Well, I'm finally getting a chance to play with a ULF camera! Does anyone have any tips, suggestions, or know of any quirks or tricks associated with Folmer & Schwing Banquet cameras? I am hoping they are like an 8x10, only bigger. This one comes with a case, one film holder and an "iris" for holding barrel lenses. I have a scruffy 24" Artar I'd like to use(understandibly, I can't afford another lens right now!) but I don't know what the bellows length is on these cameras(12x24 format) I have heard they are marginal on unmodified 12x20 Koronas. Is this the case with F&S too? Thanks for any help!
I believe that you will find that the bellows extension are somewhat limited on both of the unmodified F&S and Korona cameras. I have encountered one fellow (I believe his name is John Hoyt). He has a site covering a F&S that he restored. As I recall, he had a 450 Nikkor M lens on that camera. So it would have at least 18 inches of bellows draw and probably several inches more. Unfortunately, that seems to be the nature of things and one is either relegated to buying something like a new Wisner or Lotus or dealing with the older banquet cameras.
The shorter lenses that cover the format are the 355 G claron and the 450 M Nikkor. Sandy King has indicated that the 14, 16, and 19 inch Dagors may cover but should be checked before purchasing.
My Korona had been modified by a previous owner (installed a supplemental extension rail beneath the original rail). New bellows were then fabricated by Western Bellows and I have 36 inches of bellows extension now.
The present owner of your camera should be able to give you the bellows extension of the camera that you are considering.
The F&S seems to have front tilt, geared rear tilt, and swing. Would appear by design to be more stable then the design of the Korona. However my Korona is solid with the mods that were done. I can tell you that there is no comparison in viewing a 12X20 groundglass and an 8X10 groundglass. My 4X5 seems almost toylike now. Hope that this helps, sounds like fun.
Congratulations on your purchase of the 12X20 Folmer and Schwing. And welcome to the fascinating but sometimes baffling world of ULF!
Bellows draw on an unmodified Korona 12X20 is about 24", slightly less on a F&S. 12X20 F&S cameras were made on a single extension rail that allowed only about 22" of bellows draw. I have heard that a rear extension rail was available for the F&S but it must have been very rare because I have never known a 12X20 F&S owner that had one. This means that you won't be able to use your 24" Artar without some kind of front extension.
Most people who use the F&S camera simply adjust their type of photography to the limiations of the camera by using wide-angle lenses, and for a format of this size anything less than 24"-26" would be considered wide-angle.
The 12X20 F&S was well-made and many remain in good operating condition in spite of their considerable age . One of the features that added erxtra ridigidy to the design was the non-removable back. The camera should have both swing and tilt on the rear, front rise and fall, and front tilt by means of a separate front bellows. Ther is no swing on the front unless the camera has been modified.
A short list of lenses that will work with this camera with the 22" bellows limitation follow.
Schneider 210mm SSXL
Goerz Dagor 14", 16.5", 19" (but not the 14" Gold Dot Kern Dagor)
(some older 12" Dagors will also cover stopped down to f/45 or f/64 but performance at the corners is marginal)
Goerz 19" Artar
355mm Schneider Symmar (convertible type)
For just one lens it is hard to beat the 450mm Nikkor-M for coverage, size, performance and price.
Just one additional comment about the F&S. Unless the back has been modified a F&S will not accept the more common Korona holders. Korona and F&S holders have almost exactly the same external dimensions in terms of width but the rib-lock mechanism thate is used to provide light baffling is different on the two cameras. Korona holders have a rib on the holder that drops into a groove in the camera back, whereas F&S holders have a groove in the holders that engages a rib on the camera back.
Many people who own F&S cameras have modifdied the back to accept Korona holders since these are far more common on both the new and used market. The modification is very simply. One simply removes the rib on the F&S back and then routs a small groove to accept the raised rib of a Korona holder.
Thanks for the great info! I'm getting really excitied about this, So far it looks like Photographer's Warehouse stealth fp-4, and a new, bigger dark cloth will be all I'll need to get started, since I've already got the big Ries Tripod, a 19" APO Artar barrel lens(after I fill in a small chip on the edge of the front element with black paint,) and 20x24 trays for developing.
Just don't forget to check out your camera and filmholder system very well for light leaks before putting it to the test with real film Few things in photograhy are more troubling than a 12X20 negative that has been ruined by light leaks!!!! Believe me on this because I am working on a second doctorat on the subject!!!
How to check? Put a flashlight in the camera and in complete darkness shine it around all over the bellows, then put a holder in the camera and do the same all around the holder, then remove the dark slide and shine the light directly through the baffle. The assumption should be that something is wrong and that there is a light leak rather than the contrary.