I don't quite follow your description of using the gator foam (plus
I don't know what gator foam even is), but I see how I might
rig something up to slip the shutter onto the end. I'm not really sure how to use the lens itself though, or to judge exposure. You
mentioned before it focuses at about 15 inches and is at sharpest focus at portrait distances- so does this make it a lens with a
focal length of 15 inches (you mentioned it was a 15-16 inch lens)? What do you mean by sharp focus at portrait distance- the
subject to camera distance creating a "portrait" on the ground glass (and if so, head and shoulders only, or full body), or moving
the element in and out using the knob? I assume the knob moving the element is for focusing and does not affect the lenses focal
length, or does it? Where is the best position to leave the lens- racked all the way in or out, and then use the camera itself for
focus? The other thing I'm wondering is what is the effective aperature of this lens, as it's length is variable? If it's a 15 inch lens,
the diameter is about 2.3 inches, giving f/6.5- sound about right? It has no stops to be used, so I assume it is only used "wide open".
I'm just trying to figure out how I'm going to expose the neg.
OK, a quick lesson on the Packard Shutter:
There is a seller on Ebay that sells original
style bulb and tubing but any "bulb" that can trap air and supply it when
work. Best if it is open at both ends and you put your thumb over the non hose end when squeezing. Tubing is just tubing. The
softer the better though as some of the heavier stuff like they sell at auto parts stores can translate movement on to the camera.
Do you know anyone that can rob a bulb and tubing from an old blood pressure cuff? You have to kick your imagination and
problem solving skills in at this point to make these next steps in your photo adventure.
How I clean up a packard:
Take the 4 screws out and split the 2 halves apart.
Make a sketch for re-assembly. Clean everything with soap and water.
If there's rust inside, clean it up with steel wool, then apply some furniture wax. The smoother and slicker stuff is inside, the
better it will run when re-assembled. Clean, wax and buff the brass piston and inside the cylinder. Put it back together.
How a Packard works:
With a bulb and hose the packard will open with
very little pressure. I mentioned that the bulb should be open both
ends. If you
open it with a bit of air pressure then release the bulb, the reverse pressure or suction will suck the piston back down and close
the shutter. You have a lot of control here. I find a good running Packard will open and close this way at about 1/8 second. Now
listen to a Nikon FM set at ¼ second. You can control the in and out with the bulb and make it sound like the Nikon's ¼. Do the
same with ½ sec. 1 sec etc. I mentioned a bulb that is open at both ends. Squeeze to open then move your thumb away so there
is no reverse pressure and the packard will stay open forever. Squeeze a little, replace thumb over the hole then release and you’ll
create the suction needed to close the shutter. So far we've got everything fron 1/8 sec. to infinity.
Your Packard is a No. 6. No. 6 had dual
actuation possibility. There is a hole up near the top that you can
slip a pin into when the
shutter is closed. When the pin (or nail) is intalled you are in "instantaneous mode." When the pin is in place, you supply pressure
with the bulb and the shutter opens and closes itself quickly. A good running Packard will get about 1/25th to 1/30th second
in this mode.
Insalling a Packard for use:
A lot has been written about this. Basically
it's up to you. Some folk like to put them inside the camera mounted
on the lens board.
That's the most common. A Packard mounted on a board with one of those Iris clamps for many different barrel lenses is a great
boost for creativity. You can clamp any old Coke bottle bottom on the front to see what it will do and the Packard is inside, ready.
Another possible method is to glue or mount a
sleeve onto the Packard that would slide over the front of a barrel lens.
This way the
Packard is up front of everything like a lens cap with a shutter built in. I use this method on my 4X5 because space inside the
camera is nil.
How to measure and calculate an exposure:
Let's say you've got a grand old Projection Petzval
with no information at all about it's focal length and aperture.
Even if it did
tell you, it's useless information as focused at good portrait distances you'd be at almost double it's focal length anyway. Here's
how to get good exposure's every time. Brace yourself for some extreme simplicity. Focus the camera on the subject. Get a
ruler or tape measure that has a millimeter scale. Measure the size of the hole the light is going through. For illustration purposes
we'll say it’s 30mm. Now measure from mid point in that lens to the ground glass. Again for illustration we'll say the distance at
a portrait focus is 330mm. Divide the aperture into the distance the light travels. 330/ 30 = 11. You're at f 11. That's all you need
to know. No bellows factors needed. Move in for a close up now. The aperture can't change, it's always going to be 30 or
whatever you got with the ruler. Focus. OK, now the bellows measures 480mm. 480 / 30 = 16. You're at f16. Round odd
numbers up or down to 1/3's.
What do do with antique lenses that have to get shot wide open in daylight situations in order to get the full effect or funk:
This comes up a lot. You've got a Verito
and you want to do a morning shot out of doors in bright Nevada at full
You're using 100 speed Efke film on an 8X10. You calculate the exposure to around 1/250th sec at the f4 you want to use.
The Packard will do 1/25th. Do you pack up and go home? Not if you're me. I shoot these all the time with a 4 stop
overexposure. With Efke film and PyroCat HD I cut my normal time of 11.5 minutes down to about 6 minutes and soup away.
Voila. No the negs are not perfect for a piece of no. 2 paper, but they're none the less quite useable. This is an area where
your mileage may very well vary……..a LOT! All I can tell you is experiment and find out what works for you.