Shooting with a Seneca

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by hblad120, Aug 3, 2006.

  1. hblad120

    hblad120 Member

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    Many years ago I purchased a Seneca #9 to display in my house. The camera was built in 1900 and has sat on a bookcase collecting dust since I purchased it. It's a portrait camera with only front rise and fall movement.

    I have recently decided to research the 5X7 market in order to delve into the world of contact print. I currently have a 4X5 and I know what it cost to put everything together, so I was a little unsure whether or not to make the leap to 5X7. That's when I remembered the Seneca.

    I took it off the shelf, dusted it off and cleaned it up. It's in great shape with supple bellows and a Goerz Dagor F6.8 lens with very clear glass for its age. The shutter fires soundly at all speeds including 1 second. All I really need to do is to get another ground glass and a couple of film holders.

    My other cameras (medium format) tend to be older, mechanical cameras and lenses from the 1950s. I like the feel of and look of the image taken with older equipment so I am not expecting the same spectacular results you get with a modern lens.

    Has anyone out there in the APUG community used a camera and lens of this vintage and what have your results been like?
     
  2. DBP

    DBP Member

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    My regular, and only, 5x7 camera is a Century, from 1902. I haven't tried enlargements from it yet, but the contact prints are sharp and contrasty. It is also easy to carry and gorgeous.
     
  3. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I don't know how old these are, but I guess they're about that vintage:
    http://www.bruraholo.no/Cameras/Reisekamera.html

    Yes, they're in use - along with their "big brother" the 24x30cm Reisekamera. These two are 18x24cm (first) and 13x18cm (second).
     
  4. MWGraves

    MWGraves Member

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    I use an old Eastman Model 2 5x7. With it is a Goerz Apo-Artar of unknown vintage. All I can say is this: the lens is obviously newer than the camera (making it about a half a century or so old), it's uncoated and gives me more coverage than I've got movements. I pull it out quite frequently when shooting. My other option is a 5x7 Toyo monorail. It's a much more precise camera and I can use the same lens set for it as my Toyo 810M because the lensboards are interchangable. On the other hand, have you ever tried to hike with a monorail?
     
  5. MenacingTourist

    MenacingTourist Member

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    I'm another proud owner of a Century 5x7 camera. I shoot mine with a barrel lens mounted in front of a Packard shutter. I haven't done a lot of work with it but so far I really like it as well as the 5x7 format. I have several recent photos in my gallery that were made with this set up.

    I don't plan on enlarging with this so everything is contact printed with a single bare bulb in my spare bathroom. It really couldn't get any more simple. Did I mention it's really fun?
     
  6. Nathan Smith

    Nathan Smith Member

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    I have a 5x7 2D with a Dagor in a Compound shutter. I'd recommend taking advantage of our APUG connections: getting a SatinSnow groundglass and having Carol Flutot Miller clean up and time your shutter - both real bargains.
    After that, visit J&C and FreeStyle for film - both have inexpensive choices as well as higher priced well-known brands.
    Your Dagor is a nice lens, have fun.
    Nathan
     
  7. athanasius80

    athanasius80 Member

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    I have a 4x5 Seneca No. 8 with a Dagor. Its a nice little camera with an excellent lens even by today's standards. Use it with care and enjoy it. Or be like me and try to blow your photoshop buddies out of the water with 90 year old equipment.
     
  8. jimcollum

    jimcollum Member

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    i piced up an 11x14 Improved Seneca View that i'm shooting with. It's *very* light (well relatively speaking).. i'm shooting with a 19" Red Dot, and it does very well
     
  9. Jim Fitzgerald

    Jim Fitzgerald Member

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    I've been using a Seneca Improved 8x10 that has a date of November 1904. All cameras in this age group have their own quirks. I love this camera and the images that I can produce with it. I use a TRT 12" triple convertible, a Fuji 240mm and a wollensack 12" in a Betax shutter. A great outfit. Once you use it you WILL WANT A BIGGER CAMERA! I'm building a 8x20!

    Stay Focused....or Soft Focused!!

    Jim