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  1. #11

    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Shooter
    4x5 Format
    Posts
    3
    Hi Steve, I recently got hold of a working VN with a Ross 6in f/4.5 lens. The shutter curtain has some pinholes which need attention, and I've managed to get some adapters to use cut film in the plate holders. I was lucky enough to have a lesson from a retired press photographer who used one in the 1950s and he showed me how to set the various shutter slit widths and tensions.

    I was surprised that the back had to be unclipped each time to insert the slide - not as easy as the 5x4 sprung backs.

    Mat

  2. #12

    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Shooter
    Multi Format
    Posts
    2
    Hello Steve, just found your post about a VN. Hope you don't mind a comment or two. I have three or four including an unusual 'boxed-in' version without bellows. The VN was my first professional camera and taught me a lot, especially covering news. With a single plate you only had one chance so it had to be right, first time, every time. Distances were by judgement and so was exposure. If there were six jobs to do they were usually done on six plates, with maybe an extra just in case. Adding a flashgun brought a whole new avenue to explore: a Phillips PF60 could light a street,providing it fired. Usually it was necessary to lick the contacts on the base. Never was sure if this was a technical advantage or just the result of a session in the Star Inn, in Westgate Road.
    If I can help you with further research (although my knowledge is rather limited) please ask.
    regards

  3. #13
    Steve S's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom
    Shooter
    Multi Format
    Posts
    79

    Van Neck Update

    Hi Newsman,
    The VN has developed into a bit of a project for me since my initial post and I have been trying to find as much as I can about both the cameras and the company. There is a review of the camera in the BJP Almanac of 1934 which is very complimentary and it would seem that the new VN Press had improved features over the 1933 model.They were very impressed with the speed at which plates could be changed and its robust construction. For such a popular camera though information is scarce both regarding the cameras and the company history.
    I now have two earlier models of the camera in addition to the later model that started this thread and no camera is exactly the same. I also have the remains of a boxed in version too. This has no lens and the shutter winding knob is missing.See Pic. I would be keen to know what lens your boxed in version carries and any views you have on why the boxed (or fixed front) version was developed.Particularly do you think this was a model in its own right or always a conversion from a bellows camera. As you can see the lens mount on mine would appear to have housed a longer than standard lens which suggests it may have been for sports use.
    I haven't been in 'The Star' on Westgate Road for years!!
    Cheers, Steve
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails VNRigid3.jpg  

  4. #14

    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Shooter
    Multi Format
    Posts
    2
    Hello again Steve. The boxed in VN I have has a f4.5 Tessar 15cm and seems longer than yours and tapers. Needs some work doing on the blind but otherwise good condition. The only instruction manual I have ever found ran to all of two small pages with a price list on the back.
    regards

  5. #15

    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Shooter
    35mm
    Posts
    1

    V.N.

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve S View Post
    I have just acquired a nice 9x12 Van Neck press outfit with 6 inch Ross f4.5 Ross Xpres, 4 inch f4 wide angle Ross Expres and 11.5 inch f5.5 Teleros lenses. While I am waiting for film to arrive ( I thought I would give Adox 50 a go) I wonder if anyone has any experience of using this camera and or/lenses. From the little documentation I have found it would appear that no two cameras were exactly the same as the company made customisation a selling point. However the design is based on the Goerz Anschutz with extra refinements. I would be particularly interested to know how the press man of the 1940s managed to focus his telephoto lens other than by having a damn good eye for distance. Although the camera has a glass focusing screen this needs to be removed prior to insertion of the plate so it would have been highly impractical for reportage.
    High Steve .I used this model of V.N. camera while working on a newspaper in Wales in the 1960,s It was a good training ground for estimating distances and exposure. I had a screw on compure shutter for electronic flash when the back blind was fixed open. I only used the telephoto lens a few time just to get pictures if I couldnot get near.This was the ground glas screen as described. I regret I have not got this model but I have the baseboard model I moved onto before going on to 120 roll film then 35mm

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