View Full Version : Typical Bellows Draw - 11x14 Lenses

24-Mar-2013, 15:32
A poll- Everyone likes a poll...

I'm building a new 11x14 camera, and there has been some talk of 11x14 lenses here recently-

I'm interested in what people typically use on their cameras, a favourite lens, or lenses, if the poll allows- I'm not sure if I've made a poll before-

Since 11x14 allows for high magnifications, I'd like to build that into the results-
so if, for example, you shoot distant landscapes on a 300mm lens, then the length will remain close to 300mm, but if you shoot portraits on a 450mm lens, then your bellows draw could be double that, depending on how close you go. Similarly with still life, perhaps your extension will be a little bit more.
So, disregarding the length engraved into the barrel, what is the typical distance between lens and film?

I've given options in Metric, but I plan on using lenses marked in inches too...

If you're interested in ticking a box, well thank you, if not, well I hope I haven't taken too much of your time...

The reason for the poll might become apparent at some point in the distant future- if ever I get this thing finished...

Thanks a lot-


Mark Woods
24-Mar-2013, 15:56
Where's the polling place?

24-Mar-2013, 16:43
Typically the extension I need is just at or slightly more than the focal length. I mostly do landcapes. Lenses I use are 270mm 300mm, 19" and a little use of a 24".

Oren Grad
24-Mar-2013, 17:23
Ideally I'd like to be able to get to 1:1 with a 450.

25-Mar-2013, 05:57
Thanks for the responses, and the detail- I suppose I'm surprised to see some big extensions-

It doesn't seem to be producing anything like a Bell Curve, though it's early days yet-

I should have mentioned, perhaps we could have responses from those who shoot 7x17 too, since the film area is quite similar, and it might produce a broader sample-

Thanks again-


Michael Kadillak
25-Mar-2013, 06:20
Whatever you do make sure that you have beefy front and rear standard extension members like a Deardorff V11 to structurally handle the task at hand. You will be thankful when you mount a brass barrel 42" Red Dot on the end and you do not have to adjust the framing as a result of the front standard deflection. Simple moment arm computations in play and weight is not the primary enemy in this design.

25-Mar-2013, 09:20
Thanks Michael-

My bellows won't quite reach 42", but I would hope to be able to hang a heavier lens than that RDA off the front.

You have a reputation being quite the strictest ULF shooter here, be it on choice of film, or camera, or lens, or focusing screen- I've been paying attention over the years, and I will need to thank everyone who ever posted an opinion on the design or operation of a camera in due course. I've learned a lot here.

However, I'm not sure you're going to agree with many of my design choices; my camera will not be anything like a Deardorff. It's still a long way off completion, so I shouldn't tempt fate by discussing it before it's built and tested.

Thanks again for all the info, still surprised at the U curve...

26-Mar-2013, 11:54
Thanks to those who ticked a box-

I'm going to jump the gun here and tick a box myself- I anticipate my 450M is going to be my most usable lens for a range of subjects, though I do have others available.

It would be good to get some more responses too, unless there are only eight people still shooting 11x14 here...

Phil Hudson
27-Mar-2013, 00:27
The 11x14 that I made is sort of limited to the camera parts I used. It is based on Arca-Swiss rails so that is the limiting factor in terms of length vs stability. I got lenses that suit the camera in the end. My longest is the 800 Tele Xenar which I can use quite close in with my 800mm bellows.

Good luck with yours!

27-Mar-2013, 10:26
Hello Phil, thanks for that- I have a 900 tele myself, not as nice as yours, but f6.3, somewhere over 8 kilos, can't measure it exactly- mounting that one might end up as a test to destruction...

Still, at least it won't need full extension...

Oren Grad
27-Mar-2013, 11:16
I should have mentioned, perhaps we could have responses from those who shoot 7x17 too, since the film area is quite similar, and it might produce a broader sample

I'm actually less interested in longer lenses for 7x17, so it wouldn't change my answer in that direction. If anything, I could happily live with a shorter bellows for 7x17 - 700-800mm would be ample, and most of the time something shorter than that would be fine too.

John NYC
28-Mar-2013, 22:24
Since I do not use 11x14 and have only been contemplating it, I am not going to vote, obviously. But after all the thoughtful responses to this post of mine http://www.largeformatphotography.info/forum/showthread.php?101383-11x14-600mm-portraits/page4 I have since mulled more and realize I probably would want the 'tween lens (as I called it) of 450mm as my max focal length... simply because the bellows draw on 600mm would make things so difficult in so many ways in the studio.

But really what all the thinking has done, I believe, is to convince me not to get into 11x14.

25-Apr-2013, 06:10
Disappointed to hear that John...

Though glad to hear you might have populated one of the centre options-
Any more 11x14 users out there?

25-Apr-2013, 06:38
hi jb7

i didn't see this thread when it was originally done ...
i have a wollensak 13-20-24" lens and the favorite configuration for my 11x14 is the 20" ( which is about 508mm )
i don't shoot outside, its a big studio camera so it is mostly portraits ...


28-Apr-2013, 09:29
Thanks John- I think I'd like your lens...