Wednesday, May 18, 2011

LF Update

As many of you who read my somewhat intermittent LF blog you will know I've been waiting on a Layton L45-A 4x5 camera made in Vermont. The camera was introduced in the spring of 2005 to great review and a design award. And the builder announced the first production run in the fall of 2005.

He offered lower prices to those who sent in deposits. Yeah, I know what you're thinking, but let's review some information about him and the deal. First, he's a longtime respected photojournalism who's worked for several papers in New England over the years. He's also a respected large format photographer with a studio in his home town.

So, no camera? Yeah, no camera. After two years of delays and another two years of switching production companies (three at last count) the news went silent. His Website for the camera lapsed into another owner and he stopped showing his camera at shows. There are at about half a dozen people like me with deposits and there are numerous people who know him or have met him in the intervening years.

So, what's the problem? Well, no one seems to know. I have a hunch from his e-mail and communication with other photographers who know him. It appears he keeps changing the design to incorporate his latest ideas. Rather than produce the first model, get the money and have users let others know how good it (and it is by its design), and work on a new model, he keeps working on the first.

I don't understand it, but somehow the camera is probably in his shop waiting something, and the production company is probably also waiting something, like the go-ahead to finish the production. It's one of the best designed 4x5 field cameras in a generation. And it's 95+% finished (parts and assembly) for final production. And most of all for him, there are at least 6 people willing to write checks for the camera and lensboards.

Sadly I really don't understand, and what's worse is that he's no longer communicating about the camera or with us, but is with others on other forums. So I have three lenses waiting a camera. The other four work fine with my Horseman HD which I use but still it's not this camera.

There are people who make you scratch your head in wonder, a great opportunity so close and all within their power. And all we see is silence.

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