View Full Version : VDS 5x7 CAMERA REVIEW (sort of)

Leszek Vogt
28-Feb-2017, 14:13


The largest influence on my purchase was the weight of this cameraÖ.and the fact that it folds. This became an easy decision, since most of my lenses (by choice) already fit this format.

Camera Manuf Logo

Much like most cameras, this one isnít perfect. I should add, that it may not be for everyone. Nonetheless, IMO itís the operator and the camera pretty much follows. Anyway, just got this model and decided to share what I found.

Level (built into rear standard)


Before I get into that, if you are interested in specs you can check the VDS site:


Name plate

OK, here we go. Iíve waited 88 days for the camera to be made and it finally reached me. We know how fast anything (in LF) is being done.


Mostly solid wood (Cherry-light version)
Plywood was used on some parts to prevent worpage
Stainless hardware (brassy hardware is also available)
Aluminum control knobs
Miter joints have a spline (nice touch)
GG creates v. nice and crisp image (Symmar-S)
One leveler is present at the top of the rear standard

The knobs are easy to operate and there are small neoprene bushings that keep things snug-tight. The bellows stay in place without any sagging (not yet anyway). Changing lenses is effortless as it should be. Folding the camera back is bit tricky, but no major feat Ė just something one has to get used to. The footprint is small and Iíll repeat myselfÖ.this rig is hiking friendly. Overall, the camera feels relatively stout, I mean even with the bellows extended. Thatís a plus.

Iím not able to determine nuances or contrasts between this camera and Canham or Chamonix, etc. Indeed, itís an alternative to other cameras and IMO priced reasonably.

Some disclaimers: The lens boards suppose measure 110mm x 110mm and they are actually closer to 108mm x 108mm. Well, not a big deal. The rig has no phys. detents, proscribed measurements to speak of or any sort of fine focus controls. Also, and this may not be a game changer for some, the site indicates that the camera weights (naked) 3.2 lbs., but in reality it was 4.74 lbs.


Besides being tempted to hack my compendium (Calumet/Combo) to fit this camera, I also want to make some real cool looking lens boards (crank my chopsaw) out of curly maple, which will add some charmÖ.they are not as difficult to make as some may have implied.

Positives tend to outweigh negatives. Darker finish (and red bellows) may be more desirable and both are available. Most likely will have to rig up some sort of stretching band to be able to attach the dark cloth in order to see the GG. Oh, and Sandor (the maker) claims that the bellows are IR friendly.

Lets face it, itís a box (bit quirky)Ö.and there are some mini warts. But, it sheds light onto film like all other cameras, eh ?. Donít expect any sexual appealÖ.though it may still appear to be porn :>). Being a field rig, it will fit into a backpack and my back will thank meÖitís roughly the weight of my Feisol tripod, which is superb. Iím looking forward to install a film holder and take this bad boy for a spin. Some day Iíll even use the acquired 4x5 redux back on some IR or color images. Efke and X-ray awaits.


Let me know if I didnít cover somethingÖor you might be curious aboutÖ..and Iíll try (if I can) to answer your concerns.

Disclaimer: havenít shot any film with it yet.

~ More pics coming ~


Leszek Vogt
28-Feb-2017, 14:18
Front view (folded)
Side view (folded)
Bellows extended
Rear view & GG

28-Feb-2017, 14:19
Hello, nice camera. I have been looking at VDS as a possibility. Did you buy your reducing back from them at the same time as your camera order? Is it matching in appearance?

Leszek Vogt
28-Feb-2017, 14:22
Front view w/o lens
Another view
Another view w/Symmar-S 210mm lens
Reduced 4x5 back/insert

Leszek Vogt
28-Feb-2017, 14:31
Hello, nice camera. I have been looking at VDS as a possibility. Did you buy your reducing back from them at the same time as your camera order? Is it matching in appearance?

Yes, I ordered the redux back with the camera...and yes, it matches. Check out the last pic.


28-Feb-2017, 16:16

1-Mar-2017, 11:43
Does the reducing back have a spring mechanism to hold the film holder in place? It looks like one has to remove the 4x5 viewing glass and hold the film holder in place using those knurled knobs?

Leszek Vogt
1-Mar-2017, 17:31
Not sure how the 4x5 redux is suppose to work. There are springs under those knobs, so I'm assuming the GG suppose to remain in place....working as designed. I may have moved it...and didn't test it with actual film holder (yet).


Peter Collins
1-Mar-2017, 17:46
Love that ground glass, too.
Christmas in February!

Leszek Vogt
2-Mar-2017, 02:30
Ooopser, just got corrected by Sandor. With the 4x5 insert, one has to take out the GG and the knobs actually hold the film holder in place. One can also use Pola/Fujiroid or 6x9 or even 6x12 back the same way. There....now I know too.:p


John Kasaian
2-Mar-2017, 07:28
Congrats on your new camera!

18-Oct-2017, 10:49

How are you liking your VDS so far? And - if I may ask - how are you carrying it with cassettes and lens? I was thinking it's a bit impractical that you cannot fold it with the lens attached..

Leszek Vogt
18-Oct-2017, 16:10
Haven't shot one image yet, but intend to shortly. Actually, I've loaded several film holders already, but I need bit of a break between projects around the house. Anyway, as Ken Lee (on this forum) suggested, I sprung up for a large "cooler bag", which was v. light and priced v. reasonably. Sooo, there is plenty of room for film holders, padded lenses, the camera and accessories. Hmmm, I might be able to fold it and keep the smaller lenses attached (ex. 150mm g-claron), but I haven't got to this point. I bought the rig with the idea of storing the lens/es seperately after I'm done....especially the Xenar 360mm :>).