Agfa Ansco 8x10 wood field specs : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

Just wondering if anyone out there could give me some specs on Agfa Ansco wooden 8x10 cameras. More specifically, what are the movements? I'm primarily interested in table top work.

Thanks, Vinod

-- VNC (, July 25, 2000


This site may help:

-- Tony Brent (, July 25, 2000.

Richard Knoppow

Is the real source of info on these cameras. They were made for a loooong time and although the basic design didn't change, the materials, bellows draw, anmount of movement and which ones are present vary depending on model and vintage.

Basically, from a user standpoint, the C-1 or Commercial is the most desireable as it has the most movements and draw.

If you have seen a Calumet C-1 you have the general idea, except for materials and some specs. They were good enough for many commercial and fine art photographers including Ansel Adams, Wynn Bullock, and others I can't recal at the moment. E-mail Mr. Knoppow - he is a vertiable well-spring of photo arcana and a nice guy to boot!

-- Sean yates (, July 25, 2000.

For some reason Richard's e-mail didn't take in the last mesage. Maybe it will here.

-- Sean yates (, July 25, 2000.

p.s. I can e-mail jpg images if you need 'em

-- Sean yates (, July 25, 2000.

Thanks Sean! If it's not a major hassle I would like those jpegs. I am also considering Calumet C1s. While having very good movements, they look quite hideous and heavy to me.

-- VNC (, July 26, 2000.

Other notable users of the C-1 are Brett & Cole Weston. I'd buy one in a seond if i had the $$-J

-- JOSH (, July 26, 2000.

I have an Agfa Ansco 8X10 Wood Bed Field camera and can list the movements. The front standard has geared rise, center axis tilt and lateral shift. The rear standard provides generous tilt ability and a very useful amount of swing. The bed has an integral extension rail. The extension rail allows the camera to expand to 30 inches. My copy weighs just under 13 lbs.

The only real drawback is that it doesn't fold up quite as compact as the clam shell design. The camera is quite stable for an 8X10 woodfield.

-- Steve Barth (, July 26, 2000.

I have been using a vintage 8x10 Agfa-Ansco wooden field camera for almost a year. I agree with Steve, the movements are adequate for my landscape photography... and I also agree with Steve that it would be nice if it would fold into a more compact package. But I must say that it is a very solid and stable machine. It operates smoothly and locks down well, and is simple to use... -Dave

-- Dave Richhart (, July 27, 2000.

I have an Agfa Ansco 5x7 and I usually look at the 8x10s when they come up on e bay with a picture. As I think someone else said, there seem to be different models and I think you would have to know which model you're talking about in order to get specs. Some that I've seen don't appear to have front tilt, others seem to have a very short bellows. If you really want to get into some depth, there's a guy on e bay who always has a copy of the 8x10 repair manual for sale. I think they usually go for about $20. Since he obviously has a stock on hand, you probably could call him and buy one for a fixed price without going through the auction process.

-- Brian Ellis (, July 27, 2000.

For the benefit of the archives, here's what Richard Knoppow's reponse was to my question via private e-mail.

Agfa/Ansco made several models but there are only two of real interest. They are the "Universal View" and "Commercial View". They were built from about 1926 until sometime in the mid 1950's, I don't have exact dates. The two are similar except the Commercial View has more bellows draw. Both have a built-in bed extension which pulls out from the back of the regular bed. The Commercial model has, in addition, an attachable extension similar to those for the Kodak 2D and Burke and James cameras. Maximum extension for the Universal model is 26-1/2", for the Commercial model it is 36". Both have the same movements. The back has swing and tilt. The front varied with the time of manufacture. Older cameras move sideways and rise, with limited lowering. Later cameras have front tilt, introduced about 1940 as near as I can tell from advertising literature. Both models have both front and back focusing. Up till the beginning of WW-2 the lens boards were 7-1/2" square. At some point later they became 6x6", probably to meet a government spec for the Kodak 2D. I don't know if the larger boards were available for later cameras. The design of the bracing for the front standard also changed with time. Early cameras, without the tilt feature, have a single straight brass strip across the top. Cameras with the tilt feature have a brace with a step in it to prevent interference with the lens. War- time and later cameras have an arrangement of interlocked "L" brackets at the sides of the uprights which brace it laterally and do away with the top cross-brace altogether. 8X10 Agfa/Ansco's have a sliding tripod block which allows balancing the camera on the stand and adjusting its position. The camera can be used without it for somewhat greater rigidity. The blocks are often missing. Some very late cameras don't have the grove on the base needed for the block. The name Agfa was used until early 1944 when it was dropped in favor of Ansco but I suspect the old labels were used until exhausted. After the war the design of the camera was changed. The rear was changed from center tilt to a base tilt with side braces. The knobs were changed from machined brass to Bakelite. The cameras were offered in two finishes. The standard finish was polished Cherry and Bronze-Gilt metalwork. The "Deluxe" finish is aluminum-gray with bright nickel plated metalwork and red bellows. Post war cameras seem to have a darker wood finish than earlier ones. Agfa and Ansco made some cheaper models, there is a "portrait" camera with a fixed front and shorter bellows extension. I see them occasionally at shows. There was also a large studio camera called the Number 5 Studio Outfit. This consists of a large stand camera with two section bellows and total bellows extension of around 42 inches. It comes on a heavy twin-post crank-up studio stand. These turn up for sale occasionally. While it would work well for table top work (it was intended for that) it is large and heavy and not at all suitable for field work. They have very large lens boards, 9" square, which can be mounted in the center section as well as on the front. Kodak made a similar camera under the Eastman-Century name which I think had even longer bellows. Agfa/Ansco cameras were definitely deluxe cameras, they were about the highest priced cameras of the type on the market other than Deardorf. I can't think of anything else. If you have any questions please e- mail me again. ---- Richard Knoppow Los Angeles,Ca.

-- VNC (, July 27, 2000.

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