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View Full Version : Want to get into 5x7: Questions



Ramiro Elena
19-Jan-2010, 02:25
After reading all the praise on 5x7 I've gotten the itch and would like to get into it. I do have have several questions I'd like to have answered before I start looking/buying.

I own a Toyo 45A field camera and a couple lenses: Schenneider Xenar 180mm f5,6 and a Calumet Caltar 210mm f6,3.

-Will these two cover 5x7?

Since I am starting, I don't want to go out and buy something very expensive, in fact I'd like to spend as little as possible, and from what you guys say in the forum you can go for an inexpensive model.

Now, where do I start? I see lots of wooden models on the Bay with a wide range of prices.
-Can you guys point me to a few names or models I should be paying attention to? Anything that you would look for if you had to start now after your personal experience?
-Do all models take different film holders (wooden/plastic)
-Can they all do vertical and horizontal? My 45A has a revolving back but it's not a real need.
-Can I make my own lens plate in case the camera doesn't have one. Or could I mod the front to use the metal lens plate already in my lenses?
-How hard is it to find new bellows for old cameras? Can they be installed fairly easily?

I've seen some beautiful portrait models but I guess a little tilt and shift would be nice.
There were more questions I can't remember now :D

Your help and comments would be greatly apreciated.
Thank you!

Ken Lee
19-Jan-2010, 06:18
A good site to start is Field Cameras of the United States (http://www.piercevaubel.com/cam/index.htm)

Some of the older wooden cameras were made with 2 rail boards, a front and a rear. Before purchasing a vintage camera find out enough to know whether the camera is missing the tail or some other important part.

Here's one (http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&Item=350305316057&Category=15247&_trkparms=algo%3DLVI%26its%3DI%26otn%3D2#ht_1736wt_1167) being offered, unfortunately, without the tail. The seller may not even know that the camera had one originally, but you can see in the photo of the rear, there are holes for the tail to screw in. The camera will be fine for shorter lenses, but will be unusable for long lenses or close focus. Needless to say, it will be very hard to find a tail for this one. One could be made, but at a relatively high cost.

This page (http://www.piercevaubel.com/cam/seneca/sencamcity3.htm) shows a beautiful older Seneca camera, complete with rear rail board.

venchka
19-Jan-2010, 06:31
A few days ago there was a nice Rittreck with 4x5 AND 5x7 backs for sale here. Not sure if it's still around. Don't know about the Xenar, but the Caltar should cover 5x7.

Ken Lee
19-Jan-2010, 07:13
The Xenar is a Tessar design. At smaller stops, it will probably cover, but may be softer near the edges. At closer than infinity, coverage will increase. On 5x7, they will be very sharp. Try the 180 for close work: you'll be delighted.

Unless the cameras are in perfect shape, they may need some work. Richard Ritter see all, knows all.

wfwhitaker
19-Jan-2010, 08:57
Since I am starting, I don't want to go out and buy something very expensive, in fact I'd like to spend as little as possible, and from what you guys say in the forum you can go for an inexpensive model.

Expensive is a relative term.

Don't fall victim to buying a camera which needs repair, thinking that it's a cheap way out. It can be. But you can easily end up spending more on repair and rebuilding than you planned. Sometimes spending a little more up front to have a working camera ready to go make photographs is a better option. Don't ask me how I know.

venchka
19-Jan-2010, 09:08
Expensive is a relative term.

Don't fall victim to buying a camera which needs repair, thinking that it's a cheap way out. It can be. But you can easily end up spending more on repair and rebuilding than you planned. Sometimes spending a little more up front to have a working camera ready to go make photographs is a better option. Don't ask me how I know.

Even free cameras can end up costing more than they are worth. Been there. Done that. Hold out for someting in full working order.

Terence McDonagh
19-Jan-2010, 09:18
It might help to know where you are located. Assuming you're in the U.S., I have a 5x7 camera and film holders I might be able to loan you.

John Kasaian
19-Jan-2010, 09:41
IMHO 5x7 Nagaoka is "the bomb" for a lightwieght field camera. Of course nobody wants to sell thiers :( IIRC they may still be available new in Japan.

You can't go wrong with a Deardorff.

The Linhof Technika is super as all Linhofs are, but they go for big bucks here in the US, and are heavy!

For handheld work the 5x7 Speed Graphic is what I use, but they are hard to find.

I also like the Agfa/Ansco Universals (so much so that I have two in working condition plus another 2 or 3 parts cameras) Universals are usually had for little $$ but have all the movements and bellows anyone is likely to ever need, plus the varnished ones with brass hardware look very cool. They are bulky when folded though. Oh, and the "boards" on Universals are hinged together so unless a Universal has been monkeyed around with, you'll get both boards already attached so you'll have no worries about loosing a board out in the field. Beware that there are lots of variation among Agfa/Anscos and there are cameras that look like Universals that aren't as desireable (usually more limited bellows/movements) and to make matters interesting, I've not seen a 5x7 Universal labelled "Universal" so find a picture on the internet and learn what the finer details look like before starting the hunt if this is a model camera that sounds interesting.

Good luck!

Ramiro Elena
19-Jan-2010, 10:13
I am in Spain :D So I already count on shipping and the fact that most 5x7 for sale are in the US.
Having said that, I have a thing for smart/clever design and being able to fold a big monster into something "small". Since, at this point, I might be asking for too much, wood is probably a better choice, unless I shed the money for a newer model.

I want something that doesn't require spending time and money looking for impossible to find parts. What worries me the most in this case scenario is sitting on a piece of equipment forever and not being able to use it (more than the money). I've done this way too many times. The furthest I am willing to go is a change of bellows and working out the lensboard.
Not going to be doing arquitecture so, not worried so much about movements. A little tilt for creative purpouses is enough, of course some shift to easier frame portraits.

What about holders? Is wood okay? Can I use plastic film holders with a wooden camera?
Thanks for the ideas, I'll start looking (slowly)

Ken Lee
19-Jan-2010, 10:31
You can use any standard holder. I have a few old wooden holders, and now I prefer them. Perhaps the manufacturers changed to plastic for their own benefit.

John Kasaian
19-Jan-2010, 21:51
The only big deal with holders is that some Graflex cameras use holders with a locking groove rather than a locking rib. These holders are around on the used market but what a hassle! I'd avoid cameras set up for these.
Also there is a metric film equivalent to the 5x7 format in Europe which won't fit in standard 5x7 holders (or is it the other way around??) You might want to consider where you'll be buying your film and which size will be easier for you to find and which wil be more economical (both holders will fit in a 5x7 camera I've been told)
For something light and compact consider a Nagaoka. If you've got connections in Japan, well....there you go! :)

John NYC
19-Jan-2010, 22:39
I never hear people talk about the lack of available film for 5x7 when its virtues are extolled. Particularly the lack of color print and slide. Something to keep in mind.

toyosnapper
20-Jan-2010, 02:57
Anyone know anything about the Linhof Standard 7x5 ca 1936? I am interested in knowing if it will take normal plastics film holders? Thanks.

Peter K
20-Jan-2010, 05:01
Anyone know anything about the Linhof Standard 7x5 ca 1936? I am interested in knowing if it will take normal plastics film holders? Thanks.
Nearly all Technika II and Standard cameras take single plate/film holders, with so called "million-fold". There was also a Technika II 10x15cm aviable with a back for double-plate/film-holders 4x5". But as I know not for 5x7".

If the circular dove-tail from the revolving-back - sorry I haven't a Technika II anymore - has a diameter of ca. 221mm, the back could be exchanged with the back from a Technika III ,and newer, 13/18cm/5x7".

To remove the back, turn it 45 and remove the two screws of eatch of the 4 brackets that holds the revolving-back. If the back of the Technika III fits, mount the brackets and take pictures now with double-film-holders.

Peter

Ramiro Elena
21-Jan-2010, 08:24
Then, if I am not mistaken, pretty much any 5x7 camera if complete will do.
I've been following the Bay and a few Kodak 2 show up aswell as some very pretty Burke and James. Deardorff's seam to have lots of accessories but a bit high in price.

Thank you all for the tips.

Steven Tribe
21-Jan-2010, 08:56
Look for 13x18cm in Europe. You live in an unfortunate country for buying wood brass cameras. I have never seen anything for sale there approaching a reasonably competitive price!

Ramiro Elena
21-Jan-2010, 11:34
Right, I have been searching for 13x18. As you say prices are incredibly high. I did pass on a Toyo 57G that was being sold here in Spain for 500€. It was a good price for camera and lens but I really can't go that high. I need to put my 4x5 lenses to good use too. I have an Epson V700 on the list and add a 4x5/5x7 film processor, so you know...

Bill_1856
21-Jan-2010, 11:44
How you gonna print 'em? Unless you're gonna go for a 5x7 enlarger ($$$), you might as well be printing from 4x5, (sad, but true).

Bruce A Cahn
21-Jan-2010, 12:35
The best budget 5x7 is Osaka. Osaka is the slightly better camera made by Tachihara. I have a new one in my store, Bruce's Field Camera Store. I have used an Osaka 5x7 myself for a winter, and report on it objectively along with many other 5x7s in my online store. I don't know if I may post the URL here. The reviews are on the lower left. Contact me if you have questions.

Ken Lee
21-Jan-2010, 12:58
"I don't know if I may post the URL here."

Perhaps I may...

Bruce shows photos of the 5x7 Osaka here (http://cgi.ebay.com/NEW-OSAKA-5X7-CHERRYWOOD-FOLDING-FIELD-CAMERA_W0QQitemZ200263448663QQcmdZViewItemQQptZFilm_Cameras?hash=item2ea0a1b857) (Perhaps you could fix them, so that don't appear sideways).

It's a beautiful camera. Tachihara cameras are already quite lovely: Osaka must be really stunning !

You mention that the camera takes Sinar-sized lens boards. Does that mean I could place a Sinar shutter on it ? Can the bellows be removed ?

Where can we read specs for the camera , such as bellows draw, weight, etc. ?

Patrick Dixon
21-Jan-2010, 13:12
I guess it doesn't have a revolving back ;-)

CarstenW
21-Jan-2010, 13:20
Your review was easy enough to find. I notice that you rate the Ebony excellent and the Osaka good. Apart from quality of materials and such, what are the main reasons for the difference?

toyosnapper
22-Jan-2010, 02:44
Peter, Thanks, pretty much what I thought with regard to single sided holders. Dennis.

Ramiro Elena
22-Jan-2010, 08:46
How you gonna print 'em? Unless you're gonna go for a 5x7 enlarger ($$$), you might as well be printing from 4x5, (sad, but true).

Nooo, I already sold my enlarger so the idea is to scan negatives and print at a lab.
The Osakas look very nice indeed. I count on spending a little more for shipping since most 5x7 are in the US.