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Thread: Getting started in 11x14"

  1. #31
    Will Whitaker's Avatar
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    Re: Getting started in 11x14"

    Quote Originally Posted by Tim V View Post
    ...1: Camera options: It seems many people recommend the Chamonix ULF cameras. Is their 11x14" essentially a scaled up version of their 8x10"? Compared to the Shen-Hao, which seems to be a similar price–unless someone can correct me on that–and without wanting to start some kind of brand war, what are the plusses and minuses for each camera?Tim
    When it comes to ULF, scaling is not linear. 11x14 isn't twice the trouble of 8x10, it's like 3 times (at least!) In fact, the difficulty of ULF seems to increase almost as the cube of the negative size. (About as imprecise a statement as I can come up with!...) Besides everything being bigger and weighing more, there is expense. And some things are not as obvious as others. Film holders are outlandishly expensive. Film is expensive. More chemistry is required to process and print. Negative storage is a bloody hassle. Everything is heavier. About the only constant between 8x10 and larger formats is your light meter! I can assure you that transportation is more difficult. You start pricing pick-up trucks or Sprinter vans.

    Is it worth it? Yes it is. (In my very personal opinion.) Working with a big camera is just plain fun. And that big ground glass is the ultimate seduction. And it's the gateway to the rabbit hole (or road to perdition, if you prefer.)

    Not meant at all to scare you off. Only to add a dose of reality to the whirlwind of lust that surrounds ULF. (I know it well, having become a victim several years ago.) Just be prepared for complications and disappointments as you travel that road. Also be prepared to have a lot of fun. Because it IS fun.

    And afterwards you'll be amazed at how easy 8x10 is by comparison. Trouble loading film in an 8x10 holder. Learn to load 11x14 or bigger and your skills will improve vastly!

    Quote Originally Posted by Tim V View Post
    2: Second hand / used cameras: Where is a good place to start looking? I'm not yet able to see the classified section here (my 30 days aren't up yet,) but are there any other places to keep an eye on or get in contact with? Are there any alternative, maybe vintage brand cameras that are comparible to the Chamonix that I'd do well to keep an eye out for?Tim
    I once had an Empire State 11x14 which was a sweet camera (imho). Sold it because I was more interested in other formats. It was relatively light compared to the 11x14 I'd had earlier which was a Wisner. That's not to disparage the Wisner camera in any way (except the size of the lensboards, but that's another thread) . I would watch the FS forum here (when you're able). Also Ebay. A lot of my stuff has come from Ebay. Caveat emptor in both cases. Get your money ready, then be patient.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tim V View Post
    3: Things to watch out for: Aside from condition of bellows and general sloppyness of the parts / rigidity of the camera, what do I need to pay attention to when buying? E.g. with older cameras, are they optimised for focus using thick glass or tin plates? Are there standard film holders for this format, e.g. like the international graflock system for 4x5" that is reliable and relatively precise across the board?Tim
    You might possibly run into non-standard film holders, e.g., Sterling on some very early cameras. I can't comment, but others on this forum have that knowledge. But 11x14 is covered by the ANSI standard, so you should be OK.

  2. #32

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    Re: Getting started in 11x14"

    Thanks, Will. A good read and certainly puts the 'no pain, no gain' mantra into perspective with regards to my desire for big negatives...

    Although I've shot a little bit of 8x10", my main format has been 4x5" for many years, followed by roll film and 60mpx digital capture on a Linhof Techno; a camera system I love. My desire to go big or go home, as they say, is to try and recapture some of that tactile magic of film; engage more with the alchemy of the processes again, especially in the darkroom making fine prints. The 11x14" format seems to really fit with this idea, so I am following my nose here... Contact printing is where it'll sit...

    I will say though that I have been looking hard at 8x10" also, as I have a friends with a great studio equipped with huge, Durst mural enlargers etc. Plus scanning is easier if I ever choose to go that way. I'm convinced though that this would eventuate in an upgrade to 11x14" at some stage anyway, so I've just got to really try and think it through. It's hard being in New Zealand and not being able to handle gear, but thanks to people here I have a better idea about what's available, new and old. If buying new, I'd certainly go with Chamonix I think. Used is perhaps a different story, as a good price for a capable outfit might outweigh feature set or weight.

    Anyway, onwards and upwards...

  3. #33
    Angus Parker angusparker's Avatar
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    Getting started in 11x14"

    Anything old in 11x14 will not work with ANSI standard film holders - sometimes its just a matter of removing the placement rib on the film holder - so not such a big deal. Newer cameras are more likely to adhere to the ANSI standard. I think Chamonix cameras and holders are ANSI standard but Im not 100% sure.

    Moral of my story, try and buy the camera and holders in a set from the same person.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk Pro

  4. #34
    tgtaylor's Avatar
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    Re: Getting started in 11x14"

    I've been toying with getting a 11x14 camera for several years now. I'm pretty sure that it will fit in my big Lowepro pack - the Pro Trekker 600AW - and I have 2 lens that will cover the format - a 360 Symmar-S and 610 Apo-Nikkor; the 14” Wollensack Veritar SF might. My Series 3 Gitzo with ball head wouldn't work for that format but the Series 5 and/or the 475B would but that doubles the tripod weight on the pack and increases the size probably making it awkward to carry. The 12x15 split-back printing frame works for making contact prints and the Jobo drums will handle the film.

    So to get into 11x14 I would need:

    1. A 11x14 Harrison changing tent.
    2. A dark cloth.
    3. The camera, of course, and 2 good film holders (+ film).
    4. Hard case for camera storage when not in use.

    I figure it would cost me somewhere between 5 and 6K.

    Thomas

  5. #35

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    Re: Getting started in 11x14"

    11x14 cameras are typically 17-18" square, so unlikely to fit in a 600AW. 10x12 yes (it's what I use for my 10x12 Chamonix), 11x14 not likely.

  6. #36
    tgtaylor's Avatar
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    Re: Getting started in 11x14"

    Maybe not Karl, but from the packs dimensions on Amazon, 23.6 x 15 x 18.1 inches, and the Chamonix dimensions from their website, Folded size: 463mm x 442mm x 146mm (i.e., 18.23" and 17.4", it should on the 18" side with a little squeeze (girth?).

    The Amazoon dimensions are external. Here is the internal dimensions from Lowepro website: Internal Dimensions: 35.5 x 21.5 x 49.7 cm (13.98 x 8.46 x 19.57 in). So the squeeze would be on the 14" side.

    Actually the above was for the newer 650AM. Here's the dimensions for the 600AW from the Ritz website: Size (Interior):
    14.6W X 7.5D X 21.3H in.
    37 X 19 X 54 cm

    Thomas

  7. #37

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    Re: Getting started in 11x14"

    Just measured my 600AW. It looks like 15x19" is about what you can squeeze into the main interior compartment. The width of an 11x14 is gonna get you with the 600AW.

  8. #38
    tgtaylor's Avatar
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    Re: Getting started in 11x14"

    But for me, getting an 11x14 camera and spending all that money would be kinda foolish as I already have that much already invested in a good 8x10 field camera. Keeping both formats would be nonsensical and I would constantly be confronted with the uncertainty over which format to bring. True, the 11x14 almost doubles the area of the film but I've been printing 8x10 alternative and including the brush overcoats on the matted print which make it appear to be larger than 8x10. I couldn't do that with 11x14 without going to a 16x20 printing frame and the 16x20 frame poses issues in itself. But assuming I could get the 11x14 in the Lowepro I could still use the series 3 Gitzo - I thought the 11x14 weighed 30 lbs and not the 20 lbs that it does which is only 5 lbs heavier than the Toyo. So the possibility is still there. Maybe if I hit the lottery or something...today is Wednesday so I'll stop for a ticket.

    Thomas

  9. #39
    bob carnie's Avatar
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    Re: Getting started in 11x14"

    Have any of you 11 x14 camera owners had enlarged prints made and compared the results to 8 x10 negatives of the same subject? ... I would love to hear of your results or observations.

  10. #40

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    Re: Getting started in 11x14"

    An 11x14" enlarger would be an interesting object in itself !! The lab I worked at had a 10x10" Durst (we used it for aerial roll-film) in it's own special room. Neither the machine nor the room were small...

    ETA. Or was it 10x12"?? This was about three decades ago.

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