Keith Camera Co. "Model One" Portrait camera

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by Adams, Feb 23, 2005.

  1. Adams

    Adams Member

    Messages:
    26
    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2004
    Location:
    Santa Fe, NM
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    I have recently acquired a 5X7 Keith Model One portrait camera. it is in pretty bad shape but it's cleaning up pretty well.

    Other than the information stamped on the tag on the front standard indicating that it was made in Los Angeles, CA I cannot find a single shred of information on this camera, or the manufacturer. I can't even confirm the fact that this company ever existed or when they were in business.

    Anybody have any information on this, please let me in on the mystery.

    Thanks
     
  2. David H. Bebbington

    David H. Bebbington Inactive

    Messages:
    2,364
    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2004
    Location:
    East Kent, U
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    I have no information whatsoever, but I do have a Keith twin-lens 4x5" portrait camera which I acquired a couple of months ago in great shape and am looking forward to using. In fact, my first APUG posting was about this. Someone who lived in Riverside CA was kind enough to look in their phone book but found no trace of them. I searched the web in every way I could think of - nothing!

    Want to form a Keith Owners' Club? Exclusivity guaranteed!

    Regards,

    David
     
  3. Peter J. Galea

    Peter J. Galea Member

    Messages:
    1
    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2005
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    You can find a little information (a paragraph) about the Keith Portrait Camera in "McKeown's Price Guide to Antique and Classic Cameras". Or, "McBroom's Camera Bluebook" (sorry I can't remember which one).
    The books should be available in the reference section of your local library.
     
  4. Adams

    Adams Member

    Messages:
    26
    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2004
    Location:
    Santa Fe, NM
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    Thank you for your replies.
    I stripped the "metalic spray paint" off this camera to find the wood somewhat dry but in decent shape and it had a fairly appealing wood grain. I decided not to stain it but have rubbed it down with lemon oil. The tone of the wood turned to a "strawberry blonde." I sure would like to know how this camera looked when it was originally sold. I wish I had three or four more of the obscure cameras beacuse it is exactly the sort of camera that I need in my work.

    I have seen a picture of one of those twin 4X5 Keith cameras. It was cool.

    Anyway,
    Thanks again!
    Steve Adams

    International Keith Owners Club
    Active Member (#2 of 2)
     
  5. Peter De Smidt

    Peter De Smidt Member

    Messages:
    1,064
    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2004
    Location:
    Fond du Lac,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format

    David, You didn't by any chance buy mine? I sold one awhile ago on Ebay. They're really neat cameras.

    Peter De Smidt
    www.desmidt.net
     
  6. David H. Bebbington

    David H. Bebbington Inactive

    Messages:
    2,364
    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2004
    Location:
    East Kent, U
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    I just checked, the vendor was from Prior Lake, Minnesota. They certainly are neat cameras, mine is made from welded flat metal sections sprayed gray, it weighs a ton but I won't be hand-holding it. A uniquely effective answer to the problem of how to take portraits at wide apertures, stay in focus and not bore the subject.

    For those not yet privileged to see one of these fine (weird) cameras (I just love the way the top lens panel slides downwards, controlled by a cam and cam follower on the left of the camera, to compensate for parallax as you focus closer):
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 23, 2007
  7. Peter De Smidt

    Peter De Smidt Member

    Messages:
    1,064
    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2004
    Location:
    Fond du Lac,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Yeah,

    They're really neat cameras. When I bought it, at a gun shop of all places!, I asked, "How are the pictures?" "Soft" replied the owner. Well, there were two reasons for this. First, there was a nylon stocking taped over the back of the lens. Second, the ground glass was installed backwards. Once these were taken care of, the Ilex lens was a great performer. Chris Perez tested it, and you can see the results for yourself on his site.

    I'm bummed that I sold mine, but I really didn't get to do much large format portraiture. My friends won't put up with the effort it takes. Plus it gets old clearing all the furniture out of the dining room.

    Peter
    www.desmidt.net
     
  8. comancheartist

    comancheartist Member

    Messages:
    1
    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2011
    Shooter:
    35mm
    We have a 5X7 Garden & Williams KEITH Los Angeles California Wooden Folding Camera. Name plaque on streched east west diamond. Easy slide pop out lens, oversized movable back glass, all redish wood, flat metal attachments and aluminum wheel cranks. I got this camera from a early employee of Olan Mills Portrate studios. She was on the road shooting Church Directories, Portrates in the early 1950's Olan Started around 1946, In the field you had to have a camera and a reserve, These cameras must have started the Olan Mills empire. PS You wife is her Daughter. Thanks Gordon
     
  9. billie williams

    billie williams Member

    Messages:
    6
    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2010
    Location:
    Santa Monica
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    a 2012 update?

    hi.

    I just saw a 4x5 keith portrait wood camera in pretty good condition at a show. thinking it would be great fun and that it would hold an old petzval as well.

    How have you enjoyed having yours?

    And would you like to have a 3rd member of the Keith Camera club?
     
  10. jon koss

    jon koss Subscriber

    Messages:
    675
    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2004
    Location:
    Boston, MA
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Here is an opportunity to get in as member 5: a Keith 4x5 TLR is for sale on the 'Bay right now. In Minnesota, interestingly enough. Maybe that is a ghost of a thread to pull on for the Keith Club historian.
     
  11. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

    Messages:
    16,818
    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2005
    Location:
    Delta, BC, Canada
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Welcome to APUG, although I need to warn you that saying that you "Do not want to deal with film" is not going to get you far here:whistling:
     
  12. Sean

    Sean Admin Staff Member Admin

    Messages:
    9,297
    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2002
    Location:
    New Zealand
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    You might want to check here: http://www.dpug.org instead..