Its been a
marvelous adventure! Thats the best way to put it.
About 50 or 60 years ago my grandfather bought a photo studio in
Long Island, NY.
It was a complete package with all of the equipment. Deep down in
the basement was the Korona.
He never had a use for the large size but he kept it.
Last year (2007) I found it in his
garage an decided to fix it up in my spare time.
It took me about 3 months to clean and polish the whole camera. I
even tried to fix the bellows.
That turned out to be a bad idea. I sent the camera to Turner
Bellows for a new one.
They did a great job. Unfortunately UPS damaged the box on the way
to Turner so it added some more time. When I got the box back from
Turner I realized that UPS did a real number on the camera. So
another month went by and the additional damage was fixed.
In July 2007 I managed to get a 480mm
f/9 APO Nikkor barrel lens from Adorama. Its was a spectacular
find. The lens goes from f/9-128 by twisting the front of the
barrel. The lens was probably from a large copy camera so field
distortion and chromatic aberration are kept to a minimum compared
with other lenses. I then had to mount it on the camera. So I went
to Home Depot and bought some wood and varnish. I made a lens board
and cut the hole out with my Dremel. I decided to take a break
until I could find some film and that brings us to 2008.
In March 2008, I managed to buy 3
boxes of Ilford HP5 12x20. It was only outdated by a few years. I
actually prefer HP5 thats a bit seasoned, but more on that
As soon as the film arrived, it
spurred a re-interest in getting the whole thing ready to
The first task was a way to mount it on a tripod. The camera is
heavy, over 15 pounds without the lens. Since it was manufactured
in the US (Rochester NY), it has 2x 1/4" tripod sockets on the
bottom. Why in the world would you use something that small on
something so big is beyond me.
But thats what I had to work with. It was pointed out to me that
the US at the time only used 1/4" and the European's used 3/4".
After banging my head against the wall for a while and debating
between a 1 or 2 tripod setup, I figured it out!
I used my large Bogen 3000 series
green tripod. About a year ago I bought a dual tripod attachment
(from Amvona) to shoot tabletop images (see #1 on the right). But
it has 3/4" tripod studs.
I went to B&H (April 2008) and bought 2 Bogen tripod adapters.
Viola! It works. I can carry it around on my shoulder and its a
very sturdy setup.
My second task was a handle. The
original one disintegrated years ago. This was the hardest thing to
replace. I spent hours trying to find someone to make me a new one
in the city. No one wanted to do it. I was ready to give up, when I
had an epiphany. When I looked down at my bag,
I saw a carabiner thats attached to my bag. They are a perfect fit
for the job. I went to EMS Sports and bought a leather sewing kit
and used some leather I found in a NYC dumpster. I wrapped the
carabiner with the leather and sewed it up (see #2 on the right). I
attached it to the camera with strap from EMS. Perfect!!
#3-5 show my latest stroke of genius.
I needed a way to protect the ground glass from potential damage. I
saw some on ebay but they are expensive. I had enough wood left
over from the lens boards so I cut it a bit larger than the back.
But how to keep it on.....In the same dumpster I found all the
leather in, I found a roll of 1" wide elastic belt. You can see
from #3 how it holds the GG Protector on. #4 is the best part of
the elastic band.
If you have ever tried to pull a dark slide thats this large, you
know that most likely you will pull the holder away from the back
of the camera. Light leaks, AHHHHHH!!! This elastic band I made by
stapling the 2 overlapping ends together (see #5) keeps the back
tight to the camera.
The first week in May 2008, I took
the 1 good film holder I have and took it apart. Thoroughly cleaned
it and re-glued everything. A tip I got from the newsgroups is to
coat the edges of the dark slide with graphite. I took a pencil and
rubbed it down the whole length of the slide and on the top of the
ribs inside the holder.