Porta Vue 4x5 camera kits

Discussion in 'Camera Building, Repairs & Modification' started by Changeling1, Sep 27, 2005.

  1. Changeling1

    Changeling1 Member

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    Does anyone know what kind of wood was used in the Porta Vue DIY kits sold back in the late 80's? I have one of these very light weight wooden monorail 4x5s and would like to know more about them and if anyone has one also. The non-geared focusing on this camera is amazing!
     
  2. barryjyoung

    barryjyoung Member

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    Can you post some pics of the wood? And of the focus mechanism please?

    Thanks

    Barry Young




     
  3. Changeling1

    Changeling1 Member

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    I don't have a digital camera at the moment but I will take some pix when I can. The focusing system works as follows: The bottom side of the monorail has fixed to it a long strip of what looks like a course sand-paper. A knob is turned to move the standard down the rail. The knob moves a rubber roller that grips the course material. Forward or reverse- it's very smooth and easy to focus. By turning the knob on the opposite side of the rail, you can lock the camera down. There are focusing knobs on both the front and rear standards and the little camera has all the movements of a regular view camera. There are levels on the tops of each standard. The wood appears to have a natural finish with no apparent stains or varnish being used. Its design looks very similar to the Bender kit cameras that I've seen pictures of.

    The main weakness of the design seems to be the back which does not employ metal springs, but rather heavy-duty flexible straps. I haven't field tested the camera yet but the tension of the straps is about like that of a vintage Crown Graphic which may not be as strong as one might like. It looks like the straps could be replaced with stainless steel springs.
     
  4. barryjyoung

    barryjyoung Member

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    Thanks for the info

    Barry Young
     
  5. FM2N

    FM2N Member

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    Hello,
    Pm has been sent.
    Thanks
     
  6. photographs42

    photographs42 Member

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    My first view camera was an early version of the 4x5 Porta-view. It was all Cherry wood but it differed from most I’ve seen in that it had a fold down flat bed rather than the monorail that I believe came later. The camera was a bit fussy to use and nothing about it was what one would consider solid. On the other hand, when the shutter opens there is nothing between the film and the subject except the glass, so at that point the camera’s only job is to be light tight and reasonably steady. It served me pretty well considering I paid $175.00 for the camera, a lens and two film holders.

    Jerome