I'd have him build me a darkroom.
But that isn't what you want.
So, MY ideal camera would be an 8x10 with a Protar f/18 lens, the one that was made for 5x7 but covers LOTS of field, almost enough for 11x14. It would be fixed focus, allowing the max dof @ f/64 (US 256 is what would be on it if it were the B&L version I have) getting out to infinity with min aperature, and it would have a rising front that could be locked in. It would have levels both on top and one side. It would have a tripod mount and some manner of wireframe viewfinder (which would be quite easy to devise, actually). The back would be removable to change from horizontal to vertical. It could have an extension to convert for a near focus range.
I worked at a big studio in Seattle around 1970. It had a camera like this that was designed by one of the photographers (John Moen - one of the most brilliant photographers I've ever known, one who taught much of what I've used every day ever since). It was based on a 90mm Super Angulon and it was in nearly constant use - especially whenever they had architecture jobs - but the possibilities for other kinds of work are infinite.
I believe the f/18 protar, inconvenient as it is, provides just about the greatest flexibility there is. I think it must be what Bill Brandt was using for "Perspectives on Nudes". Could be wrong, but it would be the optic I'd choose for that sort of thing.
Let us know what you end up doing.
But, thinking about it, the possibilities are endless. An acquaintance of mine was building banquet holders for a well known pano photographer in between his arch top guitar projects, and another took a course at the voc-tech school to learn to build a 12 foot tripod for his circut cameras - which he did. You ought to see that. He didn't build the ladder he needed to get up there; that, he could buy. The guy is close to 7 feet tall, on the ladder he is positively heroic. And that 16 inch circut camera is fairly impressive, too.
Plans for a 8x10 or ULF are not really existent. But you could buy a wood 8x10 in some dubious state of repair and ask him to restore it or convert it to 7x17 0r 8x20. Since he would have the existing 8x10 back to use as an example, he could build the ULF back if you furnished the bellows and filmholder(s). Restoration work on the front, a couple of lensboards and you're all set.
A UV light box for alt. process exposures. Bill Barber
a ULF pinhole camera with a storage bin UNDER the camera and a
storage compartment inside the camera and a sleeve.
you would be able to take exposed paper and slide it UNDER the camera,
and a fresh sheet of paper from inside the camera to "reload".
laser cut pinholes or zone plates are easy go get for close to exact exposures ..
and you can have an adjustment to lengthen or shorten the box so you have
the right "fixed" focal length you can hyperfocal if you want to use a "regular lens" ...
Thanks everyone for your ideas. Unfortunately, I was sick last week, hence the delay getting back to you.
While the ULF idea is extremely tempting, I don't want to bend the learning curve to the point of breaking. I've never even really used any large format camera (closest thing being a wooden box with a hole in the front and a polaroid 4x5 holder on the back and art directing photographers using 4x5 Graflex press cameras and asking lots of questions). I like the film holder idea too, but I'll have to look round for something to put them IN. (I imagine he can do pretty precision work, as he does things like inlay and other fancy bits).
I think, at the moment, I will google up some of the references you guys made and see what's what and where it takes me. If I can find some nice plans online, for purchase or free, that would be cool.
OK, dumb question, but what does one use for film in ULF cameras? I know I should go read the ULF forum till I figure it out, but if anyone feels like taking pity on a poor girl who's been in the hospital all week and is now a little lazy....
Ilford and Kodak have been doing special runs of film in ULF (usually FP4+, HP5+, TMY, and occasionally TXP) and custom sizes for the past couple of years, and East European films like Efke PL100 are available in a wide variety of formats. If you want to shoot color, then you've got to organize your own special order, or find someone else who is doing it to make the minimum order from Kodak or Fuji, which is likely to be around $10K. Special orders of East European films are less expensive and a bit easier to do. Ultrafine (AKA Photo Warehouse) used to buy master rolls from Ilford and did special cuts, but Ilford isn't selling any of their own films as private label films anymore (though they may coat other emulsions for other labels), so now they are offering a new film, which I think people are speculating is Shanghai film from China.
You can shoot paper to. Or the already mentioned Lith film.
A 12x20 and holders...
Of course only if I had thousands of dollars for film and lenses.
Originally Posted by cordeliaflyte
8x10 Alt print frames
Print frames of various sizes, in fine woods could be a good item for him/her to have an ongoing product to list on the website... The difficulty would be the time to design and make the jigs & fixtures to do multiples. Using high quality glass and visually appealing woods with spring brass clips, one could receive a good return. Nice tools are a joy for craftspeople to use... The problem with film holders is the light tightness they require and the aging of the woods for the required stability they need..... Frames don't need the same accuracy & detail. I'm a classical guitar and lute/oud maker and have tossed around this idea as a use for high quality cut offs/scraps from instrument making. If you decide on film holders, I have aged wood both figured and 1/4 sawn to sell that is extra, in my loft... Be Well, Bill