What is this?

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by Terry Christian, Nov 30, 2012.

  1. Terry Christian

    Terry Christian Subscriber

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    I just hit the motherlode yesterday, getting a Zone VI Tachihara 4x5 field camera, two Schneider lenses, two light meters, about fifteen film holders, two lens hoods, dark cloth, assorted glass and Kodak Wratten gelatin filters, lens wrench, Ambico The Shade+ filter holder, self-timer attachment, bubble level, white padded soft case, hard aluminum case, and more, for $600. Outrageous. I had to strike while the credit card was hot. :laugh:

    Anyway, much of this stuff was obviously part of a kit obtained from Zone VI, including this little doohicky. It is a black-painted wooden square, about 1/4" thick and roughly about 2-1/2" square, with an amber- or orange-colored glass filter mounted in the middle, much like a slide. A hole is punched in the corner and a faux-leather thong is threaded through it, presumably for hanging around the neck. A Zone VI logo label was affixed near the opposite corner.

    What is this thing? I'll post a picture if there are no obvious guesses. Thanks!
     
  2. m1tch

    m1tch Member

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    Perhaps its a viewfinder mask when you shoot a different format ie changing for say a 5x4 to a 6x9 roll back?
     
  3. LJH

    LJH Member

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    It's a B&W viewing filter. These are used to gauge the tones of a scene, as it removes a lot of the colours of the scene, giving you an approximation of how it will look shot in B&W.
     
  4. AgX

    AgX Member

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    Except for the colour hue I would say it is a B&W viewing filter. There were special gelatine filters made for this purpose.
     
  5. Ken Nadvornick

    Ken Nadvornick Subscriber

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    I think the filter used by those Zone VI B&W viewers was a Wratten #90 monochromatic.

    Does it look like this?

    Ken
     
  6. Terry Christian

    Terry Christian Subscriber

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    Ken, LJH, and AgX: You're correct! That's what I kind of thought when I saw this thing.
    Ken: It looks somewhat like the one in the link, except mine is painted black wood, and square, instead of circular and plastic.

    Thanks for your help!
     
  7. Bill Burk

    Bill Burk Subscriber

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    Yours must be an early version then, think it might be a genuine gelatin Wratten #90 between two sheets of glass?
     
  8. Terry Christian

    Terry Christian Subscriber

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    Actually that's most likely the case, Bill. The reflection of the filter is "liquidy," as one would expect a gelatin filter to be, but the surfaces aren't flexible. I think you're right. This thing is extremely well constructed, too, as I can't find any obvious way to open the thing up to replace the filter or glass if I wanted to.
     
  9. Ken Nadvornick

    Ken Nadvornick Subscriber

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    Also curious about the camera. I own an early Zone VI 4x5 from the pre-Wisner era, and it's actually a rosewood Wista 45DXII (no back shift). I am the original owner, so I know it predates the Wisners.

    Was there a Tachihara Zone VI model that pre-dates the Wista?

    Ken
     
  10. AgX

    AgX Member

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    I just checked with a 50's Agfa/Orwo filter list: There were even 4 different pre-viewing filters for b&w films depending on sensitization and lighting (all different from Wratten #90), and one nearly-grey filter for colour films.
     
  11. Terry Christian

    Terry Christian Subscriber

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    Ken:
    Here's a thread on the LF Forum about the manufacturer history of Zone VI cameras. The thread was started by someone who had just bought a camera that, by the photos posted, looks exactly like mine. Mine is cherry, with silver nickel-plated hardware, not brass gold-plated, and without a bail back. Front has tilt, swing, and rise/fall, and rear has tilt and swing. What I believe to be the serial number is 267: it is embossed in the black hardware the holds the camera together, and there is a number 67 embossed on the top of the camera bed at the rear.

    http://www.largeformatphotography.i...e-VI-Owner-Misc-Questions&p=348106#post348106
     
  12. Ken Nadvornick

    Ken Nadvornick Subscriber

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    Thanks Terry.

    I did not know that there was a Zone VI 4x5 version that came before mine. The ones after I was aware of, but not before. I've always been very satisfied with the Wista version. Still have it along with the entire kit I got from Zone VI. Everything works fine. (As do all of the various darkroom items as well. That was good stuff.)

    Good link!

    Ken
     
  13. Terry Christian

    Terry Christian Subscriber

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    Ken:
    I'm only slightly bummed that what landed in my lap wasn't the later and arguably better Wista version like yours, with more features like the bail back, but on the upside this Tachihara is very, very light and couldn't be more compact. According to the manual leaflet included, its weight is 3-1/4 lbs. and it measures 3-1/2" x 7-1/4" x 8-1/2" when folded, 12" max. bellows extension.
     
  14. E. von Hoegh

    E. von Hoegh Member

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    Viewing filter for B&W work.