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Ian Grant

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Unfortunately the Titan moulds were lost by the company doing theABS casting , this happened to other companies as well, The moulds for the Paterson Orbital here also lost albeit for a different material.

Ian
 

David M

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I didn't know about the Paterson Orbital. It would enjoy a ready market now.
I'd always fancied a Walker, but you can always postpone spending money. When I heard the news of the tragedy, I managed to buy one of the final batch of the SF. It's built like a lathe and extremely robust. The bellows seem to be made from a very flexible material I haven't seen elsewhere. It's only fault (if it it one) is that at long extensions the bellows can droop and obscure part of the image. Easily dealt with but something to look out for.
There were some very curious comments about "plastic" on another forum, rather like the "plywood" comments on the Intrepid. It seems that some people are deeply attached to mahogany and brass. No reason why not – they are very attractive – but it doesn't affect the negative.*

*As a matter of fact, it does. Fred Gandolfi recounts how a particular batch of mahogany was used for plate holders and some exudation from the timber did fog the negs and they had complaints and returns. They could tell it was the wood because where the wood was shielded by hinge-tape the neg was unaffected. It couldn't be used photographically, so they used it up another way and had the best-looking garden fence for miles
 

Paul Kay

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My latest - a 10" x 8" Gandolfi Precision. It has had a pretty hard life and has obviously worked for its living and been expected to. It won't actually fold up because the bellows seem to have been repaired so much they are thickened towards the rear on the corners and have stiffened over the years too. Repair to the bellows included using 'photo opaque' dark red retouching liquid (which I just about remember using professionally myself, just!). Dating Gandolfi cameras is notoriously difficult, but judging from the condition and decades of dirt which is coming off with a bit of elbow grease, I'd guess its pre-WWII, perhaps, maybe. I've stripped it down and its all working well and is adjusting up well. All that is really needed to make it work is a dark cloth which would have to be wrapped around it during exposure but I'm sure a set of bellows will get it working well and perhaps a replacement ground glass might be better than the odd lined piece fitted.
10x8 Gandolfi Precision.jpg
 

Ian Grant

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Paul, does this Gandolfi have an International spring back or a book-form back ?

Very difficult dating a camera manufactured for so many years, It's easier dating my Half Plate Gandofi as it has square form bellows and Gandolfi changed to tapered corners around 1900, it also uswes a Patented front standard (release) fitting.

Ian
 

Paul Kay

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A spring back - but then I have a 5" x 4" spring back (for a half-plate version) stamped 'L Gandolfi' so I'm not sure how much this helps!
 

thronobulax

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Wisner 4x5 Technical Field. Lenses left to right:

  • Reshuttered 19" Goertz APO Artar
  • Reshuttered 14" Goertz Red Dot Artar
  • 210mm Caltar-II
  • 150mm Schneider APO Symmar
  • 72mm Schneider Super Angulon
(Sorry for the awful snapshot quality - done with handheld phone in available light.)
 

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Ian Grant

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A spring back - but then I have a 5" x 4" spring back (for a half-plate version) stamped 'L Gandolfi' so I'm not sure how much this helps!
I have a 5x4 spring back for a Half Plate camera, it's un-marked but can only have been made by Gandolfi but then they made exactly the same cameras for Watson, Sands Hunter, and other companies.

A simple answer is pre-WWII much of Gandolfi's production was sold re-badged, it's only after the war that most of their cameras were sold with their own name. Also spring backs were uncommon in the UK before WWII only Kodak Ltd seem to have used them but then their cameras were essentially UK made versions of Eastman Kodak cameras.

There is another possibility, many older Gandolfi cameras had spring backs made for them after WWII so the camera may be older than the back and that may also account for the Gandolfi stamop

Ian
 
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Paul Kay

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Unfortunately Gandolfi weren't into any real sort of standardisation. Of the cameras that I have only the Precisions seem to have interchangeable backs. Anything marked with Louis' name is pre-1928 I think, so he was building spring backs. I also have an un-named half-plate tailboard camera which required a dentist's mirror to find 'L Gandolfi' stamped on the upper side of the cross member under the bellows where it can't be seen. Probably built for a retailer. My guess is that a lot of production was bespoke and built to the customer's requirements - whether retailer or private. All of which means that it is very difficult to pin down age - and the thought of serial numbers and records obviously never crossed their minds! Was has really impressed me is that Custom Bellows 'know' the camera and will supply me with new bellows for it when I order them in the new year. How is that for service for an old camera?
 

Ian Grant

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Custom Bellows would most likely have made the original bellows although either as Glanvill or Camera Bellows, the family has been making bellows since 1895. Many years ago I went to their factory unit in Birmingham needing bag bellows for a De Vere monorail and an oldish woman went over to a set of map drawers and pulled out the pattern.

Ian
 

Ian Grant

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Wisner 4x5 Technical Field. Lenses left to right:

  • Reshuttered 19" Goertz APO Artar
  • Reshuttered 14" Goertz Red Dot Artar
  • 210mm Caltar-II
  • 150mm Schneider APO Symmar
  • 72mm Schneider Super Angulon
(Sorry for the awful snapshot quality - done with handheld phone in available light.)
And I thought it was only me that washed cameras in the sink :D Not joking I have but only after removing the bellows and front standard, and metal bodied needing the covering removed for replacement.

Nice camera and lens set but that's an unusual amount of extension for a field camera, 584mm/23" is close to Quadruple extension.

Ian
 

thronobulax

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And I thought it was only me that washed cameras in the sink :D Not joking I have but only after removing the bellows and front standard, and metal bodied needing the covering removed for replacement.

Nice camera and lens set but that's an unusual amount of extension for a field camera, 584mm/23" is close to Quadruple extension.

Ian
The Wisner Technical family was famous for this. Sadly, the Wisner company is no more, so these can only be found on the second hand market. If memory serves, Ron Wisner was also the designer of the Zone VI field cameras.
 

David M

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There was some dispute about who designed the final Zone V built camera but there do seem to be close resemblances. It's documented somewhere on the web.
 

David M

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That may be where I've seen it.
I believe they collaborated. Sometimes it's difficult to remember design decisions made in informal conversations.
 

Camerashy

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And I thought it was only me that washed cameras in the sink :D Not joking I have but only after removing the bellows and front standard, and metal bodied needing the covering removed for replacement.

Nice camera and lens set but that's an unusual amount of extension for a field camera, 584mm/23" is close to Quadruple extension.

Ian
A good way to clean dirty wood is to use Swarfega gel hand cleaner on a rag or fine wire wool. Next wipe with clean water on a damp cloth then a dry cloth to finish. Try it on an old piece of furniture you may be surprised how well it works!
 
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