Calumet Cadet and roll film : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread


I am a total novice, and I am thinking about buying a new Calumet Cadet. As advertised at, it is $750 with Caltar II-E 150mm f/6.3 lens or $400 without the lens.

My first question: is it a good idea to buy this lens or should I rather look for a better second-hand lens? Is it really possible to get a decent 4x5 lens for around $350?

My second question is about roll film which I absolutely want to be able to use. As advertised on the same site, Graflok adaptor for this camera is only $30. So far so good. But, "C2N 6X7 Slide-in Roll Film Holder" is $450! Is this the right price? If I get the Graflok adaptor, can I hope to get some used roll film holder for, say, under $100?

BTW, if someone has arguments that I absolutely should not buy this camera, I would be grateful to hear them. Do you think one can get a better [used] ready-to-go 4x5 camera with all the basic movements at this price range? I've already read mostly favourable reviews by Javier Henderson, Jay Schlegel, and View Camera Magazine.

Thanks. Boris

-- Boris Kozintsev (, June 14, 1998


Im not familiar with that lens, but I think they are 3 element 'budget' lenses. THey probably work fine. Yes, you can get good used lenses for 350 or less. Go thru the ads in Shutterbug, or View Camera magazine. The only real critisizm Ive read about the Cadet is its rather small tripod mount. Im sure that can be improved by a bit of thought and planning. Good luck.

-- Ron Shaw (, June 15, 1998.

Re the roll-film part of the question:

To use roll-film in a view camera, you have two options: the slim C2N style, which slides into the camera in front of the groundglass just like a 4x5 cut-film holder, or the thicker Graflok style, which looks like the back of a Pentax 6x7 camera and requires removing the groundglass (after focusing) to put the roll-film in position to make a photograph (there are a bunch of different styles of Grafloks, I believe; I've never used one because they seem like a pain).

I think the former style is more desirable because it's obviously faster to work with; there used to be problems with film curl/flatness but Sinar and Calumet came up with a design that's slim enough to slide in but doesn't tightly wind the film until after it's been exposed.

Note to all: Unfortunately for panorama shooters, Calumet this year discontinued its 6x12 slide-in roll-film holder; from now on they'll only offer 6x9 and smaller. If you want a 6x12 slide-in type (Horseman still has a Graflok-style 6x12 holder, for $850), you'll have to buy the Calumet used (or look to Sinar, whose slide-in holder can shoot everything from 6x4.5 to 6x12--but is quite bulky and costs $2600.00!) The boys at Calumet Chicago told me the 6x12 holder was discontinued for lack of interest, not because of mechanical problems as has been rumored. Who knows--but it's too bad.

Those who know more about Grafloks, please correct me/add to this as appropriate!

-- Bill Daily (, June 15, 1998.

I used an earlier version of the Cadet (look for my comments on this bulletin board and on the LF homepage). There was a problem with the rear standard moving as you lock it in position. I have been told that that problem has been fixed.

The Caltar II is manufactured by Rodenstock.

I think that Calumet gives you a 2 week no quibble guarantee. Try it for the two weeks, see if you like working with it, and then make your decision. But be sure to upgrade to the professional dark cloth the one that comes with the $799 package "sheds" its tufts.

-- Stuart Goldstein (, June 15, 1998.


The Caltar II 150/6.3 is a 3 element lens as Mr. Shaw stated above. It is made by Rodenstock (same as the Geronar 150/6.3 lens). If your're a " total novice", this might be a good place to start. Explore & find out if large format is really what you want to do. If it is, your next lenses can be better. I used a 180/6.3 Bogen Arcar (a Congo lens made for Bogen) for years & it worked well.

As for the camera, I've heard that the movements tend to shift slightly as they're locked down. This doesn't sound like a very good situation to have to deal with, but the camera itself is only $400. I played with one at the San Francisco Calumet store & it seemed ok to me.

You are right on about the film holder. Go for the $30 graflock adapter & find a decent used roll film holder at say, KEH Camera Brokers ( My only gripe with the C2N holder is that the film has a 180 degree bend in it as is reverses around a small diameter roller. If you leave film in the holder for an extended period of time, it may develop a "set" that will not allow the film to lie flat as that part of it passes the film gate.

Good luck with your endeavor,


-- Ted Brownlee (, June 21, 1998.

I'd like to thank everybody who answered my questions. I've learned a lot.

It also happened that I've got an opportunity to have a Linhof Technika III with Tessar 210mm at $600 (from Fuller & d'Albert store in VA), so I guess that's it for Cadet...

-- Boris Kozintsev (, June 21, 1998.

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