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Thread: Review of Cassiopeia camera (from Czech Republic)

  1. #1

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    Review of Cassiopeia camera (from Czech Republic)

    I have been working with the builder of Cassiopeia camera since last year for different parts of my camera, e.g. 11x14 reduction back for 14x17 Canham camera

    Recently I have received my 11x14 camera from him. Color, lens board size etc are custom made for me.


    Some basic measurement:
    Weight: approx 9.6kg
    Size (including knobs): 17" x 18.5" x 5.5"

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    The plastic protective cover is not included from builder

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    One 3/8" hole. The four plastic base are not included from builder

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    Opened, my lens board size is 8x8 inches. Lens board are not included from builder

  2. #2

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    Re: Review of Cassiopeia camera (from Czech Republic)

    looks nice and well built. I bet you could fit one more lens board reducer in there somewhere

  3. #3

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    Re: Review of Cassiopeia camera (from Czech Republic)

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Fully opened, triple extension, similar to Deardorff design. The camera selling from evil bay is the old version, but lighter.
    Total extension length ~41.5 inches

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    Rotated back with bail handle. Some improvement is needed and already told builder.

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    One film holder is included, I believe this is the second generation (I had 3pcs of their 1st generation holder), very good build, and VERY reasonable price.

    Overall comments:
    1. The camera design is similar (not exactly) to Deardorff or Tachihara triple extension design.
    2. The front elements can shift up/down/right/left. Lens board can be tilt at lens board screw or tilt from the base. But it cannot swing.
    3. The Camera back can swing and tilt backward/front.
    4. The build quality is very well, with this selling price. You can't compare to Ebony, as it is 2-3 times more expensive than this camera.
    5. If I need to give a mark, assuming Ebony is 100%, this camera would be 80-85%.

    I am not the builder or having any relationship with him.

  4. #4

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    Re: Review of Cassiopeia camera (from Czech Republic)

    Quote Originally Posted by vinny View Post
    looks nice and well built. I bet you could fit one more lens board reducer in there somewhere
    hahaha ....

  5. #5

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    Re: Review of Cassiopeia camera (from Czech Republic)

    Quote Originally Posted by jack_hui View Post
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Fully opened, triple extension, similar to Deardorff design. The camera selling from evil bay is the old version, but lighter.
    Total extension length ~41.5 inches

    Click image for larger version. 

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Views:	158 
Size:	65.2 KB 
ID:	122495
    Rotated back with bail handle. Some improvement is needed and already told builder.

    Click image for larger version. 

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Views:	138 
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ID:	122496
    One film holder is included, I believe this is the second generation (I had 3pcs of their 1st generation holder), very good build, and VERY reasonable price.

    Overall comments:

    4. The build quality is very well, with this selling price. You can't compare to Ebony, as it is 2-3 times more expensive than this camera.
    Thank you, Jack hui, for your review.
    I suppose that at this camera size one is forced to accept some compromise and live with it (= take pictures with the camera as is), be it due to constructor's desired goal in terms of price, weight or other characteristics. Monsters that try to be prime in every category are usually just that - monsters.

  6. #6
    Angus Parker angusparker's Avatar
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    Re: Review of Cassiopeia camera (from Czech Republic)

    Thank you so much for sharing. If I go for a 14x17 at some point I'm sure to write up a review as well. The camera seems quite rigid - perhaps not at max extension. Looking forward to testing one out somehow.

  7. #7
    Pinhole Veteran Trond Kjetil's Avatar
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    Re: Review of Cassiopeia camera (from Czech Republic)

    I had the honour to visit the builder of these cameras, and while I was in Prague some weeks ago, he borrowed me an 11x14" that he had in his home. Now he is building me a 14x17" that I hope to receive before new year, with reducing backs for 11x14" and 8x10". Not much movement for the smallest format, but I will use it mostly for wet plate portrait in that size, so no problem. I had a few suggestions for the front and back extensions, so that it will be possible to attach some support when fully extended, and he will make the changes. He is a nice guy, and work hard, but he is dependent on third-party suppliers for the metal parts of the cameras, and they can be slow some times as far as I know.

  8. #8
    Pinhole Veteran Trond Kjetil's Avatar
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    Re: Review of Cassiopeia camera (from Czech Republic)

    The 14x17" Cassiopeia finally has arrived. When I collected it at the post office, the horrible noise of broken glass came to me. Both the 14x17" and the 11x14" ground glasses were broken. The package of the camera was not solid enough. One of the metal parts was also broken, or at least the screws was missing. Also a wooden bar was broken. The builder did admit the camera was not packed securely enough, and is sending me new ground glasses, and the other parts.
    All in all the camera looks very nice, a few rough edges here and there, and finish probably could have been better. I wish some of the metal parts of the front standard were stiffer, probably thicker alumimium wood be better.

  9. #9

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    Re: Review of Cassiopeia camera (from Czech Republic)

    To bad for the ground glass !
    Affortunately this can be replaced
    There is another alternative for lighter weight ground glass, its plexiglass.
    I have it on ulf camera and it is not as crispy as standard gg, but is good enough.
    Best of luck with your ULF camera project !

  10. #10
    Pinhole Veteran Trond Kjetil's Avatar
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    Re: Review of Cassiopeia camera (from Czech Republic)

    The builder sent me new ground glasses. Unfortunately one of them did not fit, so he will have to send me a another one. The 14x17" ground glass did fit nicely. I am still awaiting the new metal parts. I've asked him to get me a stiffer bed for the front standard, too.

    I have made ground glass protectors of plexiglass, they're held in place by magnets, and can stay in place most of the time. Works very well.

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