Any practical use for a BIG copy camera?

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by sunnyroller, Oct 4, 2005.

  1. sunnyroller

    sunnyroller Member

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    I have the opportunity to have the first look at some darkroom stuff and a really big copy camera like an old blueprint camera. They guy selling it is liquidating it for a publishing company that has been in business for many years and thus he is not a camera person. I spoke with him on the phone this morning and he described it as 3 feet by 3 feet with bellows that extend about 6 feet. Since I know less than nothing about large format and ultra large format cameras I thought I would seek advice from all of you knowledgable apuggers. He is going to go up to the building tonight and get exact measurements and see if there is a brand name or any other identifying information. I will add whatever information he provides to this thread as I have it.

    All of you LF people say bigger is better, but is there such a thing as too big?

    Thanks in advance for any information you can provide.

    Sunny
     
  2. Paul Sorensen

    Paul Sorensen Member

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    I suspect that if you can get it to New Zealand, there is someone there who will take it! :D
     
  3. sunnyroller

    sunnyroller Member

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    I don't even know if those are realistic dimensions for a camera--that is how ignorant I am of formats larger than 6cm x 6cm! The gentleman is supposed to measure it for me and let me know tonight. :smile:
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 4, 2005
  4. laz

    laz Member

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    If it comes with film holders, lensboards or lenses of use for other pursuits or cameras, you can sell or trade for gear you use (or give to nice APUGers like me :smile: )

    My first LF was a copy camera bought cheap on a whim. It had tons of 5x7 film holders that I traded and a 1/2 dozen 8x10 holders that once I had meant that I absolutely had to get into LF where all the best people are!
     
  5. sunnyroller

    sunnyroller Member

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    The guy said if I wasn't interested that he would try to sell it on eBay. I told him he would have better luck selling it on APUG since the audience is decidely devoted to unusual cameras. I also told him although APUG doesn't charge a fee it is customary to contribute 3% of the sale to the site and he said he would not have a problem with that. He seems to be a nice guy, although not a camera person he is an authority on pottery and has written several books on that subject. Even if this camera isn't something I can use, I would like him to keep me in mind next time he comes across any vintage cameras in his "antiquing".
     
  6. laz

    laz Member

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    Nice to have friends like that! :smile:
     
  7. Donald Miller

    Donald Miller Member

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    These large copy cameras really have very limited use for photographers. I know of two people who have adapted them for photographic applications. The first is a fellow in Chicago and the second is Clyde Butcher in Florida.

    These are typically so large that moving becomes a problem. Second their film capabilities are so far outside the normal photographic formats as to represent massive overkill.

    Both of the photographers that I mentioned are using their copy cameras as enlargers for enlarging ULF negatives (12X20). Most photographers who use ULF equipment contact print their negatives and very few are inclined to enlarge their negatives.
     
  8. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    If you aren't inclined to do the ULF enlarger conversion, some of these cameras have vacuum backs and sometimes vacuum copyboards that can be converted for use as vacuum easels, and often the lenses are of interest apart from the camera.
     
  9. laz

    laz Member

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    Over the summer we spent the weekend in the town of Hudson NY. Hudson is one of those river towns now dominated by antique shops. Slightly off the main drag we found an old theater building that now houses one of those vintage building materials stores (salvage yard!) While strolling the aisles of this dimly lit cavernous place I looked far across the room and saw what looked like a giant camera bellows, it was! the camera was at least 10' x 20' (yes feet!) as near as I could tell the image size was somewhere around 36 x 48 (Dave, you should have seen the gg!)

    The owner said it came out of a advertising agency studio.

    Wowzers, how would you like to handle those sheets of film!
     
  10. Joe Lipka

    Joe Lipka Member

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    For a camera that size, the only "practical" use would be to create enlarged negatives for alternative process printing.

    You would start with a silver print of 8 x 10 size, put it on the copy board, then adjust the camera bed and bellows to make the proper enlargement on the ground glass of the copy camera. Then you would make your enlarged negative on lithographic film.

    Other than that, you probably would get more cannibalizing for parts (enlarging lens, vacuum easels) than selling the whole thing.
     
  11. Dan Fromm

    Dan Fromm Member

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    At worst, if the lenses are in good order they can be rescued and the rest dismantled and tossed. I know, tossing something that seems perfectly good goes against the grain, but big heavy copy cameras aren't in much demand these days.
     
  12. Mike A

    Mike A Member

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    Donald,
    Do you know the name of the gentlemen from chicago that does the ULF printing? I e-mailed with him once but I have lost any address I might have had.
    Thanks,
    Mike Allen