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Thread: Deardorff Warping

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Phoenix, Az

    Deardorff Warping

    So, I am in the market, and playing with the idea of purchasing a 5x7 (with reducing back to 4x5) Deardorff. I am going to be doing traveling in my life, and want this camera to last me. I would take care of it, and do whatever needed to be done to ensure things do not go wrong with it, but I am concerned with the wood.

    I understand they use Mahogany wood, which does not swell or shrink much but I am wondering about when a Deardorff is finished, what issues (if any) can I expect with high humidity situations for long periods of time (say 2 months in a jungle or coastal environment)?

    Also on the flip side of that what issues can be expected with a low humidity environment such as (a desert, or very cold place)?

    warping? splitting? swelling?

    Any input will be appreciated. Thanks in advance.

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    San Joaquin Valley, California

    Re: Deardorff Warping

    US Marines took them along island hopping in the Pacific Theater in WW2, if thats any endorsement.
    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

    Join Date
    Feb 2010

    Re: Deardorff Warping

    I wouldn't worry about the warping. But from my experience, that's a pretty heavy camera. I like to be able to walk around with the camera on the tripod and the tripod on my shoulder and that wasn't happening for very long before my shoulder hurt.

    I found mine pretty clunky as far as movements go.

    I ended up selling it and buying a Chamonix 4x5. I'm much happier with that, in every way.

  4. #4
    Deardorff Sales and service
    Join Date
    Aug 2010

    Re: Deardorff Warping

    I would not buy a camera built before the mid 70s. I'll post a starting serial number tomorrow. The reason is Deardorff started to use a formaldahyde glue that is VERY strong. They also changed how they dried the wood after it was cut into componets. Not assembled parts but the small parts that made an assembly. In the 80s they made cameras that were sold to japan with a bit more slop. Why? So when they were used in the humid enviroment of japan they swelled just enough to be correct. Cameras do indeed change dimension. ALL wood cameras do it.
    Ken Hough Deardorff Refinisher since 1982
    Deardorff Factory refinisher / remanufacturer 1982-88
    Deardorff Factory Historian 82-88
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