My new 8 x 20 is finished.

Discussion in 'Ultra Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by Dan Dozer, Jan 1, 2007.

  1. Dan Dozer

    Dan Dozer Subscriber

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    Well, after about 7 months, I've finally finished my new 8 x 20 ULF camera. I've learned a lot about it during the process and made my share of mistakes. However, through it all, it looks nice and all the adjustments work well. There are still a few minor adjustments to make, but everything looks good from here on. The one thing that I still have to remedy is that when I glued the ground glass frame together, one of the sides warped. This is why the aluminum angle is on the back of the camera - to straighten out the warped back frame. The back is fine for now, but I may build a new back in the near future.

    I still have to build the film holders before I can really try it out. Hopefully, I can have at least one done by the time Per Volquartz's Joshua Tree workshop comes up the end of January.

    I want to thank all those on the forum here who have given me tips and advice through these many months especially to Jim Fitzgerald for the continuing motivation to complete this process. Attached are photos of the camera in both the Vertical and Horizontal formats.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 12, 2007
  2. wilsonneal

    wilsonneal Member

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    Looks like a beautiful camera. You have a right to be proud. Congrats. Use it in good health.
    Neal
     
  3. poutnik

    poutnik Member

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    Dan, it's a very beautiful camera. I really look forward to seeing the photos from this camera...

    Jiri
     
  4. noseoil

    noseoil Member

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    Dan, great job and very nicely done. Fit and finish look good. How much does it weigh without the film holder in place? Best, tim
     
  5. garysamson

    garysamson Subscriber

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    Thanks for sharing this camera with us. This is an impressive undertaking and I am looking forward to your first photographs with this beautifully crafted instrument!
     
  6. Jim Fitzgerald

    Jim Fitzgerald Member

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    Having seen this camera in various stages of development I can say that it is a beauty! Dan does some very fine work. I think we all tend to look at our finished work and know we can do better next time or change something. This is what makes fine artists. I've seen some of Dan's finished Platinum prints and I have two of my negatives that he printed for me on my wall and I can say that "Dan is the man!" Dan has been a great motivator for me. I took some time away from building my 8x20 to expose some negs etc., but seeing the finished product is great and it has renued my interest in finishing my project. Great job Dan!!
     
  7. Zebra

    Zebra Member

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    I love shooting my ULF camera's but those of you that build your own camera's must have an extra special feeling breaking it out of the box to go shoot! That is a phenomenal camera and undertaking that you should rightly be proud of--I look forward to seeing some prints as well in the gallery.

    continued success

    Monty
     
  8. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Nice camera, and I particularly like the way you've set it up to go vertical.
     
  9. Dan Dozer

    Dan Dozer Subscriber

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    Thanks for all the compliments. I hope to be using it soon.

    Tim - I don't have an accurate scale, but it appears to weight in at about 14 - 15 lbs. I believe that this is a little heavier than most 8 x 20's, but I suspected ahead of time that with it's capacity for both vertical and horizontal formats, it would have more parts/pieces in it. However, add on the Majestic tripod head and surveyors tripod and this is a real beast.
     
  10. Gatsby1923

    Gatsby1923 Member

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    Dan, I have wanted to do what you have done for years... Maybe some day soon i will finaly build my own camera... Maybe an 11x14...
     
  11. User Removed

    User Removed Guest

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    14-15lbs for a 8x10 is VERY lightweight. My old 8x10 Calumet weights about that. The 11x14 B&J weights close to 30lbs.

    You should pick up an old or new Ries Model-A for that camera. It would be alot lighter and easier to use and carry. I've seen those heads you have, and they are WAY too heavy to use with any camera.
     
  12. noseoil

    noseoil Member

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    Dan, good job in keeping it light. My B&J 8x10 comes in at 17#, so you've done a great job at keeping things in line. Now its time to go out and shoot. Best, tim
     
  13. highpeak

    highpeak Member

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    Wow, that is a beautiful camera! Do you make the holders by yourself too?

    Alex W.
     
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  15. Dan Dozer

    Dan Dozer Subscriber

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    Alex,

    This will be my first attempt at building film holders (although it was my first attempt at building a camera also). I have put together a prototype to test out some ideas and learned a lot. I need to make some changes from the prototype, but I think it will all work.

    I've also been keeping a journal of plans, drawings, and photo's through the whole process and will be making it available in the future. I'll let everyone know when I get it done. It has turned out to be quite a long project as well. I originally thought it would be 20 - 30 pages but is has snowballed to nearly 150 pages and growing.

    Dan
     
  16. highpeak

    highpeak Member

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    Thanks, Dan. Best wishes to your project and enjoy it.

    Alex W.
     
  17. uraniumnitrate

    uraniumnitrate Member

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    congratulations

    Dan!
    A wonderful piece of craftsmanship! I love it! And I really mean it!
     
  18. argus

    argus Member

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    Nice work. Now get out and make pictures with it!

    G
     
  19. Martin Stachowski

    Martin Stachowski Member

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    Looks really nice. Can't wait to see the pictures.
     
  20. mark

    mark Member

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    Pat yourself on the back. That 8x20 is pretty. Alas, I can only dream of having the skills and time to build one.
     
  21. philsweeney

    philsweeney Member

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    Hi Dan,
    It would be great to see your plans. There would be lots of details of your build that would be great for someone who wants to try to build one also. Looks great!!
     
  22. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Subscriber

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    I would be interested in seeing the plans too. I have built a 5x4" camera but compared to yours, mine is a pile of junk! I would like to build something bigger in the future.

    Steve.
     
  23. philsweeney

    philsweeney Member

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    Dan,

    Would you mind letting us know what rack and pinion you used? or how the standards are driven on the bed?
     
  24. Dan Dozer

    Dan Dozer Subscriber

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    I had the camera out for the first time yesterday at Per Volquartz's workshop in Joshua Tree. I managed to get one one film holder completed in time for the workshop and tried two exposures - mainly a test run for things. I found that operating the camera is much more cumberson than an 8 x 10 (who wouldn't have thought that), and I have some adjustments to make to get the front and rear standards a little more secure and stable. Otherwise, things worked fine. In reality, I don't think it weighs much more than my Kodak 2D 8 x 10 - which is basically what I patterned it after.

    Regarding my "Journal", it will probably be a month or more before I can get it finished. I want to get a bunch of completed photos of the camera in the journal and also a section on what annoying little quirks it has as well as how I might do things differently if I were to do it all over again. Keep in mind that I had given up taking photos since June to build this camera, and now I'm very antsy to got out and use it.

    Regarding the gear rack system, I purchased both the gears and gear racks from McMaster Carr. They have many different sizes. Be prepared to pay a little more than you think they will cost. I spent about $50 for two gears and 4' of rack. The front standard has a brass shaft at the bottom with a gear on each end at the bottom of the two standard posts. These gears ride on the gear rack which is recessed into the top of the two side pieces of the front extension bed.

    Here is one "I should have done it different" suggestion. I installed the gear racks on the center plate and the front extension bed, but not the rear extension bed. The front of the camera is gear driven, but rear is not. In using the camera yesterday, I learned it would be much easier to focus if the rear was gear driven, rather than the front. I have long arms, but not that long. If you had that, you really wouldn't need to make the front gear driven.
     
  25. philsweeney

    philsweeney Member

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    Hi Dan,

    Thanks for the info. I look forward to your journal. I am also interested in details for the spring steel. And you made the bellows also?

    thanks
     
  26. Dan Dozer

    Dan Dozer Subscriber

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    Hi Phil,

    The springs on the ground glass back were made out of brass that I got at Home Depot (door kick plate). The strips are about 5/8" wide and there are two thicknesses on each side of the back. These two thicknesses seem to give about the right amount of spring pressure to hold the film holder. Note that the top spring is about 2" shorter on each end than the bottom one. The bottom one is bent into a loop at each end that fits around a brass rod. This detail is similar to the 8 x 10 Kodak 2D that I have.

    The attached drawing will show you how it is made.

    Regarding the bellows - I made it myself. This is not the first bellows I've made, but it is clearly the largest. The inner liner material is white drapery blackout material (only comes in white) and the outer liner material is black egyptian cotton. I hand painted the inside surface of the drapery liner flat black and it's working just fine.

    Hope this helps,

    Dan
     

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