View Full Version : Advice On Ancient Cameras Please

31-Mar-2011, 00:59
This is my first posting as a new member and I would welcome your help on a subject of which I know little.
I have been an interested and involved photographer from an early age (Gratispool paper negs!) to my retirement and the new age of digital but this is a new one on me!
I have recently been given a box containing some really ancient plate cameras and wonder if there is someone on here who could point me in the direction of a fount of knowledge who could advise me on how to deal with them, if they have any value etc.
So far all I can get is 'look on e bay' which is of no real help since because of the condition of the stuff it's difficult to pitch it for auction. So can anyone advise mr please?
Very briefly there is
1. A half plate bellows camera,with lens and remote control rubber bulb device,no makers name ( could have been hand built?)...........
2. A quarter plate camera with two plate holders.......... and
3. A wonderful filthy condition precurser of the box brownie labelled 'The Clicker' but using postcard sized plates!
They all work optically ( produce an image on the ground glass screen) but are in a condition that requires them to be cleaned up but I hesitate to attempt this without advice.
Do they have any value? or should they be donated to a museum?.........or are they just junk?
Your help would be much appreciated.

Steven Tribe
31-Mar-2011, 01:37
You can post up to 3 pictures per posting here.
If you press on the advanced posting box underneath the new post scheme, an extra range of possibilities appear so that you can enter your digital photos. There is a restriction on the number of pixels (500,000?) so you may have to set the digital camera to the low/medium range.
Many good quality cameras have no name on them. In fact many of the cameras which have good names only got these from the sellers - they were made by camera makers who supplied to many outlets. It was popular, for a period, that budding photographers made their own, all brass parts were available from stock.

31-Mar-2011, 12:36
I am sorry I cannot understand the terminology being a self taught 'silver surfer'!..........the prompt is for my photographs URL........as it is just held in a folder in 'My Pictures' how does it have a URL ?

Steven Tribe
31-Mar-2011, 13:52
I''l work you through the system as I post a totally irrelevant photo!

First you press the advanced posting button.

A new reply to thread box appears.

If you go down, an additional options box appears.
Press the attach files "manage attachments" box.

An extra smaller superimposed box appears.
In this, there is a section called "up load from own computer".
You now have two options on this line. Press the first (do not know the text as I have a danish language version).

Your picture file contents on your computer should appear. You check on the picture you want. Just one! The picture file will disappear. When the button on the upload from own computer turns green press this. Eventually, it will turn green again and the title of the photo you have selected will appear in a new line. You repeat the process in the "manage attachments" and you can select 2 more photos - one at a time.
Then just push the submit reply and it will look like this.

31-Mar-2011, 23:13
Thanks for the guidance!.........there's something to learn each day. Anyway here are the three cameras in question.....what do you think?

Steven Tribe
1-Apr-2011, 01:13
This is a nice "History of Photography 1890 - 1910" group!
My guess would be the following (someone has to start!).

No. 3 is is "falling plate" large format type. The camera can be mounted vertically and horizontally which is why there are two built-in viewfinders. The back of the camera contains a number of glass plates which are used in a sequence. Eastman developed this with the roll film innovation. Oh dear, I have just noticed the rollers and re-read your text - so it IS the early roll film type by Eastman or a competitor! The size of roll film at the start was much bigger than later in the Kodak story. Sorry, you posted most of info in your first posting.

No. 2 is the easy one. This is an early (square bellows) english style mahogany and brass field camera. It has a spring back and there are two book type plate holders - each with two plates. Only another owner will be able to recognise which model this is!

No. 1 is more difficult (for me anyway!). Superficially it appears to be a tailboard design with same sized front and rear standard. The square bellows and square standards means the frame containing the ground glass on the back can be removed and remounted through 90 degrees, using clips to secure it. However, in spite of there being angle pieces to stiffen up the front standard, I wouldn't rule out that the front standard can move in relation to the base as there are two locking down screws on the top of the standard. This is a very distinctive camera and will almost certainly be recognised. Colourful bellows are not unusual, though. As you say - this could be hobby built - but many early cameras do not have the level of build quality that cane later.

All these cameras will find a buyer.
Well this is a start, anyway.
I think you have already tried to get answer on website talkphotography - but I can't enter the site to check the replies there!

1-Apr-2011, 02:36
Hello Steven
Thanks for your prompt reply.......I think you were right the first time about the kodak style camers.........I have now taken a shot of the inside and the big spring etc would suggest some loading of plates as you describe.
Do you think I should try e Bay after all or look out a specialist buyer?

1-Apr-2011, 04:58
Hello Steven
Thanks for your prompt reply.......I think you were right the first time about the kodak style camers.........I have now taken a shot of the inside and the big spring etc would suggest some loading of plates as you describe.
Do you think I should try e Bay after all or look out a specialist buyer?

hi there

if there are metal septums / sleeves inside the camera it is complete.
the sleeves are what the plates slide into. these were also called "magazine cameras". ebay is a great place to buy+sell these. ( i have bought and sold all mine there )

good luck !

Steven Tribe
1-Apr-2011, 06:38
You could list them here after you have been a member for a month. No auction though - you have to list a fixed price - and then receive offers if people think it is a bit high! I think I can see 3 septums.

Nearer photos of the other cameras would help - and you can practice your computer skills!

1-Apr-2011, 22:37
Thanks to all for the guidance and friendship on a very interesting site.
Very pleased I joined. You have given me lots to think about.