View Full Version : Old Guy Wants to Know

Wayne Campbell
11-Mar-2000, 22:22
If you were an old guy getting into 4x5 after a lifetime dabbling in 35mm and 2 1/4 x 2 1/4, which of the following two cameras would you choose? The Calumet 4x5 or the Graphic View II ? Both have their adherents. No less than Ansel Adams devotes quite a bit of time and illustrations to the Calumet 4x5 in his book CAMERA AND LENS; THE CREATIVE APPROACH. Others on this discussion page claim the Graphic View II is the greatest thing since sliced bread. The Calumet looks more robust and is usually cheaper. The Graphic View II has the cache of O. Winston Link and his Norfolk Railroad pictures riding with it. Any t

11-Mar-2000, 22:43
Which calumet model are you refering to? I use a cambo sc which is similiar to some calumet cameras. It is missing some of the more luxurious features such as easy load bail arm,rotating back,no geared movements,and no geared focus. But it does a great job and only cost me $250. I have never used the Graphic view but i always thought it looked kinda of cheesy IMO. josh

Tony Brent
11-Mar-2000, 22:44
Both are just boxes to keep the light side outside and the film side inside. As long as the bellows are tight and everything works, get the one that feels best and concentrate on equipping it with a complement of the best glass you can afford.

That said, I used the Graphic View II all through the Navy, and found the same rig after I got out. It is a bit more limited in its movements, but I never found anything I couldn't do with it.

The Calumet is a good machine too. I have never used it but I believe there are folks here who have.

Doug Paramore
12-Mar-2000, 10:10
Wayne: I, too, am one of the "old guys" and I use a Graphic View II for much of my work. I have also used a older Calumet at times, but I prefer the Graphic strictly because of personal preference. Both work well and both will take great pictures. I agree that the primary purpose of a camera is to provide a light-tight box and to keep the lens and film holder from falling on the ground, but with large format it is much more than that. Having said I prefer the Graphic View II, there are some things to watch for when considering the purchase of one. The monorail is triangular in profile and the gear drive for focusing at front and rear has a long reach to the gear track. The support hole for the shaft wears, and the gears will jump the track if the lock-down knob is backed off too loose. The little track will also move and you need to keep it in place and the screws tight. Also, the tripod mount for the camera has it's own tilt and rotate and sits kind of high. This is o.k. if you can find a tripod without a head and with a flat topped center post large enough to mount the setup. Otherwise, you have to mount that rather tall mount head atop another tripod head. It not only looks stupid but it works stupid to have what looks like two tripod heads, one above the other. On the plus side, the Graphic II is easy to operate, locks down tight when all the knobs are screwed down, and you can use a 90mm lens on a flat board with movements. Lens boards are 4x4 flat, so you can build your own if you have to, which is a lot cheaper than buying them. My camera has the Grafloc back, and while it does not rotate, it can be changed in a second from vertical to horizontal by releasing a couple of clips. Hope this helps, Doug.

Paul Szopa
18-Mar-2000, 21:00
Wayne: I've used both the Graphic View II and an older model Calumet and prefer the GV II. As mentioned before, it's largely a personal choice. The Grafloc back allows a quick change to a rollfilm back and that's a plus for me. Also, the Graflex camera just feels sturdier. I have also used a Cambo (similar to the newer Calumets, I believe) and don't care for it. It's just too big and bulky for me. Thoughts from another old guy heading into retirement next month.