Calumet CC400 vs. Graphic View II : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

I would appreciate any comments comparing the Calumet CC400 with the Graphic View II in practical use and whether one would be preferred over the other.

-- Les Alvis (, September 11, 2000


If you look in The Negative (I think) by AA you will find a section on the CC400 showing what it can do. I have one and it meets all my needs for 4x5. Regards, Pat

-- pat krentz (, September 11, 2000.

The Calumet (Kodak Master) has a round monorail which tends to be less stable than the triangle of the GVII after years of wear. The Calumet has a revolving back with a very handy bail to make it easier to insert film holders without moving the camera. Late GVII have a Graflock back making it much easier to use roll film backs, etc., and a built-in panhead. Deciding between them when they were new would drive you crazy (the GVII was $20 cheaper), and it's still a tossup. I'd rather have an "excellent" GVII than a "good" Calumet, and vice- versa. They are both great values, and may last a lifetime.

-- Bill Mitchell (, September 11, 2000.


I have worked with both and found both to be good cameras but neither was without limitations.

My choice between the two would be the Graphic (model II not I) as it has a graflok back and the bellows is considerably more flexible allowing more movements with wide angle lenses.

I used to use my Graphic View II with a 75mm lens and could use all the movements the lens was capable of. I don't think this would be possibel with a Calumet/Kodak Master View.

I know it's silly but I also simply prefer the looks of the Graphic!

-- Joseph A. Dickerson (, September 11, 2000.

The decisive factor for me is bellows draw. The Calumet (model CC 404 and Orbit OCC 404) have longer rails and bellows. My 12 inch lens needs all of the 19 inch rail to focus for a head and shoulders portrait. A Graphic View cannot stretch so far. My calumet tightens down solidly and as it is designed for daily studio use, I will never wear it out. These are nice working cameras.

-- jim Ryder (, September 11, 2000.

I have a Calumet CC400, and love it for tabletop still lifes. I've gotten some nice images with this camera.

However, I have found the lack of interchangeable bellows, and rear rise and fall to be a limiting factor when shooting architecture. I've found that the smaller lensboard opening (4" or so square) prevents using a recessed board with wider angle lenses.

It also weighs a lot.

-- Tony Pulsone (, September 12, 2000.

I used to use old Calumet CC400's while attending school at University of Illinois-Chicago, and my experience with them was frustrating at best. They tended not to lock down very well on axis tilt, especially the rear standard when inserting the film holder. Keeping the standards parallel was a major pain in the ass. It contributed a long time to my negative opinion of large format. Today I do alot of art reproduction photography, and the benefits of large format became too great to ignore. I thought press cameras might suit my purpose, but the 2x3 Busch Pressman I bought, while rock solid in its movements (limited as they might be), was permanently wed to the horizontal format, while the shots I kept seeing were vertical. I started looking at full fledged view cameras, and kept seeing these great looking Graphic View II's for sub $250 prices (and sub $200 for the Graphic View I) on Ebay. What especially impressed me was the axis tilts (in the case of the Graphic II) had braces that would seem to me, to make it less vernerable to yaw. And I saw many examples where the bellows seemed to be in good condition.

I was all ready to bid one with a bellows lens shade included when I found an almost new Toyo View 45Cx for $400, which brings me to the third dirt cheap view camera: the Toyo / Omega 45D, F, C etc. After doing some Monday morning quarterback research I found that these Toyo-Omegas were readily available well below $300 (indeed two sold within hours of the close of my auction for around $250). The only reason I knew a bit about the CX was that it had been at the top of my list of new view cameras because of its low price, and comprehensive movements- when I saw that I could knock off $150 to $200 I jumped.

My purpose in going through all of this, is that there is a third low priced view camera, that is currently well supported by its parent company- Mamiya; has modular parts on current models, that can often be used on older models; and has a price tag comparable to the Calumet CC400 and The Graphic View II. For my money I would rank the used Toyo or Omegas first, the Graphic View II second (the Graphic I's shorter bellow, and age- it ended production in 1949, whereas the Graphic II was in production up till 1967 according to make it less desirable in my opinion, and the Calumet CC400 not even in the running.

-- g. wiley (, December 24, 2000.

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