Anyone recognize this camera?

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by MikeSeb, Feb 18, 2009.

  1. MikeSeb

    MikeSeb Member

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    I hope someone here can help me with identifying this camera. I've attached several images---forgive the crappy quick digi-snaps.

    It's an old view camera I "inherited" indirectly from my wife's grandfather, or possibly his father---no one is sure. It's been used as a decoration for probably fifty years or longer. Her grandfather was, among other things, the portrait and wedding photographer in their small rural (there is no other type!) Kentucky town. (Also got a Kowa Super Six and irreparable Speed Graphic "from" him.)

    It appears to have been at least an 8x10 camera, but someone fitted it with a homemade reducing back into which a 4x5 graflok (?) back has been inserted. It has front rise and fall, and back tilt, but no other movements I can see.

    Markings: label on the front: "Empire State, Manufactured by Rochester Optical Co., Rochester NY". Lens: 10-3/4" f/4.5 Goertz Dogmar, Patented 1914. Not sure about the shutter.

    I'm thinking if I can't get it working to make photographs itself, I may just use the lens and shutter in my 4x5 and see what I get. The lens looks to have some spots of fungus on the rear element, and it is uncoated of course, but it might be interesting. It's a 10 3/4" focal length, so about a 270mm, which would be a nice portrait length. I just posted a thread here about a good "portrait" lens for a 4x5, and this might do it. I expect it'll be quite soft and full of flare.

    Thanks folks!
     

    Attached Files:

  2. Fotoguy20d

    Fotoguy20d Subscriber

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  3. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council

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    Well, the Dogmar lens is a great one - I know John Dugdale shoots a longer length version on his 11x14 Deardorff. Those Compound shutters are pretty reliable- it may only need a good cla to put it right.
     
  4. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Mike;

    Could it have been an 11x14? I know that there are several fine 11x14 cameras almost identical to this one out there. I believe that George Eastman may have bought the company early in the history of EK. At least, I have seen one 11x14 about identical to yours but with an Eastman Kodak plate on the front.

    PE
     
  5. MikeSeb

    MikeSeb Member

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    Entirely likely. I haven't measured the back exactly, pending getting it apart without damage; but it might well be an 11x14.
     
  6. c6h6o3

    c6h6o3 Member

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    It may surprise you. My sharpest lens is an uncoated 12" Goerz Dagor, made in 1911. It has slight flare, and in some situations has provided beautiful shadow tonality that would've been lost had I used a coated lens, such as my APO Red Dot Artar or my Nikkor.
     
  7. pgomena

    pgomena Member

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    It looks as though you still have the original frame for the 8x10 back on the camera. If you can get the plywood off safely, you might be able to put a new ground glass in there and have an 8x10.

    A good lens shade will take care of a lot of the flare. Avoid working in high-flare situations, and your lens probably will do nicely. A little flare can be a good thing in portraiture, softening the transitions between light and dark. That lens probably will do you well on your project. Give it a good cleaning and try it out!

    Peter Gomena
     
  8. Francis in VT

    Francis in VT Member

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    Mike;

    The name "Empire State" I heard was bestowed on this camera due to the extreme high rise of the lens board for photographing tall buildings.
    Of course this was also determined by the rear coverage of the lens
     
  9. df cardwell

    df cardwell Subscriber

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    :wink:Your Dogmar is a real gem. Call me if you have ANY instinct to sell it. A big bottle of Mark, for openers

    The effect of 'flare' is to make the very darkest step of the scale dark, dark gray instead of black. It never bothered Weston, Strand, or Adams. Gosh, this is a fine, fine, lens. It will shoot wide open VERY nicely. Open sky, at the end of the day, great. Window light ? Fantastic. You've landed on your feet. JUST DON'T EXPECT FLARE AND SOFTY CRAP. You now own a perfect lens, even better to be carrying on the family tradition.

    With all respect to our beloved Apuggers who are besotted with their Heliars, when I owned a couple shoeboxes of Heliars, I happily sold them and kept the Dogmars. If you decide to renew the R.O.C., do a search here for Bellows Manufacturing in Birmingham UK. You've done good.
     
  10. outwest

    outwest Subscriber

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    I have 2 Dogmars, a 420mm f/5.5 and a 180mm f/4.5. The 180 is coated. The other neat thing about them is that they can be used converted with nice effects. One group is about 1.5x and the other about 1.9x IIRC.
     
  11. phfitz

    phfitz Member

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    Mike,

    I agree with the others, you lucked out, Dogmar were Goerz premiere lenses, think of a Heliar with larger coverage. I have a very full set, including a 9.5"/4.5 #317553 that is coated but does NOT convert, try yours.

    Have fun with it.
     
  12. outwest

    outwest Subscriber

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