I'm still in the hunt for a historical camera. I've had to really think about how I'll use one and exactly what I want to narrow it down. I've come to think I want two different cameras. One is a Bergheil Deluxe, 6.5x9. I like its cuteness. I'm also thinking of buying something older, probably British. I want something that can take 4x5 sheets without a big hassle, that's gorgeous to look at (fine wood, brass, etc.), and probably has a shutter. I like the "fanciness" of the British cameras, especially the early field cameras. I'm thinking of either 4x5 or half plate. With half plate I should be able to stick a 4x5 sheet in the holders. I could also get glass plates for when I get around to trying to make dry plates. I'm trying to stay around the period 1890 to 1910.
What I'm narrowing down to is something like a Thornton Pickard Imperial or Royal Ruby. They have the look I'm after and also that cool roller blind shutter! I do think I want a shutter of some kind, something that predates the Compur type. I have two questions at this point though. First is were the film/plate holders pretty standard for half plate by then, or is it really advisable for me to buy only a camera that has the holders with it? Second question is the big hole on the bottom of the camera. I don't want to use a period tripod if I can help it. I love my AcraTech ballhead and lightweight Gitzo 1325! Is there any good way to adapt one of these cameras to use my modern ballhead? Alternately, were the sizes of the big circle on the period tripods pretty standard in case I have to end up buying one of those? Here's a link to the kind of camera I'm thinking of, except this one is the wrong plate size:
Any comments from current owners on these kinds of cameras? I've had to pass up some wonderful 5x7 models because I thought they were just too large and I didn't want to start buying yet another film size.
Kent in SD