I currently shoot 8x20 and 12x20. With any ULF format I find it requires a little more planning and causes you to slow down a little when composing your shots. Most of the time I will visit where and what I will be shooting before ever taking the cameras out. After you've been shooting with these large cameras for a few years you will become very creative on how you get you camera and gear from point a to point b. Even though my 8x20 Wisner Expedition weighs only 14 lb and is very packable on a pack frame, I'm a firm believer in wheeled carts, strong photo assistants, ATVs and pack mules. My last shoot involved a 47 ft. Coast Gaurd ship and a full 5 man/woman crew. We had a ball and I never lifted one case. They even loaded all the gear in the truck at the end of the day. It cost me 2 cases of beer and I had to be ready to go with a 2 hour notice but it was well worth the time and effort. This involved dropping me, an assistant and all the gear on a Lake Erie breakwall and then picking us up when we called and jumping eveything over to another breakwall. Then returning again at the end of the day and bringing everything back in. They commented that they wished we had some larger gear to make it more challenging. They were a very professional bunch of young men a women and a lot of fun. I only wish all my shoots could go so smooth. For many years I supervised the erection of skyscapers and bridges. This involved a lot of logistical planning, whether it was working in the confined space of a downtown setting or spanning a river in the middle of nowhere. An old ironworker told me something many years ago that still sticks with me today. The Law of the 7 P's: Prior Proper Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance. So no matter what size the gear is there is usually a way to get it to where you want to go. I just prefer to use my head more than my back. As far as format size goes that all is a matter of taste. Just keep in mind when you turn a camera on its side for a vertical it changes all your movements, front swing becomes tilt, tilt becomes swing, rear swing becomes rear tilt...ect...ect. Not hard, just takes some getting use to is all. What is good to see is the continued growth of interest in ULF.
Life is much simpler when your greatest film dimension doesn't exceed ten inches.
With larger formats you will find that every aspect of your photography takes on added complications and expense. But don't let that dissuade you.
If you are interested in the 8x20 format, Don has a really nice one for sale. Here is the link http://www.largeformatphotography.in...ad.php?t=33326
Thanks for the helpful insight. You have given me lots to think about. I have pretty much decided that it will be Ritter due to the overall flexibility of the design.
As far as size goes, I looked at 8x20, but decided that if I was going to go that big, I would go all the way to 12x20 instead. Though I admit I thought briefly about 16x20, but only briefly. Now I just have to decide on the size, I might buy a 7x17 for now and add the 12x20 back later..............lots to decide!
Thanks again for all the help! Its greatly appreciated!
Originally Posted by Scott Peters
Thanks for sharing these. I really like your work!
Thank you for the compliment! good luck with your choice. Please keep us posted on your progress.
When you order your camera, give Richard a call and talk to him about your future plans. Richard will tell you if you are thinking of a size larger than 7x17 in the future, to order that size now with a 7x17 reducing back. This will save you the cost of another bellows. While a 12x20 bellows can be used with a 7x17 back, a 7x17 bellows CAN NOT be used with a 12x20 back!
I own a Ritter 7x17 and just love it. You will not be sorry you decided on a Ritter camera. As a matter of fact, I like my 7x17 so much that I have also ordered one of Richard's new 8x10 Carbon Fiber Cameras. That will lighten my 8x10 kit by about 6 lbs. :-)
I have not heard of any 7X17, 8X20 or 12X20 Chamonix cameras with reversible back. No doubt they could make one custom for you, but this would add a lot of size to a banquet camera. A reversible back is more realistic for the 11X14, 16X20, 14X17 and 20X24 formats.
My 7X17 Chamonix is beautiful and well made. It is fairly light so hanging it on its side is feasible. But working with the camera on its side for vertical compositions presents a number of complications. It is OK for a shot now and then, but frankly if I planned to use a banquet camera a lot for vertical shots I think you would be much better off with one of Richard Ritter's cameras.
Thank you for your comments. Thats exactly what I had wanted to know. I read all the comments about your 20x24 and was impressed. You have helped my make my decision, a Ritter it is.
Thanks a bunch!