An antique camera found - help needed

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by Alexz, Apr 22, 2006.

  1. Alexz

    Alexz Member

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    A while ago, while I was helping moving our far relatives to their new home, I was awarded by some antique LF folding camera that was appearing to be a pre-war german model. Since then (about 5-7 years ago) I've put it for a storage, forgot where and while my LF advaneture came to life about a year ago I wasn't able to recall where to look for it and was sure I just lost it.
    Yesterday, I've got a call from mother-in-law - she cleaned up her closet while accidently the thing has just fallen on her !
    Well, obviously I picked then black leather-covered (or leatherette ?) box with a heartbeat. Opened it up and here it comes...:smile::

    The lens reads (engraved around the lens :
    C.P. GOERZ BERLIN. No.355541 DOGMAR 1:4.5 F=165Mmm D.R.P.
    The lens is in compound shutter which reads:
    C.P. GOERZ BERLIN D.R.P. COMPOUND D.R.G.M.
    The aperture has a scale of f/4.5 - 45
    There is a small level with three states: M, B, Z (Z for focusing, B keeps shutter open manually, M closes the shutter and is woking position)
    There is shutter speeds weel at the upper part of the shutter with speeds from 1 sec to what appears to be 1/150, the weel is engraved with:
    D.R.G.M. No 371939
    The wonderful thing is that the shutter seems to work more then fair, the speeds are easily distinquishable by sound (in their duration), albeit apparently can benefit from adjustment (if this is possible at all for this shutter). The shutter release cable is wron out and partially decayed - unusable, but luckily here is shutter release lever.
    Bellows are red and at glance appear to be in not that bad condition, even good, I would say. No pinholes where spotted so far, but I have yet checked them thoroughly. The wooden box inside seems to be polished (and is reddish) and at the drop bed there is an optical lens enclosed into a metal frame. The lens seems to appear as kind of viewfinder (apparently when direct view composing isn't possible).
    The front panel (is fixed in the metal front frame by screws) has only rise movement.
    Focusing movements (front movement) is smooth and is geared (by a small weel at the right edge of the drop bed) as long as the front standard is moved out of the box and put on the rail on the drop bed.

    The back is opened by the door up by releasing two latches which reveals a wooden frame with ground glass. This frame can easily be removed revealing the back frame which also can easily be removed by releasing its sliding lock and sliding the back frame out. There there are two internal rolls at the upper and lower parts of the camera box which are apparent after removing the whole back. It seems the camera accepted some kind of roll film ! Have yet figured how the one could be loaded onto those internal rollers.
    At the left lower side there is a small window which appears to be frame counter (currently showing 12), at the right of the box there are two rollers, one of this the main one) is ratcheted (appears to be for roll-film advance).
    Once removing the whole back, there is a vertical ruler on the left of the box facing the back, the ruler is apparently in cm and running from 0 down to 9 while the image area ends at 8.5 cm.
    What is wierd: there is a round hole with metal frame in the middle of the back door revealing the center of the ground glass. Have no idea what it is for.

    I'll make several descriptive pictures soon for better realization of the camera, will put them on my site prividing here the direct link.
    Will be grateful to obtain any revelant info: what is this camera, possible manufacturing period. Is it 4x5 ? or what is called 12x9 ? What kind of holders it may accept for sheets ? (I don't even dream about availaility of roll-film stuff fro this camera).

    Thanks in advance, Alex
     
  2. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    The "D.R.P." is a tight dating information - it's an abbreviation for "Deutsche Reichs-Patent". That means it's made between (help me, edz) 1936 and 1945.

    The 165mm lens is a normal lens for 10x15cm, also known as "Postkarten-Format" or postcard-size. That's closer to 4x6" than anything else, so quite a bit longer than 4x5".

    The MBZ on the shutter are "Moment" (instant), "Blitz" (Flash, or Bulb), and "Zeit" (time). I'm a bit surprised that a 165mm f:4.5 lens would be in a Compound shutter - I would think a Compur #2 would have been more likely?
     
  3. Alexz

    Alexz Member

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    Thanks Ole for a quick response.
    The shutter is Compound indeed - it is engaved on it as I wrote above.
    I ddin't know there was a 10x15cm format in the past, apparently isn't usable today...
     
  4. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Nothing is truly unusable; 10x15cm film can still be bought. If you need it, I think I have a 10x15cm plate holder or two somewhere!
     
  5. Dan Fromm

    Dan Fromm Member

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    Alex, you've told us about the lens. That's nice, now what about the camera?
     
  6. rbarker

    rbarker Member

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    Yes. A photo and a cigar is customary for new "babies". :wink:
     
  7. Donald Qualls

    Donald Qualls Member

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    Check for sure before ordering any 10x15 cm film. There was also a "half plate" format that was quite common in England and the US in the early 20th century, just barely bigger than the 10x15 cm -- IIRC, it was 4 1/2 x 6 1/2 inches, and 165 mm was the common focal length for that format as well as 10x15.

    Half plate film is still available from some sources, and of course can be easily cut from 5x7 or 13x18 cm. Half plate film or plate holders are also available various places.

    Your description of the rollers, however, suggests it may be a 3A roll film camera, possibly with an accessory back mounted. This would have use 122 film originally, a paper-backed roll (like oversize 120) 3 1/2 inches wide (3 1/4" image area), 6 frames (or 8 after about 1950) each 5 1/2 inches long. If so, it can also take postcard format sheet film or plates in a suitable holder, which film is a little smaller than the 10x15 cm, IIRC (9x14 cm sticks in my mind, and some had adapters made to take 9x12). Unfrotunately, this is too long to cut from 4x5, and you'll get only a single sheet from 5x7, but it can at least be cut from existing film if you can find plate holders that fit the camera, and obtain or fabricate film sheaths or substitutes for it.

    You should be able to verify the film size by carefully measuring the spools and then looking over the chart here.
     
  8. Alexz

    Alexz Member

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    Yes guys, thanks, will have to "swallow" the info you kindly provided.
    Dan, you're right. I'll make several descriptive images of the camera and will make them available here in the thread. Perhaps this way we will be able to through a bit more shed of light onto this model...
     
  9. Alexz

    Alexz Member

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    Thanks Donald, I'll check out the spools and every other bit of the camera that sticks out and can be observed.
    As I mentioned in my original posting, there is a small round window at the bottom left side of the box with number 12 appearing inside. This suggests to be a frame counter and if so, 12 hints that the camera was able to use some kind of roll film of 12 frames (or probably even longer)
     
  10. edz

    edz Member

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    Yup, it pre-dates the patent and copyright: D.B.P (Deutsches Bundes Patent), resp., DBGM (Deutsches Bundes Gebrauchs Musterschutz) which really only got going in the 1950s.

    The Reichspatentamt (Empire Patent Office) was shut down in 1945. It was only in October 1948 that the first post war patent applications could be submitted. The German patent office opened in Munich in October 1949(!). I don't know the date of the first DRP but I'd expect it to have been in late 1949.

    DRP markings, however, continued on products well into the 1950s. Recall.. Patents were still good.. and companies still had loads of parts they could use..

    As a "dating" instument its something like between 1919--- the founding of the Reichpatentamt (out of the Kaiserliches Patentamt or Royal Patent Office)--- and early 1960s. There was enough motivation (and demand for goods) that one in the phtographic sector could probably restrict the window to 1919-1955 or so..
     
  11. Alexz

    Alexz Member

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    An antique camera found - help needed: pictures

    Well, made a series of images of the camera in various positions and views including detailed ones. Here I attach a few, the full collection is on my site:
    http://www.zabrovsky.com/gallery.php - proceed to An antique camera gallery.
    There are descriptive images with my comments.
    I hope this will help to clarify what this camera is, its usage and anything related.
    Once entire back assembly is removed (it slides out), the internal image frame measures 104mm x 85mm (vertical ruler on the left site measures 8.5cm).
    With back assembly attached and GG removed, the frame area measures approx. 107mm x 85mm and the GG itself (inside its wooden frame) measures
    120mm x 90mm.
    Pictures on the site show internal spools (images are on my site) once entire back assembly is removed, however the spools appear to be permanently attached, can't see how they can be removed without disassambling the camera itself. This poses the question how roll film can be loaded...
    Hope this can throw a shed of light on what format this camera is, which kind of holders for sheet film (depends on whether this kind of sheet film is still available), and roll film usage.

    Thanks in advance, Alex
     

    Attached Files:

  12. joeyk49

    joeyk49 Member

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    That looks like it'll be a fun little toy to play with...

    Congrats and good luck making her sing again!

    Joe
     
  13. Alexz

    Alexz Member

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    Thanks Joe, I hope the pictures will help our knowledgeable fellows here to identify the camera, shootign formats and its usage details which would allow me to make na endeavor to bring it up ...:smile:
     
  14. Donald Qualls

    Donald Qualls Member

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    I think the number 12 you're seeing is unrelated to film -- if the camera used roll film, that would be visible in a film counter only if there were still film in the camera. If that's showing among the controls on the right side of the camera body, it almost looks as if you might have a focal plane shutter (currently set in "T" mode, that is, locked open, if the curtains are even still present). That camera might be an early counterpart of a Speed Graphic (focal plane shutters existed at least as early as 1909; Lartigue used one for the famous image of a very early race car with wheels slanting one way and background the other). The ruler might be for setting the slit width, which in combination with spring tension determines shutter speed.

    The frame mask you measured looks like quarter plate, aka 3 1/4" x 4 1/4"; that wouldn't be hard to find film for (in at least a couple B&W emulsions), though film holders that fit that camera might be a little tricky.
     
  15. egdinger

    egdinger Member

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    Looking at the other images on your website, mainly this one, I would say that there is a good chance that your camera has (had?) a focal plane shutter. No clue how you would go about working though.
     
  16. DBP

    DBP Member

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    I'm convinced that is a focal plane shutter. The lens may not be original. Could be an Erneman, or maybe a Thornton Pickard. The washer-like nut on the hinge for the front door is similar to a Graflex part, but I don't think they made a 9x12.
     
  17. Pragmatist

    Pragmatist Member

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    It is most definately a focal plane shutter system, albeit the cloth is now missing. You have the wind and release mechanism in place.
     
  18. Alexz

    Alexz Member

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    Thank you guys, your help is invaluable.
    I'm almost convinced about the focal plane shutter, except for the fact of the counter this I cannot get the point of.
    Well, I'm afraid I'll not have much use of this machine even if I'll be able to obtain one or more suitable sheet holders - I just don't shoot B&W (never did) and I doubt contemporary color stuff can be available for such format.
    Chances I'll offer the camera here on APUG as a trade for bag bellows for my Shen-Hao..(although its hard for me to estimate the real market value of this camera, I guess this kind of trade can be fair...)

    Thanks once again, Alex
     
  19. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    9x12cm is still a "contemporary format", and film availability is still good. At least in Germany. It's losing out to 4x5", but there's lots of films available!
     
  20. Alexz

    Alexz Member

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    But according to my measurements it seems more like 3 1/4 x 4 1/4 rather then 9x12cm.
    Moreover, have no idea where to get an appropriate holders from...
    Although, it seems I'll need shutter's CLA, don't know whether Compound shutter are CLAable in my country...
     
  21. Pragmatist

    Pragmatist Member

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    Speed away...

    Alex, I believe that you will find that the number you are seeing in the little window refers to a certain spring tension on the focal plane shutter.

    From the looks of it, this was a single slit curtain. This means that only one size opening existed, the shutter speed based on how "wound up" the tension spring was.

    On the left side of the camera (from the front) is that a ratchet I see on the inside of the big knob? Let me refer you to some information on the Graflex D series to get a better feel for how this works. You will also see great similarities to the mechanism of your camera:

    http://www.graflex.org/articles/series-d/

    Graflex is somewhat different as it used multiple slits of differing sizes along with adjustable spring tension to achieve the speed.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 26, 2006
  22. Alexz

    Alexz Member

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    Thanks Patrick, will check it out.
     
  23. Donald Qualls

    Donald Qualls Member

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    The "counter" is probably the slit selector or tensioning indicator -- like the shutter in a Speed Graphic, there would have originally been a table that gave the speeds for each combination of slit selection and shutter tension.

    The presence of a lens in an old pneumatic shutter on a focal plane equipped camera from before the era of synched flash suggests the focal plane shutter has been dead a long time, but replacing curtains isn't terribly hard if you have the specs for the original; it's done routinely by amateurs servicing Speed Graphics (though their shutters may be a little easier to access than this one). If you can get a solid ID on the camera, you might well find someone who can supply the information needed to repair the original shutter, or even repair it for you at reasonable cost.

    BTW, film isn't hard to come by, if you have a processing provider that uses dip-and-dunk or other multi-format system; any 4x5 film can be cut down to 3x4 with a simple slide/rotary paper cutter mounted in a board with stops (for use in the dark, of course). You could go through a box of film in half an hour or so: make one cut on each sheet, then the film goes back into the box while you adjust the stop before making the second cut; toss the cutoffs, and you're ready to load holders.

    You might start a topic in the "antiques and collecting" section here on APUG pointing to this thread -- one of those guys might well come up with the ID you want in a matter of hours, who wouldn't necessarily see the post here.