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Thread: Deardorff 11x14 Step-up (expansion) Back

  1. #1

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    Deardorff 11x14 Step-up (expansion) Back

    I want to make a 11x14 stepup/expansion back for my Deardorff 8x10 camera. I searched and read it online. It seems the stepup/expension back is a practicable approach for taking 11x14 pictures. I am wondering....
    1) Does this Deardorff 11x14 stepup/expansion back exist?
    2) Who has made it before? Or only custom-made?
    3) Does anybody here have one of those? Your experience of using it?
    4) What are the measurements for this kind of back?
    Thanks.

  2. #2

    Re: Deardorff 11x14 Step-up (expansion) Back

    I am not aware of any attempts by Deardorff to build or offer an 11x14 extension back for one of their 8x10 cameras. Going the other direction (11x14 reducing back to 8x10 or a 12x20 camera to an 8x20 reducing back) is very common. The one conversion that I saw was from a forum member in Arizona if I remember correctly that took an Arca Swiss and had an 11x14 back made for it. Because of the fact that the camera is a mono rail design it was easier to accommodate the proportions.

    As an owner of a Deardorff 11x14 and a number of 8x10 field cameras, the issue from my perspective is stabilizing a nearly doubling of the back proportions, maintaining a center lens board position with additional rise flexibility and dealing with the fact that a 24" lens is about normal and the use (potentially) for 30" and 35"lenses regularly. My point is that you may have to add a second bellows to the extension and figure out how to center your lens board position with a normal amount of additional rise. I am sure that it can be done.

    My instincts tell me that a dedicated 11x14 camera is the better option from a logistics and costs perspective but to each their own. I had an 8x20 conversion back for my 8x10 Canham and that combination lasted two trips in the field tops. I called Keith and had him make me a new camera base so I would not have to go through hoops for format revisions. It needed plug and play all the way.

    11x14 is far more challenging than 8x10 IMHO so consider the fact that you will need expensive film holders, a method to develop ULF sheet film, a much narrower film selection that is more $ and logistical issues that need to be overcome in the field. 8x10 for me is nearly point and shoot. 11x14 is legitimate work but well worth the effort any day.
    Last edited by Michael Kadillak; 9-Jul-2015 at 08:29. Reason: typo

  3. #3

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    Re: Deardorff 11x14 Step-up (expansion) Back

    Thanks for your input. Will keep all my options open at this time.

  4. #4

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    Re: Deardorff 11x14 Step-up (expansion) Back

    Many years ago the company I worked for need to make 11X14 copies of some art work and only having 8X10 capacity we built a box which doubled the bellows extension and allowed the use of 11X14 film. The box allowed the camera to be attached in the center and then the box was attached to a base or tripod.We had back and holders for the larger size and they were attached to the opposite side of the box.There were no tilt or swing adjustments for the back but the front(8X10 still operated normally).This setup was used for years when the need arose.Just recently I built an 11X14 sliding box camera with some tilts for front and back.Also constructed a film holder and ground glass back for this camera(using the center section of a Fresnel lens on 1/8" thick Plexiglas from a projection TV set),lightly sanded on one side and it performs very well.Not sure what your needs are so this might not be of any help but demonstrates that it could be achieved(8X10 to 11X14 that is).Any way good luck with your project.
    Don

  5. #5

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    Re: Deardorff 11x14 Step-up (expansion) Back

    I have the 5x7-> 8x10 back for my Rittreck. There are some of my shorter 8x10 lenses I cannot use on it. I'm guessing this might be the case with 8x10 lenses on 11x14 although I have not made measurements.

    At one time, I had considered making an 11x14 extension for my B&J. I realized that I was going to have to support the 11x14 extension so knew I needed both the extension rail and a second rear standard to support the back.

    I found a couple of old 11x14 glass plate holders that were in poor shape which I was going to use after rebuilding and a bellows from a graphic arts camera (I had considered replacing the bellows and only using the front standard from the 8x10) and knew my 375/6.8 Caltar would do 11x14 so (other than getting the film- which would have been easier and cheaper in the time frame I started this. About 2005) all I really had to do was find or make at lease the GG frame and to do it. I lost interests about a couple of years and sold the holders to someone who was interested in doing the same thing. Hopefully, that someone has followed through.

    Making a "temporary" back out of foam mounting board might give you some insight on what would be necessary.

    I wish things like ULF cameras could be rented. I would pay $100/day to have a ULF setup with camera, a couple of holders and a lens. The vendor would have to sell film by the sheet. I would like to try 8x20 but the investment doesn't really justify it. I made a split slide and make two 4x10s on 8x10 and have a 6x12 Horseman back and am looking into an adapter so 35mm can be used in a Pentax 6x7 or Fuji 6x9 to create the same aspect ratio. None of it is 8x20 but I *do* like the aspect ratio and both the 6x12 and the 35mm adapter can give me lots of shots of that at a very, very reasonable price. (Mamiya 6s and 7s can do the same with their panorama adapter.)

  6. #6

    Re: Deardorff 11x14 Step-up (expansion) Back

    Quote Originally Posted by jbenedict View Post
    I have the 5x7-> 8x10 back for my Rittreck. There are some of my shorter 8x10 lenses I cannot use on it. I'm guessing this might be the case with 8x10 lenses on 11x14 although I have not made measurements.

    At one time, I had considered making an 11x14 extension for my B&J. I realized that I was going to have to support the 11x14 extension so knew I needed both the extension rail and a second rear standard to support the back.

    I found a couple of old 11x14 glass plate holders that were in poor shape which I was going to use after rebuilding and a bellows from a graphic arts camera (I had considered replacing the bellows and only using the front standard from the 8x10) and knew my 375/6.8 Caltar would do 11x14 so (other than getting the film- which would have been easier and cheaper in the time frame I started this. About 2005) all I really had to do was find or make at lease the GG frame and to do it. I lost interests about a couple of years and sold the holders to someone who was interested in doing the same thing. Hopefully, that someone has followed through.

    Making a "temporary" back out of foam mounting board might give you some insight on what would be necessary.

    I wish things like ULF cameras could be rented. I would pay $100/day to have a ULF setup with camera, a couple of holders and a lens. The vendor would have to sell film by the sheet. I would like to try 8x20 but the investment doesn't really justify it. I made a split slide and make two 4x10s on 8x10 and have a 6x12 Horseman back and am looking into an adapter so 35mm can be used in a Pentax 6x7 or Fuji 6x9 to create the same aspect ratio. None of it is 8x20 but I *do* like the aspect ratio and both the 6x12 and the 35mm adapter can give me lots of shots of that at a very, very reasonable price. (Mamiya 6s and 7s can do the same with their panorama adapter.)
    A possibly even more efficient way to bridge that "Experience The Format Before You Jump In With Both Feet" event would be to just go out with a ULF photographer in your area for a day. He/she would likely enjoy and appreciate the assistance and you have someone that can share the legitimate things they have learned first hand as well as see the process (at least in the field initially) from beginning to end. The risk of allowing a photographer to rent a specialized ULF setup at anywhere close to $100 a day is untenable in this day and age. From my perspective even $500 would not be enough. ULF is a legitimate labor of love and it is a highly personal thing for those that get smitten by it.

    The proportions of an 8x20 contact print sucked me in headfirst and I just went for it, but I do understand the trepidation of getting too far over your skis from an artistic as well as a monetary perspective. That said where there is a will there is always a way.

  7. #7
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    Re: Deardorff 11x14 Step-up (expansion) Back

    I have a vague recollection that Glenn Evans used to have on hand a wooden truncated pyramid of the right dimensions to make one of these, but that was a long time ago and I can't find it on his website now. But I think he's also done a lot of messing with Deardorff backs more generally, so perhaps he could tell you more. He's in Chicago, too.

    My biggest worry would be securely mounting the thing, as between the "cone" and the back it's going to be fairly heavy. Second is the constraints on usable focal lengths and movements. And finally, if you ended up having to get one custom-built, you might end up spending a substantial part of the cost of an entire antique 11x14 in usable condition, which should be functionally superior overall.

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