Ever heard of SAKAI 5x7 brand/model?

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I have recently located a SAKAI 5x7 large format camera with 4x6 reducing back for $189.00, rated "excellent". Does anyone have any knowledge of this brand/model, quality of the unit or if common accessories such as lens boards and film holders are available/adaptable for making it functional? Would this be a good buy at this price for this camera or might this be a case of "you get what you pay for", spend more for a "real" camera? Thanks!

-- Thomas Hurd (tcjkiii@AOL.com), April 08, 2000


Thomas, at that price, if you can salvage one part of it useful, its not a bad deal. I am not 100% sure, but SAKAI is the manufacturers name of Toyo cameras. The SAKAI name is still on the most current Toyo brochures. I suspect at one time they used to sell the camera under their name before OEM to Toyo, but I am not positive. There may be an excellent chance this camera will still work with all the current Toyo accessories that are availabe for the 5x7 cameras. Check with Toyo to be sure...in USA its www.toyoview.com - if it is compatible, amd assuming it functions, its a steal! Hope this helps.....

-- Bill Glickman (bglick@pclv.com), April 08, 2000.

Thank you for the reply and helpful information. I in fact went to the Toyo site and posted similar questions to them. Should hear back within 24 hours. I reread my question and noticed I had mistakenly identified the accessory ... the camera comes with a 6x8 Adapter Back. Just making the move to large format from meduim format and am intrigued by the 5x7 format, especially for landscapes and contact printing. Any cautions regarding this format (film, accessories, etc.), versus more "conventional" formats like 4x5 or 8x10?

-- Thomas Hurd (tcjkiii@AOL.com), April 09, 2000.

_View Camera_ magazine just did a feature on the 5x7" format last issue (Jan/Feb, if I'm not mistaken).

-- David Goldfarb (dgoldfarb@barnard.edu), April 09, 2000.

Thomas ; the camera you are referring to is, I believe, the original Toyo Metal Field, 4 3/4" x 6 1/2", manufactured by Sakai Special Camera Manufacturing Co. between 1963 and 1975. It should be finished in a kind of anodised green "hammerite" finish. I have one with a 4x5 revolving back, and use it with lenses from 65mm to 400mm - it is an excellent camera for general, and particularly field, use. Back movements are limited to drop bed/tilt, front movements are tilt and swing. Someone very kindly recently sent me a copy of the original sales brochure ; there were three backs, revolving 4x5, 5x7 and 6x8 - I don't know where on earth you would get 6x8 film now without cutting 8x10 down to size. Also there were various accessories, such as a dedicated compendium. Lenseboards are Graphic - 93mm x 94mm, and I haven't had a problem locating these as they are still manufactured by Toyo. However most current Toyo accessories will NOT fit. For $189, sounds reasonable to me, as long as you can find either a 4x5 or 5x7 back. If anyone has the 5x7 back, and the compendium shade, I am interested!

-- fw (finneganswake@altavista.net), April 09, 2000.

If 5x7 cameras were more popular and available, I would not own both a 4x5 amd 8x10 camera... however, you need to be careful of film.... not all film comes in 5x7. In case you are interested in Roll film Panormaic shots, Canham cameras is coming out with a 6x17 roll film back for 5x7 cameras... that is really nice feature that I really miss with 4x5... I can only go 6x12. Be careful of desired accesories as the post mentioned above....

-- Bill Glickman (bglick@pclv.com), April 10, 2000.

It's not a 6x8 back at all ; it is something like 4 3/4" x 6 1/2". Still rather difficult to locate film / holders.

-- fw (finneganswake@altavista.net), April 12, 2000.

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