View Full Version : "Affordable" 11x14 camera ?

Ken Lee
27-Jun-2005, 16:54
A quick glance reveals that somewhere around $ 6,000 US represents a low price for a new 11x14 camera. Is anyone familiar with a brand that comes in below that amount ?

Or, for that matter, other than eBay, where one can find used 11x14 cameras ?

Remember the theme song to old TV show "The Jeffersons" ? It was "Movin' on up".

Christopher Perez
27-Jun-2005, 17:00
Question is, how low are you willing to go?

If you can find an 11x14 back with film holders, you'll probably be out around $500.

Then, build a box with-in a box and mount your lens on the front and your back on the, well, back. Materals: another $50.

I'll bet you could have the cheapest functional "new" 11x14 camera on the block! :-)

ronald lamarsh
27-Jun-2005, 17:08
I am in the same boat and there just aren't that many options as you have found. The folks at Bender have toyed with the idea of scaling up their 8x10 but have not had enough requests to make it viable. So i have decided to build my own: I am starting with 8x10 to see if I can do it as I have 2 lenses and film holders are plentiful. At $300 a pop getting a couple of 11x14 holders then finding out I just can't muster the energy and skill to complete the project is more pain than I wish to incurr. I feel it is possible though as many have done it in the past: #1 don't expect it to pass for a beautiful piece of funrniture like one of the many factory made units#2 set realistic design goals i.e. usuability, stability etc. #3 if you don't have the woodworking tools to begin with then look for a cheap used one as the investment in tools will more than likely offset any savings. I am an experienced woodworker and machinist so I have the skills and tools. Good luck

27-Jun-2005, 17:17
Hi Ken,

Are you looking for a view camera or a studio camera? I have one Deardorff studio camera with a 11x14 back and a 8x10 revolving back for sale. Again it is a studio camera, and it is quite impractical to haul it around. But there is a will there is a way...

Contact me off list if you are interested.



matthew blais
27-Jun-2005, 17:20
Check out Jim Chinn on www.apug.org.
He's building various sized ULF's for about 2K that come with lensboards and two filmholders.
A few on that forum have taken posession (I think) of the first production units.

Ken Lee
27-Jun-2005, 17:49
Chris - Very clever ! :-)

Ron - Get busy, and perhaps you could make a few extras.

Matt: I found some recent postings, but nothing concrete about his cameras. Could you provide a link ? I sent him an email, expressing my interest.

Tsuyoshi: Good question. I am looking for something portable, rather than a camera that might be too robust for travel.

ronald lamarsh
27-Jun-2005, 18:05
Ken: I"m still in the design stage but have plans to make it convertible to 7x17 also.....the problem is I have injured my hand making lensboards for my B&J 5x7...I got my left ring finger tangled up in the planer and am looking at about a years rehab! But as soon as I can get this splint off I'll be back at it. I will take copius photo's of the process along with the finished product to pass along to whoever is interested.

Eric Leppanen
27-Jun-2005, 18:14
The Wisner Traditional 11x14 (www.wisner.com/Page7.html (http://www.wisner.com/Page7.html)) retails for $4,400. Of course, Mr. Wisner has a controversial history with some members of this forum, maybe going through a dealer might be a better way to deal with him?

Tachihara is another potential route (price was around $2995 per this thread: www.largeformatphotography.info/lfforum/topic/500292.html (http://www.largeformatphotography.info/lfforum/topic/500292.html)) but that unit is reportedly relatively heavy.

Shen Hao apparently does not do ULF right now, but maybe you should check with Midwest Photo or Badger Graphic to see if anything is cooking there.....

John Kasaian
27-Jun-2005, 18:29
I had a wonderful Burk & James 11x14 once---I think MidWest sells them for $1600 when they have them. With $200ea for 11x14 film holders "if and when" you can find them, it got to be too expensive a game for me. Lovely format though.

Good luck!

Oren Grad
27-Jun-2005, 18:30
Unfortunately, the Tachihara 11x14 weighs around 30 pounds, and costs about $6000 via special order through Badger. There was one demo unit that Midwest had for a long time and finally sold at around $3000.

Ken Lee
27-Jun-2005, 18:32
Eric - Thanks for the info. Badger Graphics, whose prices are always competitive, lists an 11x14 Tachihara for just under $6000. Perhaps Midwest Photo Exchange was eager to clear their inventory at that time, and the camera was "priced to move", as they say.

27-Jun-2005, 18:53
Hi Ken,
I have a new 11x14 Wisner "P" in for repairs that will be for sale shortly as the customer wants a 35 lb WA 11x14 instead. The front bed got damaged (banged) in Europe before he even used it once. It is now at the Wisner factory being brought up to spec and the only wear will be small tripod marks from the couple of times it was on the pod. This essentially is a new camera. Never had a sheet of film through it. It will go for the old price or thereabouts. Wisner has been raising his prices this year on ULF. Let me know if you are interested. It should be ready in the late summer time frame. Emile/www.deleon-ulf.com

matthew blais
27-Jun-2005, 19:49
No info yet Ken on the Chinn camera...no www yet either...but I think someone I know is taking delivery soon of one..I sent an email to verify and will post back when I hear..

John Layton
27-Jun-2005, 20:22
I had to smile as I read C. Perez's posting - when I built my first LF camera over 25 years ago, it was an 11X14 done as a series of nesting boxes (birch plywood) with felt light-seals. The back did have a short square bellows with some positioners for limited movements (like those on a Technika), but it was pretty basic - and weighed a ton! The nesting boxes are now enjoying new life - having been pressed into service as window-boxes for plants!

Jason Greenberg Motamedi
27-Jun-2005, 20:44
I have a B&J 11x14 which is a very capable camera with great movements. In any case, most used "classic" cameras in decent condition usually sell between $1000 and $1500 or so. Add on good lens (say a 450 Nikkor-M or a 355mm G-Claron) and two used film holders (if you can find them) and you are easily at $2500. Not for the weak of wallet, but certainly cheaper than a new one.

I purchased mine from Photogizzmo in NY, and suppose that other than eBay the best route to finding one would be to slowly and methodologically call or email as many stores as you can. Now and then I see them listed on the various forum for-sale lists (photonet, APUG, as well as Michael and Paula's).

David Flockhart
27-Jun-2005, 23:58
If you are interested in a monorail 11x14 I have a Cambo with both regular and bag bellows for sale. $2200.00. It also has an 8x10 back included.

David A. Goldfarb
28-Jun-2005, 07:21
If you're willing to get an older camera that might need some work, there are 11x14" cameras to be had for under $1000. It's the filmholders that will get you, even if you find an "affordable" camera.

I paid around $550 for my 1890's American Optical 11x14" camera--a wooden flatbed with geared rear swing, front rise/fall and tilt, reversible back and geared focusing. I'm going to replace the bellows, which will be a few hundred dollars. I had to make a minor adjustment to the back and I'll repair some bed cracks, which cost me my own time. I bought two S&S holders new (you can check Quality Camera for the current price), and two Hoffman holders for about $150 each.

Joe Smigiel
28-Jun-2005, 19:54
I too have an 11x14 Burke and James that I acquired used for about $1700 IIRC off eBay after searching for about 16 months. Your best bet if interested in a B&J is to keep in touch with Midwest Photo as they do get them in periodically and sell them between $1500-$1700. I thought they had one in stock as recently as last month. MPEX is also a good source for used holders.

Also check the classifieds and dealer ads in View Camera magazine.

Very recently Camera West had an 11x14 deGolden Busch for sale around the $2000 mark IIRC. I don't think it sold.

I also have an 11x14 Rochester View for which I paid under $900 a few years ago. It is a very light camera compared to other 11x14s, but has limited bellows extension of around 15"-16" maximum. Lensboards needed are 5 3/4" square. This limits you to small, wide-angle lens designs (my 210mm Angulon barely covers the format) under 360mm at infinity, and to pretty much wide landscape application. Still, some would find this an ideal 11x14 camera because of its portability and low weight. I don't need it any longer since acquiring the 11x14 B&J so I would consider selling it for near what I paid for it. It does need a minor repair and it has a few cosmetic blemishes. Email me offlist if interested.

29-Jun-2005, 10:48
I second David's advice regarding the cost of film holders. New 11x14 holders are four times as expensive as new 8x10 holders. Used ones are difficult to find and usually not much of a bargain. More than once I've seen used 11x14 holders on Ebay go for as much as new ones - or more. If affordability is important, as you suggest, then holders may be a deal killer, unless you can get by with one or two.

I remember well John Layton's "nesting box" 11x14. In fact, I still even have a negative made with it! As he said, it was "basic". But it worked! Thanks, John, for getting me into this mess! :-)

Mark Sawyer
29-Jun-2005, 16:56
I have two construction projects this summer- building a small shop building in the backyard and building a 20x24 camera. In my trips out to buy materials and hardware for both, it often runs through my mind that while we talk of cameras as "tools," we insist on craftsmanship and fine materials that go far, far beyond that. Construction and materials close to what goes into a building would generally suffice for practical use.

The 20x24 bellows was framed out in maple when I got it, so I feel committed to that material for this project. But I'm watching for an 11x14 or panorama bellows for a possible future project. I'd like to build a camera using clear 3/4" redwood and construction-clip style hardware just to see how simple a design could be useful.

The possible panorama, btw, would be 9.5"x???" (18" to 24") to accept the Kodak aerographic roll film cut down to sheets. Even the thickest base available (3.9 mil?) might be too thin to be comfortably workable, though. Otherwise, I'm surprised I haven't heard of anyone making a camera, espescially a panoramic camera, just for that film.