Having bought my view and press cameras several years ago I am out of touch whith what is available on the used market, either eBay or local sales. It sounds like the supply has shrunk quite a bit. There used to be a fairly plentiful supply of older view cameras in reasonably good condition. The last sale I went to locally had only a couple of veiw cameras and they were beaters. I suspect if you are serious, and have patients, you can still find a few decent cameras out there for reasonable prices. I agree that for much work a Speed or Crown Graphic will do nicely. They are small and light compared to a full view camera of the same format but have the limitations of relatively short bellows draw and lack of movements. The latter may be of little or no significance to many users but the short bellows may be important especially to those who want to shoot portraits. Graphics were intended to be hand held cameras. That seems to be overlooked by many and can be very useful. FWIW, I have a 5x7 Agfa/Ansco Universal View, with a 4x5 back as well as 5x7, an 8x10 Universal View, a Calumet 8x10 and a Calumet 4x5 camera all found rather cheep over about the last 15 years. None are ideal but all are very usable and the differences between them and the very fancy and expensive stuff made later would not be of much use to me although a professional might find differently. I used to shoot a lot with a Speed Graphic, all sorts of things, I am very fond of that camera.--- Richard Knoppow Los Angeles, CA, USA dickburk@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Richard from what I am seeing the Graphics are developing a bit of a following and prices for a while were going up. Oh they can still be had and I might still get one if for nothing else the lens. Lots I saw on ebay left a lot to be desired.
I hadn't missed the handheld possibilities and in fact it was a plus. I have plenty of other portrait cameras. I was thinking something 4x5 to take in the field. More movements would be desirable, but the graphic would work.
Granted I guess I probably will tackle this one day. Not because I have to, but because I want to. Just seems like it might be both fun and satisfing to use a camera that works well you built with your own two hands.
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