So I bought this beautiful hilba camera in an online auction . A real beauty! It came in a horrible package. The person selling it to me had no regard for cameras and it made me real sad! It seemed like it was someones grandparents’ camera or something that they wanted to get rid of. They hadn’t even packaged it properly! They had just put it along with few other cameras and lenses (lenses were just thrown there without cover or anything… real tragedy tbh…) in a cardboard box, just like that… and with some almost decorative wrapping paper that didn’t protect anything from anything. I’m astonished that Hilba was not broken by handling by post. I have never been so furious opening up a box of anything!

It was dusty and tired and had a small hole in the bellows and didn’t have any lens. I fortunately had a large format lens from another old camera that I had bought a while ago(it is such a beautiful thing that will get it’s post here in due time!) and hooked it up to it and after a bit of cleaning, filling the hole in the bellows with some liquid electric tape (i can not emphasize how perfect this liquid thing is for covering holes in the bellows!) and some oiling, VoilĂ , already a great camera sitting on my desk.

but, as usual with these old cameras… i don’t have a plate holder!

So i started on the making the plate holder journey. I decided that I’m gonna make the first one a bit smaller than i wish since I’m going to one of these slider sheets from an older plate holder. So, I got to work… design, 3D printing and fitting the thing together, lots of supergluing (all my poor fingers!), sewing a velvet tube and gluing it in the holder (I’m going to replace with some self adhesive velvet in the next version) and version 0.1 is ready! Its all taped up and stuff but i’m planning to put magnets in there. I just wanted to check if the thing works!

in an attempt to test it, I took a clumsily focused (using the tip of a tripod’s tilt handle to roughly place the focus) self portrait with like 20 seconds exposure with the help of a light reflector, and hey… it looks ok! the hilba is fully operational! I’m already making version 0.2 of the holder…

I will put the design files of the holder up sometime when I’m feeling happy with the results… but for now, you’re just gonna have to look at the adhock solution…