View Full Version : Unknown 5x7 junk shop find - keeper or bin?

11-Jul-2015, 10:19
New forum member member needing some guidance....

Picked up a fairly beaten, 5x7 field camera for thirty five (35) quid. I bought it because even though it's not in the best shape, the bellows on it are brand new. I reasoned that the cost alone was worth it for the bellows even if the camera is not worth anything.

I'm GASing to get into LF photography, and I'm quite taken with the idea of restoring this camera and making work again. The camera was part of a job lot, and the new bellows suggests it may well have been a working camera before being stripped for sale.

So my question is, would you invest the time to repair the camera as a project, or not bother but keep the bellows for a better 5x7 camera?


In my head, I'm seeing it with black stain, get the brass polished up. That would pop lovely with the red bellows! I'm thinking that this would make a good studio camera for portraits. Done old school with an Industar 51 type lens etc. Saying that, I'm not even sure what backs it takes!

11-Jul-2015, 11:09
Looks like a made in India view camera, that uses bookform plate/film holders,
should be fairly easy to make usable.

John Kasaian
11-Jul-2015, 11:11
Have you checked the bellows for pinholes in the corners?

11-Jul-2015, 11:18
Bellows are good. New really. Not a mark on them.

Jim C.
11-Jul-2015, 11:32
If all the movements on it work, I say go for it.

11-Jul-2015, 16:18
Regarding the back, your options include, finding matching bookform film holders, or adapting a 4x5 or 5x7 spring back salvaged from a different camera.

Tim Meisburger
11-Jul-2015, 16:59
To me, it looks usable as is, if you can find some (or one) holder. I'm Merican, so not too familiar with book form holders, but if they are relatively standard, then it should not be too hard to find a few on Ebay.

To determine the format of the camera measure the ground glass. That will be the format size. I'm guessing 5x7 or half plate.

Your plan sounds fine. If it were me, I would pull it all apart and refinish it. Black stain would be a lovely, and relatively uncommon choice. Screw holes might have to be filled, but just do that as you refinish. Then I would take off the back and convert it for modern film holders, but if you can find the old ones, and source film, that is not necessary (especially if you don't plan to carry it outside too much).

That's a fine camera, and if you decide to bin it, do it in my direction and I'll cover postage:rolleyes:

11-Jul-2015, 22:08
Those used a unique tripod mount, you will need to fabricate one, make a flatbed tripod top, or use a studio stand.

Regular Rod
12-Jul-2015, 08:52
There's nowt up with it! Make a bottom for it so you can put it on a modern tripod, get a 4x5 back and mount it on a frame to fit the body, do something with that nasty thing at the front that is holding the lens panel in place, get a lens and some film holders and film and go and make some photographs with it!


12-Jul-2015, 09:02
It won't be a 7x5 camera as they were never made in the UK, it'll be half plate. It's definitely not Indian and you need book-form plate holders, or make a spare conversion back.

It's a Thornton Pickard with new bellows, they are the only company to use those thumb nuts and it looks identical to my TP Triple Imperial. Actually Billcliffe used those thumb nuts but later the company made the field cameras for Thornton Pickard. The fittings that allow the front standard to fold , the lens board and way it's held are all typical TP.

It has had a repair to the front standard - adding that metal piece, and that mirror plate above the lens board has been added as well. It's in better condition though than many cameras I restore and should clean up nicely. Those aren't the original brass fittings holding the ground glass either, they are home-made from mirror plates :D

I made an adapter to allow me to use modern 5x4 film holders with one of my Hafl plate cameras it slips in as a book form plate holder would, so I can use the original focus screen, I also have a TP focal plane shutter I need to adapt to fit my Triple Imperial (which just needs new bellows to be complete.


12-Jul-2015, 10:20
Thanks so much for the brilliant reply guys. Immensely helpful and very encouraging!

As you may tell, I'm not a LF photographer yet, but do shoot MF a lot. There's a lot about LF still to learn, but I'm looking forward to the journey :)

12-Jul-2015, 10:54
The original lens would most likely have been a TP Beck Symmetrical, that's not the original lens board which would have sat flush with the top/bottom guides.

I realised it's missing the hinges for the ground glass screen frame they should look similar to the ones in this image.


Spare backs do appear on Ebay or camera fairs, the photo is of my Houghton Duchess but the TP fittings are similar.