Toyo metal field 5x7
by Q.-Tuan Luong for
the Large Format Page
seems to be an earlier model (probably from the 50's)
which was a basic 4.75 x 6.5 camera. The camera body is a
metallic gray/silver "hammertone" finish. It simply says "Toyo Field".
with a descriptive leaflet claiming that it is the first metal field camera
ever built. Various backs were available and I got one with a 5x7 back,
which is rare. The design of the camera is quite classical for a metal field,
and is inspired by the graphics. The only geared movement is the front
focussing, and there is no calibration scales.
This camera has a number of extremely good features, making it very good
for most of landscape photography:
However, there is some shortcomings. The most serious is:
- a quite cheap ($650) perfectly usable 5x7 camera
- lightweight (6lbs), very compact (as thin as a Tachihara 4x5) but metal construction, which makes it rugged and rigid
- very easy to open and to close (takes less than 30 seconds)
- the knobs are of a decent size and are rubberized unlike on most cameras,
therefore more pleasant to operate in cold weather
- there is a bail arm for easy opening of the ground glass
- the short bellows allow a good amount of rise even with a 120 lens
Other features which I miss are:
- limited bellows draw. The camera has about 14 inches of bellows, which
is really short for a 5x7 camera, and does not allow any long lens to be
used, even at infinity. The telephoto lenses available just cover 5x7 with
almost no movements.
The camera uses Graphic lensboard, which is a plus for Graphic camera users,
and a minus if you want to share lenses with other cameras. These lensboard
are quite cheap, though.
- 4x5 back (actually, there was one, but now it's almost impossible to find)
- more movements. The camera in particular has front tilt and swing and
rise/fall, but lacks back swings (which might be a problem if a lens with
small coverage is to be used).
- wide angle bellows. Although shifts can be applied to the limit of
coverage of the 120, the bellows provoke some internal vignetting.
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