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angusparker
9-Feb-2016, 10:49
Just finished a blog post on what you might consider while picking out your ULF view camera. Would be great if people could add their two cents and I'll edit the post. Thanks

Blog Post:
What is the ULF format for you? (http://www.angusparkerphoto.com/blog/2016/2/what-is-the-ULF-format-for-you)

The things I considered were:
(1) shape (square versus panoramic)
(2) Finished print size and your darkroom setup
(3) film availability and cost
(4) weight/portability - field versus studio
(5) whether you can use wide, normal or long lenses for the format given the bellows length
(6) camera cost and availability and
(7) lens cost and availability

Anything else you would add?

Mark Sawyer
9-Feb-2016, 11:29
Lens board size. Big cameras sometimes need big lenses.
Sturdiness of the front standard for those big lenses.
Film/plate holder availability/cost.
Movements. The current reproductions of early cameras often have none.

Scott Davis
9-Feb-2016, 11:36
What is your desired end-product? If you are looking to shoot film, one range of cameras will be appropriate. If you are looking to do ULF collodion, dry plate, or other in-camera original (daguerreotypes, other options?), you're looking at a different range of cameras. Subject matter is also a consideration - if I'm looking to shoot mainly landscapes, I want something light, portable, some movements, bellows draw may be less of a concern as I'm probably using wider-angle lenses that use less. If I'm doing studio portraits, movements can be minimal to nonexistent, I'll want as much bellows draw as I can get my hands on, and I'll want a big honkin' lensboard that can handle whatever massive fast-aperture glass I can throw on it.

angusparker
9-Feb-2016, 13:04
Lens board size. Big cameras sometimes need big lenses.
Sturdiness of the front standard for those big lenses.
Film/plate holder availability/cost.
Movements. The current reproductions of early cameras often have none.

Great points - I'm a film shooter myself - so I can go for slower more modern lenses. I'll incorporate this into the post - under (2) the finished product.

angusparker
9-Feb-2016, 13:06
What is your desired end-product? If you are looking to shoot film, one range of cameras will be appropriate. If you are looking to do ULF collodion, dry plate, or other in-camera original (daguerreotypes, other options?), you're looking at a different range of cameras. Subject matter is also a consideration - if I'm looking to shoot mainly landscapes, I want something light, portable, some movements, bellows draw may be less of a concern as I'm probably using wider-angle lenses that use less. If I'm doing studio portraits, movements can be minimal to nonexistent, I'll want as much bellows draw as I can get my hands on, and I'll want a big honkin' lensboard that can handle whatever massive fast-aperture glass I can throw on it.

What would be the best camera for ULF collodion, dry plate, in-camera originals as compared to film? Is it simply a beefier front standard and larger lensboards for faster barrels? Or is there something more? Thanks. Angus

Scott Davis
9-Feb-2016, 13:53
First and foremost it would be beefier standards and bigger lensboards to take the weight of the big glass. It's not so much an issue with smaller LF cameras, but once you get into the ULF sizes, the plate backs that go on the camera start getting HEAVY (massive wood frame to hold the glass plate, then the glass plate itself), so you need a rear standard that can take the weight. At those sizes, you're also more likely to want a ground glass focusing screen panel that can swing out of the way, instead of requiring you to lift the plate back over your head to slide it in between the ground glass and the rear frame.

ic-racer
9-Feb-2016, 14:37
I'd want to consider, how it focuses, does it have movements on the front standard, how or if it folds, does it come apart easily for repairs, how much if vibrates when you knock it, does it come with film holders, what kind of tripod mount and where it balances. There are a lot of contraptions out there in ULF land that only the mother/creator could love.

angusparker
9-Feb-2016, 15:09
I'd want to consider, how it focuses, does it have movements on the front standard, how or if it folds, does it come apart easily for repairs, how much if vibrates when you knock it, does it come with film holders, what kind of tripod mount and where it balances. There are a lot of contraptions out there in ULF land that only the mother/creator could love.

Ha, Ha - the Frankencameras are coming!

Mark Sawyer
9-Feb-2016, 15:36
What would be the best camera for ULF collodion, dry plate, in-camera originals as compared to film? Is it simply a beefier front standard and larger lensboards for faster barrels? Or is there something more? Thanks. Angus

For those doing landscapes, still lifes, or other work where exposure times don't matter so much, and who don't need a shallow depth of field or wide-open lens signature, smaller, slower lenses can be light and compact. Depends on what you're doing...

For some, the aesthetics are also important. A Civil War re-enactor wouldn't want to show up with an 11x14 Arca-Swiss monorail...

angusparker
9-Feb-2016, 17:11
For those doing landscapes, still lifes, or other work where exposure times don't matter so much, and who don't need a shallow depth of field or wide-open lens signature, smaller, slower lenses can be light and compact. Depends on what you're doing...

For some, the aesthetics are also important. A Civil War re-enactor wouldn't want to show up with an 11x14 Arca-Swiss monorail...

Too true!

Scott Davis
9-Feb-2016, 22:10
I'd want to consider, how it focuses, does it have movements on the front standard, how or if it folds, does it come apart easily for repairs, how much if vibrates when you knock it, does it come with film holders, what kind of tripod mount and where it balances. There are a lot of contraptions out there in ULF land that only the mother/creator could love.

Thinking of film holders... some ULF cameras, especially vintage ones, are not built to ANSI standards, and therefore getting them with matching original film holders is an important thing, because if not, replacement holders will have to be fabricated to spec, and that will add considerably to the cost of the camera.

Lachlan 717
9-Feb-2016, 22:23
For some, the aesthetics are also important. A Civil War re-enactor wouldn't want to show up with an 11x14 Arca-Swiss monorail...

Depends on which civil war you're referring to. There are at least 16 going on around the world at the moment...

Mark Sawyer
10-Feb-2016, 00:23
Depends on which civil war you're referring to. There are at least 16 going on around the world at the moment...

And so many of those are being photographed in wet plate by historic re-enactors...

Lachlan 717
10-Feb-2016, 01:32
And so many of those are being photographed in wet plate by historic re-enactors...

Okay, which of these were you referring to?

1872–1876 in Spain
Uruguayan Civil War, 1839–1851
Māori War (New Zealand), 1845–1872
Sonderbund war (Switzerland), November 1847
Revolutions of 1848, numerous European countries, 1848–1849
Revolution of 1851 (Chile)
Taiping Rebellion (China), 1851–1864
Bleeding Kansas, 1854–1858
Indian rebellion, 1857
War of Reform (Mexico), 1857–1861
American Civil War, 1861–1865
Klang War; also known as Selangor Civil War, 1867–1874
Boshin War (Japan), 1868–1869
Satsuma Rebellion (Japan), 1877
Jementah Civil War, 1878
The North-West Rebellion of 1885 in Canada
1891 Chilean Civil War
War of Canudos (Brazil), 1896-1897

Mark Sawyer
10-Feb-2016, 10:51
Those are all still "going on at the moment"?


Depends on which civil war you're referring to. There are at least 16 going on around the world at the moment...

angusparker
10-Feb-2016, 11:28
Okay, which of these were you referring to?

1872–1876 in Spain
Uruguayan Civil War, 1839–1851
Māori War (New Zealand), 1845–1872
Sonderbund war (Switzerland), November 1847
Revolutions of 1848, numerous European countries, 1848–1849
Revolution of 1851 (Chile)
Taiping Rebellion (China), 1851–1864
Bleeding Kansas, 1854–1858
Indian rebellion, 1857
War of Reform (Mexico), 1857–1861
American Civil War, 1861–1865
Klang War; also known as Selangor Civil War, 1867–1874
Boshin War (Japan), 1868–1869
Satsuma Rebellion (Japan), 1877
Jementah Civil War, 1878
The North-West Rebellion of 1885 in Canada
1891 Chilean Civil War
War of Canudos (Brazil), 1896-1897

My father always laughed when I recounted the Satsuma Rebellion, I guess because it sounds like it involved flinging fruit rather than the last gasp of the sword bearing samurai versus modernist elements in Japan. But surely re-enactment almost always means the American Civil War in the wet-plate / large format context!

karl french
10-Feb-2016, 11:34
Well, you've pretty well diluted the point of this thread...

Luis-F-S
10-Feb-2016, 12:44
Well, you've pretty well diluted the point of this thread...

+1

Grumium
10-Feb-2016, 13:53
I would like to add another deciding factor. Mine.

(8) Maximum sheet film size that can be mounted on drum scanner.

In my case this is a Heidelberg Tango that allows for a maximum size of roughly 14x17". As I am more of a panoramic guy I chose 7x17 and now mount two negatives at a time.

Len Middleton
11-Feb-2016, 08:34
The things I considered were:
(1) shape (square versus panoramic)
(2) Finished print size and your darkroom setup
(3) film availability and cost
(4) weight/portability - field versus studio
(5) whether you can use wide, normal or long lenses for the format given the bellows length
(6) camera cost and availability and
(7) lens cost and availability

Anything else you would add?

Surprising given my typical analytic tendencies, but my purchase was more opportunistic...

I had an opportunity to get an 8x20 kit that came with everything, except the lenses although with some "assembly required" (needed new bellows, new darkslides, repairs to case). Included was the camera (Korona 8x20 Panoramic View Camera), the rear extension rail, set of stiffeners (for across the rear extension rail, tripod block, and front extension rail), two film holders, original case, a 16x20 contact print frame, and a box of Ilford HP5+ film (no idea how well stored at the time).

Given the cost and sometimes difficulties in getting everything together, I think it has to be a consideration of getting a kit with everything required in an interesting format...

Serendipity can also be a factor.

Randy Moe
11-Feb-2016, 09:57
Is that list, Politics, History or prediction.



Okay, which of these were you referring to?

18721876 in Spain
Uruguayan Civil War, 18391851
Māori War (New Zealand), 18451872
Sonderbund war (Switzerland), November 1847
Revolutions of 1848, numerous European countries, 18481849
Revolution of 1851 (Chile)
Taiping Rebellion (China), 18511864
Bleeding Kansas, 18541858
Indian rebellion, 1857
War of Reform (Mexico), 18571861
American Civil War, 18611865
Klang War; also known as Selangor Civil War, 18671874
Boshin War (Japan), 18681869
Satsuma Rebellion (Japan), 1877
Jementah Civil War, 1878
The North-West Rebellion of 1885 in Canada
1891 Chilean Civil War
War of Canudos (Brazil), 1896-1897

angusparker
11-Feb-2016, 10:10
Surprising given my typical analytic tendencies, but my purchase was more opportunistic...

I had an opportunity to get an 8x20 kit that came with everything, except the lenses although with some "assembly required" (needed new bellows, new darkslides, repairs to case). Included was the camera (Korona 8x20 Panoramic View Camera), the rear extension rail, set of stiffeners (for across the rear extension rail, tripod block, and front extension rail), two film holders, original case, a 16x20 contact print frame, and a box of Ilford HP5+ film (no idea how well stored at the time).

Given the cost and sometimes difficulties in getting everything together, I think it has to be a consideration of getting a kit with everything required in an interesting format...

Serendipity can also be a factor.

Very well said. I think people generally fall in love or lust with their first ULF camera! But snapping up the first full kit at a reasonable price is not a bad idea. Especially since they tend to hold their value.

angusparker
11-Feb-2016, 10:11
Thread back on track!

goamules
11-Feb-2016, 10:28
What, no more revisionist interpretive sidetracking for political argument's sake?! oh....good.

My only ULF camera is a Star Mammoth that shoots 18x20 if i recall for the largest plate. Since I see no reason (personally) to make a giant mugshot portraits in wetplate (it would scare the dog), my intent is do do landscapes, a la Watkins. My lens of choice to mount on the rare lensboard (of two) was a Dallmeyer Wide Angle Rectilinear, no. 3. This is the type of lens, along with the Harrison Globe and a few others, that was used in the day. They are still sharp, and work fine. But I do have a Mammoth CC Harrison, and extremely long Hermagis that might go on it one day too!

Mark Sawyer
11-Feb-2016, 11:55
Personal experience has a lot to do with it sometimes. I paid a fair amount for my B&J 11x14 because I had the identical-but-smaller B&J 8x10, and knew it's big brother was exactly what I wanted. (But I feel sorry for the bank account of someone who loves their 8x10 Deardorff and wants an 11x14...)

John Bowen
11-Feb-2016, 17:18
Ease of changing from horizontal to vertical.
Ability to have custom modifications to the camera.
Richard Ritter made my 7x17 for me. As I was thinking of 8x20, Richard suggested I purchase an 8x20 camera with a 7x17 reducing back. Would have NEVER considered that on my own.

John Kasaian
11-Feb-2016, 17:28
If film holders come with it.
Could Xray film be cut to fit the format.
Are you covered for hernia repair.

angusparker
11-Feb-2016, 18:02
What, no more revisionist interpretive sidetracking for political argument's sake?! oh....good.

My only ULF camera is a Star Mammoth that shoots 18x20 if i recall for the largest plate. Since I see no reason (personally) to make a giant mugshot portraits in wetplate (it would scare the dog), my intent is do do landscapes, a la Watkins. My lens of choice to mount on the rare lensboard (of two) was a Dallmeyer Wide Angle Rectilinear, no. 3. This is the type of lens, along with the Harrison Globe and a few others, that was used in the day. They are still sharp, and work fine. But I do have a Mammoth CC Harrison, and extremely long Hermagis that might go on it one day too!

Please do add it to the data base - I'll start the entry. 18x20 was a fairly common format at one point.

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1kT2o95ghJOq_jz4fy7y85Qyk6Pwbza-hs_IcXlIjq-U/edit#gid=0

angusparker
11-Feb-2016, 18:03
Ease of changing from horizontal to vertical.
Ability to have custom modifications to the camera.
Richard Ritter made my 7x17 for me. As I was thinking of 8x20, Richard suggested I purchase an 8x20 camera with a 7x17 reducing back. Would have NEVER considered that on my own.

Smart move. Yes, this is a good point - hold mostly true with Wisner and Ritter cameras.

angusparker
20-Feb-2016, 09:53
I would like to add another deciding factor. Mine.

(8) Maximum sheet film size that can be mounted on drum scanner.

In my case this is a Heidelberg Tango that allows for a maximum size of roughly 14x17". As I am more of a panoramic guy I chose 7x17 and now mount two negatives at a time.

Added this into the post. Thanks

angusparker
20-Feb-2016, 10:04
Thank you all for your comments to date. I've updated the blog post to reflect most of your suggestions. Hopefully the post can guide people to the right ULF choice for them. Best, Angus

http://www.angusparkerphoto.com/blog/2016/2/what-is-the-ULF-format-for-you

photojeff3200
9-May-2016, 05:30
Knowing how large you want to shoot without going over in size is also something to consider. That's a hard one to predict without actually shooting though. I converted an 8x10 B&J camera into a 12x20 camera but found that I just love shooting 12x12 plates. So now I have too big of a camera (and too heavy) but dont want to make another.

angusparker
11-May-2016, 22:24
Knowing how large you want to shoot without going over in size is also something to consider. That's a hard one to predict without actually shooting though. I converted an 8x10 B&J camera into a 12x20 camera but found that I just love shooting 12x12 plates. So now I have too big of a camera (and too heavy) but dont want to make another.

Good point