Big Bertha

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by Whiteymorange, Dec 4, 2011.

  1. Whiteymorange

    Whiteymorange Member

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    Boy! I saw one of these today. Glad I didn't have to lug that thing around to get my job done as a sports photographer! I wonder how many were made? The one I saw today had a 28" f5 Zeiss Jena Triplet. They must have pushed the film quite a bit to get action shots in Yankee Stadium, where the owner of the camera says that this one was used. The handle on the side is a sort of speed shift, to get the focus right for each of the bases where the action might be happening at any given moment. Here are a couple in action.
     
  2. zsas

    zsas Member

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    1016mm!!!
     
  3. papagene

    papagene Membership Council Council

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    Where did you cross paths with one of these??? You didn't try to slip it into your back pocket did ya? :wink:
     
  4. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I like those beer crates under the cameras in the second shot. "Tripod? We don't need no stinkin' tripods!"

    I think traditionally the focus stops would have been set to home plate, the pitcher's mound and first base.

    Looks like that's a night game, too, which must have been even more of a challenge.
     
  5. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    Thanx!
     
  6. tony lockerbie

    tony lockerbie Subscriber

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    Back in the days when men were men, and Chiropractors were busy!
     
  7. Dan Fromm

    Dan Fromm Member

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  8. brian d

    brian d Member

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    another THANKS!:smile:
     
  9. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Fantastic article, Dan. Thanks!
     
  10. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    +1 on the Popular Science article.

    Like the item at the end too - a hand-held tube radio!
     
  11. steven_e007

    steven_e007 Member

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    I think it should be a rule on Flickr:

    After you've taken lots of pics of your old film camera with your new digital SLR - you then have to stick some film in the old film camera and post the pictures at the end.

    (I was just itching to see what the 'Big Bertha' could produce ;-)
     
  12. holmburgers

    holmburgers Member

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  13. mhcfires

    mhcfires Subscriber

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    I thought the Home Portrait Graflex was a 5x7.

    m
     
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  15. Jeff Kubach

    Jeff Kubach Member

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    That is heck of a camera!

    Jeff
     
  16. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I think these were generally made with 5x7" Graflex cameras, because they were big enough to mount the lenses, but were used with 4x5" backs. I suspect the long lens barrels may have vignetted the image on 5x7", and they were likely to be cropping from the 4x5" frame anyway.
     
  17. vpwphoto

    vpwphoto Member

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    I a suit no less...

    I like that the photographer pictured in the PS Bertha article was wearing a suit too!
     
  18. vpwphoto

    vpwphoto Member

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    Here I go...

    Hogwsh! @ Goldfarb. quoting "I suspect the long lens barrels may have vignetted the image on 5x7", and they were likely to be cropping from the 4x5" frame anyway."

    The barrel is just a way to mount the lens and keep stray light out... has nothing to do with coverage. I had a similar lens (not that long of focal length) and it could illuminate WP just fine. let alone the 5x7 it was designed for.
     
  19. Whiteymorange

    Whiteymorange Member

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    The owner of the camera I saw said that the vignetting never showed on his pictures, though in truth he's a collector more than a photographer, I think.
    In a related story: at the recent PHSNE Photographica, I was convinced to take a 4x5 RB off the hands of another dealer at a low cost ($50) that I then turned around and gave to another dealer because I had too many projects. It had a way big flange for the lens mount that was pretty obviously factory installed in that it wasn't attached to the front but was the main front standard of the camera, welded in as all of them are. And there was no flip-up door, no broken hinge or place where one had been. I mean the threaded opening was well over 75mm. In looking up the Big Bertha last night, I found that the Graflex site has a few pictures of 4x5 versions made by the factory with 20" Wollensak telephoto lenses. Here is a George Eastman House page on one. I wonder if the one I passed on was a body from one of these.

    Turns out the other projects I bought (5x7 and 8x10 view camera bodies that need work) are less likely to be interesting in the long run than the one that got away... I guess it works out like that sometimes.

    Whitey
     
  20. papagene

    papagene Membership Council Council

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    Hmmmm, I remember that camera. I think your speculation may be spot on! :wink:
     
  21. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    Trusses custom made while you wait. :cry:
     
  22. Fragomeni

    Fragomeni Member

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    The Star camera that started this thread looks like a 5x7 rather then a 4x5 like was already mentioned. I've head of them making them and mounting a 4x5 revolving back on them since 4x5 film was more commonly used by the photographers using these cameras. The biggest one I've seen was a 5x7 with the most absurdly large lens on it. The thing pretty much required two people to move it.

    Anyway, if anyone knows anyone interested I'm actually selling a relatively reasonably sized 4x5 Big Bertha right now. I tried offering it to the APUGers at a discount first but now its up on the auction site.
     
  23. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    The lens has plenty of coverage for a much larger format than 5x7", but put it on an SLR with a long barrel, and I wouldn't be surprised if there were some mechanical vignetting at wide apertures, just because of the way the mount is constructed. It's not like having a tapered or square bellows with no obstructions between the lens and the film.
     
  24. brian d

    brian d Member

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    I could just...:cry:
     
  25. Newt_on_Swings

    Newt_on_Swings Member

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    Just amazing, I wonder how it looked and sounded throwing the stick shift back and fourth and firing off a frame. Thanks for the pics and the read =]
     
  26. mhcfires

    mhcfires Subscriber

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    You definitely need your orthopedic underware when trying to move that beast. My 4x5 RB Auto-Graflex is bad enough.