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Hi, Does anyone have any experience or know of a review of the Gandolfi Variant Series especially in the 5x7 format. I have seen the HP Bromwell site and it does not have much information of the camera specifications. The pictures that I have seen of this series intrigues me enoug h to investigate further. I plan to replace the old B&J 5x7 within a year and I 'm starting the checking out various brands.
I do not even know whether Gandolfi variant cameras are made for 5x7". I have, however, seen a review about them in a German photographic magazine whic h was very positive. Gandolfi does make wooden 5x7"s. If you want to know more, best is to phone Gandolfi: 0044-264 357859, Fax: 352201. I am not sure whether t he area code is still correct, maybe you will have to insert a 1 (like: 1264??). The address: Gandolfi Limited, 24 Focus 303, South Way, Andover, Hampshire SP10 5NY.UK. Another good source of information, and a possible outlet, is a photogr aphic store in England: Robert White, Unit Four, Alder Hills, Poole, Dorset BH1 2 4AR, Phone: 0044-1202 723046, Fax 737428. They are very polite and helpful at the phone, well informed, have very reasonable prices, and they also ship.
A number of years ago, when the Variant was first introduced, Roger Hicks wrote an excellent review of this camera for Shuterbug magazine. I bought the level three 4x5 version from Ted Bromwell. I used it for a few years, but sold it when I got started in 8x10. The camera CAN be converted to 8x10, but bellows draw is then becomes too restricted for my purposes. If I'm not mistaken, the longest lens which can then be used is about normal focal length. The Variant is a beautiful, sturdy, well-crafted camera with all the movements you would ever need. It is also relatively heavy. I cannot recall whether a 5x7version is offered, but it may be.
http://www.gandolficameras.com - and yes, they make 5x7" Variant cameras.
Jeff, it has 480mm of extension so you would be able to use a slightly longer than normal lens if you converted to 8X10
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