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Thread: Help Identifying Mystery Wooden Field Camera

  1. #1

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    Help Identifying Mystery Wooden Field Camera

    I recently purchased this wooden field camera but despite extensive internet searches I have been unable to identify the manufacturer. It is a half plate and is pretty well made but does not seem to be an old camera which is unusual in itself for this format.
    The Kodak half plate spring back is not original to the camera and has been shimmed to fit. The front standard seems to be of the same wood as the camera but it looks to have been modified. The lens board is a home made job.
    So I am hoping someone will be able to identify it by its fittings. The top plate hardware is very distinctive. My feeling is that it may be an early Chinese or Japanese copy but as noted earlier I can find nothing like it.
    I am now in the process of building a reducing back to hold a Sinar 5x4 International Back and focusing screen. The idea is that when complete it will be ideal for use with a 65mm Super Angulon for some lovely wide landscapes.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Field Camera2.jpg   Field Camera1.jpg  

  2. #2

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    Re: Help Identifying Mystery Wooden Field Camera

    These 4x5's are not my thing, but as no-one else has responded ......!
    Material of hardware is aluminium/plated brass/stainless steel? There is always difference in the hardware design and someone should be able to identify it, or the model on which it is based.
    I don't think this is old (60's perhaps).

  3. #3
    All metric sizes to 24x30 Ole Tjugen's Avatar
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    Re: Help Identifying Mystery Wooden Field Camera

    Since the back is not original, maybe the half-plate format isn't original either? It looks suspiciously like a generic German-built "English Type" Reisekamera to me. Could the original sixe have been 10x15cm, or 13x18cm, or even 18x24cm?

  4. #4

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    Re: Help Identifying Mystery Wooden Field Camera

    "Since the back is not original, maybe the half-plate format isn't original either? It looks suspiciously like a generic German-built "English Type" Reisekamera to me. Could the original sixe have been 10x15cm, or 13x18cm, or even 18x24cm?"
    Ole, the internal imaging area with the back removed is 160mm square so I dont think it could have been originally any larger than half plate. I hadn't really been aware of the meaning of Reisekamera before so thanks for making me acquaint myself with it. It seems like it covers quite a range of designs over a number of years but the majority seem to have been essentially variations on the English Tailboard design although some folding field cameras were also embraced by the term. This is definitely not a tailboard design as the focus screen is still exposed when the camera is folded for transport. The consensus of opinion on other forums where I have posted this query is that it is probably a Japanese copy from the early 1960s of a classic English design. A number of suggested makers but no positive identification as yet.

  5. #5

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    Re: Help Identifying Mystery Wooden Field Camera

    Steve, Ole is right in that German built reisekameras (meaning just field camera) did sometimes copy the english type with folding front and struts. But it is true that the classic reisekamera was a "tailboard" type.

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