View Full Version : How many 20x24 cameras

12-19-2007, 07:27 AM
Do anybody know aprox. how many 20x24 cameras are out there being used ?

12-19-2007, 09:26 AM
Well if I had one, one more than there was yesterday.

Aren't these 20x24 cameras great!

Photography is a lot like horses.

"How do you make a small fortune in horses?"

"Start with a large fortune."


Oh to have one more 'ultimate' format!

Finally the real question is "How many people are making photographs worth looking at with a 20x24 camera?

12-19-2007, 09:49 AM
Why would anyone have a 20x24 camera without using it ??? It is not a showoff piece of equipment.

12-19-2007, 11:12 AM
Do anybody know aprox. how many 20x24 cameras are out there being used ?

The number is surely fairly small. Cameras this size are either home made or built on a custom basis. So far as I know they have been made in recent years by Lotus, Wisner, Chamonix, Ebony, and now Richhard Ritter and Keith Canham. I would guess that there are less than a hundred full function (excluding one shot pinhole cameras, etc.) 20X24 cameras in the world, probably a lot less than a hundred.

Second, I suspect that most if not all of them have been used or will be used. People tend to purchase this size camera for specific projects and/or for special subjects, not as a general purpose camera. The price of 20X24 pan film, when you can find it, is over $20 a sheet so the use of the camera has to be well planned.

I know of one 20X24 Wisner cameras that was purchased with several film holders, a 20X24 contact printing frame, and several boxes of 20X20 AZO, but was never used by the original owner because the project he planned for the camera lost its rationale. But the second owner has used it quite a bit, or so I understand.

Sandy King

12-19-2007, 11:30 AM
I have started building cameras as well (starting with 20x24), and am aware of 3 used Wisner 20x24 systems currently for sale.

12-19-2007, 11:33 AM
Well, I use mine as a point and shoot.;) That is about 2 hours of pointing and one shot, or two. Compare that with 5,000 rounds of ranging and one of rapid fire.

Seriously, it might be of interest to make a list of owners/users. It would never be complete, but I suspect Sandy is correct, in that the number is small, more than 10 and fewer than 1,000.

For most projects, a smaller LF or ULF would probably work as well. Few projects require 20x24. There is, of course the thrill of the massive real estate on the gg. This is quickly attenuated by the cost of each shot.


12-19-2007, 12:34 PM
I read somewhere recently that Polaroid built one prototype and five working models of their 20x24 camera.

Erik Hartmann
12-19-2007, 12:54 PM
I have a 20x24 B&J View Camera.....Going to use it this summer, when I got a linsboard.... or made one....
Do not know much about it, so if anybody know something, please tell me....

UPS.... You meant inch ???? and no cm.. ????

sorry Mine is CM.......

12-19-2007, 01:09 PM
I read somewhere recently that Polaroid built one prototype and five working models of their 20x24 camera.

Maybe my website? Two prototypes, but then, there we go again, there's more mis-info about the Polaroid 20x24s than correct info on the web.

David A. Goldfarb
12-19-2007, 01:14 PM
I know someone who had three Lotus 20x24" cameras. He owns labs in various cities and was planning to rent them out in different locations, but for some reason it didn't work out, so he sold two of them and uses one mainly for personal projects and workshops, and sometimes other people use it.

He uses it mainly in the studio, but he told me that in the field he usually supports it with a portable Black and Decker workbench rather than a tripod or its studio cart.

Allen Friday
12-19-2007, 02:19 PM
I assume you're talking view cameras and not copy cameras. I have one up and working 20x24 view camera which gets used often. I also have an old, wooden copy camera which I plan to modify to take 20x24 and 24x24 wet plates. Right now the back is about 26x30. I just bought for a song a 20x24 inch copy camera "complete with all the bells and whistles" from a hospital in Omaha: $350, local pick up, 4 lenses and vacume top. I haven't figured out what I'm going to use it for. If you count copy cameras, I think the numbers will go up considerably.

12-19-2007, 03:23 PM
I definitely meant view cameras that one would take into the field. Process cameras of this size were probably built into the thousands.

BTW, if anyone is interested in a 20X24 project I have a 20X24 back from a process camera, with one plate holder for sale. The back looks pretty much complete, except for missing ground glass.

20X24 wet plate collodion, anyone?

If interested contact me by PM.

Sandy King

12-19-2007, 05:52 PM
I have my 20x24 homebuilt, and assuming that I make some filmholders soon (would love to buy some S&S holders from you Sandy, but the funding isn't there, lith film is what it's gonna be for now.) I'll be taking it out sometime early January for first light to Shawnee in Southern IL, weather permitting.


12-19-2007, 09:22 PM
I have a 20x24 Bellows, that's a start isn't it? Making a camera isn't a problem, the film holders would have to be made, that's some work indeed, I can think of some very good and deserving subject matter too. I bought the bellows a year ago with an 8x20 in mind but the bellows is really nice and is 20x24 plus some and 10 1/2 x 10 1/2 on the lens end. I could see myself shooting a film or two a month in this format. Is 35 inches of draw enough?

I still have the materials for an 11x14 but with all of the talk of 20x24 who knows?


12-19-2007, 09:32 PM
It depends, there are some simple, easy to fabricate ways to make film holders.


12-19-2007, 10:12 PM
When Hiromi at Ebony made my 20 x 24 he was making two others at the same time. One was on its way to the Northeast to shoot fall color (that's all I know) and one was on its way to Indonesia. I don't know how often they were used or for what purposes (project oriented, or personal consistent use) but I know they were being made. I believe Badger Graphic has one Ebony 20 x 24 in stock (or did over the last year).

For myself I use mine for Pt/Pd printing and my Wet Plate Collodion work. I use the camera consistently. I definitely have certain long term projects in mind but I also use the camera for individual shots that feel worthy of the effort--and it is effort. For me I got into this format as a lifetime pursuit. In part I took up Wet Plate Collodion so that I was in control of always being able to use the camera with or without support from film manufacturer's. That being said I try to support the yearly runs that get made and my freezer has some boxes waiting on use.

I hope more take the plunge as it is a wonderful format and when it all goes well the results take your breath away.



12-19-2007, 11:58 PM
It depends, there are some simple, easy to fabricate ways to make film holders.

This is true, they don't have to look like Lisco/Riteway and be double sided. A thin box/container made light proof will work, I don't mean to under state the advantages of well made holders, the precision is remarkable, but for utility, it's still a light proof container. I won't need a dozen either, though a few would be handy if I were at the Grand Canyon.:)

12-20-2007, 05:10 AM
Although it is not a 20x24. I'm planning on moving up to 16x20 this year. I guess the 20x24's need a little brother. Robert

12-20-2007, 11:04 AM
I wonder if anyone can estimate how much 20x24 film is sold annually? I'm amazed that it is available, and from multiple sources, given the low volume.