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  1. #1
    MikeSeb's Avatar
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    Anyone recognize this camera?

    I hope someone here can help me with identifying this camera. I've attached several images---forgive the crappy quick digi-snaps.

    It's an old view camera I "inherited" indirectly from my wife's grandfather, or possibly his father---no one is sure. It's been used as a decoration for probably fifty years or longer. Her grandfather was, among other things, the portrait and wedding photographer in their small rural (there is no other type!) Kentucky town. (Also got a Kowa Super Six and irreparable Speed Graphic "from" him.)

    It appears to have been at least an 8x10 camera, but someone fitted it with a homemade reducing back into which a 4x5 graflok (?) back has been inserted. It has front rise and fall, and back tilt, but no other movements I can see.

    Markings: label on the front: "Empire State, Manufactured by Rochester Optical Co., Rochester NY". Lens: 10-3/4" f/4.5 Goertz Dogmar, Patented 1914. Not sure about the shutter.

    I'm thinking if I can't get it working to make photographs itself, I may just use the lens and shutter in my 4x5 and see what I get. The lens looks to have some spots of fungus on the rear element, and it is uncoated of course, but it might be interesting. It's a 10 3/4" focal length, so about a 270mm, which would be a nice portrait length. I just posted a thread here about a good "portrait" lens for a 4x5, and this might do it. I expect it'll be quite soft and full of flare.

    Thanks folks!
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails 090218-213517.jpg   090218-213540.jpg   090218-213559.jpg   090218-213626.jpg   090218-213703.jpg  

    090218-213736.jpg   090218-213821.jpg  
    Michael Sebastian
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  2. #2

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    I think you already identified it yourself. It's an Empire State field camera made by ROchester Optical Co. See below:

    http://www.fiberq.com/cam/roc.htm

    Dan

  3. #3
    TheFlyingCamera's Avatar
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    Well, the Dogmar lens is a great one - I know John Dugdale shoots a longer length version on his 11x14 Deardorff. Those Compound shutters are pretty reliable- it may only need a good cla to put it right.

  4. #4
    Photo Engineer's Avatar
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    Mike;

    Could it have been an 11x14? I know that there are several fine 11x14 cameras almost identical to this one out there. I believe that George Eastman may have bought the company early in the history of EK. At least, I have seen one 11x14 about identical to yours but with an Eastman Kodak plate on the front.

    PE

  5. #5
    MikeSeb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Photo Engineer View Post
    Mike;

    Could it have been an 11x14? I know that there are several fine 11x14 cameras almost identical to this one out there. I believe that George Eastman may have bought the company early in the history of EK. At least, I have seen one 11x14 about identical to yours but with an Eastman Kodak plate on the front.

    PE
    Entirely likely. I haven't measured the back exactly, pending getting it apart without damage; but it might well be an 11x14.
    Michael Sebastian
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  6. #6
    c6h6o3's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MikeSeb View Post

    Lens: 10-3/4" f/4.5 Goertz Dogmar, Patented 1914. Not sure about the shutter.

    I expect it'll be quite soft and full of flare.
    It may surprise you. My sharpest lens is an uncoated 12" Goerz Dagor, made in 1911. It has slight flare, and in some situations has provided beautiful shadow tonality that would've been lost had I used a coated lens, such as my APO Red Dot Artar or my Nikkor.

  7. #7

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    It looks as though you still have the original frame for the 8x10 back on the camera. If you can get the plywood off safely, you might be able to put a new ground glass in there and have an 8x10.

    A good lens shade will take care of a lot of the flare. Avoid working in high-flare situations, and your lens probably will do nicely. A little flare can be a good thing in portraiture, softening the transitions between light and dark. That lens probably will do you well on your project. Give it a good cleaning and try it out!

    Peter Gomena

  8. #8

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    Mike;

    The name "Empire State" I heard was bestowed on this camera due to the extreme high rise of the lens board for photographing tall buildings.
    Of course this was also determined by the rear coverage of the lens

  9. #9
    df cardwell's Avatar
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    Your Dogmar is a real gem. Call me if you have ANY instinct to sell it. A big bottle of Mark, for openers

    The effect of 'flare' is to make the very darkest step of the scale dark, dark gray instead of black. It never bothered Weston, Strand, or Adams. Gosh, this is a fine, fine, lens. It will shoot wide open VERY nicely. Open sky, at the end of the day, great. Window light ? Fantastic. You've landed on your feet. JUST DON'T EXPECT FLARE AND SOFTY CRAP. You now own a perfect lens, even better to be carrying on the family tradition.

    With all respect to our beloved Apuggers who are besotted with their Heliars, when I owned a couple shoeboxes of Heliars, I happily sold them and kept the Dogmars. If you decide to renew the R.O.C., do a search here for Bellows Manufacturing in Birmingham UK. You've done good.

  10. #10
    outwest's Avatar
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    I have 2 Dogmars, a 420mm f/5.5 and a 180mm f/4.5. The 180 is coated. The other neat thing about them is that they can be used converted with nice effects. One group is about 1.5x and the other about 1.9x IIRC.

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