View Full Version : Ansco view cameras-- any good?

Aaron van de Sande
27-Sep-2005, 14:31
I know that weston used one and they seem to be available relatively cheap. How good are the later model ansco 8x10 cameras? How do they compare with other cameras in this price range such as the B&J? Are they heavy?

MIke Sherck
27-Sep-2005, 14:43
The Ansco was considered to be a step above the B&J in it's day -- more of a "professional" camera. Well built and with lots of movements but quite heavy and rather bulky even when folded. Note that there were several models, some having fewer movements than others. There is also a sliding tripod block which attaches to the bottom of the camera's bed so you can slide the camera back and forth on top of the tripod for balance. Try to get one with the sliding block: the camera is heavy enough that it's really quite useful to balance the camera for stability. Also note that there is an additional bed which can be attached to increase the camera's extension. Both the sliding tripod block and the bed extensions can be a little difficult to find separately, so if you can find a camera with both it will be worth a bit more. Also, be wary of stripped focusing gears.

peter schrager
27-Sep-2005, 16:17
I just purchased an Ansco 8x10 off Ebay for $525 delivered to my door. After purchasing and using a Canham 8x10 I swore I would never go near the format again. But I really like this camera. The extra weight is of no concern. Mine extends to 35 inches. Just waiting for Richard Ritter to finish my lensboards and I'll be up and running. I expect some great photographs with my new/pld machine. They are not all that available out there. This is one of only several I have seen on EBAY or anywhere else for that matter in several years. Good luck in your decision.
Best, Peter Schrager

Diane Maher
27-Sep-2005, 17:10
I have and use an Ansco 8x10. It weighs about 12 lbs. body only. I have a small plastic cart that I use to take it (and the associated gear) any distance from my car. I think my bellows only has a draw of 29 inches. I bought mine from Jim @ Midwest Photo Exchange a couple of years ago at $495. I've never heard of the sliding block mentioned above, but it sounds interesting. I use a long lens support clamped to the tripod to support the rear bed of the camera. It made a difference between sharp pictures and slightly fuzzy pictures.

Kevin Crisp
27-Sep-2005, 18:20
Except for the weight and the typical thick folded tailboard design, the ANSCO is a nice 8X10. Lots of belows, clever built in extra extension rail (versus the B&J one you have to carry around separately) lots of movements. The later ones are painted. Mine didn't have front swing but was easily modified to add it. Front axis tilt and a clever front knob which slides to lock the front rise and fall. Compared to a B&J there is no comparison. It is just better made and much less likely to suffer from the bed slouch which afflicts the B&J's. Used, I think they are a bargain.

John Kasaian
27-Sep-2005, 22:14
FWIW I've seen different models of Anscos or Agfa Anscos on eBay. I don't know if they are special models or if they were cobbled up from parts, but they are lacking in bellows length compared to the more common Universal and Studio type models. With that exception, I think they are fine cameras. I've got a tiny fleet of the 5x7 Universals that I'm very impressed with. The cherry finished ones with brass knobs are IMHO very good looking but the gray painted plastic knobbed ones do the same things---your film won't know the difference!

I'd give the Ansco high marks all around. Not as light or compact as the Deardorff or Century Universal but for the prices they go for the GPD (Grins Per Dollar) index says it all. Ansel even used one!


Nick Morris
28-Sep-2005, 05:54
Hello. I have an 8x10, with 8x10, 5x7, & 4x5 backs; and a 5x7 with 5x7 & 4x5 backs. Both are the more recent grey-painted models with plastic knobs. They don't have long bellows, as mentioned above, but I like them both. I primarily use the 8x10. Prior to the Ansco, I had an Eastman 2D 8x10, which I liked, but the Ansco has more movements. I paid $300 for the 8x10 outfit which included the camera, case, 3 backs, 3 8x10 film holders, an 8 1/4" Dagor, and original Ansco tripod. I paid $200 for the 5x7 outfit, which included the two backs, case, and Ilex lens. Both cameras came with good bellows.

I like the cameras. From what I've seen, I would rate them a very good second choice to the Deardorff in the older LF wood field camera market, and substantially less expensive.

A tip for the 8x10. I removed the head/mounting block from the Ansco tripod, attached a quick release mount to the bottom, and use it to mount my 8x10 to my Bogen 3-way tripod head. The camera has two points of tripod attachment to the Ansco head/mounting block, and using both of them makes the camera more stable on the tripod.

Truth be told, I was happy with the Eastman 2D, but it needed new bellows, and the Ansco outfit was a very good deal.

Aaron van de Sande
28-Sep-2005, 13:26
I should of clarified 'heavy', i sweated under a C-1 for a year or two and want to get back into large format. I guess my thinking is that the ansco would be a poor mans deardorff. I lust for a wehman but can't afford one.

Mike Troxell
29-Sep-2005, 10:55
My Ansco had the sliding block for the bottom but it also came with a 4x10 slide that fits in a slot in the rear of the camera. If your interested in experimenting with 4x10 you might want to try finding one of the 4x10 slides/dividers.

29-Apr-2010, 17:28
I realize that this thread is old but I still want to put my 2-cents worth in for the benefit of anyone searching for info on this topic. I have an 8x10" Ansco/Agfa camera and i like it very much. Mine was totally restored by a well-known camera restorer before I purchased it. From my research, it appears to be a later version of the camera because it it has the brass tracks that keep the front standards in line rather than the brass support piece that was mounted between the tops of the front standards. It has a full range of movements and also the built-in extension rail and the sliding block to center it on a tripod. I am told that it can be difficult to find one of these cameras with that block but it is very useful. Mine is is dark-stained cherry wood and it has brass hardware. I have often wondered why the later models that were painted gray and had plastic knobs were considered to be the top-of-the-line because my camera is quite beautiful. It has a full range of movements and lots of bellows draw (I can't remember how much off-hand.) I was told by the guy who restored it that he modified it to have a front movement that it didn't orignally have but I can't see any signs of the mofification. It has front swing, tilt, shift, rise, fall, and rear swing, tilt, and shift. It is heavy but that's not a problem for me. I suppose I would prefer a clamshell design such as a Deardorff but this camera serves my needs very well. It's a pleasure to use and I highly recommend it to anyone who doesn't mind a heavy camera. In 4x5", my primary field camera is a Wisner Technical Field which is very much like a Deardorff. In any case, I think Ansco/Agfa cameras can be a great value and I'm very happy with mine. I like using classic equipment and this camera certainly fits that bill. It gets the job done and it's a pleasure to work with.

8x10 user
29-Apr-2010, 17:34
Who restores and works on these things? Anyone have a parts camera for sale?

29-Apr-2010, 17:37
Here is a picture of my 8x10" Agfa/Ansco camera. I thought I could edit my previous post and add this but I don't see that option.


29-Apr-2010, 18:58
I have its little brother (5x7). I've only used it a few times, but I see me keeping it for some time to come. I've got about 22" of bellows. How long is the 8x10 at maximum bellows extension?

30-Apr-2010, 12:33
Hi Chris. I just bought an ansco 8X10. Looks like we have the same camera! I got it for a song along with what looks like a great 305 lense (very clean). Very excited. Never shot 8X10.

I posted this yesterday:
I got these weird film holders with it. Vintage wood. stamped Eastman Kodak Rochester. They have a 5x7 addaptor in them (a plate that slips into the bed of the holder. very cool. Never heard of that.)
But the problem is that the exposure area for the 8x10 film is exactly 8" by 10" so todays film wont fit. Very odd. Maybe they changed film size at one point in the 20s.

Do you use stadard modern film holders in your camera? I probably have to buy new ones (although the possibilities of using those 5x7 addaptors is really cool. It would mean getting a different crop without a shallower depth of field if I'm not mistakin'.)

Scott Davis
30-Apr-2010, 12:50

sounds like you might have glass plate holders instead of film holders.

30-Apr-2010, 13:24
With mine being 5x7, I wouldn't say they are the same.
Mine does work with standard 5x7 film holders. Let me know if you should decide to get rid of it. I may be interested in making a purchase.

30-Apr-2010, 21:29
Compared to the Deardorff, one feature I prefer about the Ansco design, is the ability to fold the camera with lens attached.
That makes the Ansco faster to set up.
An Ansco with front tilt, and a sliding tripod block is especially capable & it's a great value.

1-May-2010, 09:34
In its day the Agfa Ansco 10x8's where widely regarded as the best of all the US LF cameras, definitely better than a Deardorff.

That model is the Universal View, which has 26.5 inch bellows extension, the top model which David Silva refers to is the Commercial View which has front tilt & an extra 10 inches of bellow extension - 36.5 inches, some also have front swing.