Gandolfi Precision - Antique and Vintage Cameras


Louis Gandolfi & Sons



Image of Precision

f4.5, 8" Dallmeyer Serrac. Iris diaphragm to f32. Lens cap. Serial no. 271122 .

Mahogany, finger joints. Black leather bellows with diagonal corners.

6 " x 4 " plates held in double dark-slides.

Bellows to 32". Double extension. Two focusing pinions, one operates the inner focusing frame, the second moves the rear standard along the baseboard.

Removable lens panel. Reversing Back. The front standard clips to a fitting on the baseboard in one of two positions.

Rising front, tilting front, tilting back, swing back.


  • 3 double dark-slides (1 - 6). Gandolfi Tripod.
  • Additional lens panel with cross front movement.

The Precision was a development of the Imperial model introduced in 1899, it remained on sale into the 1970s. This example probably dates to the early 1940s. The camera is massively constructed and very heavy, although only a half-plate its outside dimensions are close to a whole-plate camera. The lens is mounted in its panel off-centre which can be inverted to give more or less rising front, the extensive rising front made the Precision (and Imperial) especially suited for architectural use. As well as a traditionally polished finish the camera was available ebonised with chrome fittings. Either a normal back for double dark-slides or a spring back was fitted.

The Imperial was advertised in sizes of half-plate to 15" x 12" but was available to order in any size. Early examples had only a front pinion to move the inner focusing frame, square cornered bellows and a single position for the front standard.

Early Gandolfi cameras were of high quality comparable to the best makers of the period, their later cameras, though, do not match the workmanship or construction of their earlier models. In part this may be explained by components, such as brass work, having to be made in-house rather than being bought-in and high-quality timber being harder to acquire.

The Ensign Ideal sold from 1939 is very similar.

References & Notes:
BJA 1900, pp. 921, 1437. BJA 1901, p. 531. BJA 1962, p. 162. BJA 1940, p. 188.

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