ULF format suggestions sought

Discussion in 'Ultra Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by epatsellis, Aug 23, 2006.

  1. epatsellis

    epatsellis Member

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    OK, here's my dilemma...

    I have ca. 1000 sheets of 16x20 lith film that I can't see go to waste;
    I presently have 4 4x5 cameras, 2 8x10 cameras and I really want bigger, but 16x20 seems like a really big jump. Panoramic photography has always interested me, soooo...

    I'm thinking of building either a 8x20 camera, or possibly a 5x16. Basically something that will maximize my use of 16x20 film (and paper for contact prints). glass is less of an issue, as I have a 360mm componon, a 16 1/2" artar, and a 21" Kodak Anast., and probably a bunch of lenses that will cover converted, as well as a variety of packard and packard-like shutters. I'm not adverse to building my own holders, as I have a pretty good stash of quarter-sawn cherry (about 250 bd.ft., though the # goes up and down as I use some and replace it), tons of Al. sheet and extrusions, as well as a full woodworking shop, a cnc router, and access to a machine shop. What I can't do myself, I tend to know people that can.

    Given that my loving spouse has banned me from ebay (and this time I think she means it! Must've been that last RB outfit.), as well as any large $$ shopping, I have to work with what I have. I'm open to any and all suggestions that you guys may have.


    erie
     
  2. Kino

    Kino Member

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    Sometimes, too many possibilities are a curse...

    awww... what the heck, build a 5x12! :wink:
     
  3. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council

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    5x16 sounds like a really nice if offbeat format. If you have the wherewithal to build one, I'd go for that format. Certainly it would be unique, and you'd be able to get 4000 exposures out of your existing film stock before you'd have to buy anything else. That's a LOT of exposures. Or make yourself a 10x16 portrait-format camera. There's a different format for you.
     
  4. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    For the cost of shipping, I could perhaps send you a 12x16" camera as a "basis for construction". But shipping would be expensive, the camera is way too heavy (which is why I don't feel a great need to use it)...
     
  5. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I think you definitely need a 12x20" camera for serious work, and a 4x10" camera for snapshots and to use up the 4x20" strips left over from the sheets cut down to 12x20".

    On the other hand, do you really want to be shooting lith film in camera? You can do it, but why not use it to make enlarged negs for alt process printing from your small camera negs?
     
  6. wfwhitaker

    wfwhitaker Member

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    I vote for David's suggestion. You've got to look beyond the film. Your 16 1/2" Artar will cover 8x10; the 21" Anastigmat, 11x14; the Componon?... And even so, will you tire of your odd format before the film supply expires? What do you really want to accomplish? The prospect of an pleasurable eternity slicing and dicing film seems dubious.
     
  7. argus

    argus Member

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    I've got a better suggestion: just ship the film to me. PM me for my addres.

    G
     
  8. paul ewins

    paul ewins Member

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    I'm trying to acquire a repro camera at the moment to use as a basis for an ULF camera. There are a couple of A2 (17x23) models for sale locally that might fit the bill and should cost $20 or so (including fuel cost to pick them up). From what I have read previously this will give me a set of bellows, a couple of lenses that can't be mounted in shutters and a pile of scrap metal.

    The idea is to build a modern version of the old studio cameras, complete with two post stand (on wheels) and gear driven height adjustment. I'm looking at something that can be used for portraits rather than landscapes. Needless to say, aluminium features strongly in most of my construction plans.

    I'm not sure what format to aim for as I don't have any lith film to start with. However as there isn't any requirement to be able to swap parts with other cameras I don't see any reason to make filmholders in the traditional pattern. Being a keen Graflex user my initial thoughts have been towards putting the film in septums, possibly glued in place with remount glue or the like. As per the grafmatics the septums would be pushed against a frame to get the correct registration. Then maybe manufacture the world's largest bag mag to hold six or so of them. This probably wouldn't work so well out in the field, but in a studio it should be manageable (just).

    Next step will be to play with Jim Galli's modified Rodinal formula using 4x5 sheets until I am confident that I can get what I want.
     
  9. Donald Miller

    Donald Miller Member

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    I have always thought that the 10X16 format made a lot of sense. It takes the 16X20 sheet and cuts them down the other way from what normally happens.

    The 10X16 format is smaller then 12X20 and still has the same aspect ratio. Very near the "golden mean". It is not nearly as long and narrow as the 8X20 or 7X17 formats.

    You might play with these dimensions and see what you think of them. Since you have the means to do anything that you want, it would be a way to do something very nice and unusual.
     
  10. Emile de Leon

    Emile de Leon Member

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    I just got in a 16x20 Wisner lightweight Demo for sale last week. 28lbs. Maybe the last one Ron will ever make. The wood has some marks and the bellows too but a great liteweight 16x20. Emile/www.deleon-ulf.com.
     
  11. epatsellis

    epatsellis Member

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    Couple of quick replies,

    Kino- You have no idea, the camera is just one of many issues facing me...

    David - hadn't thought about that, have to sleep on that one...

    Will - I didn't say that this will be the last camera I build, just a step along the path of photographic nirvana, kind of an initiation into ULF for cheap. And being lith film, it's not like I need to cut it in the dark, hell, I can guillotine a box up at a time, takes about 30 secs. for the time being, I'll have to take your word on the coverage, though surprisingly, I was playing with a 180mm tessar (CJZ) and was shocked that in a pinch, I can nearly illuminate 8x10 (slight vignetting in the corners) with the front element removed, the circle of illumination is huge, though there are gobs of SA and some residual astig, though I'm already thinking there's some Galliesque image potential here....

    Argus - ok, right after you send me 50 kilos of chocolates....:wink:

    Paul, let me know what you end up with, perhaps I can machine some parts up in trade? (as long as there's no threads involved, the old SB9 just doesn't thread well anymore, though I do have a friend that is a machinist that does all my threading for me). I didn't' say conventional film holder, did I. I envision a 1/8" al plate for a septum, with with a grid of .050" or so holes .500" to 1" on center ,connected to a vacuum source through 4-6 o-ringed ports on the back, basically, slide the film holder in, turn vac on, withdraw darkslide, expose, etc.

    Donald - hadn't thought about that, though it would make sense, as I'm pretty sure I have at least one lens that cover's unconverted, scads that do converted.
    I know the circle of illumination of the componon 360 is huge when converted, though it's a ~800mm f12 lens.

    Emile, you do realize that I'm just a poor self employed sign maker, can we trade signwork for life for it?
     
  12. Dan Dozer

    Dan Dozer Subscriber

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    Jim Fitzgerald and I are both in the middle of building our own 8 x 20's ourselves. Jim's is out of Walnut and mine is out of Makore (african cherry). The one bit if advice I can give is that you really need to take a lot of time planning it all and build model pieces out of cardboard, pine, MDF board, or whatever to test your design. Otherwise, you will go through a lot of your cherry in the process.

    If you have the time, woodworking experience, tools, and patience, I'ld recommend it. So far, it has been alot of fun and very satisfying. We've both been posting progress pictures on the Camera Building forum if you want to see our progress.

    Good Luck
     
  13. epatsellis

    epatsellis Member

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    Dan,
    I did successfully build a quick 8x10 (for under $35.00) so I think that with a meager budget and a few hours here and there, I should be ok.....


    erie
     
  14. argus

    argus Member

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    That's a deal! I have some connections here. :D

    G
    (I wish this was not a joke)
     
  15. paul ewins

    paul ewins Member

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    I picked up my repro camera (http://cgi.ebay.com.au/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=200012842518) last night and the remains of it are still sitting on the trailer awaiting further demolition. I paid $1 for it and probably spent another $40 (mostly trailer hire) getting it home. Fortunately the selllers had a forklift to help load it.

    So what did I end up with?
    A bellows that has an inside measurement of 270mm x 270mm (11x11") at the small end and 660 x 730 (26" x 28") at the large end. It has about 800mm of draw.
    A vacuum pump, two frames and sundry rubber tubing and connectors.
    Four 500w halogen lights.
    A bank of 4 20W flourescent tubes in a glass topped case.
    A large pile of scrap metal.
    135/9.5 and 270/9.5 "Repromaster" lenses.

    A quick search claims that the lenses were made by/for AGFA and are the same manufacturer as the Staeble and Eskofot range. I've already got a set of Ultragons: 150/9, 240/9 and 305/9 and there are a lot of similarities in construction and finish. The thing is that the 270/9.5 is twice the size of the 305/9 (1154g vs 568g). I guess I'm going to have to wait until I build the camera before I can test the image circle.

    The bellows weighs just over 2.5kg (5.5 lb?) and shouldn't be the limiting factor on anything. I can't imagine ever shooting anything that approaches the limits unless 10x28 panoramics get popular. There shouldn't be any need to worry about using it in portrait orientation!
     
  16. Jim Fitzgerald

    Jim Fitzgerald Member

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    Erie, I think the jump to 8x20 would be a good idea. Dan and I are building 8x20's as he said. You have the wood and materials and there is a great deal of help and inspiration on this site. Take your time and do it right. Let us see what you are doing. I've gotten great ideas from the people posting and it has helped me with my first building project.

    Stay Focused....or Soft Focused!!

    Jim