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I’ve collected cameras since the early 1970’s and have over 100 on shelves and in drawers around the house. This interest in old photographic gear eventually led me to modifying and restoring several into functioning cameras; all the while, looking for bigger and bigger formats. My “bigger is better” stage culminated with a year-long project of building a 12x20 banquet camera from scratch.

This list is of the cameras I still use, though the Tachihara will be my camera of choice for most future photo expeditions.

Film sizes compared at the right.  4x5 (smallest), 8x10, 12x20.

From smallest film to largest:

Kiev 60 Medium Format SLR
  • Purchased on ebay from the Ukraine.
  • Modifications: Flocking kit to eliminate light leak. Adjusted to fix film frame overlapping.
  • Lens: 30mm Arsat. I have other lenses, but this is the only one I use. An extreme wide angle, it equivalent to about a 16mm lens on a 35mm camera.
  • Film: 120 roll film (medium format, 2-1/4” square negative)

Rolleiflex SL66
  • Medium format SLR, interchangeable lenses and film backs.
  • Film: 120 roll film (medium format, 2-1/4” square negative).
  • Lens: 50mm lens, was my favorite (equivalent to 28mm on 35mm camera)
  • I sold this camera, but used it for some of my photos in the bin.

2x3 Watson Press Camera
  • Modifications: Completely stripped down and redone, modified to take removable lensboards, modified to take a roll film back.
  • Film: 120 roll film in a 2-1/4” x 3-1/4” size.
  • Lens: 3-1/2” inch (90mm) Wollensak, f12 (37mm equiv. on 35mm camera)

4x5 Tachihara Field Camera

Cherry wood 4x5 camera. Interchangeable lenses.
Film: 4x5 sheet film, primarily Ilford 125 ISO
I can shoot 5x7 sheet film with my homemade 5x7 back

• Schneider 47XL with 4x5  back (13mm equivalent)
• Nikkor 90SW with the 5x7 back (17mm equivalent)

5x7 Rochester Poco, circa 1880
  • Modifications: I completed refinished this old camera, removing the leather, staining the wood and modifying the back to accept modern film holders (camera was designed for glass plates)
  • Film: Uses 5x7 sheet film.
  • Lenses: • 13.5 Zeiss Jena (26mm equiv) & 150mm Caltar
  • Note: I sold this one on eBay, but it looks good on this page.

8x10 Bender View Camera


Modifications: I built this from a kit, and made many modifications to it over the years, most to “beef” up the camera to make it more solid and stable. The old fixed rear standard is now movable along the rail. The back is rotated by a system of brass fasteners modeled after the Tachihara listed to the left.

Brass "Lid Supports" hold the back stable, a big improvement over the single turn knobs on each side.

8x10 sheet film (with adapters for 5x7 or 4x5)

Lenses: • 159mm Wollensak (23mm equiv)   
• 210 Schneider (28mm equiv)  
• 305 Nikkor (44mm equiv)

Although I sold the 12x20 several years ago, here is a photo of it next to the 8x10 Bender, so you can see the size differences.

The 12x20 weighed 23 pounds and was almost two feet across.