have a 6" goerz dagor and want to buy an inexpensive used 4x5

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I have my Grandfather's 6 inch Goerz Dagor lens, in mint condition, and want to buy a used 4x5 camera. I was thinking of buying a Cadet (from Calumet) and doing my own lensboard and shooting at f128, using the lens cap as the shutter. The lens goes from f2.8 to f128. I was not going to but a shutter as I also do multiple exposure cave photography Any comments?

-- stephen jensen (sjensen@bdcast.com), February 13, 1998


Skip the Cadet right now. Seems that there's a problem with the rear standard shifting when you lock it down. I provide a fuller explanation on the LF home page and in the Q&A under Cadet. So much of a problem Calumet cancelled my order and is giving me a full refund.

-- stuart goldstein (satgre@worldnet.att), February 14, 1998.

Why don't you look for an old 4x5 Graflex press camera? Portable & relatively inexpensive.

-- Peter Hughes (ravenart@redshift.com), February 18, 1998.

Why f128? I dont know at what aperture this fine old lens is at its sharpest, but would think it would be more like f16-32. At f128 there would be tremendous diffraction, and you will not get anywhere near the sharpness potential of this lens. If you are going to do mostly landscapes (cavescapes?), I agree with Peter. A Speed or Crown Graphic is rugged, well made, and quite capable.

-- Ron Shaw (shaw9@llnl.gov), February 19, 1998.

Since you say you dont want to buy a shutter, I presume this is a barrel mount lens -- IE, it has a diaphraghm (or slides for various f/stops) but no blade shutter. If that is the case then I think your best move would be to look for a Speed Graphic camera WITH AN OPERATING FOCAL PLANE SHUTTER. Mount the lens and you are on your way.

If in doubt, remove the entire back of the camera and observe the focal plane shutter at all speeds to make sure it works smoothly, no rips in the curtain, etc.

You should be able to find one in decent shape for $300 -- $500. Dont settle for a dog -- there are still plenty available.

Check www.graflex.org for information on camera models, tips on operating, repair tips etc. Very good site for these cameras.

-- Tony Brent (ajbrent@mich.com), December 28, 1998.

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