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View Full Version : Toyo metal field 4 3/4 x 6 BELLOWS



Thierry Schreiner
13-Aug-2011, 06:16
Hi to all,


I simply love my Toyo metal field camera 4 3/4 x 6 with its 5x7 back.

But the bellows always wrinkles and gets worn, as if it badly folded when the camera is closed.

- Is there any way to avoid this?

- Does a replacement bellows of a different make solve the problem?


Thank you in advance for your advice and best regards


Thierry Schreiner

Douglas Henderson
13-Aug-2011, 07:57
Thierry,

An Ebay seller in Japan sells replacement bellows for this camera for $100.00 (and perhaps big shipping expenses). I'm not sure if this is an old factory item or a good aftermarket product. Likely, a custom bellows could be made, though it would probably have to be relatively light fabric--the camera bellows is very tightly folded when the camera is collapsed. I'm sure other posters here could recommend manufactures of custom bellows.

I have a Toyo 4 3/4 x 6 1/2 and just finished modifying an old B&J 5x7 back to fit on to a machined aluminum plate, the B&J steel GG holder frame replaced with a wood one off a Deardorff. The B&J back was just thick enough to permit grinding recesses into the wood to account for the lever swing when opening and closing the camera. The camera can be folded up with the back in the horizontal position.

Have taken a few test photos and all works great without any leaks. With the wood parts, the camera doesn't seem any heavier than a Crown Graphic and fits in about the same space--a medium sized camera bag. The Toyo is a great camera, setting up in a very short few moments. It's poised to go to Yellowstone any time now.

Doug


Update: I checked the Ebay Japan seller's auction--the bellows being sold is not factory, but a product of their own manufacture or distribution--now $110.00. This might be exactly what you are looking for.

Thomas Greutmann
13-Aug-2011, 09:57
I had the same issues with that camera. That seems to be a weak point in general.

I got a replacement bellows from Camerabellows in the UK. They are now called Custom Bellows (http://www.custombellows.co.uk). I sent the camera to them and they installed the new bellows. They did a very good job and I can recommend them.

Greetings, Thomas

boris
13-Aug-2011, 11:56
I simply love my Toyo metal field camera 4 3/4 x 6 with its 5x7 back.

But the bellows always wrinkles and gets worn, as if it badly folded when the camera is closed.

- Is there any way to avoid this?

- Does a replacement bellows of a different make solve the problem?

you get wrinkeles if you close the camera without loosening all the knobs carefully. if the bellows are already wrinkeled it's to late.
mine was wrinkel free for almost 20 years... i few seconds of inattention are enough :(
boris

boris
13-Aug-2011, 11:58
I had the same issues with that camera. That seems to be a weak point in general.

I got a replacement bellows from Camerabellows in the UK. They are now called Custom Bellows (http://www.custombellows.co.uk). I sent the camera to them and they installed the new bellows. They did a very good job and I can recommend them.

Greetings, Thomas

how much did you pay for a new bellows?

jackpie
14-Aug-2011, 04:31
I too love my Toyo field, and also have the same wrinkled bellows. I bought a replacement set from the Japanese ebay seller "tokyophoto". I was worried that my original wrinkled bellows would not be light tight, but so far they are holding up well so I haven't fitted the replacements. The new bellows seem to be very compact and made from synthetic "nylon" like material.

I would like to see photos of your 5x7 back modifications. I am interested in how your mods deal with issues like closing the camera in landscape mode without fouling the struts. Also how well does a B&J wooden back work? Doesn't the lack of a bail arm cause problems?

Douglas Henderson
14-Aug-2011, 10:03
Jackpie.

I'll take a few photos of the modification I did with the B&J 5x7 back. I'd originally had a 5x7 back made by someone, but it simply had a plastic/metal 5x7 back screwed into a well-made machined aluminum plate that did not provide space enough to open the camera unless mounted vertically. I removed the 5x7 back from the plate and added a Burke & James back I'd picked up on Ebay.

I also had a 5x7 Deardorff back I found on Ebay and bought for a song--but it was in beautiful condition and I couldn't bring myself to sand it down. There are Deardorff 5x7 cameras turning up on Ebay without 5x7 backs from time to time--so I thought it might come in useful to keep it intact. But I did use its GG frame in place of the B&J steel one. The whole B&J/Deardorff back is very light, yet strong. It looked too good to be a true working arrangement--but it works perfectly fine. I just had to make some new holes to screw on the Deardorff springs. Lack of a bail arm isn't a problem at all--though I do try to prevent the GG frame from slapping back down full force when removing a CFH.

My drilling, sanding down and grinding to make the back fit the Toyo isn't what I would call first rate craftsmanship--but with a little care and lacquer, it looks fine. I did hand countersink all the new screws on the inside of the aluminum plate so that the screw heads didn't rub against the compacted bellows.

The B&J back is a very stout piece of wood. It completely removed the small bow in the aluminum plate when screwed on. You can't appreciate how well crafted it is with small, tight, interlocking wood work until you start sanding off the upper and lower flanges (after pulling out the holding pins). The wood is remarkably hard. I predrilled all of the screw holes to be sure not to crack the wood.

I also bought a Toyo 5x7 adapter back for a 810 Toyo with the whole 5x7 assembly (in about mint condition)--but the relevant part can't be fitted to the Toyo Field without some further careful machine work. The folks in Japan selling the replacement bellows apparently will do the necessary modifications for 6,000 yen (around $70.00). But any shipping more than doubles that, I think.

Doug

paulr
14-Aug-2011, 10:32
When I got mine in the early 90s the bellows was trashed. Western Bellows (I think) made me a new one. It didn't fit properly; the camera closes very flat and the bellows wouldn't collapse thin enough.

The rep I spoke to at the bellows company sighed and had me send in the camera. They had to hand cut dies for a custom bellows—and insisted on honoring their original quote.

Great service, but I'd hate to see what it would have cost if they new up front.

For what it's worth, the bellows they made me is as good as new 18 years later.

(And yes, loosen everything and be careful when closing the camera. But don't you have to do this with every camera?)

Thomas Greutmann
14-Aug-2011, 10:44
how much did you pay for a new bellows?

This was a couple of years ago and I don't recall the exact price but I think it was slightly less than 200 Euros, including bellows installation and shipment and everything. Ask them for a quote.

Greetings, Thomas

Douglas Henderson
14-Aug-2011, 11:38
Here are some photos of the B&J/Deardorff GG frame back for the Toyo Field.

Hmmm, seems I can only load one image at a time. So this is it, unless anyone wants more from the dozen shots I took.

You also have to cut slots in the wood for the two top fasteners and the metal camera flange across the bottom--two sets for vertical and horizontal.

Douglas Henderson
14-Aug-2011, 11:46
Another photo. Note the space for the back-swing camera part on this side of the camera breeches the ramp for the CFH--but it doesn't effect the light trap. A thicker back or a 1/2 inch wood spacer (with a 5x7 inch window) between about any 5x7 back wedded to an aluminum plate would work.

Also, the only part of the B&J back that had to be sanded off was the small top and bottom flanges. Everything else was fine as is.

Doug

David Hedley
14-Aug-2011, 12:04
Looks like you did a great job, Doug. I have the same camera with a 4x5 revolving back, and it would be nice to be able to make a 5x7 back for it some day.

Douglas Henderson
14-Aug-2011, 12:18
Here are more images, maybe. I found this Toyo on Ebay late last year--it came with a lovely 4x5 rotating back with a grid GG. But I'm partial to my Crown Graphic, especially since a number of my lenses can stay on the camera when folded up.

Neglected to mention that the B&J back has slots for partially blocking the 5x7 window to shoot two images on a sheet of film. I filled those slots with wood spacers to prevent any screw stress on the thinner portions of wood.

Doug

jackpie
14-Aug-2011, 14:24
Thanks for the photos. You've done an excellent job.

Why did you replace the B&J metal viewing frame? Weight?

Douglas Henderson
14-Aug-2011, 20:32
Jackpie,

The leather sides of the glass cover were old and stiff, the cover shaft and glass frame metal were rusty and the springs looked questionable. And it was heavy. The actual GG steel frame was probably fine and I suppose everything could have been reconditioned. The Deardorff back was just so much lighter and clean. Apart from sanding off some of the wood B&J back, everything done is reversible.

Anyone looking for old view camera backs should not confine there Ebay search to auctions by folks who know or properly label what they are selling. Titles containing little more than the words "view camera" or "camera back" sometime bring up great parts for small cost. I've been consistently searching for an original Toyo 5x7 back, often hoping someone isn't really familiar with what they are selling and labels it in some generic way. That's how I found the B&J and Deardorff backs.

Thierry Schreiner
17-Aug-2011, 06:20
Dear all,

Thank you very much for your input.

Best regrads

Thierry