© 2012 Fourtoes 12x15a

All back together…

The 15×12 Billcliff camera is back together again,previously looked like this, the plate holder just needs two brass hinges of the correct size and I’m having two new round lens panels made, by my Uncle in Wales, out of a board of mahogany John gave me.

The woodwork has been cleaned but not highly polished, I didn’t want it to look like a “new” camera. Repairs have been made to the rotating back which is now working smoothly again. The brass runners also run smoothly so no more struggling. The bellows weren’t that bad after close inspection, just rubbed corners which I have gone over with electrician liquid tape, which seems to have done the job. Also made a new ground glass for it.

So when I get the final few pieces and Johns ordered plastics to knock me up a silver bath to take plates this size I should be good to go, ready for spring and some large landscapes.


And while on the subject of cameras, this one sold on Feepay recently. Whats interesting is that its almost identical to my Watson & Son studio camera but its labelled Marion & Co. Well, I found it interesting.




  1. Posted January 16, 2012 at 11:19 PM | #

    This is very nice camera Tony where are You buying all this beauties ?
    I like this idea to renovate camera but leave old look its what I actually doing with my bicycles :) and my new Marion Camera

  2. Posted January 16, 2012 at 11:38 PM | #

    Hi Damian,

    I’ll not be buying any more….honest, I really must sell a couple.

  3. Posted January 17, 2012 at 12:00 PM | #

    15X12!!!! Wow can I have a go?

  4. Posted January 19, 2012 at 11:53 AM | #

    Of course you can…..just bring plenty of silver nitrate with you! Its going to need a big bath.

  5. Posted January 28, 2012 at 12:12 PM | #

    Hey Tony,

    Someone on Twitter linked to your break-in blog post (glad nothing was taken) and I started looking around your blog and came across this post and I couldn’t believe it—a Billcliff! I bought a Billcliff last year from someone in NJ. Saw the ad for it on Craigslist. I know very little about large format cameras, and even less about them from when these were made. If you’re interested in seeing it and have some thoughts about it (especially about the lens), you can see my blog post: Billcliff Large Format Field Camera.

    I was hoping to take a Wet Plate class at ICP next weekend but I’m not able to. Hopefully I’ll be able to the next time its offered so I can think about trying to use the camera. . . .


  6. Posted January 28, 2012 at 12:16 PM | #


    This is too funny. I’ve been terrible about keeping up with comments lately (having a one-year-old really takes up valuable blogging time :-), and I just scrolled through my Billcliff post and see that you commented on it many weeks ago. Ugh. Sorry for never replying. . . .

    Have a great weekend.


  7. Hayley Cook
    Posted April 3, 2012 at 9:19 PM | #

    Hi Tony,

    I have a huge interest in photography and it would seem a developing (pardon the pun) interest in old large format cameras. Most of my best photographic experiences have involved the simplicity of photography i.e. being in a darkroom and using 5 x 4 slide cameras. Give me a lens, some bellows and a back and my inner geek is smiling proudly!

    Today I was wonderng round an antiques shop local to me (Eastbourne) and came across a strange looking piece of photographic equipment. I quickly realised it was a camera back with ground glass screen and a 3 plate holder. It was missing a lens and focussing abilities but I bought it anyway and happily skipped home to research it further. Turns out it’s a back for a Billcliff Multiple Image Camera. I am now trying to track down the rest of the camera…..this is proving almost impossible, can you help?

    Best wishes Hayley

  8. Posted April 3, 2012 at 9:24 PM | #

    Hi Hayley,

    Nice to hear from you, can you email me some images of what youve got? Multiple image cameras are quite rare.
    Have you seen this….


    Is it similar?


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