PDA

View Full Version : If you were designing a camera



Pages : [1] 2 3

barryjyoung
03-09-2007, 02:29 AM
Hello:

I am currently prototyping a wooden 7x17 field camera with the idea of manufacturing it and other ULF sizes based on this design for sale.

The baseboard and focus mechanism is complete and as near as I can tell an original design. What I need to know is what is most important to you as ULF users. My main concerns throughout the design process have been rigidity, light weight and beauty. For this camera those have been fine goals. Those of you who have been shooting large cameras for a long time no doubt have a good idea of things you would like to see in your next camera. I hope that you will share them with me.

These are some of my main questions.

1. Would you buy a camera made from aluminum or would you only buy a wooden camera?

2. What is more important rigidity or light weight?

3. How important is it to you that the camera is beautiful? Is it a tool, or a showpiece or both?

4. What features can you live without? What features can you not live without?

5. Would you pay twice as much for a camera that had graduated movements and detent stops?

6. Do you use triple extension bellows often enough to add 50% to the price?

7. Synthetic bellows are less expensive and more weather resistant than leather. Would bellows material be a deciding factor in your purchase and do you think there should be a choice?

8. Do you REALLY need rise and fall on the back? $$$$$$

Please just holler out what is important to you even if I have missed it.

Thanks for the help folks.

PHOTOTONE
03-09-2007, 03:18 AM
Aluminum is fine
A balance between rigidity and light weight
Beauty gives pride of ownership
A field camera (as opposed to a studio camera) doesn't need detents.
Absolutely desire triple extension
Synthetic bellows is preferred
No rise and fall on the back, but full swing and tilt on back. Ample
rise and fall on front.

Steve Smith
03-09-2007, 03:31 AM
I am probably not your target audience being only an occasional user of 5x4" 'miniature' format but here are my thoughts:

I would prefer wood over aluminium for using in cold weather although aluminium would be stronger (what about wood veneered aluminium?!!)

As Phototone says, a balance between rigidity and weight.

I would never use triple extension myself but I think it would be desirable to many others.

I too would prefer synthetic bellows.


Steve.

philsweeney
03-09-2007, 05:19 AM
Hi Barry,

I have been thinking about building a 7 x 17. I probably would just copy my 8 x 10 Wisner. I would want the camera to be as simple as possible and rigid even at the cost of some extra weight. No gearing necessary. Triple extension (my korona does not get it). Front rise, center swing and center tilt (I hate base tilt on front standards like on the sinars - so unintuitive), and shift. Rear swing and tilt (I can live with base tilt here and center tilt would probably complicate the camera). I have also thought about bulding an 8 x 20 with 7 x 17 reducing back. I'd like to be able to use a 30" lens on 7 x 17! I probably would design the rear standard for S & S holders.

barryjyoung
03-09-2007, 06:30 AM
Aluminum is fine
A balance between rigidity and light weight
Beauty gives pride of ownership
A field camera (as opposed to a studio camera) doesn't need detents.
Absolutely desire triple extension
Synthetic bellows is preferred
No rise and fall on the back, but full swing and tilt on back. Ample
rise and fall on front.

Thank you, all good input.

barryjyoung
03-09-2007, 06:30 AM
I am probably not your target audience being only an occasional user of 5x4" 'miniature' format but here are my thoughts:

I would prefer wood over aluminium for using in cold weather although aluminium would be stronger (what about wood veneered aluminium?!!)

As Phototone says, a balance between rigidity and weight.

I would never use triple extension myself but I think it would be desirable to many others.

I too would prefer synthetic bellows.


Steve.

I understand and we feel very much alike. Thanks Steve.

barryjyoung
03-09-2007, 06:33 AM
Hi Barry,

I have been thinking about building a 7 x 17. I probably would just copy my 8 x 10 Wisner. I would want the camera to be as simple as possible and rigid even at the cost of some extra weight. No gearing necessary. Triple extension (my korona does not get it). Front rise, center swing and center tilt (I hate base tilt on front standards like on the sinars - so unintuitive), and shift. Rear swing and tilt (I can live with base tilt here and center tilt would probably complicate the camera). I have also thought about bulding an 8 x 20 with 7 x 17 reducing back. I'd like to be able to use a 30" lens on 7 x 17! I probably would design the rear standard for S & S holders.


Thanks Phil: I like hearing that gearing is not necessary. I have heard both ways, but personally I feel it makes the camera unnecessarily expensive, heavy and delicate. S&S holders are awesome.

scootermm
03-09-2007, 09:00 AM
1. Would you buy a camera made from aluminum or would you only buy a wooden camera?
Wood can be nice looking... but I like the idea of aluminium for lightweight and rigidity.


2. What is more important rigidity or light weight?
Preference would be on rigidity.

3. How important is it to you that the camera is beautiful? Is it a tool, or a showpiece or both?
to me, this is a tool I could care less how it "looks" or if its pretty. If it works instinctively and flawlessly Im all for it. Function over form.

4. What features can you live without? What features can you not live without?
I could live without vertical orientation, rear rise/fall/shift. necessities: front rise/fall/tilt. Rear swing/tilt. WOuld be nice to have front and/or rear shift. But Ive made do without them so not quite a neccesity.

5. Would you pay twice as much for a camera that had graduated movements and detent stops?
No, would seem unneccesary to me.

6. Do you use triple extension bellows often enough to add 50% to the price?
This would be nice but not required.

7. Synthetic bellows are less expensive and more weather resistant than leather. Would bellows material be a deciding factor in your purchase and do you think there should be a choice?
Synthetic all the way. Easier to care for and maintain. One thing Id love to have (especially if the bellow are long) is the hook/loops to pull the bellow out of the way.

8. Do you REALLY need rise and fall on the back? $$$$$$
Not in the least if it costs alot more.

All in all, my point of view is that these cameras, especially in ULF are tools and I use them as such. I dont take much consideration for how the camera looks or whether its pretty, I like when they work instinctively/intuitively and function flawlessly.

I have both a 12x20 and a 7x17 folmer & Schwing banquet cameras. They are good looking cameras but I enjoy working with them because they are well built, I have modified them to meet my needs and function well for me and allow me to instinctively work with them to free up my mind to concentrate on making the images Im passionate about making.

Hope that helps barry.

Colin Graham
03-09-2007, 09:01 AM
I'll echo what everyone else has said. I like a lot of back movements, swing, tilt, shift, rear focusing...although I have rear rise on me newest camera I've not once use it, and that really complicated the rear standard. Also, alot of banquet shooters like verticals, so maybe give some thought to a design that won't stress too much when you tilt the camera on its side, or have a reversible rear standard of some sort. The only gears I need are for focusing, synthetic bellows are great, lots of front rise/fall, swing and shift are nice. I'd be very interested in seeing an aluminum ulf, but hard to say how much I'd like it.

David A. Goldfarb
03-09-2007, 09:30 AM
1. I'm fine with metal cameras and wooden cameras.

2. Rigidity and light weight should be balanced. The Wisner 11x14" is too heavy at 30 lbs., but my 15 lb. American Optical 11x14" isn't rigid enough.

3. I like a beautiful camera, but wouldn't buy a camera on for its appearance.

4. I like the option of rear and front focus, front rise/fall, shift, tilt, and swing, rear tilt and swing. The rear standard should slide forward for use with wide lenses.

5. I don't need geared movements. Detentes are nice, but simple levels and zero markings are fine as well. Scales for tilt/shift angle would be nice. It wouldn't be hard, I think to have asymmetric tilts on a flatbed camera, and a scale would make it possible to measure the tilt on the rear standard and transfer it to the front standard like on a Sinar. On the other hand, I can just use my clinometer-compass for that purpose (no magnetic parts, please).

6. I don't see the need for triple extension on a panoramic format camera, but on an 11x14", 8x10" or camera I might use more for portraits and still life, I like triple extension.

7. Synthetic bellows are fine.

8. Rise, fall, and shift on the back make the camera less rigid and/or heavier, so I can do without them on a field camera.

Oren Grad
03-09-2007, 10:05 AM
1. Would you buy a camera made from aluminum or would you only buy a wooden camera?

Would consider either.

2. What is more important rigidity or light weight?

I want both, and Dick Phillips has demonstrated that that's not an unreasonable demand.

3. How important is it to you that the camera is beautiful? Is it a tool, or a showpiece or both?

Tool aspect is more important, though a tool that's well designed for its function will often be beautiful.

4. What features can you live without? What features can you not live without?

Want: lots of front rise. Modest amount of tilt and swing, doesn't matter whether it's front or rear standard. A way to focus very wide lenses without getting the bed in the picture. Anything else is nice but not essential.

5. Would you pay twice as much for a camera that had graduated movements and detent stops?

No.

6. Do you use triple extension bellows often enough to add 50% to the price?

No.

7. Synthetic bellows are less expensive and more weather resistant than leather. Would bellows material be a deciding factor in your purchase and do you think there should be a choice?

Synthetic is fine.

8. Do you REALLY need rise and fall on the back? $$$$$$

No.

resummerfield
03-09-2007, 10:44 AM
1 & 2: Having had both wood and aluminum cameras, I will avoid a wood camera if possible. In the large sizes, they are just not rigid enough. Most important for me is rigidity, and a strong front standard large enough to accept larger lensboards (at least 140mm square).

3: A well designed tool is a thing of beauty.

4 & 8: I could live without back rise.

5: I find graduated movements very helpful, and yes, I would pay more, but not twice as much! Graduated scales should be fairly easy to incorporate. Detent stops are not necessary. Geared movements are not necessary.

6: Triple extension is not necessary for me. On a 7x17, I donít need more than 36 inches, and could probably get by with 34 or so.

7: Synthetic. I would not need a choice, but the basic bellows should be of high enough quality to last.

Concerning the holders, S&S now makes a version compatible with the Canham style, and the only major difference that I could see between the original S&S version and the Canham style is the t-dist. So perhaps you could design the back with shims that could be changed to get the proper t-dist for the holders

argus
03-09-2007, 10:55 AM
1. Would you buy a camera made from aluminum or would you only buy a wooden camera?

I like wood.



2. What is more important rigidity or light weight?

2 extra pounds for more rigidity would be no problem.



3. How important is it to you that the camera is beautiful? Is it a tool, or a showpiece or both?

Working with a nice camera is better. You would not ride an ugly bike because it lighter?



4. What features can you live without? What features can you not live without?





5. Would you pay twice as much for a camera that had graduated movements and detent stops?

No



6. Do you use triple extension bellows often enough to add 50% to the price?

What would be the range of usable lenses on both standard and tripple extention?



7. Synthetic bellows are less expensive and more weather resistant than leather. Would bellows material be a deciding factor in your purchase and do you think there should be a choice?

Synthetic is fine for me.



8. Do you REALLY need rise and fall on the back? $$$$$$


Not at all.




G

jimgalli
03-09-2007, 11:26 AM
1. Would you buy a camera made from aluminum or would you only buy a wooden camera?

Wise use of both.

2. What is more important rigidity or light weight?

light weight by a small margin. maybe 55:45

3. How important is it to you that the camera is beautiful? Is it a tool, or a showpiece or both?

Both. But I think an excellent design elegantly made is always beautiful. I think the Phillips camera and some of the Chinese wood knock-offs that used his idea are beautiful. All-thread and cabinet hinges along with other stuff I can buy at Home Depot is NEVER beautiful. It doesn't have to look like a Folmer & Schwing to be beautiful. Simple is always elegant.

4. What features can you live without? What features can you not live without?

One that everyone seems to forget is a lens board area large enough and strong enough to put a lens with an interesting signature on. I'd like to use a 19" Heliar on my ULF please. I'll likely get voted down on this one as big lens surfaces seem to detract from looks. 7" lens panel and some STRENGTH would be enough. The Wisner camera is a joke here. It gets nervous with a copal 3 shutter.

5. Would you pay twice as much for a camera that had graduated movements and detent stops?

NO

6. Do you use triple extension bellows often enough to add 50% to the price?

YES

7. Synthetic bellows are less expensive and more weather resistant than leather. Would bellows material be a deciding factor in your purchase and do you think there should be a choice?

Synthetic is fine. They should be tight enough for infrared film.

8. Do you REALLY need rise and fall on the back? $$$$$$

NO!

Jeremy
03-09-2007, 11:50 AM
One that everyone seems to forget is a lens board area large enough and strong enough to put a lens with an interesting signature on. I'd like to use a 19" Heliar on my ULF please. I'll likely get voted down on this one as big lens surfaces seem to detract from looks. 7" lens panel and some STRENGTH would be enough. The Wisner camera is a joke here. It gets nervous with a copal 3 shutter.

Here, Here!!!

mammolo
03-09-2007, 11:53 AM
Barry,

I just ordered a 14x17 and I have been playing with a 20x24, so consider me a highly motivated ULF-er!

----

1. Would you buy a camera made from aluminum or would you only buy a wooden camera?

I do not care about the material, aluminum is fine.

2. What is more important rigidity or light weight?

A compromise between the two.

3. How important is it to you that the camera is beautiful? Is it a tool, or a showpiece or both?

An ugly looking thing is not going to help _my_ creativity :)

4. What features can you live without? What features can you not live without?

I can live without geared movements, but not on a 20x24 camera. A long bellows is a must. Length depends on format of course. A 16x20 camera should have at least 1200mm bellows.

5. Would you pay twice as much for a camera that had graduated movements and detent stops?

Detent stops are a necessity, and I would not like to pay more for them. I will not pay twice as much for graduated movements but again I am dubious that you can come up with a truly usable 20x24 without some geared movements.

6. Do you use triple extension bellows often enough to add 50% to the price?

I do not think this is a clear-cut question. Triple extension of what? If you refer specifically to a 7x17 my answer is no. Larger-sized cameras need at least 1200mm of bellows. Call it triple or quadruple that's what I would need.

7. Synthetic bellows are less expensive and more weather resistant than leather. Would bellows material be a deciding factor in your purchase and do you think there should be a choice?

Synthetic is just fine.

8. Do you REALLY need rise and fall on the back? $$$$$$

No, I do not, and I believe that no matter how smart you design the movements in the back having them does compromise rigidity.


This may not apply to a 7x17, but an issue I care about is how STRONG the front is and how TOUGH the mechanisms in the front are. Very heavy lenses will end up being used. Think an APO-Ronar 890mm, for instance. I think that most of the ULF cameras being manufactured today do not take this into the necessary consideration. Again, this may apply solely to beasts like 14x17, 12x20, 16x20 and 20x24, but you said you were considering manufacturing larger cameras as well.

One more thing: if you could provide your customers with a solution on how to carry the camera you would certainly get some advantage over the competition that is pretty much ignoring this problem, leaving it to the creativity or desperation of the customer :)

Good luck and do keep us posted on your progress!!!!!!!

Daniel Grenier
03-09-2007, 12:11 PM
....

1. Would you buy a camera made from aluminum or would you only buy a wooden camera?

2. What is more important rigidity or light weight?

3. How important is it to you that the camera is beautiful? Is it a tool, or a showpiece or both?

4. What features can you live without? What features can you not live without?

5. Would you pay twice as much for a camera that had graduated movements and detent stops?

6. Do you use triple extension bellows often enough to add 50% to the price?

7. Synthetic bellows are less expensive and more weather resistant than leather. Would bellows material be a deciding factor in your purchase and do you think there should be a choice?

8. Do you REALLY need rise and fall on the back? $$$$$$


.

Barry. I now have a 7x17 Wisner with all the bells and whistles (incl rear rise). Here are my answers to your query absed on my experiences with it.

Good luck.

1: Either/or.
2. Both. (emphasis on rigidity).
3. I wouldn't buy an "ugly" camera (nor date an "ugly" woman ;) )
4. Rear rise I can do without. Have to have full frontal movements (incl. shift)
5. Not a chance.
6. On 8x10 yes. On 7x17 no.
7. Makes no difference to me.
8. Nope. Not at all.

Scott Peters
03-09-2007, 12:20 PM
I agree with everything Daniel said above, except, I am not as particular about looks. I would however like, focusing like the phillips and a bail back like the phillips for loading holders. Rear tilt is important on 7 x 17 as you can't reach the front, so smoothness here is important to me. I like everything about the phillips except the abilty to do verticals which requires tilting the camera on its side...not something I do often...

MattKing
03-09-2007, 12:42 PM
I have been reading through this thread with interest, which may seem somewhat strange, given that I don't even shoot LF, much less ULF.

With that in mind, I do have a suggestion. My perspective flows from the fact that I am both left handed, and I have limited strength and dexterity in my right hand.

Whatever design choices you make, try to make them in a way that doesn't penalize people who are left handed.

If an adjustment or control is important, it should be as easy for a left handed person to use it, as it is for a right handed person.

If possible, adjustments and controls should be usable using one hand only, and either hand at that.

If you are preparing prototypes, you may want to have them tested by both right handed and left handed photographers

Now if I could just convince the manufacturers of smaller cameras to follow these same suggestions...

Matt

barryjyoung
03-09-2007, 02:20 PM
All in all, my point of view is that these cameras, especially in ULF are tools and I use them as such. I dont take much consideration for how the camera looks or whether its pretty, I like when they work instinctively/intuitively and function flawlessly.

Hope that helps barry.

scootrmm:

It helps a great deal
Thank you very much.