Manhattan Optical Co.
Wizard View, Variation 3
5 x 7
Date Introduced: - ; Years
Manufactured: c. 1903 - c.
In 1899, Manhattan Optical made the front focus only Wizard View Variation 1 and the back focus only Wizard View Variation 2. They were replaced, by the time the 1903 catalog was printed, with the Wizard View Variation 3, which has both front and back rack and pinon focus.
Variation 4, also a front and back focus model, appeared about 1909. It differs from Variation 3 in that it has a ground glass frame that admits the plate holder using four complex spring clips. The 1909 reference below mentions an improved spring back which undoubtedly refers to this mechanism. The Wizard Variation 4 also came with two planks of wood that slide into retaining clips that are inlet into the bottom of the base (see above photos of the bottom with its planks). The purpose of the planks, according to the 1909 reference below, appears to be to brace the already fairly rigid bed of all cameras larger than 5x7.
Stereo Variation 3: The only difference between the single-lens 5x7 (top example) and the same set up for stereo (bottom example) appears to be the the stereo version has two clips to hold in the lens board rather than one - and, of course, the nifty stereo lenses & shutter and the stereo septum (in the center interior of the bellows) necessary to take stereo pairs. The lenses supplied with stereo are unmarked wide angle rapid rectilinear lenses. These were undoubtedly made by Gundlach-Manhattan Optical Co., as the very first products of the Gundlach Optical Co., long before merging with Manhattan, were lenses. For some reason, there are two series of nomenclature for the aperture setting: the four f-stops between f22 and f64 are marked with arbitrary numbers 1 through 5, which scale is also marked W.A. These arbitrary numbers may correspond to some simplified instructions, something along the lines of "the setting for a sunny day is lens opening #4", possibly to be used when auxiliary wide angle lenses are put on the fronts of the objectives. Such auxiliary lenses had begun to be offered c.1900, specially made for the lenses that came on leather-covered, hand and stand cameras, whose target purchaser was more interested in the photos than the process of photography
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