You want large? Here's large!

Discussion in 'Large Format' started by dan_fromm|2, Sep 5, 2003.

  1. Take a look at:

    And look at the lenses on offer with it! A 47" Rodenstock! And other
    shorter ones.

    I think they meant 20' x 40', not 20" x 40", for the room.


  2. I think I could mount it in my Ford E250. What size film does it take?
  3. Man oh man! That thing is giant! I think you'd need a flat bed on that Ford.
  4. Most surprising to me was to see that it's listed under "35mm Rangefinders" :)
  5. I've got to ask: what would you use the "copius process" for?
  6. Most screen printing business's had some kind of process camera before the days of computers. They were a high dollar item in their day. Most company's in my area either gave them away or had them hauled off for junk because they couldn't sell them. I own a screen printing business and gave mine to a friend.
  7. ...just a process camera, i actually have access to one, just no place to put it.

    I've grown up around newspapers, news media was the first to say goodbye to these beasts and hello to imagesetters.

    I have heard of various successes in converting them to field-useable cameras. How cool would that be??!!

    Some, if not most, actually have very good lenses with honest calibrated color renditions for seperations.

    You can easily find them with electronic-controlled shutters.
  8. BTW- I think $3,000 is a tad bit optimistic... there are others for much less...

    (if you're lazy, about $800 for a 14x18)

    and to review the completed items you can see they do not sell very well:

    even at $1.00! (it even had a vacuum back)

    Process lenses are particularly inexpensive in barell:

    (if you're lazy, 9.00 (KOWA) 24.95 (Rodenstock) 645 (NIKON)

    and the shutters?

    (about 24.00, electronic)

    So as you can see, this is definitly a dying technology, and a great time to build yourself an ULF camera!
  9. Does it take the lens inside when it is folded?
  10. Wayne, Graem-

    In offset printing, process cameras took lithographic film to be contact transfered on the plate, the plate haad an emulsion that the ink would not stick, but rather transfer to the page. In lithographic the plate is acid etched. They are also used in screen printing, as said before, but I do not know much about screen printing. I do know the film would need to be contact transfered to the emulsion on the screen.

    The film had to be the actual size of the plate, so for a 30x40" poster, the film had to be 30x40". For reproduction this size, it still is not uncommon to use a camera as image setters this size are extraordinarly expensive. (When you hear "camera ready art", this is what they are refering to)

    This camera is for 48x96" film and smaller, I overlooked that when for my first post, and $3,000 may not be an unfair price, but, I am not sure that e-bay is the place to sell it! A 48" image setter would be very, very pricey.
  11. OK, here's where I get to tell about the process camera I used to own.

    In the 19-ought-70s I had a small offset printing business, situated in the basement of the house of the graphic designer I was apprenticed to, in Chicago's Hyde Park. The press was a "Multi" (Addressograph-Multigraph) 1250, the old 10"x15" industry workhorse, that I took apart, fixed and put back together with the aid of a great workshop manual he had with the press. Nice machine: had the extra big ink oscillators so you could lay down nice heavy solids, plus chain delivery with powder, feed blowers, all the nice bells and whistles. (Everything except a T-51 head. Any other print geeks here?) I once printed a 300-line screen with it just for the hell of it.

    Anyhow, I needed a camera for this shoestring printshop, so we ended up at a used printing supply place down on Wabash Ave. downtown (now known in memoriam as "Printers Row"; I don't think there's anyone left there who would have the slightest idea what to do with a can of ink!). They had an old camera in the back that I think they wanted $25 for; I said "I'll take it!".

    When I got it back in the basement, I realized that this camera was actually one of the first Xerox duplicators. Back when xerography (= "dry imaging") was in its infancy, before they had machines that spit out copies, the copies were made with a process camera, like mine. Instead of film at the back, they used highly polished metal plates: I remember we got 2 or 3 of these plates with the camera. They were plated with some kind of very shiny metal, as I remember some of this plating flaking off along the edges.

    The way it worked was that you'd put whatever you wanted to copy in the copyboard. Before making the exposure, you'd take one of these metal plates and put in a unit that would place an electical charge on the plate (just as a modern xerox machine does). After closing the dark slide on the plate, the plate went into the camera. You'd open the dark slide, set the exposure time and aperture, then make the exposure. The camera had 4 very bright lamps aimed at the copyboard.

    After exposing the plate, it was taken out of the camera and put into yet another machine, which is the one which actually made the copy. In this Other Machine, toner powder was sprinkled on the plate. Anyplace where light from the object to be copied struck the plate had the charge knocked off the plate, so the toner only stuck to the dark parts of the image. This Other Machine also included the fuser, which melted the toner into the paper (just like today's machines). I never got to see what this Other Machine (plus The Charger) looked like.

    Anyhoo, to make this overlong story shorter, I ended up converting this camera (it was something like a 14"x20") into a very servicable process camera. I took one of the metal plates in its holder, which put it at the focal plane, drilled a bunch of small holes in it in a grid pattern, and built an airtight box on the back out of Masonite. I attached a vacuum cleaner outlet on the back, and hooked it up to an old Hoover I got for next to nothing, and voila! ready for film.

    The camera actually worked wonderfully. I have no idea what kind of lens it had, but it must have been good (probably at least a 14"). I wish I had that thing today. It ended up somwhere down in South America with some kind of bible-tract printing operation. (I know this sounds like a dagor77 story, but it's true.)

    By the way, you almost got it right: offset printing uses plates where the image parts are oil-receptive but the non-printing parts are water-receptive. Since the ink is oil-based, it sticks only to the image parts, because of the well-known principle, "oil and water don't mix" (except that sometimes they do mix, resulting in the dreaded condition known as ink emulsification, but that's another story for another day). The plates aren't acid-etched, though they may have been at one time: ever since the 1960s, plates have been photosensitized, much like film, though much slower: they're "burned" with carbon-arc lamps, and "developed" in ordinary room light with this weird reddish stuff you rub across the plate with a cotton swab. Development is a subtractive process whereby the non-image areas of the plate coating are removed. The image areas come out reddish-purple, and the non-image background is the aluminum of the plate.

    So why is it called "offset" printing? If you look at an offset plate, it's right-reading. Instead of printing directly on the paper, the image is "offset" onto an intermediate cylinder, covered with a smooth rubber "blanket". (If you tried printing from an offset plate directly onto paper, you'd end up with a soggy mess from the water.)

    Anything else you'd like to know?
  12. Our working process camera is about the same model; with a longer bed that is 17 feet long. The lenses we use are APO Ronars; 890mm F14; 600mm F9; and the dinky 360mm F9. In inches these are about 35"; 24"; and 14" in focal length<BR><BR>. The center box section has precision cutouts every inch; that a dial micrometer keys to. The lens board; and 48x96" copy board are set to 0.001 inch. When purchased; the Acti Copi technician ran tests to determine the exact focal lengths and reproduction ratios of the camera. One calculates where the lens goes; and copy board; and cranks the two moveable lens board and copy board into position. The back end of the camera is built into the building. The power to the camera and pulsed Xenon's is thru a 230 volt 40 amp breaker.<BR><BR> The horizontal rail above the bellows hold up the giant bellows; which can sag into the lenses view to the film. The Ebay seller has the extension on his; we take ours off when shooting closer shots. The track backlight is a horizontal moveable light that moves up and down the copy board; to do certain types of exposures. The two arms that hold the pulsed xenons are hinged to the copy board; and travel with the copy board; when moved for different reproduction ratios.<BR><BR> The camera completely dominates one room; with the back open to the room behind it. The smaller room has giant trays; and the processing stuff. The door at left of the ebay sellers photo is so that one can be exposing a neagtive; while another is deveoloping a negative/print in the smaller room. Shutting the door prevent the 6000 watts of Pulseds Xenons from ruining work that is in trays; and not quite developed or fixed yet.<BR><BR>Giant cameras like these have been declared obsolete for about a decade. The introduction of digital scanning and printing that ENLARGES and reduces ; with "xerox/bond" wide format copiers started about 1990/1992. These rapidly made many process cameras obsolete. <BR><BR>These cameras; with 3 lenses; and setup; cost about 20 to 35 grand in the 1970's; depending on the options purchased. Most of these have been scraped out. Since they are built int the building wall; it requires money just to dispose of them. Typically the lenses are sold on Ebay; and the rail is removed on a flatbed or semi; and taken to a scrap yard. This is why there are so many process lenses on the surplus market. We have people ask us all the time for our lenses; but then it would prevent us from using our camera. They want them for personal usage; or want to sell them on Ebay. I doubt the money made on the lenses would pay to haul the camera to the scrapyard. Since each lens constant was measured; our lenses are know to us and are usefull.....Our cameras freight charge and crating was over a grand when purchased new.<BR><BR>There are motors which adjust the lens up and sideways on the lens plate. The entire plate is moved by a rotating worm and nut via motors; and contolled in the smaller room; or in the camera room. Along the floor are many hoses; that are used to pull vacuum at the copy board; and negative area. <BR><BR>Most exposures are with the lenses set to F22; which is down to controll/mask the "flatness of field" problem with process lenses. They only have a pseudo "flat field" when stopped down to the working aperture of F22. Somehow the internet has spread the falsehood that process lenses are flat field ; this is wrong. Both Rodenstock and Acti Process; gave us test data; that shows that process lenses need to be stopped down; to get good sharpness at the edges. Our own internal tests confirm this too. Thus I believe Rodenstock; Acti; and our own tests; over the urban legends of the internet; with no actual tests; on a super parallel precision process camera.<BR><BR><img src="">
  13. <img src="">
  14. The 1/4-20 bolt in the lower left corner of the above photo is where I mount by 4x5 speed graphic; on the process camera; when shooting the copy board with small 4x5 negatives. The decal/label is on the steel frame behind the lens board; in the top photo. The entire hollow square steel section is filled with steel shot and chips; to make the camera mechanically dead to vibrations. For the process lens; in barrel nount; there is a rotary sector shutter behind the lens plate. The shutter is opens first; then usually exposure is with the controller timing the Pulsed Xenon strobe lights. <BR><BR>
  15. Very interesting, Kelly. Just a couple of things:

    - do the dollar bills have any function on the camera, or were they just put there for decoration?

    - sorry to bring this up, but do you think you could manage to use standard English punctuation (like commas), instead of all those misplaced semicolons? Reading your writing sounds like someone with asthma wheezing and stopping every five seconds to catch their breath.

    Interesting that the camera is an Acti: I recently salvaged a process lens (a 14" Dagor) from an Acti Sidewinder that was sitting in a local flea market just down the street from me. Are you familiar with this model? It was a giant one, probably the size of the one you showed, which came from Caltrans (the California state highway agency). I think the parts got sold out separately, with the camera itself probably ending up in the landfill. (I ended up selling the lens, which was in near-mint condition, to a place that fitted it with a shutter and sold it to LF users with fat wallets.)
  16. Electric Pachard shutters are expencive and slow...

    Does any body know where I can get an inexpencive electric/electronic shutter for big lenses:

    6inch/150mm rear element

    Wray 900mm/36inch f6.3

    Can I mount a smaller shutter between the lens and the film without causing vingetting?
    Ectra 24inch /600mm f6
  17. Reminds me of that old time photo of the giant camera with the guys crawling
    all over it. I seem to remember it was on a rail car? Now that's photographing!
  18. If it's a large camera you want, check this one out, where the camera is basically the entire building.
  19. David; the dollar bill is added for scale. Everyone knows how big a dollar bill is; even the homeless man in the street. Photos of oddball and odd sized objects need a reference item in them; to give the viewer a sense of scale. <BR><BR> My writing as an Engineer is purposely choppy. I spent many years communicating/working on projects with the Japanese. Shorter sentences; or breaks are the result of weeding thru a zillion feet of thermal faxes. The Japanese Engineers asked to have breaks; or semicolons in translations; or faxes sent to them. This aided in communication; and helped isolate phrases of terms that were difficult to translate/understand. Usually we used double spaced text; to allow space for translations and notes. Since the Japanese were paying my paycheck; and flights to Japan; I learned to write the way they wanted me to; and not for an English teacher. An English teacher wasnt paying me to write; or do Engineering and design work; but the Japanese were. I did this for many years; and actually learned to write in Japanese; and speak abit of it. An English teacher worries about sentence structure; an Engineer worries about designing products; and clear communication to his boss and clients. When one spends alot of long nights pouring over 20 feet of fax; one really wants to elimnate confusion; and get the point across. Long sentences confuse the hell out of translators; using semicolons was/is a way to chop up sentences. Alot of the technical terms and jargon we use are not even in the dictionary; when they are trade secrets or real new. These terms sometimes later surface and become "real words" ; when enough Engineers use the terms; or they get used in patent literature; or trade journals. Sometimes the college crowd that crank out the Phd's will try to redefine terms used in industry; this tends to be annoying at times. When working in Japan; they praised me for the added semicolons.
  20. Dick Roadnight, who has a strong back and a couple of lenses that test it, asked about shutters for them. One has a 150 mm rear element, the other has a 100 mm rear element. He indicated that Packard shutters, the obvious thing to use, are too slow for his purposes.

    I think that if you measure -- I haven't done it -- you'll find that a 4x5 Speed Graphic focal plane shutter will cover a 6" circle. So if you're willing to get a 4x5 Speed and mutilate it somewhat, you should be able to convert it into a behind the lens shutter. In you're in the UK, a Thornton-Pickard suitable for mutilation (sorry, don't know which one to suggest) might be easier to find.

    You might also be able to mutilate a TP SLR or a Graflex so that it can be hung behind the lens. This will require major surgery, in particular removal of bellows and lens board and focusing mechanism. I've never seen a Graflex Big Bertha, but I've seen pictures of them and apparently these beasts used sliding tubes to focus. Camerabody and lens and everything sat on a plank. They were made as large as 5x7. As far as I can tell, they weren't made by Graflex, but were cobbled up by newpapers as required.

    Or if you can live with shooting on 2 1/4 x 2 3/4 or smaller, you ought to be able to find a way to hang a rollfilm SLR behind y're lenses.


  21. > Dick Roadnight, who has a strong back and a couple of lenses that test it, asked >about shutters for them. He indicated that Packard shutters, the obvious thing to use, >are too slow for his purposes.

    Thank Dan,

    I may use the lenses for MF, but 617!

    I have a Hasselblad adaptor for my Sinar, and that would work if I bought a Hasselblad with a focal plane shutter!

    I want flash sync at high speeds: For dance and theatre work, I could probably get away with 1/30, but focal plane shutters would work for landscapes.

    Does anybody make LCD shutters?
  22. Dick, take a look at Domenico Foschi's threads here in the LF
    forum about adapting a Speed Graphic focal plane shutter to sit
    behind the rear element of a big lens. I think he's out taking
    pictures at present, but his tests showed that the idea was

    FWIW, I also now have a 36" f6.3 from the RAF's Williamson
    camera, although as far as I can tell, mine was made by
    Dallmeyer under the same contract as the more common
    Wrays. I'd love to see how yours fits on its lensboard - I'm
    contemplating making a custom rail attachment for mine to
    ensure rigidity and safeguard the camera standards.

    A shuttered 36" f8 Aero Ektar went for about £100 on
    recently, but you would need a hefty power supply to drive the
    shutter, even supposing it was still working.
  23. PS: the optical-quality LCD shutters I have seen which are
    capable of, say, 1/1000 second cost a fortune and are only an
    inch or so in diameter. I wouldn't hold your breath for even a 6x6
    model you'd want between your lens and your film.
  24. Struan:

    >I also now have a 36" f6.3 from the RAF's Williamson camera,

    >although as far as I can tell, mine was made by Dallmeyer under the

    >same contract as the more common Wrays. I'd love to see how yours

    >fits on its lensboard - I'm contemplating making a custom rail.

    >attachment for mine to ensure rigidity and safeguard the camera


    You need a large lump of RHS, two rail clamps and an additional standard to hold the front of the lens.

    If the lens board was in the middle of the lens, it would put less strain onm the lensboard, but you would need more bellows.

    The rear element fills the lensboard.
  25. RHS?

    The rail clamps and other gubbins I have in place, but I'm
    leaning towards getting a machine shop to make something
    which is convenient to use. Just one of my winter projects.

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