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  1. #11

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    If you want to look at an "out of the box" design, google Richard Ritter's site, and look at his ULF series. I believe he is using carbon fiber tubes for the base, with more traditional standards, apparantly a light and flexible design.
    Regards, Pete Lewin

  2. #12

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    I'm rather fond of my 7x17 Franken-ARCA. It's a 7x17, but because the design is modular you could build a similar camera in 11x14 (or whatever other format you want).

    It's based on an ARCA-SWISS F-line. So, it is very rigid, precise and smooth to operate. For 7x17, I chose to go with a 171mm front format frame from a pre-Monolith M-Line. This gives me self-arresting geared front axis tilt and geared front rise/fall. On most smaller field cameras, this would be an unnecessary luxury, but on ULF with long lenses, it really makes life easier. I can tweak the front tilt with one hand while louping the ground glass with the other.

    As shown, it weighs 13 lbs and has a max. extension of between 29 and 30" (more than enough for a 24"/600mm lens). If I want to go light, I can swap out the front format frame for one without geared movements and use a shorter rail system. That gets the weight down to about 11.5 lbs. but limits me to a 480mm/19" lens.

    If I want to go longer, I can use longer rail sections and if I want to go REALLY long, I can add an intermediate standard and the 38cm standard bellows from my 4x5. That is the beauty of the ARCA-SWISS system. It's totally modular, so it's easy to reconfigure the camera for any shooting situation.

    In addition to keeping the weight reasonable, I also wanted to minimize the bulk of the collapsed camera so it would fit in a pack, along with my lenses and a three or four film holders. This camera collapses smaller than any other 7x17 I've ever seen. And since it can be transported with a lens mounted, it's very fast to set-up and tear down - literally as fast as my smaller 4x5 and 4x10 ARCA-SWISS cameras.

    I didn't really "build" the camera myself. I dreamed up the concept, assembled the necessary ARCA-SWISS bits and pieces, built some of the simple assemblies (rear wooden box frame and metal support framework from t-slot extrusions), and had the tough parts (camera back and bellows) built be people with more skills and experience (Richard Ritter and Camera Bellows).

    Others have built similar cameras based on Sinar monorails (usually a P rear and a F front). They are every bit as nice, but don't fold up as compactly as my Franken-ARCA.

    It really is a joy to use (but then I'm partial to ARCAs and am used to the location and feel of the controls). and since I already had many of the ARCA parts from my 4x5 F-Line and 4x10 conversion, the cost of the new bits necessary to convert it to 7x17 was quite reasonable - a lot less than a new 7x17 or even an old Korona or Folmer & Schwing.

    Kerry

  3. #13
    jp80874's Avatar
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    Curt,

    If you are serious and can afford to pounce, Mike A is selling a Phillips Explorer at a very good price. The last two I saw on eBay went for $4300 each. Light weight and Ridged, thy name is Dick Phillips.
    http://www.apug.org/classifieds/show...cat=500&page=1

    I learned from Michael Mutmansky and have an 8x10 Phillips Advantage and a 7x17 Explorer. On a good tripod you can easily turn my 7x17 to vertical. Ask Mike A about doing it on his.

    As to building your own, Flying Camera has the start. Dick Phillips adds a CNC milling machine. You know, just the average common tools we all have in the basement. For me it was cheaper and wiser to let someone with more experience build my dream. Dick has built 600 LF cameras in the basement of his house.

    John Powers
    Last edited by jp80874; 10-31-2007 at 06:45 PM. Click to view previous post history.

  4. #14
    Curt's Avatar
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    I have a cabinet shop in my two story garage / second story studio/darkroom. In there is a Powermatic saw and shaper, Comatic power feeders, 24" drum thickness sander, thickness planer, a tank of a 12" planer, '30's or '40's era, a very unique Delta Rotoplaner, you can shave the skin off of weiner with it, and all of the other shop tools needed to make anything out of wood; and some metal too.

    But... You don't always need these things to make a camera, I made a 4x5 "clamshell" field camera in an apartment in 1980 with mostly hand tools and a small table saw, cherry and brass from the hobby shop. It's not a hobby shop camera though. Rack and pinon focus, just like the named guys. I made the tapered bellows before anyone told me that a bellows could be homemade.

    Now with some experience behind me and some thought and with the Net for procurement, I don't see any problem that can't be worked out. I am going to make my own film holders too. They won't be two sided but one sheet per holder. I am just starting to sketch some ideas, rough, but in the end I can't see spending up to $400. each. I don't want to be loading film in the field.

    I am not buffaloed by the precision minded who say it's not that easy or can't be done without a computer driven machine and I don't want to sell them or make a name for myself. I don't like the idea of hiding the works either, why shouldn't anyone who wants to, see what's needed to make one of their own?
    Everytime I find a film or paper that I like, they discontinue it. - Paul Strand - Aperture monograph on Strand

  5. #15
    Curt's Avatar
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    Kerry that's one fine designed camera. Also there are no right or wrong idea and flip ones are all right too.

    I would like a design that is easy to operate right out of the box. I too am leaning toward a design like Jim mentioned. I am more familiar with the field camera design. I believe that one should have all of the movements, whether one uses them or not. Thanks for the ideas so far.

    Curt
    Everytime I find a film or paper that I like, they discontinue it. - Paul Strand - Aperture monograph on Strand

  6. #16
    Jim Fitzgerald's Avatar
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    Curt, like you say I'm not looking to sell the cameras I build. I like working with wood, getting ideas from everyone, using what I have to look at and then fill my apartment up with sawdust! There is a certain pride in using a camera you built. My 8x20 is still new to me and is a joy to use. Has its quirks like some of the old cameras I use so I'm right at home with it.
    Just had the yearly inspection at the apartment, so I'm good to go! I'm going to try the 11x14 using more wood and less metal this time. I'm studying the parts that take the stresses to determine where I can change things. Remember I'm not shooting this camera everyday so I think I can make some design adjustments. Suggestions or ideas are appreciated.

    Jim

  7. #17
    Curt's Avatar
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    As I see it there are three main considerations: The back, the film holder, and the bellows. The bellows can be made or bought, no problem here, the back can be made to accomodate bought holders, which very a lot and are hard to find or expensive, or holders made to specifically fit the back. I like the traditional back were film holders are inserted under the ground glass as in most, if not all modern cameras. The t-depth of the back and holders must be the same. The design of the holders will determine this, not tradition. Fractions of an inch or millimeters, as long as they are the same. I would like to design a back where the film is held in place similar to the negatrans film carriers. Stretcher bars at the edge or wedges, something to hold the film so it doesn't flop or bow out if the camera is pointed down. No film sag. I would prefer not to have pieces that have to be removed. The common dark slide is fine. That's my thinking up to now. I was looking for an enlarger for 8x10 but decided that the 11x14 print size is what I wanted and I don't mind contact printing so why do all of the enlarging, just go to a larger camera.

    Curt
    Everytime I find a film or paper that I like, they discontinue it. - Paul Strand - Aperture monograph on Strand

  8. #18

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    If you build your own camera, film holders are not that much more difficult, especially if you use a t-dimension that can use common size stock. I've built holders out of plastic, use double sided stcky tape (low tack) to hold the film in place, aluminum for the center and plastic or aluminum for darkslides. I have my stock cut by table saw or waterjet but it could all be cut with home tools. An 11x14 holder costs me about $90 dollars to make including the fingerstock for the light trap.

    The nice thing about using tape to hold the film is you can use the same holder for various smaller formats. For example you can use an insert made of plastic and use the same holder for 10x12 on one side and 11x14 on the other.
    "Fundamentally I think we need to rediscover a non-ironic world"
    Robert Adams

  9. #19

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    One aspect of modern ULF field cameras I don't like is the smallish lens boards. For some of us, the field camera does double-duty as a portrait/studio camera, and it's quite necessary that it take some rather large old lenses (and the large Packard Shutter that goes along with them).

  10. #20
    Curt's Avatar
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    If you build your own camera, film holders are not that much more difficult, especially if you use a t-dimension that can use common size stock. I've built holders out of plastic, use double sided stcky tape (low tack) to hold the film in place, aluminum for the center and plastic or aluminum for darkslides. I have my stock cut by table saw or waterjet but it could all be cut with home tools. An 11x14 holder costs me about $90 dollars to make including the fingerstock for the light trap.
    Jim, I am comming up with about the same figure, although not inexspensive, I would be able to have a dozen and not just a few. The dark slide material I found would be about $10.00 for each. The center septum could be a honeycomb material for light weigh or a single sheet of aluminum.



    The nice thing about using tape to hold the film is you can use the same holder for various smaller formats. For example you can use an insert made of plastic and use the same holder for 10x12 on one side and 11x14 on the other.
    That's a great idea.


    One aspect of modern ULF field cameras I don't like is the smallish lens boards. For some of us, the field camera does double-duty as a portrait/studio camera, and it's quite necessary that it take some rather large old lenses (and the large Packard Shutter that goes along with them).
    I agree, I like plenty of room in front too, I would rather use an adapter board on a larger front than try to put a lens on a front that is obviously too small. I have two Packard shutters but never had the space to fit one behind a lens and use them with any of my cameras.
    Everytime I find a film or paper that I like, they discontinue it. - Paul Strand - Aperture monograph on Strand

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