I Finally got my 7x17 up and running!

Discussion in 'Ultra Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by Richard Wasserman, Apr 21, 2006.

  1. Richard Wasserman

    Richard Wasserman Member

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    Richard Ritter got my Sinar to me with the 7x17 conversion about 10 days ago and then I had to send the rear mechanism to Precision Camera Works for a CLA. I at long last got it all put together last night and wanted to share it with all of you. I am very excited to finally have a 7x717 camera!

    I need to do a couple minor tasks to improve it a bit. I want to add a velcro strap to the bellows to prevent it from sagging, and add extensions to the front rise posts so I can have more than about 1 inch of rise.

    Richard Wasserman
     

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  2. Dave Parker

    Dave Parker Inactive

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    Nice looking camera Richard, but 7x717 is a hugh camera :D

    LOL

    Dave
     
  3. KEK

    KEK Member

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    Richard it looks great hope to see somthing in the gallery soon

    enjoy

    Kevin
     
  4. scootermm

    scootermm Subscriber

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    Richard. nice setup. I like the looks of the Sinar/ULF modified cameras people have been doing. Cant wait to see the results you get from shooting with it.
     
  5. ReallyBigCameras

    ReallyBigCameras Advertiser Advertiser

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    Richard,

    Wow! You have me drooling in anticipation. Richard Ritter is currently working on the 7x17 back for my Franken ARCA. The bellows were shipped to him earlier this week from Camera Bellows in England for Richard to attach to the back he is making for me. Once that is done, and Richard ships the back/bellows to me, I'll have a little final assemby to do, but I hope to have the 7x17 Franken ARCA up in running in about 2 - 3 weeks.

    Concerning the front rise, I"ll be able to get between 2 and 2 1/2" of direct front rise with my camera, but I also ordered one of the front standard "boosters" that will give me another 62mm of direct front rise. Since I'm new to 7x17, I don't know exactly how much front rise I will need, I may be able to get by with the built-in 2 - 2 1/2", but it will be nice to have the extender just in case I ocasionally need more.

    Gosh, your camera looks nice! Please give us more specifics (min/max extension, weight, etc.). The precision geared movements on the rear standard have to be sweet. Due to the long focal length lenses used on 7x17, it will make the camera MUCH easier to use. I won't have any geared movements on the back of my camera (one concession I made to keep eth weight down), but I did opt to go with self-arresting geared rise and axis tilt on the front. That way I won't need a third arm to loupe the ground glass while applying tilts.

    Congratulations on your new camera. In terms of usability and rigidity, it should blow away just about anything out there - certainly better than a wobbly old antique that would have probably cost you more money. What a great way to move into ULF.

    Kerry
     
  6. Richard Wasserman

    Richard Wasserman Member

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  7. Kerik

    Kerik Member

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    Hmmm... moving up to MLF (Medium Large Format)? Nice job!!
     
  8. Richard Wasserman

    Richard Wasserman Member

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    Kerry,
    Thanks, I too think it turned out very well. The camera has a minimum of 5" and a maximum of about 32" of extension. It might have a bit more length, but I ran out of rails. It weighs 13 pounds without a lens and is very, very solid and rigid. I don't know how much front rise I will need either and am thinking of adding 3-4 inches which I think has to be more than plenty. I'm assuming that because of the panoramic aspect that I won't need too much rise, but time will tell.

    You mentioned wanting a third arm to use a loop with long lenses. Do you wear glasses? I got a Bausch and Lomb 3.7x magnifier that clips onto my glasses and works very well. It allows me to have both hands free to operate the camera.

    Have you thought about a tripod head? I first tried a Gitzo G1570M and it bounced like a diving board. I went with a Ries and it is a rock. It of course also weighs as much as one. Good luck on your Franken ARCA and please post some photos of it when you can, it also sounds like a wonderful way to go for ULF.

    Richard Wasserman
     
  9. Richard Wasserman

    Richard Wasserman Member

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    Thanks Kerik. I figure that I'm half the way to a real camera. That's actually one of the things I like about this camera. I'm reasonably sure that the Sinar can handle a larger back and bellows if I ever want to do that and I wouldn't have to buy a whole new camera. For now though I think 7x17 is big enough.

    Richard
     
  10. Allen Friday

    Allen Friday Member

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    Yeah, right. I said the same thing a couple of years ago. I give you till '08 before you're cruising e-bay drooling over the 12x20s and 16x20.

    Enjoy the new camera.

    Allen
     
  11. Mike A

    Mike A Member

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    Yeah, I contacted Richard about 16x20 because 11x14 "was big enough". The set up looks awsome Richard congrats, I just got back from Starved Rock and the weather has been great for ULF the last couple of days (no wind).

    I can't wait to see it, at 13 lbs it probably weighs less than your tripod and head. Have you decided what printing process your going to use?

    Mike A
     
  12. ReallyBigCameras

    ReallyBigCameras Advertiser Advertiser

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    Richard,

    Wow, 13 lbs. is great for such a full-featured, rigid 7x17 camera. Given the weight of a stock 8x10 Sinar P, I would have expected it to be more. David Robert's 8x20 Sinar conversion weighs 24 lbs., but it's an 8x20, uses a Sinar P front function carrier and has two rail supports and an additional base plate. I think your combination of P rear function carrier and F2 front standard gives the best combinatiopn of usability, rigidity and light weight.

    I expect my Franken ARCA to come in at around 12 - 12 1/2 lbs. in it's "maximum" configuration. I could probably shave over a pound and a half off the weight if I went with a custom fabricated u-frame for the rear standard. I'm using off the shelf 25mm aluminum extrusions because they were cheap, easy to modiy and just bolt togther. They are rigid, but heavier than they need to be. If I end up using the camera as much as I hope to, I may eventually get a lighter weight, but no less sturdy rear u-frame manufacturered. The geared front standard also adds 3/4 pound to the weight. If I want to go light, I can replace it with a non-geared front standard. I can also swap out the rails and extension bracket for shorter versions and sacrifice a little max. extension to save a little more weight for those longer hikes. Still, even in max config mode, ~12 lbs. for a full featured 7x17 camera with geared front movements isn't bad.

    I currently have a Gitzo G1570 head that I bought to use with the 7x17, but like you I noticed there was considerable flex in the top platform. The one I have is the older, heavier non-magnesium version that is pupposedly a little sturdier (and certainly weighs more). I'll try it with my Franken ARCA, but if it proves inadaquate, I may be looking for something else.

    Yes, I do wear glasses. Thanks for the tip on the clip on magnifier. I'll give it a try.

    Kerry
     
  13. Kerik

    Kerik Member

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    Right. I remember saying I'll never need a bigger camera after I bought my first 4x5... Great to have a modular setup like that, though.
     
  14. resummerfield

    resummerfield Subscriber

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    That’s a beautiful camera, Richard. I think the ULF rail cameras give the best compromise of weight and rigidity. Congratulations!
     
  15. naturephoto1

    naturephoto1 Subscriber

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    Yes Richard, that is a beautiful but very large camera. Enjoy it. How small does it fold down and how far do you think that you can carry the camera into the field?

    Rich
     
  16. sanking

    sanking Member

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    Richard,

    That is a sweet looking piece of equipment.

    But about that velcro on the bellows, *real* ULF photographers just put their Stetson cowboy hat under the bellows to keep it from sagging.

    Sandy
     
  17. jgjbowen

    jgjbowen Member

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    Richard,

    I am sooooooo jealous. I am on Richard Ritter's list for one of his 7x17 cameras. I was hoping to get it in May, but it is taking longer than Richard expected to get all the parts etc. I know I will be as excited as you are when it all finally arrives (camera, film and holders)

    Have fun!

    John
     
  18. Alex Hawley

    Alex Hawley Member

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    That looks great Richard. Congratulations and good luck!
     
  19. ReallyBigCameras

    ReallyBigCameras Advertiser Advertiser

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    Richard,

    I was playing around with the 2/3 of my Franken ARCA that's completed last night, and the head I tried that handles the load the best and provides the most rigidity is the ARCA-SWISS B1. I was amazed that it provided greater rigidity than the much bigger, much heavier Gitzo G1570.

    Of course, some people may have a hard time using a ball head with a camera this large, but I found that positioning that camera where I wanted it was actually fairly easy by grasping the rear frame of eth camera and moving it where I wanted it. With the tension pre-set adjusted properly, you can actually grab the back with one hand on each side, move the camera to the desired position, and then tighten down the locking knob without disturbing the camera position. For such a compact, lightweight head, the ARCA-SWISS B1 is incredibly strong and rigid.

    I suspect that at full extension, with a heavy lens and film holder in place, the B1 may be pushed close to its limit, but I had already figured I'd need a second support (lightweight monopod or outrigger arm) for long lenses even with the G1570.

    Based on my experience last night, I'm wondering if maybe the dual-ball ARCA-SWISS B2 would be the ideal combination of strength/weight/usability for a ULF camera.

    For hiking and backpacking, I plan to use the B1 with my 7x17 Franken ARCA. Here I've been trying to figure out how much a good ULF tripod head (like your Ries) was going to cost, and low-and-behold the same head I've been using for years with my 4x5 and 4x10 may be the best solution for my new 7x17.

    Kerry
     
  20. Richard Wasserman

    Richard Wasserman Member

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    Kerry,
    We are obviously doing very different types of photography. I tried an AS B1 on 4x5 and hated it, I can't imagine using it on 7x17. I know a lot of people like them a lot. Doesn't it worry you a bit that using a head you already own is too easy and cost effective? It can't be right! (ha ha) I am now using a Sinar head on my Norma. The Ries is absolutely solid, but is certainly too heavy to carry very far. It does nicely compliment the 360mm f/5.6 Symmar that probably weighs as much it does. I am now in the process of designing and building a cart to move this beast around with. I will be working primarily in urban settings and a cart should be very handy.

    Richard Wasserman
     
  21. ReallyBigCameras

    ReallyBigCameras Advertiser Advertiser

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    Richard,

    Perhaps it's a sign I'm finally over that bad case of GAS (Gear Acquisition Syndrome). Seriously, one of the things that made this 7x17 project "affordable" is the fact that it borrows many of the parts from the ARCA-SWISS system I already own. That was one of the main reasons I went this route.

    I suppose it's only fitting that I should also "borrow" the ARCA-SWISS head from my current system. The key to using the B1 with a large format camera is to get the tension pre-set adjusted properly. With it set just right, you can move the camera where you want, but there is enough tension that when you release the camera, it stays put until you tighten the locking knob. The proper amount of tension also makes it possible to move the camera in one axis without disturbing the others. I know, and understand why, many others prefer a three-axis head, and all else being equal I'm a sucker for a geared head. However, all else is not equal, I have yet to find another head that is anywhere as light and compact as the B1 that comes close to matching it's strength and smooth operation. The G1570 is a pretty good three-axis head, but it weighs twice as much as the B1, has huge handles sticking out all over the place, and is surprisingly less sturdy.

    When I first started using the B1 (my first ball head in any format) for 4x5, I admit it felt awkward. It took me about a year of steady use to get to the point where I was as comfortable with it as I was the three-axis head (Bogen 3047) I'd been using for about nine or ten years. I just assumed, with the bigger, heavier camera I'd need a bigger, heavier head. That may not be the case after all.

    It looks like it will be a while longer before I get the back for my camera. Everything else is ready to go. Once the rear box frame/back/bellows unit arrive, I just have to bolt the rear box frame to the metal u-shaped bracket. I pre-drilled the holes in the box frame before I sent it to Richard Ritter to make/attach the back.

    In the mean time, I've been playing around with various configurations of front standards and rails. Depending on how much the back and bellows weigh, I now think the camera, in max. configuration (30" extension, geared front standard) will weigh around 11½ lbs. In minimum configuration (~18" extension, non-geared front standard), for hiking long distances, I think I might be able to get it down to less than 10 lbs. (perhaps 9¾ lbs.) In the min. configuration, mode, I would be able to use it with three lightweight lenses (240mm Computar, 305mm G Claron and 450mm Fujinon C) and my Gitzo 1325 tripod with the B1 head.

    Kerry
     
  22. Richard Wasserman

    Richard Wasserman Member

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    Kerry,
    10-11.5 pounds, i'm impressed! I also have a 305 G-Claron and a 450 Fuji c, maybe I should try my Gitzo 1325 with a suitable head. That set up would certainly be easier to transport than my Miller tripod with the Ries head. Hmm, maybe...

    I hope Richard Ritter gets your back ready soon. I'm not sure I should mention this, I don't want to depress you, but it took him 3 months longer to do my camera than he originally estimated. It is very nice though, and I'm sure in a little while I will forget all about the delay and just enjoy the camera.

    Richard Wasserman

    P.S. Do you think you're really cured of GAS? What's your secret?
     
  23. Jimmy Peguet

    Jimmy Peguet Subscriber

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    I've used a B1 with 8X10 stuff for the four last years. I used it under a 7X17 Korona, it was not very comfortable without the camera's rear rail, the head being very off-centered, but not so difficult. With a 305 or a 360, the longer lenses one can use without the extension, the Arca, even completely off centered didn't fail without having to support the front of the camera. It's also a pleasure to carry a head without levers, and I have found I could set more precisely the camera holding it directly without levers.

    I received a 7x17 Canham three months ago and have been lucky to find a good used Arca B2 at reasonable price : it's a dream to use. The camera is now well centered on the head, of course that makes the setting much easier. The separate axis, the ability to set independantly the tension on each axis make the thing really easy to use, and I always can move freely the camera to search on the GG as I like to do. It's heavier, but I don't walk miles and miles with the camera, so this is not really an issue. The too small panning knob locks easier and stronger than on the small sister. I would like the smaller ball knob with a better grip or another design to help good locking.

    I like very much the B1 with 8w10 and smaller stuff, it was strong enough for the 7x17, but in this larger format I felt, maybe because of the width of the camera and amplification of the least movement, a bit more difficult to level it so quickly and precisely. The B2 solved that.

    Jimmy