View Full Version : Fair price for Horseman 450 and Other ?'s

Ellen Stoune Duralia
23-Dec-2004, 12:46
Hi everyone! I am brand new to this forum and to LF photography. This looks like a fabulous resource so let me just begin by saying "Thanks" to those who maintain this site and make all this great info available.

I specialize in product/advertising photography and am just getting my feet wet in the commercial world. Fun stuff! I am looking to get a good view camera for studio use and have found what I think will do the job but would appreciate advice from you veterans. First of all the Horseman 450 I have found is in excellent condition - looks almost new. It comes with 1 lensboard and a ground glass that can be attached to the camera in either the portrait or landscape orientation. The glass looks clean, all movements are smooth, and the shop is asking $650 for it. Good deal?

Now for some more general questions. I beleive I will need to start with a 210 mm lens - any really bad ones that I should stay away from?

Where is the most economical source for film? B&H? Freestyle? Who?

Are there any good labs in the Charlotte NC area that ya'll know of? What about mail order labs (where I send them the film). Yes, I know I can develope b&w at home but I've been digital for years so lets take this LF thing one step at a time :-)

And finally, I would like to be able to scan my own film and am looking at the Epson 4870. Should I get the pro version or will the regular one do? Any lower cost alternatives that will yield the same quality?

I know I've asked alot of questions but I'm very excited about this whole LF adventure! Remember when you started learning about this stuff? It was fun and terrifying at the same time, right?! Anyway, I really appreciate the guidance! Here's to a happy holiday to you all!!

Ted Harris
23-Dec-2004, 13:23

I'll take a crack at all your questions one at a time.

First, the 450 is a solid workhorse. Please note that there are several different models. If yours has base as well as axis tilts it is the intermediate or higher model, without it is the basic model. It can also come on a wide variety of rails. For your purposes you will want one of the longr rails, most conveniently the expanding rail which goes from ~400mm to ~700 mm. This railis standard with the intermediate models and costs a fortune separately new. Whichever model 650 is a fair price in like new condition but not spectacular for the base model, if it has the expanding rail and any other accessories it is a good deal. Before you buy you should check with Jim at MidWest Photo (614-261-1264) he almost always has these in stock and see what he has. One more thought on the camera, for commercial work which involves tabletop work with smaller objects you will almost certainly want the longr bellows, Horseman makes two, and the longer one will give you the extension you need to work with smaller objects while the shorter one may not always do so. I guess my bottom line is that if the camera you are looking at doesn ot hve thelonger bellows and the expanding rail you should definitely check with Jim.

I have used Horseman, Sinar, Linhof and Calumet rail cameras and they all do the job. The Horseman 450 that I have now I have been using for some ten years or more and it is a tank. The Horseman system is vast and will meet all your needs. Many Horseman and Sinar parts are interchangable. If $$ wee no object and I was starting over I might go for an Arca Swiss or Linhof top-of-the-line but the Horseman does it all for less money. My own feelings regarding Sinar, which many love, is that, with the exception of the P models, they are flimsy compared to the Horseman. You will find the Horseman a joy to work with I believe, whichever model.

BTW, make sure there is a tripod mounting block on the bottom of the rail! Another expensive piece to add on later that might get overlooked.

As far as lenses go, for your work anything in the 180 to 210 range should work well as yoru first lens. Get a modern lens from Schneider (Apo Symmar or older Symmar S multicoated or G-Claron), Rodenstock (Apo Sironar S or N or Sironar N multicoated), Nikon (Nikkor W) or Fuji (Fujinon CDW or W make sure it has EBC coating, or Fujinon A 180) .... if you get any one of these you will be happy and will not likely see much if any difference from one to another. Also consider Caltar branded lenses from Calumet, the Caltar IIN'sa re the same as the current Rodenstock Apo Sironar N's and the earluer IIS's are the same as the Schneider Symmar-S MC. You will want multicoating for product shooting.

Film is pretty much the same price unless someone has a closeout deal on some out of date film. B&H prices are ok but always check with Badger Graphic (www,badger.com) and Midwest. Day in and day out I thik Badger is the best place for film and buy most of mine there. Sometimes Midwest has a deal lon some slightly out of date film and the prices are right.

As for Charlotte labs .. someone sels jump in here ... remember I am from the frozen northland.

Scanners. My preference is the Microteck i900 in the under $1000 scanners because it is a dual bed system that scans 4x5 without glass in the path. IMO the results are slightly, but only slightly better than the results from the 4870. You have to go way up in price to see much difference from either of these (like over 4000) but when you do the differences are startling. OTOH, either the i900 or the 4870 will do fine for smaller print sizes. The difference in models of scanners is the software that comes with. In either case the pro model gives you a full version of SilverFast which is a fullfeatured scanning package. You can do nearly as well with a less expensive package called VueScan but I believe SilverFast is the winner when you need to do critical commercial work. You will hear lots of arguments on th scanners and the software.

Ellen Stoune Duralia
23-Dec-2004, 14:35
Thank you, Ted! Your detailed answer was extremely helpful!!