The Razzle Camera.. Who's purchased one?
I've tried emailing Dean twice with questions re. his cameras with the intent to order one but my second email in the past 6 months has gone without a response. Question is, who here has purchased one and if so how did you go about it? Did you call him directly or email? Did you order to your own spec? Since these are custom made I'd like to know my options.
Also, are you happy with your purchase?
In the past he's had a stall at the twice yearly APCS market in Camberwell/Box Hill - and fortuitously there's one this Sunday. I'll check if he's there and report...
I had a 6x12 one. In hindsight, it was very, very limited. Only focused to infinity and had no movements. A true point'n'shoot.
I sold this, wanting to get a 6x17cm camera. So, I emailed Dean twice, telling him that I'm happy to buy one of his 617s. Like you, I got ignored.
Seems that you, too, have been subjected to his ingrate attitude.
Take my suggestion with a pinch, but I would look at the Chinese cameras if I was getting into these types of cameras again. You can get DaYi/Fotoman/Gaoersi P&S cameras (120/4x5), or you can get Shen Hao/Chamonix field cameras that are [IMO] much better, more versatile.
And they will respond to your emails...
The reason I had sought him out was that rumor had it that the Littman was a much higher cost, and that Deans work was comparable and top notch. Is there anyone else that performs these type of conversions?
I'm also curious as to what the general consensus is on these type of conversions.. Would I be better sticking to a crown graphic? I think the main appeal for me is the mobility.
clarify what you want
Are you talking about polaroid conversions? If so, avoid Littman obviously (what a nutcase). There's the Byron one, and also the excellent Chamonix Saber. Both are 4x5 conversions of polaroid-esque bodies. There's several others also.
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I bought a 110B via eBay, back when Dean was selling that way. The workmanship of the conversion was fine, and the camera came in a nice kit with a case and a CD-ROM with information on the conversion.
In the end, I didn't bond with it. Mine came with the original-issue 127 Ysarex, and for my taste it didn't cover adequately for 4x5 at the wider apertures I needed for hand-held use. Also, I found the thing clunky and awkward to handle. The devil is in the details on these things - a big part of how comfortable it is to hold one of these to your face is determined by the exact profile of the back, and this varies from one shop to another.
A 4x5 Crown is bigger and heavier, and I don't find that especially comfortable to work with either, though I'm finding that a 3.25x4.25 Crown that I had fixed up recently is enough smaller and lighter to make a real difference. IMO all of these are on the edge of what is practical for hand-held use, and because there's such a large element of personal taste involved, it's hard to give general advice or to know where the line between practical and impractical will fall for you.
FWIW, another shop that does these is Alpenhause.
I shoot LF handheld with both a Crown Graphic and more recently a Super Graphic and had the opportunity to buy a big Polaroid 110b recently ripe for conversion (it was £30 / $50). However I felt that the Polaroid camera had no advantages to me compared to my Graphics lacking movements and the ability to change lenses.
It is what suits ones individual needs. If the Polaroids still available I may buy it to pass on to a better home
I have a 110A which is half way through conversion at the moment. The 110B is preferable as it shares a single viewfinder with the rangefinder. With the 110A, the separate rangefinder window will be obscured by the film holder/spring back arrangement.
Dean was indeed at the market this morning, with a variety of bits and pieces - so he's clearly still in business! I grabbed a card: firstname.lastname@example.org is the current email address...
Dean made me a Razzle last year. I contacted him via email, and he replied a few days later. I sent him a deposit, and wired him the balance when the camera was ready. It took him a while to build the camera, but I didn't rush him. The camera works 'as advertised'. I've never used a Litmann. Razzle's take standard holders, which lock under Dean's designed pressure back (think Graflock). He also provided an insert which offers a ground glass-- I did not use this, as the project is 100% hand held.
Project is now complete, and the Razzle was well worth it. I'll probably sell it here shortly.