View Full Version : Help identify this older press or technical (?) camera

3-May-2019, 01:09
This is just to satisfy my curiosity. Post contains an auction link, but the auction is done, and I will attach some pictures so that the thread is still readable after the link expires. This LF camera was sold on shopgoodwill: https://www.shopgoodwill.com/Item/64415618 under the obscure title "Vintage Heiland Research Camera, No. 3 Acme Shutter." Now, the pluses and minuses of Goodwill aside, the description is pretty vague, the pictures are decent, but I can't identify the camera, am curious about it, and wonder if LF veterans would know. (I didn't buy it.)

Some basic clues from the photos: it folds up like a press or technical camera, appears to be leatherette covered wood, has triple extension bellows, might be 5x7, and I suspect has an extending back like a Linhof technical camera (did Linhof invent this feature? I don't know). Photos and more thoughts below.


3-May-2019, 01:20
A few more of my thoughts:
- The description says 9x9x5" which is a bit larger than a Speed Graphic and one reason it might be 5x7".
- Unless it's an obscure Japanese half-plate 4-3/4 x 6-1/2" camera?
- I never heard of Heiland Research making cameras. That's probably stamped on the flash bracket.
- I don't think it's an ancient Linhof. As far as I know, even old Technikas are metal bodied, and various details like the way the focusing knobs are laid out are unlike any Technika.
- There are four little knobs on the sides, and two seams that run all the way around the body, that make me think it has a technical-style extending back and possibly a rotating back.
- The aluminum block carrier for the front standard doesn't match the rest of the hardware and sort of looks like a custom made job to allow more movements?

Your thoughts are welcome! I'm not an expert and there's probably a lot I've overlooked.

3-May-2019, 03:44
Has some similarities to a Burke & James.

Louis Pacilla
3-May-2019, 07:49
Looks like a redo of a Revolving Back Cycle Graphic body w/ bed painted black and a few other changes. May have been a professional job. The front standard is totally a redo of what the R B Graphic would have had but the rest of the camera fits the R B Graphic.

BTW- The main shell & bed/rails I believe are R B Cycle Graphic w/ the Ft standard & back movements added by designer/tech.

Jim Noel
3-May-2019, 08:46
I'm not sure of it's maker, but it sure has some nice features.I wish I Had Seen The listing.

John Earley
5-May-2019, 11:16
Did the OP win the auction?

5-May-2019, 11:56
I hope he bought it, it looks like a good deal for a good working camera.

5-May-2019, 22:40
Did the OP win the auction?

No, I didn't win (I did say that in the OP). Otherwise I would have some better details on the construction. I was sorely tempted to bid higher just to satisfy my curiosity, but the unknown quantities of the camera restrained me since I have a limited budget. A main uncertainty was the format - 5x7 would be cool, in the perhaps unlikely event that it was half plate, it would be a white elephant for me.

The bed, layout of the focusing knobs, and some other bits do look very much like an R.B. Cycle Graphic - some good pictures of an original at http://piercevaubel.com/cam/nonview/cyclegraphicrevback.htm

I thought that the front standard was a modification, but it didn't occur to me that the entire technical-back part might be a custom modification. (I assume this is an extending technical back, can't see what else the metal-trimmed perimeter and the four locking knobs would be for). If so it's very well done, at least from the outside.

Glad that I'm not the only one who was intrigued by it.

Mark Crabtree
10-May-2019, 09:41
I opened this thread several days ago then must have gotten distracted and just saw it now. Louis has a good eye. I'm not sure I would have made the connection to a camera I bought, but now it seems obvious. Unfortunately, the auction for mine doesn't seem viewable any more and I gave the camera to a friend.

Mine was a #46 Century 5x7 with revolving back. Like what was later made as an RB Cycle Graphic. Page 12 in the 1910 catalog http://www.piercevaubel.com/cam/catalogs/1910centurylp476.htm

The camera body and front standard was not modified to this extent on mine, just looked stock. But several other similarities. Top handle moved to side, and the sight type finder added (a stock item available from Graflex). The weirdest thing was that mine had a side rangefinder added and coupled to the Ilex 7 1/2 inch lens. I believe that is the same model lens on the OP camera.

I was baffled by mine, basically a very old Century converted to something like a 5x7 Crown Graphic. The only clue I've run into is from a 90-something friend who told me that Graflex briefly reintroduced the discontinued 5x7 Speed Graphic due to special requests when Kodachrome came out. They did not keep that in the line long at all. For whatever reason it kind of looks like there was a cottage industry modifying old 5x7 cameras for people who needed 5x7 in a press type camera.

The rangefinder conversion on mine was nicely done with hand made parts including an infinity stop that you could press down to bypass. Otherwise stock Meyer or Kalart rangefinder.

I don't have a picture and the 2017 eBay auction doesn't seem to be available, but I'll try to link to the thumbnail eBay still shows in my history.
The auction title was CENTURY 5x7 SELF-CASING CAMERA w/ F4.5 LENS & COLOR BELLOWS, and was #272622579606