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

  1. #1

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    Question Jumping into LF with Deardorff 14X14 Copy/Enlargement Camera & Folmer & Schwing 12X20

    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. 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!

  2. #2

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    Re: Jumping into LF with Deardorff 14X14 Copy/Enlargement Camera & Folmer & Schwing 1

    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 steal time at 1/125th of a second, so I don't consider my photography to be Fine Art as much as it is petty larceny.
    I'm not OCD. I'm CDO which is alphabetically correct.

  3. #3

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    Re: Jumping into LF with Deardorff 14X14 Copy/Enlargement Camera & Folmer & Schwing 1

    Quote Originally Posted by John Kasaian View Post
    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.

  4. #4

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    Re: Jumping into LF with Deardorff 14X14 Copy/Enlargement Camera & Folmer & Schwing 1

    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.
    I steal time at 1/125th of a second, so I don't consider my photography to be Fine Art as much as it is petty larceny.
    I'm not OCD. I'm CDO which is alphabetically correct.

  5. #5

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    Re: Jumping into LF with Deardorff 14X14 Copy/Enlargement Camera & Folmer & Schwing 1

    Quote Originally Posted by vssoutlet View Post

    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.
    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

  6. #6

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    Re: Jumping into LF with Deardorff 14X14 Copy/Enlargement Camera & Folmer & Schwing 1

    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.
    I steal time at 1/125th of a second, so I don't consider my photography to be Fine Art as much as it is petty larceny.
    I'm not OCD. I'm CDO which is alphabetically correct.

  7. #7

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    Re: Jumping into LF with Deardorff 14X14 Copy/Enlargement Camera & Folmer & Schwing 1

    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.

  8. #8

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    Re: Jumping into LF with Deardorff 14X14 Copy/Enlargement Camera & Folmer & Schwing 1

    Quote Originally Posted by vssoutlet View Post
    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. 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'
    I steal time at 1/125th of a second, so I don't consider my photography to be Fine Art as much as it is petty larceny.
    I'm not OCD. I'm CDO which is alphabetically correct.

  9. #9

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    Re: Jumping into LF with Deardorff 14X14 Copy/Enlargement Camera & Folmer & Schwing 1

    Quote Originally Posted by John Kasaian View Post
    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.

  10. #10

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    Re: Jumping into LF with Deardorff 14X14 Copy/Enlargement Camera & Folmer & Schwing 1

    Quote Originally Posted by Harold_4074 View Post

    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.

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