View Full Version : I succumbed to the bug: Questions about 11x14 B&J

Jason Greenberg Motamedi
31-Jan-2005, 14:11
I never really thought of myself as an ULF-sort-of-guy, but today I succumbed to the bug and bought a Burke & James 11x14. I had been eyeing it for quite a while, and after some negotiation with the seller, got it for a reasonable price. Naturally I have questions.

Like all B&J cameras, this one is a far cry from rigid, and the rear standard has got the wobbles bad. Does anyone have any experience building a support or brace for these cameras?

If there are any B&J users out there, I would appreciate it if you could identify yourselves to me, as I have a question about the knob arrangements on the rear standard.

Finally, the perennial question: what about filmholders? Does anybody know of the no-longer-made Fidelity holders, or any of the currently manufactured (Wista, S&S, AWB) will fit the B&J?

Thanks in advance,


David A. Goldfarb
31-Jan-2005, 14:26
Jason, I've noticed that you've participated in some of the New York threads. If you're in the city, send me an e-mail and you're welcome to stop by and see which of my holders fit your camera. I have 2 S&S, 2 Hoffman, and one older one that I need to repair, but it might be okay just to test size.

Did you buy that B&J from Photo Gizzmo? I noticed that he had one recently as well as some really big portrait lenses, like an 18" Verito.

Gem Singer
31-Jan-2005, 14:32
Hi Jason,

Jim, at Midwest Photo Exchange, has new 11X14 Tachihara film holders listed on his website. It would be worth your while to e-mail him and check to make sure that they will fit your B&J (jim@mpex.com). Have fun with your new camera.

Joe Smigiel
31-Jan-2005, 15:39
Hello jason,

I bought a B&J 11x14 last year while I construct my own 11x14 patterned after an Agfa Commercial View. I've successfully used AWB holders as well as an older Sterling holder in mine. I haven't shot much with it yet but so far no problem as far as holders go. I also haven't had any problems with the back being wobbly. My main problem has been securing the camera to a tripod. Last week I was scheduled to photograph a model and as I was extending the back along the extension, the 1/4-20 threaded insert started to pull out of the camera due to the weight of the beast. Luckily I caught it before it hit the floor. The model also got involved in a car accident on the way to the shoot. Bad Karma day.

I've spent the last week designing a camera platform to mount the camera directly to a Majestic geared head. Today I also replaced the small push-in threaded inserts with a 3/8-16 threaded insert that screws in and also sank a 3/8-16 T nut from the opposite side of the baseboard. I'm machining a couple dedicated plates to secure the camera to the tripods and platforms. Check the integrity of the tripod mounts.

I have several lenses for mine including a 210 Angulon, 18& 22 1/4 Verito, 24" Artar and several other similar focal lengths. I've rescheduled with the model for this Friday and hope to break in the Verito.

I'm also constructing Packard shutter boxes to use on the 11x14 with the Verito and a couple other barrel lenses. I'm also taking a woodworking class and buying tools to help construct all this stuff, and, I got back into the machine tool lab here at school and did a little millwork today after a 2 year absence.

Perhaps you bought one of the B&J cameras from Photogizzmo Lou. I was about to buy one from him in June 2003 when I had a heart attack and surgery hours before I was to send him a check. That put me down for awhile and I laid low eventually buying one off eBay about 6 months later. I saved a bit of money on the camera by waiting and couldn't lift it for 6 months anyways. So maybe you got the one I was originally after.

Gotta run to the woodworking class but, let's compare notes.

John Kasaian
31-Jan-2005, 15:49

I owned an 11x14 B and J some time ago. It was a very nice camera as I recall---I loved the format. As you mentioned, they aren't the most rigid view cameras in the world but they are very usable. As I recall the beast offered an incredible amount of PC!

All I remember about the knobs is that they stuck waaaay out there, accumulating specimens of the trailside flora when attempting the backpacker thing.

I recall someone once posting that kodak x-ray film holders will work in the B and J. I can't say for certain but it would be worth checking out since the cost and availability of 11x14 holders are brutal as you already know, and you just might come across a kindly x-ray tech who can make you a deal.

Good luck and enjoy that camera!

31-Jan-2005, 16:14
I have the rear half of a Burke & James 11x14 which I'm adapting to another camera. The S&S holders fit it fine.

Doug Howk
31-Jan-2005, 17:25
I recently acquired a B&J Grover 8X10 and am currently refinishing it (stripped wood & restored to natural maple finish). Its a monorail; and the back standard acts almost like a tuning fork. I got a manual from www.CraigCamera.com which shows 3 knobs on lower back standard whereas mine only has one. Not sure if the extra two would stiffen the back.

Jason Greenberg Motamedi
31-Jan-2005, 18:49
Thanks for your answers and suggestions so far, particularly to David, who has graciously offered his collection of holders for sizing.

I am still curious about the knobs on the rear. Like Doug's, my camera came with one knob on each side of the "tuning fork". I note that on Kevin Bourque's "Some notes on restoring an 8x10 Burke and James View Camera" (http://www.largeformatphotography.info/burke-james/restore8x10.html) there are two knobs (http://www.largeformatphotography.info/burke-james/bj2.jpg) on each side. This set up makes sense, and allows for rear rise without too much fear of the standard tilting.

I notice however that on my camera there are three threads on each side of the rear standard; two threads in parallel for knobs adjusting rear rise, and an additional thread, slightly offset, which, if the other screws were removed, from might allow for tilt.

And for those who wondered; I did buy the camera from Louis Shu at Photogizzmo in NYC.

Paul Fitzgerald
31-Jan-2005, 20:14
Hi there,

B&J had made models with front or rear tilt that had an extra metal plate between the body and standard that had the 3 screws. If you check ebay, now and then they have one of these listed to see what it looks like. They used this on 4X5 - 8X10 models. Have fun with the film holders.

Good luck with it all.

Joe Smigiel
1-Feb-2005, 07:32
>>>my camera came with one knob on each side of the "tuning fork"<<<


One of the nice things about the B&J line was how modular the parts were. The same knobs, tuning forks, gears, etc., can be found on various cameras. In the case of the knobs you refer to, I suspect they are simple 1/4-20 threads and you can probably pick up readymade thumbscrews or knobs that will fit at a good hardware store or woodworker supply. If you desire the actual B&J knobs, I have an old Rembrandt Portrait camera with a stripped gear lock that I am about to cannabalize and so I might have a couple knobs available from that camera. I'm taking the gear rack off the Rembrandt in order to build an extension for the 11x14. Right now I'm limited to 26" (the bellows extends further) and I'm hoping to add another foot or so to the overall length of the camera bed track.

Ernest Purdum
1-Feb-2005, 11:26
www.mcmaszter.com is a great source for knobs and all the other hardware items that modern local hardware stores no longer carrry.

The "Sterling " type holders that your B&J (and other 11 X 14 cameras) have the locking bead near the end of the holder. Graphic type holders have it right near the image opening.

It's interesting that B&J advertised that the multiple knob arrangement gave the photographer the option of on-center or off-center back tilt.