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Thread: Beginner to 4X5

  1. #1

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    Beginner to 4X5

    Hi Guys-
    I would like to jump into 4X5 and I was wondering what you guys thought about the older Calumet cameras. I am looking at one with a 210mm Schneider. It seems like from what I have gathered this would be a good inexpensive place to start...

    Thanks
    Patrick

  2. #2
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    Re: Beginner to 4X5

    There are two basic generations of Calumet cameras, and all of them are now "older". The first generation was the CC-400 series, including the long-bellows CC-401 and the wide-angle bag-bellows CC-402. The 400 used a 4x4 lens board similar to many other cameras of the day. Some models had a rotating back, but I don't think any of them had a Graflok back. That would limit their use for Graflok accessories, such as many roll-film holders.

    The second generation was based on the Cambo SC, and was made by Cambo in Holland. It's an excellent all-purpose monorail camera. There was the 45N, which did not have a rotating back, and the 45NX, which did. These are fully modular, with interchangeable bellows, lens boards, film holders, and standards. Most any Cambo-branded parts work fine.

    The Camera Eccentric website has several Calumet catalogs that show the older camera, plus an instruction manual. It also has a Cambo catalog which a picture of an early SC (Super Cambo) view camera on the front. The Calumet versions were black and didn't have all the same features, but it is functionally the same and all the parts are interchangeable.

    http://www.cameraeccentric.com/info.html

    Both of these cameras are fully useful, but the Cambo version is much lighter, more flexible and modular, and really little more expensive in the current market.

    Which one are you looking at?

    The 210 Schneider could be anything from an ancient Xenar to a current model. It's probably a Symmar Convertible or Symmar-S--those would have been contemporary with old and new Calumet cameras, respectively. Both are excellent by any standard, if in good condition and working order.

    Rick "who owns both versions of the Calumet" Denney

  3. #3
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    Re: Beginner to 4X5

    Starting with a 4X5 Speed graphic in 1948, I switched to a medium format Rollei TLR as well as a 35mm camera for the next twenty-five years. Returned to 4x5 in 1979. Been using a large format camera ever since.

    The camera I switched to in 1979 was a brand new Calumet CC- 400 series with the 16" monorail. The lens was a Caltar Pro 210 made by Schneider.

    You made a good choice.

  4. #4

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    Re: Beginner to 4X5

    The 400 series of Calumet cameras are very good workhorse cameras and the 210mm Schneider lens is excellent. If the camera and lens are in good condition and offered at a good price, go for it...you'll be well served by both.

  5. #5

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    Re: Beginner to 4X5

    Welcome to 4x5!

  6. #6

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    Re: Beginner to 4X5

    I had a 400 series and it was a super camera! I gave it to an old friend and replaced it with a Graphic View II, which is also one heck of a great 4x5 monorail. If it's in good shape you can't go wrong with either camera.
    210mm is a very useful lens on a 4x5. Take a look at the works of John Sexton and Roman Loranc and chances are that most of what you see will likely have been shot with a 210mm lens.
    I steal time at 1/125th of a second, so I don't consider my photography to be Fine Art as much as it is petty larceny.
    I'm not OCD. I'm CDO which is alphabetically correct.

  7. #7

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    Re: Beginner to 4X5

    Is it at all possible to shoot Polaroid in one of these Calumet cameras without modifying the camera?

  8. #8
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    Re: Beginner to 4X5

    It certainly would be possible if Polaroid 4X5 films were still available.

    I used a polaroid 545 film holder with my Calumet 400 series camera.

    Unfortunately, Polaroid is out of business.

    Check for instant films and Quickloads that are available from Fuji. Then purchase the proper film holder.

  9. #9

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    Re: Beginner to 4X5

    Do the Fuji films fit in the 4X5 Polarid holders?

  10. #10

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    Re: Beginner to 4X5

    Well, I may have overpaid (people on other sites said not to pay over $125), but I just bought the camera for $169. I am thrilled. It does come with a great case and a bunch of accessories. I am so happy. I'll be sure to hang around here more....This is a great site.

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