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View Full Version : Cheapskating into 5x7 ?



wideopeniris
27-Nov-2014, 10:49
Looking at the forums intro pages on 5x7, all cameras quoted there are $1000+ when it was written (more now..). However you can get into 4x5 with cameras of $200 or less with patience. I have done this in the past and now have servicable gear (Speed graphic and a Sinar F) with a number of lenses.

I recently realised that many of my lenses will cover 5x7 quite happily, and in some cases with advantageous results (e.g. the Super Angulon 90/8 which is _properly_ wide angle on 5x7...). But when I look, there are very very few cameras I see for sale that are less than 500 ($800-900). Are there any options open to a cheap-skate like me? I'd love a Tachihara, sure, but not for $2k...


Kevin.

Jim Noel
27-Nov-2014, 10:58
Look for an old flat bed camera. If it hasn't been designated as collectible by the "experts", it will be very cheap. My favorite is a Seroco with original lens and shutter. The lens is a rapid rectilinear and he shutter times are accurate and consistent. It is also extremely light weight. I paid $20 for it a couple of years ago.

Old-N-Feeble
27-Nov-2014, 11:02
If you do get a 5x7 make sure the front bed/rail can be placed far back enough to eliminate them getting in the way of the lens. A 90mm lens is pretty darned wide on 5x7. Also, if you truly love ultra-wide images then you might keep in mind that a 72mm SA XL easily covers 5x7 and will require even more room in front of the camera to avoid bits of the camera from getting in the way.

Ken Lee
27-Nov-2014, 11:04
Some of my best shots have been made with a Kodak 2D that was probably made in the 1930's. There are plenty of less modern cameras around in the used market at affordable prices. Other names include Seneca, Korona, Burke and James, Ansco, etc.

With one of your lenses they will give outstanding results. For a sample which shows image quality click here (http://www.kenleegallery.com/html/tech/RangerDetail.html).

Ironage
27-Nov-2014, 11:16
My cheapskate entry into 5x7 (the perfect and most versatile format of truly human scale!) was a Kodak 33a. Not a lot of movements, but so far for my landscape and portrait work it is more than enough. Got mine for $200.

djdister
27-Nov-2014, 11:53
An option that comes up every now and then is the Wista RittreckView 5x7 camera. They can often be had for several hundred dollars. They do have their limitations, but it would be one way to discover if shooting 5x7 is going to work for you. I'd have to test mine to see if it is usable with a 90mm Super-Angulon.

Here's what they look like:
125623

Peter Gomena
27-Nov-2014, 12:22
If you keep your eyes open, a camera will come along. The photography non-profit where I work recently had a 4x5 Crown Graphic and an antique 5x7 wooden flatbed field camera donated. Both eventually will go on the block to raise funds. Neither are worth a ton of money but are eminently useable with a little work.

Steven Tribe
27-Nov-2014, 12:22
Look for continental 13x18cm ( as near 5x7" as you can get!) reisekamera. A mahogany masterpiece with, usually, 3 double plate holders that can be fitted with both 5x7" and 13x18cm film.
You shouldn't have to pay more than 150 for a perfect set.

The photo is a set I bought at an auction in Devon (online) 2 weeks ago for 110.

Note this is the more uncommon 18x24" size - it has barely been used!

Daniel Stone
27-Nov-2014, 12:23
I've seen some 5x7/13x18cm Linhof Technika III's seem to go quite "cheaply"(cheap for a Linhof product, that is) on the 'bay.

Finding lensboards, however, might prove to be a little more difficult, but definitely NOT impossible.
All metal, super duper German engineering :)

IanG
27-Nov-2014, 12:41
I cheap skated into 7x5 for under $200 with an Improved Seneca View & another City View for parts off ebay, actually I'd have paid a touch less if I bought when offered on this forum, however I paid a very fair price so definitely no complaints :D

Here in the UK it's the price of 7x5 DDS (film holders) that's prohibitive and they are rare so fetch high prices. We still used half plate film when I first started using LF in the mid 1970's and 7x5 film wasn't available here.

Ian

IanG
27-Nov-2014, 13:31
Look for continental 13x18cm ( as near 5x7" as you can get!) reisekamera. A mahogany masterpiece with, usually, 3 double plate holders that can be fitted with both 5x7" and 13x18cm film.
You shouldn't have to pay more than 150 for a perfect set.

The photo is a set I bought at an auction in Devon (online) 2 weeks ago for 110.

Note this is the more uncommon 18x24" size - it has barely been used!


Reiskameras tend to fetch far less in the UK so it's a good place to buy them, I paid 70 for mine an 18x24 from a dealer it needed a small repair taking that into so price wise similar to yours, smaller sizes are more common and cheap.

Ian

DougD
27-Nov-2014, 16:41
I picked up this Keith Camera for $200 including some film holders and a lens. I found it on craigslist and it was dumb luck.
125636

Lachlan 717
27-Nov-2014, 17:33
Have you actually checked to find out whether the type(s) of film you'd like to use are available for 5x7?

Old-N-Feeble
27-Nov-2014, 18:29
If you can find one within your budget I'd suggest getting an 8x10 with the addition of a 5x7 reducing back.

Jim Jones
27-Nov-2014, 19:37
Burke & James 5x7 flatbeds and monorails seem plentiful, inexpensive, and versatile. They have plenty of movements and take the old standard 4" lensboards (or 5.25" in some models). These boards are easy to improvise with basic tools. My first one wasn't really cheap (maybe $125 40 years ago), but that comes to only a few dollars a year.

Liquid Artist
27-Nov-2014, 21:25
Burke & James 5x7 flatbeds and monorails seem plentiful, inexpensive, and versatile. They have plenty of movements and take the old standard 4" lensboards (or 5.25" in some models). These boards are easy to improvise with basic tools. My first one wasn't really cheap (maybe $125 40 years ago), but that comes to only a few dollars a year.
I got into 5x7 with a B&J too. The camera it's self cost me 200 US, and was worth every penny.
Plus I found someone who makes beautiful lens boards for them for $10.00 each in the USA.

John Kasaian
27-Nov-2014, 21:26
We've got a brace of old Agfa Anscos and a bunch of parts cameras (cannibal queens.)
Not expensive (at least when I got them) for about $200, IIRC.
But not all Agfa Anscos were created equal---look for a Universal OR a Commercial
There are a lot of models out there with short bellows and non-existent movements made for some unknown purpose, so be careful!

Patrick13
27-Nov-2014, 22:58
Earlier Agfa-Anscos didn't have all the movements, and the wartime and after (the ones painted gray) aren't built quite as well.
The Universal that I have of the years John is talking about has a respectable set of movements, and I got mine at a good price as a fixer.
125648

plaubel
28-Nov-2014, 01:19
I entered large format, 5x7", with a Mentor field. Heavy and solid quality, lots of funktion.
Filmholders are wooden, but there is always the possibility of adapting international parts.
Versions either with, or without shutters are available.

imagedowser
28-Nov-2014, 09:55
Where are you located? Remember, you'll have to consider shipping....

plaubel
28-Nov-2014, 10:30
Where are you located? Remember, you'll have to consider shipping....


I am located nearby Berlin/Germany.
Sorry, I don't know much about the market in America.
Just an idea, because I sold mine for less than 200 Dollars.

Cheers,
Ritchie

wideopeniris
29-Nov-2014, 16:04
Thanks for all the advice. There's are some cameras I had not heard of. It gives me hope that I can get something in budget .
I'm located in the UK, and my main interests are in black and white films with Ilford being the main 4x7 films available. I here. I occasionally shoot velvia, but it's very expensive even in 5x4.

I had looked at B and J - are there any issues with how sturdy these cameras are?

My usual source is the 'bay but at the moment there's not much out there. Any other good places to look in the UK?

mdarnton
29-Nov-2014, 16:44
B&J is a tank. Inelegant and tough. Sturdy movements more than any similar camera and any modern field camera. Large 132mm board for easy recessed wide angle boards. Really, it's an excellent camera.

winterclock
29-Nov-2014, 19:18
I cheapskated in with a Rochester Improved Empire State, with a lens, some holders and an international back from a B&J it was still well under $200. It did take me a few months of trolling the auction site to bring it all together, but I am still happy with the camera. People often stop to watch me shoot and ask questions about "the old camera".

Roger Thoms
29-Nov-2014, 19:50
B&J is a tank. Inelegant and tough. Sturdy movements more than any similar camera and any modern field camera. Large 132mm board for easy recessed wide angle boards. Really, it's an excellent camera.

I'll second the B&J, nice solid camera, This is the one I bought for my girlfriend, and she loves it.

With any of these flatbed cameras I would make sure it has the extension rail otherwise you'll be limited on the lenses you can use.

Roger

speedfreak
29-Nov-2014, 19:55
Doesnt look like anyone has mentioned it, but why not look into a 5x7 conversion kit (or back and bellows) for your sinar. I've a Norma and wasn't even looking delve into 5x7 when a rear standard, back, bag bellows, and auxiliary standard came up on the for sale board at a great price. Found a 5x7 standard bellows on the 'bay and sourced a few holders. I'm into it ~$225 and just need to get some film to be set.
I must admit to some struggle shooting 8x10 and might end up settling on the 5x7, but we'll see how much I love it when I start shooting the mid sized Norma. Deals are out there on these cameras and format to be sure!

wideopeniris
11-Dec-2014, 12:46
I did look at this - once upon a time studios were turning out their Sinar gear onto ebay for peanuts (when I got together my 5x4 ) now its all in the hands of dealers who seem to price fix on ebay. So 5x7 bellows are 150, Sinar 5x7 backs are generally for a P type standard (mine are F) and cost about 200-400, and then a P bearer is often 150 making that one of the most expensive ways for me to get into 5x7 :(

I could perhaps look for a Norma style rear standard and bellows - these are compatible with the F system? Complete Norma's seem to sell for high prices as they have a 'cult' status now, so thats out of budget.

At the moment I'm looking at senecas and B+J and also have my eye on a plaubel peco monorail

Michael Roberts
21-Dec-2014, 08:08
Kevin, I'm jumping the gun a bit as I'm hoping to post the results of some work I've been doing for the past year or so on vintage 5x7s, but there are some vintage 5x7s you might be interested in if you are willing to slightly modify the back for modern film holders. In particular, check out the Rochester Pony Premo No. 6, the King (or King Poco or Poco B Telephoto); the Century Grand Senior; and the Seneca No. 9 cameras. This only applies, of course, if you are open to vintage cameras. An advantage over the B&J and over a monorail is these cameras are compact folding cameras, similar to the Tachihara you mentioned in your original post.

mdarnton
21-Dec-2014, 10:16
A note: the B&J is a folder. I shove the whole thing, some holders, and an extra lens or two in a large Timbuck 2 messenger bag, no problem. A big plus is that it not being rare or fragile, I don't worry about things like scratches, and it has a folding hood on the ground glass, like on a press camera, so I don't worry about the gg, either.

John Kasaian
25-Dec-2014, 21:41
I just made a 5x7 pin hole camera from one gallon paint can.
it cost $2.50 for the brand new can, $2.50 for a Master Mechanic wire gage drill bit, and $10.00 for a package of 5x7 Arista 2.0 Ortho film.
I already had a can of flat black spray paint to spritz the innards and some magnets (advertising for a take out pizzeria joint to keep their phone # handy on the fridge) for a shutter and to hold the film in place, and a can opener.
How does 15 bucks sound for cheap skating into 5x7?

Jim Andrada
26-Dec-2014, 22:32
I have a great Agfa/Ansco 5 x 7 and it's an excellent camera. The extension rail is built into the base so it doesn't get lost.

Carsten Wolff
31-Dec-2014, 23:31
There are the occasional bargains out there. A few years ago (when LF gear was still worth more ;) ) I scored an older 5x7 Arca-Swiss B with w/a leather bellows, standard bellows and 4x5 reduction back for 350. A bargain in my book. In fact I still pinch myself; a great, near perfect, immensely versatile image-making machine and even better now that I've modernised it a bit with a few F-type parts and also added a Linhof-board adapter and a 617 Canham back.
Ok, not $200....but really cheapskate compared to a new M-Monolith, or Orbix la-di-da system.
Else...old woodies/others can be ok; if they are of decent design (!), haven't been worn-out and the bellows are still good. Both Arca and Sinar though are pretty versatile and common enough, but there, too, can you end up with a dog. I am stating the obvious...
Anyway, Happy New Year!

premortho
25-Feb-2015, 19:34
If anyone is still checking out this thread, I too used an Ansco Comercial until a few years ago when I lost it in a house fire. This is a tailgate camera, so you can use as wide angle a lens as you wish. These cameras fold up into a small package, and the tailgate protects the ground glass. The tailgate extension is inside the folding bed, so pretty hard to lose. These are incredibly tough hard working cameras with rise and fall on the lensboard, and swings and tilts on the rear standard.
I have a great Agfa/Ansco 5 x 7 and it's an excellent camera. The extension rail is built into the base so it doesn't get lost.

John Kasaian
25-Feb-2015, 20:14
If anyone is still checking out this thread, I too used an Ansco Comercial until a few years ago when I lost it in a house fire. This is a tailgate camera, so you can use as wide angle a lens as you wish. These cameras fold up into a small package, and the tailgate protects the ground glass. The tailgate extension is inside the folding bed, so pretty hard to lose. These are incredibly tough hard working cameras with rise and fall on the lensboard, and swings and tilts on the rear standard.
I've got four of these needing some bellows patching, one needs a wee bit of rail re-attached and the shutters could use cla's. I like 'em. They'll be good for teaching (which is why I have four of them!)
Ortho film is good so students can load, unload and develop film under a red safe light. Contact prints so no enlarger infrastructure is required----all I need for the class is a room that can be made dark and table or counter space for trays. Two students per camera (so everyone gets to be an "assistant" as well as a photographer.) Subjects include: portrait (they'll sit for each other, or I'll bring in High School kids to sit, or they can ask a friend or relative,) still life (all natural light using reflectors the students make out of tin foil and cardboard,) flowers, landscape (usually in a local park or on the institution's grounds,) and architecture. At the end of the class they'll have enough 5x7 prints for a small "exhibition" in the cafeteria.

DrTang
26-Feb-2015, 11:13
get one of those Kodak 33's

those things are great

and cheap too


holders OTOH

pchaplo
26-Feb-2015, 23:20
I'll second the B&J, nice solid camera, This is the one I bought for my girlfriend, and she loves it.

With any of these flatbed cameras I would make sure it has the extension rail otherwise you'll be limited on the lenses you can use.

Roger

Roger that is beautiful! Lucky lady!

premortho
27-Feb-2015, 10:33
Yes, that model Burke & James 5X7 is the one to look for. There is another model with tilting and swiveling front that I have, and the front is not nearly as rigid.
I'll second the B&J, nice solid camera, This is the one I bought for my girlfriend, and she loves it.

With any of these flatbed cameras I would make sure it has the extension rail otherwise you'll be limited on the lenses you can use.

Roger