View Full Version : Deardorff 5 x 7 View Series w/4 x 5 back

31-Aug-2011, 03:13
Hi everyone
I am looking for a 4x5 camera. I already have one Crown Graphic but there are lack of movements with this camera. So I desided to get a new one, I have looked at Ebony but it is way overpriced , then Shen hao, Shamonix and few others. And then I found a Deardorff 5 x 7 on e-bay, I now that this cameras are used by many pros, The question is : Is it significantly heavyer then 4x5 cameras, does anyone knows what Deardorff 5 x 7 and does it has all the movements like Ebony or Shaminox
Is it a good idea to by Deardorff 5 x 7 for 4x5 usage
Thank you

31-Aug-2011, 06:43
With one rare exception, all Deardorff 4x5's are actually built on a 5x7 camera. Pretty much everyone who shoots Deardorffs uses thhis set up. They are exceptional cameras, capable of taking 99%-plus of all shots you would ever want to make. Deardorfs don't have a shift movement so you substitute swinging both the front and back to create shift. On certain older deardorffs you don't have the front swing, so that is the one hang up. In practice I use my old style camera just as often as my newer style. Because Deardorffs are built on a 5x7 platform and have longer bellows they are a bit scrunched with lenses under 90mm. But the unique system for front rise lets you get great rise even when the bellows are compressed. The Ebony is a modern Deardorff style camera with more modern movement capability. But it is, as you have found, a bunch more expensive.

You would be well served by any Deardorff, unless light weight and size are pressing concerns. If that were the case I would opt for the Chamonix, which is a spectacular value.

A big plus for the 'dorff is that you will also own a 5x7 camera for when you want to use that.

Greg Y
31-Aug-2011, 07:09
A Deardorff weighs on avg 7lbs. An Ebony weighs 4.4-5lbs. I have owned a Canham wood camera, & an Ebony RW45, & they're both great cameras but gone. My # 1 camera is a 5x7 Deardorff from 1938. I like the way the controls are placed and the way it handles better than any other camera I have used. My back up camera is a Chamonix 5x7 horizontal. Although 2 lbs seems like a lot, it is easily made up by a lens or a few holders. I mostly use 5x7 and occasionally the 4x5 reducing back. Love the long bellows.....for the Fuji C 450mm f12.5. The camera is a little bigger in dimension than a 4x5, but I drag it around the mountains everywhere. As mentioned, lots of front rise, and a lensboard size that easily takes big old lenses or shutters.
I found the Canham very finicky to set-up (takes way more time than the DD) since you have to free the front & rear shifts to close it. The Ebony was beautiful....but didn't really bond with it. I found the first time I used the Deardorff, everything was in the place I would intuitively reach for it. L. Deardorff got it right the first time, a long time ago. Like a musical instrument, a fly rod, or any other tool....sometimes you choose one by just how 'right' it feels when you pick it up. That's my experience with it.

Jim Noel
31-Aug-2011, 08:04
Some would look at my pre-1939 5x7 Deardorff and say it is worn out. Far from it. It has given me countless years of service and continues to do so. The original leather bellows is still in excellent condition. I have had other 4x5 and 5x7 cameras, but they soon pass on and I continue with the 'dorff.
I even have the original instruction book written for it. Also a gem.

Drew Wiley
31-Aug-2011, 10:50
The old Deardorff special is a nice idea if what you are really looking for is a 5x7
camera with a 4x5 option. The revolving 4x5 back would somewhat offset the weight
difference because it would allow you to ignore a tripod head for many applications.
So configured, it is about a lb heavier than a Canham 5x7. Condition would be the
main consideration, especially the bellows on older units.