The Deardorff 8 x 10 inch (Old Style with no front swing) view camera started off as a completely hand made camera. Production runs of 10 and 15 were made in a small shop in Chicago. Some of the first units were made from mahogany bar tops (no longer needed due to prohibition).
Metal parts are mostly brass with shellac coating (early), gold painted (1926 - 37) or nickel plated (1938 on). Aluminum and stainless steel were used for the back turntable and struts. Many of the early cameras had no name plate or serial number making it difficult to pin down the age of a Deardorff. The camera shown above was used in a commercial studio in Chicago and was in very poor condition prior to a complete restoration in 2000. An artice on the restoration was published in View Camera Magazine. Download the complete article in PDF format.
The camera became a great favorite of commercial photographers due to its features of rear swing and tilt and front tilt and sliding lens panel. The triple extension bellows added to the versatility. In 1949 front swing was added but the basic camera design remained the same until 1988 when the Deardorff went out of business. Although this camera is placed in the "Middle" section, it could have also placed in the early and late. Large format view cameras are still being used in numbers today. They are the preferred camera of landscape, architectural and fine art photographers.
Several other camera sizes were produced during 65 years of camera manufacturing. See the Deardorff History
- 1923 - 1988 L.F. Deardorff & Sons, Chicago
- 14" Commercial Ektar (interchangable)
- Ilex No. 5 Shutter mounted on Deardorff Lens Board
- 8 x 10 sheet film (reducing back available)