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Thread: 11x14 experiences - please share yours

  1. #1

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    Jul 2006
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    11x14 experiences - please share yours

    Learned the Zone system, via Minor White's teachings, with an 8x10 back in the late 1970s. Camera was a B&J flatbed view, 12" Velostigmat Series II F/4.5, and a B&J wooden tripod. Hiked up many a stream/gorge south of the Rochester NY area during all seasons with all photo equipment in a primitive solid framed backpack... fueled by a hearty steak & eggs breakfast. More than once fell through ice in the winter. Super-XX processed in FG-7 with a 9% sodium sulfite solution and printed on Dupont Verlour paper.

    Sold the 8x10 camera for an 11x14" B&J wooden flatbed view. Also acquires a 20" 508mm f/7 Caltar. Whole system just proved to be just too much to handle and carry at the time to hike in the New England forests so sold everything in Shutterbug back when.

    Then bought and used an Improved Eastman 11x14" view camera. Jewel of a camera.... so ultra light and so compact, but consequently very un-rigid. Many exposures ruined because of movement. It was like a sail in the wind. Sold it.

    2 years ago purchased a Chamonix 11x14" view camera. Back around 2000, digital was growing exponentially and prices of view camera lenses exponentially dropping. Fortunately back then purchased quite a few optics at ridiculously low prices and kept them.

    Wanted to finally put together my "ideal" 11x14" system... almost there. I needed a case for my 11x14 Chamonix with 3+ lenses and holders. Cost of a new Pelican case was way up there,so I bought an older (probably from the late 1960s) Sinar case made for their 8x10 Norma, gutted it out and padded it with glued cut sections of anti-fatigue dense foam flooring that I bought for very little money at LOWES. Nice thing was that the right bottom side of the Sinar case had a built in section to slide down into lenses on Sinar boards and by coincidence the 11x14 Chamonix uses Sinar like boards. Case is quite beat up on its exterior which makes it look a lot less valuable (and intern its possible contents) than a bright new Pelican case. Strictly to be carried in the trunk of my medium sized SUV. Being 69 years old, backpacking the 11x14 system no longer feasible.

    The Charmonix 11x14... a superb camera in every way. Would to compare it side by side to an original Phillips 11x14.

    Lenses... my experiences

    Went through quite a few Eskofot Ultragon Lenses. None covered as claimed.

    90mm f/ Berthiot Paris Perigraphe. Recent purchase. Produces a beautiful circular image on 11x14 film with 1" black borders on the 11 inch dimension. Now am in the process of constructing a really recessed lens board for this optic.

    5.9" f/ RD Gray Extreme Angle Periscope lens mounted in a Copal shutter by S K Grimes. Wonderful optic that fully covers 11x14. Have to stop it down all the way. 150 year old optic. Corner sharpness definitely has its limitations, but am willing to put up with its vintage image look. Had to fabricate a base plate to move the lens back to enable infinity focus.

    183 f/18 B&L Protar. Covers only but only "absolutely directly on center". Hard for me to focus.

    180mm f/12.5 Schneider Dasykar. Pre-Angulon. Just unearthed it after maybe 20 years of it being lost in storage. Does cover 11x14. This spring have to compare it to the 183mm Protar.

    250mm f/6.7 Fuji. Close to covering 11x14 but not in the corners by about 1/2 an inch. Now use it on my Full Plate Chamonix. FYI It is the version that has info engraved inside on the retaining ring for the front element.

    250mm f/5.6 Fuji SF (Soft Focus) lens. This one was a really surprise to me. I used it on my Whole Plate camera but by chance mounted it onto the 11x14 and saw that it actually covered the format. Bokeh is unique wide open. Stop it down to f/90 and absolutely great for contact prints.

    305mm Kowa f/9 . First time I used it found out it did not cover 11x14. Later took its lens hood off and found out that it actually did cover 11x14... the lens hood was vignetting the corners. Sold it whe acquired the 305mm G-Claron.

    305mm f/9 G-Claron just covers when stopped down and is amazingly sharp.

    12 3/4 (plus 18 7/8, and 27") Protar. Classic optic. Still mastering using the single cells alone. But from what I've read, you need to use a red or orange filter when using the single cells alone. With no cell separation, will never part with this optic.

    355mm G-Claron f/9. Just an amazingly sharp optic.

    14" f/6.8 Goertz Double Anastigmat. Dagor image Bokeh. Allows for extreme movements. Don't know if it really differs from a Dagor.

    508mm f/7 Caltar. Was my only lens with my wooden B&J view. Sold it with the B&J many years ago. After purchasing the Chamonix, realized I wanted another copy of this optic. Took me 2 years to find one on EBay and although was willing to pay a premium for the lens, fortunately got it at the first bid price. It's my main lens to use... wide max aperture makes it just a pleasure to focus and compose with. I honestly think it is the very best optic for the 11x14" format. I believe Rodenstock was the maker of this lens.

    600mm f/9.5 Portrait Group 14x17 to 16x20. This optic I had S K Grimes mount into a Copal shutter. When stopped down is amazingly sharp. Initially I thought I wanted it for its vintage image Bokeh, but it turned out to be just an excellent lens to use.

    Tripod is the large Ries J100 with their J250-2 head. Had to swallow couple of times when I ordered the combo, but on using it was worth every $$$. People at Ries are also most pleasant to deal with.

    Final prints have been mostly on silver paper up to now, with some Salted prints last year. This spring will be scanning negs and making Digital negs to print on Platinum/Palladium paper.

    Please feel free to add comments and info on other lenses...

    Greg

  2. #2
    LF/ULF Carbon Printer Jim Fitzgerald's Avatar
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    Re: 11x14 experiences - please share yours

    Nice set up. With 11 x 14 negatives why not just contact print them? Get it right with the exposure and eliminate the scanning. Just my .02.

    I find that with my 11 x 14 set up which is my hand built copy of my old Zone VI 4 x 5, I just up scaled everything, it gives me what I need with the lenses I've collected over the years.

    My 360mm Gerogon, custom 18" Voigtlander pre Euryscope, by custom I mean that when I got the lens it was missing the front element so I found a great substitute, an Ilex 21 1/4" process lens that is wonderfully sharp a 15" Spencer-Portland that does everything I need and is so sharp stopped down, a Suter Basile 16 x 13 and a couple of others.

    The carbon transfer contact prints are something to see. No scanning just slap it down and print it. I'm simple.

  3. #3
    New Orleans, LA
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    Oct 2004
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    487

    Re: 11x14 experiences - please share yours

    Acquired an 11x14 Century from a former boss when he closed his studio down. Had to replace the bellows and get it cleaned up but once that was done it was a great camera to use for the short time I did use it. As soon as I started printing the negs I realized that the boxiness of the format was too just close to 8x10 for me (although significantly larger) so I sold it and acquired a 7x17. Love how the panorama complements the 8x10 format. On the 11x14 I used a Nikkor 450 Q. I was recently going through some prints to find one to give to a friend for her birthday and I wish I could have kept it and the 7x17. Didn't win the lottery so...

  4. #4
    LF/ULF Carbon Printer Jim Fitzgerald's Avatar
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    Re: 11x14 experiences - please share yours

    I've been blessed with the ability to build cameras. So when it came time to get into 11 x 14 I built the camera. I find myself using it more and more now. I like that it is smaller and lighter than either of my 14 x 17's that I built. I must say that I do like the "presence" of 14 x 17 contact prints though.

  5. #5

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    Re: 11x14 experiences - please share yours

    Built my first 11x14 about thirty years ago. Four nested, telescoping boxes sealed with felt - movements on back with short bellows...so weighed a ton, especially when mounted on my Quick-Set Gibralter tripod, which could likely double as a building jack! In combo with a very decent, barrel-mounted 19" EK Anastigmat, Tri-X souped in ABC pyro (which I learned from Cole Weston, using Edward's contact frame and dodging tools!)

    But I needed something lighter - so built a folding flatbed out of plywood, picked up a used bellows, and upgraded to a 14" Kern Blue-Dot Trigor. I cannot say enough about that lens! I tested this lens by taping strips of 35mm Agfapan 25asa into the corners and center of a holder - and the results looked almost identical, even when enlarged, to using this film in a Leica M with a 50mm Mandler-designed summicron! Amazing! Had previously tried a 14" Kern Dagor - but found the field to be curved. The trigor was nice and flat, and offered better coverage. Note the this Trigor is rated at F/11, but opens to an unmarked F/8 - which makes focussing quite easy.

    Much later, for various reasons I sold the Trigor and replace this with a 305 G-Claron. Wonderful, versatile lens for all formats from 4x5 to 11x14 - very sharp, etc. But I still miss the Trigor and wish I hadn't sold it!

    A bit later still, I modified the 11x14 by extracting the front standard, back, and bellows, and mounting this on a single wooden rail - which cut out lots of weight but made it a bit flimsy and very difficult to adjust.

    Presently, the camera sits unused...with three pristine Fidelity holders, and about 50 sheets of outdated Tri-X. I really prefer making enlargements these days, and with the value of those holders I sometimes think I should sell them. Then again...maybe not!

    An interesting note about the film - at about twenty five years out of date, its level of base fog makes it basically perfect for certain subjects!

  6. #6

    Re: 11x14 experiences - please share yours

    Quote Originally Posted by John Layton View Post
    An interesting note about the film - at about twenty five years out of date, its level of base fog makes it basically perfect for certain subjects!
    Found out the same thing relative to some old TMY in 12x20 and 8x20 I have in the freezer. It is like a pre-exposure and you never have to worry about some texture in the skies.

  7. #7

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    Re: 11x14 experiences - please share yours

    I also purchased a Charmonix 11x14, very nicely made and pleasant to use. When it comes to finding good lenses for the format, it took me a while now but I still need a lense long enough. The longest I have is a 19' Artar, but I haven't mounted it to a shutter yet, just used for long exposure. I have a Kowa 240, and it covers 11x14. I do carbon prints with 11x14 exclusively.

  8. #8

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    Re: 11x14 experiences - please share yours

    A couple of Centurys.

  9. #9

    Re: 11x14 experiences - please share yours

    Quote Originally Posted by Max Hao View Post
    I also purchased a Charmonix 11x14, very nicely made and pleasant to use. When it comes to finding good lenses for the format, it took me a while now but I still need a lense long enough. The longest I have is a 19' Artar, but I haven't mounted it to a shutter yet, just used for long exposure. I have a Kowa 240, and it covers 11x14. I do carbon prints with 11x14 exclusively.
    Two lenses that seem to be my go to on 11x14 are the 355 G Claron and the Fuji 600C. 24" Artars are more available and less costly and work well as do the 610mm Apo Nikkors that can be found at reasonable prices in barrel. The 30" and 35" Artars also are nice to use as from a visual perspective they are not as "long" as you would think on the GG. A large face tripod plate is a requirement when you are drawing out these bellows and inserting holders. The view under the dark cloth puts a smile on my face each and every time. Just saying.....

  10. #10

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    Re: 11x14 experiences - please share yours

    11X14 "kit" includes Deardorff V11, the ubiquitous Nikkor 450M, modern, multi-coated, a 270mm Computar f9, a 355mm Dagor type Schnieder Symmar, and then some softer imaging things also. Some of the extreme wide angle anastigmats, the cheap, no name you recognize ones from the 1910's, if you poke the aperture out of them so they are unchoked, are quite lovely as wide angle soft focus. They have all the characters of a good soft focus lens, sharp inner core with a nice cloud of coma. I have 8X10, 11X14, and 14X17 like this. The 8X10 is the usual for that era 183mm length and it just covers. If curious, there's some things on my pages done down around Mojave Ca. with these lenses. For sharp wide angle I have the 200mm Cooke VIIb and a 9 1/4" Dallmeyer f6.5 WA I've yet to play with. I use the same Ries combination the OP mentions.

    The Deardorff is 1966-ish and came with 5 lovely matching 11X14 Burke and James holders of the same era. I've added a couple of plastic 'medical' ones as well. The 'dorff weighs exactly double what the V8 weighs because everything is exactly twice as big. I had a Wisner 14X17 for a time and it weighed the same as the Deardorff. I love using the Deardorff. It just feels good in your hands. We had a big discussion over at apug about bigger camera working slower. This is the size where I really slow down. You can't be in a hurry with the big 11X14. I can throw the 2D 810 up and have a picture done in 3 - 4 minutes. Not so the Deardorff V11. When it's out, I sort of luxuriate in the process. Level the tripod head perfectly before setting the machine on top. It's a process.

    My downfall is it only comes out once a year or so. The contact prints are glorious. Just typing this has me longing. Gonna take the back seat out of the woodie and do a proper road trip this spring. Hopefully. Maybe I'll drive over to Ely and do the Nevada Northern in 1114.
    He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep..to gain that which he cannot lose. Jim Elliot, 1949

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