Help - I just bought a 4X5 from eBay

Discussion in 'Large Format' started by hjoseph7, Dec 27, 2008.

  1. Help I just recently bought a Cambo 4X5 from eBay. I'm not sure of the model number or how it performs but it looks like it's in pretty good shape. Can somebody tell me what type of camera this is (attachement included) ?
  2. What do you mean what type of camera? It is a monorail view camera. Get a lens and some film holders and get to work.
  3. When I saw that camera on eBay I was struck by two things: the magenta locking knobs (!), and. the lack of tripod mount. Hopefully the seller has the tripod mount, otherwise you will need to scrounge around for one. Heck, if the thing had a tripod mount I might have bid on it (as I still have a lens on a Cambo board and would like to get back to playing with a rail camera.)
    Also, I am surprised that you don't know what "type" of camera you bought! Did you do any research on "Cambo" before you bid? Since you only paid $120 it is hardly a big deal, and if you persevere you will be able to make wonderful images. Do you have any lenses?
  4. Those locking knobs sure are unique, aren't they!
    The tripod mount is still available from Calument - not cheap, though.
  5. Could be some replacement? Or are they originals? Pretty color but, its nothing bad about to have a pesonalized camera. is it? :) You need a couple of items as others mentioned and as Bruce said it "get to work" :)
  6. "Also, I am surprised that you don't know what "type" of camera you bought! "
    I took a Large Format Photography class a couple of years ago. The school provided us with a Calumet camera which was very heavy by the way, so I'm sort of familiar with the Cambo brand. No, I don't have a lens or a tripod mount right now, but I do have a heavy-duty Gitzo Tripod and plenty of cut-film holders that has been collecting dust for the past few years.
    I wanted to get into LF for a while now, but my Besseler 23C enlarger could only handle 6X7" film Max. In about a week, I will be moving to a new area. Across the street there is a community center with 8 4X5 enlargers in their darkroom. That's why I decided to look into an LF camera. I'm not completlety nuts !
    I found the nobs a little strange but personalized, like you said. I think this camera might belong to the SC series, but I was hoping a PN/Large Format "expert" could help me out on this. I bid on it on friday evening, but went to sleep on it until I decided to login yesterday and found out I won.
  7. It is the SC. I just didn't mentioned because Bruce gave you the Cambo's homeside so I figured that you allready find it out by yourself. However never have seen one with an orange knobs. :) Don't worry about that it's gonna work as any other color for that matter! :) It's a good bargain price too and that darkroom? It's probobly going to be your next home. :)
  8. Harry, there is a very good site for beginners in LF photography here :
    LF is rather a different world to all other forms of photography you are likely to have met with before. Though using the latest film and the fnest lenses the picture takng process would be readly recognisable to a photographer from 100 years ago so tere is a lot to learn.
    Good luck and have fun!
  9. I have a black SCII. It does look like an older SC, being grey. I bought from KEH a lensboard to mount my Graphic boards to my Cambo, and it is the same grey as yours.
  10. Wow the tripod mounting block IS a little pricey but that's life. I'm thinking about a 150mm or 210mm lens for general purpose work. What do you guys think ?
  11. Keep searching ebay. I've seen tripod mounting blocks every once in a blue moon.
    Re lenses: the 150 would be a good choice. A 135 might be just as good for a "normal" lens. The 210 is a good choice for a moderate "telephoto". I use 135 much more than 210 so my advise would be get the normal FL first if you are getting only one at this time.
  12. Divide the lens length by 3 and you will have an approximation of 35mm equivalent. Neither lens is wide if you like panorama landscapes. I started with a 210 and found it a little narrow for landscape shots, but I always liked taking pictures of details so I was happy. I also have a 90mm now for those wider shots. Like previous messages always say; what type of photo do you prefer to take and choose a lens that's suitable for your taste.
  13. Harry, your camera is an older version of the Cambo 45SC which is imported, rebranded, and sold in the US by Calumet. It takes all of the accessories as the current Cambo 4x5 45SC and many of these are constantly sold on eBay as well as by used camera dealers all over the country. It is a very versitile camera and will provide you with an excellent platform upon which to learn LF photography.
    It does appear to be missing its tripod mounting block; be sure to ask the seller for it; if he does not have one, then you will have to buy one from Calumet/Cambo or have your favorite machinest make a clamp on block with one or more 1/4 x 20 holes tapped into its bottom; this wouldn't be a big project for a good machinest, the most difficult part being to make it clamp to the rail in whatever location is needed.
    You will, of course, need accessories to go with it to get started: at the least, you will need one or two 4x5 sheet film holders and some film, a lens and shutter(I'd start with something of around 150 to 160mm for normal shooting, adding wide and long lenses later as needed), a tripod sturdy enough to hold the camers, a double-thickness black cloth about 30" to 36" square to exclude light from the ground glass when focusing and composing, and some means of estimating the exposure (many us hand-held meters for this or you can use any small camera with a meter built in to get started). A good book on the use of a view camera would probably save you alot of time.
    Good luck, and have fun!
  14. Harry, the tripod mounting block is expensive. But, that's photography. As mentioned, you might find a used one somewhere. Try a Google search for Cambo Tripod Mounting Block. You might find one. But, if you can't find one in the near future, then maybe buy a new one.
  15. All I'm missing right now is a black cloth and a lens and of course the tripod mounting block. I tried contacting the seller yesterday but I got no response. Might be something wrong with my ebay account ever since I changed my email address. I might go all out for the lens since that is the most important part.
    Hopefully I can find a tripod mounting block on eBay, or maybe my old school might have one handy lying around somewhere, I'll have to call them. The thing I like about the large format is the perspective control.
    No PC lens can give you that control. I have a very very old PC lens made by Nikon and it's a PITA to operate. Also you only get 11mm lift if you hold the camera horizontally 11mm swing if you hold it vertically. Of course there is photoshop and their perspective tool, but beleive me I winded pulling my hair out when trying to use this tool. Things just didn't look right.
  16. You best call Calumet first and see how and where you can get the mounting block. Regardless of how good a lens you buy the camera is not going to perform properly without an adequate solution to your mounting problem. And it is a major problem - not something to be done later. You would call Calumet since they and Cambo have common ownership and they are the Cambo distributor.
  17. I agree with Bob about the mounting block. If you can't find one elsewhere. The mounting block could be as important as the camera, itself. There has to be someway to securely mount the camera to the tripod. The camera has to be tripod mounted,. And, you don't want to use an inferior solution, that could cause the camera to be damaged. Call KEH and Adorama, they might have one in their used camera dept. Also, Calumet might have one used.
  18. I'd also check with Jim at Midwest, see if they have a tripod block lying around, or KEH as others have recommended, look in their "as is" section or whatever is called, maybe there is a cambo/calumet that has suffered a catastrophe selling for parts. Otherwise you might get a second one as cheap as a new tripod block. Also troll ebay, search the ebay stores, some large format sellers like Columbus etc. Would be a shame to pay $130 for a new one for a cheap camera.
    I have found you have to ask a lot of questions for folks selling LF on ebay, often they (claim anyway) to know nothing of large format, "selling my grandpa's stuff". For instance, this arca swiss camera (item 110319471142) on ebay, I was looking at in early Dec. I noticed in the pics didnt appear to have a ground glass/graflok back! The polaroid back is worth next to nothing IMO. I questioned the seller, first he said "yes I have it" then said "no I don't" Which is not a problem, however, he did not revise his description! I just checked his feedback, and it appears the person who bought this camera has not left feedback, and lo and behold the seller has neutral and negative ratings. Also, I think it's BS to include pics of items in an ebay ad that aren't included, this particular one had a lens shown but said "not included" which is clear but not honest in my opinion. Harry good luck in finding this part, if I find one in my searches I will let you know. Tom
  19. Harry,
    Words to the wise!
    Do your self a favor and sell the camera (even at a loss) or just throw it away. Instead purchase a light weight field camera like a Chamonix 45N-1 for about $850. By doing so you will save yourself endless amounts of frustration and if you don't like LF or the camera you can sell it and get your money out.
  20. Listen, a tripod mounting block could be very easy to fix if you design it yourself (make it simple) And than you go to your local school and find those teachers who take care of educations for mechanics or so.
    We have those here for training future CNC operators, millers, turners and welders. They helped me out many times and for a cake or coffe. You just got to know how to cry right. :) After many years they just smiling when I show up.
    By the way it should be of two pieces (two halfs) four nuts and made out of aluminium. That would serve you well.
  21. How much is your time worth? Do what Donald Bryant said, and put the camera on ebay for parts. Someone can probably use it, and you will be doing them a favor.
  22. Why put the camera on ebay for parts, or throw it away?
  23. Because without a proper tripod block it is just a parts camera.
  24. Then, get a tripod block! They are available. Just like the rail, bellows and lensboards.
  25. "How much is your time worth? Do what Donald Bryant said, and put the camera on ebay for parts. Someone can probably use it, and you will be doing them a favor. "
    For a beginner's camera it's not bad. It looks clean and easy to learn. Why buy a rolls royce if you don't even know how to drive a chevy. If I can't find a mounting block, then I might try to sell it but, it should be fairly easy to find.
  26. Congratulations! That is cool. I have a Calumet 4x5" and a 8x10".
    I just wanted to remind you that the great thing about large format is that you do not need a darkroom to make beautiful prints. Just sunlight or other source of UV. I personally like to make Cyanotypes, Salt prints, Kallitypes and Palladium. I've never had the room, the money or the access to a darkroom and alternative printing is great.
  27. I think Frank M is on the right track, considering you want to keep it. I looked at my calumet tripod block tonight, I could make one out of hardwood, if you or a friend have access to a scroll saw or band saw, you could do it. A drill press would be handy for maing holes for threaded inserts. Like Frank says, would be two pieces, bolt together with the four screws or use threaded inserts for more of a rolls royce. But honestly, in 19 years of using my calumet monorail, dont think ive ever moved the tripod block! Considering the price you paid, if you're using a bogen tripod with a hex or other quick release, you could perhaps mount the tripod qr plate directly to the rail in a permanent fashion via screws or welding, altho i am a wood not metal worker. I don't think a block is going to be easy to find, other than the new one. You'd need to purposely take it off,....did the seller ever respond? My guess is it's probably in a box somewhere since the last person to use it prob. wasnt familiar with 4x5. When you love 4x5 in 6 months then u can upgrade to arca swiss and won't need a tripod block ;=}
  28. I agree with W.T. Don't give up on the camera. Also, like J. D.said, you can also do some of the old processes. (Just for a change of pace.) I've done Salt paper, Kallitypes, Cyanotypes and my favorite, Carbons. Also, try gum -bichromate, bromoil, where you use ink with a brush. These are just suggestions, but the main point is not to give up with the Cambo. Many pros have used it.
  29. Harry, if you do want to try the old procsses. Then,click on my name and look at the blueish photo at the bottom. That is a Cyanotype.
  30. I would search for a local machinist to build a mounting block. I never cease to be amazed at the inability or unwillingness of people to recognize what can be accomplished by a reasonably skilled craftsman in a simple shop with a few tools.
    Have you ever considered how many things you use in everyday life are the invention of tinkerers working in a shed behind the house? The airplane was the invention of two brothers who sold bicycles. The engine they used to power the "Kitty Hawk" was built with a drill press by their mechanic, Charlie Taylor. Read this -
    Think about Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, George Eastman, Benjamin Franklin, Marconi, Morse, Goodyear, Hughes, Winchester... the list is endless. The ingenuity of the hands-on craftsman. Get the idea?
    You buy things "factory made", but what do you think is happening in that factory? Do you think they have a giant duck in there that "squats" out parts? Maybe a few things are done by robot, but how do you think the robot was made?
    I would find a local retired machinist. Take your camera and tripod along and tell him what you need. He might make a block for you, while you are there watching, out of scrap parts. Probably only charge you a few bucks (if at all) but don't be surprised if he asks you a lot of questions about large format photography. Those guys have an insatiable curiosity.'ll be needing him again for lens boards and mounting. - Dave
  31. dave's idea of heading to a machinist is a great one!
    i have a swedish 5x7 camera that i found years ago without a tripod mount / baseplate ...
    i went to a machinist a few streets over from where i lived, and he custom made a plate for
    me out of a piece of scrap.. it took a few measurements and a little bit of time on his lathe.
    i am sure a machinest will be able to help you find a solution to your problem .
    (and it might be as simple as a block of aluminium with 2 holes, one for your tripod to screw into
    and the other for a modified pipe clamp to grab onto your rail ... )
    good luck!
  32. Harry, the main point I hope you get from these posts is to not give up on the camera.
  33. I would cut a piece of aluminum plate as the base plate and mount the same size piece of a plastic cutting board on top of it (or use wood) Countersink the nuts into the cutting board and use a tapered machine head that can be countersunk into the aluminum. Use nylock nuts on the machine screws.
    Countersink the main head mounting nut into the cutting board (or wood) and make sure it can't turn. Epoxy it one the outside edge if needed. Drill the hole below the nut for the bolt to go though first. If the nut ends up being on the wrong location completely fill the hole with epoxy and drill a new one elsewhere.
    Cut two pieces of square aluminum that are the same size as the square tubing of the camera support (rail). These will be mounted with little clearance above and below the camera rail and allow it to slide back and forth. Bolt them between two sturdy pieces of aluminum channel (not angle), that will rise vertically off the baseplate, and use a large knob with a nut inside on one bolt, which will allow you to adjust how hard the aluminum channel pinches the rail. Shim if needed to stop the movement. A stack of washers on the thread end of the bolt will make the tension knob clear the side of the aluminum channel. A square piece of hardwood dowel can be used to fill the inside of the aluminum box where the most pressure will be applied, to stop the aluminum from getting squashed.
    The two verticle pieces of aluminum channel can now be bolted onto the baseplate using sturdy aluminum angle. Most big hardware store have a rack of aluminum pieces. Use nylock nuts wherever possible.
    All you need is a hacksaw, drill and bits, a file, philips screwdriver and the socket for the nuts. I use a dremel tool to cut holes for countersinking nuts so 1. they don't turn 2, the hole is smaller.
    Or just sell the camera : )
  34. ...but before you sell it, take the bare naked rail, clamp on that bogen hex plate with a c clamp in the middle of the rail....take it to your local muffler shop (a mom and pop place, not the chain stores with the guys with clean uniforms), and ask the guy if he can weld the two pieces together.
  35. I meant to add or also NAPA auto parts, some of them in my area have a machine shop in back. Good luck. Tom
  36. I was hoping that shiney aluminum would help accentuate the pink knobs which are bound to be a chick magnet, but let's get real everyone. We all know this is a job for haywire and duct tape. It is fun to dream though, even if it is just for a moment, sigh.
    I will also admit WT that I love the smell of burning metal in a muffler shop : )
  37. Harry...I've been trying to send you an e-mail and I can't get it to go thru from this site. Please send me your direct e-mail address.
    Vick Vickery

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