View Full Version : Century 5x7 pics...thoughts, ideas or advice.

Nita Ann
19-May-2009, 18:10
I have taken pictures of my camera and I'm hoping for a little help in getting it in shape to use. I'm trying to figure out how to remove the ground glass. I'm thinking I have to take it apart but before I do I thought I would check if this is the right way to do it. Also, I'm wondering about film holders...the ground glass is on a spring hinge that pulls away from the back - does a film holder rest between there? If anyone has any help for me or just advice please let me know. I surely need all the help I can get! Oh, I was hoping for some hints how to clean up the leather as it is in bad shape and the handle is iffy so I'm probably going to have to replace it.




Steve Hamley
19-May-2009, 18:33

I have a 5x7 Conley that looks very much the same; the glass retaining clips are on the inside. Unfortunately I don't know exactly how to do it, so maybe someone else will post.

Yes, the film holder goes in between the hinged gg frame and the camera, where your thumb is in the second photo.

I like Lemon Pledge to start overall cleaning of a dirty camera. just don't get it on the lens or shutter. You don't want it on the gg either, but you're going to replace it. Finish the leather with Cavalier Leather Balm.

Cheers, Steve

Jim Galli
19-May-2009, 18:36
It looks like it takes the modern 5X7 film holders so they should be easy to find. I believe it is a rotating back. There may be a button hidden under the leather on the upper left side looking at the back. If you push the button in you can rotate the back from portrait position to landscape position. I have at least one 5X7 film holder that is wood and same age as the camera. Those shutters are pretty to look at but not very reliable. You may need to get some very slow film like Adox 25 asa so you can stop the lens down to do 1 second exposures. You can do those with a black hat. Still life indoors is a good place to start where the exposures would be long enough you wouldn't need your shutter. Will you do your own developing?

Diane Maher
20-May-2009, 05:42
I have a camera very similar to this at home. I'll look at it tonight and see if I can help. I believe that there may be some sort of clip things (not sure how to describe them) on the corners that holds the back on. Or, you might just be able to lift off the back, I'm not certain at this instant. Yes, you will have to remove the back to get to the ground glass.

Mark Sampson
20-May-2009, 05:49
Note the waist-level viewfinder on the baseboard. That camera was meant to be usable hand-held (!) as well as on a tripod.

Scott Davis
20-May-2009, 07:14
If you look carefully at the 2nd picture you posted, there's a circular mark in the leather on the upper rear corner of the side. That's where the locking button for revolving (and possibly releasing) the back is located. There may be a second one on the opposite side which, used in combination with the first, might release the back so you could get to the ground glass.

Nita Ann
20-May-2009, 11:22
Thanks everyone for the responses. I saw the circles after the first post about hidden buttons and tried to push them but couldn't get anything to move. I didn't want to force it but maybe I need more strength. Anyway nothing seemed to budge or give at all. I'm going to work with it more. Maybe it is just stuck from not being used for a long time.

As for the question about developing I am going to try to get started in that as well. I thought it would be interesting to learn how to do developing myself. I found a place to take a class. So this new camera is making me go more in depth that I would have otherwise. Assuming I can figure this camera out I just might have some film to develop!

Pat Kearns
20-May-2009, 20:40
I have a Pony Premo No. 3 that is very much like your Century. The only difference is there is a clip on the upper right and left corners that hold the back on. Raise the two clips and the back can be removed and turned horizontal or verticle. Lower the clips and the back is secured. The ground glass clips are on the front side of the glass so you will have to remove the back to get to them. As Jim mentioned the shutter isn't real reliable. The shutter speeds on mine are T, B, 1/100, 1/50, 1/25, 1/5, 1/2, and 1 second. The speeds below 1/50 are very sluggish. I set it at 1/100 but believe it is probably closer to 1/60 so I usually back into the aperture from there. Another member advised that the f/stops do not match modern f/stops. The f/stops listed might be 8, 16, 32, 64, & 128 but equate to modern 8, 11, 16, 32, & 64. I was having some very dense negatives before I learned that. The only downside to the camera is the door covering the ground glass. The way it opens only to 90 degrees is a pain when the back is set for a horizontal picture. It is in the way and you hit your forehead on it. I'm a right-eyed photographer so door is out of the way when I focus with my loupe. When you get it cleaned up you will have fun with it.

21-May-2009, 20:08
I have a Seneca 6b in 5x7 from the same era. My leather looks worse, but the camera works great. From the rear of the camera, look on the right side in the pics I've attached. I see you don't have the same catch, but maybe look for something similar. Once the screw/catch is moved, the back is allowed to rotate. Once rotated to 45 degrees, mine has a screw in each of the 4 corners. Dig that #2 flathead screwdriver out of the toolbox and remove them. The back comes off and it looks to be as simple as using a jeweler's precision flathead screwdriver (though mine are at work right now) to remove the metal plate, which should loosen the metal clip on the ground glass.
For what its worth, mine accepts standard Fidelty 5x7 plastic film holders.
Send a PM if mine is close enough to yours to be of any more help.
Best of luck,

Nita Ann
22-May-2009, 17:13
Well, I finally got the back off my camera. I just had to get my husband to do it! I guess I wasn't strong enough to do it myself. So, I'm going to order some ground glass now. I was told to try Steve Hopf. When I was looking at what he had there was a choice between ultra fine and standard. What is the difference? Any thoughts?

Rafael Garcia
22-May-2009, 17:23
Probably the degree of polish, which affects fine focusing. If you can afford the difference go for the ultra fine.

Welcome to LF. Once you get going it will be too late: you will be hooked forever! Turn around now, while you have the chance!

Ernest Purdum
24-May-2009, 16:11
I'm not as pessimistic as others about the shutter. If it is clean, and if you allow a little time between cocking and releasing, it should be reasonably consistent. Consistency is important, accuracy much less so.

If you don't want to spend money on having it cleaned, take off the cylinder that moves as you cock it, clean thoroughly, and replace it with no lubrication.

Michael Graves
25-May-2009, 06:25
Well, I finally got the back off my camera. I just had to get my husband to do it! I guess I wasn't strong enough to do it myself. So, I'm going to order some ground glass now. I was told to try Steve Hopf. When I was looking at what he had there was a choice between ultra fine and standard. What is the difference? Any thoughts?

If he is still making them, Steve produces a most excellent product. Spend the extra few bucks for the grid lines.