Large Format Cameras
Camera Museum - Large Format Cameras
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Intro (Top) | Burke & James | Conley | Graflex | Kodak | Seroco

This portion of the museum contains large format cameras which have negatives that are usually at least 4 x 5 inches. Large format cameras generally use sheet film instead of a roll of film. Usually two sheets are put into a film holder. Each holder contains a dark slide on each side. After viewing and focusing, the film holder is put in the back of the camera. A dark slide is lifted out. The shutter is fired and the exposure made. The dark slide is put back into the holder. The holder is then flipped over to use the other sheet of film which is exposed in the same way. Two photos can therefore be made with each holder. The film must be put into the holder in complete darkness. Also, the film must also be removed from the holder in complete darkness. This is often done in a film changing bag. The bag is light tight. One end of the bag is zippered. You unzip it to place the film holders and film in. It is then zipped up again to prevent light from entering. The other end has holes in which you place your arms. Elastic makes sure the bag fits tightly against your arms so no light leaks through.

Intro (Top) | Burke & James | Calumet | Conley | Graflex | Kodak | Seroco

Burke & James

[Burke and James 8 x 10 View Camera][Schneider 300mm f5.6 Symmar-S Lens][Burke and James 8 x 10 View Camera Back View]

Additional Photos: Camera Large, Lens Large, Lens Alternate View, Camera Back Large, On Gitzo Tripod, Low View.
Burke and James 8 x 10 Commercial View Camera, with 300mm f5.6 Schneider Kreuznach Symmar-S lens and Gitzo tripod.

Burke & James. Classic 4x5/5x7 cameras indicates Burke & James was a large Chicago camera store that sold good value products under its house brand. The company was in business from 1897 until the early 1970s. (Burke & James History, See also Burke and James Press Camera Manual and Burke & James Press Camera.)

Camera Identification, New Price and Value Today. has three Burke and James Catalogs. The 1963 Burke & James catalog at page 4 of the pdf document (only a portion of the catalog is reproduced) has the "Burke & James Commercial View Camera" which came in 8x10, 11x14 or 8x20 (for "banquets" or panoramas) formats. The 8x10" camera, No. 511-A, sold for $199.50 without a lens or accessories. It looks to be the same as mine. $199.50 in 1963 has the same buying power as $1,408.03 in 2009. With lens the camera sold from $299.50 ($2,113.81 in 2009 dollars)(uncoated lens) to $449.50 ($3,172.49 in 2009 dollars). The cameras were made in the United States and used kiln-dried sealed hardwood. I think they sold these cameras for many years. Mine therefore could easily be from a decade before or after 1963. A discussion on discusses the camera (without lens) going for about $120 to $300 in the used market from 2006 to 2009. In addition to the camera, I also received two Fidelity 8x10 cut film holders.

Refinishing to Reveal Maple. Burke & James view cameras were usually painted grey with red bellows. Underneath the grey paint is maple wood. "Some notes on restoring an 8x10 Burke and James View Camera," Large Format Photography discusses stripping the paint from a camera like mine and staining the underlying maple wood darker. The finished product shown in that article is beautiful. Flicker also has photos of beautifully restored Burke & James view cameras with the paint removed. Camera 1, Camera 2. Christopher - Motorcycles has some nice images from a Burke and James 8 x 10 view camera.

300mm f5.6 Schneider Kreuznach Symmar-S lens. The 300mm lens is considered a normal lens for 8 x 10 cameras. Technical data for the 300mm f5.6 Schneider Kreuznach Symmar-S lens is at the Schneider Optics site. The lens is made in Germany. It is about 10cm long with a mass of 1.215 Kg with its Compur 3 shutter. Shutter speeds are from 1 to 1/200 and Time. Apertures range from f5.6 to f64. A comment by a professional photographer at a Flicker Large Format Discussion states: "A 300mm like a Symmar-S or a Sironar N in a Copal #3 shutter should be fairly inexpensive (~$300) if you hunt a bit. There's not a huge demand for these bulky studio lenses, but they're fast and sharp (if not light)." A discussion entitled 300mm f/5.6 Symmar-S [circa 1980] vs Current 300mm f/5.6 Apo-Symmar indicates that person's 300mm f5.6 Symmar-S is from about 1980. Someone replying indicated they had a newer 300mm f/5.6 Symmar-S. My lens therefore probably dates around 1980 give or take. Schneider Kreuznach - Wikipedia has a list of dozens of Schneider Kreuznach lenses produced since the company was founded in 1913.

Gitzo Tripod. The tripod is a very robust Gitzo tripod with a pan tilt head. I can't find any model number on the tripod itself. The head is marked R.No.2. The tripod is similar to one that was on eBay, "GITZO 500 Tele Studex Giant Heavy Duty R No.3 tripod head." That one was taller, however. I think the Giant may be the extra tall ones. Mine is also similar to the new Gitzo G-1506 Tele Studex Compact Tripod legs at B & H Photo that sells for $525 without center column or head! My tripod is very sturdy and works well. It is clearly intended for heavy cameras. It is compact when closed measuring only 21 inches long without the head. It is a four segment tripod with each segment being only about 1 foot long. The maximum height to the base where the head sits is about 48.5 inches. The center column increases it about another 7.5 inches. The head is 6 inches high. The maximum height with the center column extended and the head attached is about 62 inches. The legs also extend out in at least two different angles allowing you to have a very wide base and a low height of 21.25 inches even with the center column and head. Gitzo tripods are made in France and are generally very well respected and expensive. I also have a much lighter Gitzo Gilux Reporter tripod which I use for my digital SLR. It is a wonderful tripod that I purchased for only $5 or $10 a couple of years ago at a local garage sale. A nice thing about tripods is that they really don't change that quickly over time. An old tripod is still very useable. While a graphite tripod might be nice, these aluminum tripods perform very well.

Condition. Everything seems to be in good condition. The bellows appears to be in great shape. The lens looks very clear. It has perhaps a very minor scuff. It does not come with lens caps. The tripod works very well although it may be missing a knob on the end of the lever which raises the center post. This does not affect the operation at all.

Purchase. I purchased it at a 11-14-09 garage sale in the Ocean Beach - Point Loma area of San Diego. The garage sale was advertised on Craiglist and mentioned an 8x10 camera and heavy duty Gitzo tripod. The seller was a professional photographer. Originally he offered the camera and lens for $300 and another $100 for the tripod. I negotiated $300 for everything. He used the camera for fine arts work. For example, he showed me a photo of high surf and surfing by Boomer's Beach and La Jolla Cove. He took it with this camera. He sent it to a facility in Los Angeles for processing. They also scanned it for him. It was eventually digitally printed also.

My Plans. This camera will probably be only for my collection. I would like to experiment with large format photography someday. Available on Google Books is Steve Simon's Using the View Camera with general information on operation of a view camera. I also have a 4x5 camera, however. 4x5 appears to be much more practical to use. Film is much more readily available and less expensive. Further, it might be possible to process black and white negatives myself. Also, I would probably be able to scan it myself. While an 8x10 image has 4 times the area and hence resolution of a 4x5 image, a 4x5 image is still very large. The tripod here would be great to use with the 4x5 camera. I am intrigued by the possibility of stripping the old grey paint from my 8x10 James and Burke camera and then probably coating the wood with polyurethane. The natural wood should be very beautiful. I personally like maple. It seems to be a do-able project.

[B & J 4 x 5 Inch Press Camera]
B & J 4X5 Inch Speed Press Camera aka Burke & James Press Camera (Large Image, Box) (Circa 1946) Date is from the copyright date in the very cool owner's manual at The manual is sort of a combination advertising brochure and manual. At page 24 of the manual the price for the camera was $59.60 without a lens. The price for the "5.25 inch f4.7 Anastigmat in Manual Cocking Shutter (Speeds 1 to 1/400 sec., T and B) was $55.55." The manual does not state the make of lens and shutter. My camera specifically has a 127mm f4.7 Kodak Ektar lens, with a No. 2 Kodak Supermatic aperture, and a Graphic shutter (Speeds 1 to 1/400 sec., T and B). Assuming this is the lens and shutter being sold in the manual (although 127mm equals 5 inches, not 5.25 inches), the total price would hence equal $103.70. That's sounds cheap, but adjusted for inflation that's about $1,700 as I write this in December 2022. The camera is made by Burke & James, Inc., Chicago. Burke & James, established in 1897, was a large manufacturer and distributor of photography produces. (Burke & James - Camera-Wiki - with photos of both this camera and the above 8X10 view camera with the grey paint removed.) Made in Chicago Museum and Burke & James have excellent histories of the company. The second article indicates the company was shut down in about 1981 or 1982. The camera has a revolving back which most press cameras did not have. To switch from a landscape to portrait format, you could just turn the back instead of rotating the camera. There is a lever just above the handle to activate the rotating. Unlike most press cameras, this camera does not have a focal plane shutter. It only has the shutter in the lens. The lens plate can move up and down and tilt allowing many movements like a traditional view camera. Besides the lens, viewing glass, bellows and coverings, the camera was all metal. It's heavy weighing in at about 5.2 pounds. It does not have a rangefinder, an assessory that could be added to press cameras. As I write this in December 2022, I think I bought this at a garage or estate sale many years ago. It has a handwritten price of $60 on it. I don't know if I bought it for that price or less. The camera is in very good cosmetic condition and seems to work fine. It camera with the very cool original box.

Helpful YouTube videos include:

  • Burke & James Press Camera a nice overview of the camera.
  • Old Camera Review: Burke & James Press Camera an other overview of the camera.
  • Large Format Photography Part I shows how to load film in a press camera.
  • Large Format Photography Part II shows the components of a similar Graflex camera with a lens nearly identical to mine.
  • Large Format Photography Part III shows capturing the image.

  • [Burke & James Grover 5x7 inch Camera]
    Burke & James Grover 5x7 inch Camera (Large Image, Back View) (1950s - 1960s) 5 x 7 monorail view camera made by Burke & James in the 1950s and 1960. Basic information is a Camera-Wiki - Grover. It has a wooden reversible spring back with a folding hood. The metal rail is hexagonal in cross-section. It has a toothed rack on top. I have the camera and the back. I do not have a lens board and lens for it. I also do not have the tripod mount. It was made over a large number of years and also came in 4x5 and 8x10 versions. The 1951 Burke & James Catalog at describes the cameras on pages 16 and 17 (page 9 and 10 on the scanned document). In 1951 the 5x7 model was priced at $109.50 or nearly $1,300 in March 2023 dollars. Lenses in 1951 were about another $100. The 4x5 version sold for $94.50 and the 8x10 version for $132.50. The 5x7 Grover was also selling 16 years later at pages 12 and 13 of the 1967 Burke and James Catalog at for $199.50 or over $1,800 in March 2023 dollars. With a lens the total price could easily be doubled. Obviously, view cameras retained their value and were not quickly replaced by new models. CatLABS of JP has a rather poetic video on the 8x10 inch Grover. I think I got this camera many years ago maybe in Spring Valley, California for maybe $75. It is in good condition. To use it I would have to get a lens board and lens. Those should be fairly standard. I would also need the tripod mount which might be specific to this camera.


    Intro (Top) | Burke & James | Calumet | Conley | Graflex | Kodak | Seroco
    [Calumet 540 4x5 Inch View Camera]
    Calumet 540 4x5 Inch View Camera (Large Image, Back, Lens) Camera-Wiki provides a background on Calumet's history. Calumet Manufacturing Company was founded in 1939 in Chicago. It originally concentrated in sporting goods, but later began to sell cameras and manufacture darkroom equipment. In 1955 it started making view cameras based on the Kodak Master View 4X5 camera which it had bought the rights to. By 1980 it sold a full-line of photographic products. At that time it began selling products made by the Dutch manufacturer Cambo and ceased making its own products. Calumet filed for bankruptcy in the United States in 2014. Looking on eBay, I think my camera is a Calumet 540 Series which I assume was made by Cambo and is likely the same or similar to a Cambo SC. (See Large Format Forum - Flickr.) It appears the cameras are no longer made. ( stating the Cambo SC-2 Basic "is sold out and will not be produced new anymore.") My camera looks like a used Calumet 540 view camera at KEH in excellent condition for sale for $129.66. That one is chrome while my camera is black. KEH gives the specifications as: "Calumet 540. All structural parts are die-cast aluminum alloy. Tilt 60 degrees W/center detent (front & back) Swing: Unlimited W/ center detent (front & back) Rise & Fall: 3 inches (front & back). FEATURES: * Extendable Monorail System * 360 degree revolving back * International Lock Spring Back * Reversible Front & Rear Standards * Dual axis Spirit Level * Large 6 3/8 lens board * Maximum normal bellows extension: 18 inches * Minimum extension: 1.9 inches with recessed lensboard * Weight: 8 lbs." My camera comes with a Caltar II-N 210mm f5.6 MC lens in excellent condition. The lens is in a Copal 1 shutter and came mounted in the lens board. The shutter seems to work well. A response on Large Format Photography Forum states: "The lens is actually a Rodenstock f5.6 210 (Apo) Sironar N that was re-named Caltar and sold by Calumet Photo as their house brand. Good starter lens. Considered to be 'long normal' for the 4x5 format." As I am writing this in March 2023 KEH is selling a "Calumet 210mm f/5.6 Caltar II-N MC Lens (301mm Image Circle) in Copal 1 BT Shutter (42MT)" in excellent condition for $355.66. It states: "Caltar II lenses have earned their reputation among professional photographers because they offer 'double-edged' sharpness! Optically, Caltar's West German glass is as sharp as can be, with superb contrast, accurate color rendition and outstanding illumination corner-to-corner edge-to-edge. F/stop range: 5.6-64, Multi coating: Yes, Filter size: 67mm, Image circle: 301mm, Angle of coverage: 72 degrees, Maximum Format size: 5x7." I think I purchased this camera outfit around 2008 in Carlsbad or Oceanside, California from an ad on Craigslist. I think I paid $200. I have some recollection I originally was purchasing a large lot of inexpensive cameras. The seller then indicated he had this. It comes in a large case in which it hangs down supported by the monorail. The case looks like 1/4 inch plywood covered with black vinyl material. It is in good condition except the inner top had some foam material which deteriorated. I removed it with Goo-Gone but some of the black vinyl also came up. The entire outfit includes five 4x5 film holders, a dark cloth, a Calumet soft cloth for wrapping up the lens and lens mount, a film changing bag, what I believe is a bellows lens hood, a large remote release and a Pentax Digital Spotmeter modified by Zone VI Studios. To my surprise, the modified Pentax Digital Spotmeter is the most valuable item with KEH prices ranging from $569.18 to $775.95 for used meters in Bargain to Excellent Plus condition. I have not tested the meter. Everything is in excellent condition.


    Intro (Top) | Burke & James | Calumet | Conley | Graflex | Kodak | Seroco
    [Conley BW Field View Camera]
    Other Images: Front, Lens, Back
    Conley BW Field View Camera (circa 1914-1917) Conley 5" x 7" view camera made in Rochester, Minnesota. I believe it is likely a Model BW like that shown at Wooden Field Cameras of the United States which gives the dates of manufacture as 1914-1917. (See also Conley Cameras: A History and Identification Guide; Matt's Classic Cameras.) Conley Cameras sold a variety of well made but relatively inexpensive cameras primarily through Sears Roebuck. (A Brief History of the Conley Camera Co..) This camera appears in the 1915 Sears Catalog as shown at Wooden Field Cameras of the United States. That site identifies the wood as a mahogany wood body and cherry base. The bellows are maroon leather. The hardware is nickel. As can be seen in some of the pictures at Wooden Field Cameras of the United States there was an extension available to extend the base. I do not have that. My lens and shutter are different from the camera at Wooden Field Cameras of the United States. The shutter is made by Bausch & Lomb Optical Rochester, New York. The lens is a Turner Reich Anastigmat f6.8 Series II No. 4 made by Gundlach-Manhattan Opt. Co., Rochester, N.Y., Pat. May 14, 1895, Serial No. 83163. The front and rear elements of the lens are removable and interchangeable making the lens "a triple convertible." The rear element says 18 IN. The front element says 24 IN. On the f-stop plate there are different f stops for the following numbers: 24, 18, 12, 10, 9, 7 1/2. (The 7 1/2 is a 7 with a smaller 2 above it which I assume means 7 1/2.) I assume these numbers are the different focal lengths you can achieve by different combinations of the front and rear elements. The six combinations possible are: (1) front 24, rear 18 (9" or 10"?), (2) front 18, rear 24 (10"?), (3) front 24 (18"?), (4) rear 24 (24"?), (5) front 18 (12"?), (6) rear 18 (18"?). The numbers with the question marks are my quick approximations of the focal lengths simply focusing the lens (no camera) on a piece of paper. I didn't get a 7.5. Allen Rumme Photographs has a table showing various Turner Reich lenses. The series II for a 5x7 lists the front as 12" and rear as 18". That fits my rear element but is half of what my front element says. In any event it is pretty amazing that you can get six focal lengths from one lens. The shutter works and the speeds seem roughly accurate. The aperture also works. The lens elements do not appear to have mold or scratches. The elements do have a serious problem with I believe the glue holding the individual elements separating. I don't know if this could be repaired. The center area of the both the front and rear element are not affected. Therefore if you stop the lens down enough the lens would likely still function without affecting the image. The front 12" lens is much worse than the rear 18" lens. The red bellows look relatively good for being 100+ years old. There are numerous holes in the corners of the creases, however. These would have to be repaired or the bellows replaced if the camera were to be used. The ground glass is in good shape. There are no film holders, however. I purchased my camera in the Otay Mesa area of San Diego on May 25, 2013 for $130 from an ad on Craigslist. The list price was $150. The person I bought it from restores old travel trailers from the 1940s -1960s and sells them.
    Intro (Top) | Burke & James | Calumet | Conley | Graflex | Kodak | Seroco


    [Graflex Speed Graphic]

    [Graflex Speed Graphic Side View]
    (Large Side/Back View)
    Graflex Speed Graphic (circa 1947) 3.25" x 2.25" Pacemaker Speed Graphic "press camera" made from 1947 to 1970. (I'm in the process of verifying the model.) states: "It was the dominant portable professional camera from the 1930's through the end of the 1950's." These are the cameras you see in the old movies with the flash bulbs popping. Viewing and focusing can be done in different ways. First, these are view cameras and hence you can view and focus using the ground glass on the back. It has a pop up device that covers the ground glass when closed. When opened, it serves as a shade for the ground glass. Second, you can view and frame through the viewing window on top. On the side is a separate "Kalart Synchronized Range Finder" to focus. Actual focusing is done by moving either of the two knobs in front which moves the lens forward and backwards on the rails. My camera has a Kodak Flash Supermatic shutter and Kodak Ektar 100mm f4.5 lens. There appears to be two sets of shutter speeds - fast speeds of 1/25, 1/50, 1/100, 1/200 and 1/400 second and slow speeds of 1/10, 1/5, 1/2 and 1 second. Apertures are f4.5, 5.6, 8, 11, 16, 22 and 37. My lens is serial number EO7900. According to the code at, this means it was made in 1946. If this is true and if mine is indeed a Pacemaker model, it must be one of the earliest Pacemakers with the lens slightly predating the introduction of the Pacemaker model in 1947. There is no light meter or battery.

    The Pacemaker Speed Graphic 2 1/4 x 3 1/4 sold for $338.20 in the 1955 Sears Camera Catalog. That's equal to $2,680 in 2008 dollars. This was therefore clearly a professional level camera. The 4 x 5 Speed Graphic sold for only slightly more at $356.75. The Crown Graphic models without the focal plane shutter of the Speed Graphic models sold for $315.85 for the 4 x 5 model and $318.90 for the 2 1/4 x 3 1/4 model. The only cameras in the 1955 Sears Camera Catalog selling for more than the Speed Graphic cameras was the Hasselblad with the 80mm f2.8 Kodak Ektar lens selling for $476 and some of the Zeiss Contax 35mm rangefinder cameras which ranged from $336 to $412 depending on the lens they came with. The Nikon 35mm rangefinder with Nikkor f2 lens and Leica mount was a bargin at $269.

    Manufactured by Graflex, Inc., Rochester 8, New York, U.S.A. The shutter and lens were also made in the U.S.A. by Eastman Kodak, also located in Rochester. I believe the camera will take either sheet film or roll film. These were also made in 4" x 5" and 3.25" x 4.25" models. Cosmetically, it is in excellent condition. There is some paint loss near the name "Speed Graphic." The rangefinder works. The lens looks clear and free of scratches. The leather is good. It opens by pressing a button under the leather just in front of the top of the handle. This took me quite a while to find out and apparently is one of the most frequently asked questions about the Speed Graphic. I have not fired the shutter yet since I need to figure out how to cock it. I haven't spent much time with the camera yet, and it is indeed a pretty complicated looking piece of equipment which, of course, just adds to its extreme coolness! I'm going to study up on how to operate it so as to not break anything. I purchased it with a bunch of other camera equipment for a total of $75 on 2-1-09 in Chula Vista, CA from an ad on Craigslist. This was by far the most valuable item and we allocated $50 to it. The seller had acquired the items as part of a large collection of things in an apartment contents auction. The original owner was an elderly gentleman in his 90s who had to leave the apartment for medical reasons. A super cool camera which I will be exploring more in the future!

    [Graflex Speed Graphic 4 x 5]
    Graflex Speed Graphic (circa 1947) 4" x 5" Pacemaker Speed Graphic "press camera." Date is from the Kodak lens that has serial no. ES 15994. According to the code at, this means it was made in 1947. That site specifies a 4 digit number code while mine has 5 digits. I assume the letter code for the date still works, however. The Lens is a Kodak Ektar 127mm f4.7. According to, Kodak started making the Ektar series around 1940. states: "The 127/4.7 . . . was the best corrected on axis of the Ektar 101/127/152 series. Though nominally a lens for 3.25x4.25 press cameras, it is fairly common on 4x5" Speed Graphics, and works admirably on 4x5" without movements. In all but the most demanding situations, the circle of coverage was adequate. It was particularly suited to press use, because in documentary photography, the clarity in the corners may . . . often not be important." Kodak Flash Supermatic shutter with speeds of T, B, 1, 1/2, 1/5, 1/10, 1/25, 1/50, 1/100, 1/200 and 1/400. Apertures of f4.7 to f32. Hugo Meyer Precision rangefinder Model 4P. It came with six Riteway Graphic 4x5 film Holders by Graflex that appear to be new in the box. There was one additional used Fidelity film holder. Additionally, there is a Graphic Film Pack Adapter by Graflex and a Adapt-a-Roll 620 medium format roll film adapter made by Ta-Mar, Incorporated, Culver City, California. It also came with a large chrome flash that attaches to the side although it is missing the reflector. It all comes in a large case in pretty rough condition. The camera itself appears to be in working, although well used, condition. The shutter and aperture work. The seller said it was used by a professional photographer in the Ocean Beach area of San Diego for many years. Mine was purchased around early summer 2009 from an ad on Craigslist for $50. At the same time I purchased an older Polaroid camera from the seller for $25.
    Intro (Top) | Burke & James | Calumet | Conley | Graflex | Kodak | Seroco


    [Premo Pony No. 3]
    Other Images: Front, Side, Back, Folded, Closed, Case, Case and Film Holder
    Rochester Optical & Camera Co. Pony Premo No. 3 (circa 1899-1903) Wooden drop bed folding 4" x 5" film format view camera made by R.O.&C.Co., which stands for the Rochester Optical & Camera Company. As explained by Rudolf Kingslake, A History of The Rochester, NY Camera and Lens Companies, in 1899 five Rochester, N.Y. companies formed the Rochester Optical & Camera Company. The assets of that company were acquired by George Eastman in 1903 and the name was changed back to the Rochester Optical Company, one of the original five companies. "In 1907 it became the Rochester Optical Division of the Eastman Kodak Company, and in 1918 the Rochester Optical Department." (See also Rochester Optical Co., Wikipedia.) Since mine has the R.O.&C.Co. initials just below the shutter speeds, I assume mine was made somewhere between 1899 and 1903, the years the Rochester Optical & Camera Company was in existence. I have put it under Kodak since Kodak eventually acquired that company and still made this model. It is beautifully crafted of wood, leather, brass, chrome and glass. The name tag on front says "Pony Premo No.3. On the front, top of the drop bed it says "The Premo Camera." The handle also says "Premo." Above the aperture settings it says "Victor." Just under the lens engraved into the brass it says "Bausch & Lomb Opt. Co. Pat. Jan. 6, 91." Bill Strong's Vintage Cameras indicates McKeown indicates this shutter was made in 1901 consistent with the 1899 to 1903 time period above. One of the three film holders which came with the camera has two dark slides with writing on them. One says "THE PREMO CAMERA, PAT. JULY 19, 1890, OCT. 14, 1902." The other dark slide is the same except instead of the October 14, 1902 date, it says "OTHER PAT'S PENDING."

    Pony Premo No. 3, Camerapedia indicates the Victor shutter may have been an advanced version of Bausch & Lomb's famous Unicum shutter. The apertures are f128 (astonishing small), f64, f32, f16, f8. Shutter speeds are 1, 1/2, 1/5, 1/25, 1/100, B (bulb) and T (Time). The focusing scale goes down to 6 feet. The lens is marked "4 x 5 Rapid Rectilinear Lens." The focal length is not marked but looks to be about 6.5 inches or 165mm. The camera uses 4" x 5" sheet film which is still available today. With some minor modification, these cameras can therefore still be used today as explained at Paul Lewis, Bare Bones Vintage Cameras, Photovision Arts and Techniques Magazine, vol. 1, no. 2. The manual is available at These types of cameras are sometimes called cycle cameras because they collapsed to a small size allowing you to take them on a bicycle ride. The 1890s and the early 1900s were a golden age for both the bicycle and American field view cameras. Cameras like this were finely crafted although directed to amateur photographers. My Seroco camera below is a similar example.

    My Pony Premo No.3 comes with a case snugly fitting the closed camera and three film holders. The camera is in exceptionally good condition. The bellows look excellent. The outer pebbled leather is in good condition with some wear especially on the bottom. The shutter and aperture work well. The lens is scratch free and clear. The bulb trigger on the shutter does not appear to work or I may not be using it correctly. The wood on the drop plate is very good with a few minor nicks. It looks like the viewer might have been moved because there are two nail or screw holes behind it. The lens appears to be rotated slightly. There are a few nicks in the wood above the "Pony Premo No.3" tag. The brass and chrome are in excellent condition. The case is intact but has significant wear. The film holders are in good condition but only one is complete. I bought the Pony Premo No. 3 and several other cameras in La Mesa, CA from a ad on Craigslist on 10-6-09. The ad listed it for $85. Another ad for a Eastman Kodak No. 2A Folding Hawk-Eye Model B folding camera from the same seller was listed for $75. I purchased these two cameras and five others for a total of $120. The other cameras were an 8mm Bell & Howell Model 172 movie camera, an 16mm Revere Model 16 movie camera, an Agfa Ansco No. 1A Readset Royal folding camera, a Rekkord folding camera, and a Polaroid SX-70 (no view through viewfinder).

    [Eastman View Camera No. 2-D.]
    Eastman View Camera No. 2-D (Large Image) "Manufactured in the U.S.A. for Eastman Kodak Co. by Folmer Graflex Corporation, Rochester, N.Y., U.S.A." (See Tag. Compare, Live Auctioneers - Eastman View Camera 2-D with a tag saying made by Eastman Kodak Company.). The Eastman or Kodak No. 2-D was made from about 1921 to 1950 according to Ebay Review Eastman 2D 8x10 View Camera, although it is similar to much earlier cameras. As indicated below, I think mine was likely made in the mid to late 1930s. The lens is a Kodak Anastigmat F-4.5, 10 In., EA160. The shutter is a Wollensak Alphax Synchromatic with speeds of T, B, 1/50, 1/25, 1/10, 1/5, and 1/2. (Image of Lens and Shutter.) The camera combines the work of three famous American photography companies, Kodak, Graflex and Wollensak, all headquartered in Rochester, N.Y..

    Kodak was formed in Rochester in the 1800s by George Eastman. It became the dominant photographic film and chemical company in the world. It also brought consumer cameras to the masses. In 1975 it even developed the first digital camera prototype. While Kodak is still an important imaging company, the advent of digital photography has greatly reduced its size. Eastman Kodak was added to the Dow Jones Industrial Average Index in 1930 and remained on the index until 2004. In December 2010, Standard and Poor's removed Eastman Kodak from the S&P 500 index, although Eastman Chemical, a former Eastman Kodak subsidiary, is still on the list. (Eastman Kodak - Wikipedia.) The S&P "index includes 500 leading companies in leading industries of the U.S. economy." (Standard & Poor's.

    As indicated in The Rochester Camera and Lens Companies article by R. Kinglake, March 1974, Folmer originally started in 1887 as a bicycle company in New York City, but by the 1890s had added cameras to the products it sold. Both cameras and bicycles were hot items in the 1890s. Foldable 4x5" cameras were even known as cycle cameras since you could take them on a cycling trip. In April 1905 the Folmer and Schwing Manufacturing Company was bought by Eastman Kodak and moved to Rochester becoming a division of Eastman Kodak. In 1927 Kodak divested itself of the Folmer division and the Folmer Graflex Corporation was formed. (Camerapedia Graflex Reflex Models.) Folmer Graflex Corporation was dissolved in 1973. It was an important camera manufacturer thoughout the first half of the 20th century making medium and large format single lens reflex cameras (although looking much different than the SLRs of the 1960s and 1970s) and press cameras.

    Wollensak was formed in 1899 by Andrew Wollensak who had worked for the Rochester lens maker, Bausch & Lomb. Wollensak made shutters and lenses. It ceased doing business in 1972.

    My camera must have been made after 1927 when the Folmer Graflex Corporation was formed. Folmer Graflex and Eastman Kodak retained a working relationship, however, since Folmer Graflex made the camera for Eastman Kodak. Dating my Kodak 2D 8x10, page 3,, lists a camera with a serial no. of 189999 having a date of 1932 to 1937. (See also Serial number on Eastman View Camera 2-D?, APUG - Dating my Kodak 2D 8x10.) Mine is only about 1,500 past that number. I therefore guess that my camera was made in the mid to late 1930s.

    I purchased my camera on February 12, 2011 in Poway, California from an ad on Craigslist for $100. It appears to be in good cosmetic and operating condition. The wood is apparently mahogany with the bed cherry. (, Antique Eastman Kodak 2D 8 X 10 View Camera.) It was dusty. I cleaned the wood with Murphy Oil Soap. This sort of dulled things. I therefore wiped the wood down with teak oil. It looks very nice now. I don't necessarily recommend doing either of these things, however. The typical Antique Road Show advice is to just leave things alone. It does look quite nice after the teak oil, however. The photos were taken before the teak oil. The bellows are in very good shape and I assume are a replacement. The shutter seems to work fine. The lens is clear and scratch free. It does have a small dent on the inside ring, however. The lens appears to be uncoated. The shutter was modified to allow it to be synchronized with a flash. The metal parts are in good shape, although not polished. The back is missing the 8x10 ground glass. Instead the prior owner modified it to put in a 4x5" ground glass. It looks like it could be converted back to 8x10", however, with a new 8x10" piece of ground glass. It did not come with any film plates. The seller thought he may have the ground glass and some film plates, however, and agreed to look for them and give me a call if he finds them. Seller's father bought the camera used perhaps twenty years ago. The father used the camera in his photography studio. The family lived in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. In this tourist town, the camera was used to take sepia tone photos of people dressed up in old fashioned outfits. The seller's father added the flash synchronization. The camera's history in the previous 50 years or so is unknown. The camera has survived its 70+ year history with grace, however, and is a beautiful combination of wood, metal and glass all assembled in Rochester, N.Y.

    Several sites discuss the Eastman (Kodak) View Camera No. 2-D including: Large Format Photography, Eastman View Camera No. 2-D - Camerapedia, Ebay Review Eastman 2D 8x10 View Camera, PhotoKB - Eastman Kodak 2D, Flickr - Eastman View Camera No. 2-D, Large Format Photography - Eastman View No. 2.

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    Seroco (Large, Close) large format (I believe 5" x 7") drop view camera. Seroco was an acronym for the familiar Sears, Roebuck and Company. Sears sold several different models under the Seroco name. The cameras were actually made by other companies such as Conley or Rochester Optical. (See and The Pentax Collector's Page.) The camera is from the early 20th century, perhaps as early as 1901. (See Seroco Folding Camera.) Cameras like this were known as cycle cameras. At the time bicycling was still big and these cameras folded to a relatively small size so you could take them on a bicycle trip. (See Antique and Classic Camera Home Page.) Other examples of this type of drop bed view camera are at The folded size of this camera is about 8.5" x 9" x 4". Bausch and Lomb Optical Company is written on the metal under the lens. Shutter speeds are listed as T, B, 100, 25, 5, 2, 1. Curiously, intermediary speeds like 50 are not listed. The apertures are listed as 8, 16, 32, 64, 128. While the maximum aperture listed is f8, the lens opens up wider than this setting. The lens is clear. The shutter and aperture work. The shutter does not seem accurate to me, however. For example, one second appears to be much shorter than one second. The outer covering is pebbled leather (I assume). It is in good condition. The bellows are largely intact, but there are some holes. The ground viewing glass is in reasonably good condition and you can see the image. The glass has some chips at the edges, however, unless it was made that way. You did not have to use the viewing glass. There was also a separate viewer on the bed which is missing on my camera. The wood is generally in very good condition. I believe there may have also been a handle on the side which is now missing. While these types of cameras are apparently not particularly valuable (Antique and Classic Camera Home Page), it is a gorgeous camera with beautiful wood, metal and leather. I purchased this on eBay in 2006 for about $65 as I recall.
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