I wonder how much this goes back to the orginal marketing. The wa it's been explained to me.
Originally Posted by Wayne Olson
You had Deardoffs at the top of the heap in terms of price.
Then the Kodaks and the Anscos
Then the B&Js.
But personally I'm happy with my B&J. In some ways it's better then it's more fashionable competitors.
Originally Posted by Roger Hicks
I didn't say that I'm all against the top-flight equipment - in fact, I've got some top gear too, and I enjoy it much But I have just the one principle: if the top-flight thingie falls in my hands somehow, I just gladly accept it All my "really good" cameras (Fujica G690, Rollei SL66 and TLR etc.) were bought by me for silly prices, and carefully restored to perfect operation. More, a careful tuning of cheapo stuff like Yashica-Mat EM makes them as fine-working as their brand counterparts - you should feel by yourself the film winding and shutter release on my YM after some tweaking
The running around and the fetishistic lust for, say, Linhof or other brand is what I never do. But if somewhere is for sale an unused Linhof release cable for $5 (my recent purchase), or Linhof-selected lens (Tele-Arton 250/5.6) for $125, why not?
Burke & James was gone before I was born, but I've heard that they specialized in being the "cheaper than the competition" photo company. I'd say its price snobbery first and a dislike of the battleship grey paint second.
Personally, though, I like that battleship grey paint.
Oh and I forgot something. B&J bought a quantity of unmatched Goerz Dagor cells after WW2 and sold them as marked "Berlin Dagor." Apparently those cells were originally quality control rejects...
Originally Posted by eumenius
We are in complete agreement.
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As a happy owner of a B & J 8x10 grey monster field, I have to say the camera is not for everyone, because for a field she is quite heavy but she is also sturdy. I got mine in exelent condition for 480 USD the back of the camera has been never in use! And the red bellows is like m.monroe very sexy. And I can use my 610 mm Nikkor and focus it down to 3 meters and even in windy conditions I had no blur pictures heavy wight has also his pros! The camera is build like a tank and id need much space in my old tramper rucksack but I can walk 2 miles if needed but prefer not more! My Sinar P fits not in my tramper rucksack but the B&J does it perfectly.
Every tool has its pro's and con's!
Happy shooting, Armin J. Seeholzer
Wayne - I had a 5x7 B&J for a while. It had lots of slop in the rear standard, the focusing hood was dysfunctional, the tailboard design was a nuisance, and IMO it was way too bulky and heavy for the format. It was extremely unfun to use, and I was very happy to replace it with something else more to my taste.
As always, YMMV. If you've fixed one up so that it works for you, that's great. Enjoy it, and don't worry about equipment snobbery or anti-snobbery.
I use 5x7 B&J tailboard and monorail cameras with backs for 4x5 and smaller. Each basic camera cost less than $100 USD. Of course there are many more elegant and rigid cameras, but the B&Js work. It is also easy to adapt them with different backs and lens boards. Even the Newton Neu-View I had decades ago sufficed to hold the lens at one end, the film holder at the other, and with plenty of adjustments of both. That's what a view camera is supposed to do. Other cameras have more convenience and status, even if they can't produce better images.
Last edited by Jim Jones; 08-20-2006 at 07:17 PM. Click to view previous post history.
I have a B&J 8X10 monorail that looks quite good after stripping the grey paint - wood appears to be a light colored hardwood. The bellows was glued to the standards; but now glued to plywood frame which in turn is screwed into the standards. The rear standard vibrates when inserting a filmholder, but wait a couple of 2nds after withdrawing darkslide & its fine. I put a Packard shutter on lensboard for a 305 Nikkor barrel lens. Have it mounted on Majestic studio tripod (rollers); and it functions very well in the studio. I would think a field B&J would be just as useful.
van Huyck Photo
"Progress is only a direction, and it's often the wrong direction"
I had a B&J and it was a fine camera. IMHO it would be rare to find an old woody that dosen't show some wear and tear and B&J are no exception (but niether are 'dorffs!) Ultimately its not your camera but what you do with it that makes or breaks the deal. Don't let anxiety about your equipment influence your photography---no one is going to be able to tell the difference between a photo taken with a B&J from one taken with an Ebony anyway, and certainly don't let anyone "put down" the tools you're comfortable and enjoy working with---thats a problem "they" have, don't let it become yours.