Differences/comments on Calumet 8x10 C1,C2,C3&Orbit

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From time to time I've seen Calumet and Orbit 8x10 cameras for sale. Calumets are called C1, C2, or C3. No one ever seems to talk about these cameras. How come they are not popular? They look very sturdy and rigid. Does any one know much about the differences between each of the three Calumet models and also the Orbit (I have noticed that the orbit and the C3 are painted black).

-- Beau Schwarz (schwarz@wt.net), March 05, 1999


There were some very nice images of a green Calumet on E-bay the other day. They are very common here in Chicago. Quite a good deal for 8 X 10, plenty movements. Accesories include revolving reduction back for 4 X 5, 5 X 7 reduction back, lens shade, and at one time a carrying case. The way the front rise/fall is designed, as you apply it and front axis tilt, you wind up with a sort of primitive "variable axis tilt".

Their big disadvantages are weight, bulk, and cosmetics - they ain't sexy, just plain brute workhorses. Some of the magnesium ones go around 14 lbs, about .5 lb more than a 'dorff, but they don't fold up that fast, they take up a lotta room, and they don't use short lenses very well. The only real differences in the models is the weight, color and materials. A C-3 is black and aluminum and goes around 18lbs. I have seen a portrait of Yosuf Karsh with an Orbit. The Orbits I've seen are a sort of grey/brown. They were made from at least 1964 to 1984. I have seen a wide angle model - it focused on the front, rather than the rear, but it looked like it might have been home-made by a good machinist.

I traded mine in for a Kodak Master. If I hadn't needed the credit to swing the deal I would've kept it and it'd be living in the studio on a Majestic or Saltzman.

-- Sean yates (yatescats@yahoo.com), March 05, 1999.

Movements are 30 deg rear axis swing & tilt, 34 inch extension, front rise/fall 5 - 5.5 inches, unlimted front axis swing & tilt, 2.0 inch front shift each way. Focus on rear only. "geared' movemnts are by friction - no actuall gears. You could focus a 165, maybe a 120, but it'd be a real pain to use the g.g. as the rear extension rail projects backward.

-- Sean yates (yatescats@yahoo.com), March 05, 1999.

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