Calumet/Gowland Pocket View

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by Paul Sorensen, Sep 7, 2005.

  1. Paul Sorensen

    Paul Sorensen Member

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    One of these has showed up for a relatively low price and I am wondering if anyone has any info on it. I was able to get some info from the seller, but I wanted to get some ideas as to whether it is worth $275.

    I am really attracted to the size. I am finding that I often don't want to take out my Cambo because it is too much of a hassle. I am wondering if it will be sturdy enough for general light use, mostly field, and whether it has enough movements.

    Also, the seller told me that the lens board is a 3.6" square 1/4" thick. Any ideas where I could get such a beast other than to bribe Alan to make me some?

    Thanks!

    Paul.
     
  2. Troy Ammons

    Troy Ammons Member

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    Oh thats me, the seller.

    I will butt in as that is my camera. Maybe other people might be reading. I emailed Gowland. He is in his 90's now and pretty funny. Still kicking though and trying to sell off all his old Eq.

    He said that it was sort of a joint venture, and that camera was based off his design, built by calumet and he was paid a 10% royalty.

    Actually I was suprised at how stiff it really is. With the single rail as shown its a bit better than with the rail extension. The back really locks down and will not move when inserting a film holder. The single rail should be good for a 135 or 150 lens or shorter.

    Interesting, is I never figured out why they used a cambo graflok back on a camera that is designed to be super light. You think they would have just used just a spring back.

    I was actually interested in Gowlands 8x10 lightweight too, but those are all gone so now I am building one.
     
  3. John Kasaian

    John Kasaian Member

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    Paul,

    If what you're looking for is an ultra light 4x5 monorail, you've found what you're looking for. Peter makes good stuff. I'd be willing to bet that Peter can probably scrounge up a spring back for you to save even more wieght.

    Good luck!
     
  4. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I have the current 4x5" Gowland front-moves camera and an older 8x10" Pocket View and have commented on them fairly extensively over at the forum on lfphoto.info and also in the comments after the review of the Gowland on lfphoto.info, though I think those comments attached to the review may have disappeared.

    You can probably get lensboards from Peter Gowland or make them yourself from modeling plywood. They're simple flat lensboards.

    Short version--it's a capable camera that can do a lot, but it's not for everyone. If you need the precision of a Sinar, this ain't it, but it is a superlight camera that can go anywhere, and if you are patient and willing to adjust the way you work to the way the camera works, you can make some fine photographs with it in places that it might not be so convenient to bring a heavier camera.

    I usually use the Gowland 4x5" when I'm carrying another camera. A medium-format folder, 4x5" Pocket View with 2 or 3 compact lenses, a couple of Grafmatics, and a light tripod make a great travel package. For bird photography, I carry a 35mm camera with a 600/4.5, and I put the Gowland in one of the pockets of my ScopePak for landscapes and macros between bird photos.

    The 8x10" Gowland is my 8x10" field camera. I carry it in a knapsack made for laptop computers. I've done a few things to make it stiffer (some bigger washers, better knobs, bellows compression straps), but he's improved it since mine was made, so a new version might not need any modifications.
     
  5. Paul Sorensen

    Paul Sorensen Member

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    You know, I thought I recognized your name on the email! Thanks for the additional info.

    I am seriously considering going ahead and buying it, it seems to be an awfully good deal. I am not so worried about precision, I do landscapes and I am in it mostly for the big negative and secondarily for simple movements such as rise and fall and front tilt. I might venture into some more sophistocated stuff, but I am not going to be doing high end architecture or table top stuff.

    Thanks again!

    Paul.
     
  6. Paul Sorensen

    Paul Sorensen Member

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    What is modeling plywood? How about masonite?

    I have access to a drill press, is the process of drilling it relatively easy? It seems to me that the biggest deal would be finding a drill bit of the right size.

    Thanks again!

    Paul.
     
  7. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    If you go to a hobby shop or art supply store, you can find thin plywood in various thicknesses for building architectural models, model planes and such, that works quite well. You might find masonite to be a bit thick for the 4x5" Gowland, but I've made lensboards out of masonite as well.

    You can drill it with a keyhole saw. These come in sets, and there are usually a few that are close to common shutter sizes.
     
  8. Frank Petronio

    Frank Petronio Inactive

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    I talked quite abit with Peter Gowland last year, and he will still make a part or two for you.

    Better yet, buy the entire business from him. We actually discussed it.