View Full Version : Eastman 2D vs Improved Seneca View

8-Jan-2018, 19:02
I'm trying to find a 5x7 camera for wet plate work. I've managed to find a Eastman 2D and an Improved Seneca View for the same price. Both need a little repair to the bellows. The Seneca View has both front and rear tracks while the Eastman 2D only has the front track. This would be my first "old" large format camera (I currently have a Toyo-View 45GII and a Wista 45SP). Can you offer any advice about which one might be preferable?

William Whitaker
8-Jan-2018, 19:09
There's a lot to be said for having the complete camera, i.e., both rails. If possible, I would check to see that each uses standard (modern) 5x7 film holders. The early camera makers sometimes used film holders that were proprietary. Which is to say the dimensions were close, but not the same as what we'd use today. In that case, you'd want to find the original film holders to go with it, which may not be possible. I refer to my own experience with whole plate (6 1/2 x 8 1/2). 5x7 may not have suffered the same way. But caveat emptor and double-check all critical values.

David Karp
8-Jan-2018, 19:30
I have a Whole Plate Improved Seneca. I don't have the rear track. I think having the track, so long as it is the one matched to the camera, is a big plus. I replaced the bellows on mine and it has served me well. I had to build an extension lensboard to allow me to use longer lenses. If you do that, the rear track is not required, but I think the track is preferable to the extension board.

8-Jan-2018, 20:48
I think that especially if you want to do portraits, having the extension rail is a huge bonus. I have a Seneca 5x7 and it feels light, i.e., not the sturdiest camera around, but it works fine. I haven’t used it for some time but I am almost certain it takes standard holders. I believe that the holders for whole plate cameras, as mentioned by Will, varied much more from maker to maker than was the case for the 5x7 format.