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Thread: What is this?

  1. #1
    Terry Christian's Avatar
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    What is this?

    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.

    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. #2

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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. #3
    LJH
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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. #4
    AgX
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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. #5
    Ken Nadvornick's Avatar
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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
    "They are the proof that something was there and no longer is. Like a stain. And the stillness of them is boggling. You can turn away but when you come back they’ll still be there looking at you."

    — Diane Arbus, March 15, 1971, in response to a request for a brief statement about photographs

  6. #6
    Terry Christian's Avatar
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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. #7
    Bill Burk's Avatar
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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. #8
    Terry Christian's Avatar
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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. #9
    Ken Nadvornick's Avatar
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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
    "They are the proof that something was there and no longer is. Like a stain. And the stillness of them is boggling. You can turn away but when you come back they’ll still be there looking at you."

    — Diane Arbus, March 15, 1971, in response to a request for a brief statement about photographs

  10. #10
    AgX
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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.

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