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dodphotography
23-Aug-2020, 07:43
Is there a user base here with first hand experience?


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Tin Can
23-Aug-2020, 08:35
RR made me five 11X14 film holders and modified a back with his 11X14 GG bail back

Very happy, all used on SC 11X14 Deardorff

Those RR Holders also fit my 11X14 Seneca

and I bet they fit his cameras also

I highly recomend Richard Ritter

dodphotography
23-Aug-2020, 08:41
RR made me five 11X14 film holders and modified a back with his 11X14 GG bail back

Very happy, all used on SC 11X14 Deardorff

Those RR Holders also fit my 11X14 Seneca

and I bet they fit his cameras also

I highly recomend Richard Ritter

No doubts about the craftsmanship element of it. Iím trying to find someone who owns his ULF rigs and can offer insight into the practical use in the field.


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angusparker
23-Aug-2020, 23:47
I have his 8x10 and own a 120 year old antique folding 11x14 and a modern Chamonix 14x17, so I have the gamut of light to heavy and rigid. The RR 11x14 will be lighter than all the other options, but you will be surprised at how moderate in weight my antique 11x14 is. Chamonix are more rigid but much much heavier. You will have some issues with wind with the RR. In a studio setting you may still have some issues with very heavy lenses.

The RR is not a precision piece of equipment like a Chamonix, but you will find it more than gets the job done. The light weight means you will use it. Having matching film holders is key (and possible with RR) so unless you can buy an antique with holders you wonít have much in the way of alternatives anyway. Chamonix holders are beautiful but very pricey.

The film holders also kill you in ULF. The medical film holders are like tanks, completely impractical for field use if you need more than an couple. Unlike LF, in ULF the holders can weight as much or more than the camera if you have 4 or 5 like I like to bring.

So I would endorse the RR 11x14 as an excellent option, but I absolutely love my antique 11x14 - the movements are somewhat limited but it came with some holders and I adapted the front standard to take Sinar plates. So if you can find a good antique folder Iíd serious consider it. RR can make you holders to fit it if you canít find film holders. As it happens there is a good looking Eastman View Camera 11x14 on the auction site right now. This kind doesnít have super long bellows but long bellows can lead to vignetting in ULF so itís often best you donít have them! If you can buy the camera with bellows in good condition and say two holders for under $2k Iíd say that was a good enough deal.

angusparker
23-Aug-2020, 23:52
You might want to consider 7x17 or 8x20 banquet cameras as well - they are usually much cheaper than 11x14 but you are limited in film availability and bellows length that you wonít have with an 11x14.

Greg
24-Aug-2020, 06:04
The lightest 11x14 camera that I have ever owned and used was an Improved Empire State view camera:
http://www.piercevaubel.com/cam/roc/empimp.htm
http://www.piercevaubel.com/cam/roc/empvar2.htm
At first its limited movements, especially with the front standard, bothered me a bit. But after using it in the field, I quickly learned to live with them. Its inherent non-rigidity, especially in the wind, can easily be overcome by a rod and 2 clamps connecting the top of both standards. Only downside is that if you acquire one without the front bed extension, you may never find one FS, and you will have to fabricate one yourself as I had to do. Matching the wood stock was actually easy. A local craftsman who restored furniture had a huge pile of old wooded furniture parts. For a very fare price, he milled the wood I needed to construct the front extension bed. Replacement metal parts I got from buying, for very little money, another Improves Empire State which was a total basket case as far as the wood was concerned.

Michael Wellman
29-Aug-2020, 16:45
I got an 8x20 from Richard last year. Great build, light weight and a well thought out camera. My only complaint has to do with me more than the camera in that it's a different design from the standard wooden folding camera when you go to set it up. it's just my old feeble mind that has taken a little time to get use to a new system. One of the great things about his camera's is that you can order a new back and have another camera. I got a 14x17 back now to go along with my 8x20.

FrancisF
30-Aug-2020, 20:53
I have the Ritter 20x24 - which I believe is the same basic design as the 11 x14.

I have shot with the camera for several years now in the studio and in the field and I can testify to how well thought out and made it is. You won't find a lighter camera which means you are more likely to use it.

And, very importantly, he stands behind what he makes.

Rhyno214
1-Sep-2020, 05:59
Compared to the chamonix, how much less stable are we walking? I have the option to buy one of the two in the next few months and stability is one thing I really care about. Nothing worse than camera shake ruining your $10 negative after humping the equipment in and out. I love his design and the $1000 difference is really tempting, but if im already going to spend upwards for $4000, I want to make sure its the best I can get.

Greg
1-Sep-2020, 06:44
Compared to the chamonix, how much less stable are we walking? I have the option to buy one of the two in the next few months and stability is one thing I really care about. Nothing worse than camera shake ruining your $10 negative after humping the equipment in and out. I love his design and the $1000 difference is really tempting, but if im already going to spend upwards for $4000, I want to make sure its the best I can get.

Seven years ago I acquired an 11x14 Chamonix. Initially I was planning on adapting a pair of wind stabilizers to the camera, but after shooting in windy conditions and seeing no movements in my negatives, decided that I didn't need them. Camera is always used in the field, and mounted on a large Ries tripod with a large Ries Head, or sometimes on a Linhof Heavy Duty Tripod with a Gitzo G1570M head (when shooting from the back of my car). Just once I have experienced "camera shake"... my fault at the time when I packed the wrong cable release and manually tripped the shutter with my finger. I have been 100% satisfied with the stability of my 11x14 Chamonix.

dodphotography
1-Sep-2020, 07:10
Compared to the chamonix, how much less stable are we walking? I have the option to buy one of the two in the next few months and stability is one thing I really care about. Nothing worse than camera shake ruining your $10 negative after humping the equipment in and out. I love his design and the $1000 difference is really tempting, but if im already going to spend upwards for $4000, I want to make sure its the best I can get.

Iím in the exact same camp... of course the 13 vs 20 lbs conversation about how more willing youíll be to drag the Ritter out because itís lighter... an interesting conversation.


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Oren Grad
1-Sep-2020, 08:19
Compared to the chamonix, how much less stable are we walking? I have the option to buy one of the two in the next few months and stability is one thing I really care about....

As you may know, Richard does all sorts of custom mods. You might ask him whether he can offer a wind-stabilizer gadget to brace the standards, to provide a bit more rigidity at the cost of a slight increase in setup time. Or check with Alan Brubaker to see whether he's still in business and can supply one of his.

Michael Jones
4-Sep-2020, 11:06
Its been my experience stability is not totally dependent on the camera*. The format and tripod weigh in mightily. Consider what we are using is basically a “box” the size of our format. A 4x5 is a no-brainer to set up in the field. An 8x10 is a bit more complicated as the camera mass and profile are exposed to wind. It is exponentially more difficulty to use a 20x24 with 6’ of bellows in the field. Is a Ritter as stable as a Sinar on a camera stand? No. Neither is a Chaminox (or others). Is a Ritter as stable as a Chaminox or Phillips in the field? Yes; and I have the use of all to back that up. And like Francis F. I can vouch a 26 pound Ritter 20x24 is stable in the field. Did I use two tripods; sometimes. But mostly I set in up in calm conditions. Did I use it in strong winds; of course not. Why would I; my subject is likely moving as well.

The mass (primarily weight) adds to the stability of the area setup. Hoisting a 26 pound V-11 onto a Reis A tripod gives you about 40 pound package. My current camera, an 8 pound Ritter 11x14 on a Reis J is about 15 pound package; similar to many 4x5s, but with a large “frontal area” exposed to wind. The size of the boxes is the same, 11” x14” x16”, but the Ritter weight is less than 1/3. However, the Ritter is stable and locks down; its mass and profile make how & when it’s set up critical. I hang my equipment bag from the tripod for good measure. I can pack the Ritter places I could not carry a V-11. Its quick to set up and locks down nicely.

Much in photography is a trade off; how much do you want to carry and how far?

Once you get past a Ritter looks different, it works just like other cameras; it just does not weigh as much, Chaminox Alpinist and Phillips Explorer aside. BTW; I lost my Explorer in Utah when after setting up I turned to get a film holder and an unexpected wind gust wind blew camera and tripod into a ravine. It had been stable; it just became more like a sail for a fraction of a second primarily because it was basically an 8” x10” x12” five pound box exposed to the wind.


My thoughts (plus 69 cents gets you a cup of coffee).

Mike

*Having owed a number of 100 year old cameras, I can vouch they are rickety-restored or not- and seldom stable, but eminently usable when you consider their limitations.

Vaughn
4-Sep-2020, 11:35
...Just once I have experienced "camera shake"... my fault at the time when I packed the wrong cable release and manually tripped the shutter with my finger. I have been 100% satisfied with the stability of my 11x14 Chamonix.

I have the same set-up. My old Eastman 11x14 was great...just a lot of care needed. And camera shake happened rarely...and usually from me using the lenscap as a shutter for short exposures (<2 seconds).

The 7x17 Ritter I used was very stable -- no complaints about set-up or use. My first 11x14 experience was with a friend's home-made 11x14 that puts the Ritter to shame, weight-wise. There was a little hassle to assemble it each time and the dedicated tripod it was designed to work with was a little funky, but I got some great images with it...this one was with a 355mm G-Claron: