Thursday, April 20, 2017

HF3535?, 35x35 Camera, To Buy Or Not To Buy

Thinking strongly of whether to get the 35x35 camera or not. The time is not the best as I am off to Thailand for 6 months in October. Still at a price of $5555 USD the camera is about $4500 USD cheaper than buying a 24x32 Chamonix wet plate camera with holder out of China. That special order camera-wet plate holder retails around $10 000 USD plus shipping. The 24x24 version Chamonix with holder sell for around $7300 USD. So $5555 USD for a much larger 35x35 inch camera with wet plate holder (plus shipping) seems quite reasonable. It is hard to imagine a camera that big 35x35 inches, imagine that! If I got it I might eventually get a reducing back to 20x24 for film and a second wet plate reducing back of 24x35 for a more rectangular composition.

Not sure what to do here. I would be taking a big risk as I have almost no experience with wet plate, tintypes, ambrotypes, wet plate negs. I have barely made 4x5 and 8x10 versions in this process. Yet I am considering buying a 35x35 inch camera to do that type of work. This seems to me it could be a huge home run thing or a brutal strike out. I could be buying a camera I never use or I could be buying a camera that creates some of the most important/collected and shown images of my photo career. I can see what the ambrotypes will look like in my minds eye, those possible photos haunt me. I feel it might be my destiny to make them. And that if I fail to take this risk, I fear I will later deeply regret it.

What to do? I will continue to ask questions and try to figure all of this out in the coming weeks.

Here are some samples of Filip's camera craftsmanship, He makes a variety of cameras and adjusts how he builds each camera to the photographers particular needs. I would want something with a reinforced front standard (to hold a large brass lens, 38inch? 40+ inch?) as well as the hardest strongest type of wood. The idea is to have something strong enough to take on a journey throughout Canada for the "Oh Canada" wet plate photographic project. I would also want a bellows that was long enough to allow me to do some portrait work with the camera (assuming that would work, I think it might).

I am also researching whether a table top camera mounting device could be made to for the 2 large heavy duty Russian tripods I bought earlier this year. The idea would be to mount the table top thingy on top of the two tripods then simply place the large very heavy HF3535 on top of that.

Various HF cameras and details of cameras