Kodak Master View 4×5

Cameras of Ansel Adams

The Kodak Master View series had a variety of models. This was a simple lightweight but sturdy all-metal design, which was virtually self-casing to protect the bellows when collapsed.

It provided unlimited flexibility and adjustment control over perspective, linear rendering, field of depth view point and image size. The back and front frames were made of one-piece cast of stain finish aluminum. The main back and front supports were aluminum castings with polished steel uprights. The 19 inch monorail was made of machined steel.

One of the chief competitors in an all metal 4×5 view camera of the era, was the Graphic View, from Graflex. It is likely that Ansel chose the Kodak which allowed a longer lens due to the longer rail.

In 1955, Kodak sold the design to Calumet, which continued to produce the camera with very few changes.

The image below is from a 1958 short film showing Ansel preparing for a day of shooting in the field. That day he took a Eastman Commercial B 8×10, this 4×5, and special wide angle folding camera, two Polaroids cameras, a Hasselblad medium format, and a Zeiss-Ikon Contaflex II 35mm SLR.