Impatience breeds innovation–or idiocy

I’ve gotta be one of the stupidest photographers ever. Or at least in the running.

I got a new camera the other day–an 8×10 field camera, something I could take into the dunes or out into the rain while I left the super-engineered monorail Marvel at home. I eagerly pawed through the package and extracted the bits I wanted. It came with assorted backs in which I have little to no interest; they stayed in the box, along with a couple extra pieces of glass. The seller had done a super duper job of packing the camera and it took some time to unwind the miles of plastic and mountains of bubble wrap from my new baby.

I have a smaller version of this same camera, made some years ago, which I like very much. It is simple, elegant, and hardy. I erroneously thought the New One, like the smaller version, would also accept Linhof-sized boards so I was a twee perplexed to see that that wasn’t the case. The receiver board on the New One is quite a bit larger. In fact, it looked very similar in size to the 141mm opening on the engineering Marvel I have set up in the studio. I tried the Marvel’s board on New One. No. Just a tiny bit off. And this is where I got stupid. Make that STUPID.

I sanded out the opening in the new camera to accept the Marvel boards.

Yes, I did.

And then it got worse.

The Marvel to Linhof adapter board now fit, albeit snugly, and sideways to boot. It has a piece that protrudes from the board, to hold in the smaller lensboards, which is so close to the edge that the lip on New One can’t grip it. Never mind. I put in a lens to try it out–ooohh coolio!– and then realized I wouldn’t be able to fold up the camera with that lumpy board on it. Damn. It needs its own adapter board. Sigh.

I tried the computer and trolled through the auction site, general info, used equipment dealers, and photo forums before finally finding out that there actually was an adapter board made for New One; I began an email to the manufacturer. As I began typing a blanket statement about not being able to find the board, I decided to investigate so as not to make my self a liar. Ha! I found one at a store on the East Coast. Delete first email, commence the second inquiring about availability.

But wait. I had had a lensboard made by a guy on the auction site. Maybe he could make me one. Abandon second email and whip over there, track him down, write and send email number three regarding making me a special Linhof to New One board. They’re kinda ugly, but functional. Delete the second email and head back to the website devoted to New One and click around. Heigh-ho, lookit that–a page devoted to specs. What do I find but a statement saying that the lensboards on this camera have been standardized on Horseman and Sinar dimensions. These are 140mm, explaining why the Marvel’s lensboards are a little tight and now why all the other boards are going to be loose.

I plunk myself down on the floor of my studio and stare and the popcorn ceiling, reciting why why why am I so impatient?

And then I get back on the computer and order an adapter board that will actually fit New One. Or the old New One, before I got out the sandpaper. So now the camera can take Marvel boards, on which I have just one lens I may want to use, versus the other 3–or more if you count all the brass ones–mounted on Linhof type boards. What was the rush again?

Well, I say to console myself, it’s just 1mm per side and if it’s really bad I suppose I can order a new front standard receiver board. I decide to finish unpacking the box. 4×5 back. 5×7 back. 4×10 back. 5×7 glass. 4×10 glass. Lensboards. Wait. WHAT?!? Yes indeed. The seller has gifted me with 5 lensboards.

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