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  1. #1
    SchwinnParamount's Avatar
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    Buying or making ULF film holders

    I am building an 8x10 field camera or two for myself, a son and a friend. Next year I hope to tackle an 8x20. I'll start this next project if I get the right sort of answers to the following questions.
    1. What kind of prices are being charged for these film holder type beasties?
    2. Are there any exceptional technical challenges to be overcome if I decide to make a film holder?
    3. If I figure out how to build a holder and do a good job with it, would there be much of a market for new holders I might produce?

  2. #2

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    If you need to ask. Okay seriously ULF can cost more then the camera it seems.

  3. #3
    Mongo's Avatar
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    1. See http://www.filmholders.com/filmho1.html for prices on ULF hand-made film holders.

    2. Precision is the biggest hurdle. Remember, it's precision over 20", which is a lot more than twice the effort of precision over 10".

    3. Keep in mind that the number of photographers drops significantly once you get beyond 8x10; there just aren't that many ULF photographers out there. If you can't beat the current prices by a significant margin, you'll have a hard time convincing many people to take a chance with your holders...you'll have to build a reputation to build a business. And even if you do, I doubt that you'll get rich off of the holders. Consider that Keith Canham is selling 4x10 holder for $95 and there's never been a problem getting them...even at that price the world isn't beating a path to his door simply because there aren't enough ULF photographers to wear out his grass. So my guess is that if your price was very good and your work was good, you might be able to make some sales...but you won't be selling hundreds of these things every week. (I doubt that hundreds of ULF holders exchange hands every week in the entire world.) 8x10 holders, on the other hand, would probably give you a larger market...but it'll be hard to beat the price of pre-packaged Fidelity holders.

    Regardless, I wish you great luck with your cameras and holders. I'm fascinated by the thought of an 8x20, and if I had a better back I'd probably be building one myself. (If you can make the cameras well and at a reasonable price, that might be a better way to find a market.)

    Be well.
    Dave
    Film is cheap. Opportunities are priceless.

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by SchwinnParamount
    I am building an 8x10 field camera or two for myself, a son and a friend. Next year I hope to tackle an 8x20. I'll start this next project if I get the right sort of answers to the following questions.
    1. What kind of prices are being charged for these film holder type beasties?
    2. Are there any exceptional technical challenges to be overcome if I decide to make a film holder?
    3. If I figure out how to build a holder and do a good job with it, would there be much of a market for new holders I might produce?
    Price depends on size and manufacturer. There are holders made by S and S, AWB, and Lotus.

    The information that I have is that a film holder requires a lot more precision then a camera. The film plane (T Dimension) and rib lock dimensions are restrictive. Additionally the light trap is a major consideration. Some sizes have uniform dimensions and some do not. I shot 12X20 for awhile and that format does not have dimensional standards.

    The market would depend on your product and your pricing.

  5. #5
    barryjyoung's Avatar
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    Go dude Go!

    I would love to buy holders from you. Please go into production ASAP.

    Precision is critical, but if you look at it from a manufacturing point of view, all of the parts that make up the holder except the light traps are straight sticks. I have watched you make precision straight sticks. Now we just have to put some precision grooves in those sticks. If you are making one it would be ridiculously time consuming, but if you are making 100 I don't think it would be nearly as daunting a task.
    You can do it Mr. A.

    Barry Young
    cameramaker.com

    Barry Young
    cameramaker.com
    Barry Young
    Young Camera Company

  6. #6

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    I don't know about AWB or Lotus but Quality Camera lists S&S 8x20 holders for $379 each.
    "Fundamentally I think we need to rediscover a non-ironic world"
    Robert Adams

  7. #7
    barryjyoung's Avatar
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    Who has a copy of the ANSI standard for film holders?

    OK, let's go about this the right way. If you are going to make standardized film holders it is best to start with the standard from the standards organization that standardizes them. I have never typed "standard" so many times in one sentence before. I tried to find the ANSI standard or a MIL Spec for film holders but they all seem to be cancelled. Does anyone posess these standards? I would be happy to pay for them.

    Thank you

    Barry Young
    cameramaker.com
    Barry Young
    Young Camera Company

  8. #8

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    The problem with ULF holders is that except for 11x14 there are no standards. This is bacause of a wide array of mfg of cameras over the years and lack of consistency or QC. (I'm mostly talking older cameras here) I have found that one can buy three different used film holders in any ULF format off of Ebay and you will find all 3 slightly different in thickness, enough to throw off the critical focus unless one shims under the holders or the gg. Jim Galli and others can attest to this fact.

    You also have the problem that the actual design of holders can be different. One camera mfg used a rib on the holder itself to lock in the holder, another major mfg had the rib on the camera.

    I assume that a ULF Lotus, Canham, Wisner or Ebony all use the same standard. So having the dimensions from one of these cameras would provide the data for those cameras.

    As far as older cameras, your best bet would be have the owner either send you a film holder they use or the camera to ensure a proper fit. other wise you might spend a lot of time replacing ill fitting holders.
    "Fundamentally I think we need to rediscover a non-ironic world"
    Robert Adams

  9. #9

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    There are also standards for 14x17. Here is link to "known" standards.

    http://home.earthlink.net/~eahoo/filmhold.html

    It does say for a complete list of film holder specs pay the fee and subscribe. I never did that because I have gone by what others have said that no standards exist for banquet formats.

    The advertisement in View Camera Mag for Quality Camera Company says that the S&S holders are built to ANSI standards and lists 10x12, 11x14, 7x17, 8x20, 14x17 and 12x20 sizes. So maybe standards exist or they are stretching the truth a wee bit.
    "Fundamentally I think we need to rediscover a non-ironic world"
    Robert Adams

  10. #10
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    Go for it, make your own standards, you not going to buy any other holders anyway so "standards" are what you say they are.

    BTW, what film are you going to shoot and what are you going to enlarge on?
    Or do you have a supply of Azo which is no longer available?

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