Best 9x12 folding plate camera to start

Discussion in 'Plate Cameras and Accessories' started by Uncle Goose, Sep 10, 2008.

  1. Uncle Goose

    Uncle Goose Member

    Messages:
    419
    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2006
    Location:
    Gent (Belgiu
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    OK, I'm seriously thinking to try a 9x12cm folding plate camera but it looks like there are a zillion different types out there. I narrowed it down to a Zeiss Ikon or equivalent because people say it's more easy to get the holders. Now what about the different lenses? Which one is the best or which one is best avoided? I would like to get some info on how the holders work too, I suspect the procedure of using one is very much like a viewcamera (I've already used a Cambo 4x5inch)? or am I mistaken?

    Since I'm not very familiar with this kind of camera I rather planning to buy one on a camera fair because there I have the opportunity to test it and see if it's in OK shape (unless somebody here has one in OK condition to sell :smile:). Anything to look out in particular?
     
  2. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    Messages:
    9,281
    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2002
    Location:
    Bergen, Norw
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    The best, IMO, is a Voigtländer Bergheil. The ones with Heliar 150mm f:4.5 lens tend to sell for less than half what the lens alone would bring. It can be used like a (very small) view camera, or like a simple box camera: The choise is yours.

    The Zeiss maximar is more common, and almost as good. Same with the Voigtländer Avus, Alpin and VAG. :smile:
     
  3. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

    Messages:
    18,040
    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2004
    Location:
    West Midland
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Most of the manufacturers offered a range of options, usually with different lenses & shutters. Top models usually have a Compur or Ibsor shutter with a full range of shutter speeds, while the bottom end models have a 3 speed shutter. Likewise lenses vary from Dagor's, Xenar's, Heliar's, Tessar's etc to cheap and nasty triplets with a variety of indifferent anistagmatic lenses in between.

    Often the lenses are the weak link as they are all uncoated, my Ibsor & Compur shutters are still remarkably accurate despite being over 70 years old.

    9x12's are usually quite cheap, plate/film holders are easy to find but there is some variation, so make sure you find which type fits. Don't be fooled into thinking all Zeiss 9x12 cameras take the same film holders they don't. Remember Zeiss Ikon was an amalgamation of a few German camera companies.

    The glass focus screens are quite poor but Belgium is now famous for exporting Glass focus screen :D so contact Geert for a better one :smile:

    Good luck, let us know what you buy.

    Ian
     
  4. Uncle Goose

    Uncle Goose Member

    Messages:
    419
    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2006
    Location:
    Gent (Belgiu
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Mhhh, I'm tempted by a Voigtländer Bergheil with a Heliar 105mm 1:4.5 lens although it's only a 6.5x9cm. I will see how high it goes. Any idea how easy it is to get holders for this size?
     
  5. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    Messages:
    9,281
    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2002
    Location:
    Bergen, Norw
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    If it's urgent, I think I could spare a few holders for that camera. :smile:

    BTW, I've got one of those too - but with a 120mm Heliar. :D
     
  6. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

    Messages:
    18,040
    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2004
    Location:
    West Midland
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    If you get a 9x12 you can use a Rollex 6x9 back which takes roll film which is easier to get & process.

    Ian
     
  7. Uncle Goose

    Uncle Goose Member

    Messages:
    419
    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2006
    Location:
    Gent (Belgiu
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Mhhh, good thinking Ian. Would indeed be the same then. It's not urgent, it's just something that went trough my mind after using a cambo, but a cambo itself is way to big to carry around so I think a 9x12 will be the best solution in terms of portability. I'm gonna look around some more, the next fair here in Belgium is at the end of this month so it's worth waiting a little bit and have a look there. With the current digital market I assume there is plenty of choice in this camera type and there will be people there who know at least some more then me :smile:.
     
  8. JPD

    JPD Member

    Messages:
    843
    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2007
    Location:
    Sweden
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    I have one plus twelwe holders. The 105mm Heliar is excellent. Psuedo-3D-results and nice "bokeh" at large apertures, and very sharp stopped down.

    I needed to make my own viewing screen and adjust it to focus correctly, though.

    I recently bought a 9x12 Bergheil with 13,5cm Heliar, and have yet to test it.
     
  9. Uncle Goose

    Uncle Goose Member

    Messages:
    419
    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2006
    Location:
    Gent (Belgiu
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Just one more thing, what is the common price of a Zeiss Ikon Maximar or Voigtländer Avus in good working condition? I would like to have an idea how much I'm gonna be ripped off :D.
     
  10. Soeren

    Soeren Member

    Messages:
    2,439
    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2004
    Location:
    Naestved, DK
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Darn you guys. This is really bad timing for such a thread :mad:
    Now shut up :D :D
    Well, now when its out in the open, how easy are the holders to achieve and are they plateholders with cutfilm adapters?
    Kind regards
     
  11. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    Messages:
    9,281
    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2002
    Location:
    Bergen, Norw
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    Kadlubek's (fifth ed.) says EUR 80 for a Maximar, and EUR 60 to 90 for an Avus. Bergheils double that and up...

    There will be variations with different lenses and shutters, different modelss with slightly different features and so on, but except for Bergheils with Heliar lens the price is remarkably constant.

    I'm deliberately not fiving the prices in US $, since the exchange rate has changed in the time since printing - and these cameras are more common in Europe thus the EUR price is more stable.
     
  12. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    Messages:
    9,281
    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2002
    Location:
    Bergen, Norw
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    Holders are quite easy to find, but it's always best to buy a camera WITH holders. Otherwise you are bound to find out just how many slightly incompatible systems there are...

    The holders are plate holders, which may have cut film adapters inside. Or they may not. Some I bought had unexposed plates in them.

    But at least the cut film adapters are standard: any 9x12cm sheath will fit in ant 9x12cm plate holder. They would have to, since they are all the same size as a 9x12cm glass plate. :smile:
     
  13. ntenny

    ntenny Member

    Messages:
    2,283
    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2008
    Location:
    San Diego, C
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    ...with the happy exception of the Kodak combination holders, which (1) don't need a sheath at all, and (2) fit Voigtlaender cameras (and the various compatible ones) nicely. There seem to be a fair number of them around in both the 9x12 and 6.5x9 sizes, I suppose originally associated with Kodak's Recomar plate cameras.

    The Recomars, and the Nagel Fornidars that preceded them, are also very nice cameras, and a whole lot cheaper than a Bergheil. The lenses aren't on par with Heliars---they seem mostly to be Xenars relabelled as "Kodak Anastigmat", but Xenars are perfectly good lenses, and the cameras command no particular price premium, I suspect because a lot of people see "Anastigmat" and assume it means "triplet".

    -NT
     
  14. Sponsored Ad
  15. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

    Messages:
    18,040
    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2004
    Location:
    West Midland
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    From the few I've come across I was under the impression that the Formidar's & Recomar's either had Nagel-Doppel Anastigmat f/4.5 135mm, Nagel Laudar f4.5 135mm, and later Kodak Anastigmatic f4.5 135mm's and alternatively the top versions having Tessar or Xenar f4.5 135mm lenses.

    Ian
     
  16. ntenny

    ntenny Member

    Messages:
    2,283
    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2008
    Location:
    San Diego, C
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I've been trying to research these lenses a little bit, and as far as I can tell there's a lot of confusion, but it does seem to be pretty certain that Nagel-werk never made lenses---anything labelled "Nagel-Doppel Anastigmat" is a lens sourced from someone else and rebranded, as are many of the Kodak Anastigmats.

    The Vade Mecum doesn't have much light to shed, but thinks that at least some 105mm Nagel Anastigmats on 6x9 folders were triplets.

    -NT
     
  17. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

    Messages:
    18,040
    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2004
    Location:
    West Midland
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    NT, a lot of the 9x12 camera manufactures offered cheap lenses that they probably bought in branded for them. The cheapest lenses were triplets, the Nagel Ladar may be one, the Nagel-Doppel Anastigmat f/4.5 135mm was probably a just a run of the mill Anastigmatic.

    The only really decent 9x12 lenses are sold under the lens manufacturers own name, that does match the camera manufacturer in the case of Zeiss, and the Tessar, Voightlander and the Heliar, Goerz and the Dagor, Rodenstock and the Eurynar, there may be others.

    Ian
     
  18. Uncle Goose

    Uncle Goose Member

    Messages:
    419
    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2006
    Location:
    Gent (Belgiu
    Shooter:
    Medium Format

    I will hold out till the next camera fair at the end of this month. Changes are that I can buy a complete set with holders and all. I might pay a little bit more than the Ebay but at least I have a change to (dry)test it all before I buy it. For that I'm willing to pay a little more. And once I got some holders I know what to look for. I will see if they have a nice Maximar at a decent price there.
     
  19. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

    Messages:
    18,040
    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2004
    Location:
    West Midland
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Uncle Goose you edited your post as I was writing !!!!

    I only have plate holders, I need to make some more cut film inserts. My main problem is my 3 cameras & film are in the UK, and I live in Asia Minor (Turkey), unfortunately airline weight restrictions are so low I've not had room to bring them yet.

    So far I've never seen cut film adapters for sale anywhere, and I look on Ebay on at least a weekly basis, plate holders are always available but only buy when a lot are listed and ending around the same time. The first ones fetch high prices then you get the bargains, and usually there's no difference in quality.

    Ian
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 11, 2008
  20. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    Messages:
    9,281
    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2002
    Location:
    Bergen, Norw
    Shooter:
    Large Format
  21. ntenny

    ntenny Member

    Messages:
    2,283
    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2008
    Location:
    San Diego, C
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Hi Ian,

    I dunno. The whole history of Nagel/Kodak AG is a bit strange and unclearly documented; it seems to be very widely thought that the "Kodak Anastigmat" lenses on the Duo Six-20 (which was also made in the Nagel factory) were rebadged Xenars (there's a lot of discussion of this possibility at <http://photo.net/classic-cameras-forum/00FVVo>).

    With the earlier Nagel-branded lenses, I don't think anyone has an authoritative history of what came from where.

    That seems like too strong a statement to me. You're not saying "no Xenars were ever rebranded", are you?

    At some point I'll try to take a really close look at the "Nagel" lens on my 9x12 Fornidar. My feeling is that it handles bright lights too well to be a triplet, but maybe it's just a really good one.

    -NT
     
  22. JPD

    JPD Member

    Messages:
    843
    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2007
    Location:
    Sweden
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    I have the Kodak combination holders in both 6,5x9 and 9x12, and while the do fit Voigtländer cameras the film plane is tilted by 0,3 mm or so, so I find them unusable.
     
  23. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

    Messages:
    18,040
    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2004
    Location:
    West Midland
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    No obviously we won't know for sure if Xenar's were re-branded as Kodak Anastigmat's for Kodak's US market. However many of the Recomars were actually finished in the US where they had the Rangefinders fitted and Kodak Anastigmat lenses were being made in Rochester. Schneider weren't a well known lens manufacturer outside of Europe before the war, unlike Zeiss, so re-badging for Kodak in the US would not be a major issue, but all European sold Kodak camera's fitted with a decent Schneider lens were branded as such.

    I have a list of 9x12 cameras & lens/shutter details that I've been adding to occasionally and all the big manufacturers top models have lenses from Zeiss - Tessar, Schneider - Xenar, Goerz - Dagor, Rodenstock - Eurynar or Voigtlander - Heliar/Skopar. Of those the Eurynar is possibly the weakest lens due to it's higher number of air/glass surfaces, unless you're lucky like Ole to have a coated lens :D

    Some of the best pre-war triplets were excellent performers stopped down past about f8, I had a superb Zeiss Triotar on an early Rolleicord, and the Trinar's aren't bad either. It's worth mentioning that I was using a 1932 135mm Zeiss Tessar on a Crown Graphic until recently but found the edge sharpness was quite soft until stopped down to at least f16.

    Thanks Ole, I've emailed them this morning.

    Ian
     
  24. ntenny

    ntenny Member

    Messages:
    2,283
    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2008
    Location:
    San Diego, C
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Cool---I didn't even know they sold them with rangefinders. Just what I need: Another flavour of cameras to lust after. :smile:

    I took a look at my 9x12 Fornidar last night, and found that I misremembered: The lens isn't labelled Nagel but Rexo, a name on which the Vade Mecum is resolutely silent. The shutter is a dialset Ilex (they're supposed to suck, but this one seems fine), though, which would vaguely support an American-made lens---why would a Nagel-branded camera have an American lens???---and I looked at reflections a little bit and ended up thinking it's a 2/2 lens of some sort, but I have no idea what. Could be a Dagor. Might not be the original lens, for that matter.

    But we digress hugely---I still say they're nice cameras, not competitive with a Bergheil but not priced like one either, and some of them bearing good lenses.

    On another note, I definitely haven't had the film-plane problem someone mentioned with the Kodak holders in 9x12. Is this a common problem, or maybe a matter of a specific camera or holder batch being misaligned? If it happens regularly, I'll stop looking for more of them!

    -NT
     
  25. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

    Messages:
    18,040
    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2004
    Location:
    West Midland
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Once Kodak bought Nagel in 1931 it's quite easy to see how a Nagel branded camera could end up with a Rochester lens/shutter. Cameras must have been shipped with no lens/shutter fitted possibly with no bellows either to allow the fitting of the optional rangefinder. (Link is a 6x9)

    It's ironic that Kodak had their Kodak Anastigmat name put on the lenses when they sold some Triplets, mid range & high quality lenses marked similarly. Later they realised that mistake and named their own top lenses Ektars.

    The best Recomar cameras fetch similar high prices compared to the best 9x12 Zeiss & Voightlander cameras, there isn't very much difference in quality between the cameras themselves, they all use the same Compur shutters and Tessar type lenses. Personally I would place a Recomar 33 with a range-finder top in my list of the most desirable & usable 9x12 cameras.

    If I could find a pair of coated 135mm Tessar or Heliar cells from the 50's early 60's, or even in a shutter, I'd buy a Recomar with a rangefinder instantly. That would make a very useful, high quality, practical pocket size LF camera. Of course coated Xenar cells would probably be easier to find but the Heliar & East German Zeiss Jena Tessar lenses were better coated.

    Feeling jealous of Ole and his coated Eurynar I got a quote today to have mine coated - $195 for each air glass surface there are 8 - so that's $1560 in total. I could buy quite a few modern Multicoated Symmars, S

    Ian
     
  26. Soeren

    Soeren Member

    Messages:
    2,439
    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2004
    Location:
    Naestved, DK
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I need some more info on The Voigtländer 9X12 filmholders if possible with pics.
    I have been told there are two types, is this correct?
    Are they plateholders with adapters?
    Does sheetfilm only holders exist? Plates only?
    Are the internal dimensions 9X12 cm exactly?
    Which plate thickness will they accept?
    Oh and btw I read something about a tele Dynar for the Bergheil................?
    Kind regards