View Full Version : Eastman 33a view cameras

Noah B
11-Sep-2012, 04:35
Hello everyone, I recently have an opportunity to get an Eastman 33a view camera for very cheap. I'm mainly using it for a starter until I can get something more modern and was wondering what you guys can tell me about these types of cameras. What kind of lensboards do they take? (would I have to make a lensboard or will it accept modern boards). I'm mainly using it for portraits so movements aren't that big an issue. Any input is greatly appreciated!

11-Sep-2012, 05:45
I have one of these and know you can get new ones on eBay. The boards are wooden and 4.5x4.5.

This a great camera for me, and don't know why anybody would need anything more portraits.

Louis Pacilla
11-Sep-2012, 08:35
The Eastman 33A is a fine starter 5x7 camera. Albeit with a few limitations such as of short bellows and only moderate movements which can be a blessing at times when getting started. Less stuff (bells and whistles) to confuse you and thus your enjoyment level goes up.

Here is a clip of the Eastman 33A from a catalog circa 1936. Not sure about finding the camera new on eBay but what do I know. Maybe he means a newly manufactured 4 1/2" x 4 1/2" lens board?

Here ya go

11-Sep-2012, 19:59
This is the camera I've used for all my 5x7 stuff. It was a crude camera back in the day, I think. But it works, as far as being a dark box with a light at one end and a film holder at the other.

Focusing is a bit crude. The gears are not the most precise thing in the world. Still...it focuses.

I'm not sure what the longest lens you can use is, but I tried my 180/370 convertible and definitely was not able to focus at 370mm. I think 300 would do though.

People love the look of it. That's kinda why I use it. I take portraits of strangers and they are way into the camera.

My bellows were totally shot when I got it. I made new bellows using Sorin's kit, which is no longer available. Making bellows is a pain in the butt. Seriously. No fun at all. A total waste of time. Just FYI.

I recently noticed that Technika lensboards almost fit. I lengthened the slot about 1/8inch and then made some gasketing with gaffers tape. Now I can use the same lenses on my Chamonix and my 5x7. Pretty sweet.

All in all, it's a useable but not amazing camera.

Most all of this (except for a few at the end) were done with the Kodak (not that it matters much)


11-Sep-2012, 20:00
Oh yeah, total lack of movements is pretty annoying.

But it's super light. That's nice.

I'd probably look for an Ansco if I were to do it again.

Noah B
11-Sep-2012, 21:32
Nice images sully, what lens? Thanks for the info gents, I've got a chance to pick one up for an incredible deal and I just can't let it get away! That's good to know about the technika lensboards, I was wondering if there was a modern alternative. I'm not concerned about movements too much, I figure I can correct any distortion in photoshop (planning on digital prints). What are some common focal lengths for lenses?

Michael Cienfuegos
11-Sep-2012, 22:49
Those shots are really cool, I guess I have to dig mine out and use it. You have given me some incentive.

11-Sep-2012, 23:25
It's got plenty of movements. Don't let that stop you.

Noah B
12-Sep-2012, 06:54
Sully, could you post some photos of your modified lensboard for this camera?

13-Sep-2012, 05:01
It's a 180mm old school Symmar convertible, which is all I had for a while. I've stopped using it more recently because I got a lot of Fuji lenses but I might give it a try again, I'm interested in seeing if it has a lot of "character" compared to the Fuji. They are available super cheap, I think I got mine for $100. Unfortunately the camera is too short to make use of the convertible quality of the lens (I believe it's a 370 without the front elements).

However for a 1 lens kit for 5x7, I'd use a 210mm instead. There is a lot of distortion with the 180mm when you get reasonably close. 210mm would be the sweet spot for a 1 lens kit. I really like the 180mm though, so 2 lens I'd go 180mm and 240mm I think.

I didn't modify the lens boards...I modified the camera. Technika boards just almost fit, they are a little too long. So I took the piece of metal from on top that holds the boards in and then chiseled out a little room at the top so the boards would fit. Then redrilled holes for the piece of metal. Technika boards are a little thin, so I just layered some gaffers tape around the rim of the lens hole to make up the difference.

Very rough solution but it works.

For the record though I would not buy this camera again. It really, really does not have movements. Rear tilt without front tilt is not that useful. I would take another inch of front fall too, it's not enough. But if you just like a big negative and don't need to use longer lenses, it's ok.

13-Sep-2012, 10:08

The Eastman 33A uses the same size lensboards as the Kodak 5X7 2D and the Eastman 5X7 1A. You shouldn't have much of a problem finding new lensboards.


Noah B
13-Sep-2012, 16:31
Thanks! I just ordered a new lensboard for the camera, I was worrying for a minute if I could get one or not. Thanks for all the input guys

13-Sep-2012, 18:05
Could you tell me the weight of your 33A camera, please (without lens).
Thanks, Bill

Noah B
13-Sep-2012, 22:27
Certainly, I should be getting it Saturday or Monday

12-Feb-2015, 10:34
what would the value be for that camera i have one in almost perfect cond

12-Feb-2015, 11:54
About 100 to 200 dollars.

John Kasaian
14-Feb-2015, 21:38
215mm Ilex Acuton( or Paragon) might be a good fit for your 5x7.