Printing shop giving me all their old camera stuff

Discussion in 'Large Format' started by emile_de_leon|9, Apr 1, 2003.

  1. Hi all,
    I just got done contact printing a bunch of 12x20's for a quick
    coffeehouse exhibition. While I was putting them into frames at the
    last minute, I was thinking... these are kind of small, only
    12x20...wouldnt 20x24 be that much better? Then I got thinking about
    a 20x24 camera and the contacts I could make with that! Well as I
    was hanging the exhibit this afternoon, right as I was finishing up
    someone called my name, and low and behold, there is a person I used
    to teach drums to 25 years ago, now grown up with a family etc. He
    didn't know I was into photography but liked the prints and better
    yet, mentioned that he had a bunch of photo stuff in his family
    print shop that he needed to get rid of and... did I want it?
    Needless to say I said I'll be right there and he proceded to show
    me the stuff. Well... there was my 20x24 camera...but man was it
    BIG. He had a room devoted to it as well as all the acoutrements,
    film, auto processors, contact paper, etc. I left with the 480mm Apo
    Nikkor.It had what looks like a modern type packard shutter behind
    the lens.My question is this...since I know absolutely nothing about
    the printing industry I dont know what is worthwhile to take in
    terms of film, contact paper, etc. Are any standard old technology
    printing shop materials applicable to todays B&W photography? There
    is the camera with vaccume back that I definately want... possibly
    to use for an enlarger or maybe to convert to a 20x24 indoor
    camera.Could the vaccume back be used for a contact printing frame?
    Has anyone here converted a camera of this type for personal
    use.Your help is most appreaciated! Thanks in advance!
  2. Clude Buthcher in Florida, The AA of the Everglades convrted one to an enlarger for his 12x20's. He is on the photographers database on this site. You could do a back like AA did when he converted an ols wooded portrait camera into his enlarger, the older books by AA show the back and the 36 lights in it, he turned them on and off to dodge or burn.
  3. Vacuum printing frame for plate burning is a great thing for the ultra large format contact prints. Keeps the negative tight to the enlarging paper for the most delicate hightlights.

    The process camera can be used to create enlarged negatives from regular sized silver prints.
  4. About 5 years ago I too was on the receiving end of a process
    camera (from a weekly newspaper) and since it's been a
    valuable asset in my darkroom. I use the vertical stat camera
    both as an upside-down enlarger capable of prints up to 18x22
    and use the hinged, flip-over vacuum easel for contact printing.

    The Screen stat camera I got was just about perfect for my uses.
    It has a 4-florescent-tube lower light source wired into the
    timer/computer with a hinged overglass to keep everything flat.
    What I did was to cut out rubylith masks and tape them in the
    center for the various negative sizes I use (4x5, 5x7, 8x10). This
    allows me to use the easel reference marks and also lets me
    "float" a print with the black film-holder border on the next size
    larger paper, as in 11x14 on 16x20 paper, etc.
    The entire camera is about the size of a washing machine and is
    capable of enlargment/reduction from 25% to 400% with two
    APO process lenses, At the top right is a hinged ground glass
    with reference marks corresponding to the marks on the easel.
    This is used to focus the negative (as with a view camera), then
    the ground glass is swung up out of the way and the paper is
    placed on the vacuum easel, the vacuum turned on, and the
    easel flipped over where the GG was for the exposure, which is
    timed with a built-in digital timer. Any burning or dodging is done
    between the lens and negative. Also, if using VC paper, filters
    can be placed right on top of the back of the lens inside the
    For Contact printing I converted the camera's built in "bump"
    light, which was used to "flash" the litho film for pre-exposure, to
    hold a standard light bulb. The arm for the bump light was
    already placed centered over the easel in it's "loading"
    orientation. So all I have to do to make a contact print is place the
    paper on the vacuum easel, lay a piece of glass over it , turn on
    the vacuum and then the light (a 100 watt bulb) which is also
    wired into the camera's digital timer.
    Two years ago, I did 10 portfolios of 52-8x10 Azo prints each
    (one for each week of the year 2000) using this method and it
    worked beautifully!
    And, did I mention that it also has an on-board digital
    densitometer that reads both reflected and transmitted

    All in all, quite a deal just to haul off an "obsolete" piece of
    equipment that was in their way.

    I believe these vertical cameras are much more useful as
    darkroom enlarger because of the compact size, but I also have
    friends who've converted the horizontal ones (with the
    train-track-type focus rails) as enlargers and to do copy work.

    Many of these cameras are around collecting dust and
    sometimes (as in my case) the owners are more than happy to
    just have someone take them away. I'm certainly glad I did.
  5. I just work at a printshop but didn't get no stuff. The Films used for offsetprinting seem to be somehow similar to technical pan, usually no halftones. Sometimes there are contact copying machines for films. Maybe You could use them to make slides. Modern Prepressfilms are quite thin, so check your vacuumstuff, if strong enough. Don't rely completely on it. I had some plates ruined through airbubbles between plate and film.
  6. I have in my posession a Goodkin Astro vertical stat camera. It has a vacuum back for film size 16" x 20" and an 18" x 24" copy board. I don't have the heart to put this good working camera in the dump. If anyone can use it and can take it away, they can have it for free.

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