My Weirdest Camera

Let us just say that I have a love for weird cameras.  The following camera came to my attention one day as I was cruising my fave online used camera stores, I should own stock in them hahahaha as I spend most of my nonexistent extra money with them (now even more scarce that I’ve retired).  Ok back to the find I made online, I am always looking for ways to use my Phase-One “H-20” back and had been looking at ways of using it with my collection of Nikkor 35mm lenses, well Nikkors do not have a shutter built in and that is what is used to trigger the “H-20” into capture mode.  My ideas had been flowing a few months devising ways to adapt these two different system components when what do I find online?  The Kapture Group TrueWide Digital sliding back camera (No longer in production) which melds Digital back’s and several brands 35mm lenses.  It just so happened that this version was set up for what I wanted and was priced in the neighborhood of reasonable . . I pressed the Purchase tab and waved the plastic at it and was soon to be happy on delivery day.

Here it is decked out with my Nikkor 85mm PC lens .


pretty cool I would say, and yes pretty weird as well.  The basic camera consists of two 14″ finely machined black anodized Aluminum plates with one that nests in grooves and slides back and forth to position the Digital back or the focusing screen behind the Large Format Copal #3 shutter/lens-mount.  The camera body is super simple, the Nikkor lenses mount into the Copal shutter fitted with a modified Nikon PK-11A ring for the proper back focus of the lens to reach infinity on the digital sensor when it is attached., the only other component that needs attention is the shutter firing mechanism which consists of a two part actuator that wakes the back up just prior to firing the shutter.

Here it is mounted on a tripod and setup for capture of a picture while I was over at Morro Bay one weekend.


The Camera is on the left with the Digital back in Capture position tethered to my trusty laptop.  It was a most beautiful morning at Morro Bay and I made several shots.  The part that would make this rig truly exceptional would be a newer Digital back that was self contained, then it would be mobile and much more fun.   The system is no more difficult then shooting / lugging a 4×5 View camera (a 4×5 field camera is even easier to lug around).

Here is one of the final processed shots of the morning.

Morning at Morro Bay

Morning at Morro Bay

I simply love this shot of Morro Bay, the sun coming up lit the rock a glowing red.

The following is another stylized (it could have been made anytime the last 100 years) shot in B&W

Sleepy Morro Bay

Sleepy Morro Bay

So there you have it, one of my weirder cameras that meld Large format (the shutter), 35mm (lens mount Nikkor), and Medium format Digital (Phase-One H-20 back) . .  all in a portable solution (although tethered is a bit more cumbersome).

Truewide Setup

Truewide Setup

This rig all fits neatly into a travel bag/camera backpack and no does not provide and automatic functions like a DSLR or Medium format SLR but what it lacks in those areas it makes up in print/file resolution and size.  Once again here is the rig pictured on the right just before the rock lit up at sunrise.  I have to admit the camera draws some looks as people pass by, but when your in Morro Bay you are just another photographer taking a picture of the “same ol thing” which equates to Tourist/artist . . . or you get a thousand questions from a fellow photographer that wanders upon you as the camera is rather ODD if not down right Weird!!! and yes I put up with the comments about how their Mark [insert camera make and model here] does it so much easier and is so much more then that what-ever it is on that tripod, why they don’t even need a tripod for their “fuzzy pictures”.  Well it’s my camera and my technique and I am sticking to it, chuckle, I do not need 532 rapid fire mostly ill composed and out of focus pics of the same subject I have to weed through filling up my hard drive when I can make several well composed pictures that I can print and hang on my wall (albeit cleaner and larger) as finished works.  I use DSLR’s as well but sometimes I enjoy the slower pace, and the challenge provided by my digital monstrosities and forgotten things and ways like light meters, filters, focusing loupes.  I will let the end results speak for themselves and as a last word.  These are my pictures, taken for my pleasure in my own way.

I hope if you have read this far you have enjoyed the post, thanks for visiting my blog, if you find it interesting and amusing pass it on.  I enjoy comments as well and will answer questions about the equipment and cameras you see here.  Have fun, be creative and get off your butt and go take pictures.

Jan 6th, 2013 what will it be , what will it bring, what will you make of it.

I am out and about making pictures . . .


One thought on “My Weirdest Camera

  1. Pingback: TrueWide Sliding Back Camera (digital) | digipainters blog

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