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  1. #1
    barryjyoung's Avatar
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    If you were designing a camera

    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.
    Barry Young
    Young Camera Company

  2. #2

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    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.

  3. #3
    Steve Smith's Avatar
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    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.
    "People who say things won't work are a dime a dozen. People who figure out how to make things work are worth a fortune" - Dave Rat.

  4. #4

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    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.

  5. #5
    barryjyoung's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PHOTOTONE View Post
    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.
    Barry Young
    Young Camera Company

  6. #6
    barryjyoung's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Smith View Post
    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.
    Barry Young
    Young Camera Company

  7. #7
    barryjyoung's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by philsweeney View Post
    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.
    Barry Young
    Young Camera Company

  8. #8
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    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.

  9. #9

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    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.
    Last edited by Colin Graham; 03-09-2007 at 09:09 AM. Click to view previous post history.

  10. #10
    David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
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    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.
    flickr--http://www.flickr.com/photos/davidagoldfarb/
    Photography (not as up to date as the flickr site)--http://www.davidagoldfarb.com/photo
    Academic (Slavic and Comparative Literature)--http://www.davidagoldfarb.com

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