Keith Camera Co. "Model One" Portrait camera
I have recently acquired a 5X7 Keith Model One portrait camera. it is in pretty bad shape but it's cleaning up pretty well.
Other than the information stamped on the tag on the front standard indicating that it was made in Los Angeles, CA I cannot find a single shred of information on this camera, or the manufacturer. I can't even confirm the fact that this company ever existed or when they were in business.
Anybody have any information on this, please let me in on the mystery.
I have no information whatsoever, but I do have a Keith twin-lens 4x5" portrait camera which I acquired a couple of months ago in great shape and am looking forward to using. In fact, my first APUG posting was about this. Someone who lived in Riverside CA was kind enough to look in their phone book but found no trace of them. I searched the web in every way I could think of - nothing!
Want to form a Keith Owners' Club? Exclusivity guaranteed!
You can find a little information (a paragraph) about the Keith Portrait Camera in "McKeown's Price Guide to Antique and Classic Cameras". Or, "McBroom's Camera Bluebook" (sorry I can't remember which one).
The books should be available in the reference section of your local library.
Thank you for your replies.
I stripped the "metalic spray paint" off this camera to find the wood somewhat dry but in decent shape and it had a fairly appealing wood grain. I decided not to stain it but have rubbed it down with lemon oil. The tone of the wood turned to a "strawberry blonde." I sure would like to know how this camera looked when it was originally sold. I wish I had three or four more of the obscure cameras beacuse it is exactly the sort of camera that I need in my work.
I have seen a picture of one of those twin 4X5 Keith cameras. It was cool.
International Keith Owners Club
Active Member (#2 of 2)
Originally Posted by David H. Bebbington
David, You didn't by any chance buy mine? I sold one awhile ago on Ebay. They're really neat cameras.
Peter De Smidt
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I just checked, the vendor was from Prior Lake, Minnesota. They certainly are neat cameras, mine is made from welded flat metal sections sprayed gray, it weighs a ton but I won't be hand-holding it. A uniquely effective answer to the problem of how to take portraits at wide apertures, stay in focus and not bore the subject.
Originally Posted by Peter De Smidt
For those not yet privileged to see one of these fine (weird) cameras (I just love the way the top lens panel slides downwards, controlled by a cam and cam follower on the left of the camera, to compensate for parallax as you focus closer):
Last edited by David H. Bebbington; 07-23-2007 at 04:18 AM. Click to view previous post history.
They're really neat cameras. When I bought it, at a gun shop of all places!, I asked, "How are the pictures?" "Soft" replied the owner. Well, there were two reasons for this. First, there was a nylon stocking taped over the back of the lens. Second, the ground glass was installed backwards. Once these were taken care of, the Ilex lens was a great performer. Chris Perez tested it, and you can see the results for yourself on his site.
I'm bummed that I sold mine, but I really didn't get to do much large format portraiture. My friends won't put up with the effort it takes. Plus it gets old clearing all the furniture out of the dining room.
We have a 5X7 Garden & Williams KEITH Los Angeles California Wooden Folding Camera. Name plaque on streched east west diamond. Easy slide pop out lens, oversized movable back glass, all redish wood, flat metal attachments and aluminum wheel cranks. I got this camera from a early employee of Olan Mills Portrate studios. She was on the road shooting Church Directories, Portrates in the early 1950's Olan Started around 1946, In the field you had to have a camera and a reserve, These cameras must have started the Olan Mills empire. PS You wife is her Daughter. Thanks Gordon
a 2012 update?
I just saw a 4x5 keith portrait wood camera in pretty good condition at a show. thinking it would be great fun and that it would hold an old petzval as well.
How have you enjoyed having yours?
And would you like to have a 3rd member of the Keith Camera club?
Here is an opportunity to get in as member 5: a Keith 4x5 TLR is for sale on the 'Bay right now. In Minnesota, interestingly enough. Maybe that is a ghost of a thread to pull on for the Keith Club historian.