The Art of Engineering, Part II

I wrote a post in October 2018 (originally written in 2016 on Medium site) on the Gibellini ACN45 4×5 large format camera.

My ACN45 was one of the first cameras made by Alessandro Gibellini. It’s solid, works great, and just beautiful to look at and to use. It’s a bit heavy so when I was traveling, I usually took the lighter weight Chamonix F1 4×5. About a year and half ago, as the Chamonix F1 had some difficulties handling the large Cooke PS945 lens (which is the lens I use the most), I decided to sell the Chamonix and bought another Gibellini, the lighter weight TCN45.

The light TCN45 is on the left, and the ACN45 on the right.

Since I received my original ACN45, Alessandro had made numerous minor tweaks to the design. After receiving my TCN45, I decided to send the ACN45 back to him for an upgrade to “MkII”. Alessandro charged me a minimal fee and the ACN45 came back as basically a new camera.

The TCN45 is about 4.2 lbs whereas the ACN45 is about 5.3 lbs. The ACN45 is more precise, uses thicker materials for better stability, and has two arms holding the back standard.

ACN45, bottom of the front standard
TCN45, bottom of the front standard

A couple more ACN45 photos. MkII improvements really make a difference in usability and look and feel.

Here are a couple more of the TCN45:

TCN45 front standard side view
TCN45, back standard. Notice the lack of an arm on this side.

and a couple more comparisons of both cameras. You can see the bigger and thicker parts used in the ACN45 on the right.

TCN45 on the left, and the ACN45 on the right. Notice the more substantial size of the ACN45 knobs and locking arm.
COmparing the thickness of the bottom plates. The ACN45 (at right) looks to be 2x the thickness of the TCN45’s.

Summary: I have been very happy with the Gibellini since 2016 and even more so of the ACN45 now that it has been upgraded. If I have to keep just one, I would keep the ACN45 for its stability and usability. However, when I am traveling, the TCN45 is a slightly lighter alternative that works nearly as well.