The Year of manufacture for a Calumet CC-401

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by Billy Walker, Aug 31, 2011.

  1. Billy Walker

    Billy Walker Member

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    Until yesterday I had never even touched a large format camera. Been thinking about correcting that for quite a while. After reading how the Calumet CC-401's are excellent LF starter cameras' I purchased one from KEH in fabulous condition. The original case even came with it and even that looked practically brand new. The day the camera arrived I also received my newly ordered Steve Simmons book on "Using the View Camera" from Amazon. So I guess my education in LF is about to begin while I'm in my 57th year of being on this planet. My question is this: Is there a way to tell from the serial number when this camera was produced? It happens to be the gray one. My understanding is that the gray paint came before the black paint but I have no clue as to when the black's were released for the first time.

    I still needs a lens board, film holders and a lens at this point but I can't believe how excited I am to get going with this camera!!

    Billy Walker
     
  2. Jon Shiu

    Jon Shiu Subscriber

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    Congrats! Was also my first large format camera. If your camera didn't come with one, I recommend a fresnel screen that goes over the regular ground glass to make viewing brighter. You can browse the old Calumet camera catalogs over at cameraeccentric.com

    Jon
     
  3. jon.oman

    jon.oman Member

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    I bought a brand new gray one in about 1974.........
     
  4. Rick A

    Rick A Subscriber

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    Wow, welcome to the downhill spiral of burning money. Lensboards are the easy part, cc-4xx series use a 4"x4" board that can be cut from anything, matboard to mahogany or oem metal ones. Lenses are a personal choice, I like a 127mm for architecture and some landscapes, 150 for general, and 210mm for portraits. I also have a 105mm that requires a deep recessed board.

    As to dating them, your guess is as good as mine. I have a cc-400 and cc-401, and couldn't tell if one is older than the other. When you get some film holders and lens, practice loading them with photo paper cut to correct size for paper negatives. This also helps with correct exposure, then when you feel comfortable load film and start shooting for real.
     
  5. Billy Walker

    Billy Walker Member

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    I happened to have discovered that site yesterday! It's pretty cool with all that memorabilia!
     
  6. Billy Walker

    Billy Walker Member

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    The recessed boards I probably won't have an interest in. I do want to get a 210 for portrait work and I've read that will work well for food as well.

    On the photo paper do you need to notch the paper like the film itself? I might be wrong but I thought I read somewhere that 4x5 is notched in a certain manner. Thank you for your reply!

    Billy Walker
     
  7. Billy Walker

    Billy Walker Member

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    Thank you for the tip on the fresnel.

    Billy Walker
     
  8. Billy Walker

    Billy Walker Member

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    Jon, I checked out your home page. You do excellent work!! I haven't been in a darkroom for years at this point but I'm looking forward to it. By the way... I love your square format when used.
     
  9. Rick A

    Rick A Subscriber

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    Film is notched so you can tell which side the emulsion is on in total darkness. You don't need to notch paper because you can load under a safelight. It's a good idea to practice with your eyes colsed after you get the hang of it, next thing you know you'll be loading film in total dark without any hiccups.
     
  10. Billy Walker

    Billy Walker Member

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    Thank you Rick.