The Wrong Camera... : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

This one comes up as I have a nice Wisner 5x7 technical field and it and I just don't get along. Very nice, solid and pretty with a ton of bellows extension... but I find I use the Deardorff or little Ikeda Anba and leave the Wisner at home. Now the question comes up as what to do with an expensive purchase that just doesn't fit as one would hope? If I sell, I lose a bundle on value. So, I try to trade for something I want. In this case, a Canham 5x7. We'll see how it goes. Nothing wrong with the camera other than it and I are not a good fit. Just small things that bug me & make it uncomfortable. The little things I got used to with the Deardorff & don't have with this new one that keep me shooting with a camera from the 1920's rather than the 'new & improved' beauty. (& my 'dorff is not a beauty to look at, just to use, taped bellows & all) So, anyone else had a nice purchase you had high hopes for that just did not work out? And if so, how did you handle it?

-- Dan Smith (, April 25, 2002


Happens more than I care to admit. You cut your losses and move on. Nothing worse than an unused piece of gear that doesn't work for you and stays in the closet. Trade or sell is the right approach IMHO.

-- Donald Brewster (, April 25, 2002.

Hi Dan, I've never used a Deardorff before.What exactly, if you dont mind, makes it superior to the Wisner? I've always been tempted to get a Deardorff 5x7 but the prices have kept me away.I always figured that the $$$ could be put towards a new camera instead.Probably best to sell the Wisner to someone who will appreaciate and use it will take a loss but still have something in your pocket instead of a camera that sits on a shelf.

-- Emile de Leon (, April 25, 2002.

Want another story? I bought a digital back in an auction last year. It was like new and relatively cheap for a StudioKit and this made me overlook the fact that there was no cable nor software with it. But when I asked the company for a quote for the missing parts, I all in a sudden realized that the back would end up as a luxury press-book on my shelf!

-- Paul Schilliger (, April 25, 2002.

Been there, done that. Purchased a canham 5x7 and it was well made and was beautiful to look at. Not a thing wrong with the camera but we just didn't get along. The camera did all it was supposed to but I sold at a loss after a year and went back to my old Burke & James 5x7, an old ugly beast I paid $75 for about 15 years ago. I learned to live with the limitations of the B&J. I did purchase a Wisner 4x5 and later a conversion kit to 4x10 and am happy with that combination but as long as the B&J holds together I plan on using it up. One never knows until you use a piece of equiptment for awhile if it is the right choice, which is a shame with the cost of this stuff. Good luck William Blunt

-- William Blunt (, April 25, 2002.

Hi Dan

Thats the reason why I always will play with a camera bevor a buy one. I always dreamed of a Linhof Technika and I had a very good chance to buy one for a good and fair price, but when I hold it in my hands and had the chance to have also my Horseman HF in my hands, for me the Tech was to heavy and large against my baby Horseman 4x5.

-- Armin Seeholzer (, April 25, 2002.

Very simple Dan. Looks like a very good learning experience for you. You have 3 options.

1. Keep it 2. Sell it 3. Donate it

Your friend,


-- Jim (, April 25, 2002.

It may be easier to try and sell it outright. That is unless you have a child or young relative who is showing an interest in photography. Then it would make one heck of a Christmas gift.

-- Steve Gangi (, April 25, 2002.

I travelled down the same trail 5 years ago. I bought a 8x10 Kodak Masterview---a very good camera, but it and I just didn't get along. Then along came the 8x10 'dorff and the old woodie just seemed "right" for me, but what to do with the Masterview? I traded it in for an 8x10 enlarger(An Elwood no less, you know, wood) I took a beating but then I probably wouldn't have got into 8x10 enlarging if not for that Masterview collecting dust. Good luck whatever you do!

-- John Kasaian (, April 25, 2002.

About three years ago, I purchased a used Calumet C-1 8x10 camera and have used it a grand total of one time. The reason? It's just so heavy! As a man deep into middle age, the weight and bulk of the camera make my muscles ache. After using it, I feel as if I've gone 10 rounds with Mike Tyson. It's a great camera, solid and well-made. If I were 30 again, I'd be out there with it everyday. But for me, it's not the best match. I should go for a lighter wooden 8x10.

-- Ben Calwell (, April 26, 2002.

Hi Dan Another from Europe...Purchased a well made and beautiful Toyo field 4x5 in 2000. Nothing wrong with the camera but we just didn't "fit " together. I found a Master Technika t a very good price in France (the LF market is so small...), it's not everysbody camera,it's like a german tank,..we found a "good relationship" since a year! I sold the "like new" Toyo at a very fair price and purchased Pentax 67 equipment. The same problem, it didn't fit to old Mamiya Press equipment (50 to 250)is an "old and good friend". My recent purchase, a Mamiya 7 and 7II with 43,80 and 150 gives me more "pleasure" than my Pentax stuff.

It has nothing to do with the piece of gear that doesn't work for you. Sell or Trade is the for me the right approach... or it will end as a "dust collector"!

-- raphael zeiher (, April 26, 2002.

Equipment purchases are tough. Only by using equipment for a long time do we find out if a piece of equipment is worth it. I have a Fuji 645i Rangefinder. Its a sharp medium format camera but it doesn't feel good to use. I don't like the control layout and I don't trust the meter. I don't want to dump it because I would lose money on it. I have a bought new Ries tripod. Its nice but I don't like the screw legs and locks. Its too slow to use. I also don't like the Manfrotto 3275 head that comes with it. The joints of the head are loose. Dan, just consider these equipment purchases to be camera rentals and dump the equipment before you become a camera collector. I am going to dump the tripod as soon as I have the money for a gitzo tripod and arca swiss head. Good luck on search for the proper tool.

-- David Payumo (, April 26, 2002.


If you decide to sell you could try ebay. Some of the final bid prices for lenses are at or about what you would pay new from the likes of Robert White and he gives a guarantee. Can't understand it. Still it might be useful for you to help towards the replacement bellows.


-- colin carron (, April 26, 2002.

I think that it could often benefit "camsumers" to buy a plane ticket for insurance purposes.

A post in this forum went something like this: A man called a camera store (I think it was Quality Camera in Atlanta) and asked them to have some cameras set out on tripods. He then flew there, played with the cameras, bought one, and flew back home - all in the same day.

True, this is expensive, but it may be better than selling a $2500 camera for $2000 because you discovered (after little use) that you didn't like it.

This plan may not always help in cases like Dan's (I don't know the details), because it may take some time to learn how you feel about a particular camera. I think that it's worth a shot, though - especially if you can get a cheap ticket.

-- Matthew Runde (, April 26, 2002.

Hi Dan

I have to laugh!.....isn't this the reason why Tillman set up the Mammoth Camera Workshop?

and you went to it twice!

Yeah I can't cover every camera made out there but Tillman did a damn fine job of assembling the equipment he did. It's a real shame it's no more, I know I got my moneys worth and know which 12x20 I'll buy if I decide to go that way.

For those that never got there I've finally (after nearly 2 years) put some info and pics on my web site about the workshop. You can get to it with this link
mammoth camera workshop

-- Clayton Tume (, April 27, 2002.

Hi Dan: Why don't you buy a 5x7 back for your Deardorff? I have the 5x7 version (View Series) with an extra 4x5 Graflock back. Send your camera to Ken Hough for a new bellows and for a 5x7 back.

-- Tito Sobrinho (, April 27, 2002.

And Edward Weston made do with a couple of cameras for different formats, and a lens or two for each. What's wrong with us?

-- Jay wolfe (, April 28, 2002.

Hi Dan, Trolling Ebay about 3 months ago and a guy had just listed a baby 'dorff with both backs. A clean original that hadn't been abused or gone through the restoration mill. The price would make a few old timers laugh, but I thought about it for an hour and a half and finally told myself I'll amortize this for $50 a year for the next 28 years. So I hit the buy it now button and I have to say it IS a perfect fit. It gives me pleasure every time I set it up. Good luck in whatever you decide to do.

-- Jim Galli (, April 28, 2002.

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