View Full Version : Progression to ULF ... yours ?

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nick mulder
01-13-2010, 03:06 AM
Hello all,

Idle times ...thought so why not start a thread that's not just the got a question, need an answer variety and ask:

So what/how did you work up to ULF sizes ? and ok, yeh why not a little why thrown in there also ...

Mine is mostly bragging rights, but a proper reason of sorts is I like 1:1 magnification (feels like I've typed that a bit lately) and 11x14" is the minimum size that your traditional passport style composition will fit. Not interested in pano formats yet and dont need infinity focus so its not such an issue investing in the glassware (although I did just buy a Dallmeyer 4A).

As for me after buying the holders 11x14" was a simple enough conversion for my Sinar - but I'm thinking bigger and am now building a camera that will do both film and plate up to 16x20... thats the plan anyway - ha ha

01-13-2010, 07:25 AM
Okay, I will jump in.

Well, it all started with a strange desire to buy 4x5 camera about six years.
Then about five years ago, I decided that 4x5 wasn't enough and upgraded to 8x10.
That kept me busy for a while, but after a while 8x10 contact prints were beginning to look a little small.
And finally the 12x20 arrived about 4 months ago. I haven't had time to get it out as much as I would like, but it is a true joy to use.
Maybe at some point 12x20 will seem small and there will be a need to go to 20x24, but I don't see that happening any time soon. The bank account nor my wife will allow that for some time to come.

Its a dangerous slippery slope we are on!!


01-13-2010, 07:29 AM
I just bought a Cham 11x14 which is the first ULF I think I can carry easily and use as I would my 8x10 or 4x5. So I guess you could say insanity.......Evan Clarke

John Jarosz
01-13-2010, 10:38 AM
I've been doing carbon for some time, usually from 4x5 negs. I made my own large size contact printing negs. That has started to become more difficult and I did not want to get into learning how to make digital negatives. So I took the easy way out. I jumped in to 8x20. :-)


Robert Hall
01-13-2010, 11:36 AM
I was fascinated by Dick Arentz work and was looking for something larger. I liked the idea of 12x20 because it was so much cheaper to cut the film down if I wanted a smaller image, say 8x20 or 7x17 than to buy the backs and film holders. Even now with film going from $4 a sheet for 12x20 to about $14 a sheet it is still a bit of a bargain over adding other formats.

I did a figure study workshop in Carmel recently where I used the 12x20 in the studio. The images are simply amazing.

Lens selection has been even easier than the 8x10 as I was able to find a 210 xl, a 355 claron, and an unbelievably contrasty 24" artar. I have a couple more but that really tends to be what I use with the camera. Due to only carrying one or two lenses it is easier to carry than the 8x10. What can I say?

It certainly becomes a performing art as well as a visual art when you get that beast out to photograph the land scape. I sometimes enjoy the stories I walk away with more than the images.

BTW, I went from buying packaged chems to 50# bags in 2000 when I started shooting with the 12x20. It has saved me a small fortune due to increased film developing costs.

01-13-2010, 11:48 AM
I got into ULF for the most silly reason: because I could. Just to have fun and explore the possibilities. On my list of to-dos is a project in which the bellows are locked at a fixed distance guaranteeing 1:1 rendition at the focal plane. I did this with 5x7 and 8x10 and the impact wasn't quite what I wanted, so that is why I am doing 11x14. Basically a dumb academic reason ;)

01-13-2010, 12:00 PM
I would love to try 12x20 but, alas, I can't carry that much weight/bulk anymore. I've just recently finished assembling a lightweight 4x5 kit dedicated to 6x12cm RF and will soon be looking for a nice used Canham 8x10 Traditional for sheet film. Even the 8x10 will often be a challenge for me. This is why I also have the 6x12cm kit.

The LESSON to be learned is... if you want to do something then do it NOW. Time slips by rather quickly. You never know when your age and/or your health will take a turn... and it just might happen sooner than you expect.

01-13-2010, 12:36 PM
I'm still working my way up to ULF (I have an 11x14 but don't use it much). I shoot various large/ultra-large formats because I got into contact-printing alt-process materials and it's the way to have images in the size you want them. I'm working on building a dedicated vertical portrait-format 12x20, which I already have the lens for - a 24" (600mm) Docter Optic Apo-Germinar f9.

nick mulder
01-13-2010, 09:20 PM
but after a while 8x10 contact prints were beginning to look a little small.
uh huh

... 1:1 rendition at the focal plane. I did this with 5x7 and 8x10 and the impact wasn't quite what I wanted, so that is why I am doing 11x14.
exactly !

So I think its more about a fascination with 1:1 and contact printing for some of us, basically a logical outcome.

Very social as well, always a crowd.

01-13-2010, 09:36 PM
I borrowed an 11x14 once...

Jim Fitzgerald
01-18-2010, 09:34 PM
I got into ULF when someone on this forum said that I could not build a ULF camera by hand. Oh yeah, I said! So I built my 8x20 and 11x14 cameras from some fine Walnut with matching tripods. Even made the Walnut barrel for my 14" commercial Ektar! Some simple hand tools and a Dremel in my one bedroom apartment. Boy are they fun to use and the images are not bad either.


nick mulder
01-18-2010, 09:39 PM
I got into ULF when someone on this forum said that I could not build a ULF camera by hand.

Waaaaah ?! :o

Who said that ? As you're well aware, get them to have a look at the building and mod section of the forums ...

Jim Fitzgerald
01-19-2010, 10:39 AM
Nick, can't really remember who it was. I was told I needed a machine shop and all kinds of fancy tools. Yes, I have several posts in the building section if you go back a bit and that is me next to the 11x14 in my avitar. BTW, I built the 11x14 because I liked the print size.


01-19-2010, 10:58 AM
I blame all my ULF love on Kerik Kouklis (http://www.kerik.com/gum_structures/images/gum003.jpg) and Clay Harmon (http://www.clayharmon.com/lrgalleries/fragminis/content/bin/images/large/abq3_1.jpg) ...
those bastards.

I do love it so.

01-19-2010, 12:09 PM
Waaaaah ?! :o

Who said that ? As you're well aware, get them to have a look at the building and mod section of the forums ...

What I believe was said was that "No sane person would build their own ULF camera in a one-bedroom apartment that is already a functional darkroom." or something to that effect....;)


Jim Fitzgerald
01-19-2010, 12:21 PM
Vaughn, you know me! The sane part does not apply! I did try to keep the dust to a minimum.... he laughs to himself.


01-19-2010, 12:50 PM
i got a 11x14 camera a few years ago when
i decided that i liked shooting paper negative portraits ( 8x10 )
but wanted something a bit bigger. i traded some images for century 8a camera :) and its semi centennial stand
... but the camera didn't have a 11x14 back just a 8x10 ...
so i made a back, and book style paper holders out of foam core and matboard
and with the advice of thomas sauerwein taped some waxed paper on the back instead of ground glass ...
it works amazingly well ... eventually i happened upon a 7x11 back and film holders that i also use ...

i like the long format for portraits and shooting paper works for me since i am too broke to buy film

largeformat pat
01-19-2010, 03:15 PM
I have plans to copy the style of my 8 x 10 rear standard, enlarge this out to 16 x 20 and get some film holders and bellows and away I go. Does any one know of who makes this size film holders?

Michael Kadillak
01-19-2010, 03:38 PM
First View Camera Conference in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Sat in the first row of a Michael and Paula presentation and saw up close and personal marvelous print after print. For the first time in my photographic journey I felt that it was possible to reach a bit higher than was previously possible. Seeing Sandy Kings Carbon prints shortly thereafter at the next talk at the conference absolutely sealed the deal. The first step in the new direction was to discard projection printing as from that point forward I was hooked on making contact prints and the next step was ULF and I have not looked back. 12x20, 8x20, and 11x14. At this stage 8x10 is considered small and 5x7 is like my Leica to me.


01-19-2010, 04:49 PM
My grandfather had a lake house. On the wall was a panoramic photograph of the lake. That image is burned in to my memory (haven't seen the photograph in over 35 years).

Saw an article in View Camera and thought it would be cool to shoot a panoramic format. Decided on 7x17 because film/lenses/holders seemed more available/affordable than some of the larger sizes. I just love the format. Now all I need is for MAS to deliver a boatload of 8x20 Lodima :-)