View Full Version : A Few 12x20 Observations

John Kasaian
13-Jul-2004, 14:53
After getting some bellows patch stuff from Equinox and some film from both Photowarehouse and J and C, I'm ready to take the mighty F&S 12x20 out for a field trip in the Sierra Nevadas. I thought I'd pass on these observations on ULF film holders to others who are also just starting out in ULF and might find useful:

1--Darkslides are huge and if they bind in your filmholder you'll easily jiggle the camera out of focus. When I clean the film olders before loading, a light coat of wax like Pledge on the edges of the dark slides really smooth things out when pulling or pushing the dark sllides in place. I know this has been mentioned in regards to smaller sized film holders, but in ULF I find it darn near a neccesity.

2--My ULF and It's two holders live in the case in which it came. Being around 100 years old, the lining is corrupted. Dust from the lining easily finds and settles on my film holders so I've started keeping them in a zippered pillow case cover (standard size) from Wal-mart. Its cheap protection(about $2.00) and works. I could probably fit four holders(if I were fortunate enough to have four) in a single pillow cover.

Anyway, thats what I've learned. If anyone else has some info to make ULF-ing a bit easier, please let me know.

Paul Metcalf
13-Jul-2004, 15:33
John- I would think that the pillow cases themselves might be a source of dust as well as a source of static charge (that attracts dust). If it works, great, but in case you still find issue with dust, you might contact Gary at staticbags.com and see if he can find some ULF size plastic, non-static bags for storage of film holders. I use the pink ones for up to 8x10 (12 x 15 inch size bags). They're pretty cheap and so far have helped with the dust issue.

With my 100 year old 8x10 I've found that sticking slides is an issue, as well. Can only image what a problem it could be with ULF. Good luck.


John Kasaian
13-Jul-2004, 16:22

The largest size pink zip lock bags I found listed were 12x15 so that would be a "no go" for 12x20:-( The zippered pillow case/protector I'm using is 100% cotton. I noticed Wal Mart does have one that is claimed to be dust mite proof made from polyethylene(?) but I was concerned that there might be a problem with dust attracted by static electricity when they were unzipped out in the field, so its the cotton ones for now anyway.

Jorge Gasteazoro
13-Jul-2004, 19:18
John, do not try to pull the slide all at once by the edge. What I do is pull about half way and then grab the slide by the middle and pull the rest of the way, you need the arms of an orangutan to try and pull the slide in one single smooth pull. Anyhow this has worked for me and my Korona, which is far more unstable than your F&S...(you bastard I hate you..:-))

Another tip, turn the aperture scale sideways instead of having it on top, this way you dont have to be on your tippy toes to check your aperture, you can do it comfortably if the scale is facing left or right, depending your preference.

Last, I really recommend you get a BTZS or black jacket type hood, it makes focusing and composing far easier than the horse blanket.

Good luck and enjoy.....aren't the negs awesome?

Paul Metcalf
13-Jul-2004, 21:10
John- Send an email to Gary (only if you think your existing solution is invalid) as he added the 12x15's at my bequest, so he might be able to find some bigger ones (I suspect his distributor/manufacturer may even make them to size but make sure you get them at least 2 inches bigger in each dimension so they fit). Anyway, sounds like you've licked the problem. I'm still trying to convince the wife unit that larger is better (uh, in cameras that is). So far, 8x10 is all I'm allowed!

Michael Jones
14-Jul-2004, 08:20

Not only can you lose focus and positioning by pulling the slide, the mass of the holder being inserted into the back is a prime culprit of movement. Years ago I discussed the same issues with Dick Phillips and he advised that rather than wax or Pledge for lubrication, use [pure] silicone. If you can find it in a liquid, just take a Q-tip or small paint brush and apply it to both the slide's edges and the wood surface on the back that the entire holder slides into position on. It actually dries and leaves no film. Don't apply it directly on the edges of the holder itself. If you can't find the liquid, just buy a spray can of silicone lubricant at an auto parts store, and far from the camera and holder, spray it into a paper cup until you have a small amount of the liquid silicone. Take the brush or Q-tip and apply the silicone to the slide’s edge. Then take lint less cloth and apply the liquid to the slide area on the camera's back. Lightly reapply every six months or so and you will eliminate one more cause of lost images. I've done this for years on old Koronas, Deardorffs and new Phillips ULF cameras and never had binding problems or issues. Good luck.


Pete Caluori
14-Jul-2004, 10:51

The problems with removing/inserting the dark slides on ULF cameras are very real. Any movement other than straight out can cause the dark slide to act as a lever and move the back away from the camera; even the slightest movement can cause light leaks particularly with cameras that have weak springs.

I use 4 Quick Clamps that I purchased at Home Depot; these are miniature woodworker’s clamps about 6” long, with rubber tips and are activated by a trigger arrangement. After I place the holder in the camera, I place these clamps on top and bottom around the entire outer frame of the camera & back and lightly tighten. With this arrangement I can yank on the dark slide all I want and the back will not pull away from the camera or move. Other solutions exist, but this one works for me. I could replace the spring, but I prefer to keep the camera original.

Regards, Pete

19-Jul-2004, 17:14
Useing my Kodak D-2 8x10, Often noticed a focus shift when inserting and/or removing the flim holders.

I eliminated the problem by removal of the film back, inserting the film holder, reatache the film holder, and then remove dark slide for the exposure. Removal of the back was much easier, safer, and more gentle on the camera.