12X15" English View Camera

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by William Levitt, Nov 21, 2002.

  1. William Levitt

    William Levitt Member

    Messages:
    214
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2002
    Location:
    Nuernberg, G
    OK people, I've done the searches and have come up with little to no information about view cameras (field camera design) in the size 12X15", which is roughly 30X40cm.

    I just bought one on the German Ebay, together with a brass barrel 480 "Voss/Goerz" lens.
    The camera has a glass plate holder and film in that size is available from Webphota in Berlin (among others I'm sure).

    Question: Does anyone have any information or links that might be helpful in researching this camera a bit more?
     
  2. clay

    clay Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,125
    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2002
    Location:
    Asheville, N
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I am dreadfully sorry to inform you that you have now been infected with the ultra large camera virus. There is no known cure for this disease, whose symptons include scouring ebay for anything labelled 'dagor' or 'wide field', buying film in lots of 500 sheets, purchasing refrigerators to store the film, and the irrritating habit of referring to 8x10 as a "miniature" format. There is no know cure for this aflliction, other than eventual abdication to a bad back and joint tendinitis. If you begin to entertain thoughts of capturing sports event on in-camera 16x20 negatives, you MUST check into the nearest Betty Ford clinic. Tell them to give you the same treatment regimen that they used on me.

    Clay
     
  3. Jorge

    Jorge Inactive

    Messages:
    4,532
    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2002
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    </span><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (clay @ Nov 22 2002, 06:38 AM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'>you MUST check into the nearest Betty Ford clinic. Tell them to give you the same treatment regimen that they used on me.

    Clay</td></tr></table><span id='postcolor'>
    Yeah and it did not work so you might as well save your money for film....

    Good to see you here Clay!
     
  4. William Levitt

    William Levitt Member

    Messages:
    214
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2002
    Location:
    Nuernberg, G
    After shooting 8X10 for many years, I am looking forward to expanding my horizons in the field of ULF photography. I will however be keeping my 8X10" camera for those trips where I feel as though lugging a "large" camera will be too taxing... [​IMG]

    As far as film is concerned, the availability of this format in boxes of 25 sheets from Webphota.de was one of the reasons I decided to buy this camera. Euro 78,00 for 25 sheets of 30X40 ASA 25/100 or 400. I'm sure I can get Ilford cut to size, or Efke, but not without having to buy large amounts myself. That was another consideration. I haven't heard of anybody using this format, so "co-opping" film will be highly unlikely.

    Can anybody provide either info or possible links where I can further investigate this format?

    Thanks!
     
  5. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    Messages:
    17,945
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2002
    Location:
    Honolulu, Ha
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    Maybe the Wephota people can tell you who else buys the film. It can't be a long list!

    And does this plate holder work with film or have a sheet film adapter, or are you looking at spending more than you did on the camera to have them custom made?
     
  6. William Levitt

    William Levitt Member

    Messages:
    214
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2002
    Location:
    Nuernberg, G
    After discussing this matter of using the current plateholder with modern film with the previous owner, as well as gathering info from internet forums, I'll first try the method of "backing" the film with either a glass plate or a metal plate cut to the same size as the film. The holder has springs which will press the plate (either glass or metal) / film "sandwich" against the front frame of the film holder. In case that is insufficent at preventing film sag, I'll then use a spray mount from GEPE which has the stickyness of those yellow post-it note pads. It is sold through a company here in Germany called Monochrom for this very purpose. It is ph neutral, and stays tacky for quite some time.

    But to answer your question David, even IF I were to have the camera modified, and a couple of filmholder made up, the total price for the camera, modifications, Goerz lens and holders would STILL be cheaper than the current market prices for either new or used banquet cameras.

    Needless to say, I got a GREAT price on this outfit. Every once in awhile bargings can still be found on Ebay, but they are becoming increasingly harder to find.
     
  7. William Levitt

    William Levitt Member

    Messages:
    214
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2002
    Location:
    Nuernberg, G
    Well, here is some new info regarding this camera.It was made by a company called Thornton &Pickard in England and was introduced in 1907. The lens is a Ross of London, Goerz 19inch Double Anastigmat f 7.7
    The plate holders are designed for use with a 15X12" glass plate (if you do a search using 12X15 you come up empty, but using 15X12 you get several google hits). I will be having 2 film sheaths of the appropriate size made. The film is then loaded into the sheaths, and then layed in the holder as if it were a glass plate. The design is rather simple so it shouldn't be too costly to have made.

    Strangly enough, now that I know the origon of this camera, I've run across several of them (in smaller sizes of course) on ebay. The 15X12" camera was referred to as a "full plate" and smaller size cameras were called "half plate" "quarter plate" etc.

    I can't wait to make the first exposure!
     
  8. rogein

    rogein Member

    Messages:
    101
    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2002
    Location:
    North York,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    </span><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (William Levitt @ Dec 1 2002, 08:45 AM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'>Strangly enough, now that I know the origon of this camera, I've run across several of them (in smaller sizes of course) on ebay. The 15X12" camera was referred to as a "full plate" and smaller size cameras were called "half plate" "quarter plate" etc.</td></tr></table><span id='postcolor'>
    Hi William,

    This is interesting - I've always been under the impression 'full plate' was 6.5x8.5 inches. Does this mean there was a size difference between U.S. and English 'full plate'? Anyways, like most 'old English woodies' it looks fantastic!

    Cheers,
    Roger...
     
  9. William Levitt

    William Levitt Member

    Messages:
    214
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2002
    Location:
    Nuernberg, G
    I got this information from an English Website dicussing the history of camera, English products in particular. Of course I wasn't smart enough to bookmark the page. But the referral to "full plate" was in direct reference to the introduction of the 15X12" camera in 1907 in England.

    Found it

    http://www.usinternet.com/users/rniederman/univ1.htm


    "In 1907, Thornton Pickard listed the "New Model" in sizes from 1/4-plate to 15" X 12" and the original model in sizes from Postcard to 10" X 8". Apparently the original models offered were unsold remnant stock since they carried very low prices."
     
  10. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    Messages:
    17,945
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2002
    Location:
    Honolulu, Ha
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    That doesn't imply that "full plate" refers to 15x12", but that this was the largest size they made, and that quarter plate was the smallest. I've always been under the impression as well that "full plate" referred to 8.5x6.5, though there in fact were plates made larger than full plate.
     
  11. William Levitt

    William Levitt Member

    Messages:
    214
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2002
    Location:
    Nuernberg, G
    Could very well be that I miss interpreted that information David. Is it possible that the term Full Plate meant different things to different manufacturers? Or do you think that sizes were "standardized" back then.

    If a full plate was/is 8.5 X 6.5, then the 15X12 would have to be considered atleast a "double plate"
     
  12. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    Messages:
    17,945
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2002
    Location:
    Honolulu, Ha
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    There were all kinds of strange formats, and some professionals seemed to like having their own distinctive format (easy enough if you're coating your own plates and cutting your own glass), but I think certain terms like "full plate," "half plate," "quarter plate," "postcard," and "cabinet size" were used pretty consistently. I would guess standardization started coming in with manufactured dry plates.
     
  13. William Levitt

    William Levitt Member

    Messages:
    214
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2002
    Location:
    Nuernberg, G
    Just to keep this thread at the top of the list, I thought I would post an update as far as the restoration of the camera is concerned.

    I had the good fortune of meeting a cabinetmaker the other day that is excited about the chance to work with me in bringing the camera and the glassplate holder up to modern specs for practical usage.

    I went out and purchased a piece of mahogony to use as the raw material in order to match as well as possible the rest of the camera parts.

    The first thing that had to be done was to have a couple of spare lens boards made. Not just a rectangle of wood cut out with a tongue on each side to fit into the existing track...oh no, that would be too simple. The grain of the wood must run in different directions in order to prevent any future warping of the plate.

    Next, the circular opening on the base of the camera, intended for use with an old fashion tripod system, will be filled in with a circular base of mahogony, then a second circular base, slightly larger will be glued on top of that with the grain running in a 90° angle to the first plate, again to insure that the plates remain flat and stable, no warping. In the middle of this base plate, a 3/8" tripod connection will be inserted.

    All of the wood will be glued using bone glue. Yup, bone glue. Animal bones are cooked down until a glue is formed. I guess that's the kind of glue they used to use dead horses for. According to the cabinet maker, it's the best glue for woodworking. And I like the way this guy works, using only hand tools and horse glue....fits right in with a 100 year old camera and a photographer that developes in ABC and uses Azo and Amidol.
    After he's done with theses stages of the project, he wants to make a few extra 12X15" glass plate holders for me! He's as excited about this project as I am.
    Then he sent me to a buddy of his who is a tinsmith. He's making a set of film sheaths for the glass plate holders, which will allow me to use modern film in them.
    All in all, a very productive day.
    BTW, in case anybody is curious, he's making the lensboards and camera base for $80, complete with a shellac finish to match the rest of the camera. And the film sheaths are going to cost me $10 a piece! Such a deal!
     
  14. Sponsored Ad
  15. Jorge

    Jorge Inactive

    Messages:
    4,532
    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2002
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    At those prices design your own camera and have the guy make it....[​IMG]
     
  16. William Levitt

    William Levitt Member

    Messages:
    214
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2002
    Location:
    Nuernberg, G
    You're right! If I had known him BEFORE purchasing the 15X12" camera, I might just have done that. But it's fun to see the enthusiaism this guyx has about his work. The way we talk about developers this guy can talk about glue. Our film to his veneers, our Azo to his hand rubbed shellac finishes. We had a grand time in his workshop today discussing the details!
     
  17. Robert

    Robert Member

    Messages:
    747
    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2002
    bone glue or hide glue? How big are the lensboards that you're worried about warping? Have him make floating panels-)) I actually think some of the old cameras I've seen had them. Seems like overkill to me but they look nice.
     
  18. William Levitt

    William Levitt Member

    Messages:
    214
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2002
    Location:
    Nuernberg, G
    The lensboards are approx. 14X20 cm in size. Sure, I know what you mean, it sounds like over kill, but it was the method used in making the origional lensboards, so he's just staying true to the style, and I must admit, I like his attitiude! Take another look at the picture of the camera. The problem is, the lensboards slide in a tongue and groove system, allowing for a front shift. If the lensboard warps even 1mm (as he explained it to me), it's going to no longer move in the track properly. And on top of that, a warp would/could also lead to a light leak, again because of the system with which the lensboard is mounted to the camera.

    See pic for how the panel has been divided into three sections with the grain running in 2 directions for stability.

    The glue, as it was explained to be, is produced by cooking animal bone until it reduces to a sticky glue. It is then allowed to dry, and is then ground into small pellet shaped beads about 1mm in diameter. This is how he buys it from his supplier. He then melts the pellets creating again a liquid form. He showed me pair of maraccas he made using this glue to attach the handles to the gourd. This glue is amazingly strong and dries to a slight caramel color.
     
  19. William Levitt

    William Levitt Member

    Messages:
    214
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2002
    Location:
    Nuernberg, G
    Sorry if I seem to be beating a dead horse, or thread in this case, but I thought I would keep you all updated as far as bringing this old camera back to life.

    We all know how expensive film holder are if you have them custom made, and that would certainly be the best way to go, for someone on an inlimited budget, but I am unfortunatly not. So, in order to get some extended life out of my glass plate holder, I had a sheet metal shop make me some 12X15" film sheaths. These are inserts, made out of 1mm thick aluminum, fabricated to fit into the glassplöate holder where the glass plate was intended to go. These filmsheaths will accept modern film. I've uploaded an image showing the sheath thus far. They still need to be primed and painted black, but they are such a perfect fit, I just couldn't wait to share it with someone.
    The sheetmetal shop wanted to charge me 5.00 Euro for the two filmsheaths, but I just couldn't let myself get away so cheap, so I gave the guy 5,00 a piece. Still cheap I know, but I felt a little better about the situation.

    I can pick up the new baseplate with tripod thread on friday. So now I'm going to place an order for my sheetfilm.
     
  20. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    Messages:
    17,945
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2002
    Location:
    Honolulu, Ha
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    Neat solution. How are you planning to correct for the difference in registration from the film sheath, or is this not an issue? Maybe you could have the same shop make a shim out of the same sheet metal stock to fit under the groundglass.
     
  21. Robert

    Robert Member

    Messages:
    747
    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2002
    Personally I find it all interesting. Whether a person is looking at rebuilding an old camera or building something the more the ideas the better.
     
  22. William Levitt

    William Levitt Member

    Messages:
    214
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2002
    Location:
    Nuernberg, G
    David,
    the film sheath is a solution designed by kodak, in fact, origional film sheaths can still be found often on Ebay, and that is where I got the design for these that I had made. The film emulsion will sit less than 1mm away from the position of the origional glass plate surface. Wether or not this will make a difference in the final sharpness I honestly do not yet know. But I would say that after some test negatives, the results should be obvious. But I think the shim idea might be a good one. I'll check in with the shop tomorrow for some shims just in case. In fact, I could do a test right from the get go, same subject, same focus, one with shims one without.

    As I placed my order for my sheet film through Webphota in Berlin, the owner told me that he could supply me with glass plates at just about any size, with a speed equal to ASA 100. I must admit it would be interesting to give a glass plate a try, but for practical reasons, I'm looking to stick with film.
     
  23. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    Messages:
    17,945
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2002
    Location:
    Honolulu, Ha
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    It would be interesting to try glass plates if you can get them for a reasonable price--perfect flatness and no additional glass required for contact printing. I looked into this once, and discovered that 8x10" T-Max 100 plates are astoundingly costly (just quickly checking B&H, they have some 9x12cm TMX plates in stock, almost two years out of date, at $300 for a box of 36--meter carefully!). How much is Webphota asking?
     
  24. William Levitt

    William Levitt Member

    Messages:
    214
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2002
    Location:
    Nuernberg, G
    Well, I do not have the price for the glass plates, but I received my "cut to order" film (NP27 ASA400 / 295 X 375mm) in 2 days, at a total cost of 91.00 Euros for 25 sheets (that's including our very high 16% sales tax and shipping, the film price was 80,43 Euros).

    I also picked up my custom machined baseplate for the camera. So it can finally be mounted to the tripod. I was going to paint it black, and may still, but when mounting and unmounting it to my Ries head, it's going to get scratched up anyway. my film sheaths have just received their coat of primer and will be painted black tonight.

    I mounted a commercial Ektar 300 on the camera, just to see what would happen, and I just don't get it. Focused at infinity, this lens covers 12X15"! I've always used it on my 8X10" camera without any vignetting, but 12X15? I'll have to shoot a piece of film with this lens mounted to see the results myself, but according to the GG, it covers, as does my Schneider Angulon 210mm.

    Here is a pic of the base plate I had made. BTW, the machinist had an apprentice do the work, and he didn't charge me a thing for it! He's also made Lensboards for my Wista without charging as well. This time I was ready for him though, and I gave him a framed photo as a "Thank You".
     
  25. William Levitt

    William Levitt Member

    Messages:
    214
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2002
    Location:
    Nuernberg, G
    Here is another view. The plate fits in an existing "Hole" in the base of the camera, and is held in place by the origional clips, which means it could be removed anytime without damaging the camera. On the top of the plate there is a second disk, 10cm in diameter and 1 cm thick with a 3/8 inch thread for mounting.
     
  26. avandesande

    avandesande Member

    Messages:
    1,246
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2002
    Location:
    Tijeras, NM
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    William, I was wondering how your adventures with this camera are coming along..
    --Aaron