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Thread: Deardorff Specials

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Jun 2011

    Deardorff Specials

    So, what's "special" about the specials?

  2. #2
    Drew Wiley
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    SF Bay area, CA

    Re: Deardorff Specials

    As I recall, they were basically a 5x7 camera with a revolving 4x5 back. A regular VH 5x7 back was optional.

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Central Mother Lode, California

    Re: Deardorff Specials

    Guessing you mean Deardorff's "4 x 5 Special View Camera". Seemingly paradoxically a 1967 flyer I have on "The 4 x 5 Special View Camera" calls it "the STANDARD VIEW CAMERA for Color and Black and White Photography" (trying to suggest the original typeface here.)

    So their 4 x 5 "Special View" was really their "regular" 4 x 5 camera. It was a 5 X 7 body with a 4 x 5 back. Trim pieces on the front said 4 x 5 Special View or words to that effect. Back could be either reversible or revolving and wood framed or Graflok. Don't know the span of years they used the name 4 X 5 Special View. I bought a new one in 1969. Also don't know why they used the term "Special". They did make a smaller strictly 4 x 5 model, sometimes called the "Baby Deardorff." In terms of numbers made it's actually much more "special."


  4. #4
    Vaughn's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Humboldt County, CA

    Re: Deardorff Specials

    Here is one in action at Joshua Tree, wearing a 450mm lens at the time. Owned and operated by Elaine Ling (using Type 55 film). For all-day use, the knobs are tough on fingertips. It is a heavy 4x5, but a very reasonable 5x7 camera.

    I had a Rajah -- an exact copy of a Deardorff Special, except quality, but not too bad. Actually pretty bad, brand new it had a bad light leak in the revolving 4x5 back. Eventually got a Deardorff 5x7 back that fit perfectly on it and enjoyed using it. It was eventually stolen and I replaced it with an 8x10.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails EL-JTNP.jpg  
    "Landscapes exist in the material world yet soar in the realms of the spirit..." Tsung Ping, 5th Century China

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Madisonville, LA

    Re: Deardorff Specials

    The Deardorff Special was a 5x7 camera with a Special 4x5 back. When I bought mine new in 1987, it came with a revolving 4x5 back. My two 4x5 Specials showing how the nameplate changed in 50 some years. The one on the left is #122 from 1951, restored in 1992. The one on the right is 2204 bought new in 1987

    Click image for larger version. 

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