I have a contact printing frame purchased about 10 years ago stuck away in a closet. I believe it is a 20x24 Gravity Works print frame with plexi instead of regular glass and long rubber hoses to clamp the split back instead of springs. It is so awkward that I've never used it.
However, it is nowhere near as bad as the Premier contact print frame I once purchased. The frame is mitered and stapled rather than mortised and tenoned and the split back is held together with duct tape instead of a hinge. The spring broke off the back almost immediately. What a piece of junk compared to an old Eastman Contact Frame.
Joking aside, I can't quite understand what you're saying here. Are you saying that the Horseman Woodman is a lousy camera because it broke when you dropped it from a height onto a hard surface? I think all of us have had lucky escapes, but generally you really must expect this to happen, particularly with view cameras designed to be light and portable.
David, all joking aside, I purchased this camera new in 1999 or 2000. It was my first woodfield and I was very excited. My previous experience with 4x5 was a speed graphic and a couple of different monorails but had never even held a wooden field camera. I researched the Tachihara as an option but it seemed the reviews were not very flattering. My next choice was the Horseman. I wanted to buy new as a treat to myself and with the thought of keeping the camera for a long time. Well when the camera arrived it seemed a little flimsy but assumed that's what you get with a lightweight wood camera. I also noticed some other things with the build quality that seemed a little lacking. Front standard very unsteady even with a lightweight lens. Uneven placement of the centimeter scales, focusing mechanism would sometimes chatter and skip. The locks on the shift and swing didn't really lock.
After using this camera for several years and getting the chance to meet other photographers and compare cameras I realized what a "cheap" camera I purchased.
With respect to my dropping the camera, I admit it was totally my fault. The reason I'm upset? The camera fell no more than 18" from the ground and literally crumpled. It fell from the tripod, lens first, onto a dirt road. Initially I thought the lens might be scratched up and maybe the wood too. When I picked it up I realized the entire base of the front standard had broken off. Luckily it was a clean break and was glued easily. No scratches or marks anywhere else. The lens still looks mint.
After further inspection my eyes could not believe what they saw. The metal pieces holding the rear standard had bent completely out of shape. And now I was completely bent out of shape. It was amazing how warped the pieces had become. I felt as if some invisible car had run over my camera. Well after some working with it(it's easy to work with ) the rear standard is almost straight. Of course the price to fix these problems at horseman could have almost bought a Shen Hao.
That's why this is the worst piece of photo equipment I have ever had. Lame quality, weak camera even before I smashed it to pieces.
Sorry this is so long winded, hope all those other Woodman users are having a great time with theirs>
Brian-if you really wanted to have pain you should have bought a wisner! I've heard some incredible stories about those.The groundglass literally just falling right out for NO reason. Had a look -see in NYC recently at a new one and there were wood spurs hanging off the back. I noticed that the guy who was selling the camera is on epay right now trying to buy an older wisner. That's because they once had build quality. .
At age 17 I was duped into buying one of those stupid "wrenches" for opening 35mm film cassettes. $15. Not that it didn't work, after a fashion, but it was useless otherwise. Today I happily use a $1.49 bottle opener for all important tasks.