Chose a Calumet 4x5 over that old wood conley, now? : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

well, for $75 more I ended up with a calumet 4x5 long focus, with a 135mm lens (not a bad upgrade from that 1907 conley I almost bought, but it was a beautiful camera)now I just need to pick up some film holders, which should be easy to find. My only question now, is where can I find a owners manual for it? I am looking forward to my first large format shot!!! But still have some home work to do, like film loading, and a good source of film & developing


-- Paul Moseley (, May 28, 2001


For a while Calumet sold a video and book called "The Large Format Advantage" - don't know if they still do or not. You might drop them a line and see if they have any.

John Craig though is THE source for old photo manuals and literature - re-prints and originals. He's on line at I believe.

A.A.'s first "Basic Photo Series" started with the book "Camera and Lens" and in later editions included extensive illustrations of the Calumet "going through it's paces" - illustrating camera movements and the effect on the image.

Don't forget the Kodak Masterview (not the Kodak Master Camera) is the first incarnation of the old Calumet CC$)) series and there may be manuals for it or the B&J edition the Saturn (?) I think it was?

-- Sean Yates (, May 28, 2001.

Paul: The view cameras such as the Calumet are so simple that there is not really a need for an owner's manual. You can look at it and tell what the parts and pieces do when you move them. Sure is different from some of the "all electric living" type 35mm cameras where the instruction manual runs about 200 pages. Actually, any book on LF cameras which describes the movements will work fine for your Calumet. The movements do the exact same thing, whether it is a Linhof or your camera. The nice thing is that you can see everything that is happening on the ground glass. An hour playing with it outside while you watch the ground glass is all the instruction you need. Welcome to the world of LF, and welcome to the LF forum.


-- Doug Paramore (, May 28, 2001.

Hi Paul,

I have the same camera and as Doug has stated the use of it is quite obvious.(I didn't think so until I started reading books and using the camera) I acquired a photocopy of the manual and was surprised to see how simple the manual instructions were. In fact after a quick glance through the manual I never looked at it again. If you would like me to copy it for you or answer any questions I would be happy to do so.

As a sidebar I am wondering how Doug has faired with his photography class this year?

Hope you will enjoy your LF experiences as much as I have over the past year.


-- GreyWolf (, May 28, 2001.

Another text illustrated with the venerable CC-4xx series is Stroebel's "View Camera Technique" (at least the old edition).

I think you should be fine without a manual, however. Swing and shift are locked together beneath each standard. The lensboard clip is, well, none too strong. Other than that it's a straightforward mechanical device. Good luck!

-- John O'Connell (, May 29, 2001.

Note to Grey Wolf: The classes were some of the most satisfying experiences one could have. I got a chance to give a lot of hands-on instruction to some really sharp students. We did a lot of shooting and darkroom work. The biggest surprise was that, with one exception, my best students were women (I don't mean that to sound sexist). The biggest challenge was to keep them from developing bad habits in the darkroom. Seems everyone wants to take shortcuts these days. Every time a student had problems with printing or developing, it was because they were trying to speed up the process. I was able to observe them and get them back on track. Our local arts alliance has an arts show in late April and several students entered. We swept the college student art catagory, which made me feel really great. I start the summer classes today and am looking forward to the classes. The input I got from this forum was tremendously helpful in designing the classes. Thanks, everyone, and thanks Grey Wolf for your interest.


-- Doug Paramore (, May 29, 2001.

Try Calumet for the manual. They usually provide good service on their own products, even the old stuff. There is, however, not much on a view camera, and controls are fairly obvious. The one thing to do, though, is go gently. If something doesn't want to move, don't force it. For example, there will be a knob for focusing. There will also be a focusing lock, likely on the opposite side of the focusing knob. You don't want to force the focusing knob with the lock engaged.

For inexpensive film, try Freestyle Sales. They sell private labelled Ilford films at decent prices. You will probably want to start with a high speed film, like 400. Reduced depth of field because of the longer lenses on view cameras means you'll want to stop down more than you do with 35mm or 120 cameras.

-- Charlie Strack (, May 29, 2001.

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