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Thread: VDS 5x7 CAMERA REVIEW (sort of)

  1. #1
    Les
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    Seattle, WA
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    VDS 5x7 CAMERA REVIEW (sort of)

    VDS 5x7 CAMERA REVIEW
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    INTRO

    The largest influence on my purchase was the weight of this cameraÖ.and the fact that it folds. This became an easy decision, since most of my lenses (by choice) already fit this format.

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    Camera Manuf Logo

    Much like most cameras, this one isnít perfect. I should add, that it may not be for everyone. Nonetheless, IMO itís the operator and the camera pretty much follows. Anyway, just got this model and decided to share what I found.

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    Level (built into rear standard)

    MY IMPRESSIONS

    Before I get into that, if you are interested in specs you can check the VDS site:

    http://vdscamera.com/en/letoltheto-i.../termekleiras/

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    Name plate

    OK, here we go. Iíve waited 88 days for the camera to be made and it finally reached me. We know how fast anything (in LF) is being done.

    Construction:

    Mostly solid wood (Cherry-light version)
    Plywood was used on some parts to prevent worpage
    Stainless hardware (brassy hardware is also available)
    Aluminum control knobs
    Miter joints have a spline (nice touch)
    GG creates v. nice and crisp image (Symmar-S)
    One leveler is present at the top of the rear standard



    The knobs are easy to operate and there are small neoprene bushings that keep things snug-tight. The bellows stay in place without any sagging (not yet anyway). Changing lenses is effortless as it should be. Folding the camera back is bit tricky, but no major feat Ė just something one has to get used to. The footprint is small and Iíll repeat myselfÖ.this rig is hiking friendly. Overall, the camera feels relatively stout, I mean even with the bellows extended. Thatís a plus.

    Iím not able to determine nuances or contrasts between this camera and Canham or Chamonix, etc. Indeed, itís an alternative to other cameras and IMO priced reasonably.

    Some disclaimers: The lens boards suppose measure 110mm x 110mm and they are actually closer to 108mm x 108mm. Well, not a big deal. The rig has no phys. detents, proscribed measurements to speak of or any sort of fine focus controls. Also, and this may not be a game changer for some, the site indicates that the camera weights (naked) 3.2 lbs., but in reality it was 4.74 lbs.


    PARTING NOTES

    Besides being tempted to hack my compendium (Calumet/Combo) to fit this camera, I also want to make some real cool looking lens boards (crank my chopsaw) out of curly maple, which will add some charmÖ.they are not as difficult to make as some may have implied.

    Positives tend to outweigh negatives. Darker finish (and red bellows) may be more desirable and both are available. Most likely will have to rig up some sort of stretching band to be able to attach the dark cloth in order to see the GG. Oh, and Sandor (the maker) claims that the bellows are IR friendly.

    Lets face it, itís a box (bit quirky)Ö.and there are some mini warts. But, it sheds light onto film like all other cameras, eh ?. Donít expect any sexual appealÖ.though it may still appear to be porn :>). Being a field rig, it will fit into a backpack and my back will thank meÖitís roughly the weight of my Feisol tripod, which is superb. Iím looking forward to install a film holder and take this bad boy for a spin. Some day Iíll even use the acquired 4x5 redux back on some IR or color images. Efke and X-ray awaits.

    http://vdscamera.com/en/kamerak/vds-5x7/

    Let me know if I didnít cover somethingÖor you might be curious aboutÖ..and Iíll try (if I can) to answer your concerns.

    Disclaimer: havenít shot any film with it yet.

    ~ More pics coming ~

    Les

  2. #2
    Les
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
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    Seattle, WA
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    Re: VDS 5x7 CAMERA REVIEW (sort of)

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    Front view (folded)
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    Side view (folded)
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    Bellows extended
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    Rear view & GG

  3. #3

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    Re: VDS 5x7 CAMERA REVIEW (sort of)

    Hello, nice camera. I have been looking at VDS as a possibility. Did you buy your reducing back from them at the same time as your camera order? Is it matching in appearance?

  4. #4
    Les
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    Re: VDS 5x7 CAMERA REVIEW (sort of)

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    Front view w/o lens
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    Another view
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    Another view w/Symmar-S 210mm lens
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    Reduced 4x5 back/insert

  5. #5
    Les
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    Re: VDS 5x7 CAMERA REVIEW (sort of)

    Quote Originally Posted by cp_photo View Post
    Hello, nice camera. I have been looking at VDS as a possibility. Did you buy your reducing back from them at the same time as your camera order? Is it matching in appearance?
    Yes, I ordered the redux back with the camera...and yes, it matches. Check out the last pic.

    Les

  6. #6

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    Re: VDS 5x7 CAMERA REVIEW (sort of)

    Beautiful!

  7. #7

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    Re: VDS 5x7 CAMERA REVIEW (sort of)

    Does the reducing back have a spring mechanism to hold the film holder in place? It looks like one has to remove the 4x5 viewing glass and hold the film holder in place using those knurled knobs?

  8. #8
    Les
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    Re: VDS 5x7 CAMERA REVIEW (sort of)

    Not sure how the 4x5 redux is suppose to work. There are springs under those knobs, so I'm assuming the GG suppose to remain in place....working as designed. I may have moved it...and didn't test it with actual film holder (yet).

    Les

  9. #9

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    La Luz del Oeste, Albuquerque NM
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    Re: VDS 5x7 CAMERA REVIEW (sort of)

    Love that ground glass, too.
    Christmas in February!
    Peter Collins

    On the intent of the First Amendment: The press was to serve the governed, not the governors --Opinion, Hugo Black, Judge, Supreme Court, 1971 re the "Pentagon Papers."

  10. #10
    Les
    Join Date
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    Re: VDS 5x7 CAMERA REVIEW (sort of)

    Ooopser, just got corrected by Sandor. With the 4x5 insert, one has to take out the GG and the knobs actually hold the film holder in place. One can also use Pola/Fujiroid or 6x9 or even 6x12 back the same way. There....now I know too.

    Les

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