View Full Version : A handheld Deardorff 5X10 camera??

Jim Galli
19-Dec-2007, 15:21
I've been enjoying the site with the Kodak Colorama's. (http://www.kodak.com/US/en/corp/features/coloramas/colorama.html)

In the 1970's the guys were using a Deardorff 5X10 handheld camera! Anyone got pics or references about that camera. First I've ever heard of it. Probably a 121mm Super Angulon?

John Schneider
19-Dec-2007, 15:25
That is soooo cool. But what I really want is one of the K-18/K-38 9x18 aerial cameras. I've seen two on eBay in the last several years, missed out on both...

Jim Galli
19-Dec-2007, 15:33
You'd have to do some major trimming. Those cams were loaded into the planes with a forklift I believe.

John Schneider
19-Dec-2007, 15:43
I don't believe the cameras themselves were more than 50-60 lbs, about the weight of the KA-18A I used to have. Heavy no doubt, but schleppable without major equipment.

Which reminds me: Jim, where do you get your 5" aerial rollfilm? Somewhere in the garage I have a KA-56 rotating prism panoramic camera (with 75 Biogon) that I'd eventually like to adapt to ground power. Newer perhaps, but probably the same frustration level in use as a Cirkut.

Steven Barall
20-Dec-2007, 09:16
What a great web site. Brings back great memories. Notice how the photos from the 1980's don't stand up to the earlier photos. They should never have stopped using view cameras. It's about more than the film size.

Thanks for the link Jim Galli. Happy holidays to all. -Steven

Frank R
20-Dec-2007, 10:24
Be sure to click on the "More information about this Colorama" button in the lower right hand corner.

Ansel Adams shot six of them and Norman Rockwell designed and directed one of them.

Ernest Purdum
20-Dec-2007, 10:46
I was greatly impressed by the Coloramas. I am still impressed by the website. The selection of the subjects and their framing to best utilize the enormous format is a great credit to the photographers.

John Kasaian
20-Dec-2007, 12:49
Thanks Jim! What an interesting history---very cool!

20-Dec-2007, 13:44
I can see where the "rule" was developed that one must always have someone wearing red in a color photograph! Fun.


Jim Galli
6-Jan-2008, 20:45
Watching the pundits last evening on ABC I couldn't help thinking of these Colorama's again. Diane Sawyer is the girl with the crown in the 1964 Young Miss contest one.

Sylvester Graham
6-Jan-2008, 22:03
What??! A print of the 9th one in the "people" series hung in my pediatricians office, the baby one, I never thought I'd see it again and I of course had no idea where it came from...

3-Aug-2010, 11:42
TODAY IS August 3rd 2010 and its 3 years since the thread about a 5x10 Deardorff used to shoot the Coloramas. I know I can help in this ID of the cameras mentioned.
I just found the Kodak Colorama site tonight. The kodak site has some great info on the Coloramas. Knowing who shot them is very interesting as also how they were shot and with what under the tab that mentions cameras. The 8x20 Deardorff is mentioned. I mention it on my site. I said there were 35 of them made for this project. I was told this. Now I do not believe it. I think maybe a few were built for Kodak. Not 35. These cameras are huge and heavy. Once on a tripod they are fine but you have to get it on the tripod first!! I can't imagine being the manager of this project fielding phone calls from the shooters complaining about the weight. So I'm going to stand by my revised thinking there were only a few.
I own one of the ex Colorama cameras and its a pain to use. The 5x10 should read 4x10. It was a 4x10 back for a 8x10 Deardorff and 4x10 holders. I own that back and its holders. Hand held? Sure you could do it with a high enough shutter speed. Having the Deardorff archives has allowed me to search for the "odd" cameras and there was never a 5x10 mentioned anywhere. The largest hand held camera, in fact Merle Deardorff called these "Hand Cameras" was a 5x7 Triamapro. There were just 2 made.

Mark Sampson
3-Aug-2010, 13:16
The 8x20 Deardorff is on display at the George Eastman House as part of the Colorama exhibit. It's a monster, no hand-holding there. Along with it is a 6x17cm Linhof Technorama, which is possible to shoot hand-held I suppose. When I go back I'll take a closer look... IIRC teh Deardorff has a 300mm Schneider Symmar-S on the front, along with an EK inventory tag.

3-Aug-2010, 20:11
If you could..Look at the serial number. Its stamped on the top metal strip holding the lens board in. My camera was a wreck. I refinished it. I thought it was fun to shoot with till I had to walk very far. Thanks Mark

4-Aug-2010, 00:00
Wow! Coloramas!!
Thanks for the link, a great reminder of how great Kodak once was.

4-Aug-2010, 00:50
I'd like to see the Deardorff 5x10, the picture of the Ice Boat Races is really neat.

D. Bryant
4-Aug-2010, 03:02
Be sure to click on the "More information about this Colorama" button in the lower right hand corner.

Ansel Adams shot six of them and Norman Rockwell designed and directed one of them.

One of the photographers given credit, was Bob Clemens. Bob was a Kodak staff photographer located in Rochester and worked for Eastman many years receiving many varied assignments over the years.

After Bob retired he participated in the old CompuServe Photo Forum. Phil Davis hung out there along with Mike Johnson, former editor of Photo Techniques.

Bob was so knowledgeable and was very helpful answering questions. He even got a cover on Photo Techniques as the winner of a photography contest. He had a great eye for the big landscape. His Colorama credit is the aerial shot of Niagara Falls.

I never got to see the Colorama, wish I had. Thanks for posting this Jim.

Don Bryant

D. Bryant
4-Aug-2010, 03:12
. The 5x10 should read 4x10. It was a 4x10 back for a 8x10 Deardorff and 4x10 holders. I own that back and its holders. Hand held? Sure you could do it with a high enough shutter speed.

And why are you so certain that there were no Deardorff 5x10s?

Don Bryant

Mark Sampson
4-Aug-2010, 12:06
I went back to GEH today and had a look at the Colorama Deardorff, which is being shown in a glass case alongside a Linhof Technorama. It appears to be a 12x20 with an 8x20 back: s/n 186. The lens is a (single-coated) 360/6.8 Schneider Symmar-S, so from the mid-70s. The ID tag on top might be an EK one; more likely it's a GEH label with a 1982 date. I suppose anyone who really wants the details should contact Todd Gustavsson, the Eastman House's technology curator.

5-Aug-2010, 15:32
I was the Deardorff Factory Historian and archivist. I worked at Deardorff from 81-88.
Heres my collection and me.

Brian C. Miller
5-Aug-2010, 15:59
17 cameras???

OK, which one do you use the most?

5-Aug-2010, 16:09
Looking in the company serial number book the #186 12x20 camera was built in 1962. Here are some confusing things Deardorff did.
The 4x5 Special. Its a 5x7 body with a 4x5 SPECIAL order back. A V12 is a 12x20
A V12 sold with a 8x20 back is still a V12. But if you look at the camera on display
I'll bet it says 11x14 on the lensboard strip right? That's becauseThey never had 12x20 or 8x20 Lensboard retaining strips (nameplates) made. I'll get some photos of the 4x10 back tomorrow.

5-Aug-2010, 16:23
OMG you counted! After I restored it I shot with 1930 V8 #17a alot. Maybe 10 years. Second row from top Middle camera. It's light weight. I have a 6x6-4x4 adapter and shoot with mostly Koday WF Ektars. I have a bunch of 1920s lens in compounds but I lost my temperature compensation chart for compounds and retired them.

Steven Tribe
6-Aug-2010, 02:54
"temperature compensation chart for compounds". Now that sounds interesting and logical! Was there a different table for the various sizes? Did it cover all Compound shutters from the very start etc. etc?

More info please!

6-Aug-2010, 12:58
I just saw this thread.

I was looking at the Coloramas. I wonder what ever happened to the Ansel Adams ones?

Also, the one "Designed and directed by Norman Rockwell." Certainly made me think of Crewdson.

Odd that Kodak printed Rockwell's name on the image, but they don't list him as the photographer.

6-Aug-2010, 14:42
There are two different Compounds. I'll use the term "tuneable" and "Non Tuneable"
The NT are the oldest. Some time in the late 30s. (just a guess based on the B&L Tessar mounted in it as factory) a small flush slotted pin appeared just above the cocking lever. It looks like a screw. This slotted pin is an eccentric. Rotating it causes the main spring to get tighter or looser. That changed the speed. Compounds were timed using one sec at 70 degrees with a stop watch. So the chart was used using the different sized shutters at different temps. The colder the temp, you looked on the chart at 1 sec and then down to the temp, it would say 1.5 sec. Or if you needed 1 sec you found the temp and 1 sec and went up to setting the shutter between 1 and 1/2. There were speeds from 1 to 1/75th.

6-Aug-2010, 21:49
What I want to know is how you find things like this on the Kodak site? I can't find anything on it.

Steven Tribe
7-Aug-2010, 04:13
Thanks for the Compound info! All mine have been early so I haven't seen the adjuster screw. I suppose the idea making a bi-metallic spring (like good clocks) didn't occur to them. A nice adjustment facility for present day owners.

9-Aug-2010, 20:05
The compound spring has a constant pressure. But it is the Piston and cylinder depending on the outside temp. Theres two trains of thought on the repair of them.
To oil or not. If the fit is good no oil. If its worn, A bit of oil. Most people think it uses air pressure to retard the blades but theres a vacuum on the otherside of the piston. So those caps need to be set just right. Tonight I pulled out an old dagor in a #4 Compound that I had not set for at least 10 years. I must have done something right because the speeds were spot on except for the 1/150th it was 1/100. This was after just 3 cycles. Did you know the proper way to set a compound is to set the speed, cock the lever wait 3 sec then fire? Thats so the piston has time to travel to its proper
place in the cylinder.

Jason Greenberg Motamedi
9-Aug-2010, 21:20
... a small flush slotted pin appeared just above the cocking lever. It looks like a screw. This slotted pin is an eccentric...

Do you by chance have a picture of what this looks like? I have a handful of Compounds, from the 1930s up to the 1960s, and none of these shutters have a screw type thing above the lever.

10-Aug-2010, 16:47
Here's some pics showing two different shutters. A full face and a closeup crop with and without the adjustment pin. image 9023 shows two screws. The one to the right of the speed dial is the adjustment pin

10-Aug-2010, 16:53
Here's the Deardorff 4x10 back. This one was made in '72.
Sorry I could not find the holders. I have 2 Plastic Rightways and 2 wood Lisco's
These were off the shelf Xray holders.

Jason Greenberg Motamedi
10-Aug-2010, 20:54
Thank you Ken!

18-May-2011, 22:32
Well I am about to say a big "I GOOFED UP". A large portion of my Deardorff knowlege
comes from working at the factory as their refinisher and company historian. There are a few blank spots in the history of produced cameras as I know it and one camera just came to light. Having studied and aquired for my collection a 12x20 camera and a 4x10 back that were used in the Colorama program I thought I knew it all. Wrong. Here's a pic of one of two 5x10 Hand held Deardorffs. Thanks to the George Eastman House and Todd Gustafson for the pics.

19-May-2011, 06:28
In my haste to post these pics...Thiese were built as tripod cameras and this one was adapted for hand held use.

Jim Galli
19-May-2011, 06:44
Wow! How cool is that! Maybe the Eastman house can loan it too me so I can finish up a few rolls of their Aerial Recon film :)

Daniel Stone
19-May-2011, 08:22
here's a short video on the making of the 1st underwater Colorama



19-May-2011, 10:37
These cameras JUST came to light after many years living in the dark. As I get more info I'll pass it on.

BTW Great video on the underwater camera. Deardorff helped convert a standard V8
for Cousteau. It had a buoyancy compensator tank. making it a mini sub. it took standard CFHs too.

Nicholas F. Jones
23-May-2011, 02:06
Aperture did a little book "Colorama. The World's Largest Photographs. From Kodak and the George Eastman House Collection" (2004). It has a small selection of the 565 murals, plus two essays (by Alison Nordstroem and Peggy Roalf). ISBN 1-931788-44-8. Used copies on the web for under $5.00.

Wouldn't it be great if some publisher put out a complete edition of all 565? For one thing, we might get to see the missing left hand panel of Ansel Adams' triptych "Redwoods" (August 1955), if the "unprintable" (but surviving) negative could be restored. Details from the website.