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Thread: Easy fix that makes a 4x5 Gowland-Calumet Pocket View less fiddly and easier to use

  1. #1

    Easy fix that makes a 4x5 Gowland-Calumet Pocket View less fiddly and easier to use

    While the 4x5 Gowland Pocket View ( also sold under the Calumet brand) is among the smallest and lightest 4x5 monorails of which I'm aware, my stock camera came new from Calumet with mostly Allen-head socket set screws to lock the rails and movements in use. It was "fiddly" to say the least and very awkward to try to set and lock down movements with an Allen wrench, particularly the front and back combined shift and swing movements that shifted and swung using a single Allen screw and a slot in the standard as both pivot and lock.

    Luckily, virtually all of the movements and fiddly Allen set screws on my Gowland, bought in the early 1980s, use an M5 x .8 metric size. I purchased a $15 box of M5 clamping knobs on bolts of various lengths and another box of small M5 clamping levers. The clamping levers work well as pivots/locks for the tilts in place of the Allen hex head screws and various length clamping knobs substituted on the monorail block and front and rear swing/shift movements.

    The front swing/shift Allen screw fit rather tightly and inaccessibly because of the Calumet name plate immediately in front of the OEM set screw but a longer 32-35mm clamping knob with a 25mm aluminum bushing from a local hardware store provided the offset needed to clear the name plate while still locking the front movement tightly.

    For about $23 in various size M5 metric hardware from Amazon, my Gowland Pocket View is no longer so fiddly and loose as to be awkward to use in the field.

    Some of these cameras apparently used different SAE and metric threads, so be measure and be sure of which size fits your camera before ordering.

  2. #2
    Vaughn's Avatar
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    Re: Easy fix that makes a 4x5 Gowland-Calumet Pocket View less fiddly and easier to

    I replaced some of the allen-headed bolts with knobs. I never found the camera 'fiddly', other than having to turn the camera over on its side for horizontals (I kept the back in vertical mode -- later models had movable backs). I did find that a heavy tripod (7 pounds or so) was nice with such a light camera. I put the 2.5 pound camera on a 2.5 tripod and it was pretty squirrely! It was my main camera from 1985 to early about 1993...with a Caltar II-N 150/5.6.
    "Landscapes exist in the material world yet soar in the realms of the spirit..." Tsung Ping, 5th Century China

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    Re: Easy fix that makes a 4x5 Gowland-Calumet Pocket View less fiddly and easier to

    They make knobs that press fit over standard head Allen bolt heads out of plastic that would work also... Pretty cheap from a bolt supplier...

    Steve K

  4. #4

    Re: Easy fix that makes a 4x5 Gowland-Calumet Pocket View less fiddly and easier to

    I agree, if knobs were substituted for Allen hex head bolts, then the Gowland/Calumet is not fiddly. That's the point of this thread.

    Some of the Allen hex heads on my Gowland/Calumet were recessed and press-fit knobs would not work, at least on mine. Some others, such as front swing Allen bolt would not have clearance. As they have different lengths required for a tight friction fit and as neither my local hardware store nor Home Depot had a good selection of sizes to match the different lengths required, ordered an inexpensive box of M5 bolts/knobs make the substitutions a lot easier.

    It feels like a wholly different and much nicer camera to use afterwards.

  5. #5
    Vaughn's Avatar
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    Re: Easy fix that makes a 4x5 Gowland-Calumet Pocket View less fiddly and easier to

    I used it for many years before going to some knobs. Alas, I have lost the allen wrench on a lanyard that came with the camera -- I was even asked at a workshop if I was wearing some type of religious symbol. It was comforting to have around my neck. Now I have two or three loose ones laying about. But the Gowland will not see much use until the 5x7 gets too much to backpack with on short trips.
    "Landscapes exist in the material world yet soar in the realms of the spirit..." Tsung Ping, 5th Century China

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