The Wooden View

Eastman 2D, 5x7 camera

Eastman No. 2, 5×7 camera

5″ x 7″ wooden view camera

Circa 1914 ~ 1925

In this post I will go over the camera (I will add links to external sources throughout this post) and we shall see what was cutting edge of the beginning of the 1900’s the  . . . . 20th Century.  By 1888 Eastman film and camera company was instrumental in the practical and affordable use of camera & Film by everyone.  Also by the time this camera came on the market Kodak had introduced 35mm motion picture panchromatic film, 35mm cameras where coming into their own much like the digital camera of the late 20th Century came on the scene to eventually replace film as the standard apparatus of capturing photos for the masses and under the brand of Kodak the first digital news cameras where introduced (the Nikon D1 introduced in mid 1999).  OK, back on track with the Eastman No.2D, 5″ x 7″ Wooden view camera. Let’s take a look at the camera and its features.

The camera was made in several format sizes from 5″x 7″ to 8″ x 10″ and I will focus this on the 5″x 7″ camera.  The camera sold for around $40 dollars which was a lofty sum back then.

The Camera specs:

  • 5 x 7 format
  • Bellows draw 23 in.
  • Weight 7 lb. material wood & brass construction
  • Lens board 4½x4½ in.
  • Size closed 12x10x6 in.

please go here for additional info Eastman View No. 2 improved model of “Empire State” . . .

Now on to the camera and the reason I find 5″ x 7″ format (this format conforms roughly to the same dimensions as that of 35mm film “aspect ratio“) so fascinating.  I was cruising the the great Web the other day and came across this camera on the e of the Bay and couldn’t resist the camera.  I will sometimes pay the “buy it now” price to forgo the BS of bidding, it’s really more a matter of convenience and inpatients due to my age . . . in other words I wanted it . . . it appeared to be in pretty good condition and well the rest is sorta history, adding GAS to my burgeoning shelves.  I have been eying (or better put wanting) to play with paper negatives, the 5″ x 7″ is probably the smallest format I would use for paper negatives since I would be contact printing most them or scanning for larger prints and post digital play.  That leaves out my 4″ x 5″ cameras.  I would have preferred a more modern camera in the 5″ x 7″ format like a Gowland pocket view, but alas Peter Gowland has passed away some time ago and prices on his hand built pocket views have surpassed my play money funds.  I digress sorry, So, OK, I pounced upon this camera, and Yes it lacks some of the features (like front tilt, shift & swing) I’d like to have, but are not necessary for the landscape work I intend to do, as this project is for the pleasure of making photos and having fun doing them.  I am eagerly awaiting its arrival by USPS . . . we shall see and hope it makes it here safe and sound. Well it’s here, only took a few days and I am happy to say it was well packaged.  Sadly it came with a Burke & James 4×5 reducing back installed and not the coveted 5×7 I desire . . . well back to the Web to procure a back in the size I need.  I have repairs to do to this camera before it’s ready for the field again . . . .

Wooden 5×7 Film Holders:

Received (4) 5×7 Film Holders: I got my 4 wooden film holders (3 wooden marked Kodak film holder and 1 marked Eastman Kodak – Folmer Graflex Corp.) all made by Graflex Inc. for Kodak in the mail today (June 15th) . . . overall condition is about an 7 mechanical and about a 9 cosmetically.  Functionally they all need re-taping of the Light trap / loading flap as the old tape is worn out ( so I ordered some book binding tape to replace the hinge tape on the four film holders), and one of the dark slides needs the dark slide handle re-glued.  I will wait until I have replaced the cloth hinges and test then for light leaks and hope none need the dark slide light trap material replaced.  I will make a list of repairs and materials used at the end of this post, to keep the post short I will add new posts covering repairs, mods or other items to get this project off the ground and actually shooting . . . . I would say I am off to a great start . . . . I think.

5x7 Wooden film holders

5×7 Wooden film holders

Work to do, Hinge repair

Work to do, Hinge repair


The Kodak No. 2D 5×7 camera:  Here are some details of the new beastie . . .


Model plate


Bellows ma have a few light leaks but otherwise seems sound

Bellows may have a few light leaks but otherwise seems sound


Knobs and gearing are all functional

Brass Knobs and gearing are all functional


Focusing Sceen

Burke & James  4×5 reduction back, detail of Focusing Screen

Overall the camera is sound and in good shape, Parts missing are the rear rail/bed, tripod centering block, 5×7 back, also I will have to procure some extra lens boards . . .  I will have to acquire these on the Web hopefully without to much more expense as my budget for this project is dwindling rather quickly.

The Fun Stuff: Film, Liquid emulsions, X-ray film and lastly the subject of much interest Paper Negatives . . . to explore the possibilities (The focus of this project is on paper negatives)

There are a great many resources on the web about paper negatives and (positive paper by HARMAN DIRECT POSITIVE FB paper if one can find it in stock) . . . oh what fun and fodder for future posts . . .  The camera takes standard 5″ x 7″ film holders so a few of those were ordered as well . . the nice thing about paper negs is you can load your holders under a darkroom safe light instead of a dark film bag or dark room.  The format is roughly twice that of 4″ x 5″ so contact prints or scans will have plenty of information and even as stand alone prints.

Now to decide on what usable lenses I have and do light tight tests of the bellows and repair or replace as required (I will need a few more lens boards).  I also have to judge if a couple of old lenses I have will cover the format without vignetting and perhaps I will seek an old petzval lens if I can find an affordable one . . . sigh . . . my wants far exceed my fundage  . . . (My woman bought me a petzval lens)

Currently I have a (Bausch & Lomb rectilinear double piston) Kodak branded lens from about the same period that will work with the 5×7 format, an old rectilinear/Aplanat large format lens,  as well as several modern lenses like the fabled Nikkor 200mm M  series lens, Nikkor 300mm M series, Nikkor 360mm and a new to me 11″ petzval magic lantern lens to play with (thanks to my wonderful wife who knew I was wanting one).

Old Lenses on hand to play with:

Kodak (Bausch & Lomb) f/4 ~ f/128

Kodak (Bausch & Lomb) Rectilinear in shutter

Kodak (Bausch & Lomb) Rectilinear in shutter

details of the Bausch & Lomb lens and the shutter and aperture mechanism. The aperture numbers, from 4 to 128, are from an older system than the f-numbers that we use today. It is probably the ‘Uniform System’ of the 1880s, equivalent to f/8 to f/45. This Bausch & Lomb lens probably dates the camera to about 1905 – 1910.  Bausch & Lomb was a lens supplier for Eastman Kodak as well as other camera manufacturers of that period.

Unknown maker, a Rectilinear/Aplanat  F/8 lens


Rectilinear/Aplanat f/8 ~ f/64

Rectilinear/Aplanat f/8 ~ f/64



and finally the one waited for

Unknown maker,  11″ petzval lens

11 " Petzval

11 ” Petzval Lens


It was not uncommon to find many non branded (knock off) petzval, aplanat and other lenses being made in small machine shops of the early 1800’s.  All of which had their own signature look . . . “the Petzval swirly’s” which is sought after today was just an aberration that was not wanted . . . some of today’s photographers (me being one of the Swirly camp) like it . . . some dislike it.   Anyway we are hoping for the Swirly’s from it when we get it mounted to play with on the 5×7 camera.

I will post separate postings on the project and links to all the materials used for repair.  Also I will post separately photos produced with the above lenses as I can.  First things first will be paper negs and contact prints if all goes well.  Catch everyone later, hope you enjoyed the read and photos . . . it’s obvious I will be busy over the summer with this project.  Stay tuned, do leave comments as I love em, if you have a question I will do my best to answer you here on the blog . . . please do share my blog with others.

I’m outta here . . . later taters 😉 go shoot some film, have some fun.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

All Aspects of Photography


Mark Hilliard Atelier's Blog

Fine Art Nature Photography Of Mark Hilliard

GIMP Magazine

A Premier GIMP Users Magazine

the runes of the gatekeeper's daughter

my tales, travels and photography

Captivate Me

..finding magic in the ordinary..

%d bloggers like this: