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Thread: Indian camera makers?

  1. #1
    Scott --'s Avatar
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    Indian camera makers?

    Hi, all -

    I'm looking at buying an Indian-made camera by Vageeswari Camera Works. Google turns up nothing on this maker, and I'm having trouble finding info on any makers from India at all.

    Anyone have any info on the camera makers there, oh, a hundred years ago or so?

    Scott
    "I am torn! I am processing a love for both princesses and pranking!" - N.E.P.T.R.

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  2. #2
    Whatever David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
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    Re: Indian camera makers?

    There was an inexpensive Deardorff-style camera called the Rajah made in India for some time.

  3. #3

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    Re: Indian camera makers?

    I remember the Rajah from about 1982- they were made of teak. But "inexpensive" meant "rickety". I bought a Tachihara instead. Let's hope the Vageeswari products are better value.... If you find anything out, post it here, as I'm sure other people will be interested.

  4. #4
    Rafael Garcia's Avatar
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    Re: Indian camera makers?

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott -- View Post
    Hi, all -

    I'm looking at buying an Indian-made camera by Vageeswari Camera Works. Google turns up nothing on this maker, and I'm having trouble finding info on any makers from India at all.

    Anyone have any info on the camera makers there, oh, a hundred years ago or so?

    Scott
    Scott:

    I bought an old Japanese English-style half plate some time ago. It had a nameplate in Japanese, which translated to Asanuma Shokai King 1. I found that Asanuma Shokai is an old Japanese distributor. My camera was made by some small manufacturer and sold to Asanuma to sell under their brand. Like you, I found nothing specific about my camera, other than knowing the distributor's name.

    Indian cameras of the same period would have followed the English design, and would be very similar to mine in origin and design. I find the camera very light and solid, well thought-out. It lacks the many sophisticated geared movements of monorail designs and expensive modern wood field cameras, but I use it well and it gives me good service.


  5. #5
    Scott --'s Avatar
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    Re: Indian camera makers?

    Rafael, I hope this camera turns out as nice as yours. Fingers crossed!
    "I am torn! I am processing a love for both princesses and pranking!" - N.E.P.T.R.

    http://scottperryphoto.wordpress.com/
    @ScottPerryPhoto

  6. #6

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    Re: Indian camera makers?

    I've used the Tachihara, now the Nagaoka, and many other monorail based cameras. What I like most about these cameras built from India is they are more rigid than the Charten based one...not as light, but so close it doesn't matter. Controls are very solid..also solid on the Tach and Nag, but to me, they seem simpler for some reason. Setup, fold down, etc. etc..it all seems much more simple...but at the same time, you got some very good movement potential. I think that Deardorff thing that was sold as a 5X7? was a later concept that was very bad...as it may seem, the newer should be the better, though I think these older India cameras are fantastic and once polished up, can look as good as a $1500-$4000 camera, and have the flexibility to always do some mods here and there....

  7. #7

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    Re: Indian camera makers?

    Hi,

    I have collected some Indian made large format cameras. The label on one reads Vageeswari Camera Works.

    The two I am interested in using are in 8x15 inch plate format. Plate holders are included. The larger of the two has a triple extension base.
    It is 29 1/2 x 11 1/4 inches stretched all the way out and compressed all the way in, ground glass inside to base of lens board.

    Another has a shorter base that extends 22 inches long and 4 1/2 short, inside of glass to the base of the lens board.

    The lens boards are both 6 1/4 x 6 3/4 with a 4 1/2 inch hole that has 6 screw holes around it. There is no evidence of anything ever being behind them. I'd like something to fit those screw holes.

    What can I use for lens/shutters? Do you have something for sale that would work? I like the idea of telephoto city landscapes of lots of buildings seen from hills and bridges.

    Thanks,

    Michael A Carter

  8. #8
    Archphoto
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    Re: Indian camera makers?

    That lensboard with 6 holes around the opening for the lens: are they in a circle ?
    In that way the former owner had a lens in it without a shutter, just a srew-mount for the lens.

    Usable lenses: for 8x15...... I gues you would be looking in the region of 480mm or there abouts.
    A 300mm covers 8x10 with some movement, maybe a 360mm would fit tour camera, not shure though.

    If you get a lens with shutter (I would) you will need to plug-up those holes and depending on the shutter and the opening required for it, make a new lens board with the propper hole.

    Good luck !
    Peter

  9. #9

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    Re: Indian camera makers?

    I have a 6"x15" Vageeswari. I use a 450mm Nikkor-M lens on it for full coverage.

    I love my Vag. I'm sure you'll have a lot of fun with yours.
    d

  10. #10

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    Re: Indian camera makers?

    Hi Michael, I've got a 6.5 x 15 and an 8.5 x 15. Although they are quite obviously exactly the same design, just with different sized ground glass attached, the lensboards are slightly different sizes. Both were just slightly larger than the Cambo boards I use with my 8x10 cameras so I modified the 8.5 x 15 to take Cambo boards. I wouldn't normally hack about an old camera but I bought them to use, not display, so decided that was the best way..

    I would guess that 4.5 inch hole means that your camera had a huge brass lens attached at one point which may be expensive to replace. There were few standards back then, so finding another lens that will fit the holes that you have in the lensboard may be very difficult.

    If you look at modern lenses then anything that covers 11 x 14 will be fine.

    FWIW, although there is a lot of talk about "hundred year old cameras" I suspect that most Vageeswari cameras are a lot newer than that and the company stuck to one basic design all the way through, much like the Hindustan car was built decades after the original Morris design had disappeared.

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