B&J ORBIT 4x5 Now I own one!?!?

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by Alex Thorne, Mar 18, 2008.

  1. Alex Thorne

    Alex Thorne Member

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    Hi,

    I was bored today, so I decided to pick up a B&J ORBIT 4x5 Monorail view camera w/ILEX No. 4 ACME SYNCHRO with 6 film holders, 1 polaroid holder and a bunch of other stuff.

    The auction said it was in great condition. BTW, did I mention I know nothing about large format photography.

    What can folks tell me about this camera and lens? Also, can I substitute other lenses? If so, what do I need to know?

    Much thanks, and I hope I made a good decision on my fist large format camera.

    Alex
     
  2. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

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    First of all that's not the lens name that's the shutter. Should be some info on the glass.

    IIRC the Orbit is like the Calumet CC400 and a Kodak camera. Any lens that can fit the lensboard and isn't too long or too wide for the bellows can be fitted.
     
  3. bdial

    bdial Subscriber

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    Step 1, Buy a copy of Using the View Camera by Steve Simmons

    "Ilex No. 4 Acme Syncro" sounds like the shutter actually, the lens is probably somewhere between a 150 and 210 mm focal length which is a good focal length for this sort of camera. If the lens is reasonably clear, it will likely be good enough to get started with, at the very least.

    You can substitute other lenses. It's fine for a first LF, metal monorails aren't the most desirable for field use, but they are easy to work with.

    Welcome to the club!

    Barry
     
  4. Alex Thorne

    Alex Thorne Member

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    Nick,
    The camera is still in the mail, but I think I can make out from the picture that it reads Kodak Ectar 7 ½ in. f: 4.5
     
  5. Alex Thorne

    Alex Thorne Member

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    Thanks Barry. I ordered that book yesterday. I can't wait to get started with this camera. It's being delivered on Thursday.
     
  6. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

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    If the lens is in good shape it'll be just fine.
     
  7. Alex Thorne

    Alex Thorne Member

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    What's the equivalent of this lens in 35mm? Are we talking standard, portrait, telephoto?
     
  8. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

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    Normal. Pretty close to 50mm in 35mm terms.
     
  9. bdial

    bdial Subscriber

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    A 7 1/2 inch would be around 200 mm which is actually equivalent to a slight telephoto, maybe an 80mm or so on a 35.
    On a camera like that however, that focal length is a pretty common general purpose lens. It gives you a good working distance for studio work, and good prospective for portraits. It's fine for field work too, but it is not a wide-angle. A "normal" lens on a 4x5 is 135 - 150 mm. In the LF realm it's easier to think of lenses in terms of image size and field of view rather than "wide", "normal" or "telephoto".
     
  10. Phillip P. Dimor

    Phillip P. Dimor Member

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    That's a good camera, I had an opportunity to pick up a similar camera. I think it may have been the B&J Saturn. The Ektar lens should be pretty decent. Have fun with it, and if you decide it's not for you i'm sure you could sell it for what you paid.
     
  11. Paul Cocklin

    Paul Cocklin Member

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    The Orbit was the first LF camera I started with. Just know that it won't be your last. I loved mine, great range of movements, locks down nice, plenty of bellows for great macro shots, etc. It's a great camera, which I've since sold, but I'm thinking of picking up another one for tabletop work. It's too heavy to lug around much outdoors (though I did get it up (way up) over Lake Tahoe a couple of times.

    It's a wonderful camera to learn on, as well. As has been mentioned, what you've described is the shutter. Any lens can be put on the camera, you would just need another lensboard with the correct hole size for whatever other lens you get. I have a recessed lensboard made for the Orbit (your lensboards will be 4"x4") if you decide to go really short focal length (65 or 75mm) let me know and I'll send it off to you for the shipping costs. Pick up a cable release as well as a large towel (darkcloth).

    I think you made an excellent decision. Large Format has restored my sanity and given me (and thousands of others) great pleasure. BTW, I'm up to 8x10 now, and I'm sure ULF is in my future. I just wish the price of Platinum would go down a little....
     
  12. Removed Account

    Removed Account Member

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    Soon you too will know the confusing joy of learning that long lenses aren't always telephoto. In fact, in LF photography most lenses are normal lenses not telephoto, even a 48" (1200mmish) Artar. I've taken to calling them long-focus lenses because it can get confusing talking to those who use smaller formats.

    35mm: "210mm lens? What's that like on 35mm?"
    4x5: "I guess about 85mm"
    35mm: "OK, so a short telephoto."
    4x5: "No, it's normal."
    35mm: "I thought you said it was like a 85?"
    4x5: "Well yeah, but it's not a telephoto."
    35mm: "So what's the 4x5 version of a 50mm?"
    4x5: "135-150mm or so."
    35mm: "So that would be normal?"
    4x5: "All my lenses are normal, even the 210."
    35mm: "But if the 150mm is like a 50mm in 35mm and the 210mm on 4x5 is like an 85mm in 35mm, then doesn't that make it telephoto?"
    4x5: "It's tricky to compare because the formats are so different but just because the 150mm in 4x5 is similar to a 50mm in 35mm and the 210mm in 4x5 is closer to an 85mm in 35mm doesn't make it telephoto, that's a lens design thing. The 210mm is just a longer focal length."
    35mm: "Okay, ummm... so what's a wide angle on 4x5?"
    4x5: "Any lens can be a wide angle on 4x5, even a 210mm.
    35mm: "Huh?"
    4x5: "The wide angle means a wide angle of coverage so a 210mm that covers 8x10 would be a wide angle short focus, but if you use it on 4x5 it is a wide angle long focus."
    35mm: "So a 150mm lens on 4x5 is close to a 50mm lens on 35mm and a 210mm lens on 4x5 is similar to an 85mm lens on 35mm but they can both be normal lenses, and the same 210mm lens on 8x10 is a short lens but if it covers it's a wide angle but that lens on 4x5 is a long wide angle, and any length of lens can be normal or wide angle? Could you have a short wide-angle telephoto?"
    4x5: "I guess, if someone designed one for some reason."

    35mm goes out to buy a Holga.


    :D

    - Justin
     
  13. Alex Thorne

    Alex Thorne Member

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    Thanks, this was a lot of help.