Experience with Calumet C1 8x10 field camera

Discussion in 'Large Format' started by theo_hartman, Jan 26, 2002.

  1. Looking for a second hand field camera I saw A Calumet 1C 8x10 camera. I never heard before of this camera. Has anyone experience with this camera? Weak and strong points? How does it compare to for instance a Wista?

    <p>

    Theo Hartman
    Netherlands
     
  2. Hi Theo,I've got a C1. It's kind of the John Deere tractor of 8*10s.
    On the one hand it is stout, and it has bellows, lots of bellows. I
    think it will extend near 30". On the other hand, it's made of metal,
    metal's heavy you know. With the weight, I don't know if you can
    really call it a "field" camera. I've hiked a short distance so far
    with mine. It gets heavy fast. The focusing is done from the front
    standard back. All the focusing is on the rear standard, and so if you
    are using a 250mm/10" lens, then you have to lean over the rear rail
    to see the g-glass; this can become a pain. Before you buy one, look
    it over good. These cameras were the work horses of studios, and they
    saw a lot of use. Everyone I've seen was being dumped by a studio only
    after they got their last dime out of it. You have to make sure the
    threads aren't stripped on the rear standard/8*10 frame tilt movement.
    You want to make sure the knobs haven't been lost, especially the
    assembly which the front standard swings on. All of the C1's I've seen
    (not all that many really) have had some repair jury-rigged on them.
    Finally, you have to look over the bellows very carefully, they are
    thin and - since they were studio cameras - the bellows are by now old
    and well used, sometimes you can have them taped, but a new bellows is
    going to cost you $150+ (I think?). It is probably over-kill for the
    field. Depends if you need real stability and lots of extension. For
    "views", you might look at something in wood. I've never seen a 8*10
    Wista. Best, David
     
  3. Theo,
    I have the Calumet 8X10 C-1 camera. I bought mine second hand from
    Midwest Photo Exchange in Columbus, Ohio. It's a solid camera, but
    it's very heavy for field work. I have a Carl Meyer 12-inch lens on
    mine, which also came from Midwest. It's a heavy combination, but the
    whole package was less than $800, so it was an inexpensive (sort of)
    way to get into 8X10. You can also get reducing backs for this camera
    so that you can also shoot 4x5 and 5x7. For me, the weakest thing
    about this camera is its weight. Just looking at this camera, and
    knowing how heavy it is, kind of kills my ambition to get out on the
    road and shoot some stuff. If I had to do it over again, I would
    spend a little more money and get a lighter, wooden 8X10. But the C-1
    is built like a tank. By the way, mine doesn't have any zero detents,
    which I miss. I'm rambling on, but the strengths are its durability
    and relatively cheap cost on the used market. Its weakness, as far as
    I'm concerned, is its weight.
     
  4. I forgot to mention that there is a review of the C1 by Sean Yates
    under "Camera Reviews" on this forum. His excellent review should
    answer a lot of your questions about the camera.
     
  5. While favorably compared to a John Deere tractor, realize that the C-1
    is not easily moved by the wind and stays put wherever you leave it.
    While other LF owners are shielding their cameras with umbrellas and
    waiting for a moment of calm, my sea foam green beast holds steady as
    she blows. Much like my prose.

    <p>

    You'll love a C-1. I love mine.
    Bill
     
  6. Having had one of these for a while, I can say that they are built
    very well and not much can go wrong on them that can't be fixed by the
    user. Calumet still has some parts for them I believe.

    <p>

    The green ones are of magnesium and are pounds lighter than the black
    ones. In fact the green models aren't much different in weight than
    many of the wooden field cameras. (Be careful with magnesium - it is
    a little more brittle.)
     
  7. Theo,
    I don't own that kind of camera yet but as far as I know Christopher
    Burkett (www.christopherburkett.com), the acclaimed american
    landscape photographer, takes most of his stunning images with a
    Calumet C-1 8x10. Browse his website and enjoy these incredible
    photographs. I highly recommend his work !!!

    <p>

    Good luck, Carsten
     
  8. It was Cole Weston's preferred camera until he couldn't lug it around
    anymore.
     
  9. "Green C-1" does not always = magnesium or lighter weight. I bought
    one advertised as such around 13 pounds and it turned out to weigh 18
    pounds, the same as the usual non-green heavy C-1. I don't know the
    story behind this, but be carefull if the weight difference matters
    to you. Be sure the seller verifies the weight before you buy. I sold
    the camera as it was just a bit too heavy for me.
     

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