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View Full Version : Gandolfi 8x10 Precision / Traditional (Picture heavy, questions)



Math
13-Dec-2010, 06:01
Hello all! Thanks for opening the thread.
Yesterday I was at a local flea market, hoping to find some fun stuff. After an hour or so I had find broken Retina folder, and a Kiron 28mm f2. About what I've come to expect from flea markets, until I suddenly saw something... Something big.
Intrigued I stared at it for a moment, before my eyes noticed the ivory plate on the front standard, reading "Gandolfi Makers London". My heart started to beat a bit faster, as I just had to ask.
"What does that Gandolfi cost?
"The what?"
"That one."
"Ohh, the big thing."
At that point I realized I might just end up with a Gandolfi. And a few minutes of bargaining later, checking out the camera, it was mine.

http://www.eenportfolio.nl/gan/1.jpg

And there it is. What a beauty! (Pardon the not risen front standard and full front flash) I'm very surprised in how good a condition it is for where I found it what it ended up costing. The bellows are still in good shape and even appear light tight (Did a quick pinhole test in the dark).

http://www.eenportfolio.nl/gan/2.jpg

All the wood work is in good condition, except for a small starting crack on the base of the camera. Brass wise it looks good, but it does miss a few pieces, which I will write about in a bit. I have some further questions regarding operation and such, too.
The first disappointment with this beauty however, is the back.

http://www.eenportfolio.nl/gan/3.jpg

Not that it's in bad condition, but as you can see, it's not an 8x10 back. It's a 4x5 reduction back. Since I already have a nice 4x5, that makes it a pointless camera to use for it, given it's size. How often do 8x10 backs pop up? What is the chance I can find one, and what price should I expect to pay for one?

http://www.eenportfolio.nl/gan/4.jpg

The locks that keep the back in place are not amazingly sturdy, they work, but is it normal that they just flop into place, or is there a certain 'click' I'm missing? Then there's another part which seems to be missing, but I'm not sure what it looks like as I haven't found a close up photo of this part of the camera. It's on the top, and I think this is what is used to lock the camera together when folded, which might explain another problem I'm having, which is as follows. (Continued in the next post.)

Math
13-Dec-2010, 06:05
http://www.eenportfolio.nl/gan/10.jpg

Here is how I think I should properly fold the camera. I've removed the front standard from it's locks at the front, and folded this inwards into the camera, and with the rear at the end of it's rail I've folded that over on top. This neatly folds the bellows as can be seen with the back removed:

http://www.eenportfolio.nl/gan/12.jpg

However, as you can see in the first, it's not closed fully. I can press it closed easily, but the bellows move it back a little, as can be seen below. Is this because of the lack of a closing mechanism? Would a replacement for that be possible to get?

http://www.eenportfolio.nl/gan/11.jpg

This also shows another, perhaps insignificant thing: The part of the rear standard that offers movements is not completely aligned with the actual rear standard, and the hinges are slightly angled downwards. Am I just nit-picking on this, or is this bad? It seems to work properly.

http://www.eenportfolio.nl/gan/9.jpg

Math
13-Dec-2010, 06:12
Then there's the front. These are the two locks that keep the front standard in place, and also what I believe to offer a rudimentary form of front swing, by taking a different position on each side. One side has a nice and easy locking system to keep the front standard in place:

http://www.eenportfolio.nl/gan/6.jpg

However, on the other side this lock is completely missing, as two holes for screws also indicate:

http://www.eenportfolio.nl/gan/7.jpg

This seems like something I'd need to use it properly. It's surprisingly rigid even without, however. Once again, replaceable?
Then there's one last part missing: There's three tripod holes on the base of the camera, or rather, two, as one, the most front one, has gone missing.

http://www.eenportfolio.nl/gan/8.jpg

For the rest it seems to be in really good shape. It came with a Emil Busch Omnar 190mm f4.5, which is a bit dirty and missing it's aperture. I also doubt this would actually cover the full 8x10, bust most likely just used for 4x5 on the reduction back. Both the reduction back and lens panel are original.

What about it's age? Any way of dating this camera, even though it was produced without much changes for a long long time? The most important now seems to me is finding an 8x10 back. I also noticed the rear standard has no clicks or detents for straight vertical set-up, or am I missing something? Here's a last shot with some more movement:

http://www.eenportfolio.nl/gan/13.jpg

Any help is appreciated!

William Whitaker
13-Dec-2010, 07:38
You got yourself a pretty camera! The issues you point out are more annoyances than deal killers. And that camera is definitely worth taking some time and care to make right. Even if you can't find a Gandolfi back for it, an 8x10 back could be made to fit the camera which would give you something to work with until the "correct" one came along. As for the missing hardware bit, if the manufacturer doesn't have what you need, it's simple enough that the piece could be made using the one from the other side for a pattern.

Might be worth contacting Gandolfi to see what options they could offer for restoration and then weigh the cost vs. doing it yourself or hiring it out to someone else.

jackpie
13-Dec-2010, 07:40
I'm not familiar with the camera but I do know the manufacturer Gandolfi is still in business: http://www.gandolficameras.com/

They should be able answer many of your questions, as well as repairing/servicing the camera, and making a replacement back.

Emil Schildt
13-Dec-2010, 07:40
excately like mine!
It's a beauty, and easy to work with!
I have both the 8x10back and the 4x5 reducing back.
I see your problem, nut even though many Gandolfi owners proberly would give good money for the reducing back, don't sell it!!
The front plate is nice and big - which makes it possible to use rather big lenses with 4x5 film...
(Unless you have a Sinar that actually takes even bigger lenses...)

replacable? It might - try and contact the Gandolfi owner...

http://www.gandolficameras.com/

The top IS missing a hinge to lock the camera together when folded. It is an easy little metal part to replace...

(I'll see if I can find my digi camera so I can show you what it looks like..)

the missing lock is identical to the one you have, so it should be easy enough to have one new made

you ask: "The part of the rear standard that offers movements is not completely aligned with the actual rear standard, and the hinges are slightly angled downwards. Am I just nit-picking on this, or is this bad? It seems to work properly."

Mine is aligned, but I wouldn't change yours if it seems to work ok. By looking at the pictures, it doesn't look like somebody have changed it since day one (?)

you: "The locks that keep the back in place are not amazingly sturdy, they work, but is it normal that they just flop into place, or is there a certain 'click' I'm missing?

it is how it should look...
the small metal plate next to it, swings over the hinge and holds it in place. (it might be a little loose over time, but then you just tightn the screw a little.)

Overall a FANTASTIC find!
Congratiolations!

Finally the most important thing: HOW MUCH?? :D

Math
13-Dec-2010, 08:31
Thanks for your reactions! I shall mail Gandolfi and see if there's anything we can do. A few original parts would be nice, if affordable.
Gandolfi, I'd love to see that photo of the locking hinge, so I can find or make a replacement. So the reducing back is wanted? I'm tempted to offer it up in trade for an 8x10 one. It's indeed nice for large lenses (My Speed Graphic doesn't take 600mms!), but what I'd really love is to do 8x10. I even have some 8x10 film in the fridge I was going to use for a homemade box camera!

Are you sure you want to know what I paid...? A grand 200$ in total. :D

Ole Tjugen
13-Dec-2010, 09:07
Ohhh what a steal!

As gandolfi hinted, it looks like the swing thing is in its original position: Noone else has ever managed to get all the screw head slots aligned like Gandolfi did!

Emil Schildt
13-Dec-2010, 09:55
Thanks for your reactions! I shall mail Gandolfi and see if there's anything we can do. A few original parts would be nice, if affordable.
Gandolfi, I'd love to see that photo of the locking hinge, so I can find or make a replacement. So the reducing back is wanted? I'm tempted to offer it up in trade for an 8x10 one. It's indeed nice for large lenses (My Speed Graphic doesn't take 600mms!), but what I'd really love is to do 8x10. I even have some 8x10 film in the fridge I was going to use for a homemade box camera!

Are you sure you want to know what I paid...? A grand 200$ in total. :D

:eek:

I can tell you that mine was about 4.450$ back in the early 9ties.....:o

totally worth it!

Scotty230358
13-Dec-2010, 10:04
Just to give you an idea, a new Gandolfi 8x10 traditional with front swing would set you back $6240.

john biskupski
13-Dec-2010, 16:22
What a find! Hope springs eternal! A great restoration (or at least clean up) project.

The Gandolfi Camera website has original specs for this model, and a heart-stopping pricelist of accessories and parts. Email Eddie Hill the proprietor at sales@gandolfi.com for any technical questions.

These traditional Gandolfi cameras were not designed with front swing, and I think that setting the front standard askew probably just makes it less sturdy. Also, like that, it is not a movement you can adjust finely at all. They make a neat front swing adaptor board (like a mini-bellows attachment).

For the 8x10 back, unless you're prepared to wait (and even then are quite lucky) and find a used one available, you can order a replacement mahogany back from the factory, but I imagine someone like Richard Ritter might also be willing to make one for you.

Congratulations again on your purchase. If it's well adjusted, the Gandolfi is much sturdier (rear standard especially) than other 8x10 cameras I've tried like the modern Canham or the vintage 2D.

bvaughn4
13-Dec-2010, 19:29
Not familiar with the nomenclature of their parts, but the Gandolfi website lists:
GV810/150 *SPRING BACK & GLASS 8 X 10 $240.00. Go to the tripod page and click on the price list link.

Beautiful score BTW

Emil Schildt
14-Dec-2010, 02:44
Not familiar with the nomenclature of their parts, but the Gandolfi website lists:
GV810/150 *SPRING BACK & GLASS 8 X 10 $240.00. Go to the tripod page and click on the price list link.

Beautiful score BTW

except I think the prices are in Pounds.. 240 = 378$...

Steven Tribe
14-Dec-2010, 04:52
You will have to check the listed prices include Value Added Taxes (UK)! Certainly the nice used tailboard copy camera price is without the VAT added.

Ole Tjugen
14-Dec-2010, 11:07
Not familiar with the nomenclature of their parts, but the Gandolfi website lists:
GV810/150 *SPRING BACK & GLASS 8 X 10 $240.00. Go to the tripod page and click on the price list link.

Beautiful score BTW

GV - that means Gandolfi Variant. Won't fit a Traditional. And yes, the price list is in , not $ or ...

Rui Morais de Sousa
2-Feb-2011, 03:09
Congratulations on you purchase.
Great finding!
Some days ago, in my blog, I just made an extensive post about the Gandolfi Precision 8x10. Although mine is from a much more recent vintage (1995), they are similar. As I have posted several pictures, maybe it helps you on seeing how things should be.
In your place, I would ask Mr. Edward Hill about the 8x10 back. If you do a good clean up job, you will be delighted to have things working properly, right?
You have already saved enormously on the camera...
Just follow the link bellow, you will be able to see several posts about the Gandolfi (photographs made with it and pictures of the camera).
Greetings and good picture making,
Rui
AL-MOST-LY PHOTOGRAPHY (http://ruimoraisdesousa.blogspot.com/)