Well, it’s been a bit over 3 months since the brown box arrived and I added the images of the camera. Seems like a good time to reflect on using the camera.
When it first arrived, I spent some time setting the camera up then folding it up. The exercise, per Bruce Barlow, is known as ‘cuddling’ and it was a very good exercise – especially once I got into the field using the camera.
So what is using the camera like? Well, it is everything I had hoped it would be. I have burned a few sheets of film, as recently as yesterday (Jan. 3, 2009). The wind was pretty steady at 20-25 mph, with gust up to 30 mph. A test for any camera, much less one that only weighs in the neighborhood of 6.5 lbs. The Ritter is like any other camera, it does vibrate in the wind. However I made six separate negatives – 4 7×11 and 2 8×10’s and the as long as I waited for a lull in the wind and did my part – the negatives looked good – even though the shutter was set a 1/2 sec.
Problems?The worst issue I have with the camera, is it has more movements, than my lens have coverage – I use a 240mm Germinar, 300mm C Fuji and a 450mm C Fuji. Now, I have not run out of image circle with the 450 Fuji, but have gotten myself in trouble with the 240 and 300. Not a fault of the camera, but the photographer. Yesterday was a good example – I was shooting a church for the church project and wanted to get the steeple and part of the roof line, using the 300. Well the camera was tilted up at the steeple at a pretty sharp angle, then the front(axis and base) and rear(base) standards were tilted to keep the film plane parallel, then I add some rise. Now, that is the most movements I have tried to use and I looked, but did not notice that I had run out of image circle – just clipped the corners at the top of the image.
So, not a camera issue, just a novice photographer learning how to use the tools. The fit and finish are really nice, the back comes off to rotate, or be replace with the 8×10/7×11 back. I hauled it up and down the banks of the Guadalupe River, back in October of last year. If I had been carrying the old Eastman No. 2 (it weighs in at 16+ lbs) it would not have been as much fun.
After 3 months of shooting, would I recommend a Ritter 8×10. The answer is a resounding YES. The camera is light, has more movements than I will ever figure out how to use, is well made and the the weight – well the weight is a dream for a large format photographer. Don’t look for this one to be up for sale anytime in the future, I plan to put a LOT more film through it before I retire from taking photographs.
Stayed tuned, I have some new 7×11 film holders due in from S&S. Will give my impression of these after I have had a chance to run some film through them.
Hope you all have a Great 2009.