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Thread: Burke & James 8x10 geared focus rail pinion pressure ?

  1. #1

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    Apr 2013
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    Burke & James 8x10 geared focus rail pinion pressure ?

    I recently acquired a remarkably clean gray B&J 8x10 flatbed with geared focusing.
    I noticed that while focusing the rear standard I can feel each gear tooth increment as I extend or retract the standard. It even make an audible clicking sound as you focus. I't not difficult to focus... the knob turns easily. It's just that I'm not sure if this is normal for this model. I'd really rather a smoother focusing action. Anyone else have this clicky feel and sound from the track teeth?

    Before responding, please note that, yes, both sides of the pinion are perfectly aligned on the bed tracks. I've removed and replaced the standard from the track a number of times, assuring the exact left and right placement is correct on the gear tracks.

    My feeling is that there is just a bit too much pressure pushing the pinion down on to the track teeth. Is there a way to release some of that pressure? Upon inspection, I see a pressure spring on each side that causes downward pressure of the pinion, but I do not see any facility to adjust it.

  2. #2

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    Re: Burke & James 8x10 geared focus rail pinion pressure ?

    I briefly had the 5x7 version, and mine was nearly new. It did that, and I think it's normal. These were never really a quality product, though they certainly are tough! Maybe both of our cameras just needed to be used for a couple more decades to break in. :-)
    Thanks, but I'd rather just watch:
    Large format: http://flickr.com/michaeldarnton
    Mostly 35mm: http://flickr.com/mdarnton
    You want digital, color, etc?: http://www.flickr.com/photos/stradofear

  3. #3
    Jim Jones's Avatar
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    Re: Burke & James 8x10 geared focus rail pinion pressure ?

    The B&J 5x7 I used for many years does the same, although it wasn't noticeable when concentrating on the picture making.

  4. #4
    Tin Can's Avatar
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    Re: Burke & James 8x10 geared focus rail pinion pressure ?

    don't try soap or heavy grease
    sin eater

  5. #5

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    Re: Burke & James 8x10 geared focus rail pinion pressure ?

    In the late 1970s used the same 8x10 B&J wooden Commercial view camera. The gears made that same sound. The track teeth on the 2 rails were not aligned with each other. Removed one of the rails and aligned it with the other. After doing that the geared focusing was a lot smoother, but "the clicky feel and sound from the track teeth" was still there. As mdarnton posted: "These were never really a quality product, though they certainly are tough!". Agree 100%. Backpacked mine for years in the Finger Lakes region of New York and all around New England in an unpadded surplus backpack. The camera never let me down. If I ever come across one FS at a reasonable price, will acquire it mostly for sentimental reasons, but would also use it on a regular basis. You are very lucky to find "a remarkably clean gray B&J 8x10 flatbed". So far the only ones that I have stumbled on have been in well used and in very worn condition. Only problem that I had with the camera was in the winter shooting snow on a totally sunlit day.... edge of the film "fogging" from light bouncing off the inside of the bellows. Good luck with your B&J.

  6. #6

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    Re: Burke & James 8x10 geared focus rail pinion pressure ?

    Thanks all for this helpful info. I suspected that the clicking feel and sound might be part and parcel to the B&J, but it is reassuring to hear that it is not necessarily something wrong. It just has its quirks. While it is no Deardorff or Gandolfi, it does have a utilitarian charm, similar to my Calumet C-1.

  7. #7

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    Re: Burke & James 8x10 geared focus rail pinion pressure ?

    I'm also a happy user of a Burke & James 8x10 Battle ship grey, its a heavy beast but it can do almost everything what my Sinar P can. Not in the same perfection, but for outside I love mine. Yes this rail make some sound and with a bit of Vaseline it gets a bit more silent and smoother.
    But remember its still a Battle Ship;--))

  8. #8

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    Re: Burke & James 8x10 geared focus rail pinion pressure ?

    I used some white lithium grease, but still clickity clack. It's not an annoying sound though. Love the red bellows with the gray paint. A beautiful combo.


    Quote Originally Posted by Armin Seeholzer View Post
    I'm also a happy user of a Burke & James 8x10 Battle ship grey, its a heavy beast but it can do almost everything what my Sinar P can. Not in the same perfection, but for outside I love mine. Yes this rail make some sound and with a bit of Vaseline it gets a bit more silent and smoother.
    But remember its still a Battle Ship;--))

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