Ansco Studio Camera : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

I have just purchase a Ansco 8x10 studio camera. It also has a 5x7 back. I would like to know if anyone out there can help me identify the wood (looks mahogany) and anything about the history of this model. The standard lens is a Carl Meyer Anastigmatic f 4.5 303 mm (12 "). It goes down to f 45. It has T B and 1/2 tgru 1/50 shutter speeds. Around the base of the lens are the words Betax and Wollensak U S A. The secomnd lens is a Wollensack f 4.0. It is marked 18' Diffused Focus. It has f stops down to f 22. The third lens is a Bausch and Lomb-Zeiss Tessar Series 1c Its range of f stops is from 4.5 to 32. I don't find a focal length but I would guess that it is 35 to 50 mm. This is for the 5x7 back. There is a shutter in the body of the camer as well as on the 300 mm and 35 mm? lenses. The diffuser lens does not have a shutter. I'm confused. Help would be appreciated. It stands on w ood and wrought iron tripod that has wheels. I got it from the original owner who hasn't used it in ten years. Thanks Jerry There are 6 8x10 filmholders and 6 5x7 holders. There are also 4 or 5 4x5 holders. I would rate the package at 8.0 to 8.5.

-- Jerry C. Hubbard (, February 27, 1999


Betax was the manufacturer of the shutter assembly. Wollensak made the lens. The 18" diffused focus lens was probably intended as a portrait lens, with a 'soft focus' look. The soft focus is only available when used at the largest aperture settings, with the lens getting sharper the more you stop it down. This may be a 'Verito'(sp) soft focus lens, made famous by Hollywood portrait photographer George Hurrell.

-- Ron Shaw (, March 01, 1999.

Ansco cameras are made of cherry.


-- Wayne (, February 19, 2000.

Wayne, One Wayne to another begs to differ. I thought the Ansco 8x10s were all made of mahogany. some natural and some black

-- Wayne Campbell (, March 07, 2000.

Wayne, Wayne here. My information comes from Richard Knoppow, a very knowledgeable fellow over on Thats not to say he's never wrong, but I'm just going by what he says. I think he has old literature on the Anscos and also owns a couple. A guy who would know for sure because he restores them is Patrick Alt, A lot of people say they look like mahogany, so you're certainly not alone. I wouldnt swear by them all being cherry, but I know some are.

Ive got a 8x10 too, but its the gray painted model.


-- Wayne (, March 11, 2000.

I just looked back at a email message from Patrick Alt. he says mine is cherry under the paint. Who knows, maybe there were a few exceptions made during periods when mahogany was more desireable from a manufacturing standpoint. all the info I've seen says cherry though. Alt would still be the one to ask to be certain.


-- Wayne (, March 11, 2000.

Well Wayne, I did contact Richard Knoppow and he offered the following on the Cherry-Mahogony-Black-Grey theories of Ansco 8x10s...

"The gray paint was the "deluxe" finish. Ansco and Agfa offered the cameras with two finishes. The standard finish was the familear french polished Cherry wood with brass metal work finished in bronze gilt and black bellows. The "deluxe" finish (at a 20% premium) was aluminum-gray paint (it has little fleks of aluminum in it) and bright nickel-plated metal work. Pre-war cameras came with red bellows, not sure about the later on

-- Wayne Campbell (, March 15, 2000.

Sounds like they were cherry, huh? I've never seen an unpainted one, but I know a lot of people have thought they were mahogany. I love the gray paint myself. It really has to be seen to be appreciated, its not ugly at all. I was wary when I bought mine sight unseen, but was very pleased with its looks. Rumor has it that it performs almost as well as the wood finish models, too. ;-) And ironically, the painted ones now sell for less, despite the fact they were more expensive originally.


-- Wayne (, March 17, 2000.

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