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paulr
12-Aug-2004, 15:13
Does anyone know about this funky camera? I bought it used years ago, as my first 4x5 (it came with a 4x5 back) and liked it so much that I never bought a different camera. I've hauled it all over and it's been practically perfect, if a little on the big side. It's made of metal (someone told me magnesium) and seems like it's from the '60s. It has smooth movements, is solid, and has extra extension for the rear standard, which I've never used. There's a non-vigneting rotating back. Takes a speed graphics lens board. It folds up barely over an inch thick.

I'm curious to know if anyone has any information about these cameras, or experience with them. This format size (printed on the back, after "Sakai Special Camera" and "Toyo Field") is something i haven't seen anywhere else.

Thoughts?

tim atherton
12-Aug-2004, 15:24
BTW I think that's half-plate size isn't it?

Martin Courtenay-Blake
12-Aug-2004, 16:47
Yep that is a half plate camera.

These are still common over here in the UKand you will often see quarter, half and full plate cameras around. I have a half plate Kodak special field camera made for the RAF (looks like a 2 or 2D).

Most will take a standard 5 x 7 film or plate holder but there will be a little cut off of the image. I believe some half plate film is still available but there is very little variety. You could try coating your own glass plates as plate holders are often seen on Ebay.

Martin

Ernest Purdum
12-Aug-2004, 18:46
The first "Official" Daguerrotype camera was a 6 1/2" X 8 1/2". (8 1/2" X 6 1/2" in British). Metric sizes were not yet standard in France. When glass plates came in, it became common to buy this size plate and cut them down into halves, quarters and sometimes smaller sizes. At about the turn of the prior century, British cameras were very influential to Japanese camera makers. Even in the 1970's some werre still turning out cameras that, while not exact copies, look very much like ?British designs ca. 1905. At about that time, ssome of the Japanese firms became much more innovative. The Sakai Special Camera Co. was the most so. By 1971, and I think earlier, they had a modern monorail on the market as well as the Toyo Field. advertised as the "World's first all-metal field camera". In addition to the 1/2-plate size, these were made in 4" X 5", 5" X 7", and 6 X 9cm. It is unlikely that the basic camera was made in separate 1/2-plate and 5" 7" sizes, so you camera is almost surely large enough for a 5" X 7" back to be fitted should you ever have the desire to do so. Maybe you could still buy one through Toyo.



In any event, congratulations. You have an interesting and desirable camera and you're happy with it.

Bob._3483
12-Aug-2004, 19:22
Ilford Plates: Ordinary (Yellow Labels): 6 1/2 x 4 3/4 inches = 2/3 per dozen.

Oh, sorry, just noticed, that advert is over 100 years old...

[Translation: 2/3 = 2 shillings and three pence ("two and thruppence" for those of us old enought to remember)...]

Cheers,

Eric Wagner
13-Aug-2004, 06:53
The first version of the Toyo Field Camera was actually a 5x7 camera that could be also purchased with a 4x5 revolving back. The camera weighs about 5 lbs. with the 4x5 back and has 14 inch bellows (11 inches from the front focus knob plus another 3 by extending the back). It took the standard Graphic lens board. The camera was reviewed in the May, 1971 issue of Modern Photography. At that time the camera sold for $150 complete with the 4x5 back and a 150mm Xenar lens. The 5x7 back was an extra $99.50.

paulr
13-Aug-2004, 08:44
" It is unlikely that the basic camera was made in separate 1/2-plate and 5" 7" sizes, so you camera is almost surely large enough for a 5" X 7" back to be fitted should you ever have the desire to do so. Maybe you could still buy one through Toyo."

Very interesting! I'll check with them. No immediate plans to get into 5x7, but I've always liked the idea of it. If Toyo doesn't know have access to any old backs, do you have a suggestion on where else to look?

Paul

Ernest Purdum
13-Aug-2004, 16:31
Paul, you could try a want ad in Camera shopper (see www.camera-shopper.com). If unable to find a genuine Toyo, you could purchase a back on eBay and modify it or get it modified to fit. This is usually a rather straightforward job for a woodworker or machinist. I wouldn't be too worried about winding up with one that didn't work out. Unless you got carried away bidding on it, you dould probably recover close to the same amount by putting it up again. Maybe even more if you give it a good description and photos.