Monster camera

Discussion in 'Ultra Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by panoramic, Apr 23, 2007.

  1. panoramic

    panoramic Member

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    Certainly not the world's largest camera but it is big.

    Here is a 16" x 36" camera that I made. A bit crude, but it works well. A smaller version using 9.5 inch aero film should be easy to make too. It beats having to deal with film holders.

    Ron in Alaska

    http://www.ronkleinphotos.com/Monster.html
     
  2. jstraw

    jstraw Member

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    I'm impressed. What do you do with the negatives?
     
  3. PHOTOTONE

    PHOTOTONE Member

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    Yeah, my question also...where do you get the film, and how do you process the negatives or transparencies (for color)??
     
  4. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Cool. I like the idea of building it around Cirkut film.
     
  5. panoramic

    panoramic Member

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    Film

    Film is custom ordered from Kodak. Last time we ordered it was $5,000, but the minimum order has gone up. I still have 500 feet of color and 300 feet of black and white which will probably last me for a while. It probably costs $75 per shot, but with care, all you need to shoot is one image.

    I have been processing 16 inch cirkut film for years in tubs and it is not a problem to get good uniform development even with color.

    Negatives are either contact printed or digitalized for murals.

    I hope to make an improved version this summer that fixes some of the little quirks that are annoying but not stopping me from using the camera.

    Ron
     
  6. Terence

    Terence Member

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    Do you use a film leader to avoid using a darkslide when you replace the ground glass.
     
  7. panoramic

    panoramic Member

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    film leader

    The film has a 48 inch leader and about ten inches of trailer.

    I can load the camera in daylight, then when the film magazine is on the camera, I crank the leader onto the take up spool until I can't wind it anymore, then I crank the rewind back enough for the film to be in the right area. This also tensions the film. There are top and bottom guides and that is all so you have to be careful to prevent film sagging. With daylight tests, it looked pretty good though.

    Any size camera like this could be made, although bigger would be problematic, If I had the lens that could cover, I'd go for it.
     
  8. blaze-on

    blaze-on Member

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    Cool.

    I gotta ask, what lens covers that?
     
  9. PHOTOTONE

    PHOTOTONE Member

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    Is that "tubs" like "bathtubs"? or Tubes as in "toobs"
     
  10. panoramic

    panoramic Member

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    That's tubs, not tubes

    Depending on the film size, I use rubbermaid dish tubs for ten inch cirkut film and cafeteria busing trays for the bigger negatives. The film is rolled back and forth like a Dead Sea scroll, not seesawed, it is always in the developer. It takes about two gallons of developer which is replenished so it lasts a long time. In my darkroom, I heat all the other chemistry to near correct temps and lastly heat the color developer to 102 degrees.

    By the time I get it into the tray and then turn the lights out and get the film into the solution the temp is 100.5. When it comes out of the developer the temp is 99.5 so I've hit the temp just right. I've been doing this for 25 years and rarely lost a negative, in fact I can't remember when the last time I screwed up developing because of bad temps. I've processed over 1,000 cirkut negatives this way. Trust me there are ways of messing up the film, but this is an easy way to develop long rolls.

    Ron
     
  11. PHOTOTONE

    PHOTOTONE Member

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    I just love creative solutions to processing!! I have used some during my lifetime also.
     
  12. DougGrosjean

    DougGrosjean Member

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    Sweet!!!!!!!!!

    Thought of you the other day - picked up the book "America by the Yard", of Cirkut pics. Wow..! I can see where shooting with such a thing would be addictive.

    Whoops, got OT there. Repeat: Sweet camera!
     
  13. walter23

    walter23 Member

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    Hah! That's just absurd! Resolves cormorants at > 1 kilometer!

    I want one, and a lifetime of free film.
     
  14. aria1117

    aria1117 Member

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    Amazing!! I have a question, how are you digitizing it? Is there a scanner that covers that size?
     
  15. PHOTOTONE

    PHOTOTONE Member

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    One could use a big color-corrected light table kinda light, and a high-resolution 4x5 scanning back from Betterlight on a 4x5 view camera.
     
  16. Hugo Zhang

    Hugo Zhang Member

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    Ron,

    Wow!!! I thought 20x24 was big. I am speechless with admiration for yur wonderful creation.
     
  17. panoramic

    panoramic Member

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    Dare we discuss DIGITAL SCANNING???

    I use an Epson 1640XL scanner and scan in four sections that are stitched together. File sizes are around 300 MEGs for a slightly bigger than contact print size (18.5 inches by 43 inches) and are printed on an Epson 9800 at 360 DPI. If the print needs to be bigger, I scan at a higher res, sometimes 720 or 800 DPI but then you are getting into GIGs instead of MEGs and I need to upgrade the ol computer or it gets time consuming. The 9800 could make a print 44" by 100" at 360 DPI that would be awesome, but I haven't done that yet.

    Real prints are made the same way I print my cirkut negs with a huge contact printing frame. I have had problems with getting good contact on 16 inch wide film so I am inventing a vacuum frame to suck the negative down.

    Ten inch negs don't need anything special.

    Ron
     
  18. Sparky

    Sparky Member

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    That's just dumb - sorry. Then you'd be better off shooting the original scene with a better light. A scanner would give a far superior result. Many drums can handle CLOSE to that size... though that particular size - i don't know about.
     
  19. Jeremy

    Jeremy Member

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    How so? Just idle curiosity.
     
  20. Jeremy

    Jeremy Member

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    Please send me a PM if you're apt to pursue this discussion as it is not appropriate chatter for the apug forums.
     
  21. Sparky

    Sparky Member

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    I don't know that it's terribly inappropriate to the direction of this thread - though hopefully phototone will forgive my terse tone. A scanning back requires an extra optical system and structural system which is not controlled in the way that a good scanner is. Illumination is another issue - though, it's the same problem in a traditional enlarger - but in reverse. An enlarger would compensate and a scanning back would compound the natural falloff. On a scanner, illumination happens on a per-pixel (or row of pixels) basis.

    At any rate, the result would be inferior to simply using a scanning back on a 4x5 - since it's first-generation - where using the back as a repro device is simply an interpretation of the film itself through an additional optical assembly. Hope that makes sense.
     
  22. PHOTOTONE

    PHOTOTONE Member

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    I certainly agree that a scanning back is not optimized for scanning transparency or negative materials, rather it is optimized for scanning subjects that would otherwise be shot using flim in the same camera. However, tons of people do this, (I have a scanning back and subscribe to the owners forum, where issues like this are discussed) and it would be plenty good enough for posting on the net, or making a smaller print. (Smaller than the original negative).

    So I wonder how the original poster got that sample image in the first post? AFAIK, there is no known flat-bed scanner that could scan this, and I have no idea about the maximum size of drum scanners.

    Any scan, or digital copy of the original ULF image is a compromise. I think we all agree on this.
     
  23. steven_e007

    steven_e007 Member

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    That is a wonderful camera!
    I would love to have ago at something similar myself, but lenses are the limiting factor, I think. Really long lenses do not appear often, at least not in this part of the world...

    Have you any pics of the lenses?

    Please can you explain a little more about your development technique? When you are rolling the film around in the dish... Is this off the spool? If so, how do you get it to re-roll without sctratching it?

    I find it difficult to visualise how this works.

    I have a lot of 9.5" aero film so I am curious as I have struggled to process this in long lengths in the past.

    Steve
     
  24. Sparky

    Sparky Member

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    The neg could have been scanned in sections on an A3 format scanner - i.e. Lino Circon or something. Though it wouldn't work on a drum scanner in sections because it wouldn't fit in the drum.

    I was only suggesting that using the camera under those circumstances would be moot if the aerial photograph of the film from the back were the ONLY means of output. I just figured - well, why not just use it for the original scene?
     
  25. P C Headland

    P C Headland Subscriber

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    Quite an amazing camera!

    And a somewhat ironic surname given the camera :D