A Panoramic Medium Format Camera Is Born – F.A.C II

Last month I made a post about the recovering of a Minolta Autocord by Lee Lira from Australia, found here. Since that post, Lee has been busy working on making a Panoramic Medium Format Camera. When he told me that he intended to do this, I replied that it would be great to see what could be obtained from such a camera. His returning email had an attachment from his Mark I camera.

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Wow! Was my reply. Lee made the Mark I camera using a 1959 Schneider Symmar 135mm f/5.6/235mm f/12. lens. FFD was initially set at 131mm, which was great for distance shots. But after a few experiments Lee pulled it forward to 133mm to achieve a bit of hyper focal.  A huge improvement he tells me. Looking at the scan above I find myself agreeing.

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The bits & bobs came from a Horseman 6X9 Press back & a Graflex viewfinder. He did have to play around with homemade masks until he had them nailed.

Moving on to the FAC Mark II, I watched in awe the speedy development of this camera, the pace that Lee works at is fast indeed. Going by the emails, I roughly worked it out to be around 4 weeks from start to finish, not including planing or the purchasing of parts. The body of the Mark II is handmade and beautifully sculptured from 19mm Redgum hardwood, “hardwood indeed” says Lee.

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All glued and screwed, my love of woodwork is just a hobby, Lee tells me.  And I think you will agree, its something he executes well. So much so, that I plan to ask him if he would like a small commission. More about that in a future post maybe.

The lens for the Mark II is a 1985 Schneider Super Angulon 90mm f8 in a Copal shutter, giving an image circle of 197mm. This will allow an impressive 6X14 format using 120 roll film.

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The first test results from the camera in my opinion were very good, but Lee did say he noticed a small amount of flare and the lens needed slightly adjusting to achieve better focusing.

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With the help of my flock material and lightseal foam flare was eliminated. Lee with his keen eye for detail and determination adjusted the lens to achieve the desired focal placement of the lens, the results certainly speak for themselves.

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Photos in this post remains the copyrights of Lee Lira and should not be used without contacting him first.

To see more great photo’s from this camera and Lee; www.facebook.com/foundmelbourne

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