Starting with a Baby Al-Vista
Okay folks. I got a baby Al-Vista (takes 120 film) a couple weeks ago. The lens look fairly clean. The four-speed spring shutter seems seems to work. The inside looks pristine except for a replacement red window and the outside isn't too bad.
My questions are as follows:
 What format does this really produce?
 It seems like I'll expose some film when I first load it. Is this correct?
 What numbers do I watch for in the little red window?
 Any guesses as to what the shutter-aperture combos are? It's a fixed aperture, obviously, but I have no idea what to guess for an equivalent shutter speed for each setting.
 It seems like the wood film "rails" are pretty rough. It looks like really cheap, poorly dried pine, painted black. Is this a problem wth the film?
the negs on mine measure 2 1/4" x 6 7/8"
2 - no you won't expose film - at least I haven't
Don't know about #'s I turn the knob a certain amount - see my web page on baby al vistas and experiment
I figured my f stop at f 14
I haven't had problems with the rails but the film hangs up sometimes at the end on mine - I have to fix it.
Thank you very much. Very nice site. Somehow I hadn't found it when searching for info on the cameras. The layout is nice and the photos are very good (of the cameras AND the portfolios). Unfortunately it makes me want a No 5 and to buy that 5000' roll of 5" film that keeps popping up on eBay. Sometimes it's bad to be an engineer . . .
The 5 inch al vistas are a nice size. For a while there was a bunch of aerial film in smaller rolls floating around for a reasonable amount of money. you could get some 5x12 film for the 5b as well and just reload after every shot.
I look forward to seeing your shots with the baby al vista