Kiev EF – Russian "Rangefinder" with EF mount (2012)
My light bulb moment of the 2012 Photokina was a visit to the Alpa stand, where a friedly person with a funny accent presented the latest Alpa development, a Focal Plane Shutter Module, designed to take on various digital MF backs and also various camera mount modules on the front, even capable of controlling some of the electronic functions of the respective lenses. Perfect piece of work, yet out of my reach, at EUR 10,000.One of the lenses on display was the Canon TS-E 4/17 with a Canon EF mount module. While I was puzzled at first, I soon realised that the TS-E not only makes a special tilt/shift lens in front of a 24x36 sensor, but, because of its large image circle, would be also be suited to produce "regular" images in front of a much larger image capturing device (nice wording, he?), yet without tilt/shift reserve. And certainly 17mm of focal length in front of a large sensor is pretty unique...
Well, I do own the lens, but its price is negligible compared to that of the shutter module.
Would it be possible to at least test the possibilities, if not digital, then on film, with an adapter to an existing medium format body?
I thought hard, but there are no options. The Canon EF register is 45mm, which excludes all existing medium format reflex cameras. But since the Canon lens has no shutter, the shutter needs to be in the body (otherwise a Mamiya 6 might have been an option). As far as I know, there is no medium format body that easily qualifies for an adapter solution fo fit this lens.
So I started another DIY project: A roll film camera with Canon EF mount, for images just as big as the TS-E 4/17 is able to produce.
took a Kiev 60 as base, of which I assumed its construction would be
less complicated than that of a Pentax 6x7 (that looks pretty
frightening inside, if I remember correctly)
Indeed, dismantling the camera was no big deal. This is the chassis (mirror already taken out) with the shutter. Next comes the hacksaw action, to remove the mirror box.
The film transport mechanism, which I planned to modify for the new image height
The TS-E image circle is 67mm, which means that the classic 4.5 x 6 format isn't properly covered (even if it is only 4.2 x 5.6 in reality). An image ratio of 3:2 would be a perfect fit (3.7 x 5.6) but the Kiev film transport mechanism has managed to keep its secret... I have not really understood its innards, so I have refrained from trying to modify it (it is possible though - Arax sells Kiev 60 cameras with 4.5 x 6 format).
Instead, I have made the mechanism defunct in the sense that it now only cocks the shutter and have fitted a red window to the camera back (and small baffles to the film gate). Film transport now happens via the (modified) right film spool take up. I admit this is not very elegant, but works well, provided I take my time and keep in mind that cocking the shutter and transporting the film are two differrent things (like in the old days...).
(The spot on the shutter curtain is latex, with which I (successfully) blinded some small pinholes.The bayonet is from a (hacksawed) China adapter Canon EF to Sony NEX. To achieve the correct bayonet to film position I made up a fixture using the focusing helicoid of an old lens, that gave me a pretty accurate 45mm register, at least as accurate as this can be measured with a calliper. The bayonet flange itself had to be turned 90 degrees because there was no space left and right of the bayonet for the release button, but lots of space on the top.
camera certainly does not have any ability to control the lens iris, so
this has to be set in advance on a Canon EOS body, using the well known
stop down button trick. For such an extreme wide angle I find this
acceptable, the lens is used at f=8 anyway most of the time, so
this may well be set in advance.
Much is complete here, the bayonet flange is mounted, as well as the shutter. An additional hot shoe is meant to take the finder (from a Horizont panoramic camera), and the shutter button (below) is about to wander to the left side of the camera where it is more convenient if the camera is held upright. It wouldn't have worked anyway without the mirror mechanism - on the unmodified camera the shutter just releases the mirror to swing upwards, which in turn starts the first shutter curtain when up.
So this is my Kiev EF:
Below shown ready to take pictures, with lens and finder:
angle of view equals that of a 7mm lens in front of an APS-C sensor, or
a 11mm lens on 35mm, so is indeed wider than anything money can buy.
And certainly, there is no rectilinear lens for
film as wide as this, not even close.
Some first sample pictures:Dordrecht, The Netherlands: