would eventually like to return to developing my own B&W film, I decided to return to the medium format film size, as I found that the larger contact prints of the medium format film substituted for an enlarger in a pinch.

My photography history is both legacy and practical.  One of my grandfathers had a commercial photography studio, and from young on I was sent out with an Argus C-3 with a bulk-loaded cartridge of Kodax Tri-Ex to take pictures.  My films were developed and contact prints made right at the studio, and Grandpa Sig would go over the contact sheets with constructive advice.  We would print off the worthwhile shots, including much darkroom finagling.  Cropping, shading, and every sort of adjustment were part of his lessons.

My the end of elementary school I was developing film in a black bag, and eventually had a mini-darkroom sans enlarger in the basement.

My father had shot wedding photographs from young on, though he hasn’t mentioned much about darkroom time.  He also coached photography, and saw that my Argus C3 was upgraded to a Kodak Retina-IIa  Still have a C3 and Retina-IIa to this day, along with my school days Kodak Medalist which was my introduction to medium format.

Through school I would do stints as photographer for various school publications and about the easiest A-grade I ever received was college level photo journalism lab.

While in the Army I was trained to do “evidentiary photography” where quickly the instructors coopted me to help coach other students based on my prior training.  By this point I had done some Infrared (IR) photography which was easy to technically do while hard to find worthwhile subject to shoot, dabbled in color film development which I found myself impatient while doing, and done a few stabs at more obscure pursuits such as launching model rockets with cameras.

I had arrived at a bit of dichotomy in photography, almost always having either my own 110 small camera or a military issue half-frame mini camera (my unit didn’t rate the sub-cameras like Minox), and also having an extensive Konica SLR set up with several bodies and wide range of lenses.  It is interesting how “official” photos which obviously included the use of high powered zoom lenses went unnoticed by the folks above who only issued me the half-frame camera which could have never taken the pictures I turned in with reports.

Like so many of us these days I am mostly a iPhone digital photographer.

But I wanted to hone my now dull skills and do a bit of photo work the traditional way.

An article in a blog I read at least weekly caught my eye:

Yeah, I could do this again. And a 3D Printed one would be kind of cool.

Here are some of the links in no particular order: and Dora Goodman Cameras Group

Now the camera body need a lens (for those who haven’t worked with this sort of camera, the shutter is included in the lens assembly), and a film back.

Off to play internet and eBay, where I bought a Mamiya RB67 120 film (6×7 Roll) film back and more for parts a second 220 fil sized back. The film backs need are for the Mamiya Pro S line of cameras.

I also bought a Mamiya Sekor 100mm f/3.5 f 3.5 Lens which would have fit a different Mamiya camera series, the Universal Press Super 23 series.

My son Tom KC9JGD had a bunch of extra B&W 120 film, so he has sent some my way.

I ordered my Dora Goodman assembled and with all of the accessories. I am not certain I will actually use the pinhole assembly or some of the other bits, but I figured I should get the lot while it was available.

Next I need to order a protective lens filter and cap, a shutter cable , and dig out of my stores a tripod.

Some initial observations are that the light weight 3-D printed body doesn’t really have the correct bayonet lens mount, rather it allows the lens to fit the body and then be secured by setscrews. I’d prefer something more positive. Another is I question whether the 3-D material can take the cold if I went outside to shoot picture right now. We’re around 0°F (-18°c) which challenges any camera, but usually not with breaking the actual material it is made of. I will have to do some research on this one.

I don’t have a darkroom anymore, and long ago dispersed my lab gear so I will send the first rolls off for developing. I’ll decide down the road if I want to assemble a darkroom again.



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