View Full Version : Introduction and recent purchase

9-Nov-2011, 16:48
Hi all,

New member here and pretty new to large format. My love in photography was (very) recently rekindled. Sort of on a whim I purchased a medium format SLR and that lit the fire. Then came a medium format TLR (which has become a favorite traveler). After going towards to smaller format, I went to the large and got a nice 4x5 view (CC-400) and the most recent is a 1894 Empire 8x10 view camera.

During this time I picked up two enlargers, the larger is a Beseler 45MX that needed a lot of TLC. But it's operational - even with a cold head! I only do black & white developing and wet printing.

I got everything used and much is old but is good (to pretty good) condition. It all seems to work!

Now this 8x10 Empire... it needs some help. First, I sort of did a big no-no in attempting to clean the diaphram/shutter. So let's say it is toasted. The lens part is fine (a Voigtlander COLLINEAR U.S. Pat. 567326 Series III No 64505 Focus 7 7/8 in) and I guess I could put it into another shutter. But should I??

My goal is to use the camera as a working 8x10. Am I crazy? I mean, the price seemed good, I just patched a few tiny pinholes in the bellows, and the rest is petty much all good to go - functional.

My intention is landscape photography and plan on heading out west (U.S.) next summer for a few weeks - taking the 4x5 and 8x10. I have a normal lens for the 4x5 9and a compendium bellows hood and filters) - it came with the camera. I sort of want functional lens for the 8x10, not (needlessly) expensive, but not junk either (if that exists among lenses). All will be black & white shooting.

One thought was to get a more modern 8x10. But I have this one and like the idea of using this 117 year old girl. Does the Voigtlander COLLINEAR produce a image "look" that is different than more modern lenses? I would be interested in a used functional inexpensive lens to get going with the Empire. (I did tape the 4x5 lens & board on the Empire and made a single shot - wow, talk about vignetting! But the image is still neat, sharp, and it's the 1st with this one)

Excuse my fragmented questions. I'm a noob to large format and I can understand the 35mm lens scene but know very little about finding lenses for large format.

Words of wisdom? Encouragement?


John Koehrer
9-Nov-2011, 17:40
Jumped right into it didn't you? So far, so good!
Welcome home

What have you done to the shutter/diaphragm?
Even if it's dead you can use a lens cap or drop shutter with it if there's any light coming through the lens at all. Not too good if you're doing action fuzzygraffy though. =)

9-Nov-2011, 18:29

Thanks. It feels good to be home. I DID jump right in! LOL This stuff is just too fun! I love it to bits and I'm sort of surprised how much.

The shutter still works - sort of. The shutter is a Wollensak Opt Co. gizmo. It has two pistons. One seems to actuate (by air I guess) the shutter, the other was frozen but I got it unstuck. There is a dial on top that says AUTOMATIC with numbers 1 1/2 1/5 1/25 1/50 1/100 B and T. The shutter seems to work in B and for all of the timed values, the shutter seems to have one constant speed no matter where it is set.

So I guess I could experiment. What's a few sheets of 8x10? LOL


Bill Burk
10-Nov-2011, 00:08
Good luck and welcome Jon,

Got all winter and spring to work out the kinks...


10-Nov-2011, 04:54
The second piston is the dashpot that controls the shutter speeds.
It should lift slightly on faster shutter speeds and more for slower speeds, and should move smoothly but not freely. Kind of hard to explain the controlled leak of air in and out controls the speed.

John Koehrer
11-Nov-2011, 17:25
I've cleaned pistons before but don't remember what shutter they were on. They remove pretty easily, cleaned them with Naptha or Acetone then cleaned the residue off with alcohol and wiped them down with a drop or two of oil on a paper towel.
Not enough to leave a visible residue.
That may have been the wrong thing to do but it did work.

You can pick up a hose and bulb for a Packard shutter for yours. They're on the auction site all the time. Jon Shiu had some at one time, I don't know if he's on this site but he is on APUG frequently.

John Kasaian
12-Nov-2011, 00:12
Welcome to 8x10! :)