Tail Board LF anyone ? trying to reverse engineer from pictures only

Discussion in 'Camera Building, Repairs & Modification' started by nick mulder, May 20, 2010.

  1. nick mulder

    nick mulder Member

    May 15, 2005
    8x10 Format

    I'm trying to understand how tailboard cameras work, the general set up is easy, but some parts remain unclear as to the exact utility - specifically:

    What is the middle frame for seen in some variations ? simply to protect the bellows when folded ?



    I can see how swing is achieved here - but how about rear tilt ?


    Long story long:

    I have a square 15" bellows here I'd like to build a quick tailboard camera with to hold my new Dallmeyer 4A and a combo of an 8x10" Sinar P film back/GG, my own home built 11x14" back/GG and possible wet plate collodion use in the future...

    At the moment I'm going to build something quick and nasty using as much picture framing frames I can (I have access to a framing studio with a gazillion profiles that can be put to interesting use, not to mention the ka-chunking machine that automagically joins them :D).

    I dont have any rack and pinion or threaded rod lying around so it'll just be screwed down with a bolt and wingnuts for now (like the third image) - but a future more thought out version will likely use a threaded rod for focus, probably a tapered bellows and front standard to loose a bit of weight also - does any one have photos of the typical way these systems were built, something stripped away that can be figured out in a glance ?

    I've never had a chance to see a tailboard :rolleyes:

    Any tips appreciated
    Last edited by a moderator: May 20, 2010
  2. John Koehrer

    John Koehrer Subscriber

    Apr 3, 2004
    Aurora, Il
    Multi Format
    Many of the early cameras had NO movements. I think you'll find more use for front movements than rear.
    The center standard most likely to support the bellows when it's extended a bit, that's a big ass bellows.
  3. samuraiwarrior2

    samuraiwarrior2 Member

    Mar 11, 2009
    4x5 Format
    Hey Nick, good luck on your project. I'm currently most of the way through a 4x5 field camera, so I know what you might have in front of you.
    I found this website on tailboard cameras: http://www.vintagephoto.tv/shoulder.shtml.
    It looks like that middle frame is actually attached to the back frame and it allows basic tilts in the back for perspective control.
    Hope this helps a little bit. I would like to see your camera when you start working!
    I would also recommend actually trying to find one to look at. There were lots of parts of a field camera that I didn't quite know how they worked and once I got to play around with one in a store things clicked and made sense.