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  1. #11
    df cardwell's Avatar
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    "Dorff ?"

    "DORFF ? "

    You make me weep. If you buy it, I promise you'll call it a "Deardorff".

    FIRST: check out the serial number.

    A 'user' Deardorff HAS to cost $1500 and up. In the '80s or so, a special synthetic was used instead of leather. More expensive, harder to manufacture. Better in every way. But unless you can identify it, you could hurt yourself with the wrong bellows. Few folks know how to make a Deardorff bellows. And they tend to not be at bellowsmakers... exception,Camera Bellows in England.

    Best thing: this is a low miles original Chicago.

    Not good: home restoration, a Tennessee, or almost anything you can think of.

    Are the screws in the track holders buggered ? Are they loose ? The fitting of the tracks was a precision job, and hard to do properly. In 'restoring' cameras, folks usually start throwing Brasso and other liquids around, and the wood rots. Brilliant, but true.

    I'm worried about the rear standard. Do you know anybody that is a Deardorff shooter ? Take them to look the camera over. The standard is either over tightened, or misinstalled, or mis manufactured (not a Chicago); serial number, serial number.

    The thing that wears out with heavy use ( like, really, really heavy use ) is the steel hardware: tracks, trucks, plates, the lot. It's common in a bad 'restoration' to have original hardware and prettify the wood. The perp didn't know how to reassemble the camera, and how to set it up. I'm babbling. Contact Ken Hough. E-mail him. He works long hours, so don't freak out if he doesn't pick the phone up on the second ring.

    If the dealer will stand behind it, good. If it's an "AS-IS", find an expert to go with you.

    Good luck.
    "One of the painful things about our time is that those who feel certainty are stupid,
    and those with any imagination and understanding are filled with doubt and indecision"

    -Bertrand Russell

  2. #12
    blaze-on's Avatar
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    You all make a compelling case. Df, thanks for the info and advice.

    It doesn't appear to be refurbished, and as said, seemed flawless other than the overtightened rear extension. I'll give it a good go over and check the serial.

    DF Cardwell said: Not good: home restoration, a Tennessee, or almost anything you can think of.


    I am uninformed as to the Tennessee reference..What's this about please?

    Thanks to all so far. As one friend who emailed me said, it won't do anything your korona won't do. But damn...it sure be pretty!

    I should have stayed home yesterday....
    Matt's Photo Site
    "I invent nothing, I rediscover". Auguste Rodin

  3. #13

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    By all means check out Ken's Hough's Deardorf website for info on maintenance and pre-porchase inspection tips. Of courseafter viewing all that juicy 'dorff stuff on Ken's site, you'll be a Deardorff "gone-er." You won't be satisfied until you have your own!

    http://deardorffcameras.Ocatch.com/index.html

    Happy 'dorffing!

  4. #14
    df cardwell's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by blaze-on
    ... the Tennessee reference..What's this about please?
    Thanks to all so far. As one friend who emailed me said, it won't do anything your korona won't do. But damn...it sure be pretty!
    I should have stayed home yesterday....
    A few years ago, there was an attempt to manufacture the camera with 1990 technology at a site in Tennessee. These cameras were not widely accepted as successful, probably due to the difficulty of adapting a 1930 design to 1990 CNC.

    As for the Korona: it was not a very good camera in it's day and has not improved with age.

    Check Ken's site.
    "One of the painful things about our time is that those who feel certainty are stupid,
    and those with any imagination and understanding are filled with doubt and indecision"

    -Bertrand Russell

  5. #15
    Paul Sorensen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Kasaian
    By all means check out Ken's Hough's Deardorf website for info on maintenance and pre-porchase inspection tips. Of courseafter viewing all that juicy 'dorff stuff on Ken's site, you'll be a Deardorff "gone-er." You won't be satisfied until you have your own!

    http://deardorffcameras.Ocatch.com/index.html

    Happy 'dorffing!
    The link above is bad but I found the page through google at http://www.deardorffcameras.0catch.com/. The difference is the zero as opposed to the letter O in the above link.

    Cool page.

  6. #16
    blaze-on's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by df cardwell
    As for the Korona: it was not a very good camera in it's day and has not improved with age.
    Don't be dissin' my Korona now...I love my 4x5. Refinished it is beautiful to look at and has front swings,tilts shift, rise as well as rear swing and tilt, and has (to date) handled what I needed.

    Would I prefer a DEARdorff? Hell yeah...
    Matt's Photo Site
    "I invent nothing, I rediscover". Auguste Rodin

  7. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by blaze-on
    Would I prefer a DEARdorff? Hell yeah...
    You just answered the question!

  8. #18

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    For those who have mentioned Ken Hough as a source of Deardorff knowledge etc., You may want to check with those who have had experience dealing with Ken...expecially those who have cameras rebuilt by Ken. Clay Harmon, I believe, had a really enlightening experience with Ken.

    Aside from that, there are several sources for bellows. Camera Bellows is one source. Western Bellows is another source. I have rebuilt a couple of Deardorffs and have had no problem with Western Bellows...they build a quality product. There were two bellows designs for Deardorffs. The earlier were a straight taper the latter were a shortened taper.

    If there is misalingment in the rear standard, it may very well be due to the standard not having been properly aligned when it was inserted into the tracks or the tension adjustment is just adjusted too tight. There is an adjustment to compensate for wear. This is not necessarily a big problem...although it would be a bargaining point.

    I have paid as much as $1,300 for a NFS V8 and as little as $695 for a FS V8 complete with a 450 Nikkor M lens.

  9. #19

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    Deardorff or not to Deardorff

    I have two, a 5x7 nfs and a really mint 8x10 fs- they are really easy to use except when you HAVE to use a very short focal length wide angle lens.

    I think Canhams are more versatile, but the Deardorffs are just comfortable.

    I paid more than you are quoting, and don't mind that I did.

  10. #20
    Shmoo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by blaze-on
    Ok, so today I went to the photo swap meet in So. Cal. (any of you there?)

    On my way out (only spent $12.00 so far) I saw a case with 8x10 holders...asked about them (I have an 8x10 that I haven't used or restored yet) and he pointed to an 8x10 Dorff folded up and laying in the back.

    So I had to look at it. Had to... you know.
    On the outside (folded up), it looked nearly "as new". Upon opening it, the first thing that hit me was "new car smell"...Either the bellows were brand new or the darn thing had rarely been opened. (were the original bellows leather?)

    Second thing I noticed was how easy it unfolded and sprang to life. The metal finishing was perfect, bellows (as seen briefly) were perfect, the wood was next to perfect, the leather handle as new and the tripod mount plate unmarred. The rear extension seemed too tight as my few minutes of fiddling (or fondling?) could not loosen. The glass was kinda yucky but no biggie.

    Two lensboards accompany this along with five holders, three new type, two older type.

    Now, for $1400 it is (is it?) "a deal" as a quick survey of dorff's on upay showed...most nice ones go for $1500-2K...the beaters for around $800.00.

    Oh, he also said it belonged (patience...) to a well known photographer who died last year...maybe, most likely hype (?).

    As I got his number and info (just in case ) and since the meet was ending in half hour or so, I feel relatively sure that this is still in the seller's posession. But you never know...
    .
    Matt -

    Was this the Carson swap meet? I must have missed you (I got there at 10). I actually pulled that 'dorff out of its case...a beauty, for sure, but a bit pricey for me right now.

    Had my eye on a mint Rolleicord TLR f2.8 Planar with working meter...$900, but I got out for $45 (100 sheet box of Plus X 4x5 film).

    If you live in the So. Cal area, the camera swapmeet is a terrific place to get gear...

    S

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