Question about buying from KEH and some of the LF cameras they currently have

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by snay1345, Jul 21, 2011.

  1. snay1345

    snay1345 Member

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    After about two years with my speed graphic I have decided it is time for me to get a view camera, specifically a monorail type camera. After looking around on ebay and keh I have decided that the one I get is going to come from KEH. But I am kind of confused about their grading and the lack of description. I was wondering if I could get some help and opinions on a couple of the cameras there. I am in the military and the camera will be going with me wherever I go. Weight isn't one of my concerns as the camera will be alot less than all the other stuff I have to carry around, and I am getting ready to go to Mount fuji in a month so I am trying to get one shipped to me quickly so I can get some practice with it before I go.

    Anyway there are a couple of different cameras that are available ranging in price from 140 up to 250. The cameras I am looking at state that they are in an EX condition so the condition of the cameras should be good. But my question is (and I am sorry if this is a dumb question) is do these things come with a back? The camera models are Calumet cc401 - cc404. I have been searching around the net and cannot find what the differences between the models are. I see that they come in different bellows lengths, but from what I can see the lengths of the bellows are no determined by the model number as they have two cameras of the same model number for sale with different length bellows. They have cameras with a 16 and 22 inch bellows. I don't believe I will ever get into super long lenses so I think a 16 inch bellows would be long enough for my needs. I plan on using it for landscape (not super wide angle stuff) and maybe the occasional portrait photo or full length and group shots.

    I was wondering if I could get any guidance from more experienced LF photographers on here. Any advice or words of wisdom would be great. Thank you
     
  2. snay1345

    snay1345 Member

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    There is also a bgn Calumet 540 on there as well that is surprisingly not that expensive.
     
  3. Len Middleton

    Len Middleton Member

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    I do not know about that specific Calumet model, but unless it says otherwise, it should include a back. I understand thta KEH have a good return policy so that should reduce some of the related risk, but a phone call or e-mail could also go a long way. Also their reputation is that they tend to understate the condition, as that would result in fewer returns.

    Do understand that a Calumet 4x5 could be any manner of creature as Calumet are distributors and have sold their own cameras, Cambo's, and others just to name a few.

    As well as needing the back on the camera, you will also need a lensboard, unless the lens on your Speed Graphic will fit on its existing lensboard and work for you. You have not indicated whether your Speed Graphic lens is mounted in a shutter or in a barrel, as that could impact how it all works for you.

    And long bellows are not just for long lenses, as you can also do close up work. You might want to maximize the difference between the monorail and Speed Graphic (e.g. long bellows, wide angle capability, greater movements, etc. versus small compact package with built-in shutter), otherwise you might ask yourself, why bother...

    Good luck with your exploration of that part of the world (intentionally ambiguous...)
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 21, 2011
  4. phirehouse

    phirehouse Subscriber

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    I would call them. They will be happy to answer your questions.
     
  5. Rick A

    Rick A Subscriber

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    As far as I know, there is no cc-404. The Calumet models are the cc-400, standard 16" bellows. Thn there is the cc-401 extended bellows, 22" long. Last was the cc-402, wide field with special 14" bellows and front standard is recessed for using 75mm and up lenses. I dont have a cc-402 but I do have one each of of the cc-401 and cc-402. Both are in excellent condition. These are workhorses for durability. Check photos here.
    http://www.apug.org/forums/forum379/90395-fs-calumet-4x5s.html
     
  6. BradS

    BradS Subscriber

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    definitely call them. if you just place an order on the web site without talking to them about the specific item they are going to ship, you may well be very disappointed. KEH have a pretty good reputation but, they do a (relatively) high volume and have been known to ship (good looking) garbage from time-to-time.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 21, 2011
  7. BetterSense

    BetterSense Member

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    I have both a normal and long-bellows metal calumet. They are very good cameras but I may sell the 16" bellows one because I don't need 2. I bought one of them from Keh and the transaction was very good as have been all my keh transactions.
     
  8. pgomena

    pgomena Member

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    These are great basic cameras from the 1960s-1970s, but they are real tanks. If you shop around, you may be able to find lighter, more modern designs for a reasonable price. You may think weight is not a concern, but dragging a big old Calumet around will change your mind. Don't forget the big, heavy tripod. You'll need it.

    Peter Gomena
     
  9. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council

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    And especially don't forget that non-collapsing monorail that the CC's have. I would seriously recommend looking into a field camera to take to Mount Fuji instead of a monorail. Frankly, your Speed Graphic is a much better travel option, even with its limited bellows. It would mean stretching your budget a little, but I'd suggest looking for a used Shen Hao, Horseman or Zone VI.
     
  10. MattCarey

    MattCarey Member

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    If you check this one,

    http://www.keh.com/camera/Large-Format-Camera-Bodies/1/sku-LF020090013850?r=FE

    You can see the back in the picture.

    This one,

    http://www.keh.com/camera/Large-Format-Camera-Bodies/1/sku-LF020090307210?r=FE

    States "Revolving back: 360 degrees. Lens board: 4 inch sq"

    Call them and double check before purchasing.

    I have purchased a few times from KEH. A couple of new digital cameras. Used cameras and lenses. I've been very lucky with bargain grade.

    As noted above, these are bulky cameras. Weight may not be the issue as much as volume. If you've got the luggage space, go for one.
     
  11. jeffreyg

    jeffreyg Subscriber

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    Ditto for a field camera. Unless he needs a long bellows or larger shifts a field camera should fit the bill. I've used a Toyo field camera for many years. It has ample bellows length, some rear extension for a little added length and I have an add-on rear attachment that adds approximately 6 inches. The camera less lens folds and it is not too heavy. A sturdy tripod regardless of the selection should be on your list. For landscape a 90 or 120 wide angle lens such as the Nikkor (W or SW series) should give more than ample coverage and work for closer work. The field camera would set up quicker and is more convenient when traveling. Remember you will also be carrying film, film holders, a changing bag, focusing cloth, cable release, light meter, some filters and a rule or some way of figuring exposure compensation for bellows extension and maybe some other odds and ends. A proper case or backpack to carry it all. --- did anyone say point and shoot still works for some?

    http://www.jeffreyglasser.com/
     
  12. minimal

    minimal Member

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    I would tend to agree with this. I've only purchased a couple things from KEH so far, but I've been quite surprised with the condition of the items compared to what they were marked as. The BGN Mamiya-Sekor 110mm is in near-mint condition. It's a bit dirty in the ridges of the aperture and connection rings. That's it. The BGN Calumet 45N I bought is about the same. A bit of dust from sitting around and a worn, slightly scuffed ground glass/fresnel, but other than that it looks pretty much new. Oddly enough it came with a rotating back that wasn't mentioned in the listing so that did offset the obviously cheap aftermarket ground glass and fresnel.
     
  13. Ottrdaemmerung

    Ottrdaemmerung Member

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    This is no help with LF matters, but another post about KEH's condition ratings. Just a few minutes ago, FedEx delivered an auto-exposure prism I'd ordered for my medium-format Mamiya 645 Pro, listed on KEH in "UG" condition. I was expecting something truly awful-looking, but I was mighty surprised. There are some light surface scratches on the plastic housing, and just a bit of the white-painted figures on the black control dials is rubbed off. Of course the item is in perfect working order. If I'd gone to the next highest condition grade, I would have had to spend $110 more. Woohoo!
     
  14. Leigh B

    Leigh B Member

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    I've purchased a whole bunch of stuff from KEH over the past year, and have been quite pleased with the results.

    A couple of items were returned, but not due to quality. Generally it was my error, and so stated to them, but they accepted the return anyway and issued a refund the same day they received it.

    - Leigh
     
  15. snay1345

    snay1345 Member

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    Thank you for all the advice. I will begin to look at other cameras as well. Just being a new guy to view cameras I am having a hard time finding which brands/models are the ones I need to be looking at. Also the spot that I will be taking a photo from is about 100 feet from where I will be staying. I was there last year and was pissed that I didn't have a large format camera with me. I will also look into some of the other field cameras on there.