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BobKueppers
26-Dec-2009, 14:18
I just purchased a Kodak Century Studio Camera from an antique shop for $300 and was wondering what the real worth is?

The camera is a 9A and has the number 62 stamped on the inside the bellows frame (serial #?)
The bellows is in good shape, doesn't seem to have any light leeks. The Lens doesn't focus, someone crimped the edges on the inside and it wont turn. I'm guessing the camera is from 1907-28?

The center wood piece that joins both billows is screwed down. I tried removing the 3 screws but it still seems anchored tight and I didn't want to force anything. How to I get it to stretch out full? And what are the two hook for in the front?

Is there a PDF manual for this bad boy?
Any information would be much appreciated.

http://idisk.me.com/bkueppers/Public/Pictures/Skitch/Kodak_Century_Studio_Camera_7-20091226-165556.jpg

http://idisk.me.com/bkueppers/Public/Pictures/Skitch/Kodak_Century_Studio_Camera_5-20091226-165542.jpg

http://idisk.me.com/bkueppers/Public/Pictures/Skitch/Kodak_Century_Studio_Camera_3-20091226-165529.jpg

http://idisk.me.com/bkueppers/Public/Pictures/Skitch/Kodak_Century_Studio_Camera_1-20091226-165512.jpg

Michael Roberts
26-Dec-2009, 14:31
I don't think 62 is the serial number. Look around for a six digit number. Looks like a beauty. Any markings on the lens?

BobKueppers
26-Dec-2009, 15:18
Where would the serial number be located? I looked for one when I was cleaning it. Here's a shot of the back of the lens, you can see where someone crimped it. I don't think it was the original lens as the wood is a few shades off the rest of the body.

http://idisk.me.com/bkueppers/Public/Pictures/Skitch/Kodak_Century_Studio_Camera-20091226-181417.jpg

BarryS
26-Dec-2009, 15:28
Sorry, no PDF (or other) manual, but these are simple cameras. If you loosen the knob(s) on the bottom bed, you should be able to slide the inner rail backwards and extend the front bellows. The two knobs at the base of the rear standard move the camera back forward or back (compressing or extending the rear bellows). The center knob sticking up locks this movement. The upper knob on the right with the worm screw swings the back, and the middle upper knob tilts the back.

The number 62 was used for matching parts at the factory. The serial number should be stamped into the rear of the base rail somewhere--maybe the top of the rear cross piece. I'm not sure about the hooks at the front. They could be for mounting a lens shade or maybe a place to route rubber tubing for a pneumatic shutter. The lens doesn't focus by rotating in a helical--the focusing is done with the bellows. For a 9A Studio camera in good shape with good bellows and a lens--$300 is a very reasonable price. That plaque alone must be worth $200. :)

Steven Tribe
26-Dec-2009, 15:29
The camera set-up has been changed form the original BIG format to a much smaller format (probably less bellows extension) with a reducing back and from the classic huge fast lens to a smaller Goerz Celor ( and a bit slower) which was too small for the original lens board! The Celor, unlike the Dagor, was sold for portrait use.

Steven Tribe
26-Dec-2009, 15:38
This series 1b Celor from Goerz has an impossibly early serial number. This, and the english text/US patent, suggests it was early product from the American daughter company at Inwood, Long Island.

BobKueppers
26-Dec-2009, 15:39
Awesome! I thought the two bottom knobs were for sliding into the camera stand, I didn't realize they were for the inner rails. I'm loving this camera, I really want to use it. I'm spoiled on digital.

Steven Tribe
26-Dec-2009, 15:44
Now you have to find a matching stand! If you thought the camera was heavy you are in for a big surprise.

BobKueppers
26-Dec-2009, 15:48
The antique store had a studio camera stand, however it was $700 and had all cleaned up gears which I didn't want because it wouldn't match. The stand had a weight system on pulleys. Do stands typically cost more the the camera?

Paul Ewins
26-Dec-2009, 15:55
What is really weird is that the lens seems to have been mounted backwards. Those inscriptions are always on the front of the lens where you can read them. I don't know that particular lens, it may be symmetrical and this may not matter optically, but it does look like you are going to have trouble changing the aperture. You should be able to unscrew the whole lens from the flange (the black ring on the front of the lensboard) and then bring it round to the front and screw it back in the opposite way.

BobKueppers
26-Dec-2009, 15:57
I've tried unscrewing it, but it's on there good, and I don't want to break the wood by forcing anything. :(

BarryS
26-Dec-2009, 16:08
The studio stand that matches your camera is the Century Semi-Centennial Stand 1-A. They usually don't sell for much because they're very difficult to ship. Maybe a couple hundred bucks, depending on the condition. They're well worth finding, because they function beautifully with the camera.

BobKueppers
26-Dec-2009, 16:11
Is there a thread in this forum that goes over the basics of this camera? I'm at a loss with what to do with the glass plates. (I'm 28 so this camera is a new world for me)

BarryS
26-Dec-2009, 16:21
If you do a search on Century Studio Camera, you should turn up some information--not a lot, but somewhere to start. By glass plates, do you mean the camera backs with the ground (frosted) glass?

BobKueppers
26-Dec-2009, 16:25
yeah, the frosted glass. I understand the basics how you move the bellows to focus (I still use Polaroid Land Cameras) but where am I supposed to see the image to actually focus? On the glass?

BarryS
26-Dec-2009, 16:32
The image will appear on the glass. Find a dark cloth to drape over the back of the camera and your head. You have a 9 1/2" lens, so at infinity focus the distance between the ground glass and the center of the lens will be about 9 1/2". At a 1:1 (life size) magnification, the distance will be about 19". So, that should give you an idea of where to start. Try racking the bellows out to about 12-13" and that should be a close place to start testing the focus on something nearby.

Michael Roberts
26-Dec-2009, 16:45
Bob,
check out the articles on the home page of this site, like this one:
http://www.largeformatphotography.info/how-to-operate.html

BobKueppers
26-Dec-2009, 16:48
you guys are great!

Louis Pacilla
26-Dec-2009, 17:07
Hi Bob

Enjoy the great 9A . Very nice.

The lens barrel is NOT mounted backwards. Impossible to do. Just leave it as is.

I don't know & maybe it already been pointed out . I think the Celor's front rim dent prompted the previous owner to switch out front for back & back for front. So they could mount some type of filter. I could be wrong but I don't believe it will pose much problem . I believe this is symmetrical so the front & rear are dam near identical if not identical. so you can leave the elements as they are & there is a good reason (I'll get to that).


Now this is where you may want the elements as you found them.

The Celor is a Sharp lens but suffers from a lack of or flat contrast. Due to the eight air to glass surfaces. So you will want to do a couple of things for better results. Make sure you shield the front element from stray light. A hood is great.
Again, The Celor is pretty sharp when stopped down & has a nice look wide open but lacks a pop in contrast. You may want to use contrast filters when shooting B&W. Like a k2 maybe even a #21 & again watch stray light. Shell make great images w/ your help:).

Peace
Louis



What is really weird is that the lens seems to have been mounted backwards. Those inscriptions are always on the front of the lens where you can read them. I don't know that particular lens, it may be symmetrical and this may not matter optically, but it does look like you are going to have trouble changing the aperture. You should be able to unscrew the whole lens from the flange (the black ring on the front of the lensboard) and then bring it round to the front and screw it back in the opposite way.

BobKueppers
26-Dec-2009, 19:09
I just realized that the lens is soldered in the front so it cant be turned, I have no clue why someone would have done this. There is a big piece of fuzz between the glass lenses, guess it doesn't really matter as it will just add to the character of the shot.

I'm confused with how to create the negative. I thought these cameras do the glass plate (wet plate?) negatives?

BarryS
26-Dec-2009, 19:14
These cameras post-date the wet plate era. They were used to shoot dry plates and film. It looks like you have a 5x7 back on the camera, so you'll need some 5x7 film holders and film.

BobKueppers
26-Dec-2009, 20:37
I read up on dry plate process (http://www.alternativephotography.com/process_dryplate.html) but where do I find the plates? couldn't find them on BH, they called something specific other then dry plates or glass plates? I'm not after perfect images by any means, I'm looking for that authentic look with imperfections and that's why I want to go the plate way.

BobKueppers
26-Dec-2009, 20:56
on second thought, the dry plates seem like a pain in the ass, I'll stick to getting film and a holder.

this what I need?

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/17543-REG/Fidelity_FI5700X2_5x7_Sheet_Film_Holders.html

&

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/24666-REG/Ilford_1678307_FP4_Plus_5x7_25.html

Since I don't have a dark room, think it would be possible to take the exposed 5x7 negatives to the local photo shop and have them process it?

BarryS
26-Dec-2009, 21:17
I'm not sure dry plates are still commercially available. I think I remember seeing something about special orders available from a Russian manufacturer, but I'd recommend starting off with film. Try and see if you can find some used holders on the forum--the new ones left are very expensive. The FP4 Plus would be a good start for film. It's getting harder and harder to find places to develop sheet film, so maybe you should consider developing it yourself--it's not hard. You just need to darken a room in your house somewhere and it'll be a lot less expensive than sending your film out.

Paul Bujak
27-Dec-2009, 17:36
Bob,
You're in Columbus. Get over to Midwest Photo Exchange (3313 N High St). Talk to the guys there. Lots of knowledge and interesting new and used stuff. Then go to Columbus Camera Group on Blake. Fun, fun, fun!

Paul

Mark Sampson
28-Dec-2009, 06:37
Yes, the lens is in backwards. It's possible that the last previous owner used the camera to make copies, and in closeup work the lens is often reversed for greater sharpness. But who knows? The 'crimps' you see are just accidents/abuse over 100 years. The hooks on the front standard are to hold a 3-sided frame covered with black velvet used as a lens hood, and/or an unknown diffuser/vignetter for portraiture.

Louis Pacilla
29-Dec-2009, 12:02
Again... The lens is NOT IN BACKWARDS the elements are switched around.

Also the hooks where/are used to hang bulb from Packard Shutter when not in use


Yes, the lens is in backwards. It's possible that the last previous owner used the camera to make copies, and in closeup work the lens is often reversed for greater sharpness. But who knows? The 'crimps' you see are just accidents/abuse over 100 years. The hooks on the front standard are to hold a 3-sided frame covered with black velvet used as a lens hood, and/or an unknown diffuser/vignetter for portraiture.