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Antique Seneca No. 9, 5" x 7" Plate Red Bellows Camera

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This is a very nice antique camera. This is from my personal collection which I am thinning out. This camera was made by the Seneca Camera Company in 1907. This camera had a few unique features for cameras in the very early 1900s, including the rack and pinion triple extension, which you can see in photo 1. Here are a couple of links that describe some of the Seneca No. 9 features..

On many large plate cameras of that time period, there are loops of leather on top of the bellows. Usually a plate camera would just have one loop on the top of the bellows. This camera originally had three loops, but now has two. These loops serve a unique purpose. Because there weren't any zoom lenses in the early 1900s, the bellows could be extended out to get that far away shot. When the camera bellows were extended far, they would sag, so the loops allowed the photographer to lift the bellows while the plate was being exposed. I can just imagine the photographer under the black cloth trying to coordinate a single photo, especially his timing and exposing the plate. It took quite a bit of manuevering. The back of this camera, where the plate carrier is inserted works great, and the ground glass is intact. (See photo 5) I do not have any 5 x 7 plates and plate carriers for this camera, and the camera is being sold by itself. Also, this camera was not tested with film and is being sold as-is.

One of this camera's unique features is the ability to alter the perspective of the photo before taking the photograph. There is a round knob on the side of this camera that can be pulled out and adjusted so that the angle between the base and the back of the camera can be altered. This allows the exposure plates to not be parallel to become unparallel to the lens. This would allow the photographer to alter the perspective on the photograph. For instance, if the photographer was very close to the object that he or she was photographing, then they could change the angle of the back of the camera, which would alter the perspective, and make everything appear in the photograph that couldn't have been before. On the first two photos in this listing, the back of the camera is tilting back. Also, like many of the plate cameras from this time period, the lens mount can be moved from side to side and up and down to alter the photo perspective slightly.

This camera, unlike some of the Seneca No. 9 cameras that are out there is a little more special for a couple of reasons. For one, this camera has red bellows, when most of the Seneca No. 9 cameras came with black bellows. The red bellows with the black painted wood give this camera a very stricking appearance. Secondly, this camera has a German made Kilios shutter, which was an upgrade at the time from the standard shutters that were options for these cameras. Here's a link that explains the Kilios shutter..

This camera has the Convertible lens. I removed the lens and checked it out. The lens is in excellent condition, with no scratches. As well, I checked the shutter, and everything appears to work perfectly fine. If this camera is inteneded to be used, the seam on the bottom of the bellows will have to be fixed, because it is separating. Other than that, I do not see any other light leaks in the bellows. This camera measures about 8-1/2" x 8-3/4" x 4-1/2" when it is folded up. When the front plate is down and the camera bellows are not extended beyond the edge of the front plate, the camera measures about 12-1/2" from the front edge to the back. Fully extended, this camera measures about 24" from the tip of the lens to the back of the camera, like in photo 1.

I did a light gentle cleaning of this camera, but this camera will need a thorough cleaning. If you have any questions about any of the items listed in my shop, please email me.

Please note that I will combine shipping. If you are interested in more than one item in my shop, please email me, and I will give you a combine shipping cost for all of the items that you wish to purchase.

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Antique Seneca No. 9, 5" x 7" Plate Red Bellows Camera


  • Vintage item from 1900 - 1909
  • Materials: wood, leather, metal, glass
  • Only ships within United States.
  • Feedback: 335 reviews
  • Favorited by: 124 people