|I personally believe square format (1:1 aspect ratio of the image)
gives us very unique characteristics for composition. In the past there
were several square format cameras other than well-known 6x6, such as 24mm
x 24mm "Robot". But 6x6 medium format is the sole way to get decent 1:1
aspect ratio camera system today. It's generally veeeerrrry expensive (Hasselblad,
etc.) and has many disadvantages in super telephoto and macro photography
to 35mm SLR system. For example, I have Sigma 500mm lens for EOS (used
price is about $300). When we use this lens with a 24mm x 24mm camera,
it will give us the same view as 1200mm lens for Hasselblad. Can you imagine
how much 1200 mm lens for Hasselblad will be, if it's available? I can't!
So I decided to make 24mm x 24mm camera based on the decent 35mm SLR, Canon
The idea is very simple. Just adding masking plates on the left
and right side of the shutter mask. Each plate covers 6mm of width, and
then we get 24mm x 24mm opening. The modification cost was merely $1, and
it took an hour. I have got great fun with 35mm square format photography
after $1 and an hour spending.
1. Masking Plates
You may have a floppy disk with a black plastic shutter.. That's
it for the parts of masking plates. Some floppy disks have metallic shutter
and they are not suitable for masking plates because reflection of light
gives many flairs to the film.
Disassemble a shutter plate from a floppy disk. It's a U shaped
very thin and smooth plastic plate. Cut the plate from "U" shape to two
"I" shape plates, and carefully cut a plate to appropriate size for the
masking plates. We'd better cut a plate slightly larger than the size we
need, and then adjust its size by sanding down. We need two masking plates
exactly the same height with the dimension between the two film guide rails
of the base camera, or the camera will have slits on top and/or bottom
of masking plate(s). These slits, if the camera has, will make the image
not square but square with some strings.
||Black plastic shutter of a floppy disk is good for masking
plates (the part indicated by the white arrow.). Metallic shutter is not
suitable for this purpose.
||Sanding down a plate to the size what we exactly need (left).
And mark the position of masking plate precisely. (right)
Attach the masking plates behind the shutter with very thin double-face
adhesive tape and check whether the masking plates don't come above the
height of film guide rails. If they do, we need to detach the plate(s)
and sanding down to thickness less than the height of the film guide rails.
If a masking plate comes above the film guide rails, not only the plate
makes scratches to the film, but also the film plane will be off the focal
2. Finder Screen
I put two narrow tapes onto the finder screen of EOS 650 to indicate
image area of 24mm x 24mm format. If your camera has spot and/or center
partial metering, you can mask the area other than 24mm x 24mm image. It
should look much smarter than what I did. Unfortunately EOS650's
partial metering works only when I push AE lock button with unwilling AE
lock function. It's not useful and therefore I did not mask the finder
screen but add two lines with narrow tapes to use evaluating metering system.
For this modification purpose, we'd better pick a camera with finder
screen exchangeablity up for the base.
||Finder screen with a pair of narrow tapes. This indicates
the area of 24mm x 24mm image. If your camera has spot or partial
metering, then you can mask whole the area other than the square image
and get neat finder veiw. But EOS650 does not have useful partial metering
and therefore I put lines instead of full masking, to enable myself to
use evaluating metering.
The test result was great. I could enjoy compositions quite differently
from those with 24mm x 36mm camera. I could also enjoy 500mm photography
and macro photography with square format. This camera offers 24mm x 24mm
images in the same frame pitch as 24mm x 36mm, therefore I can handle the
negs as if they are of 24mm x 36mm (actually they are 24mm x 36mm images
with 6mm black strips on both sides). Mounting a slide to a plastic mount,
printing, scanning….everything is compatible with 24mm x 36mm negs.
I've had a floppy disk, narrow tape and sandpaper, and just bought
double-face adhesive tape at A Dollar Shop. So total cost for the modification
This methodology should be applicable not only to EOS but also to
any kind of 35mm SLR cameras. Would you try one?
||View of a film taken by the EOS650 Square. Frame pitch is
unchanged from that of 24mm x 36mm, so everything is compatible with 24mm
x 36mm negs. It's very useful.
||It was not taken by Hasselblad but EOS. Don't you think
EOS650 Square, Sigma AF70-200mm F2.8 EX HSM, Kodak E100VS
||EOS650 Square, Sigma AF70-200mm F2.8 EX HSM, Kodak E100VS
(August 28, 2002)