advice requested on a used camera system : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

I have searched through the archives, but haven't been able to find an answer and am hoping for a suggestion on a "new" camera.

I have a Calumet CC400(01) 4x5 Monorail that I've used for about a year, but would like to "upgrade". Increasingly, I find my camera limiting the types of shots that I would like to take. It lacks a rear rise/fall, and does not have an interchangeable bellows. I've been shooting mostly Architectural and Table Top shots.

The Calumet is a metal monorail, but lacks rear rise, and does not have an interchangeable bellows. The camera's weight doesn't bother me since I don't travel far from the car, or from home. I have a 300mm lens, a 240mm, and a 135mm, but I would like to go wider (72mm); The limiting factor is the camera's bellows, which is not interchangeable.

Specifically, I'm looking for a 4x5 Monorail with Front and Rear: Rise/Swing/Shift/Tilt, zero indents, Interchangeable Bellows, Rotating Back/Ground Glass, and is preferably metal construction.

If anyone could recommend an older camera system (since I can't afford a brand new outfit) that is forward compatible, I would greatly appreciate it. I guess my budget is around $500, more if I can convince the wife.

Many, many thanks in advance.

-- Tony Pulsone (, August 18, 2000


Cambo/calumets (more modern versions than the one you own) should be in the range that you describe. Simple and affordable are the working horse of many photographers. Don't deliver the moon but will provide everything you seek with the budget you have allocated. However you can use your camera with a 90mm if you find a recessed lens board. Good luck!

-- andrea milano (, August 18, 2000.

I have acquired a short-rail version of the camera that you now have. The rail is around 12", max extension is about 7" - it was designed for wide-angle only use. I believe it's unused - the lenses I bought it with were in Linhof boards (go figure). let me know if you are interested.

-- Wayne DeWitt (, August 18, 2000.

The cambo sc is a fine camera for very little $$.I bought mine at a show for $250.Its a little worn but works perfeclty. It seems very solid has full movements and interchangable bellows.Its a little heavy at 8lbs and a little bulky but these things dont bother me because I am never far from the car. -j

-- josh (, August 18, 2000.

Tony, I've used a cc-401 Calumet since 1968...and really haven't succumbed to the 'upgrade' fever. I use a 75mm Super Angulon (f/8) on it with a recessed board (although I do have to make sure the monorail is pulled back, out of view). Other lenses aren't as big an issue (135, 210, 305). I've not found the lack of rise in the back to be an issue...but maybe I've just grown accustomed to it. I would support the idea proposed about finding one of the compatible older Calumets with wide angle bellows which would give you the flexibility while maintaining compatible lens boards.


-- Fred Leif (, August 18, 2000.

You might want to consider an older Arca-Swiss. They sell for about the budget that you specified. While new style recessed lensboards, do not work on this camera (backward compatable), older style recessed lensboards work on the newer camera. I'm not sure about newer versus older bellows. If you get the 300mm telescoping rail, this camera also packs well. There's a recent post on this site (see below) where this camera is discussed. It's also relatively light weight.

Try calling Badger Graphics or Photomark (Phoenix). They might have some additional information.

-- neil poulsen (, August 20, 2000.

Take a look at a Sinar Norma. They're very well made and seem to last forever: I use one that's still mechanically smooth after thirty years abuse by ham-fisted physics students. A basic 4x5 model can be found around your budget point, and there's a lot of compatible new, used and rental equipment.

-- Struan Gray (, August 21, 2000.

Thanks to all of you for your advice. I have a better idea of what to look for in the used-equipment sections...I'll no longer be searching blind. Thanks again.

-- Tony (, August 21, 2000.

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