I visited the Plymouth College of Art few weeks back to have a look at their photography department’s storage to help out a FB friend looking for plate holder parts which was loaned to the college in the past, for his newly acquired Hunter Penrose camera which he had just bought recently on eBay.
Though we didn’t have any luck locating the plate holder, they do have another HP in store which was brought out into the light and will be restored for the students’ use. It was a great 16×20 piece and still in great shape.
It wasn’t the largest camera around (check out Tony Richards’ blog post here), but boy, did that piqued my interest to ask if I could have a chance to buy it!
Though I shied away once I knew it was for the students’ pleasure to use, which I believe it is important for them to have a piece of camera history that is still available for them to use.
Though I lucked out in finding the parts and also to wriggle the lovely HP from their hands, I saw something behind the camera and I just had to ask, “what’s that? Is that a redundant camera?”
They pulled out the large frame what might had looked like an enlarger at first, but it was a Devere 480 copy camera!
And what delight it was for me as they told me they were going to dispose it and I could have it for free! Now that’s something I just can’t refuse!
I really have to thank Luke Broadway of PCA to give me the chance of bringing back this wonderful camera.
Though they gave me only a few days to sort transportation and manpower arrangements to disassemble the piece and carry it out of there all in one go, I briefly inspected it, and it seemed to be almost complete and all parts moving as it should with the exception of the flat table missing and the lower part was jammed as well. It had no side lights, but that should not be a problem replacing.
It came with a 4×5 back, a cable release, 150mm Rodenstock lens, could not complain at all.
I returned back next few days with a couple of friends (much appreciated Akmal & Fakhrul for helping me out) to disassemble the piece and somehow managed to fit the entire parts and pieces in my car.
Once it was back in my place, I just had to quickly make the table for it. It was a simple wood cut which was screwed into the base. Though I still have to work out the jammed parts to slide it downwards later, though I was in luck nothing needs to repair on the upper part, just needs a good scrubbing throughout.
The camera was cleaned up and I eagerly ran a plate test.
It seemed that I need to run a silver bath maintenance as I see whole lot of comets and spots all over the plate, plus I wasn’t sure if there’s a light leak as I see a small fog across the cabbage, which I will test again and inspect the bellows later.
Plus it only have a 4×5 back, which I plan to make a larger plate holders for it in near future.
Everything works as it should and I am pleased to have this new large tool to play around with. Oh and the mirror on the top part of the camera seemed to served as a make-up mirror as well for my wife to use, plus I had to give lengthy explanation to her why I had to bring back a tall giant in the living room!