Just posted this on the Large Format forum so I may as well get some more milage out of it:
I think the time frame given, "...about 1964 until 1968", for Adams's use of this camera is not accurate. From 1964 to 1967, with Liliane De Cock as his assistant, Adams worked on photographing the University of California system for that institution's centennial in 1968. Some of this work was published in the book _Fiat Lux_. Included as "Principal Technical Data" in this publication is a list of cameras and lenses used. Cameras used were a 5 X 7 Sinar with a 4 X 5 reducing back, a Hasselblad 500C, a Hasselblad Super-Wide and a Zeiss Ikon Contarex. With the Sinar he used 5 X 7 sheet film as well as 4 X 5, including 55P/N.
I have notes from a Fall 1972 workshop I went to in Yosemite where Adams said that he had changed from the 5 X 7 Sinar to the lighter Arca Swiss which wasn't as sturdy as the Sinar but was sturdy enough and also didn't use base tilts.
By 1979 he had a 4 X 5 Horseman, the mono-rail one with the "L" shaped standards. When he appeared on the cover of the September 3, 1979 issue of Time magazine with this camera I'm sure Horseman and Calumet, the U.S. distributer at the time, were tickled pink.
There were two rather different books published with the title _Fiat Lux_. The first, published in 1967, was a rather larger book with considerable text by Nancy Newhall. The second was published in 1990 by UC Irvine on the occasion of a traveling exhibition of photographs from this body of work. Both books have the same "Principal Technical Data".
Last edited by David Lindquist; 06-29-2014 at 06:21 PM. Click to view previous post history.
I'm of the learned opinion that the Estate of Adams is trading on his name and long history rather than the actual worth of the equipment being auctioned. A figure of $300,000+ is quite extravagant, even for old Leica cameras with some inherent value. An old Arca Swiss forby sold commonly on the second hand market would fetch around $500 to $700 with maybe two high quality lenses of equivalent vintage. I don't see how Adams' Arca Swiss is anything particularly special besides having been used by him alongside a number of other LF equipment.
It wouldn't suprise me to see it go for $300,000 considering one of the 12 surviving O-series leicas recently sold for around $2million. Obviously theres more than 12 Arca Swiss 4x5's out there, but how many were owned by Saint Ansel?