Antique & Vintage Photographic Equipment

Long Focus Premo Camera

Rochester Optical Company

Name: Long Focus Premo Camera
Type: Hand & Stand Camera
Manufacturer: Rochester Optical Company
Country of Origin: US
Construction: Large format self-casing folding plate camera, but with triple extension bellows to allow use of telephoto lenses. The camera extends to the front and the rear as both the front and back have drop down baseboards and tracks to accommodate the long bellows extension.
Production Period: 1895 - 1904


Plate / Film Size: 5 x 7 plates
Lens: Graphic Rapid Rectilinear (EKC successor to The Folmer & Schwing Co)
Shutter: Bausch & Lomb Unicum (TBD)
Movements: Rising and cross front; reversible back
Dimensions (w x h x l):  
Date of this Example: c1902
Serial Number: Serial 199011 stamped into bottom right of inner frame (front)
  • Common [x]
  • Uncommon [ ]
  • Hard to Find [ ]
  • Scarce [ ]
Inventory Number: 222

<Photographs to be added>


Large cased Long Focus Premo camera. It carries a PREMO label on a circular badge on the top face and the same symbol is repeated in the brass track on the lens board. The manufacturer name is not apparent anywhere.

The structure of the camera is typical of many that were designed to support use of longer lenses. Both the front and rear panels fold down to form a baseboard. The lens standard extends on the front baseboard, as normal, but the rear section pulls out at the back to form the triple extension.

The camera came with three DDS. The ground glass screen is intact. The brass work is in good condition, though showing obvious signs of wear and tarnish. The leather covering is in rather poor condition, separating in places from the wooden body, with some splits and a couple of small sections missing.

The lens/shutter assembly may not be original to the camera.

The example shown in McKeown [1] is almost identical, except that it is a 4 x 5 version. Note that the Long Focus Premo is very similar in format to the contemporary Reversible Back Premo (though the latter was produced over a shorter period of 1897 - 1900 according to McKeown). However the Long Focus Premo only acquired a reversible back after production ceased of the Reversible Back Premo, which therefore indicates that this example must date to sometime after 1900.