A Steam Punk Franken-camera comes alive with parts from Camera Trading Company June 25 2024

One of our customers had purchased a lens from us which was getting little use. The lens, a Nikon PC 28mm f3.5 Wide Angle lens was designed for 35mm Nikon film cameras. 

A PC (Perspective Correction) lens is intended for architectural photos. It utilizes a physical offset and/or rotation from the offset position and this movement requires the lens to have a rear projection image coverage of about 60 x 60mm rather than the 24 x 36mm size of a 35mm film frame.  This larger image coverage inspired him. He reasoned, “Why not use it with a different camera and larger film? After all very wide angle lenses for most medium format 120 roll film cameras are quite expensive!”

Thomas decided to build a camera as inexpensively as possible from used parts. Knowing that the Nikon flange focal distance is 46.5mm, far shorter than any 120 roll film camera, the shutter, lens mounts and camera back would need to be thin.  The attached photographs show the pieces, many purchased from Camera Trading Company, noted as (CTC) after each such item.


Lens:                    Nikkor 28mm f3.5 PC Pre-set lens, from1968, (CTC);

Shutter:                ILEX of Rochester, New York, manufactured 1940-1941, (CTC);

Lens adapters:      Nikon F to Canon EF, by K&F Concept; Canon EF to ILEX, by Mercury, (both purchased via ebay);


Adapter Plate:       3-D printed HDPE plastic, Mercury, (ebay);

Film Back:            Mamiya Pro S 120/220 film camera, with film winder from the late 1960's, (via Facebook Marketplace);

Light Meter:          Walz Corona,USA, early 1950's, mounted into a cold shoe on the plastic adapter plate, (ebay);


Rangefinder:         Condor, West German, late 1950's - early 1960's, mounted into a cold shoe on the adapter plate, (CTC);


Arca-Swiss plate:  HDPE block projecting out under the lens for tripod mounting, or to simply sit the camera squarely on a tabletop, not shown in photo (Mecury).

Viewfinder:  TTArtisans, from China for 28mm, 2024, not shown in photo, (ebay).

Once he had the parts, it only took one hour to assemble the SteamPunk Franken-camera, This may seem pretty nerdy, but as the builder says, “It was fun and satisfying to create something out of a collection of disparate parts made by widely different companies over an 80-year period and not spend tons of cash to do it.” 

The photographs below show a few sample photos of two Ottawa Manor houses, one from 1922 and the other from 1862.  Without editing, the camera makes circular, but not fisheye, wide angle photos otherwise un-achievable with 120 roll film. There is also an edited photo to show how the resultant photographs would appear as "normal" wide angle images.


Note that we have many parts for your steam punk camera ideas too!