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Robert Skeoch
8-Apr-2005, 21:45
I think there's a company called S&S that makes film holders for ULF.
Does anyone know of a website or have info on the company.
Do dealers sell the holders or do they sell direct.
If you're happy or unhappy with their product you could mention that also.
-Rob Skeoch

e
8-Apr-2005, 22:30
I sell S&S filmholders through my website www.deleon-ulf.com if you are interested. Emile.

Jim Galli
8-Apr-2005, 22:33
Happy user. Try Quality Camera in Atlanta, GA

Oren Grad
8-Apr-2005, 23:22
S&S holders are the brainchild of our own Sandy King, I believe in collaboration with Sam Wang. IIRC the main dealer outlets are Quality Camera in Atlanta and the View Camera Store, but Sandy can confirm that.

I own S&S holders in three formats: 6.5x8.5, 11x14 and 7x17. In general, the construction quality is good. However, my experience in purchasing these has not been entirely trouble-free.

I bought the 6.5x8.5 holders several years ago, before Sandy formally launched the business. They're well made, and have held up well under light-to-moderate use. Although Sandy told me they were modeled after an original Eastman holder, the holders are thicker and narrower than some vintage Eastman film holders that I own, and the fit in my Eastman No. 2 camera is not quite right - the film/ground glass register is a bit off, and I have to be careful about the light seal. However, this happens sometimes with antique cameras where holder standards weren't always consistent and where the holder builder doesn't have the specific camera available for reference. I can work around the problems, and on the whole I'm pleased to have the holders.

I bought some 11x14 holders last year. They turned out to be out of compliance with the ANSI specification for holder dimensions. In particular, the locking ridge was a couple of millimeters or so beyond where it should have been, and as a result the holders don't fit my camera back, which adheres precisely to the ANSI spec. Quality Camera refused to take the holders back for a refund. Sandy offered to modify my camera back, but I declined, both because the back is within spec and because in view of its construction I judged that the proposed modification was risky. Sandy also offered to take apart the holders and sand off enough of the tape end to make them fit. I had some doubts about that approach as well, so I didn't follow up at the time. I may take him up on that offer at some point, but for the time being those holders have been sitting unused, and I've gotten started in that format with Fidelity and Tachihara holders instead.

I recently obtained some 7x17 holders. I haven't had a chance to put any film through them yet, but they do fit my cameras. Although the fit-and-finish of these isn't quite so nice as with the older holders in the other two formats, it's not bad, and I expect these should work well. I'm looking forward to trying them.

I'm very happy that Sandy's in the business; his holders are generally well-made and are one of the few options for those of us who like to play with odd formats. His pricing is quite attractive relative to the other major custom-build options, namely Brubaker and Lotus. Also, Sandy is very accessible and tries to resolve any problems that arise. Just be aware that this is a not a mass-produced product that adheres rigidly to a standard, and that in some cases some debugging may be required before everything will work right.

robert_4927
9-Apr-2005, 04:54
Quality Camera refused to take a return on the holders ? Now that sounds like good busniess practice - sell me something that doesn't work and then refuse to make good on it. Brubaker may charge a little more for his holders but Alan will stand by his work. He makes a great film holder. His work is good enough to have Ebony contract him to build their film holders. From what I understand some of the older ULF cameras like the Korona all varied in specs, making the film holders to fit the camera was common practice back then. A holder from one 12x20 Korona may not fit another 12x20 Korona. I'm sure the historians could elaborate on this better than I.

Roger Hein
9-Apr-2005, 05:12
I had some 'teething' problems (light leaks) with both the 11x14 and 7x17 holders from S&S however Sandy's support has been first rate. I would buy them again. While I agree Brubaker and Lotus holders are the cream of the crop (I've had both) they are also more expensive.

wfwhitaker
9-Apr-2005, 09:56
Quite happy with the S&S holders and using them in three formats.

sanking
9-Apr-2005, 10:33
"Quality Camera refused to take a return on the holders ? Now that sounds like good business practice - sell me something that doesn't work and then refuse to make good on it. "

I donít know what kind of problem you had with our holders or with QCC but S&S has a policy of repairing promptly every holder we sell that has any kind of defect. If, on the other hand you bought holders for a banquet or panoramic camera and they did not fit your back that is another issues. There are no ANSI standards for ULF sizes, except 11X14 and 14X17, and there is no way that we can guarantee fit for every camera on the market. Users of ULF cameras, and I am one myself, should understand this fact and be able to ask the right question about fit before buying a holder. The world of ULF is very different from that of common formats such as 4X5, 5X7 and 8X10 and people who work in the large formats need to really understand their equipment to make good use of it. In most cases it is possible to customize either the holder or the back for a perfect fit but, with the exception of the formats that have ANSI standards we make it clear that custom fitting is the responsibility of the buyer. We can do the customizing in many cases but it is an extra expense.

Over the past several years S&S has probably made and sold more holders for ULF cameras than AWB and Lotus combined, and we have made them in a wide variety of sizes, from 4X10" to 20X24" and that includes numerous custom sizes. We have made some mistakes in design that caused problems in use but we have been constantly monitoring these problems and correcting them based on customer feedback. But about nine in ten of the complaints we get about light leaks are not caused by the holders themselves, but by improper fit of the holders in the back, most often because the rib lock on the holder does not engage the groove in the back of the camera.

Oren Grad
9-Apr-2005, 11:29
Sandy's points are well taken. I'd like to add another bit of context. Every vendor in this tiny market has occasional hiccups with their product. I have seen faulty Lotus product, and I understand second-hand that even Alan Brubaker has a bad day once in a while.

The greatest drawbacks of dealing with Lotus are the extremely high price, due to the currently unfavorable euro exchange rate, and the need to ship to Europe if repairs are required.

Alan Brubaker's work is expensive, and because he's so busy you can expect to wait months for anything.

In my experience, all three respond promptly to e-mailed questions about their products.

The key to satisfaction in ULF is to communicate in advance directly with the manufacturers to make sure they understand exactly what you need and can identify any special modifications required, and to have a lot of patience, both as you wait for the product up front and as you work through the debugging that's required occasionally even with the best of preplanning.

sanking
9-Apr-2005, 20:46
"S&S holders are the brainchild of our own Sandy King, I believe in collaboration with Sam Wang. IIRC the main dealer outlets are Quality Camera in Atlanta and the View Camera Store, but Sandy can confirm that. "

Oren,

First of all I want to thank you for your patience and apologize for any problems you may have had with our holders. And for your generous comments about the S&S holders.

About vendors, we sell primarily through Quality Camera Company in Atlanta. In fact, they are the only entity outside of ourselves authorized to advertise the S&S line of holders in promotional literature. This unique relationships exists because it was in large part the encouragement of Jeff at QCC that got Sam and me involved in marketing this line of holders. However, we also sell holders directly to customers (same price as through QCC), and fill custom order for Emile DeLeon and the View Camera Store for special purposes. For example, Emile is an authorized dealer of Wisner cameras and if a Wisner camera is made to accept S&S holders we will sell either directly to Wisner or to a dealer such as Emile. We have a similar understanding with the View Camera Store and a company in France. But to repeat, our primary outlet is QCC and we expect to continue that relationship.

With regard to the 6.5 X 8.5 holders we built these to the exact dimensions of some vintage Eastman holders from the 20s or 30s that are in my personal collection, "except" for the overall thickness which caused the T-dimension issue. In my own case (I also use 6.5 X 8.5 from time to time since it is a lovely format for still life compositions in the vertical dimension) I have compensated for the T-dimension discrepancy by placing a fresnel lens *in front of the ground glass*. Also, since the time you purchased your holders we have started to use a light trap system that is entirely different from what your holders have. I would be more than happy to retro-fit your holders with the new system if you want me to.

About the 11X14" holders, for some reason we made two batches of holders that were just within ANSI tolerances on the long side on the dimension from the end of flap to the beginning of the rib lock. Most people who have purchased these holders have not had any problem with fit, but some people who own cameras with backs that have the groove cut for holders that are slightly within, or just outside of, ANSI tolerance on the short side encounter problems . We will correct back to the middle of ANSI tolerance for the next batch of 11X14" holders, but for the time being there are two viable fixes for this: widening the groove on the camera back, or shortening the holders at the flap end. The easiest solution by far (since it only involves one operation) is to adjust the thickens of the groove on the back, and we are willing to do this at no charge. However, shortening the holders at the flap end is not particularly complicated so if a customer prefers this option we are more than happy to do it, though it does involve working on all of the holders.

In any event the offer still stands regarding your 11X14 holders. I would very much like to know that you are using the holders rather than having them stashed away somewhere in a corner.

Oren Grad
9-Apr-2005, 21:33
Sandy -

Thanks very much for the thoughtful and informative reply.

On the whole-plate holders, the light seal problems that I have are a consequence of the holders being a bit narrower than my back is designed for, so the fit isn't snug. If I'm not careful when seating the holder and removing the darkslide, which is just a bit stiff, there can be some leakage around the edge of the holder. If I'm in very bright sunlight I'll sometimes take the precaution of covering the back with my focusing hood while I'm pulling the darkslide. It's a bit fussy, but it helps. Overall, this has been just a nuisance, not a crippling problem.

I do remember that at the time you were still experimenting with the light trap and dark slide construction, and had taken a while to find a combination that would work for the smaller holders. I appreciate your offer to upgrade the light traps, but since I haven't seen any evidence with mine of a light trap problem per se, I don't see any need to impose on you for an upgrade at this point. If any suspicious problems do show up, I'll report details to you and we can figure out what, if any, specific action is warranted.

Re the T-dimension mismatch on the whole-plate holders, while I've fiddled a bit with shims, I must confess that I hadn't thought of the trick of putting a fresnel in front of the ground glass. I'm not a huge fan of fresnels, but I might try it at some point. Thanks for mentioning it.

As for the 11x14 holders, not to worry - they're not pining away in a dusty corner somewhere, they're actually enjoying a comfy life of leisure in my living room. (Don't ask... < g >) Seriously, I may yet take you up on that, depending on how my love/hate relationship with the quirky Tachihara holders pans out. Stay tuned...

Michael Kadillak
11-Apr-2005, 11:17
Asking the right questions about film holders for ULF up front is an excellent suggestion from Sandy. Saves much headache later on.

I can tell you from direct experience that Sandy is as customer service friendly as anyone can imagine. He will make it right if in fact the holders are the problem. The best combination of price and worksmanship as is available. I can honestly say that I would have given up ULF if not for a source of S&S holders. And I say that after paying Richard Ritter to get me the correct groove in a camera that was set up for other holders. Now that the work is done, ULF is a marvelous experience.

Cheers!

CXC
11-Apr-2005, 16:29
"Brubaker may charge a little more for his holders..."

Per his website, filmholders.com, an 11x14 runs $475. I just bought some 11x14 S&S holders from Quality Camera for $290. That would be 64% more, not exactly "a little more".

CP Goerz
11-Apr-2005, 18:11
I don't mind paying extra for anything if I need it, especially filmholders!! I personally like and have used Brubaker holders and know that holders are one of the most difficult things to make hence many cameramakers and few holdermakers. No-one ever complains about the cost of a camera but will complain no end about the cost of a holder.

Unless you have seen and used a Brubaker holder then its easy to complain about the price as you may not be familiar with the fit and finish. Alan also does custom wood types/inlay/darkslide grips made from exotic stuff etc etc. The holders are a work of art in themselves, this is especially true of the latest holders he makes, just incredible workmanship. If you offer such services then you are going to pay a little more.

Yes, Alan in all liklihood will be making holders for Ebony. I think that in itself speaks volumes for the caliber of workmanship he does.

To pat myself on the back at his expense a little...I was the first person to have Alan make holders and with my prodding he got in the business of making them full time. It may at present take some time to get a holder but this will very soon be a thing of the past. Alan USED to make two 20x24s when the order came in then 4 7x17s etc and never stockpile any holders. Each holder truly was made one at a time, he now makes batches and can ship them a lot faster than in the past.

As for hicups(and I don't want to speak for Alan here but...) regarding holders a lot of the time its the buyer who gives him the specs and asks him to make the holders to that size. When the holders are shipped the buyer then finds out they are the wrong size due to the buyers bad measurements so its not just a case of Alan screwing up entirely.

Alans prices are as follows...

4x10-----------$220

* 8x10-----------$300

* 7x17-----------$450-------------------S&S 349

* 10x12--------$425---------------------S&S 329



* 8x20-----------$475-------------------S&S 379

* 11x14---------$475---------------------S&S 295

* 12x20---------$500--------------------S&S 395

* 14x17---------$525---------------------S&S 395

* 16x20---------$575

* 20x24---------$800



The price chosen as a comparison is not exactly an 'across the board' difference as you can see from the prices taken from Alans website and Quality Cameras site. Perhaps S&S make the larger sized holders on a custom basis but they weren't offered at Quality. A more accurate difference in price is aroud 25% possibly less, as with all his work Alan stands behind it and will make sure the holders work as they are supposed to. Alan does correct the T distance for each format and I've never had to change the position of my groundglass on any of my cameras be they Korona or Wisner(in the 8x20 size). Maybe I'm lucky I guess.

CP Goerz.

Mark Sampson
12-Apr-2005, 05:47
Wow. I'm sure both brands of ULF holders are excellent quality and value... but at those prices my tiny little 4x5, and its two dozen holders, seems like a good deal. I guess I'm just not ready for the really big time....

sanking
12-Apr-2005, 09:06
" Perhaps S&S make the larger sized holders on a custom basis but they weren't offered at Quality."

S&S does indeed make larger size holders, for example 16X16", 20X20" and 20X24" are among the large custom sizes we have made during the last year or so. We have also made holders in a variety of other custom sizes, including 10X10", 7X11", 5X12" and 9.5X20". In most cases people who are interested in custom sizes buy the holders and then make a back for their camera to match the holder. Many of the orders for custom size holders come through the dealers I mentioned earlier, but as often as not we deal directly with the customer. This obviously has some advantages because any source of misunderstanding is limited to the two of us.

I would also add that we don't list prices for custom jobs because this can vary a lot depending on the number of holders wanted, current cost of materials, and how much it is worth for us to interrupt production of the heart of our business, which is 7X17, 11X14, 8X20 and 12X20.

Hope I have not said anything that might be seen as commercial advertisement. Am just trying to give some information to questions that were raised by others.

CXC
12-Apr-2005, 10:54
Dang, it would be great to have a 10"x10" camera...

John Z.
12-Apr-2005, 20:31
I have both the S&S and the AWB holders in 11x14 format, and can vouch that they are both of good quality and work well. The AWB holders are of more exotic and richer woods, but the S&S are sure tempting at the price under 300 dollars, and are still very good quality. If you need a number of holders, the savings sure can add up! I can use a few more, and cannot decide which to buy next!

Oren Grad
13-Apr-2005, 06:11
CXC: I don't know about 10x10, but Butch Welch built an interesting multi-format camera a few years back, with 7x11, 8x10 and 9x9 backs. I believe S&S made the holders. There was an article about Butch's cameras and Pt prints, written by Kerry Thalmann, in the Jul/Aug 2003 issue of View Camera. There used to be lovely pictures of Butch's cameras on his website, but they were taken down shortly after he sold the cameras later in 2003.

(BTW, in that same issue there's a nice feature on Chris Jordan, too.)

Oren Grad
13-Apr-2005, 20:16
Quality Camera contacted me in response to this thread. In the resulting exchange of correspondence, they reaffirmed their commitment to customer satisfaction and stated their willingness to accept return of my 11x14 S&S holders for a refund.

trundrumbalind
5-Sep-2014, 15:18
I know this is old, i know it's a bit off subject too, but I was wondering, since Sandy's here... do the 14x17" S&S holders take 14x17 x-ray film? or do you have to make some cropping first?

Jim Fitzgerald
5-Sep-2014, 16:02
I know this is old, i know it's a bit off subject too, but I was wondering, since Sandy's here... do the 14x17" S&S holders take 14x17 x-ray film? or do you have to make some cropping first?

They take x-ray film no problem. I have four 1417 holders from S&S.

Jim Graves
5-Sep-2014, 18:55
Since this 2005 thread got resurrected ... It appears prices have risen significantly and Quality Camera no longer lists S&S holders on their website ... But S&S does have a site here: LINK (http://ssfilmholders.com/)

sanking
6-Sep-2014, 16:20
Since this 2005 thread got resurrected ... It appears prices have risen significantly and Quality Camera no longer lists S&S holders on their website ... But S&S does have a site here: LINK (http://ssfilmholders.com/)

S&S is not currently producing ULF holders, but we do have some stock in a few sizes, including 14X17 in walnut. Price is same as on our web site that Jim referenced above.

Sandy

alexn
6-Sep-2014, 16:32
Lachlan717 uses s&s holders in his 717 and tells me the quality is spot on. I was just enquiring with S&S last week and will be buying some 7x17 holders sooner rather than later.

trundrumbalind
7-Sep-2014, 11:01
S&S is not currently producing ULF holders, but we do have some stock in a few sizes, including 14X17 in walnut. Price is same as on our web site that Jim referenced above.

Sandy

Hey! I'd like to buy one of those, Sandy. Do you have a cherry one lying around? (I just like the color better).
Either walnut or cherry, what's the price shipped to Mexico? (Z.C. 14000)

sanking
7-Sep-2014, 17:20
Hey! I'd like to buy one of those, Sandy. Do you have a cherry one lying around? (I just like the color better).
Either walnut or cherry, what's the price shipped to Mexico? (Z.C. 14000)

Have only walnut in 14X17. If interested contact me by pm, or through the S&S web site.

Sandy