Another update: You recall the Kickstarter campaign for Ben Syverson and Justin Lundquist's 4x5 "Travelwide" camera, the simple hand-holdable fixed body designed for a 90mm Angulon? Well, here's the final tally:
Funding target: $75,000
Amount pledged: $128,685
1,136 cameras sold
...And you could knock me down with a feather.
I'm not a big investor, but I have an investment tip...buy up all the 90mm Schneider Angulons you can find and wait for the price increases. Damn, and I gave one to the local college a few years ago.
To put you in context, I once had a bespoke manufacturer of custom view cameras—one of the "big" ones—tell me that he'd had a great year...because he sold more than 40 cameras!
Granted, the Travelwide is Holga-priced, as view cameras go, but still, 1,136 probably equals the year-one to year-gone life-in-business output of some post-'70s-revival VC manufacturers.
So who said film is dead, again?
(Thanks to Oren Grad)
UPDATE from Ben Syverson: "Thanks, Mike! It's been a wild 30 days.
"About the lenses: between all the different ƒ/6.8 and ƒ/8 variants, there have to be literally millions of compatible 90mm lenses out there. Our Kickstarter temporarily upset the market, but I think it will settle down in a few weeks. These were popular lenses for decades.
"And yes, there will be a few people who buy the camera and never use it, but that's sadly true of every product. To get people shooting, we'll produce a comprehensive series of how-to videos—everything from "How to load a film holder" to "Scanning 101." We'll also produce a nice printed manual to go in the box. It's an experiment! I can't wait to see how many people we can turn into large format converts."
Original contents copyright 2013 by Michael C. Johnston and/or the bylined author. All Rights Reserved. Links in this post may be to our affiliates; sales through affiliate links may benefit this site.
(To see all the comments, click on the "Comments" link below.)
Featured Comments from:
Tim A: "I picked up an ƒ/8 lens as soon as I got the message that it was funded. Not that there was any question. And yeah, after today I think the price is going to soar. Can't even find the ƒ/6.8 version much anymore. I just started to shoot 4x5 too. Excitement! :-D "
Harrison Cronbi: "As cool as this is (way cool), my guess is a third of those cameras will see action. A third will find owners who try to buy a 90mm lens on eBay, bid on a couple, find the prices have rocketed, and decide to wait it out. A final third will have bought the camera based on the idea, rather than the practice of shooting 4x5. There have been other independent Kickstarter-style camera projects of late (a 100-series Polaroid TLR comes to mind), but all have suffered from this lens-scarcity issue. Where are the optical entrepreneurs? Not so easy, huh?"
Mike replies: Could have been worse. They could have spent $2,500 on a gorgeous handmade whole-plate view camera and another thousand for a fine lens for it, shot twenty sheets with it, and put that in the closet. But what kind of idiot would do that?
John Robison: "As far as lenses go there are several that will work. Most of the 90mm ƒ/8 lenses from Schneider, Nikon, Fuji will fit and work. You don't need the ƒ/6.8 Angulon. If you already have a 4x5 the modern ƒ/8 optics will do double duty as a wide lens that will also allow some movements, something I understand the ƒ/6.8 won't. So you are not stuck with just one lens that everyone is looking for."