View Full Version : Using a 75mm on a Phillips 4x5?

Kirk Gittings
27-Oct-2015, 11:48
Anyone have any experience with this? I'm considering buying one, but I wonder how functional it is with the bellows all crammed up and no option for a bag bellows.

Oren Grad
27-Oct-2015, 12:49
The camera that I tested for my PT review had the bag/pleat bellows, and my recollection is that I just managed to squeeze out the available rise and fall with my 75/6.8 Grandagon-N on a flat board. A recessed board would help in principle, of course, but I'm not sure it would fit through the opening on the Phillips.

Steve Goldstein
27-Oct-2015, 13:09
It's not mentioned in the catalog pages on cameraeccentric, but I read somewhere that the 75mm f/6.3 Komura Super-Wide has about 100mm flange focal length, which is comparable to most modern 90s. Despite its name, it "only" covers 93 degrees at f/22 so you won't get a lot of movements (158mm image circle at infinity).

Keith Pitman
27-Oct-2015, 13:44
Just a caution about recessed lens boards (at least Linhof-type): My Ebony will accept a recessed board with angled sides on the recess, but boards with squared-off sides will not fit through the opening. Your results may differ if the opening on the front of the camera is larger.

Kirk Gittings
27-Oct-2015, 14:43
Thanks all. I have a couple of recessed boards and they fit fine. Its really the bellows and movements with such that I am concerned about.

28-Oct-2015, 10:40
I use a 75mm Fuji on my Chamonix with their WA bag bellows. Since the Chamonix line of cameras was so directly based the Philiips design, maybe their's an outside chance that the Chamonix WA bellows will also fit the Phillips??? I could post the dimensions of the Chamonix WA bellows if you like.


28-Oct-2015, 12:10
This is probably not very relevant, but I've used a 75mm Nikkor SW on a flat Technika board on a Walker Titan SF using the normal bellows, although I would prefer using the bag bellows instead for less "bellows mashing."

Kirk Gittings
28-Oct-2015, 12:53
There is no provision for mounting a bag bellows. My camera would have to be modified to make the bellows interchangeable. And I have no idea whether the Walker bellows are similar to the Phillips and behave the same way.

Thanks for all the comments but actual experience with a Phillips 4x5 is all that is relevant.

Drew Wiley
28-Oct-2015, 13:11
I only handled that camera once, which was still a prototype which Dick showed to me. If the production model was similar, which I think it was, it wouldn't seem
like a practical candidate for that short a lens. Wrong bellows.

Sal Santamaura
28-Oct-2015, 16:08
In June, 2001 Dick sent me his brochure on the 4x5 available at that time. Initially, i.e. around 1999, there were three bellows types available, "Standard," "Bag-pleat" and "Light." By the time of this mailing, he'd stopped offering the "Standard" version; it was crossed off the brochure's tables. The answer to your question depends on which back and bellows your specific camera has. I seem to remember you got the adapted Horseman back, which he identified as the "International" back. The "Light" bellows is rubberized cotton and was made by Camera Bellows (now Custom Bellows) in the UK. It's apparently used by Canham on his cameras as well.

Here's what the brochure specifies:

Shortest usable lens with flat lensboard: Spring back -- Bag-pleat 75mm; "Light" 58mm
Shortest usable lens with flat lensboard: International back -- Bag-pleat 75mm; Light 65mm
Shortest usable lens with recessed lensboard: Spring back -- Bag-pleat 58mm; Light 47mm (horizontal)
Shortest usable lens with recessed lensboard: International back -- Bag-pleat 65mm; Light 58mm

Dick added a footnote saying "Bellows compression may vary with temperature; these figures are conservative and approximate."

Regardless of which bellows you have, if my recollection about your camera's back is correct, this indicates that a 75mm lens is usable on your camera on either a flat or recessed lensboard. How much movement would be available is not clear, but you could easily focus the lens to infinity with your camera zeroed and not encounter any problems. The International back places that adapted Horseman assembly's ground glass around 11mm further back than does the Phillips-manufactured Spring back, thus the difference in short lens usability.

In my estimation, assuming you don't have the Bag-pleat bellows, especially if you use a recessed board, a 75mm should be quite functional on your camera.

Sal Santamaura
28-Oct-2015, 16:12
...My camera would have to be modified to make the bellows interchangeable...I doubt it would even be possible to do a credible modification that made the bellows interchangeable. Although as of not too long ago Dick still had some stock of the "Light" bellows, even properly replacing them directly requires a jig that only he has/had. It's not straightforward.

Oren Grad
28-Oct-2015, 16:18
Sal raises a good point about the different backs. I had both the spring/bail back and the adapted Horseman/international back on hand for my tests. It's been a long time, but I'm pretty sure I had the spring/bail back on the camera when I used it with the 75/6.8 Grandagon-N.

Michael Mutmansky
28-Oct-2015, 17:08
Your Philips has the Lite bellows... correct? It should look like the bellows on a Canham 4x5 DLC. The bellows is pretty compact and will get out of the way better than a traditional bellows.

At one time I had both an 80mm SS XL and then a 75mm Nikkor SW that I used with the camera.

You may not recall, but the reason I modified the camera was because Dick designed the camera for the heavier bellows and the combo bag bellows, but when he started using the Lite bellows, he didn't change the design. That meant that there was a lot of room inside the camera when it was folded up that was unfilled by the older bulky bellows, and the camera could have been made about 0.75" thinner when folded if that modification was made, which I did.

So, a lot of it depends on whether you want a lot of movement with a 75mm lens. If you want a little rise and some tilt, you should be good to go. For architectural subjects with more extreme movements, get a different camera (but you know that already!). Oh, and I didn't use recessed boards, so you could gain a little using one on that lens if you needed it.