View Full Version : Can I use a reprocamera for anything?

Antti Aalto
7-May-2005, 14:54
I've just come across a Agfa Geavert Repromaster 3000 I'd get for the trouble of relieving the owner of it. Can I use one for anything in large format? It would go for free, but it would take loads of space as well. Would having it be just geeky or would it actually be a useful tool in which case I might want to go and pick it up?

Ernest Purdum
7-May-2005, 15:04
If you think it would be fun to make enlarged copies using a variety of processes and media it would be great for that. It would also make a fine macro camera.

Will Strain
7-May-2005, 15:21
I had a friend who used a large repro cam (one of the ones, essentially built into a wall) to make 1:1 portraits on 12"x24" film - gorgeous work.

So you can certainly use them for other things, bearing in mind their specific limitations.

John Cook
7-May-2005, 15:22
Please don't take this the wrong way. I really don't mean to sound negative. Nor offensive.

But, in all kindness, your question is much like a "strap-hanger" from Manhattan who moves to Wyoming and is offered a free Harley. And wants to know if they are any fun.

Depending on how many lithographic materials you can still find, the creative possibilities are endless. How about reducing a photograph to halftone dots the size of baseballs? The print doesn't look like anything but irregular dots until you get twenty feet away, when the nude figure study begins to resolve itself. Look into a ben-day tint screen. You will have your meals brought to you while at that camera.

Do yourself an enormous favor and buy a used copy of the book HIGH CONTRAST by J. Seeley, published by Curtin & London in 1980. ISBN 0-930764-21-8

Even if you don't get the camera, you should have the book.

Alibris has several copies for only a few dollars each. Do a search here:


Antti Aalto
7-May-2005, 16:09
Thanks for the view and pointing out the book, John! I guess I'll start figuring out where I can keep the camera temporarily. The darkroom's not where I'll be when I get the camera, you see. I only know very basically what reprocameras are used for. Basically I was told they'd be only good for newspaper work because the contrast produced would be too steep for anything else. Would anyone else have any other resources I could look up to learn more about the ways they've been used? Just what materials do I need to be able to get a hold of to make use of the camera? Am I able to make my own materials in case they'd be difficult to find commercially? It'll take a couple of weeks minimum before I'll get the book suggested above. Thanks again!To explain my dumb questions a bit, I have to say getting into LF and manual darkroom processes hasn't really been that easy. You're always instructed to take a shortcut here and there and just go with the results you get, just because the other person could never be bothered to do it well and chose to collect cameras instead. I've got fifty years of making pictures ahead of me if I'll live, so I might as well learn to know as many possibilities as I can. Unfortunately there's no other LF hobbyist with the club that provides the darkroom for me and there's very little activity at all.

Ralph Barker
7-May-2005, 16:56
I'd say if you have sufficient space in which to set it up, and the resources (strong friends) to move it, why not? Obviously, it wouldn't work well in the field, nor as a conventional studio view camera, where the camera typically needs to be reasonably mobile. But, assuming the lens (lenses?) is (are) in good shape, it should be fun to work with as a specialized macro camera.

To use conventional materials, you may need to make adapters to conventional format sizes, or find conventional film in the size appropriate for the Repromaster's holders (I'm not sure what size film it takes). But, all that is feasible, given a bit of dedication and dexterity. At worst, it might serve as the foundation of a home-made horizontal ULF enlarger. Lots of possibilities.

Mark Sawyer
7-May-2005, 20:51
Ralph has a point about converting it to an enlarge; I have a Data Optics reprographic camera which I converted to an 8x10 enlarger, and the few prints I've made on it are excellent- sharp with even light and nice tonalities. I grafted the bellows and focusing rack from an old D2 4x5 enlarger to the front so I could vary the focus, and changed the light source, mostly because I wanted to. Aligned the condensers and made a negative carrier (still needs improvement), and she was ready to go. (I may still add a hood scoop and racing stripes...)

John Cook
8-May-2005, 04:32
Antti, before you commit some dastardly deed upon that poor camera, get some knowledge of what it can do with lithography materials.

Learn some basic repro camera techniques, such as the difference between a "bump" exposure and a "flash" exposure. Hint: neither has anything to do with taking off your clothes.

For a while, I earned a living with my own Agfa camera, as well as with an old black cast iron horizontal job which was the size of a steam locomotive. Feel free to email me with any litho questions which may be too esoteric for a LF forum.

You are going to have a lot of fun!

Ole Tjugen
8-May-2005, 07:24
The camera doesn't produce high contrast, that is a result of the film and developer used. Even lithographic film can give pictorial contrast in the right developer - try 2 minutes in Neutol (yes, paper developer and paper developing time).