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What can I do with an old process camera?

Ted Stoddard , Dec 09, 2004; 10:08 a.m.

I am thinking of purchasing an old process camera maybe to turn it into either an enlarger or a camera can anyone give me ideas and suggestions on what to use it for? the box is 27" x 26"


Ellis Vener , Dec 09, 2004; 11:16 a.m.

outside of using it as a very large foramt studio portrait camera or as an enlarger (ref: Ansel Adams) it might make an interesting light fixture or planter.

Jack Flesher , Dec 09, 2004; 12:44 p.m.

Or you could build a Polaroid 16x20 camera.

Seriously, it is a white elephant...

Randy Becker , Dec 09, 2004; 03:58 p.m.

I used to do graphics in my studio so we bought a 19' model in 1992. Three years later we ended up having to scrap it. In fact, the scrap guys came and they traded out taking it away for whatever they could get in scrap value. The sad part was that I paid $3,000 for it.

I'd pass if I were you. Randy

Daniel Luu van Lang , Dec 09, 2004; 04:00 p.m.

Hi Ted, Last year I have built a home made ULF camera with the huge bellows of a process camera. You can have a look on Patrick Jan Van Hove web site. I shoot 12x16 B&W negs ( only three shots in one year!) regards,

DK Thompson , Dec 09, 2004; 04:28 p.m.

don't feel so bad Randy--we paid $14,000 for a glunz/jensen stat camera. used it for about 4 yrs and then our silkscreen operation went to film output so it was surplused. it had 3 really nice, schneider G-Clarons and an online densitometer too. I tried to strip the lenses off it, but only they were too big for our toyos. It's sitting in a warehouse now....

John Cremati , Dec 11, 2004; 07:35 p.m.

I am taking a older NU Arc manual vertical 14x18 process camera and making a wall mounted vertical enlarger out of it... I removed the copy board and turned the whole thing up side down and reversed the lens board with the uppper film board..I did this so the controls for the column were at waist level... Then I mounted this to the wall.... I am now in the process of making a cold light head for it out of a old light.... I will have a neon guy bend the green and blue tubes to fit..I must say it is a very nice 11x14, enlarger with a price tag of $50 plus what ever the neon guy will charge me...!

Kelly Flanigan , Dec 11, 2004; 09:09 p.m.

Our process camera; 3 lenses; 1970's computer; factory fly in and calibration was about 20 to 25 grand. The unit is built into the building; bed is about 19 feet long; negative 24x36 inches; copy board about something like 5 by 8 feet. The camera's negative is loaded in a separate room. The lights are four 1500watt Pulsed Xenons. These fire on and off say something like 30 hertz. Usual exposures are many seconds; done with a timer. The cameras tubular frame around the lens end is about a 2 inch steel box; filled with steel punchings; to dampen any ringing from the rotary sector shutter behind the lens. The noraml lens is a 600mm F9; the long job is a 890mm F14; the too short guy; is 360mm F9. The 600mm is the "normal lens" for us; used in most jobs. This is the 24 inch lens. Each of the three lenses was experimentally measured for reproduction ratio; and its lens constants and focal length are computer constants. Focus is by computer. The position of the lens and copy board are calculated; and they are moved into place. The rail has a cutout each inch; a dial micrometer cams into the notch; and the lens and copy board are set to 1/1000 inch.

Since our rig has a calibrated focus scheme; it works only with our serial number lenses. We dont sell our lenses; the only thing worth anything; because I do fire it up for odd jobs. Also the giant copy board and lights are used. The process camera makes a good solid support for a wimpy 8x10 or 4x5 camera.

Process cameras that are smaller units are often vertical units; and might be made into a giant camera; if you can lift it.

Many process cameras use/used vacuum backs. The smallest PMT or neg we use/used was a 12x18". The other sizes are 18x24" and 24x36 inches.

Kelly Flanigan , Dec 11, 2004; 09:20 p.m.

John; the "cold light unit" on our rig for the "Blowback" of a giant negative is a big door that swings in place. It has a mess of vertical 24" fluorescent lamps; and a white plexiglass diffuser. When a tube is bad; we replace the entire set; so the illumination is close between the bulbs.

Kelly Flanigan , Dec 11, 2004; 09:40 p.m.

Almost every process camera has been scrapped. Many had to be hauled away as scrap. Many folks had to PAY to have them removed. Folks then placed the lenses on Ebay. Many have found new homes with expermenters; building large cameras. The lenses are corrected from 1:1 to about 1:4 . The PRIME concern with a process camera lens; on a process camera; is that scale is correct. This means lenses with little distortion. Since materials are often lith; contrast is often too high. Even lighting on the copyboard is a real chore. A longer lens is often used; to have less light falloff; ie better illumination. Most process lenses are/were used a working aperture of about F22; mostly to quash field curvature. Process lens have field curvature. Those who have never used one like to spread the total BS that they are "flat field lenses". They missed the subtle point that they act like a "flat field lens"; when used at their design aperture of F22. Wide open at F9; the corners are blured; when the center is sharp.

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