I'm using 5" aerial film for this camera

I found that the wheel that measures how much film is being wound through the camera adds too much friction, especially with the thin based aerial film, so I place a piece of cardboard under the wheel, so it doesn't touch the film track. It's easily removed without having to modify the antique in any way


Al Vista cameras had a few different Drive mechanisms that controlled the movement on the lense. The most common is the fan regulated gearbox

This photo shows the gearbox of a 5b camera, with a fan sticking out of the bottom

The camera usually came with 5 fans numbered 1-5. The camera pictured is a 5-d,

and had the fan on top of the camera. The smallest fan would give the fastest exposure

The cameras had a exposure table on the back door

I'm working on getting a 5-b camera ready to shoot and made up a spec sheet as follows

Al Vista 5-B
5” lense         
12 inch by approx 4.5” usable image on 5” wide film
lense opening .425” = F11.76
waterhouse stop opening 
serial # 7786
no fan 1/16 sec
#1      three second fan            1/8
#2      six second fan                1/4
#3      eight second fan            1/3
#4      ten second fan              5/12
#5      twelve second fan          1/2

maximum F stop =F 11.76
5 divided by .425 =11.76
5 divided by .31=16.12            F16
5 divided by .28=17.85            F16 1/2 or f 18
5 divided by .24=20.8              F22
5 divided by .31=16.12            F16
5 divided by .15=33            F32
5 divided by .12=41.6              F45
5 divided by .09=55.5              F55 (451/2)

Although there were a few late model cameras that had diaphram apertures, most al vistas had waterhouse stops, including the 5b. I needed to measure the stops and figure out the f stops to use them. The later numbers are are rounded off for easier use. These waterhouse stops were homemade by a earlier user, and won't correspond to the factory stops.


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