View Full Version : Anyone had a chance to shoot with the new Deardorf

Robert Skeoch
2-Nov-2005, 08:35
Has anyone had a chance to shoot with the new Deardorff's that Midwest is selling. These camera's are made by Jack Deardorff. I think they come in 4x5/5x7 and something larger.
-Rob Skeoch

2-Nov-2005, 15:26
Rob, I've been wanting to see one of the new Deardorfs. I will be making a trip to Midwest when Jim takes delivery on a new 11x14 here in the near future, just to check it out.

2-Nov-2005, 21:27

My understanding is that Jack is building the cameras to the same specs as the original models (with only a few minor changes.) I just purchased a 4x5/5x7 version built in the 60's.

It's a beautifully made camera and very stable.

You can give Jack a call and he'll send you a copy of the Deardorff catalog.

What model are you contemplating on buying?


Robert Skeoch
3-Nov-2005, 06:09
Yes I have the catalog and have seen the 5x7/4x5 at the Springfield show.... I just wondered if anyone was using one.

Jim Rhoades
3-Nov-2005, 07:23
Rob; I have #3 that I bought from Midwest. If you like Deardorff's and the way they handle you will feel right at home. I have two issues with my camera. When I bought it I found that using the first inch or so of the rear extention was very stiff. I called Jack and he said it was normal and it should loosen up. It has not and I'm inclined to send it in because of that. I have a 8x10 that's smooth as silk so I know what a 'Dorff should feel like. The other problem I found when I got the 5x7 back. With a normal lens (210-240) the bellows vignettes the view from a deep fold at the fourth pleat. This can be corrected by pulling the bellows forward, toward the lens board. So far I have not ruined a photo but it's just a matter of time. I believe that I just got a bad bellows so if I send the camera back to Jack I'll report on repair quality and turnaround time.

The up side is that the 'Dorff is 9 oz. more that my Zone VI and only 1 inch taller. Because of the knobs it's the same width and depth. For the little extra size I have a 5x7 that I use mostly for Pt/Pd and a very capable 4x5. I now wish I had a 5x7 enlarger. The other up side is that the Deardorff is just so instinctive to use.

3-Nov-2005, 07:31
Jim, Did Jack put any bellows tabs on your model?

Jim Rhoades
3-Nov-2005, 09:15
Robert; No, no bellows tab but that's not the problem. It's a bit weird I think. At the fourth pleat the folds are extra deep, the right, left and bottom side in particular. This causes a vignette with the 5x7. The bellows are folded in a standard taper. I can use my 90mm with good movements. It would probably allow a 80mm lens with just rise and fall from the sliding board. This is pretty good for a 22" bellows on a 5x7. Keep in mind that my 90mm is my least used lens and I am not all that big on architecture type movements. YMMV.

This fold is maybe a quarter of an inch too deep. I never even noticed it until I got the 5x7 back a few months later. It can be worked around but sooner or later I will be shooting in very low light and forget.

BTW reguarding my first post. Now that it's the heating season here in the NE the rear extention is a bit easier to move. Still not up to my V-8 though.

For me it's how much am I annoyed with the bellows and tightness vs. sending it in. Not enough yet I guess. I love using this camera.

Barry Young
9-Dec-2005, 21:35
Where can I find information on the new Deardorff cameras? I cannot find anything at Midwest except lens boards.

Thank you
Barry Young

10-Dec-2005, 02:22
Barry, I've spoken with Jack and I have one of his new catalogs. If I can find some time this weekend I will scan it and send it to you if you like.