View Full Version : Goerz Anschütz Strut Camera 13x18 to 4x5 mod

4-Jul-2010, 10:13
The first bits of this are repeated from my post in 'show off your camera'.

Having sold the Razzle I'd got myself this old strut camera, since it's pretty light and pretty basic too. I've wanted one for a few years, so why not?

As far as I can research, it's a Goerz Anschutz, with a more modern focal plane shutter. Instead of an adjustable slit, this curtain falls open to the whole size of the film, like a typical shutter.

I'd bought it as a "Goerz Anschütz 13x18 folding strut camera. Ernemann Ernotar 150/4.5 lens" with the seller claiming the shutter was broken/unreliable, and a few other little things, such as the lens not being oem, and the albada glass was broken.

Super slim, the camera is only a few inches thick,

The original back has slide-in screen with leather fold out protector/hood.

4-Jul-2010, 10:15
When the camera arrived it was sticking open. Spent a few hours working out how the shutter works, and making 'instant' work. This was fixed by rearranging the gear below the winding key.


I'd taken the whole mechanism off really isn't recommended. All that was needed was to remove the winding key's screw & check the position of the two gears.

There's one gear above the other, and if they are misaligned, the shutter will catch on the upper gear and stick open.


The speed adjuster isn't easily adjustable, looks like someone lost/damaged a part so now the camera uses a pressure plate & torx screwdriver. I've left it on 8, which fires consistently.

The Albada finder glass is broken, so I need to replace that at some point. Without the glass the field of view is almost exactly 180mm on 4x5.


4-Jul-2010, 10:15
The 150mm lens is too short to be at infinity when the struts are locked. Instead the 180mm Dagor should be ideal. Having put the 180mm dagor back in its original barre, I needed a focusing helical (original one was fused & wouldn't budge). I botched it into the focusing helical from the broken dogmar lens Randy H had given me years ago. Because the fit wasn't perfect, I used insulation taped to make up the majority of the space, leaving enough to move freely.

The possibly oem lensboard had lots of damage, a couple different lenses must have been put on the camera. Looks like the previous owner was so lazy they just glued the Ernemann lens onto the board having ripped off the original lens. The Ernemann lens flange was stuck on, but came off easy. The 3 original/perfectly spaced holes conveniently took to the dogmar's flange, so the dagor is in position.

In fact the 180mm Dagor just about focuses to infinity when stopped down. There's something out of place, however it's only slightly off, and the near focus is head to waist, I'm happy with that.


Unable to quickly & cheaply source real wood on a sunday I settled for outdoor ply at roughly 4mm I think.

Cutting a piece to the size of the slot on the back, next job, cut out the middle.

After I checked the whole film would be exposed, I taped slits of wood around a holder to anchor it.


Next the wood glue stuck each slit in place, then I put the old (graflex??) groundglass down to see if it sits properly.


4-Jul-2010, 10:16
The slits of wood were too small for the springs as-is so I cut them down & reversed them (screws inward), and removed the lever.



The remainder of the black spraypaint wasn't enough, but all the same I pushed the back on the camera. It's such a tight fit, so tight it can't come off without a lot of effort!

The thing isn't perfect but it was a few hours, something to do. Probably tomorrow I'll try to find the much better Sinar back and work out how to attach that instead!

4-Jul-2010, 10:47
I just removed the camera back. Looks like it's the normal slit-shutter, but there's an issue of tension or something being caught up. The second half of the curtain is stuck. I'm in two minds whether to fix it properly, or leave it as it is, working but not as intended.

4-Jul-2010, 13:52
Had a fiddle with the shutter but it's beyond my patience to faff about getting it to work 100%

Stripped the back from the camera. Decided it just wasn't good enough (and the original sliding back was weak & splitting in places). The camera and /sinar back are sat in the neighbour's garage tonight. We're going to try and mount the Sinar 5x4 back onto it tomorrow.

4-Jul-2010, 15:34
I've just read the entire thread Ash. Really interesting, please keep updating.

Jim C.
4-Jul-2010, 18:41
Ash, I decided to browse the goods mentioned in this another thread about a
Velo II soft focus lens and lo and behold they have just what you're looking for.
A bit dear for my tastes, but if you need it...


and the actual page that you can purchase it on -


Steven Tribe
5-Jul-2010, 03:30
Do you have any original 13x18 plate holders? These are not too difficult to locate - if you know what you are looking for! And a Kodak 5x7 film sheath will fit perfectly. I enclose a photo of the slightly smaller 1/2 plate version. The aluminium/black stained hardwood is characteristic for the ango strut - and the bar through which the dark slide passes is about 1mm proud of the rest of the face (you can see it, of course, on the ground glass). Yours must be an early version as the later models had a blue viewing glass on the viewer - see photo. Getting a replacment will require some precise measurement as it is difficult to see the difference between the more common 9x12 version and their big sisters.

I can take photos of the shutter mechanism - although Goerz must have made some development work through the decades they made this. Unless they decided - "if it works - don't fix it". Apart from Dagor and Dogmer, there was originally a Lynkeioscope that matched the strut length.

5-Jul-2010, 03:45
Thanks Nicolas.

The site you referenced is notorious for bad service and more-than-exaggerated descriptions. I've been sent wrong & damaged items by them before. The Albada on MW is clearly missing the peephole piece. That said, sometimes you get lucky & what you get arrives as it should.

I've decided to fit a semi-permanent 5x4 back, not least because the original rear fittings disintegrated when I pulled them off. If I use this camera and it works for me, I may replace the pinholed/dry shutter curtains for new, maybe then I'll try work out the issues!

My neighbour & I just cut a new rear piece. I'll update with photos later, today I'd like to get this completed.

Jim C.
5-Jul-2010, 07:09
Ash, Thanks for the info, I've never heard of them till the thread on Velo II.

5-Jul-2010, 08:38
The back as-is was unpleasant to use, a bit botched, and not-so-strong. Off it came.


The original wood started to disintegrate and fall apart in my hands, so it's pretty much scrap. I decided something sturdy needs to hold a Sinar back in place. The benefit being rollfilm etc.


Once I decided the whole back was coming off I went about working on the new back, with the aid of my exceptionally skilled "guy with a few tools" next door.

1st cut - Fibreboard prototype was too soft
2nd cut - using 'exterior plywood' to the inner dimensions, but this fouled the shutter curtains.

3 attempts later I had this.


Fitted to the external dimensions, there's no light baffle. Using two strips to sit on the recessed edges on the left & right, the back sits snug.

5-Jul-2010, 08:43
The shutter uses metal rods.


Realising these conduct electricity I tested some wire with crocodile clips & a flash gun. Success! So in a corner I've got a pc-to-hotshoe adapter.


This will be attached to either the back or the top, depending on success finding a shoe. Otherwise I'll epoxy it to the leather, as I will only be using a wireless trigger with it.


First stage of epoxy resin. I bought "metal epoxy" hoping it will be strong enough. Once this sets I will do the same for the top side. The Sinar back fits snug in the gap, but I need it flush as well, so I use a wedge on the corner that drops through.


5-Jul-2010, 11:44
Using spraypaint, both sides have been painted black.


The specs of paint on the metal will be cleaned off.


Between the wood and the metal are little slits of wood to keep the back raised into position, and (I hope) to increase union between wood and metal.

If it snaps off, or comes free of itself, I'll have to think again, probably using a sheet of aluminium or steel.

Tomorrow once everything has set & is dry, I will put the final touches to the back, drill pilot holes for the screws, sort the flash sync, test and then I'm done!

5-Jul-2010, 14:27
Instead of waiting til tomorrow, I taped the back to the camera, check the fitting.
There's definitely not infinity focus, but I can release the struts and focus back to infinity that way - the struts are stiff enough. As-is, the distance is ideal for portraits.


The back sticks out a lot, but it's okay, seems secure.


The wood is flush and doesn't look too out of place now it's black. Maybe 100y/o leather would complete the look.


The added baffle strip on the inside covers the gap here to avoid light leaks. This is the original recess where original film holders slide in.


Because the tolerance is so tight, the wire on the inside was catching & starting to rip the old curtain, so after patching with insulation tape, I cut off the potential flash sync. There was no way to add the sync without serious attention with copper strips, so that's been abandoned for now - it's too much effort.

5-Jul-2010, 14:30
I drilled pilot holes and used the smallest screws I could, shame they were shoddy quality - a few of the heads chewed off on the drill as I tried to screw them in!

The project wouldn't be right without a disaster - my weak hands dropped the phone as I went to take a photo, smashing the Sinar GG into pieces. 10 minutes of picking out the pieces and hoovering the shards from the curtain, I used the 'spare' Satin Snow groundglass that was on the Korona.

All finished,


If sis has black nail varnish I'll touch up the scratches and screwheads.

Am exhausted now!

Steven Tribe
6-Jul-2010, 02:44
This looks like a pretty early anschulz (design of the focal shutter controls). The Serial number is probably on the back , underneath the sliding GG/hood back. There will also be a model no./assembly matching no. in somewhat larger digits. I admire your work but feel you will have grief with the extra thickness making it difficult to use the objectives which matched it originally. Perhaps sliding tube, rather than the original helical system, will give you more space (and alternative objectives) to play with.

6-Jul-2010, 09:31
Thanks Steven.

I was unsure over heavily modifying the camera, especially because of its vintage. Coming to terms with "I want to use it" as opposed to collect/preserve was the difficulty. As it stands, the focal distance is perfect for portraits.

Once I have the energy I will remove the front lens panel and get to work on a different design, similar to what you suggest. Potentially, multiple lensboards is the goal.

Considering the limitation of the helical, I'm tempted to use a recessed lensboard and a modern helical, maybe returning the elements to the press shutter I'd put them in for the 180mm Dagor.

The camera is at least usable, and extremely portable, it fits in a laptop/netbook sleeve!

Steven Tribe
6-Jul-2010, 14:18
I agree with your sentiments when there is no other choice. Better a camera in use rather than a 7/8 complete relic of a fun period in photography. I have a 8x10 poco cycle long focus - bought as "parts from a box camera". No back, no front standard. It now has a Graphic front standard and a standard 8x10 spring back and is still very portable.

11-Jul-2010, 11:48
I tested the focal plane shutter (using the focusing area as shutter) and it was consistently at 1/5. This is way too slow for portraits.

Next I tried to use the original slit for exposure, but it wouldn't travel consistently and also fouled inside the camera.

This in mind, the dagor cells went back into the shutter I'd modified...

Fitting the lens into the shutter: http://www.largeformatphotography.info/forum/showthread.php?t=26394

The hood modification: http://www.largeformatphotography.info/forum/showthread.php?t=29097&page=2

The lens sits happy on the board, with the struts fully extended the focus is limited at a convenient 6ft.



A shim retainer behind the rise/fall, but in front of the shift, keeps the lens in place. This was a piece out of an old 35mm lens.


Eventually I'd like to replace the front with a recessed board and focusing helical, but for now this'll do.

12-Jul-2010, 03:57
I just oiled the struts...

Suddenly the camera has returned to life!

The speed and immediacy of these cameras is far from obvious when the tired and rough struts won't bend. I can now almost 'throw' the camera open.

Unfortunately this now means there's nil resistance when the struts are bent. I think I'll have to get a focusing helical after all....

3-Oct-2010, 13:20

I have one of these cameras (made around 1894), which is working after a few repairs.
You should be able to adjust the shutter curtain with the glass back off. On the older models you move a slider (connected to a string on both curtains) along the width of the curtain to set the slit.

To get the full view in the glass back, you push the button on the left side (near the strap) and keep winding the curtain further to reveal the exposure-size gap.

That's how it should work anyway, unless somebody has done some previous 'repairs' and made the slit a fixed width. The curtains can also get fused together (like mine, where it wasn't functioning correctly).

Best fix is to replace the curtain. I got away with freeing up everything and painting in the pinholes with fabric paint - I'll never 1/1000s out of it but I've had some good shots from this camera!

The later models had the red, screen-printed text on the curtain.

11-Oct-2010, 14:14
Thanks Seth. I think the original curtains are way too damaged from age and disrepair. I'd be tempted to overhaul them with the spare curtain material from a Speed Graphic I gutted years ago, but to be honest, like Steve's earlier comment, it's impossible to use the original lens with the shutter and a 5x4 back.

The camera's sat around for a few months untouched, and in the mean time I've lost some of the original screws for the back, so I need to go buy some. However, I decided that since the roller blind shutter won't work I ought to sort out the ugly back modification.

The big screws were removed, back piece pulled off, and then taken to with a hacksaw.

Having cut down a few mm from each side, the back now holds tight (even without screws) in the main cavity. The wooden panel is as far in as possible without cutting through the epoxy and starting again from scratch. The roller blind shutter now can't go anywhere because the inside of the wood presses against the rollers.

Pictures do it no justice, but in reality this makes a world of difference, even if it's only a 3-4mm drop into the camera.

In the attached picture I've overlayed the original rear frame pieces (that a holder/ground glass would slide into) over the top. I'm intending on screwing them back in place.

IFF I can source a helical focus mount (!!!) Then I'll start work on designing a new front standard/recessed lensboard so I can focus the lens-in-shutter, currently it's fixed at around 8ft.

Maybe this week I can try shoot a test shot or two once I arrange access to darkroom and chemicals.

18-Oct-2010, 11:39
Over the past week I did a lot of faffing about. Eventually I came to these conclusions:

- I want to use the camera
- It should focus to infinity and close up
- Using 5x4 is wasting potential
- The original shutter is shot
- Flash sync is important

With this in mind I've...

- spent out on a helical focus from jinfinance on the evil auction site
- bought a 5x7 back from eddie
- gutted the original shutter

The plan is to sink the 5x7 back into the cavity, hoping to achieve enough depth that the helical won't need much of a sunk lensboard. Potentially fabricate a sunk lensboard and if necessary make a focus arm for it.

The result will be a 5x7 camera that takes modern holders, reliable shutter speeds and a flash sync, and focuses from infinity to close up.

Essentially it's gonna become a more modern version of what they made in the first place.....!

Steven Tribe
18-Oct-2010, 13:34
This is a very sensible decision Ash. A 5x7" is something different that a camera that would be close to the normal graflex.
I haven't actually lost shutter parts - they are all in glass containers. My problem is that I have a SLR 13x18 Goltz & Breutmann (Mentor) whose focal plane shutter is also in a collection of jam jars!
Remember to offer the Goerz parts here as someone might know what they are missing?

18-Oct-2010, 13:42
Hi Steven, the bits weren't missing anything, it was just a dodgy spring in the cylinder (tension was shot) and couldn't fire reliably or at all. I've got most/all in a bag now.

Chances are I'll put the metal plates back on the side for effect, rather than leave empty or woodfill the gaps from their removal.

27-Oct-2010, 10:06
This afternoon:

Gutted the rear completely, pulling out as much as possible...

Cut the B&J 5x7 back to size

Epoxied the back into place

Started work using wood-glue to fill all gaps between back, epoxy, and camera

Still no sign of my focus helical, getting a little impatient but it's coming from Asia so I can't be too frustrated yet.

Shortly I'll reattach the metal bits (original shutter wind & tension plates) to the side for effect, and to cover the nasty holes otherwise visible.

To do:
Paint the back
Cut the original frame pieces (that acted as guides for the slide-in back) to fit around the new back
Sort front focus helical/lensboard/etc
Buy 5x7 holders and film.

27-Oct-2010, 11:35
I quickly attached the GG as-is. It looks great, fits the camera size, and keeps the slim profile...

Sadly it's still not deep enough to get infinity focus, but any deeper and I feared it'd be impossible to get a film holder in and out.

Once the focus helical arrives I can work out how to recess the lensboard/helical and achieve infinity. I'm considering a top-hat style, and having a focus arm attached to the helical.

28-Oct-2010, 13:13
Here's some camera porn for anyone who's still watching the updates. Since I'm waiting on the focus helical for the shutter, I fitted the elements back in the original barrel (with its fixed helical from a few posts back).

The original shutter cocking mechanism and tension panels are on for effect. I might try fashion a shutter cable holder there instead.

The lens focuses further back than infinity (so I have to pull the lens to get infinity), so at the moment no close focus, but infinity. The good news on this means that the sunken helical won't need to be too deep. I hope it'll be deep enough without fouling the folding mechanism.

If the recessed lensboard looks like it'll foul the folding design, I'll make it removable with a common lensboard adapter/mount and make it a multi-lens camera....!!

4-Nov-2010, 16:14
Got the focus helical in the post today. Not sure how I'm going to attach it to the camera.

The helical comes on a linhof board, but I don't have the budget or materials to buy or fabricate a lensboard adapter.

Since it unscrews, with its retaining ring, I'm tempted to mount it to the smaller board on the camera and keep the front standard original. I won't get anything close to infinity focus. I'm not even sure I'd get full length portrait.

The camera is intended for portraits, so it'd be nice to have the freedom of full length shots. I was going to build a recessed lensboard for it, but by the looks of the helical throw, it'd lack close focus. No compromise...

24-Jan-2011, 09:39
Resurrecting this thread, since I stayed home today and put some work into fitting everything together.

I've opted for non-infinity focus. The main reason is I doubt I'll ever take landscape shots, and if I did it wouldn't be with this camera. The farthest focus wide open is around 6ft, maybe a little more. In real terms I'm seeing full body shots, or head-to-waist at closest. That's good enough for me if it works for real.

Behind the moving front standard, the helical lensboard fits with friction to the rectangular aperture. I'd sanded both down a little to get a good fit. After that it was epoxied in place on the inside, since I don't want the lensboard falling out.

The front moving standard has one side of its original lensboard retaining plates removed for the time being, and I've cut a circular shape to accommodate the focus helical coming through the camera.

The groundglass has been washed and dried, and refitted.

There's still a few more jobs to do:
Make the front look a bit nicer
Cut the lensboard retainer to fit the other side
Check all light leaks
Possibly fix original folding hood to ground glass.




5-Feb-2011, 10:44
I'm still waiting on some 5x7 film holders. Once I have them (and some film) I'll take a few shots. Hopefully that will happen next week.

Meanwhile, I was in Poundland ("where everything is just £1!") and they had iPad accessories. I was half-tempted to attach a screen protector to the GG to avoid scratches. Instead, I bought the "Hard Case", which almost perfectly fits the back of this camera.

Turns out an iPad is only a fraction larger than the perimeter here, so I'll be making some kind of strap or fixing to attach this hard plastic to the back of the camera. At least then I know I won't smash the glass too easy!!

9-Feb-2011, 09:07
Film holders arrived today.
Put an order in for some 5x7 film as soon as they arrived.

When placing a film holder into the camera I didn't realise how long they were. Because I've set the B&J back into the original rear standard there was a conflict of interests and the film holder doesn't lay flat.

As a result I've cut away the side of the camera until the holder lays flat. This means no more decorative cogs on the side, and huge holes to fill.

The camera has its first fill of wood filler into the cavities. It will take a while to set since there is so much to fill. Once that's done I'll touch up anywhere that needs extra, sand down the surfaces, and apply black paint to match the rest of the camera.

I hope to get all that done in the next 24 hours, and have some photos from it by Friday!!

9-Feb-2011, 13:49
Unflattering flash shows where the wood filler/paint is:


Jim Graves
9-Feb-2011, 14:34
You've done a great job ... looking forward to seeing some photographs and hearing about the plusses and minuses.

I've got one of these on my project shelf ... this is inspiring me to move it up on the list.

9-Feb-2011, 14:54
If you have an original lens-in-helical on the front and a working shutter on the back it would be a much easier project Jim. For that all you need is to plane a 5x7 (or 5x4, whatever size yours is) down as thin as possible and attach it so it clears the shutter. Then recess the lensboard so you get infinity focus.

Because my rear shutter didn't work and initially the lens helical was broken I decided to take a long and drawn out route. Especially important was that flash sync on the modern shutter...

If you cut away the front and recessed a lensboard you might have an issue with it touching the bellows/leather when folded, so you may need a removable lens option.

Potentially if you don't have a lens on it to begin with, get yourself a shuttered 210 and a helical: the focal distance should be right for infinity with that setup.

Jim Graves
9-Feb-2011, 22:37
Ash ... mine is a 6.9" x 9.25" (175mm x 235mm) approx. ... has the original helical mount with the original 240 mm Goerz Doppel Anastigmat and a marginally working (but intact) focal plane shutter. When I bought it off the "Bay" I intended to make some film holders for it and use it as a hand-held whole plate camera.

Unfortunately the seller did not know how to pack it and it got damaged in shipment. The price was so reasonable that I didn't send it back but the damage (all cosmetic) made me stick it on the shelf where it has stayed for 2 years. I need to get back to it!

It has been fun following your adventure.

p.s. band, if someone really wants one of these as a project, I might be convinced to part with it ... I don't know how soon I can get to it to do it myself and it's a shame to have it sitting.

10-Feb-2011, 03:17
Don't say that Jim! Now i want to buy yours off you too! :)

Steven Tribe
10-Feb-2011, 04:06
Progressing well!
After careful consideration I have decided to put my Ango on hold.
I think that the helical focussing is awfully limiting for the kind of experimentations I want to make.
I have decided to do a conversation of an early Mentor for a 5x7 field camera. This has the wonderful SLR viewing hood which will, I think/hope, make all the difference in soft focussing. Focussing range with the front bellows, will be from 16 - 36cm and the lens board/bellows will allow up to 12cm diameter lenses.
But basically the same idea - making a focal plane camera of quality useable again.

Work involved?

New Mirror - done.
New metal support brackets from track to front standard (too soft aluminium used).
New leatherette everywhere except the hood.
Better viewing GG too, perhaps.

10-Feb-2011, 04:12
Steven, definitely start a thread to follow. I'd love to see your progress.

As you say, the helical focus mounts are reeeeaally limiting. It would be nice to somehow mount the lens on small focusing bellows.

10-Feb-2011, 15:15
It works!

Loaded up some 5x7 film that arrived today (Adox CHS100) and took the camera to see some friends at work.





All 4 are shot at 1/30 and wide open.
I didn't spend more than 30 seconds focusing/composing any of the shots.
I also didn't bother checking composition.

The first two are outdoors on a tripod, I felt very self-conscious and worked quickly worrying more about the rain dripping down my back.

The second two are indoors resting on the shop counter/desk - I had no control of up/down composition so that's why they're a bit dodgy.

Jim Graves
10-Feb-2011, 16:47
Wow! ... those all came out good. The seated interior portrait is particularly nice. Now you can really play with it. Congratulations!

11-Feb-2011, 13:00
Took some 'Kiwi' brand black leather cream to the leather and now the tired areas look a little more lively. No more brown and cracked leather on show.


Also replaced the Albada finder. This finder has an almost identical field of view, but the angle isn't quite right so I need to add a wedge to get it in line with the lens.


I'm a bit worried about the screws holding the GG back springs in place. May need to replace with thicker screws dipped in superglue or epoxy at some point to avoid them pinging out just when I'm trying to take a photo!

11-Feb-2011, 13:00
Some more photos of the camera...