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View Full Version : Huge Wooden Camera - R. R. Robertson of Chicago



efdalby
25-Aug-2009, 14:51
Hello All,
I am a new member, this is my first post. Can anyone tell me a little more about this camera? Thank you very much for any assistance... I am going to try to add a picture:

http://i822.photobucket.com/albums/zz143/efdalby/IMG_0716.jpg

http://i822.photobucket.com/albums/zz143/efdalby/IMG_0718.jpg

http://i822.photobucket.com/albums/zz143/efdalby/IMG_0724.jpg

http://i822.photobucket.com/albums/zz143/efdalby/IMG_0715.jpg

Archphoto
25-Aug-2009, 19:29
Sory, the links don't work.......

Peter

efdalby
25-Aug-2009, 19:35
Sorry about that... here are the ones that work...

http://i822.photobucket.com/albums/z...y/IMG_0716-1.jpg

http://i822.photobucket.com/albums/z...y/IMG_0718-1.jpg

http://i822.photobucket.com/albums/z...y/IMG_0724-1.jpg

http://i822.photobucket.com/albums/z...y/IMG_0715-1.jpg

eddie
25-Aug-2009, 21:42
hi,

the links worked for me.

where are you located? the stand appears to be a century stand...hard to say for sure. not sure about the camera. a deardorff copy maybe? similar knobs.

sorry i can not help more.

Roger Thoms
25-Aug-2009, 21:50
Links don't work for me, but then I probably don't know what kind of camera it is either.
Roger

jnanian
26-Aug-2009, 03:50
the same link was posted on photonet .. with images :)
i wasn't able to figure out what camera it was,
maybe a stat camera, it was in a printing house, right ?

Jim Galli
26-Aug-2009, 07:06
http://i822.photobucket.com/albums/zz143/efdalby/IMG_0718-1.jpg

http://i822.photobucket.com/albums/zz143/efdalby/IMG_0724-1.jpg

http://i822.photobucket.com/albums/zz143/efdalby/IMG_0715-1.jpg

http://i822.photobucket.com/albums/zz143/efdalby/IMG_0716-1.jpg

Robertson made stat cameras but this could be restored to be a lovely old portrait camera. The back looks like it takes available 11X14 film holders. Everything is crooked and you can see wood pulled apart at the lower dovetail indicating something fell on it some time or it was dropped. The Graf lens is an oddity but not valuable. It seems to be a graf copy of the more common Goerz Artar. The stand looks to be an Ansco. Getting the stand with the camera is a BIG plus. The bellows are home made and sort of laughable but perhaps light tight. Looks like they made them out of curtain rods and the old couch cover.

Archphoto
26-Aug-2009, 07:48
With patience you could restore this camera to a working studio camera for shure.
Just get it into your home !
New bellows, maybe a diferent lens........

Shipping would be the main issue I guess.

How much is the seller asking for it with everything ?

Peter

efdalby
26-Aug-2009, 08:20
$800. Camera is in Buffalo, NY.

venchka
26-Aug-2009, 11:02
They are paying $800 to take it away?

efdalby
26-Aug-2009, 20:34
I want to sincerely thank you guys for helping me consider this beast...much appreciated. I even learned a little!

Fragomeni
6-Jan-2011, 19:52
Hello. I have a 20x24 R. R. Robertson in excellent condition but it is missing the back with the ground glass. I was wondering if you still have this or if you can point me in the direction of the owner so that I can see if I might purchase the back (if it is the same size)? Thank you.

goamules
7-Jan-2011, 17:12
Drop one zero and it's worth the price.

Brian Ellis
8-Jan-2011, 08:27
$800. Camera is in Buffalo, NY.

That's a spectacular deal - for them. For you it's a funny joke.

Fragomeni
9-Jan-2011, 17:46
I guess no luck on the back... on the other point which everyone seems to be commenting on even though the original post is over a year old... My suspicion is that everyone's comments on the price that the original poster spoke of as being too high is based on the condition of the specific camera that was discussed. If the camera is a 20x24, which it appears to be from the images, then that is a very desirable size camera that very few people have access to. The particular camera the original poster was inquiring about is clearly in very poor condition so I would agree that it's not worth much but these R. R. Roberts cameras go for very good prices in the rare circumstances when they are found in mint or very good condition (the fact is there are very few left). If it were in EX condition $800 would be a steal approaching grand larceny considering how much the typical 20x24 camera will cost you for either a vintage/antique in good condition or new one which can cost as much as a new car. The fact is that these camera, which were originally designed as graphic cameras intended to photograph high end art work and important historic documents, were often converted (by simply building a movable cart that served as a tripod) to studio portrait cameras and were sometimes used outdoors in the field as landscape cameras. People did this because they were well made, functioned smoothly, and provided a massive negative for contact printing. The lack of movements was typically not a concern for the studio portrait photographer using this camera and for those using it for landscape the lack of movements is not an issue if the scene is carefully selected and if you can stop down i.e. a vast landscape with no dominant foreground objects. The bottom line is that this camera is an excellent option for those interested in entering the world of ultra large format (although you'll still need to worry about film!). The extreme movements that modern cameras are often engineered to be capable of are rarely ever necessary in the field except for a small percentage of photographers who tackle extreme subject matter. The key is knowing how to use your camera. Learn the machine and make it an extension of yourself and you will find that lack of movements or gargantuan size will have little consequence on your ability to expose what you see and create something beautiful. By the way, I have one of these cameras (a 20x24) which I am currently restoring and I can honestly say I can't wait to photograph with it! There is nothing like a HUGE negative!

kpomerleau
17-Jan-2014, 18:23
I stumbled across this thread while trying to do some research on a very large Robertson process camera that is located in the basement of a property that I just purchased. I am trying to find out if this thing is worth anything or if there is a collector out there somewhere. There is a serious lack of information regarding this camera so I am hopeful someone out there can help me. I believe this is a 30x40 format but have not measured it myself. The model is the Robertson 480 and it is still intact with the rail system, light setup, timers, etc. The camera was still in use in the 90's.

Randy Moe
17-Jan-2014, 18:40
Pictures and location would be a good start. Many will poke fun at something like this, while others as Fragomeni see a useful tool.

I am restoring a huge, but not this big, studio Deardorff that many scorn.

Each to his own misery, I say.


I stumbled across this thread while trying to do some research on a very large Robertson process camera that is located in the basement of a property that I just purchased. I am trying to find out if this thing is worth anything or if there is a collector out there somewhere. There is a serious lack of information regarding this camera so I am hopeful someone out there can help me. I believe this is a 30x40 format but have not measured it myself. The model is the Robertson 480 and it is still intact with the rail system, light setup, timers, etc. The camera was still in use in the 90's.

kpomerleau
17-Jan-2014, 20:40
Pictures and location would be a good start. Many will poke fun at something like this, while others as Fragomeni see a useful tool.

I am restoring a huge, but not this big, studio Deardorff that many scorn.

Each to his own misery, I say.



These photos aren't great but you can get the idea.

Louis Pacilla
17-Jan-2014, 20:54
I stumbled across this thread while trying to do some research on a very large Robertson process camera that is located in the basement of a property that I just purchased. I am trying to find out if this thing is worth anything or if there is a collector out there somewhere. There is a serious lack of information regarding this camera so I am hopeful someone out there can help me. I believe this is a 30x40 format but have not measured it myself. The model is the Robertson 480 and it is still intact with the rail system, light setup, timers, etc. The camera was still in use in the 90's.


As long as you don't expect a BIG pay day you "may" find someone willing to rent a flat bed or U-Haul and cart it off for you. The chances are also good you wont find a taker in your part of the world and you may have to pay to have it hauled off for scrap. That's the sad truth of such beasties when no longer used or needed for there original purpose.

Not that there are not folks out there who want to take on such dreams and haul them off for you, they're just not the ones who pay big bucks for process cameras like the one you have to get rid of.

Randy Moe
18-Jan-2014, 00:10
I think the trick is holding the lenses ransom, they may be desirable, and the person that wants the lenses only gets them if they take the whole mess.

This is far different from my studio Deardorff which is way smaller and is easily used for portraits and studio work. It only takes up 12 sq ft of floor space. It was once 20 ft tall, and now it is only 9 ft tall after I gelded it.

108690

Good luck!


As long as you don't expect a BIG pay day you "may" find someone willing to rent a flat bed or U-Haul and cart it off for you. The chances are also good you wont find a taker in your part of the world and you may have to pay to have it hauled off for scrap. That's the sad truth of such beasties when no longer used or needed for there original purpose.

Not that there are not folks out there who want to take on such dreams and haul them off for you, they're just not the ones who pay big bucks for process cameras like the one you have to get rid of.

Leonard Robertson
18-Jan-2014, 10:12
I think the trick is holding the lenses ransom, they may be desirable, and the person that wants the lenses only gets them if they take the whole mess.

This brings back fond memories. Years ago I paid $175 for a huge Robertson pretty much like the one kpomerleau pictures in order to get the 19" Artar and 30" RD Artar which were included. Even after I paid the money, the seller would NOT let me have the lenses until the camera was loaded on my trailer. Smart guy!

I have yet to haul the camera for scrap, although that is where it will go. The price of scrap high enough now that I may get quite a bit of my $175 back. A couple of the big frames on the camera are cast aluminum so worth more than the steel the main frame is made of. I also was able to use the 1 1/2 HP electric motor from the vacuum pump on a milling machine.

If I had one of these to get rid of, I would try an ad on Craigslist first. If there are lenses with the camera someone may pay for them in order to get the camera. Or if there are no lenses, try "free for the hauling" and mention the scrap value. Whoever tries to move or dis-assemble one of these monsters should have some idea what they are doing. A lot of the components are really heavy.

Len

Fragomeni
19-Jan-2014, 23:34
I stumbled across this thread while trying to do some research on a very large Robertson process camera that is located in the basement of a property that I just purchased. I am trying to find out if this thing is worth anything or if there is a collector out there somewhere. There is a serious lack of information regarding this camera so I am hopeful someone out there can help me. I believe this is a 30x40 format but have not measured it myself. The model is the Robertson 480 and it is still intact with the rail system, light setup, timers, etc. The camera was still in use in the 90's.

I'll just echo what a few others have already said. Yes, there are some people out there who would be interested in your camera but they are few and far between due to the simple face that very few will have the space and resources to work with such a large camera. As far as value goes, there is significant creative value in the camera but because of the very small number of practitioners who could actually use a camera of that size, the monetary value is not substantial. As other's have mentioned, the value will likely be in the lenses if there are any. If your intention is to rid yourself of the camera, you may wan to just make it available at a very reasonable cost to anyone willing to disassemble and move it for you. If the camera is working and most parts are functional, you may be able to let $1000-$2000 for it but I don't think many would be willing to pay much more than that considering the cost and effort in moving it. I'd hate to hear that you scrapped it. That should be a worst case scenario. Rather than just trashing it, breaking it down for parts might be worth considering. There are certainly those who may be interested in the bellows or perhaps part of the focusing track for projects but who wouldn't want the whole camera. I wish I had space and resources for it. Best of luck!