Tuesday, November 6, 2012

5x7 View Camera

I have always wanted to try a large format view camera. I recently received an Eastman No. 33A from a friend. I was thinking that finally I will be able to try LF photography.

Not so. After closer examination the camera has several problems.

1) No ground glass
2) Holes in bellows. Bellows very brittle.
3) No film holder
4) Front standard has been modified to try an give some additional movements.
5) Black paint and gaffers tape have been applied to the lens board and front standard.

OK. It could be an interesting refurbishing project.

1) Ground glass to fit can be found for around $35 at Steve Hopf. Seems reasonable.
2) I think the bellows is beyond repair. A new one can be had for $175 from Turner Bellows.
3) Film holders can be found on Ebay for $15 to $20 each.
4) I would need to make new pieces for the front standard. I have done woodworking and have some cherry wood, so not a big deal.
5) I think I would make a new lens board. Refinish the remaining pieces of the front standard.

So, for approximately $250 + time I could get the camera back in operational shape. Is it worth it? I have read people complain about the lack of movements on the front standard. That's why someone tried to modify it. To give it rotational movement in addition to up and down. Being a beginner, I think the lack of movements would be a benefit.

For twice that much money, I could probably find a 4x5 on Ebay in better shape.

I don't know what I am going to do. So for now, I am still just dreaming about LF photography.