Share your favorites on Show & Tell

Reversible Back Premo, Rochester Optical Company. 1897 - 1900

In Cameras > Wood Cameras > Show & Tell.
ericevans2's loves3 of 142Flammang's Patent Revolving Back Camera (front focus pattern), c.1886-98Back to the future … digital photography is older than you think!
Love it
Like it

JohnKratzJohnKratz loves this.
Camera_turkCamera_turk likes this.
Dave853Dave853 loves this.
BelltownBelltown loves this.
f64imagerf64imager loves this.
walksoftlywalksoftly loves this.
SEAN68SEAN68 loves this.
officialfuelofficialfuel loves this.
ericevans2ericevans2 loves this.
fortapachefortapache loves this.
kerry10456kerry10456 loves this.
ManikinManikin loves this.
aghcollectaghcollect loves this.
vetraio50vetraio50 loves this.
See 12 more
Add to collection

    Please create an account, or Log in here

    If you don't have an account, create one here.

    Create a Show & TellReport as inappropriate

    Posted 6 years ago

    (323 items)

    I have owned this camera for a very long time and, even today, continue to be impressed by its size, immaculate condition and beauty.

    In 1897, the Rochester Optical Company announced a major design variation of the traditional folding plate camera. To be able to use long focal length lenses, the back drops down like the front. This permits an extra long bellows draw for telephoto photography, enlarging, and copying.

    The expansive polished wood interior, brass trim and maroon bellows makes this one of the most impressive American folding plate cameras. These larger format ‘long focus’ models are uncommon and typically in very poor condition through years of hard professional use.

    This particular example appears in catalogues from 1897 to 1900 and shoots nice sized 6½ x 8½ inch (whole-plate) format glass plates. When fully extended, it is 30 inches long. As an advanced amateur / professional camera it wasn’t cheap and advertised for $62.00 in 1897 (equal to about $1,736 in 2014 currency!).

    The Reversible Back Premo was also used by the renowned American western photographer Edward Curtis. A picture of Curtis' whole-plate camera can be seen on a webpage maintained by the Smithsonian Institution Library:

    Wood Cameras
    See all
    Korona VII 5x7 Mahogany Camera Regno Lens
    Korona VII 5x7 Mahogany Camera Regn...
    Rare Fallowfield Stereo Tailboard Half Plate Camera Mahogany Brass c. 1880
    Rare Fallowfield Stereo Tailboard H...
    Vintage ~ c1900 ~ "Stereo" Mahogany and Brass Full Plate Tailboard Camera  #2351
    Vintage ~ c1900 ~ "Stereo" ...
    Polaroid SX-70 Silver Body - Walnut Wood Replacement Cover
    Polaroid SX-70 Silver Body - Walnut...
    Korona VII 5x7 Mahogany Camera Regno Lens
    Korona VII 5x7 Mahogany Camera Regn...
    See all


    1. vetraio50 vetraio50, 6 years ago
    2. rniederman rniederman, 6 years ago
      Thanks, vetraio50!
    3. SEAN68 SEAN68, 6 years ago
      STUNNING CAMERA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    4. walksoftly walksoftly, 6 years ago
      Amazing & every thing you said, impressive, immaculate condition, & beautiful.
      It looks brand new, unlike Curtis's well used model.
    5. rniederman rniederman, 6 years ago
    6. rniederman rniederman, 6 years ago
    7. rniederman rniederman, 6 years ago
    8. rniederman rniederman, 6 years ago
      Thanks, David!
    9. rniederman rniederman, 6 years ago
      Thanks, Ben!
    10. rniederman rniederman, 6 years ago
      Thanks, Dave853!
    11. rniederman rniederman, 5 years ago
      Thanks, Camera_turk!
    12. rniederman rniederman, 1 year ago
      Thanks, JohnK!

    Want to post a comment?

    Create an account or login in order to post a comment.