Please pardon the long posting, but I'm trying to cram in enough information to increase my chances of getting some good answers to my questions here.

I just finished restoring a Rochester Optical Co. Universal view camera that I got in fairly miserable condition about 5 years ago. I must say, with all modesty, that it's just gorgeous, as well as being fully functional. Ready to take pictures; I even found what seems to be an appropriate lens (a Bausch & Lomb 5x7 Symmetrical in a Victor shutter). But I've run into a snag.

The thing is, I don't know what size this camera is. Pretty basic thing not to know, you'd think. But I think I can be excused, as the camera didn't come in a box printed with "5x7 view camera", no manual, no instructions, nothing.

I had thought (OK, assumed) that it was a 5x7 camera, based on its general dimensions. Well, today the 5x7 film holder I ordered from Pacific Rim Camera arrived, and it doesn't fit; it's too small in both dimensions.

So the first order of business is to identify this camera's size. Here are the relevant dimensions:

  • Film holder outside: 6-11/16" x 9"
  • Film holder exposure opening: 5-1/8" x 7-15/16"
  • Ground glass viewing area: 4-3/4" x 7-3/4"

So does that tell anyone here anything about what size this might be?

Beyond 5x7, I'm thinking the possible sizes might be 5x8 or 6-1/2x8-1/2. But the narrowness of the ground glass opening (4-3/4") is puzzling; why does that seem to be right for 5" wide film, but there's such a large gap when a 5x7 holder is put in?

By the way, the outside dimensions of the 5x7 film holder (actually a Premo plate holder with film sheaths) are 5-15/16" x 8-1/16".

So it seems to me that I have the following choices:

1. Hack the back to accept a standard 5x7 film holder.
2. Acquire a back that'll fit the camera that accepts 5x7 holders (if such a thing exists).
3. Find the proper film holder for this back.
4. Forget it and make it a "shelf queen".

As a subset of 1, I suppose I could jury-rig some kind of insert that would let me use a 5x7 holder in my back. I really don't want to hack the back, though.

As part of this question, does anyone here know of any ROC historical societies that might have this kind of information?

Any help on this will be greatly appreciated.