View Full Version : Dating and Modeling a Calumet Monorail

22-Feb-2008, 19:01
just picked up a Calumet monorail, it is the battleship grey one, with the light colored bellows and the viewing screen is gridded with red lines if that helps. It has a leather handle on top and a pair of levels, that I can only assume were yellow but now have clear fluid in them.

The serial number is #16684, and other than the little C at the top is all the markings on it.

I would like to find out whatever I can about it.

I have been looking around the net for pictures of them and I am also noticing that the front (where the lens is mounted) is a fair bit recessed from the standard.

Glenn Thoreson
22-Feb-2008, 19:28
Without a picture it's hard to be certain, but it sounds like a Calumet CC-400 series. Originally manufactured by Kodak as the Master View, it was later picked up by Burke & James and Calumet. It was made under various names for quite a long time. It's a stout camera. More suited to studio work than lugging around in the field. Still plentiful and inexpensive.

Dan Coakley
22-Feb-2008, 19:29
Hello - sounds like you have a recessed lens board for a wide angle lens. You could probably find a regular lens board on e-bay or maybe a new one from Calumet. The
Calumet view cameras are fine cameras. There are no geared adjustments, just friction type. Everything works. They made a very practical wide angle camera with a short rail and belows. It sold for less than a bag bellows for more expensive cameras.

Dan C

22-Feb-2008, 19:47
No Dan, the board is not recessed, the lens board holder is recessed, it seems that the plate that has the sliding grip for the lense board is attached to about an inch thick piece that is then attached to the part that does rise

22-Feb-2008, 19:51
I will go photograph it right now and try to upload the images.

22-Feb-2008, 19:57
Ok here is a topview It shows the huge recess from the front standard.

22-Feb-2008, 19:59
And here is a side view, that suggests that the last person took this thing apart and didn't quite put it back together the right way

22-Feb-2008, 20:41
Ok, I flipped the uprights on the front carrier now so they are going in the same direction. Of course, that also means I messed up the heads on 2 of the 6 little bitty screws that hold the mounting plates to the standard. I doubt it will matter much, but just in case does anyone know what size these things are?

22-Feb-2008, 22:42

I bought the WA version of this camera a couple of years ago for my architectural work. Needed several replacements parts. Believe it or not, Jose at Calumet repairs still had everything I needed including the WA bellows. You might check with him to see what's left.

I can't tell for sure from looking at your shots of the camera, but it just might be that someone has modified this normal range camera (16 inch monorail and standard bellows) by exchanging the normal for the WA front standard which is heavily recessed so it can work without resorting to recessed lens boards.

I did that exact thing with one of these that I owned when I was in my teens. Hated the recessed boards because I couldn't get fingers in to the controls so I bought the WA front standard and swapped them out. Took about fifteen minutes and nothing more than a small Phillips screwdriver.

Bellows is a little stiff for extreme movements, but bottom line is it worked much better with the flat boards and gave me almost the exact same offset. Ergo: I got the same bellows action that I would have with the recessed boards anyway.

For all I know, you may have stumbled across the one I did this to about 40 years ago. Great cameras with some features I wish I had on my more modern monorails.

Have fun with it.


22-Feb-2008, 22:45
why would you want to date and model a camera? i don't understand.

22-Feb-2008, 22:58
I don't know why not. This one is better looking than some and far more reliable than most of the women I've dated. No, I'm not a misogynist!!!!

22-Feb-2008, 23:22

Your camera is a Calumet CC-402. I have a love/hate relationship with two of them. Look up Kirk Gittings if you need more info.


23-Feb-2008, 06:36
I see the 402, and I am guessing mine is a hybrid of the 402 front bellows mount and the 400 rail and rest of the camera. And now since I flipped the uprights and bolt plates it is more like the 400, since it takes away about an inch of rearward travel (the standards can't get quite as close together anymore) I am assuming by looking at it, that I do not have the softer bellows with extra pleats, and with a quick measurement of 18" the rail is not the shorter rail eihter...

Well, I will keep my eyes open for some of those 47 and 90 mm lenses

24-Feb-2008, 19:20
Well I have the contact info for Calumet service, we will see what they say tomorrow :)

24-Feb-2008, 19:24
I don't know why not. This one is better looking than some and far more reliable than most of the women I've dated. No, I'm not a misogynist!!!!

i prefer my speed graphic =)

25-Feb-2008, 15:42
Absinthe, I have a very simular calumet. Mine,however seems to be a factory
issue. It has a 12" rail 5" bellows with 6 wide spaced plets. Not a true wide angle
bellows, but it works very well for my needs, and is much less painful than a
recessed board. What I don't understand is why the rear standerd has the tilt knob
on the right side and the front standered on the left side?? These are heavy cameras,
the recessed standered makes them worth the extra weight. IMHO that is.
Use it have fun with it. Their hard to hurt.
Joe A

Glenn Thoreson
25-Feb-2008, 15:54
Before I finally sold mine, I was tempted to shorten the rail and bellows to make it easier to use in the field. I do landscape and old architecture, so I really had no need for 19" of extension. I found other options, though, and passed the thing on to a new owner. Mine was the original Kodak Master View version. A very good camera, but not what I needed for what I do. Enjoy.

25-Feb-2008, 16:25
Joseph I was curious about that myself. But everything seems to be for a purpose. I personally will not be shooting any wide angle stuff since my lovely wollensack is like 7" or something :)

However, I think I understand why. Ready, they orient the uprights so that the two short sides are facing each other so the two standards can get closer together. I think they swap the tilt adjustment knobs so that when the bellows is all the way compressed you will still be able to work them comfortably with your fingers, since they woudl be so close together.

And with the exception of my hamfisted inability to remove 2 screws without messing up the heads they are really easy to swap back to being on the same side.

26-Feb-2008, 00:23
Absinthe, your dead on. The obvious always escapes me. with my short bellows the standereds contact each other. Can't use it like that,but even drawn out some it would be very hard to use same sided knobs. On my long rail Calumet there are knobs on each side of each standered. Makes things a little easier. Have you considered the wollinsack
optar 3 1/2". Since your bellows compresson limits movement. why not? their very inexpensive. small, light with good contrast and sharp. I got one from e-bay mint and
use it more than my Schneider-SA 90mm. If movement is needed I go with the SA
but it's big and heavy and at f8 the optar is a little brighter at 6.8. I paid 53$ for mine
shipping included.(a sucker gets a break) Iam not selling nor do I know any one who
is selling one of these lenses. Had to get that in. These lenses were made for graphic
cameras and will yield a tiny bit of movement. They,IMHO,though they are a little
old are largely over looked these days. Thanks for solving the knob puzzle.
Joe A

26-Feb-2008, 04:20
Well actually it is a #3 optimo f-6 portrait from a 5x7 so i guess it is not a 7" but a 6". it is all I have right now, but I keep watching ebay who knows maybe someday I will have a wide angle :)

Gregg Cook
4-Mar-2008, 15:10
I have the Kodak Master view model too. I like it, but have a couple of screws that need replaced. Any repair experts on these?

4-Mar-2008, 17:39
Try Jose at Calumet repairs. He had quite a few parts left for these about a year ago. Maybe he still does. 1-800-Calumet.