Period style Cameras

This posting is really meant as an addendum to my posting about our black arts Camera, which is designed based upon a common 1860’s era camera, the majority of the cameras looked very similar. Some of those cameras were a little more elaborate than others.

This is a slight challenge, based upon people’s perception from what they’ve seen in Hollywood, plus the overall age of the cameras. if the camera was a true wet-plate camera, that was heavily used its chances of survival for 150+ years are radically diminished, just from the silver eating away the wood.

this along with the sheer cost of an actual wet-plate camera causes a great number of modern wet-plate photographers to use 20th-century cameras with custom plate holders. or custom crafted cameras. additionally, most 1860’s era cameras are cumbersome, with limited movements.

recently, I found on eBay 1930’s – 1950’s era Agfa/Ansco with a customized wet-plate holder & back crafted by what looks like a star camera, the camera was also mounted with, what the seller is saying is a Darlot Petzval lens.

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let me state, while this is a nice camera. We have a couple of them, the camera is what’s called their Univeral model, and came in a few different sizes. We at present have a 4 x 5 and a 8 x 10.   It is long ways off from 1860’s period correct camera. To me, it would be like taking a World War II cannon to a civil war reenactment, then saying it was Civil War period cannon. There are so many things wrong that it sticks out like a sore thumb.

Yet, Sadly, the majority of people, including reenactors have no idea about the difference between a contemporary camera and an 1860’s era camera.

This was basically my choice something like the above camera, that I could have found on eBay anywhere from about $500.00 on up to about $2000.00, with the likelihood of requiring me to craft some sort of plate holder. and possibly recondition the camera.  a few years ago, I was offered one of these, with a custom plate holder, etc and I believe the seller wanted close to $2500.00

this particular camera is presently listed on eBay as a wet-plate camera with the seller asking a  buy-it-now price of 1,495.00 plus $100.00 shipping.

A period correct style camera typically have the same sized front standard as they do the rear standard, they are commonly fixed to a frame, that includes rails allowing the rear standard, which is the focal plane the ability to move back & forth allowing the photographer the ability to focus the camera. it’s very rare that they’ll have tilt & twist movements on the standards, they may have a rise and fall, or horizontal slide on the front lens board. The style is commonly called a tailboard camera.

To show, the radical cost difference, there is also an eBay listing for an 1860- 1870’s Ross wet-plate camera.  this camera is considered a tailboard camera, it uses wings to help stabilize the tailboard, allowing for more stability without having to use a sled or platform tripod. The buy it now price is  $6,550.00 +$131.00 shipping.

 

With the listing, the seller also includes some drawings from an 1870’s era magazine, of a photographer taking using a similar style camera.  I’ve used the same images for inspiration for my dark box.

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As much as I would love to have and use the camera listed on eBay, It’s an out of our price range. However like before if you have such a camera that you would like to donate to us, please contact us, or perhaps donate the funds so that we can purchase the camera, please click on the donate button.

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here’s an interesting note on the horizontal slide setup of the front standards, one of the neat aspects of this, is that it allows the photographer to take stereo views with a single lens.

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