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View Full Version : Jumping into LF with Deardorff 14X14 Copy/Enlargement Camera & Folmer & Schwing 12X20



vssoutlet
27-Sep-2015, 00:32
Hi,

This is my first post here. Up to this point, large format photography was somewhere in the subconscious part of my brain that knows that things like this exist, but really didn't think about them. Then a few days ago on a buying trip (my business is buying and selling things) I ran into two items that were so amazing that I just HAD to have them.

1) A folmer & Schwing 12X20 banquet camera. No film holders or dark slide, but this is a massive camera. Great glass. Light tight bellows. Amazing.

2) This was the one that just amazed me. It's a 14" X 14" (why it's called that, I'm not sure because I can't find any dimensions that are exact Copying/Enlarging/Reducing camera (http://deardorffcameras.com/deardorffcameras/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/02a.pdf). Fully extended, the camera is about 6 feet long. This giant has two sets of bellows and "rides" on a track. It has several giant film backs, no lens unfortunately. I've never seen anything like it before. I read that NASA has a couple, as did the older aircraft carriers. Way cool.

I'd be grateful for anything you can tell me about these, especially the Deardorff. Does anyone here use it? Are the giant film backs usable on any cameras other than the 14X14?

Thanks!

John Kasaian
27-Sep-2015, 07:04
The Folmer & Schwing is a neat 12x20. The film holders for it are unique (locking groove, not a locking ridge) so when you're shopping be aware that the more common Koronas won't work. Any 12x20 film holder, F&S or Korona, is going to be costly.
A 450mm Nikor "M" or 19" Dagor f/7.7 will cover nicely.

If the 'dorff comes with several backs, there is probably a reducing back that accepts a more easy to obtain film size like 11x14 or 8x10 tucked away in the pile. It would be fun to use in a studio(a really big studio.)

Ilford cuts ULF film to order I think once a year. Orders are submitted through a designated Ilford dealer.
X-ray film is also available and the prices are very reasonable from CXS Online and ZZ Medical.
Have fun!

vssoutlet
27-Sep-2015, 15:15
The Folmer & Schwing is a neat 12x20. The film holders for it are unique (locking groove, not a locking ridge) so when you're shopping be aware that the more common Koronas won't work. Any 12x20 film holder, F&S or Korona, is going to be costly.
A 450mm Nikor "M" or 19" Dagor f/7.7 will cover nicely.

If the 'dorff comes with several backs, there is probably a reducing back that accepts a more easy to obtain film size like 11x14 or 8x10 tucked away in the pile. It would be fun to use in a studio(a really big studio.)

Ilford cuts ULF film to order I think once a year. Orders are submitted through a designated Ilford dealer.
X-ray film is also available and the prices are very reasonable from CXS Online and ZZ Medical.
Have fun!

I have five backs for the Dorff. Two of them are rotating backs. One has a 5x7 reducing back in it and one is empty. Why is it called a 14x14 when I can't actually find a precise 14" dimension? The backs are all 14 1/4 square.

Also, what was the primary use of this giant camera? I assume that based on its use by NASA and the military that it blew up small negatives to large sizes in situations where high resolutions were important.

John Kasaian
27-Sep-2015, 19:39
One sheet of 14x17 Fuji xray could be cut down to give you one 14x14 and two 5x7.
Of course, you'd have to really enjoy cutting film. Being ortho, at least you can cut under a red safelight.

Here's some info on the big 'dorffs
http://www.deardorffcameras.com/documents/
The NASA museum in Huntsville has one so you might ask them.

Luis-F-S
27-Sep-2015, 21:03
2) This was the one that just amazed me. It's a 14" X 14" (why it's called that, I'm not sure because I can't find any dimensions that are exact Copying/Enlarging/Reducing camera (http://deardorffcameras.com/deardorffcameras/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/02a.pdf).
I'd be grateful for anything you can tell me about these, especially the Deardorff. Does anyone here use it? Are the giant film backs usable on any cameras other than the 14X14?
Thanks!

It's an 11x14 Deardorff copy camera, and since the 14" dimension can go either horizontal or vertical, hence the 14x14" Not really sure what you'd do with it, other an to look at it since 11x14 copywork hasn't been used for around 35 or more years. But it is very neat to look at! Good luck! L

John Kasaian
29-Sep-2015, 06:39
11x14 is a great format for studio portraiture. If there is a light source you could even make enlargements from you 11x14 negatives. That would be pretty cool if you're into that sort of stuff.

Harold_4074
30-Sep-2015, 09:19
I understand that Redstone Arsenal, Huntsville Alabama, had a Deardorff copy camera (one of only two or three made, so possibly a different machine) used for photolithography of printed circuit boards in the early days of the guided missile program. This makes sense, as one of Werner von Braun's working principles was that all phases of the work needed to be done in house first, and contracted out only when fully understood.

The reference to aircraft carriers is baffling, but the idea of making a reduced-size print from a large (9"x9" or bigger) negative sort of makes sense. Making large copy negatives from annotated prints (to allow contact printing for distribution) would also be plausible.

John Kasaian
30-Sep-2015, 12:28
Hi,

This is my first post here. Up to this point, large format photography was somewhere in the subconscious part of my brain that knows that things like this exist, but really didn't think about them. Then a few days ago on a buying trip (my business is buying and selling things) I ran into two items that were so amazing that I just HAD to have them.

1) A folmer & Schwing 12X20 banquet camera. No film holders or dark slide, but this is a massive camera. Great glass. Light tight bellows. Amazing.

2) This was the one that just amazed me. It's a 14" X 14" (why it's called that, I'm not sure because I can't find any dimensions that are exact Copying/Enlarging/Reducing camera (http://deardorffcameras.com/deardorffcameras/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/02a.pdf). Fully extended, the camera is about 6 feet long. This giant has two sets of bellows and "rides" on a track. It has several giant film backs, no lens unfortunately. I've never seen anything like it before. I read that NASA has a couple, as did the older aircraft carriers. Way cool.

I'd be grateful for anything you can tell me about these, especially the Deardorff. Does anyone here use it? Are the giant film backs usable on any cameras other than the 14X14?

Thanks!
For less than the price of a box of 11x14 film you can get yourself a Calumet 400 or Graphic View II, three 4x5 film holders, a 210 or 150mm lens and a box of Freestyle .edu or Ilford FP-4+ film and be making photographs long before you can get those big boys up and running and your mistakes won't break the bank!
Just sayin'

vssoutlet
30-Sep-2015, 22:42
For less than the price of a box of 11x14 film you can get yourself a Calumet 400 or Graphic View II, three 4x5 film holders, a 210 or 150mm lens and a box of Freestyle .edu or Ilford FP-4+ film and be making photographs long before you can get those big boys up and running and your mistakes won't break the bank!
Just sayin'

@John, very, very true. But the thing is just SO damn cool and historic. What saddens me as a seller of items like these is that there seems to be little interest in history, to the extent that to make a profit on rare items, I must often turn them into parts. When I do, I try to document the machine first in photos and words. My way of paying a bit of tribute to the people that crafted them.

vssoutlet
30-Sep-2015, 22:44
The reference to aircraft carriers is baffling, but the idea of making a reduced-size print from a large (9"x9" or bigger) negative sort of makes sense. Making large copy negatives from annotated prints (to allow contact printing for distribution) would also be plausible.

I would think that the major military use would be enlarging - perhaps photos taken by spy planes.

John Kasaian
1-Oct-2015, 05:23
I would think that the major military use would be enlarging - perhaps photos taken by spy planes.

Then you should have a holder that accepts 9-1/2" x 9-1/2" negatives in your lot.

Mossypress
13-Oct-2015, 15:52
I'm jumping in for the first time too. I have nothing on the 14x14.
But I have lived with a f&s 12x20 for 25 years. It is a wonderful experience, requiring zen-like patience and weight lifting ability. I have used it mostly for French and California landscapes (not too far from the car), and a few long exposure experiments. I bought it on impulse from a storefront in NY, not knowing what I was getting in to. I have added a couple lenses, but nothing fancy, and still mainly use the Bausch and Lomb 20" that came with it. I only had one crappy film carrier, but I was lucky live next to a woodworker in France who made me four finely made, but very heavy ones which have worked well. Sand blasted my own ground glass, bought a replacement bellows eventually and it is in good working condition. It cracked into pieces when the tripod fell over once, but I managed to glue it back together.
Film is the problem. I am on my last box of Ilford film bought in the annual order a year ago, but the price is getting nuts. So I am beginning to experiment with X-ray film. Can't get it full 12x20 though. For a while I was shooting Ilfachrome paper directly in the camera and getting some nice (reversed) unique color prints.
But due to film and other options, I am afraid my love affair with this big thing is beginning to wind down.
I did see one of these still in commercial use in Lourdes by a group photographer who stationed himself in front of the main church, and shot from a ladder top.

Roger Thoms
13-Oct-2015, 16:29
Mossypress, you would have to cut it down, 14x36 that is. http://www.zzmedical.com/14x36-in-full-length-fuji-x-ray-film-green-hr-u.html

Roger

Andrew O'Neill
14-Oct-2015, 11:56
14x36 pinhole box camera.... mmm mmm mmm

Roger Thoms
14-Oct-2015, 15:46
14x36 pinhole box camera.... mmm mmm mmm

Hey, I have a 14x36 contact print by Darren Samuelson that's awesome, great format!!! Yes it's from an in camera negative. Black foam core, pinhole, it could be light. I think Darren's camera weights about 70 lbs.

Roger

Drew Bedo
15-Oct-2015, 04:19
A few years ago a collectors club here in Houston met at a members home to admire his display room. Plenty of neat cameras in glass cases . . .but in the middle of the room were two massive ULF studio cameras. At this time I do not recall the exact format, but they both were similar to those described in the OP: Massive, non transportable. huge bellows extension with intermediate support frame, and long. At the time, I was working in a medical setting and had access to x-ray and MRI film in many sizes, and the automatic processing gear in the dark room. I suggested that we could make a few images together from time to time.

This was a true COLLECTOR not a photographer. The thought of actually exposing film in his cameras brought him to a mild anxiety attack and he broke out in a cold sweat. No dice. So there they sit, dominating that big room looking like the guns of Navarone.

By all means, restore and care for these cameras; no one will make anything like them ever again. But above all, figure out a way to use them; Lense/shitter, backs, film, processing etc. Heck, there may even be a way to put one onto a utility trailer or into a van or truck and go places. I can imagine backing into a scenic overlook somewhere and shooting landscapes.

John Kasaian
15-Oct-2015, 06:41
I'm jumping in for the first time too. I have nothing on the 14x14.
But I have lived with a f&s 12x20 for 25 years. It is a wonderful experience, requiring zen-like patience and weight lifting ability. I have used it mostly for French and California landscapes (not too far from the car), and a few long exposure experiments. I bought it on impulse from a storefront in NY, not knowing what I was getting in to. I have added a couple lenses, but nothing fancy, and still mainly use the Bausch and Lomb 20" that came with it. I only had one crappy film carrier, but I was lucky live next to a woodworker in France who made me four finely made, but very heavy ones which have worked well. Sand blasted my own ground glass, bought a replacement bellows eventually and it is in good working condition. It cracked into pieces when the tripod fell over once, but I managed to glue it back together.
Film is the problem. I am on my last box of Ilford film bought in the annual order a year ago, but the price is getting nuts. So I am beginning to experiment with X-ray film. Can't get it full 12x20 though. For a while I was shooting Ilfachrome paper directly in the camera and getting some nice (reversed) unique color prints.
But due to film and other options, I am afraid my love affair with this big thing is beginning to wind down.
I did see one of these still in commercial use in Lourdes by a group photographer who stationed himself in front of the main church, and shot from a ladder top.
A wonderful post, Mossypress! I have a 12x20 F&S and cut down x-ray film is what I'll be trying in her next. :)

Mossypress
15-Oct-2015, 10:59
Thanks for the comments. My camera, Drew, is definitely not a collector's item. It is ding-ed up and the brass is corroded. Cameras are meant to be used!
At 12x20 fully extended, it is an impressive thing. Inevitably, if I am at roadside, some one will stop and get curious, which is the last thing I need at that moment, as there are too many things to go wrong if I am distracted, and it seems then that they always do.
As to film size Roger, the larger x-ray size I didn't know about. Thanks for the lead. I already bought a box of 14x17 which I will experiment with.
Has anyone tried colloidal on acetate in this size? I just met a Mexican photographer, Patricia Lagarde (http://www.patriciacondegaleria.com/PCG/Patricia_Lagarde.html), who is doing wonderful colloidal work. She tells me she has gone up to 8x10. I am intrigued.

Randy Moe
15-Oct-2015, 12:12
I also fell in love with a huge camera, why not, we may as well fiddle while Rome...

Deardorff 11X14 SC11 Studio camera with the absolutely necessary Bi-Post stand. I think mine is from the 50's but I always tell people it's from the Great Depression and was used to make high rez Sears Catalogs. It was designed, made and sold for that purpose from 1929.

I don't use it all the time,. but I have restored to 100% operational and plan to rearrange my studio so it's more easily used. My partner is not so helpful...

http://deardorffcameras.0catch.com/s11/s11.html

141053

Mossypress
17-Oct-2015, 15:01
Randy - Great shot. You could press auto body parts with that stand. Is your partner depressed?

Randy Moe
17-Oct-2015, 17:18
Randy - Great shot. You could press auto body parts with that stand. Is your partner depressed?

No, I am. She won't talk to me. :( I worked in stamping plants and still have 11 fingers...

Duolab123
21-Oct-2015, 21:30
I also fell in love with a huge camera, why not, we may as well fiddle while Rome...

Deardorff 11X14 SC11 Studio camera with the absolutely necessary Bi-Post stand. I think mine is from the 50's but I always tell people it's from the Great Depression and was used to make high rez Sears Catalogs. It was designed, made and sold for that purpose from 1929.

I don't use it all the time,. but I have restored to 100% operational and plan to rearrange my studio so it's more easily used. My partner is not so helpful...

http://deardorffcameras.0catch.com/s11/s11.html

141053

I think you're the kid from the old version of "Miracle on 34th Street " that asked Kris Kringle fo a B-29 :D

Randy Moe
21-Oct-2015, 22:22
I think you're the kid from the old version of "Miracle on 34th Street " that asked Kris Kringle fo a B-29 :D

Mine came in Crackerjack box, look up somewhere here in DIY where I describe putting it together while I was incapacitated physically.

LF saved my life, by forcing me to do more physically and get out of the damn wheelchair. I also lost 50 lbs, I am now thinner than the pic.

I wish I had cut the pipes 2 feet taller, but I was barely able to get this setup with help. It almost can touch my 11-1/2 ft ceiling, which is high enough, but irreversible. I cut about 5 feet off...

I'm a 65 year old kid, going on 21.

vssoutlet
12-Nov-2015, 18:40
I also fell in love with a huge camera, why not, we may as well fiddle while Rome...

Deardorff 11X14 SC11 Studio camera with the absolutely necessary Bi-Post stand. I think mine is from the 50's but I always tell people it's from the Great Depression and was used to make high rez Sears Catalogs. It was designed, made and sold for that purpose from 1929.

I don't use it all the time,. but I have restored to 100% operational and plan to rearrange my studio so it's more easily used. My partner is not so helpful...

http://deardorffcameras.0catch.com/s11/s11.html

141053

Thats a killer stand

Randy Moe
12-Nov-2015, 18:51
Thats a killer stand

That's cut down from 13 feet, which may have already been shortened from 20 feet.

vssoutlet
12-Nov-2015, 22:28
That's cut down from 13 feet, which may have already been shortened from 20 feet.

Any interest in my massive 14X14? I started to strip it down for parts, but I just didn't have the heart to disassemble a camera that NASA has in its museum, so I put it all back together.

Randy Moe
13-Nov-2015, 06:36
Sorry no. This type and size of camera is NOT popular and has nearly no buyers. Very few own and use them as a labor of love.

Albatross is their name. :(

Will Frostmill
17-Nov-2015, 12:02
Well, put it on the for sale board. Maybe you'll get lucky.

I'm sans cash, so even if it was free, I couldn't afford to ship it home. I also have some questions about where I would put it.

That said, it would be so much fun to have.