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Thread: Interesting curiosity: K L Biggs Gee Pee 4x5 camera, claimed to be aerial

  1. #1

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    Interesting curiosity: K L Biggs Gee Pee 4x5 camera, claimed to be aerial

    For your amusement and edification.

    https://web.archive.org/web/20180423...2/362301646440

    I doubt it is an aerial camera. Aerial cameras are typically fixed focus and their lenses typically have radial pins at the front to accept spring-loaded filter holders. And its been quite a long time since they were single-shot. On the other hand, the lens is on a cone that bolts to the body. Might be a press camera. Its Copal 1 shutter might be a replacement.

    Modular as can be, I think. Any ideas what the thumb screws on top are for?

  2. #2

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    Re: Interesting curiosity: K L Biggs Gee Pee 4x5 camera, claimed to be aerial

    The lens is coated and post- WWII. I had one for a while, in a Compur shutter. Obviously the Copal shutter is fairly modern. So likely not original to the body?
    It could very well be an aerial camera body- perhaps a roll-film back like a Graflex or Linhof 70mm. Certainly meant for hand-held use- like out the window of a Shackleton patrol plane? A curiosity indeed.

  3. #3

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    Re: Interesting curiosity: K L Biggs Gee Pee 4x5 camera, claimed to be aerial

    You can get information from the "horse's mouth" here!

    http://www.largeformatphotography.in...onorail-camera

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    Re: Interesting curiosity: K L Biggs Gee Pee 4x5 camera, claimed to be aerial

    hey

    I had /have a 4x5 made by that company..I remember those handles

    I think it was an aerial camera and it came w/o a lens..so I disassembled it and built a fixed focus hand held 4x5 out of the parts

  5. #5

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    Re: Interesting curiosity: K L Biggs Gee Pee 4x5 camera, claimed to be aerial

    Quote Originally Posted by Steven Tribe View Post
    You can get information from the "horse's mouth" here!

    http://www.largeformatphotography.in...onorail-camera
    Been there, read that, am not sure I recommend it.

    More seriously, I have a couple of BJP annuals in my library. K L Biggs advertised enlarger in them. No mention of aerial cameras.

    Not to change the subject or anything, but why does the presence of a hand grip (or grips) on a 4x5 camera make people think "aerial camera?" I ask because aerial cameras are fixed focus and the Gee Pee, like the ever so slightly similar Peckham Wray, has a focusing mechanism.

  6. #6
    Jac@stafford.net's Avatar
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    Re: Interesting curiosity: K L Biggs Gee Pee 4x5 camera, claimed to be aerial

    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Fromm View Post
    Not to change the subject or anything, but why does the presence of a hand grip (or grips) on a 4x5 camera make people think "aerial camera?" I ask because aerial cameras are fixed focus and the Gee Pee, like the ever so slightly similar Peckham Wray, has a focusing mechanism.
    People likely think aerial because real handheld aerial cameras have such grips, but we know that. The Gee Pee is a confusing camera and as-is would not be a good press camera - unless maybe those knobs on the top of the back allow removal of the plate below to replace it with an uncoupled rangefinder ... but still, a kludge.

    An early advert for the Peckham Wray described it as an air-to-air camera, and articles of its production called it a press camera. I call it a camera that shakes its focusing mechanism straight to disrepair in turbulence. We have another member here who has two of them.

    My work in progress:

    Click image for larger version. 

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    (The four mount points for the viewfinder, both grips and tripod mount can be removed should I make a rotating mount for aircraft, possibly remote controlled. Fat chance, but .... well, maybe.)
    Last edited by Jac@stafford.net; 24-Apr-2018 at 14:39.

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    Re: Interesting curiosity: K L Biggs Gee Pee 4x5 camera, claimed to be aerial

    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Fromm View Post
    Modular as can be, I think. Any ideas what the thumb screws on top are for?
    Looks like they are for the viewfinder.

    Click image for larger version. 

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  8. #8
    Jac@stafford.net's Avatar
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    Re: Interesting curiosity: K L Biggs Gee Pee 4x5 camera, claimed to be aerial

    Ya nailed it, Brick!

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    Re: Interesting curiosity: K L Biggs Gee Pee 4x5 camera, claimed to be aerial

    Gee Pee - General Purpose?

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