Speed Graphic 4×5 Converted Into a Fuji X Mirrorless Camera


Photographer Bryce Hoeper wants to become the Dr. Frankenstein of the camera world. Back in 2011, his experiments with mounting a 102-year-old lens to a Canon DSLR were widely shared across the Web. About a month ago, he created another cam-monster that combines old and new: he combined an old Speed Graphic 4×5 large format camera with a modern Fujifilm X-Pro1 mirrorless camera.



Hoeper’s experiment started when he purchased the Speed Graphic with an instant back for Fuji instant film. He wanted to take more shots with it, so he decided to try and turn it into a digital camera. He tells us:

The only problem is in the main stream market, you can only get SLR adapters for mirrorless cameras. While that’s great, I started to think “What about the older cameras? The old folding cameras ect?” So I’ve made it my personal mission to adapt as many of these cameras over to my Fuji as I can!

In the coming months I have big plans to open a part of my studio just for strange adaptions like this. The main struggle I come up with is the distance between the sensor and the lens. But again that’s another beautiful thing about mirrorless cameras, the distance by default is so shallow that I can pretty much build that distance and thus have it work!

The reason I am doing this is because the glass is just so unique, it’s unlike anything I could just go out and buy. Sometimes it’s bad — the quality stinks and its a huge waste of time — but other times I can yield some pretty awesome results!

Another thing that’s fun about this particular conversion is that I treat the Fuji just as you would film: I load the camera onto the back, I check to make sure everything is in focus, I set the lens to “I”, then I cock the lens, I set the Fuji to “B” and then press and hold the shutter on the Fuji while pushing the cable release on the 4×5, “exposing” the Fuji then releasing the shutter on the Fuji.

Here are some sample photographs shot using this camera and method:





Hoeper tells us he has about 20 cameras in mind for future franken-cameras.

Image credits: Photographs by Bryce Hoeper and used with permission

  • vacantlot

    Seems like a lot of work for not much payoff

  • Carlos Henrique

    mediocre results. I didn’t get the point.

  • Samcornwell

    For reference, you can mount your digital camera quite easily on to 5×4″ cameras using Oprima backs. This is just one example. Nice work on the DIY job above though.

  • Tony Bisson

    I like the idea. You can see the buttery softness of the old optics even in a web-sized image. I would recommend using a bellows that bends more then a speed graphic does.

  • Tony Bisson

    For those criticizing the content of the images you need to use some creativity and imagine this tool in the hands of someone with a stronger, more developed creative sense.

  • Alex Szecsi

    The point is large format photg the big image are that gives you slmall dof.And this never came back with 35mm sensor

  • ProfHankD

    Well, nice to see so much PR for somebody building a copy of the stuff in my Instructable. It’s so unique…. ;)

  • Gunman

    I just don’t understand why a lot of people wants to go the hard way when technology is just in front of them already.

  • Opie

    To be fair, these are probably only test shots.

    Still, I have a hard time understanding the point of going to all this trouble to make a camera so much clumsier than the Fuji by itself, and with lower image quality than the 4×5 by itself. It seems to be less than the sum of its parts.

    These kinds of things are a fun weekend project I guess, but they don’t very often facilitate new photographic possibilities.

  • Peter

    But when the image is recorded on the X-Pro1, it is still APS-C

  • Matt

    Well, it is not a large sensor, it is small. So, your DOF will be large. That is the critisizm, nothing really gained for a lot of work. Now, I’d love a real large sensor with a lot of pixels, but that won’t happen for a while.

  • tiredofit123

    I’ve thought of doing something with one of my Autograflexes, but with most mounts that attach directly to the back of the camera you usually end up with an overdone telephoto/crop effect.

    My idea would be a mount with a ground glass plate, a light box attached to it with a lens pre-focused and connected to an SLR mount. Basically you slip the assembly on the camera, attach your SLR, and take a picture of the image off of the ground glass plate. You get your full size image, no cropping, and the full DOF.

    Maybe I should go patent this, but I’m certain someone else has done it already…….

  • DamianMonsivais

    They have backs you can buy to do this already. wheres the creativity its just fun i guess.

  • Carlos Henrique

    He is using an APS-C sensor. There is no advantage at all. Well, I think it’s too much noise for a very limited result.

  • Sam Agnew

    Is it just me or does this look like the crummy colour rendition of digital married with the crummy soft optics of whatever lens that is. If my Crown Graphic spat out pictures like that I would be pretty disappointed. And yes, I know they are test shots. I’m addressing the image quality not the content. Is no grain really that important?

  • Jake

    Probably the same kinds of reasons why some people take photos instead of using photoshop, send letters instead of emails, walk places instead of driving, etc. It’s fun, nostalgic, and sometimes even expands upon old ideas.

  • Duke Shin

    Oh,just load up some film, ya bean.

  • Eric Omori

    Cool stuff…but you should do this to something other then a speed graphic. Use a view camera so you can really use some of those camera movements.

  • Gary Martin

    A mess, I hope the Fuji wasn’t harmed in this experiment .

  • Stephen Sidlo

    It is similar to the TTV that I did try, but got quickly bored with after unsuccessful results. The Through the Viewfinder technique still requires a fair bit of post processing – and after you have sat there for a few hours you lose the magic.

  • John Lanford

    I can grow my own wheat, chop, chaff, gather and grind…but why

  • Art Fernandez

    Technology. particularly the one that is right in front of you here, cannot replicate the versatility and control offered by the ability to control perspective with Tilt and Sway via a belows. Full Stop. To do this digitally with a 4×5 digital sensor is north of 10K. I don’t have that money burning a hole in my pocket do you?

  • Aaron Lee Kafton

    all the benefits of using a 4×5 such as tilting and shifting the lense is lost when you’re shooting to such a tiny sensor

  • Hal Wilson

    Well, I think it’s great! I just signed on as a Living History Docent at Hearst Castle. We dress up in 1930s suits and mingle with the tour groups to give a feel for how the place appeared in the heyday of Clark Gable and Spencer Tracy. I’m thinking of applying for a “job” as official Hearst Publications Press Photographer. I’ll need a camera that looks the part – and can take digital photographs that can be posted online at the end of my shift.

  • Federico Montemurro

    What’s the point? The Graphic itself and real film delivers more beautiful results