View Full Version : Conley 5x7

Mike Cockerham
27-Sep-2004, 10:31
I have a Conley 5x7 that I am refinishing, is it worth it to replace the bellows, there are some leaks in it. Also it has the number 216 stamped into the bottom any ideas on what this number refers too.


Philippe Gauthier
27-Sep-2004, 10:54
Not sure about the "216" - perhaps a model number?

For the bellows, you have many options. If the pinholes are not too numerous, you can patch them. If there are many pinholes, but don't use the camera as your main one, you can always wrap the bellows in some dark material (it does not look too good, but it works, I can testify). Finally, if you want the money on hand (I don't!) and want to use the camera extensively and quickly, you'll want to replace the bellows, which is a costly affair - the Brits asked me 185 pounds for my 8x10 replacement bellows.

Ernest Purdum
27-Sep-2004, 13:04
There are several different models of 5X7 Conleys, some of them basically hand cameras, others are view cameras. The "216" is the serial number, I think, but I can't tell you what that means in term of age. Maybe someone else can.

Regarding the feasibility of bellows replacement, it would depend on how well the camera suits your needs, If it has enough extension for your purpose, you find the movements adequate and the lensboard is large enough to hold any lens you have in mind to use on it, bellows replacement would make sense, assun=ming that the rest of the camera is in good or better condition.

I can easily see someone using one of the 5X7 Conley hand cameras for landscape work. Quite light, folds up solidly and has the movements many landscape people use.

Mike Cockerham
27-Sep-2004, 13:17
This camera is like the Kodak #2 View. It has geared front rise/fall, back has geared tilt and swing, with a rear extension it is double extension. I am striping all the hardware off and polishing and maybe restoring the wood, lens board appears to be 3x4. Was just looking for opinions on whether to replace bellows. Thanks

Pete Watkins
27-Sep-2004, 17:18
Phillipe, tell us Brits of a Yankee company that offered to do the job cheaper. Try British, English, Welsh or Scottish (Scotch is a drink). Pete

28-Sep-2004, 06:12
Woah Pete! Philippe was simply stating what Camera Bellows would charge for an 8x10 bellows to give an idea of cost.

Better get used to "Brit" if you intend conversing with the rest of the world - it's not an insult, it's simply shorter than writing "British" and people (me included) are lazy... Most people couldn't point to Britain on a world map, let alone distinguish between the different countries that constitute The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland...

Time for a nice cuppa tea methinks...

Cheers, (from London)...

Paul Metcalf
28-Sep-2004, 14:46
Mike- I have both the field versions of the Conley 5x7 and 8x10, and reworked both (5x7 needed stripping and nearly complete refinishing but bellows was light tight although a bit stiff, 8x10 only needed new bellows). Bellows replacements are not cheap, but if you're going to use the camera, it needs to be light tight in some manner (obvious). If everything else works on the camera, and the wood is in good shape and not warped, I'd replace the bellows. I enjoy the size, weight and basic convienance of my Conley 5x7. If you need to replate any of the nickeled hardware, Caswell Inc (www.casewellplating.com) makes a small nickel plating kit that uses only heated chemicals that works pretty nifty.

Mike Cockerham
28-Sep-2004, 20:46

The camera body is in good shape, the finish is faded but I think I can restore it with a product called restore a finish. The hardware is good with just some brassing on the standard slides. Do you know of a source for knobs? I am missing the knob that locks the front standard in place. I am going to see if I can patch this bellows since I can't afford to replace it.


Paul Metcalf
29-Sep-2004, 10:46
Mike- I used Formby's refinisher - doesn't remove the stain, just the years of crud in the finish - then I hand rubbed the wood with tung oil several times. I had to separate and reglue with clamping several of the joints as they were loose. I also used a mixture of clear glue (glue stick with roller ball - glue is flexible when dry) and black paint to patch some pin holes in my 5x7 bellows. That method is described in "Restoring Classic & Collectable Cameras" by Thomas Tomosy.

McMaster (www.mcmaster.com) has some steel knobs that can be nickel plated, but not exactly like what's on the camera. To fully match, you'll need to find a "hanger queen" Conley (ebay or otherwise). Good luck.


29-Sep-2004, 11:22
The Yankee company in California replaced the bellows for my Galvin for 30 bucks cheaper than camera bellows and I did not have to pay the huge shipping. A brain fart has left me without a name. Damned age. I would say it is worth replacing the bellows. I would hate to constantly worry about whether I was going to get a leak.