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View Full Version : Chamonix and Ebony's are gorgeous & Old Kodak 2D's are UGLY but they have their place



Jim Galli
31-Mar-2020, 09:16
Two different mind sets. All of us want to make pictures. But there are some guys who want to exhibit a little style also. This is just my experience.

Doctors, Lawyers and Indian Chief's have a natural affinity towards Ebony's and Chamonix and other NEW gorgeous equipment. Very understandable. I get that. Let me share just a bit how I landed where I've been for the last 15 years.

I started out with 8X10 with a Deardorff. I couldn't afford an Ebony and Chamonix wasn't yet on the market, and a low mileage Deardorff is a lovely machine. Easy to use and a great overall experience.

But then the fascination with Soft Focus and all the ilk of antique lenses that make that happen came and the Deardorff is pretty useless.

My idea and it has proved itself over and over was to build a system that was a singular tool for all of the soft focus lenses. An ugly old Kodak 2D with a Packard shutter living inside the camera behind the bulkhead and in front of the first bellow fold. Ugly. Very ugly.


http://tonopahpictures.0catch.com/2DPackard_1.jpg

http://tonopahpictures.0catch.com/2DPackard_2.jpg

Impresses no one. But I've had so much fun with that contraption I eventually let the Deardorff go. Ultimately you can achieve most of the same movements with the limits of a 2D, it just isn't handy and it takes a bit longer.

95% of you are shrugging and saying, so what. Here's my point. Add it up laddies. That whole system of old used ugly junk cost me less than one of the big Copal shutter units alone.

So my question is anathema to many of you who pride yourselves on having sleek limited systems with zero overlap. My question is if people want to experiment with some of the soft focus lenses, why not have one of these as a dedicated tool in your tool chest. Keep the Cham or the Ebony, but build up one of these old terds to do the other work. Total cost is well under $1K

Soft focus is a dangerous thing. One lens and one resulting personality on film just makes you curious to see what something else will do. The darn things begin to accumulate. Having an old 2D as a dedicated tool for that kind of work makes sense to me. I'd far rather impress you with the pictures than the machine that made them.

If I've convinced anyone, make sure you get one that is complete. Tripod block and extension table and not too beat up. It needs to minimally function. Also, over time I've tried them all. Agfa's, Greem Monster Calumet's, Korona's et al. The Kodak works the best. The Packard that fits perfect inside is a 6 1/2" with 3 1/2" opening. No. 6 Instantaneous.

Two23
31-Mar-2020, 12:04
I have both a Chamonix 045n and a Kodak 2D 8x10. Both are in good shape and I really like both. Also have a 5x7 Gundlach Korona that's beaurtiful. I use them for different things of course. I wouldn't called my refurbished 2D ugly by any means.:D I'd love to have an Ebony, but I'm strictly an outdoor photographer and would be afraid of it eventually getting damaged.


Kent in SD

jp
31-Mar-2020, 12:09
I don't consider a 2D ugly...

For 8x10 I have a B&J Rembrandt (fixed front standard) and a B&J field camera. Not pretty compared to a Deardorff but they work and don't have light leaks.

Roger Thoms
31-Mar-2020, 12:20
Nice write-up Jim. I take it the Packard will come out pretty easily, what, 4 screws and discount the hose. Only reason Iím wondering is that one of my barrel lenses is 4Ē in diameter and I use it with a front mounted Packard. Just not sure how practical it would be to take the Packard out every time I want to shoot the big lens. This is on a Eastman 2D 8x10 which is my first and only 8x10. I do occasionally lust after a Chamonix, just not enough to replace the 2D. :)

Roger

LabRat
31-Mar-2020, 12:29
What would you rather wear on a daily basis??? A tux or expensive suit that looks great, or old comfortable clothes you don't mind getting a little dirty if you have to and you can get away with wearing anywhere??? Gear is also like that...

If it "covers" your needs, it is good... (Make sure to define wants and needs carefully...) Leave "cool" to the hipsters...

Used correctly, you can produce extremely good work with any working gear...

Have fun!!!

Steve K

C. D. Keth
31-Mar-2020, 12:44
The reality here is that a camera really only does two things: 1. they hold a lens and a sensory material in some sort of relationship; and 2. they keep a little piece of dark space. If your camera does those two things to your satisfaction then the rest really doesn't matter.

Drew Wiley
31-Mar-2020, 12:48
I love the precise machining of the Ebony, and its superior quality titanium hardware. And I'm not a doctor, lawyer, or Indian chief. I am an outdoor photographer, and the Ebony holds up remarkably well in the elements with a bit of TLC. I didn't even pay that much for it, prior to today's cult camera prices. But if I was trying to set up a used camera shop in an abandoned Nevada mine shaft, well, something more antique looking would be appropriate. Printed five central Nevada shots just the past few days, one of a black wild mustang out past Tonopah silhouetted against a sky full of thunderheads. But that was taken with a Sinar for sake of a very long lens extension - definitely NOT a quaint ole wooden camera. Those horses can be very skittish and long lenses certainly help.

Corran
31-Mar-2020, 12:49
Well my Chamonix 45n1 (bought second-hand, but was basically new when I bought it) looks like garbage now after banging around for 100s of miles in my bag, over my shoulder, and in the field.

Most important is to use the tool(s).

Drew Wiley
31-Mar-2020, 12:58
Tools work best when they're properly tuned up, or in this case, kept sealed from moisture. After each long trip, I not only clean my Ebony but retouch any scuffs on the wood. For sake of lighter weight, mine is a pattern-grade mahogany version rather than actual ebony wood, which is much harder but split-prone if not kept properly sealed. It still looks great. The machined titanium hardware holds up way better than brass or anodized aluminum, but is also one of the things which makes Ebony relatively expensive. I've used it quite a bit for long trips in the mountains, but not to the degree of my previous Sinar F cameras, which periodically needed replacement components. Now for monorail usage, I've switched to the older stronger Sinar Norma series. But I'm not out ice climbing with these anymore, or deliberately going into high-altitude blizzards. If they do come, I hunker down in a tent and wait them out. Getting old and lazy.

Vaughn
31-Mar-2020, 13:28
Well my Chamonix 45n1 (bought second-hand, but was basically new when I bought it) looks like garbage now after banging around for 100s of miles in my bag, over my shoulder, and in the field.

Most important is to use the tool(s).

I bought my Zone VI 8x10 in 1995 or so...also bought used and in beautiful condition. Twenty-five years of rough-riding, such as the times the wind shifted Bridalvail Fall straight down onto me and the 8x10 (fortunately in February, so not a lot of water), baking in the 100+F sun in Death Valley, or hanging out in the cold humidity of the redwood coast. Pretty amazing equipment...deserves more attention than I give it.

My 5x7, an Eastman View No.2 is a sweet machine. I do not have the rear extension for it, but have not missed it yet...longest lens is 210mm:

William Whitaker
31-Mar-2020, 13:41
Thanks for sharing your insights Jim.

Mine is an Agfa 8x10, an earlier one that uses the 7 1/2" lens boards. Amazingly, it still has a beautiful finish. These cameras, like the 2D, are workhorses and not meant to be beautiful (even though in my mind, they are). Consider that I sold off my 8x10 Gandolfi and my 8x10 Sinar Norma and kept the Agfa because of its utility with large lenses. I would have kept them all if I could, of course. But it just wasn't possible. In the end, its utility as a photograph-making tool is why I have it. And the Agfa does just about everything the others did. And it gives me the satisfaction of working with vintage equipment.
YMMV.

ic-racer
31-Mar-2020, 13:43
I think my old Century looks pretty nice compared to the new cameras out there.
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Tin Can
31-Mar-2020, 13:47
I bought a new 11X14 Chamonix but sold a few years later as it WAS WAY too nice for me

A member bought and I see he has sold it, so it goes

I prefer much older gear ao I can fiddle about

and shine them

Just like motorcycles 'making it better' then moving on

Variation and change is my lot

It all costs the same and way cheaper than my 2 big mistakes

Drew Wiley
31-Mar-2020, 15:11
Well, everybody called the Phillips 8x10 ugly and under-featured when it first came out, and look what they cost now! - way, way more than what I paid for mine, and it's still works perfectly, and looks nearly the same too.

Roger Thoms
31-Mar-2020, 15:29
Of course the real question is what size Packard shutter can you fit inside the bellows and attach to the front standard.

Roger

Drew Wiley
31-Mar-2020, 15:38
I suppose a Packard is not much larger than an Oldsmobile. Either will fit inside a train tunnel.

Monty McCutchen
31-Mar-2020, 18:43
20 x 24 Ebony. Schneider 550 Fine Art Lens. Makes as good a picture as the photographer behind it. Itís all discretionary funds for the overwhelming majority of us on this site as very few of us make our living with our cameras/photography. And like most things in life thereís a wide range of what constitutes discretionary. Iím not a doctor or lawyer, but Iím always perplexed by how they get slighted for working hard and spending their money how they see fitólike they are somehow skipping steps and buying their way into great photographs. Often quoted is how you can make wonderful photographs with lesser expensive cameras/equipment. So very true. As is the inverseóbad photography can come from a wide array of gear including the beloved ugly beater. The photograph of the moment is informed by the successful and unsuccessful efforts of the past, much more so than the equipment, and as such Iíve seen lots of bad photography come out of expensive and inexpensive equipment. Some of it mine. The issue is how do you want to spend not only your discretionary money, but how do you want to spend your discretionary time. Some like the fiddling, the restoring, the building, the gear, the precision, the ease of a well made tool. None of its right or wrong as most of us are whistling Dixie and leaving boxes of prints to go through and making our kids draw the short straw to see who has to do it! The magic is under the hood looking at the ground glass and in the darkroom when the print arises from nowhere seemingly. How you get there is as varied and valid as there are ways to frame the vision. Part and parcel. Make photographs and hope at the end of it all the photographic gods dripped a few drops of ambrosia on a couple dozen of them that rise up from the mundane to grace.

We should all be so lucky to love and enjoy the process on all the hundreds or thousands that donít do that. The time in the field. The time with friends. The hope it engendered that this is the one that the light will shine on my minds eye just so.... That would be a gift worth spending money and time on.


Monty

Mark Sawyer
31-Mar-2020, 19:04
My first 8x10 (back in 1977?) was a 2D, and I still have it and use it! But over the decades, I've stumbled into a few more, and they all have their place. It's a great basic camera for people who haven't done large format before; everything is simple and obvious in how it works. And for doing wet plate in the field, it's sturdy and light, looks the part, and does the job.

But for those often-oversized soft focus lenses in the studio, there's nothing like an old studio 8x10 on a studio stand. :)

Jody_S
31-Mar-2020, 19:43
I agree, I'm not going to spend my money on cameras when there's so many beautiful lenses out there calling my name. Started out with a Deardorff 8x10, sold it, got an 1888 field camera that was a joy to use but had tiny lensboards, then tried a 2D but didn't have the extension, sold that for a Korona that I made an extension for but lensboards were still too small, finally got a Burke & James with the extension that takes the same lensboards as the 2D. Now I'm happy. Looks never entered into the calculation at any point, though I am still fond of the camera I've used the most, the ultralight mahogany Rochester Universal.

I lucked out on 4x5, the 2nd camera I ever bought was the B&J with extension, and the 6" lensboards. Now have 2. I got a Zone VI last year, mounted a couple of lenses, it's just too pretty for me. It will be listed for sale soon, if I ever figure out where I put my B&J. And I have an Anniversary Speed for those few times I need the focal plane shutter. Also have a big-ass 8x10 studio camera and stand for when I want to impress the guests, but that's on hold for a few months I guess. And a falling plate 4x5 box camera, now that I think of it, and 3 or 4 5x7s. I may have too many cameras.

Jim Noel
31-Mar-2020, 20:42
I wish I had never sold my Universal. One of the really great cameras

McSnood
1-Apr-2020, 12:37
Just joined after seeing this thread. I never buy a new car and I use cameras that are 30 years old. I prefer to put the money into the lens. I'm with most, don't need a to spend 4k on a camera without a lens. Bought my 2D with a 12" 8x10 radar in a betax 5 for $125.00. Tore it apart rebuilt it and made it my own. I've upgraded the lens and yes I'm keeping the Gundlach. Hope the pic attachment works.
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Kiwi7475
1-Apr-2020, 13:32
Just joined after seeing this thread. I never buy a new car and I use cameras that are 30 years old. I prefer to put the money into the lens. I'm with most, don't need a to spend 4k on a camera without a lens. Bought my 2D with a 12" 8x10 radar in a betax 5 for $125.00. Tore it apart rebuilt it and made it my own. I've upgraded the lens and yes I'm keeping the Gundlach. Hope the pic attachment works.
202147

Amazing bellows!!!!

Mark Sampson
1-Apr-2020, 15:22
A 2D was good enough for Alfred Stieglitz. That's good enough for me.

Bob Salomon
1-Apr-2020, 15:43
A 2D was good enough for Alfred Stieglitz. That's good enough for me.

He didnít have near as many choices as you do.

Drew Wiley
1-Apr-2020, 16:10
He probably didn't have a lot of money to spare either. But, by golly, if a flintlock was good 'nuff for Daniel Boone ...

Bob Salomon
1-Apr-2020, 16:44
He probably didn't have a lot of money to spare either. But, by golly, if a flintlock was good 'nuff for Daniel Boone ...

Probably because blunderblusses were scarce and matchlocks were dangerous to the shooter.

McSnood
1-Apr-2020, 16:53
I know I am new to the forum and do not want to ruffle feathers but I have never been impressed by expensive equipment. Seen too many people think expensive equipment intrinsically makes them better, and most times that was not the case. Is the camera a tool for your eye to use? or Is your eye a tool for the camera to use? Too deep? roast one up and think about it.

Thanks Kiwi for the comment. I probably get equal stares and comments as someone using a Chamonix and all for $125.00. I still have to prove myself and that is the only thing I really know.

darr
1-Apr-2020, 17:22
I have always said a camera is a tool for communication and it should not get in the way. Can I make the same photo with my Linhof 3000 as with my Canon AE-1? No. It would be different due to all the math involved in the components, but neither camera gets in my way. Simply put, my eye and my camera become one without playing semantics.

Mark Sampson
1-Apr-2020, 17:50
Bob, Drew, it's universally understood that Alfred Stieglitz was a better photographer than I'll ever be. He used an Eastman 2-D with a 12" Goerz Dagor for many pictures; my point being that that is still a good working combo. I have some personal and professional experience with a few different 8x10s... including a battered and ugly 2-D. Were I to go back to 8x10, that camera wouldn't be my first choice- but it would likely do the job.
As far as analogies to flintlocks, matchlocks, and blunderbusses, I'll refer you to my friends and colleagues shooting wet-plate, tintypes, calotype, and other hand-made processes....

McSnood
1-Apr-2020, 17:53
Dar, Well that didn't take long for someone to call me on my BS. It was meant to be trick questions. The answers for each are moot and your position is as close to an answer why we do this. Thank you. I think I'll like it here. Other forums the people seem to be all about them. But I will stand behind my comment that expensive equipment doesn't make you a better photographer.

Corran
1-Apr-2020, 17:57
But I will stand behind my comment that expensive equipment doesn't make you a better photographer.

I don't think anyone here thinks that at all.

Obviously tools can only do what they were designed to do, and sometimes we choose different tools to do different things. And sometimes those tools are expensive. As an example, it is physically impossible to make the same exact print from a 35mm negative as from a 4x5 negative - the aesthetic of the image will be different due to the different enlargement ratios. Whether or not that is a significant issue is another rabbit hole.

Michael Kadillak
1-Apr-2020, 20:02
I am in complete agreement with Monty and Bob. A camera is a tool and experience has taught me that the features of the camera that lend themselves to allowing me to make the images I choose as efficiently and effectively as possible are what I spend my money on. That does not mean that I could not make similar images with far less expensive cameras. It is a "consumer" choice. I elect to monetize my investment in exposing sheet film in a manner that lends itself to the platforms and optics that I can rely upon when called upon. And invariably that means I photograph with modern designed and manufactured large format cameras and multi coated optics. The same is true with the film I choose to expose. It is not the cheapest - it is what I know will perform as intended. Others may choose a different course of action and that is their personal choice.

Vaughn
1-Apr-2020, 20:45
...But I will stand behind my comment that expensive equipment doesn't make you a better photographer.
True, but with few exceptions and stupidity aside, one tends to get what one pays for in photography. The 4x5 I used for years ($220 new in '82) as my only LF camera would drive some people nuts...lent it to a friend who quickly returned it. Some people can't handle the lack of indents and zeroing marks, lol, but it had the one quality I valued...versatility and packability at 2.5 pounds w/ lens. But the geared (limited) movements on the 5x7 Eastman View No.2 are pretty sweet!

Clichť, but cameras are tool. As we use our tools to create images, the tools are influencing how we make our images.

Bernice Loui
2-Apr-2020, 11:07
View camera is essentially a light tight box that is flexi in the middle with a method of holding a image recording device (film, digital imager or _) at one end, lens support holder at the other end with flexi supports at the ends that can be adjusted then stable.

That said, not much into style or appearance, it's all functionality and meeting the needs of the lenses required to produce the print image goals. There is nothing romantic or vintage appealing to me about any camera, it MUST do its job with precision, no real limitations on lenses to be used, reliable, durable and be essentially transparent as a image making tool.

Having been and done the wood folder thing, then the metal folder thing.. these don't do what a Sinar system can do, except not all images makers need what the Sinar system is fully capable of..

Essentially, any view camera, any lens and all related is mere tools to achieve the print image goal. Once any experiences image maker is up to speed on using a view camera, the camera essentially become mostly the same, choice becomes a preference much like paint brushes, musical instruments and such. Other factor, what would an experienced image maker willing to tolerate in their Camera, Lens, Film holders, Film, Loupe, Dark Cloth, Tripod-camera support, Light meter, Cable release and....


Bernice

Drew Wiley
2-Apr-2020, 11:45
I like precision. Even my most basic folder, a Phillips 8x10, is made of a wood/fiberglass composite pickled with marine epoxy, making it very warp-resistant. Even the softer cherrywood parts are epoxy impregnated. Any my little Ebony is made of true pattern-grade mahogany that was cured for 20 years or more. That is a special cut of highly dimensionally-stable mahogany unobtainable new anymore; and even if you could acquire it, it would still have to be cured for many years. And there are significant distinctions in metals too. True die-cast components are very expensive to make. Even diecast and machined brass is a very different alloy from cheap cast brass. Yes, I use Sinar monorail gear too, and love it.

Bertha DeCool
2-Apr-2020, 14:47
My late teacher's daughter bequeathed me HIS late teacher's 5x7 2D a few months back, along with 3 lenses including a 36cm Nicola Perscheid.
It meets two important requirements; it holds a lens in place and it allows light to be transmitted thru that lens to a sheet of film. Also, the price can't be beat.
Is it ugly? Nah, it has a well-worn patina. Would I like a nicer/fancier/more elaborate 5x7? Sure, but this is the one I have. Plus, it has a legacy.

Her name was Gerda Peterich. She was on the 2nd to last boat that got out of Nazi Germany to the US. She taught and she also did a lot of work for Dance Magazine, including these two shots of Merce Cunningham.
I also had her Graphic View 4x5 which I have given to a friend's young daughter who has started her own business, has some serious skills at portraiture and has expressed an interest in learning to shoot film.
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Ari
2-Apr-2020, 14:57
I'm not a moneybags, or (I hope) an unwise shopper, but I won't hesitate to drop cash on a piece of equipment that will help me work better, smoother, more efficiently, with less frustration and guesswork.
This often means spending more, though it's easy to get fooled into thinking it's for the luxury aspect or something similar.
I want as much "plug and play" as possible, this in turn frees up my brain and allows me concentrate on what I have to do.
The gear that doesn't get in the way, and makes you forget it's even there, usually comes at a premium; if there's better DIY solution, that costs pennies n the dollar, I'm all for that, too.

C. D. Keth
2-Apr-2020, 15:13
I'm not a moneybags, or (I hope) an unwise shopper, but I won't hesitate to drop cash on a piece of equipment that will help me work better, smoother, more efficiently, with less frustration and guesswork.
This often means spending more, though it's easy to get fooled into thinking it's for the luxury aspect or something similar.
I want as much "plug and play" as possible, this in turn frees up my brain and allows me concentrate on what I have to do.
The gear that doesn't get in the way, and makes you forget it's even there, usually comes at a premium; if there's better DIY solution, that costs pennies n the dollar, I'm all for that, too.

I can find myself admiring attractive equipment or nice workmanship when I don't really need those objects. I've started making myself do two things before buying any piece of equipment. I make myself record three specific instances of wishing I had it in a three month period. If I'm not going to use it more than that it's not worth having. Once I've done that and established to myself that I "need" it, I make myself wait a month. That takes impulse and the "new toy" factor out of the transaction.

John Layton
2-Apr-2020, 15:36
Can you guess which one of these I'm using most these days?

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Drew Wiley
2-Apr-2020, 15:43
Using for what? - campfire kindling or photography? Do you sign all your cameras?

Ari
2-Apr-2020, 15:48
I can find myself admiring attractive equipment or nice workmanship when I don't really need those objects. I've started making myself do two things before buying any piece of equipment. I make myself record three specific instances of wishing I had it in a three month period. If I'm not going to use it more than that it's not worth having. Once I've done that and established to myself that I "need" it, I make myself wait a month. That takes impulse and the "new toy" factor out of the transaction.

Chris, I do the same, but it's often much longer for me. I sometimes forget about it altogether until one day I remember and start the process over again.

While I admire good-looking and/or high-quality gear, it has to fit into how I like to work and not annoy me.
All due respect to the venerable 2D, but it failed on both counts. Then again, so did the expensive Gibellini.
Best 8x10 I owned was the Toyo 810M, but now I need it at half its weight.

John Layton
2-Apr-2020, 16:29
Drew...the one on the left is patented - so has a logo.

The one on the right is what I use most these days.

And I like your "camera as kindling" idea...maybe use the lens to start the fire? Who knows...this could save my life someday!

Drew Wiley
2-Apr-2020, 17:05
You could eat the bellows if trapped in the snow. I'm borrowing that from what my nephew's sherpas told him when he was about to enter a completely unexplored section of the Karakoram Range on the Chinese side, behind K2 etc. The sherpas had been flown in from Nepal, then the expedition traveled about 200 miles on camels before heading up the glaciers. At a certain point, after crossing a difficult divide, the sherpas refused to go any further. They said it resembled a valley in Nepal where climbers got stranded and ended up eating their boots.

John Layton
2-Apr-2020, 17:43
Yeah...but that bellows would need to be the classic leather (as in an original 2D?) Nylon sounds a bit too crunchy for my taste!

Bernice Loui
2-Apr-2020, 17:46
When it comes to getting the best out of a long focal lens used at full aperture (480mm f4.5) in barrel, this can be a serious challenge for any wood folder camera due to:

Lack of precise and absolute precision alignment between front to rear standards, camera stability, precision of focusing movements, on camera shutter with precise, accurate and consistent shutter speeds, cycle after cycle.

If you doing 8x10 with a 12" or 14" lens stopped down to f45 or smaller or using a Sorta-Focus lens, any reasonable wood folder should be easily good enough.

Really comes down to the print image goals again.

BTW, done the wood folder thing. Just not for me. IMO, best 8x10 folder would be a Toyo 810M with a Sinar front frame instead of the Toyo. This allows using the Sinar shutter with zero issues and Sinar lens boards and other Sinar front accessories. The overall stability, precision, and feel of the Toyo 810M is good, better than any wood 8x10 folder I've used to date.


Bernice

John Layton
2-Apr-2020, 17:51
Thinking further about the camera as kindling idea...why not make the wooden camera into a survival camp cooker? First, remove the lens. Next, insert raw food (something wild and meaty) into the opening. Then reinstall the lens, and focus at infinity (accounting for depth of food of course). Place camera on ground...pointing at sun. Set shutter to "T" (or just use your hat if your name is Jim Galli) and leave open until food is cooked...should work!

dodphotography
2-Apr-2020, 22:27
At the end of the day itís a light tight box intended to make pictures. I laugh (and cry) at myself all the time for some interesting decisions, unfortunate scenarios, destructive friendships, impulsive moves, etc that have essentially allowed me to either borrow, rent, purchase, or trade cameras.

Iíve owned them all... from a 275 dollar BJ 810 to an Ebony SV810 and everything in between. I think if I compiled a list, it would make users here vomit.

However, the pictures matter and the rest is just unnecessary. The only thing that ever left me sleep peacefully at night is that despite changing cameras like theyíre underwear Iíve never had either a colleague, a curator, a critic, a friend, a gallerist, a whatever comment on any kind of inconsistency etc that could have possibly come about by a change in a camera. Point being, if you buy stuff that works then it works... locking down is locking down no matter if itís X, Y, Z.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Vaughn
2-Apr-2020, 22:40
...If you doing 8x10 with a 12" or 14" lens stopped down to f45 or smaller or using a Sorta-Focus lens, any reasonable wood folder should be easily good enough... Bernice

Worth the whole thread (bold)!

John Layton
3-Apr-2020, 05:48
...and if the sun is hiding, you could remove lens elements and use them to make really sharp spear points (hey...six chances to get it right with a plasmat!), and assuming that your hunt is successful, you can then point the rest of the camera up as before...extending the bellows to make a nice chimney! Maybe rub the two front standard uprights together to get a fire going!

OK...I'll Stop Now!! (time to move on to the musical, camera bellows/accordian attachment!)

Now...back on earth...need to put on mask and gloves to navigate the local grocery store gauntlet - which is nothing compared to what my dear wife faces, every day as a Nurse Practitioner, doing test after test. She's my hero!

Bernice Loui
3-Apr-2020, 08:27
That came from a Foto friend from decades ago with my first "exposure" to Soft Focus lenses on 8x10. They were quite magical, totally undesirable back then with a market value of nil.

Countless piles of Kodak Portrait Ektars in Ilex# 5 were gutted for their Ilex# 5 shutter and the glass inserted into the garbage can. Numerous other now desirable soft focus lenses were easily available for well under $100.

That was a time and era when GOOD monorail camera were gold, modern lenses were available new with good used ones not much less than new ones. Color transparency film plenty as was high quality E6 processing and more..

Wooden and metal folders were not desirable and low cost.

How the entire world and market of LF has changed since then.


Bernice




Worth the whole thread (bold)! a Sorta-Focus lens

esearing
4-Apr-2020, 03:02
But Jim Galli, when you wanted a custom 5x14 format camera where did you go? I've hunted (and begged) for a 5x12 camera for 3 years and finally Chamonix is making one for Steve Sherman, and so I am getting one too. Not because of the name or how pretty it is, but because it fills a need for me and is within my discretionary income to own. I have had the opportunity to buy a few 8x10 and 11x14 oldies in the past but none of them "spoke" to me even if bargains. Maybe it is the working with old cameras and odd lenses that inspires you. For me its about the journey and place.

John Layton
4-Apr-2020, 06:32
I think that the synergy goes three ways...what the photographer brings to the place, what the place brings to the photographer, and how effectively the particular medium of choice (the camera in this case) can allow a meaningful congruence between the first two elements to actually happen.

True...that a camera is "just a box," and yet it is the very design and features made available by a given camera and the specific characters of lenses chosen accessories which can indeed influence the dialogue between photographer and subject, and which can and does directly affect the results...and so becomes an integral part of a photographers evolving vision. Nothing wrong with this and in fact pretty powerful stuff...but just saying!

dodphotography
4-Apr-2020, 06:35
I think that the synergy goes three ways...what the photographer brings to the place, what the place brings to the photographer, and how effectively the particular medium of choice (the camera in this case) can allow a meaningful congruence between the first two elements to actually happen.

True...that a camera is "just a box," and yet it is the very design and features made available by a given camera and the specific characters of lenses chosen accessories which can indeed influence the dialogue between photographer and subject, and which can and does directly affect the results...and so becomes an integral part of a photographers evolving vision. Nothing wrong with this and in fact pretty powerful stuff...but just saying!

The best work made using our medium, given its ability to render shape and light, makes the camera melt into the background.

Look at the Lf work of Robert Adams, Nixon, Shore, Meyerowitz, Sternfeld, etc and I canít imagine anyone ever saying ďgeez, Iím sure glad they had ample swing on that cameraĒ.

Vs the thousands of still life pictures no one cares about that used studio monorail with every possible movement applied. I think thatís where the analytical side of this medium, specifically large format, loses steam when people care more about the density of the negative and developer used than they do content.


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John Layton
4-Apr-2020, 07:14
Yes, exactly...it is when a camera becomes completely functional and intuitive in concert with how I am responding/projecting/receiving to and from a given subject, that the camera ceases to exist in three dimensions and becomes a "window" allowing for a sense of symmetry and congruence between myself and what I am photographing.

Not overly analytical at all...but simply being "in the zone." Make sense?

dodphotography
4-Apr-2020, 07:26
Yes, exactly...it is when a camera becomes completely functional and intuitive in concert with how I am responding/projecting/receiving to and from a given subject, that the camera ceases to exist in three dimensions and becomes a "window" allowing for a sense of symmetry and congruence between myself and what I am photographing.

Not overly analytical at all...but simply being "in the zone." Make sense?

Completely... Itís a difficult and tight line to walk


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Chauncey Walden
4-Apr-2020, 09:19
My first "8x10" was a 7x11 2D. I added a vertical stop at the far end for 8x10 holders and trimmed 1/4 inch off the long sides of the wooden holders to fit the cameras groove width. Worked great with a triple convertible B&L "Protar". Then came a real 8x10 Korona which became surplus when a Century Universal came along. It even made the trip to Tonopah once;-) In retrospect I wish I had kept the 2D around as I think 7x11 would be a very nice format.

Vaughn
4-Apr-2020, 10:33
But Jim Galli, when you wanted a custom 5x14 format camera where did you go?

I got one! Took the below image last April in Zion, and I have some exposed film waiting to be developed from the redwoods and Yosemite. I cheated, though -- using a 11x14 Chamonix and a modified darkslide to get two 5.5x14s on a sheet of 11x14.

Well, the modified darkslide is custom....

John Layton
4-Apr-2020, 10:54
Vaughn I've been thinking about modifying an 11x14 dark slide for just this purpose...and I have a couple of questions: One, do you have any problems with "bleed over" of light from the image adjacent to the film area not being exposed (especially in flare-prone setups)...and have you needed to narrow the useable image area because of this? And two...can I assume that you are using at or close to maximum front rise for the bottom image, and maximum fall for the top image (and possible additional rear fall and rise) to compensate for "off axis" issues? And if so...how is this working out for you? Thanks!

Drew Wiley
4-Apr-2020, 12:21
Dod - yeah, look at the work of some of those same guys enlarged over 2X and that "good 'nuf fer them" mantra starts falling apart pretty fast. Ever try laying a hardwood floor starting with warped or bent or twisted pieces?

dodphotography
4-Apr-2020, 12:22
Dod - yeah, look at the work of those same guys enlarged over 2X and that "good 'nuf fer them" mantra starts falling apart pretty fast.

And yet what will the canon of photography remember and study?


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Drew Wiley
4-Apr-2020, 12:37
People were simply making do with the equipment they could afford at the time and sometimes a limited technical skill set which pro labs went through hell to iron out. I've seen quite a bit of early work by some of the above, and the ratio of bellyflops to "remembered images" was staggeringly high. Given the combination of a "starving artist" and the high cost of 8x10 color film and printing even back then, more precise technique would have been a distinct advantage. Some improved, some didn't. Certain big names of the 70's are mothballed now. That canon of photography you talk about can be rather brittle.

Vaughn
4-Apr-2020, 13:02
Vaughn I've been thinking about modifying an 11x14 dark slide for just this purpose...and I have a couple of questions: One, do you have any problems with "bleed over" of light from the image adjacent to the film area not being exposed (especially in flare-prone setups)...and have you needed to narrow the useable image area because of this? And two...can I assume that you are using at or close to maximum front rise for the bottom image, and maximum fall for the top image (and possible additional rear fall and rise) to compensate for "off axis" issues? And if so...how is this working out for you? Thanks!

It was a jump from 8x10 to 11x14. One trick I learned was that one should only expose the top half of the film (then rotate camera back 180 degrees to shoot the other half). If one tries to expose the bottom half, the modified darkslide is off-balance and wants to slip down a little inside the holder causing non-parallel sides on the image. Exposing the top half keeps the long part of the "L" of the modified darkslide along the bottom of the holder -- nice and snug. This can happen with 4x10, but less.

I rotate the camera back 180 degrees for the second horizontal 5.5x14 and this allows me to keep the lens fully raised and in the same position for both horizontal images. Nice not to have to mess with it. I can expose without reframing/focusing, unless wanted. I often take a second shot -- either different exposure or the same for a back-up neg. Exposing both halves at the same set-up eliminates a lot of chances to mess up keeping track.

For vertical 5.5x14s the lens has to be shifted to the other side and one re-frames the image.

No significant bleed-over, less if anything than a full holder (the light is hitting the center of the film at less of an angle). Leave enough rebate (overlap) down the middle. You will be making a rebate on each negative -- so twice as wide as a single rebate.

The 8x10 Zone VI and the 11x14 Chamonix both have ample front rise to center the lens on the exposed section of film. And both have enough front shift for vertical images. Which is important since my Fuji W 360/6.3 barely covers 11x14. I can take advantage of the lens this way and keep my image corners away from the edge of the image circle...and/or use a wider aperture.

I used Fidelity metal 8x10 and 11x14 darkslides. Found that they will not fit some other brands of holders...so check that out. Below is an 11x14 neg (inverted in PhotoShop) and my modified darkslide (and one for 11x11). If one uses non-metal darkslides, more care needs to be taken in transport -- but non-metal ones are much lighter and be less prone to slip down as mentioned at the beginning.

John Layton
4-Apr-2020, 13:31
Great info...thanks!

Didn't think about flipping the holder for the second image...makes good sense!

Oren Grad
5-Apr-2020, 08:08
I've just deleted a mostly ill-tempered exchange about country of origin. Some of the posts could reasonably have been considered entirely benign, others were plainly spoiling for a fight, others still would have been harder judgment calls. But there's no way to split them apart without ending up with both a swiss-cheesey thread and a bunch of people feeling aggrieved for having been singled out.

If you find yourself in the mood to grind an axe or, conversely, are feeling compelled to set an axe-grinder straight, please step away from the keyboard (or set aside your cellphone) until the feeling goes away. Life is way too short.

Vaughn
5-Apr-2020, 10:45
Great info...thanks! Didn't think about flipping the holder for the second image...makes good sense!
Just measured my modified darkslide -- I removed 14cm (5.5"), which left 15cm (5 7/8"). Leaving another 1/16" would not hurt. Note that I rounded the corners to match the other corner.

The actual image area of the negative above measures 5.0" wide (12.7cm), not including notch. And 13 5/8" long (34.5cm)...but I have noticed that the size of the interior rails of the 11x14 Fidelity holders (medical) are not consistent. One of them has much more substantial rails...wider, I mean.

Measuring my darkslide, I found I am about 1/32" off (not quite a mm on the neg) -- might take a file to it someday...I do have some time on my hands.

But on-topic, I have a Pre-aniversary Speed. I have made a few images with it and a magnifying lens...the rear curtain shutter is a nice feature (see below). I have a friend with a 5x7 Speed, but I can't get him to part with it. :cool:

Vaughn

Using Type 55, silver gelatin contacts prints:

Jody_S
5-Apr-2020, 11:33
...using a Sorta-Focus lens...

Bernice

i like Sorta-Focus lenses. They're the best kind. Nobody knows what part of the image was supposed to have any detail, including myself by the time I've got it scanned and edited.