View Full Version : Just got the Gowland and I'm Psyched!

G Benaim
30-May-2006, 06:13
Hi, all

I just got the camera today, and was pleasantly surprised by the extra features it came with. It has the separate rise and tilt front, a fresnel, a 2 screw back for switching orientation, and bubble levels. I thought I was getting the plane Jane model. Anyway, 2 questions. The focus gear is a little stiff, so I wanted to know how to lubricate it. Also, the levels are dried out, so I wondered if there are standard replacements for the vials or whether it's a specially made part for Gowland.
The lens, btw, is in much better shape than I was led to believe. there's something in there, but it's not fungus. Looks more like dust or tiny bubbles. anyway, not bad for what I paid, plus I got a bunch of holders and film.
I'm sure I'll have lots of questions once I actually start using it, but I'm psyched!

G Benaim
30-May-2006, 06:21
PS: How do you load a calumet 6x7 roll back?

30-May-2006, 06:58
The focus gear is a little stiff, so I wanted to know how to lubricate it. Also, the levels are dried out, so I wondered if there are standard replacements for the vials or whether it's a specially made part for Gowland.

I didn't think that the focus rail is geared on the Gowland, though I know some people have theirs geared after the fact; S.K. Grime offered this conversion specifically for Gowland cameras at one point. In any case, on my Gowland Pocket View 4x5, I can adjust the friction on the focus rail by tightening/loosening the 4 screws on the underside of the focus block. Mine do not come with the levels either; I suspect that those are 3rd party add-ons too.

- Phong

30-May-2006, 07:13
For bubble level vials, try the following,


Brian Ellis
30-May-2006, 07:22
"How do you load a calumet 6x7 roll back"

It isn't easy or intutive the first few times you do it. I had to pull out the instruction booklet each time until I had done it four or five times. I don't know if the instructions are on line anywhere or if you could get the booklet from Calumet. Or maybe someone here can step you through it, it's been a long time since I owned mine.

John Kasaian
30-May-2006, 08:14
Call Peter up and give him your accolades and questions---He'd most likely appreciate it! I think a conversation with Peter Gowland is a "value added" treat that should come with every Gowland Camera.

30-May-2006, 08:16
"How do you load a calumet 6x7 roll back"

I found a pdf online: http://www.calumetphoto.com/resources/pdfs/Ins_C2N.pdf
I bought the holder recently but haven't used it, so can't help you exactly how...

G Benaim
30-May-2006, 10:36
Thanks all for the response. I loosened the focus screws and that fixed it, Phong. I've been in email contact w Peter since I first considered getting the camera, and he's ben very helpful. I'm curious how those of you who own one of these carry them. Mine came w an especially long rod, 14in, so that may make it more difficult to carry easily. I'm considering getting a shorter one, but am curious how to carry it.

30-May-2006, 10:53
Welcome to the Gowland fold.

My third Gowland, an 8x10, will be arriving in about a week. I ordered an additional, short, rod, which, among other things, functions nicely as a packing rod: mount both standards on this short rod, and the camera will fit in a camera bag or backpack. I happen to know that Peter has a supply of 6-inch rods instantly available; he'd love to sell you one if you give him a call. The short rods are the slotted focus rods, which when combined with a standard unslotted rear rod give plenty of length for short to medium lenses. That's assuming your tripod block is the kind that will accept two rods.

I usually carry my 4x5 Gowland in a shoulder bag designed for 35mm. The bag is longish and the camera fits on it on the full rods. This bag does limit me to 2-3 lenses.

Another option is to pack the camera disassembled, put it together at the first shooting opportunity, then leave it mounted to the tripod, which carry over your shoulder from then on. Dismount the lens, if you prefer; strap loaded tripod to your backpack if you prefer. All are practical options for the featherweight and non-fragile Gowland.

30-May-2006, 11:00
I carry my 4x5 all move in a computer laptop backpack. The tripod block and the standard blocks stay on the 8.5" focus rail. Bellow unit with the front and rear standards inside the padded sleeve, lenses in a seperate compartment. I have Peter made me a set of screw together rails, so the blocks could all slide along the entire rail assembly, and I could easily increase or reduce rail length.


G Benaim
30-May-2006, 12:26
I took it out for a sping this afternoon, will dev the negs tomorrow. Everything works fine, just having a little trouble w the 90/6.8 at twilight, and figuring out what f-stop to use. Also, how do you guys keep the swings zeroed? I figure I'll use levels for the tilts, but don't know what to do about swings. One last thing, the fresel is covered by a clear glass on the viewing side, and has cut corners. Is the glass just for protection? Thanks in advance.

30-May-2006, 12:33
"how do you guys keep the swings zeroed?"

Well, there is the crux of using a Gowland. You have to let go of the concept of "zeroed". The best I can do is try to remember to check all possible movements every shot, even those I wish to be in the zero position. Also, you might want to make marks on the camera to indicate the zero position, if possible.

It's a fussy, minimalist machine, so it is particularly important to work slowly and deliberately.

David A. Goldfarb
30-May-2006, 13:11
You can make marks on the camera for the zero positions, which I've done.

I also use a clinometer-compass made by Sunnto (you can find them used on eBay, usually from people who install TV satellite dishes) to check that everything is parallel.

G Benaim
30-May-2006, 14:13
Would getting a smaller rod help in packing? How do you get your 8x10 into a laptop bag David?

David A. Goldfarb
30-May-2006, 15:34
I remove the rail when I want to carry it compactly. The bag for the 8x10" is a knapsack designed for laptop computers with a padded compartment, not a small laptop case.

I do the same with the 4x5" Gowland when I'm carrying it in the side pocket of my Scope Pak along with my 35mm birding kit. The 8x10" has knobs instead of those hex screws, so it's a little handier that way, and I've put bigger knobs on for convenience, even if it adds an ounce or two to the weight. With the 4x5" I just carry an allen wrench to tighten and adjust it.

Sometimes I walk around with the rail attached to the tripod and the camera in the bag.

Ed K.
30-May-2006, 18:46
For the roll film back - if it is the kind that requires removal of the focus panel to attach, you may need to order the "Graflok Tabs" from Peter. The 4x5s do not come with them standard, and yours may or may not have them. They consist of two chrome pieces that slide on the back, enabling you to secure standard Graflok components. There are also roll film holders that slide into the back in a similar manner to a film holder - however if you're asking that question, you probably don't have one.

Peter does sell diferent rails for various cameras, and it's likely that he could make a shorter one or split yours into segments if you want. Levels were most likely added by a third party. In general, swings can be "zeroed" by aligning the standards to the blocks they sit on top of, depending on your model ( an "All Moves 4x5", right? ). Your levels will obviously do a lot to ensure that your tilts are "zero". You could also use a small piece of cardboard or other "square" item to close the camera down to check that swings are zero, then do your focus as normal.

Congrats on your new Gowland!

31-May-2006, 19:18
Actually now I remember that the 6" rods in stock are only for 8x10 cameras, so scratch that.

G Benaim
1-Jun-2006, 05:47
I couldn't open the pdf on the6x7 back, so maybe someone can describe to me whether the full roll goes in the bottom or top roller, and whether there's more to it than meets the eye? Thanks.