View Full Version : What Camera/format do you use?

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03-18-2006, 11:05 AM
ULF encompases such a variety of different formats.
What cameras do you use, and why have you chosen this format?

David A. Goldfarb
03-18-2006, 11:37 AM
I have an 1890s American Optical 11x14" field camera. It has front rise and fall and axis tilt, rear base tilt and geared rear swing, and the back slides forward for use with wide lenses. It's about 15 lbs, a little wobbly, but I've repaired bed cracks and added an aluminum plate around the tripod connection to stiffen it up a bit. I think I'll add another tripod socket at some point. I've adapted the front standard to take Sinar boards and replaced the bellows with a 36" bellows from Camera Bellows UK. I've got two Hoffman filmholders and two S&S holders and had to adapt the back slightly to get them all to fit properly (distance from the lock rib to the end was a shade too small, but width and T-distance were okay). I don't use it as much as I'd like.

I think of 11x14" and 7x17" as about as large as I would want to deal with in the field, and 11x14" is a nice portrait format. I don't often print larger than 11x14", and my current darkroom situation doesn't lend itself well to anything bigger--but I still manage to do 11x14" in a tiny bathroom in a 1 bedroom apartment. If I get another ULF camera, it would be 7x17".

03-18-2006, 11:50 AM
I have just bought a very old German plate camera for 24x30cm (9.5x12"), age and maker unknown. It's a classic rear-focusing "Reisekamera" - front rise/fall and shift by moving the lensboard on a very rigid front, and about 10° each of swing and tilt on the rear. I've put an iris lens mount on it, allowing me to use any lens under 12cm diameter and focal lengths between 80mm and 1000mm. It also folds up into a compact box around 40x35x12cm, making it eminently portable. It came with three plate holders and a Voigtländer 280mm f:7.7 Triple-Anastigmat.

I also have a Russian 30x40cm (12x16") camera of the same basic construction. While it isn't all that much larger it's heavier, bulkier, wobbly'er and overall shoddier...

I'll keep the 24x30 and sell the 30x40. It may be on the small side to call ULF, but the increase in size over 8x10" is significant.

03-18-2006, 03:48 PM
I have an 11x14 Burke and James which I don't use nearly enough as I should and an 8x20 Korona which just sits on a shelf in need of a new bellows. I have several different types of film holders for the 11x14 including a sweet AWB walnut holder. The others are all old Graphlex, Korona or Eastman. I have about 7 or 8 holders total.

I've been using the 11x14 lately to mainly shoot wetplate collodion full-plates in an adapted 8x10 holder and revolving back on the B&J. This week I adapted an old 11x14 dryplate holder so that it takes 10x12 plates and I plan to do a few large ambrotype in that format very soon.

The 11x14 also has an iris mount and a 8 1/2 Packard shutter on it so I can attch barrel lenses and synch them to electronic flash in the studio. I've also built a custom cradle to attach this beast to a Majestic geared tripod.

I have way too many lenses for the camera and usually find myself using either a Dallmeyer 1A or 3A on it with the smaller wetplate stuff or a 210mm Angulon in the field.

I got into 11x14 because of my interest in portraiture and figure work. It is the smallest format you can record a life-sized head in a contact print. I also have always liked that print size and being into alternative printing processes I have been drawn to contact printing for awhile. I really don't care for prints over 14x17 anyways so that would be my upper limit for any future camera format I think.


User Removed
03-20-2006, 08:23 PM
11x14 Burke and James.

03-20-2006, 09:16 PM
7x17 Folmer & Schwing, slightly modified to accept the "standard" 7x17 Korona holders.

only drawback Ive found is the limited bellows. But I would barely call it a drawback as Ive made due pretty well I think.

these things were built like tanks. I think its almost 100yrs old and almost looks brand new. Just wish this thing could talk. would love to hear what and where its been.
why I use it? well I will blame this one on Michael Mutmansky. I picked up a copy of View Camera maybe 2 yrs ago and saw the article on he and clay harmons visit to the BNSF train locale and fell in love with the slender and long format. Its sort of the reason I even contenplated and eventually explored LF in the first place. and here I am a few years later.

03-20-2006, 09:20 PM
5x4 :p

Michael Mutmansky
03-20-2006, 09:51 PM
Crimoney, people are always blaming crap on me. Why don't people ever give me credit for anything? ;)

I Use 7x17 and 10x12. I blame the 10x12 on Clay, as he had one first, and when we discussed it one day, I realized that it may be the ideal travelling ULF for contact printing. Small enough to pack easily for travel, but big enough to hold it's own on the wall (50% larger than an 8x10).

I chose my formats based on the portability, as I often will carry the gear into the wilds, or at least may leave the car behind for the better part of a day, and I want to be able to carry all the gear I need. These two sizes work very well for that.

Here's a recent 7x17 image that utilizes the format in a fairly non-traditional manner:


That's actually the front page to my site; click on the image if you want to go in.


03-20-2006, 10:12 PM
Crimoney, people are always blaming crap on me. Why don't people ever give me credit for anything?

the blame part comes from my bank account Michael. :)
but the love part comes from how gorgeous and inspiring your work was, and continues to be (for me)

so its a "thank you for showing me" and "damn you for showing me" :)

really like the new work you have on your site. Havent been there in a month or so. inspiring.

Dave Parker
03-20-2006, 10:14 PM
I use the format that works for the job at hand!


03-20-2006, 10:24 PM
Really like the new work Michael...thought I kept an eye on your site pretty often but have missed the new work. It's a good thing Clay's 5x12 was out of reach budget wise or I might be in BIG trouble. Instead, just made a splitter for the 8x10 (to make 4x10's)...so as far as ULF.....none, but if I could 7x17 or 5x12 (does it count as ULF?).

Next is to make a splitter board to convert the 8x10 to 6 1/8 x10 (but that's because I really like the 5x7 perspective). 10x12 now that would get me in trouble...

Michael Mutmansky
03-20-2006, 10:48 PM

I considered purchasing the camera from Clay, but decided against it because I figured that I would always be pulling out the 7x17 if I had the ability to use a big camera, and if not, I'd probably be shooting 4x5 or smaller. If I didn't have the 7x17, the 5x12 would be a very appealing format to consider, to be sure.

Thanks for the compliments on the photos. I put those up a few weeks ago, and need to add more when time permits. I've got some 10x12's waiting to be finished, and then they will go up as well. I've been working frantically to get work together for Fotofest, but now that I'm done with that, I'll try to update the site soon.


03-21-2006, 08:25 AM
8x20 Korona, with one S&S holder. I chose it because I love the size. 7x17 seems just a tad small on the wall. I'd love a 12x20, but living in a small, fifth floor, walk-up apartment, I'll stick to the 8x20. The camera is very light (and a little flimsy), and has only an 18" extension, but one look at the GG and I'm entranced. The S&S holder is even more attractive than the camera. It has the feel of fine furniture.

An 11x14 may be in my future. The 8x10 contact prints are beautiful, but the first time I saw an 11x14 portrait I was shattered. 8x10 seemed puny.

03-21-2006, 09:00 AM
Crimoney, people are always blaming crap on me. Why don't people ever give me credit for anything?
I give you credit for introducing me to the 5x12 format. :D As soon as Keith Canham gets my camera finished, I'll be shooting with it. Though at the moment, I'm shooting with mostly 8x10.

George Losse
03-21-2006, 09:26 AM
I work with an 8x20 Wisner.

I moved up is size from 8x10 to a very loose Korona 8x20 back in '92. The camera was rough but I loved the format. At the same time I also tried an 11x14 Korona. I used 11x14 in the studio for a couple of years but had only taken outdoors a few times. I prefer the 8x10 over the 11x14. For me, the difference in the work involved using the 8x10 and the 11x14 outdoors was not proportional the print size increase.

Greg Davis
03-21-2006, 10:37 AM
I use, in addition to my main camera of 8x10, a 20x24 that I built. It was cheaper than buying the Wisner model. I didn't measure my car first, though. That would have helped.

03-21-2006, 10:53 AM
14"x17" Anthonty and Scovill circa 1900 for film. Kodak 8x10 Masterview and Korona 11x14 for wet plate collodion. Recently departed were a 7x17 Wisner and a 12x20 Lotus, which was the finest camera I've ever owned. After 15 years of shooting many of the formats larger than 8x10, I decided to limit my choices and concentrate on creating work that's a bit more cohesive. It was hard to part with the 7x17 and 12x20, but frankly it was kind of a relief when they were gone. Plus, with the skyrocketing price of ULF film, stocking up on so many sizes was just too pricey for me. These days I'd rather spend that money on collodion, anyway.

03-21-2006, 12:40 PM
14x17 Wisner, 11x14 Empire State, 7x17 Frankenjames.

John Kasaian
04-03-2006, 08:34 PM
12x20 Folmer & Schwing in ULF. 2 film holders 2 lenses. FUN!

04-04-2006, 11:08 PM
7X17 and 12X20, both by Canham. Home-made 20X24.

Favorite is the 7X17 for the aspect. 12X20 also lovely, grand format. 20X24, hard to work with alone, but contact prints from well-made negatives, breath-taking if viewed from about 12" to 18".

I am also very fond of the 5X7 format, and nearly always travel with my 5X7 Nagaoka outfit, which fits in a Tenba case with 4-5 lenses and 10 holders at less than 20 lbs.