I have a Zone VI 8x10...serial number 270. I had my relatively small 8x10 set up on the Sante Fe Plaza during "Big Cameras on the Plaza" Day a few years back. A nice fellow stopped by and gave my camera a good look-over. I offered him a view under the darkcloth, but he declined and said he probably built my camera. But after locating the serial number, he said he had only built the first 250. I am sorry but I can't remember his name, but he told some interesting stories of the challenges of camera manufacture.
Originally Posted by sensanjay
Anyway, my camera, either because it is post #250, or it is just fate, does not have the bail handle. I used a bail handle on a 4x5 for years and liked it. Both styles have their advantages...and I suppose an individual would just learn the best way of working with what ever style one owns.
One worriesome design situation I have come across is a lack a sufficient light-trap between the camera body and the back of the camera. I have had a few negs fogged. As long as I check to make sure the body and the back are perfectly alligned (there is a little slop in the fit of my camera) and keep the darkcloth over the back of the camera, I don't have any problems.
I have occasionally (and accidentily) run the standards off the focusing tracks. Its not easy (for me) to get the teeth lined back up again so that the standards are square to the rails. I do not know if this is an issue with other cameras. I have put marks on the camera the keep myself from doing it again.
210mm lenses are easy to use. Using the 159mm gets to be a challenge -- just too much bellows. The camera is steady when stretched out using my 19" lens.
The Zone VI is a heavy camera, as George observed. I just figure a day of carrying it around is a day I get some good exercise. The camera makes up about a third of the weight of my camera pack (without pod). By getting a light weight 8x10, a carbon fiber pod, and losing a couple lenses, I could reduce the weight 10 to 15 pounds...I could no longer afford to actually go anywhere, but I'd have a lighter set-up
It seems to be well made, but perhaps lacking in grace, if that is the right word for it. That's fine with me, since it is not lacking in functionbility and is a solid camera. I have used it is all types of weather and temperatures with no problems. The only problem I have comes from living and photographing here on the NW coast -- then heading to somewhere warm. I will set up the camera, focus, and as I am composing, the image starts to fuzz out. I then have to take the lensboard and back of the camera off to let the steam out. My camera just is not use to having actual sunlight on its bellows.
Thanks George and Vaughn for your feedback. This really helps me decide on what to go for.
Originally Posted by Vaughn
I'd be willing to bet my last dollar that the "nice fellow" was Bruce Barlow. Bruce and Richard Ritter together with Ted Harris run Fine Focus Workshops. Bruce also has some great articles and Large Format tools available on his www.circleofthesunproductions.com website. Bruce worked at Zone VI for a while and helped Richard assemble some of the cameras. If the guy was about 6' 6" tall then it was definitely Bruce.
Thanks! It probably was Bruce then. I considered him to be of average hieght, but then I am 6'4" and played high school and college basketball where I was considered to be a bit on the short side in my positions.
Originally Posted by jgjbowen
I will check out his website!