February 12, 2017

E-Mount to Sinar View Camera Adapter

Bayley has a pretty cool Sinar view camera.  I'm not going to go into exactly what a view camera is (go read wikipedia), but the gist is that you add a bunch of degrees of freedom between the camera's sensor (or film) and the lens, allowing you to shift the plane of focus to somewhere not parallel to the plane of the sensor or lens.

Unfortunately, using his CCD camera back requires tethering the camera to a sketchy old PowerBook G4, because that's all the software to read it runs on, and tolerating the painfully slow ~1 Hz live-view updates.  Focusing can literally take an hour if it's a tricky shot.

To improve the view camera experience, I made an adapter for mounting my own Sony α6000 camera body to the view camera's motion stages.  Because the sensor is much smaller and recessed more into the camera body, you don't get the extreme range of motion in tilt and swing like you do with the giant sensor, but it's sufficient to get the view-camera effect.

In retrospect, I should have flipped the side I thinned down to gain some extra travel, but it's not worth redoing at this point.

To get the e-mount mounting features, I bought an E-mount to Canon adapter and did some post-machining to it.  The E-mount side of the adapter was machined in, but the Cannon side screwed on.  I used the removable piece and screws to fasten the adapter to the machined aluminum plate.

The bellows locate in the pocket, and the 8 neodymium magnets around the edge hold the bellows on.

I made a stainless steel thumbscrew to replace the flat-headed setscrew the original camera used to attach the camera body mount.  The taper at the end of the screw draws the mount down onto some locating pins.  The knurling turned out poorly- I'm not sure what I was doing wrong, but one of the two wheels just wouldn't locate properly and made a double-pattern.

Here's the assembly in-action:

And here are some sample pictures:

Harbor Freight brushless chainsaw motor:

Another motor:

One of my small motor controllers.  I did something dumb and blew up the top-left FETs, which is why there's black goo in that corner: