View Full Version : Need some help with an Ansco 8x10 camera

22-Oct-2011, 18:54
I have a chance to buy an Ansco 8x10 camera for 300$ plus shipping. I know it's an old Ansco that takes 7x7" lens board, but I dont know what's the model? How long does the bellows extend? I need long bellows extend for portrait work. Two pics of it:


I'll be very appreciated for your help.

Jim Jones
22-Oct-2011, 19:32
You may need a bed extension for the bellows draw desirable for some portrait photography. Without the bed extension it may be no bargain for you.

Kevin Crisp
22-Oct-2011, 20:02
The little wheel at the back of the track is supposed to unlock another section of bed that slides out and gives you plenty of extension. But sometimes the bed isn't there. If you aren't seeing this in person ask the seller to rack the rear bed extension out and and show you the camera at full extension.

William Whitaker
22-Oct-2011, 20:22
The rear extension appears in place in the first picture. The flat brass strips and the rack gear that the rear standard moves along are part of that extension. If it weren't there, the rear standard would not be attached to the bed at all. The small knob at the rear of the bed (left-most knob in the first photo) unlocks the rear extension which slides rearward, but is held captive so it can't be lost.

My recollection is that the maximum bellows length is around 28". You might wish to confirm that with the seller first. If so, then that would allow using a 14" lens at 1:1 and should be more than adequate for any kind of conventional portraiture.

22-Oct-2011, 20:22
It's there. It can bee seen in the first image as the rear part of the track section. That whole section moves backward manually and then you lock that small wheel down again to hold the track in place and focus as you would normally. Plenty of bellows and rail for portrait focal lengths. (I've got the same model and it is a delightful camera.)

22-Oct-2011, 20:32
By the way, if you buy this and need extra boards, I have some nice home made ones available.

22-Oct-2011, 20:42
Thank you all. I've just email the seller to ask about the maximum bellows extend. If it's 28" as Will say I think it's pretty enough.

Lenser: What's your maximun bellows length? Thank you for your nice offer but I can do it myself.

John Kasaian
22-Oct-2011, 21:59
About 28" is what I get out of my 'dorff V8.
IIRC Ansco had two similar models the Universal and the Commercial. There is a website somewhere that gets nto the differences between the models, but where? I haven't a clue!

22-Oct-2011, 23:07
28 inches is my measurement but the catalog states that it is 26.5 inches.

If you go to www.cameraeccentric.com, then open the information tab, then open the Agfa catalog cover and scroll through it, you will find the original catalog pages and info on this camera. It is the universal version and was made in both 8x10 and 5x7 versions. It also has photos in the extended configuration. Here is one of the two pages of illustrations. This shows the tilting front version which i do not have and the one you are buying is also without that feature. Otherwise the cameras are the same.

Keep in mind that if you need more length, you can make a top hat board to extend the lens out in front of the body. I had one made for my Kodak Master 8x10 that adds an additional 10 inches of extension for one particularly long lens.

23-Oct-2011, 00:28
Oh yes, I forgot the cameraeccentric.

The Commercial is 36.5" max, a monster! My friend has one, and he said that when it extends fully, it looks like a pig :D.

Maybe I will take this, after asking the seller about all movements move freely or not.

Lenser, could you please post some pics about your extension board? I can image how it is but a pic is better.

Jim Noel
23-Oct-2011, 08:04
$300 is a lot to pay for that camera. Look around your area for photographic swap meets where you should be able to find a similar, or better camera for less. Use the extra money toward the lens you want.

John Kasaian
23-Oct-2011, 08:19
This camera looks to be lacking the front tilt? You might inquire, if that is a feature you may desire. I'm pretty certain front tilt can be added to these with a bit of hardware if need be (my 5x7 Aggies have front tilt)
Its a good looking camera at a good price!

23-Oct-2011, 08:54
Here are a couple of images of the long top hat board that a machinist friend made for my Kodak Master. It is made from aluminum sheets with the interiors sprayed flat black and adhesive black felt between the sheets where riveted for a light seal. It attaches to the body just like a normal lens board.

You could easily make something similar and much shorter, for your needs.

Most top hat boards that I've seen are basically similar dimensions (one to three inches depth) to a recessed board only turned round the other way. A short one would not require making a front board attachment like this one. For this particular triple convertible lens, at it's longest focal length, I could not even use it on the camera at infinity. With this extension, I can now focus it down to about 15 feet. Because of the length, there would be no way to either attach the retaining ring from the inside or to access the rear cells for swap them out with the front for the longer focal length usage, so I opted to have it made with a front plate that accepts the normal lens board.

I would have to disagree with Jim about the value of this camera. As long as the bellows is in good shape and is light tight, the wood has no splits, and especially if the lens is clear and without either hazing or fungus, I would guess the body alone would be worth the $300.00 and the lens and board would add to that value. Depending on the lens type and manufacturer, it could raise that value by a $100.00 to several hundred dollars.

The one drawback to this model is the lack of front tilt, but that is no issue for portraiture and only little to landscape since you can tilt the entire camera and then reset the back for perpendicular for a rough use of the Scheimflug rule. This drawback can be overcome by tilting the entire camera up or down and then compensating with rear tilt when those movements are desired. It does have front rise and shift plus rear swing. It would be a problem for you if you plan on lots of architecture of buildings that are too tall for the front rise while the camera is at level, or for images that require extensive front and rear complimentary tilts like some very complicated table top work. Otherwise, this is going to do everything you ask of it and then some.

To turn this into a front tilt camera would require the creation of a whole new front plate (not the risers, but the plate that holds the lens board and because the bellows attaches directly to that plate by glue, that would be a real challenge.

I hope you get it and totally enjoy using it. It is a great camera.

23-Oct-2011, 20:13
This camera looks to be lacking the front tilt? You might inquire, if that is a feature you may desire. I'm pretty certain front tilt can be added to these with a bit of hardware if need be (my 5x7 Aggies have front tilt)
Its a good looking camera at a good price!

Only the "newer" ones that use the smaller lensboards have front tilt. The older models with the 7+" lensboards do not have this feature. It makes them a bit more desirable by some for use with the larger optics.

23-Oct-2011, 21:11
It's so cool! Thank you Lenser for a lot of information. I think 300$ is a fairly price for this camera. It includes 8x10 back, one 8x10 holder, one 5x7 holder, sliding tripod and one lens board. That lens looks like a normal lens with low value. Price of view camera is up up and up in this time because of high demand.

I mostly do portrait work so a front tilt is not necessary. In fact a Kodak 2D is enough to me. I did have a Kodak 2D before, but it does not have rear rail. This Ansco has an extra lens board which can hold any 8x10 portrait lens so it works to me.

I'm waiting the seller's answer about conditions of it. If it's still good, I'll take it. Thank you all.

23-Oct-2011, 21:19
I have 2 Ansco 5x7's... they are terrific cameras... every bit as well made and functional as Deardorffs. A little Pledge and this will look new. By the way you can synthesize front tilt by pointing the camera down, adding some rise and bringing the back to vertical. But personally I use back tilt even on my cameras that have the front tilt because the back tilt is asymetrical wheras the front tilt is symetrical.