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Thread: 6 1/2 x 8 1/2 cameras?

  1. #11

    Re: 6 1/2 x 8 1/2 cameras?

    I bought a no name Japanese WP camera off Ebay. it's a great camera and very light. I bought holders from Chamonix (not cheap but excellent)
    I had Richard Ritter make me a back to fit the holders and the rest is history. It's my favorite camera due to the weight/size ratio.
    my advice; start with the largest size you can go for it will save you money in the end and you will make great contact prints from this size.

  2. #12

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    Re: 6 1/2 x 8 1/2 cameras?

    Quote Originally Posted by Oren Grad View Post
    ...My standard lens for WP is the 210 Apo-Sironar-S...
    I know what you'd really like is a 225mm Apo Sironar S. I'm also aware that you're, shall we say, not fond of Fujinon LF lenses' out-of-focus rendering. Nonetheless, here's a bit of information that might be of use to you.

    Just last week I decided to try using the rear cell from my 210mm f/5.6 Fujinon W (the single-coated, 80-degree type) to replace the rear cell of my 250mm f/6.7 Fujinon W (the single-coated, 80-degree type). Both are Copal 1 versions. Voilą, an approximately 230mm approximately f/6.3 lens that appeared sharp wide open -- at infinity anyway -- across the 8x10 ground glass I examined its image on. I've not used the hybrid to expose any film, but it might be worthwhile to obtain samples of those relatively inexpensive optics and have a proper aperture scale made if you're still very interested in the focal length.

  3. #13

    Re: 6 1/2 x 8 1/2 cameras?

    WP has always made a lot sense to me as a contact print/hybrid option--certainly the form factor of the Chamonix is intriguing as well. That said, using a splitter with an 8x10 and getting two 5x8's per sheet might get you close to where you want to go while keeping your options open for other aspect ratios.

  4. #14

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    Re: 6 1/2 x 8 1/2 cameras?

    Never thought there would be that much replies. Thanks for your input.

    The main reason I found myself looking at the cameras is just being bored and surfing Ebay (very dangerous, I know). But also right now with 4x5 I'm just scanning and doing nothing with the negatives. I don't print as I'm not interested in setting up a printer to do something with the scans. I do have an enlarger but cannot find a working space for it. And when I look at a negative and try to imagine it contact printed... not that much difference from the old 6x9 contact prints of the 60's.

    Also as mentioned, I see that the cost of film really takes of at 8x10. So is the cost of cameras. If I look at japanese sites, then 6.5x8.5 is plenty on offer. Sometimes in "well used" condition but I'm ok with that. Film looks to be the issue. There is the Ilford ULF drive but at once in a year... and from the prices I found it is just as expensive as 8x10, sometimes even more expensive. Certainly if you have to cut down from 18x24 which would be the nearest to start from that is relatively easy to find.

    What really holds me back is that lately I'm really just not motivated to do anything. I have taken 3 photos this year. So at the back of my head there is a little voice telling me not to be silly and buy another camera that will just sit in a corner.
    Expert in non-working solutions.

  5. #15

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    Re: 6 1/2 x 8 1/2 cameras?

    It's been a tough year with creativity at risk too of going into lockdown.

    Breaking out of the groundhog routine of scaling back creativity, I've found slowing to attend to the photographic process is life restoring. Although I've been out of it for a few years I've had to start getting acquainted all over again beginning with 35mm format

    The whole plate format very much has its challenges and joys to practice as you've found. Like you, I find scanning to be mind-numbing, yet much less so than imaging on digital capture. Do you need to challenge your 3 photo quota and push for a purpose as a personal format (contact printing) to answer .... to yourself as a photographer? Publish your own process - of capturing and reflecting your own life as a photographer at risk of creative lockdown, and explore the limits of the personal format.

    In Europe,the 18x24cm tradition took off with similar sized technology and even plates/film. We're mostly relegated now to choosing one emulsion for 6 1/2 x 8 1/2 inch emulsion - the Ilford FP4+ in the UK (TMax100 less so here)which is fine, given the myriad possibilities of development scope); expired x-ray film, high contr ast duplicating material; Imago positive paper or even straight photographic paper. You won't be lost for imaging emulsion: even as the cost of film rises, the cost of coating your own plates with liquid light has remained constant, as has the cost of 2mm cut glass. Lenses of an image circle of >266mm are far easier to come across and these lenses, excluded by the 8x10inch user, become eminently ideal for the whole plate format. I find the Docter Wetzlar lenses very serviceable - far easier to use than August Sander's Voigtlander Heliar type 36cm lens and Zetor shutter and the barrel lenses.

    The Japanese whole plate tradition followed the British engineering lead after the forced technological expansion following the Meiji Restoration era leading to highly skilled craftsmen using some fabulous woods with low warp factor. The Charten export version (similar to the Vageeswari cameras made in India) use tabular notches on the wooden bookform plate holders which are unique and less common for each camera. These field camera types are really lightweight.

    Chamonix (China); Argentum (Hungary) and Canham (USA) were still making wholeplate cameras when I last checked following the retirement of Ebony (Japan)'s workshop. Argentum were still making whole plate holders - theirs are a notch better than my Chamonix holders which have light leaked several times since I last visited this board (!).

    I think I bought my Chamonix whole plate from the first batch when it was initially released here. I've gone back towards the British tradition (Sanderson, Thornton Pickard) or European (Argentum) mostly and don't use my Chamonix much anymore. Great camera still and very flexible and easy to adore with a wider range of modern double dark slides in far better condition than the older options.

    Hope you find some inspiration to push beyond the collapse of the will to image more.

  6. #16
    William Whitaker's Avatar
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    Re: 6 1/2 x 8 1/2 cameras?

    Quote Originally Posted by Havoc View Post
    Is this a viable format?
    You shoulda been here 10-12 years ago!

  7. #17
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    Re: 6 1/2 x 8 1/2 cameras?

    Quote Originally Posted by RJ- View Post
    Chamonix (China); Argentum (Hungary) and Canham (USA) were still making wholeplate cameras when I last checked following the retirement of Ebony (Japan)'s workshop.
    Canham has never offered a WP camera.

    EDIT - this is wrong, see RJ's description of a custom-ordered camera just below.

  8. #18

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    Re: 6 1/2 x 8 1/2 cameras?

    Quote Originally Posted by Oren Grad View Post
    Canham has never offered a WP camera.
    Hi Oren,

    Canham did indeed offer a whole plate custom ordered camera is a modular camera made of American black walnut with aluminium fittings designed with triple extension covering 47mm to 600mm focal lengths. Designed with a twin track rack and pinion, using 110mm lens panels scaled on the 5" x 7" model weighing in at 3.20kg.

    The design is spectacular: 42 degrees of front swing, 29mm of rise and 51mm of fall with +45/ - 90 degree base tilt in the front standard and 22 degrees of rear swing; 178mm of rear shift with 90/20 degrees of rear base tilt.

    I interviewed Keith Canham for a whole plate article, comparing the Ebony, Chamonix, Argentum and Canham whole plate articles (June 2008). I probably still have the article somewhere although it's outdated now that Ebony have retired and Chamonix have probably revised their first version by now. The Canham whole plate camera is modular - built on the essentially modular design of the Canham camera which permits multi-format backs.

    Kind regards

    RJ

  9. #19
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    Re: 6 1/2 x 8 1/2 cameras?

    Quote Originally Posted by RJ- View Post
    Hi Oren,

    Canham did indeed offer a whole plate custom ordered camera is a modular camera made of American black walnut with aluminium fittings designed with triple extension covering 47mm to 600mm focal lengths. Designed with a twin track rack and pinion, using 110mm lens panels scaled on the 5" x 7" model weighing in at 3.20kg.

    The design is spectacular: 42 degrees of front swing, 29mm of rise and 51mm of fall with +45/ - 90 degree base tilt in the front standard and 22 degrees of rear swing; 178mm of rear shift with 90/20 degrees of rear base tilt.

    I interviewed Keith Canham for a whole plate article, comparing the Ebony, Chamonix, Argentum and Canham whole plate articles (June 2008). I probably still have the article somewhere although it's outdated now that Ebony have retired and Chamonix have probably revised their first version by now. The Canham whole plate camera is modular - built on the essentially modular design of the Canham camera which permits multi-format backs.

    Kind regards

    RJ
    Thanks - happy to be corrected and with full details to boot!

  10. #20

    Re: 6 1/2 x 8 1/2 cameras?

    Delta 100 in my Rittreck with the whole plate back and the modern Rittreck WP holders makes a great contact plate format. My main lens for it is the Ilex-Calumet Caltar 215 f/4.8. Old Kodak/Ansco holders also work with just a slight image position shift. I have an 8x10 but the format is just too square compared to the WP.

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