View Full Version : Heliar 42cm on studio camera

3-May-2011, 22:56
I found a nice studio camera not too far from where i live.
The camera looks to be in nice conservation state, with good bellows, but from the pictures i see that in place of a conventional back there is something like a tambour sliding cover. It could be a plate holder with tambour cover, but there is no ground glass. The picture of the back is very very small and blurry, maybe it's a back for book style plate holders, and there was an hinged ground glass (now missing).
I don't post the pic as it's almost worthless.
The camera comes equipped with a big Silens shutter placed at the back of a 42cm f/4.5 Heliar. I am posting three pictures of the lens with two views of the front standard.
A further picture was posted in the " Options for a shutter for a small Petzval" thread, where the Silens shutter (fitted in a very smart way) is shown:

I am going to make a proposal to the camera owner, but i am afraid i would have to sell the lens to be able to afford the purchase, as i am on a VERY tight budget at this time. It's recession time mostly everywhere, i know, i know :(

I'll do my best to try to keep the lens, but i need to get your input about the reselling value of the Heliar, as the camera won't come very cheap, and after that i'd have to sustain another expense for an 8x10 wooden back for standard film holders. I could postpone the purchase for some time though, cause i have an Ansco sliding carriage 5x7 reducing back at home. It would be a temporary solution, i think i'm not going to wait very long, if i actually get the camera: from the overall proportions it looks to be a camera originally used for 18x24 or (more likely) 24x30cm plates.
I know i will be cursed by my wife for filling the house with just another photographic item, even bulkier than all the others, so there would be no reason for harming the domestic peace, if i can't shoot BIG, and with some huge brass chimney :)
There is one big obstacle, though: money. Before taking the first step i must understand how much the lens is worth, so that i can have some kind of "exit strategy".

have fun


Steven Tribe
4-May-2011, 03:41
Big cameras are usually pretty cheap, because of low demand and transport costs. They are only expensive in "antiques shoppes".
The Heliar is from ca. 1910 and value is absolutely dependent on condition.
Yes we are in a recession, but there still many collectors/users who are uneffected.
You will have to sell the light wood/attractive appearance concept to your wife as they do fill a living room quite a lot - perhaps a compromise, where all other visable items are stowed away?.
Value of the Heliar can be easily found both here (FS section) or Ebay.

4-May-2011, 18:26
Big cameras are usually pretty cheap, because of low demand and transport costs. They are only expensive in "antiques shoppes".

Thanks for your advice.
I know very little about studio camera. In Italy those camera were used by major portrait studios only, and there are very very few of them available on the used market.
Most of the time the seller is an antique shop, not a photographic store.
This time the seller is a private, and i'd like to place an offer.
Before doing so, i would like to understand something more about the actual state of the camera. I am not going to acquire a camera for display only, i'd like to actually use it!
What's not clear to me, is if the back could be restored in some way, or a more radical solution is needed.
I can see very little from the pictures, one is too small and the other has a restricted view. What i understand is that there is no ground glass, probably there is a tambour plate holder in place, and the hinged ground glass frame has been stripped (or maybe is removable, and it is stored in box with some accessories - I have been told that there is a box with a few parts from the camera and from a "Siluro" torpedo-shaped vintage enlarger).
I hope that somebody with more experience could be of some help.

have fun


alex from holland
4-May-2011, 23:28
The plateholder on this camera has one normal door and one sliding door.
And yes, you'l have to exchange the groundglass with the plateholder, so i hope it is in the mentioned box.
This camera is made in Italy (milan)


Steven Tribe
5-May-2011, 04:01
Condition looks very good - with the bellows neatly compressed. There is a splendid built-in shutter. I get the impression this has not been tampered with. Experience shows that there are often "goodies" in the box - including extra objectives and a number of plate holders. To give you an idea of what I think is reasonable pricewise - I bought a similar set in Sweden last year for 4000SEK which is about €450. This was a Century Studio with stand in good condition and a Heliar for 13x18cm. Now it turned out the Heliar was an unmarked Universal Heliar. If you check the FS section (mostly Eddie) you will find both US prices for Studio cameras (look for Century) and big Heliars.

Having seen the antique shop prices for studio cameras in Mallorca - private purchase is the only way to go.

Steven Tribe
5-May-2011, 09:42
Note that studio cameras in Europe can be very big - much larger than the common Century and Agfa/Ansco types.
They are often (in cm) 24x30,30x40, 40x50, 60x70, 70x80 and even 80x100!