Who knows the B.I.G. 45 GJM 4x5" field camera ?

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I just found in a german catalogue a 4x5" camera named B.I.G. 45 GJM. It is a wooden field camera, made of teck wood (a kind of wood used for boats I think, I would be interested in comments on its resistance to humidity).

The camera weights 2200 g (4.8 pounds), and measures (closed) 215x175x95mm. There is a picture of it at the following adress http://www.alles-foto.de in the "Grossformat" category, but the web site seems to be dead (I can mail a small picture to interested persons). It is not very expensive, especially with a 150 mm Schneider Xenar for 2000 DEM.

Has anyone any idea of how good this camera could be (or ever used it) ? Could it be a "renamed" Tachihara or another brand ?

Thank you in advance :-),


-- Pierre Kervella (ke_pi@hotmail.com), September 25, 2000



A picture of this camera can be found at the following adress:


-- Pierre Kervella (ke_pi@hotmail.com), September 26, 2000.

I've not used this camera, but played with it for a while at Brenner Foto (Weiden, Bavaria) - they are marketing the B.I.G. products in Germany.

My experience with large format cameras is very limited, and I tend to (over?)emphasize stability, rigidity and precision in any kind of equipment, so it may be that I'm a bit to critical to any wooden camera... anyway, the B.I.G. seemed a bit flimsy to me - the wooden surfaces feeled rather soft, and the whole construction not very robust (I was really afraid to damage the wood/screws when trying to lock the standarts). The movements felt not very smooth, and un/folding the camera was a complex operation, compared to a metal field (e.g. Linhof Technika).
Otherwise, it seemed to be workable (with the usual limits of such systems, i.e. only 30cm bellows draw and limited movements/extendability).
By the way, a test of the B.I.G. 45 GJM in the german fotoMagazin 4/99 resulted in rather similar conclusions: A bit on the cheap/unprecise side and not really a LF system, but otherwise O.K. (when comparing price/feature ratio).

-- Stefan Dalibor (dalibor@cs.fau.de), September 26, 2000.

B.i.g. is brand name used by the firm Brenner they buy lots of cheap products from all over and they have them renamed B.I.G. (some acronim). As far as the most wooden field cameras go big isn't bad at all. Similar to Tachihara and wooden Wista, horseman woodman, etc. etc. probably comes from the same factory as tachihara and Wista. To compare such cameras with a Linhof technika is unfair! reasonable for real use in the field, good entry models, if you do not ask too much you'll have fun. Again you cannot stay at the grandstand for a dime! Ebony is better but costs six- seven times as much and in the end cameras don't take pictures, photographers do! have fun! Soon I'll write something on the forum on a chinese camera which I've seen at the Kina and which surprised me a lot. regards

-- andrea milano (milandro@multiweb.nl), September 26, 2000.

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