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Sunday, 28 November 2010


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The Pottery Barn Cameras are already gone!And probably destined for Ebay.


...I'm pretty sure you can get a "working" Zorki 4 on eBay pretty regularly for 50 bucks, at least I did a few months ago with lens; although "working" is sort of inaccurate...Altho Jim S. says they're already gone! Fedka may even still have reworked ones for 100.00, with warranty!

I love all the "view camera porn"; these pics are making me hot...hot to restore my 8X10 Deardorff!

BTW re: folding cameras: Think there's info some where on the web with one of the Deardorff Bros. waxing poetic about view camera nomenclature. A "folding camera" is a camera where you run the standards together, usually to the front (but can be to the back, like the Kodak Magnesium 8X10), and the back of the camera rails unscrew, and hinge up to be flush with the back of the rear standard (or front, again the Kodak), and it may even have an additional "tail-board" piece that comes off. A camera like the Deardorff is "self-casing", but that is different than a Graflex style, which is a "hand camera". At least, that's what one of the Dearorff guys said...FWIW...

The 'Camera Porn Link' photo reminds me of some musing Tom Waits did in his concert film Big Time. He wondered what XXX movies (not Tri-X) could be, when one already had X (nude girls, etc) and XX (extra sexy). His theory was that XXX referred to 'girls without skin'.

Hey, Mike, you're the one who said this was an open topic! ;)


Cameras as interior decor - it just hurts to see it, I'm taking this piece on trust and believing as its on TOP its NOT a spoof (no Satire Alert there, Mike!). More painful indeed than seeing - as is now commonplace - collections of old hardback books used as interior decor in pubs and bars. Theres a world of difference between a camera enthusiast displaying his (or her) collection, and this kind of random gratuitous display. I tend to rect the same way when I see people have display cases of exotic butterflies on the wall, but have not the first clue about them.

Thank you very much, Mike.

Andrew Sanderson is practically on my doorstep - 28 miles by road - but I only learned of him from reading this 'open mic'.

I am now watching his video on hand colouring a black and white print.

Apologies from Britain for getting the spelling of 'color' backwards.

I (for one) am interested as to why "we" call it a 4x5 and "they" call it a 5x4. (Upsize numbers as needed. . .)
Will Clark

I think it's because there was a strong movement to standardize industrial parameters of all sorts in the nineteenth century, when America took over from Britain as the manufacturing superpower, and one of the reforms was to always list the shorter dimension first. So in Britain they say "5x4" but also "5x7."

I'm not sure of this, and I don't have time to research it. But I believe I "heard it somewhere." FWIW. At any rate the editorial convention in the U.S. is to list the short measure first in text. (Note that the U.S. and Britain have somewhat different typographical and editorial conventions too.)



Interesting to see you text about view cameras. Our local paper had an article abount one today which makes 50cm x 60cm images (20 incles by 24 inches). See link:



Chris Stone

$149...Let us choose for you. hahahahahahahahahah....hehe.
For $149 I'll run down cellar and send whomever wants three Bricks and three rolls of Fuji 200 to start with.
Makes a great Christmas gift!
How 'bout three busted rangefinders? I'll polish and/or paint them red & green to buyers' liking!
I shoulda thought about this.

Yeah, I've got plenty of decorative cameras, including a Leica IIIa that cost me less than $149. I'd certainly be happy to sell some Yashica rangefinders for $149. The Leica I'll keep.


I am really enjoying your posts lately.

Mike Walker, in addition to making some very nice cameras, is a really nice guy. He also stands behind his cameras 100%. I have a 4x5 (or should I say 5x4 given its provenance) Walker Titan SF that I really love. The fit and finish of that camera is amazing. I purchased it used, and Mike serviced it and upgraded it a bit for me. The service was free, and the upgrade was very reasonable. It is a camera from which I cannot imaging parting.

As a lover of both photography and books, I'm happy both things are cool again! Fashion is cyclical, I knew I just needed to hang on. As soon as fatness becomes cool (like it was in some cultures) I'll be golden!

Mike, you are an old softie when it comes
to reviewing folding cameras.

Any camera with a form of bellows you just know is a camera, with a lense on one end
and a place to record the image on the opposite end.

When it comes to field cameras the fiddling and flitting about ensuring everything is just right speaks volumes about the fascination these devices have for all and sundry.

Kerik's Petzval - yeah, I just came back a week ago from his Platinum Print workshop at the Ansel Adams Center, in Yosemite- with Ike Eisenlord, I heartily recommend.

So at some point Kerik attached this very strange looking old thing to his very contemporary GF1 - I asked what it was, and he chuckled - an old movie lens, with a C-mount. The pics came out heavily vignetted, but quite nice!

If anyone is looking for something different to do with their view camera, Andrew Sanderson has just self-published his new book on the slightly esoteric art of making paper negatives: http://www.blurb.com/bookstore/detail/1745107
(I have no connection with Andrew other than as an admirer of his work.)

I met a shooter once who did some work for an engineer. In the engineer's office was a shelf filled with Leicas, none of which he used. Instead, he collected them because he liked the way they are made. I'm all for appreciating beauty and craftsmanship, but what's the fun of having a Porche if you're never going to take it out on an old road and see how fast it can go?

@ Patrick Perez: "His theory was that XXX referred to 'girls without skin' "

That would be a RAW file, then.

"the British refer to the measurements backwards"

Wars have started for less.

$149?? Damn, they're gonna cause a price jump on ebay.

I was at Anthropologie with my wife and I found an Argus on one of the shelves. The viewfinders were fogged and the aperture was broken. I didn't note the price, otherwise I may have been offended instead of slightly amused.

Good grief! I didn't realize I had a valuable collection of antique decor. Hey, if anyone missed out on Pottery Barn's limited supply, I'm willing to negotiate!

@Luke: You're lucky that Argus was in that condition. Otherwise you might have been tempted to try it out. I owned a C3 in my youth, and I can't imagine a more hostile camera to operate. But on the upside, it took poor photographs (and no, it wasn't 'the photographer').


There's something positively disgusting about the way they're marketing "fully functional" cameras as home decor, but I've always been a fan of having some old (non-functioning) cameras on my shelf for that purpose. For me it started with the discovery of my grandfather's camera, an old Kodak folder that used a rollfilm format no longer made (620, I think... maybe 128?). The viewfinder was a rudimentary (now quite foggy) prism viewed from above, the shutter had 4 settings (2 timed settings, a bulb setting (hold shutter open), and a click to open-click to close setting), and the iris has 4 settings, labelled 1, 2, 3, and 4, and its metal leaves open and close in front of the single glass element. There is, of course, no meter, and my grandfather had none. There are those that might say that I should get it repaired, figure out how to adapt it to 120, and add it to my fleet of cameras, which is a fair point. I prefer, however, to keep it where I can see it, and let it remind me that in spite of all of my professional training and deep understanding of photography, the fact that my grandfather used that camera to take all of my father's childhood pictures is proof that he may have known more than I'll ever know about making photographs.

Old cameras that have run their course can be repaired and get a second lease on life, but I have more cameras than I know what to do with as it is. When I find a beautiful old camera that no longer works for a steal at an antique store, I'm content to leave it as that... a beautiful object, and a reminder of the past.

I (for one) am interested as to why "we" call it a 4x5 and "they" call it a 5x4.

It's obvious. We (in the UK) mainly use the landscape format whereas you (US) prefer portrait orientation!

Re Tripods.
I came accross a bird photographer some years ago who used a tripod without a head. Instead he draped a very large bean bag over the top of the tripod and sunk his Canon and big prime lens into the bean bag. His reason was such a system had no resonance and gave support with just about no vibration. I can understand that since no matter how sturdy a tripod head is, there will always be some vibration possible. Is this a common trick or is the guy on to something.

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