Gran View 4x5 : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

Has anybody used the Gran View 4x5 for handheld shooting? I love the idea of a lightweight, scale focusing (a la Rollei 35), handheld 4x5 (or the 8x10!). There's one review on the Gran View website from the early days after the camera was released a couple of years ago, but I'm wondering whether there are other users out there who can tell me how they like their Gran View.

-- Carl (, June 18, 2000


Why not try a Crown Graphics with the rangefinder -- I use my 4X5 for hand shooting and love it. Of course, I don't know what a Gran View is, but I thought I put my 2 bits worth in.


-- Dean Lastoria (, June 19, 2000.

I've been curious about the Gran View and the Bostick & Sullivan Hobo cameras, but the absurdly high price always quickly removes that curiosity.

Perhaps more entertaining would be a Sinar Handy, speaking of high prices.

Make one yourself. Gut a Graphic and replace the front with a board recessed the appropriate distance for the lens and helicoid you intend to use. You could even make a helicoid by knocking the glass out of a junk 35mm camera lens and mounting your lens in a hole drilled in a screw-in metal lenscap. Or perhaps a telescope focuser could be used.

-- John Hicks (, June 20, 2000.

I have a Gran View. It's a nice idea but the camera is sort of like someone's arts and crafts project. It really is an expensive piece of plastic. Now that I have said this, I suppose that I will never be able to sell the one I have. The helicoil is a very crude affair. It's not smooth at all. It comes with a wrench so you can adjust it to the infinity point of the specific lens that you are using. From there it is scale focus. Everything is made out of ABS plastic. It might make a good walking around camera if you could use a grafmatic but you can't. The back is made in way that will only accept regular holders. It also has a grip that is not made for human hands and is not adjustable.

If you are handy with wood, you could make a simple camera like a Hobo. It's just a box with a lens. All the parts come from Home Depot. I handled one of the prototypes and it is stupidly simple but a great idea. The Hobo doesn't have helical focusing but, again, if you are clever you can get Graflex XL bodies cheap. The entire front assembly can be removed very easily and adapted to a homemade camera. Just make sure that all the lugs are still on the focusing ring before buying one.

One other comment. If you make simple 4x5 be prepared to make more cameras and bigger ones. Format size doesn't impact cost very much and suddenly you will want bigger and bigger film. I made a 5x7 then a 4x10 and now I'm working on an 8x10.

I hope this helps. Wayne

-- Wayne Firth (, June 22, 2000.

I think the HOBO is a far better deal than the GranView, and certainly less expensive. The fixed focus mounting is simply not a problem in most cases.

This site has a Depth of Field calculator where you can play around and see what it looks like with various lenses. The lens of choice for the Hobo is Nikkor-SW 120mm that covers 8x10 at f/22. The depth of field on this lens is great for a fixed focus 8x10. Granted, you will have to run at f/16 or smaller, but so what. For $500 or a bit more, you can have fun with ultrawide 8x10.

My concerns with the Hobo and GranView is what appears to be a rinky dink focus panel and back. I would think a wooden box with a real back (Cambo, or ??) would really do the trick nicely.

If'n you want hand held, pick up any of the trashed Graphics on eBay. Remove the front focus rack, and screw the inner focus rails down and lock them to the frame. Remove the front door of the case, and use the rig with a 47mm XL super angulon. Run it in fixed focus mode, by focusing the standard on the inside rails, then locking it in place. It ain't pretty like a CamboWide, but it will sure do the job.

-- Bruce Gavin (, June 22, 2000.

Alan Gibson's website is apparently a dead end now, but he built a box camera around a 47mm Super Angulon XL for the cost of the lens and about $20 (from what I remember). For an extra $970, Gran View supplies a focussing helical, a ground glass back, and a grip.

I think you could bridge the gap by cutting up a Graphic or adapting a 4x5 pinhole kit back to a homemade body.

Other options would include a Polaroid 180 w/ type 55 film: lightweight, folds up small, repairs are possible, rangefinder works pretty well

-- John O'Connell (, June 22, 2000.

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