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Thread: Getting to know the Pony Premo 6(s)

  1. #1

    Getting to know the Pony Premo 6(s)

    I'm looking to start making prints again (my current workflow is shoot, hand develop, scan). Our community darkroom is closed to covid and I don't have the space for an enlarger and darkroom at home, so I'm going to start with positive papers and dry plates/film for contact prints. To that end, I've picked up a pair of Pony Premo No. 6 5x7 cameras to use while I experiment with these processes. I'll keep one for myself, and the other ... I'm not sure yet.

    They are both labeled Pony Premo No 6 on the identical front brass plates. One appears to be newer, with a more refined rack and pinion focus and bed extension setup. It's been polished, while the older one shows some tarnish. Both have fairly dim ground glass cut corner screens, one of them is cracked.

    Both have long bellows, about 20". I haven't checked them out thoroughly yet but they both look light tight and supple, though the older one seems sturdier.

    The older one, on the left, has a 2.75" square lens board. The newer one, on the right, has a 3.5" square lens board.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Click image for larger version. 

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    1. Does anyone know how to date them? These guys say Kodak made the Pony Premo No. 6 when they rook over in 1903, but I haven't found any info on a Rochester Optical Pony Premo No. 6 (only the earlier models).
    2. What do people recommend to clean and maintain the leather bellows?
    3. Is it true that the bellows blocks the 5x7 plateholders effectively giving you a 4x5 image? That seems odd. I'll find out soon enough I suppose.
    4. Aside from a good cleaning, is there anything I can do to improve the ground glass? Is it worth it to replace them?

    My next steps are to figure out what size shim I need to move the ground glass so I can focus for moderm 5x7 film holders, clean and condition the leather, clean and lubricate the rack and pinion mechanisms, and expose some film. I've also got a mess of wooden plate holders to sort out.

    (edit: moved lens questions to lens forum post here:
    Last edited by HalideReducer; 24-Jun-2020 at 14:42. Reason: moved lens questions to lens forum

  2. #2
    Tin Can's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2011

    Re: Getting to know the Pony Premo 6(s)

    Lovely cameras, I have a few Premo

    Start here, there is plenty of info online already
    Tin Can

  3. #3

    Re: Getting to know the Pony Premo 6(s)

    It's easily the most attractive camera I've hand in my hand. I read the Historic Camera site - they mention the Kodak-made ones started in 1903 but no info on earlier Rochester Optical No 6 Premos.

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Sep 1998
    Mobile, AL

    Re: Getting to know the Pony Premo 6(s)

    I have a ROC Premo Pony No. 3 and asked for info on it. Do an Advance Search here on Rochester Premo Pony No. 3 Camera and you will get some info that will help answer some of your questions. You will need a shim that is 1/8" thick to solve your focus shift problem using modern film holders. A brother-in-law made one for me out of plexi-glass. Also, the f/stops are in the old numbers and you will find what they equate to in modern numbers. If you don't convert them to modern f/stops you will seriously over expose your negatives. Have fun shooting with them.

    Pat Kearns

  5. #5

    Re: Getting to know the Pony Premo 6(s)

    I found your thread here: https://www.largeformatphotography.i...ny-No-3-Camera

    Thank you for the heads-up. I would not have known about the difference in aperture numbers.

    Jim Jones:
    8 = f/11, 16 = f/16, 32 = f/22, 64 = f/32, and 128 = f/45. If it is marked thus, the aperture at number 8 should appear to be about 3/4 inch when viewed through the front lens cell from a distance, and at number 128, about 3/16 inch. At the modern f/8 number, the diameter should appear to be about one inch, and at f/128, about 1/16 inch.
    Based on this my lenses are f11, f16, f22, f32, f45.

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