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raylarose
8-Feb-2016, 12:28
Good Afternoon!

My name is Ray and I am from Southern NH, standing on the ledge and getting ready to make the plunge into LF photography - waiting for the right body to be found. A bit of history if you like: I grew up in the 80's shooting 35mm film and made the switch to digital in 2008 for a few years. Digital didn't do it for me, so got back into film in 2012 and quickly moved to medium format. Recently, sold off the last of my 35mm gear and am shooting all 120 (Rollei / Plaubel-Makina) and just picked up a Graflex Century 2x3 with the 120 back this winter. Hooked on the style (movements, slow pace and so on) now.

This darned 2x3 I am calling it my gateway drug to LF.

So now, the bug has bit and I am researching 4x5 LF cameras. My hunting has brought me in a couple directions. I have to say, I love the looks and light weight of wooden view cameras like the Shen Hao and Nagaoka. But in that same breath, the economy of the Graflex Crown and the like grabs my attention - though I've read about limited movements. That got me looking at Linhof III's thru V's which can be in the same price range as new SH - give or take, but what I really want is what'll do the job well.

I plan to do a lot of walking with this body and plan to use with a tripod - which is why the woods first appealed to me.

Would love to hear others thoughts on this!

Thank you-Ray

Nodda Duma
8-Feb-2016, 12:50
Welcome neighbor!

I can't help you much with cameras but I can talk your ear off about optics.

raylarose
8-Feb-2016, 12:55
Brookline - nice! Not far at all. Thanks for the welcome. Sure, fire away about optics as that will go hand-in-hand with the body I decide on. My 2x3 has a Linhof Schneider-Kreuznach 105 which I am hoping can be used with the body I end up with.

Alan9940
8-Feb-2016, 13:10
Hello Ray,

Welcome to the Forum and the world of LF photography, once you get going. IMO your choice of which 4x5 camera should be defined by what photographs you envision making with it and how far you plan to walk/hike with it. For example, the Graflex Crown Graphic is a great body, but has limited movements; basically, you'll get some vertical movement on the front standard and can accomplish forward tilt with some trickery with the drop-bed. No back movements and you have to tilt the entire camera or dismount from tripod and re-mount on side to do a vertical. But, it's a tank of a camera which folds up into a nearly indestructible box which you could hike anywhere with and any distance you yourself can handle. Get a couple lightweight lenses and the other misc stuff and you'd have a nice field outfit.

However, if you don't want to be restricted by the limited camera movements of the Graflex, then you're looking at the box-style folding camera, Linhof Tech's, monorails, etc. But, if you plan on hiking any distance a monorail wouldn't be my first choice. Lots to think about... But, I'll let ya in on a little secret... My opinion mind you; in my 35+ years of shooting LF landscape/outdoor scene style photography with both 4x5 and 8x10 I have rarely needed all the advanced movements that a lot of these cameras offer. Some front rise/fall, front tilt, back tilt, and occasionally (I'm talking VERY occasionally!) some swing movement. I use swings so rarely that I almost hesitate to include it here. But, please keep in mind that this is my way of working.

Oh, and btw I lived in East Montpelier, VT for 18 years before moving out to the desert southwest. Spent many happy hours as a teen hiking the White Mountains and associated ranges, and photographing the area as an adult. Beautiful country...I do miss it sometimes.

raylarose
8-Feb-2016, 13:17
Thanks so much for that reply Alan, and nice to meet you. Great points you bring up here for me, thank you. It's nice to hear your thoughts on what movements you really use for outdoor/landscape. For hiking, it's rarely more than 3 miles to get to a spot I want to shoot (though sometimes can be a challenge if it's up Mt Washington). But a lot of my shooting lately has been the seacoast. Harbors, ocean and so forth. With that, relatively no hiking - and guessing I am currently doing more of that then that mountains. I haven't researched anything on the monorails yet as it seemed like it'd be more on a mountain hike than I want, but glad you brought that up! Man, you've given me even more to think on. ;)

Old_Dick
8-Feb-2016, 13:52
Hi Ray,

Welcome to the group. I have a Zone VI, the camera is within reason for me (68 and wicked PsA, arthritis) to pack into the mountains. The wooden tripod is what kills me. Since this is a hobby, my wife's budget doesn't allow me to get a carbon tripod. I live in Lyndeborough.

Sirius Glass
8-Feb-2016, 14:51
Welcome to Large Format Photography Forum

Alan Gales
8-Feb-2016, 14:53
I've seen Shen Hao's (camera only) turn up on Ebay for as low as $600 which isn't that much more than a nice clean Crown Graphic. Nice Crowns are usually around $400 but do come with a lens. If you don't mind spending a bit more for a new camera then check out the Chamonix models. They don't turn up used often.

Be sure to read the LF Home page to help get educated. You can use the advanced search to look up anything you have questions about. If you can't find what you are looking for then post a question. The members here are really nice and will be happy to help you. There is a lot to learn with large format but just take one a step at a time and you will have a lot of fun with it.

Welcome to the forum!

Bob Salomon
8-Feb-2016, 16:46
Used to spend some summers at Mt Monadnock in Dublin with the Sagendorfs from The Old Farmer's Almanac. Fun days back then up there.

raylarose
8-Feb-2016, 17:53
Another local, very nice! I looked a little at the VI's and like their look, and love they were once locally built in Vermont. Hearing you pack with it to the mountains is very positive in my book.

raylarose
8-Feb-2016, 17:55
Thank you for the warm welcome. I'll do some reading on the Chamonix and some compares. Sounding like another promising body. Thank you!

raylarose
8-Feb-2016, 17:57
Used to spend some summers at Mt Monadnock in Dublin with the Sagendorfs from The Old Farmer's Almanac. Fun days back then up there.

Small world! I am about to do freelance work for Yankee Magazine in Dublin. And Mt Monadnock is a wonderful climb. Good to meet you here!

David Schaller
9-Feb-2016, 09:00
Welcome! I grew up in the White Mountains, and spend a lot of time there, hiking and photographing. I use a wooden field camera for shorter, flatter hikes, but medium format now if I plan to summit a 4000 footer. I would recommend the Shen Hao for new, a Tachihara, Wista or similar for used. Having said that, I use a Wisner. There is a Zone VI on eBay right now, with a lens, that would be the same. The Wisner/Zone VI is heavier, but the rigidity and better bellows are worth it, so I sold my Tachihara. For general landscape use, the Wisner/Zone VI is all you need.

raylarose
9-Feb-2016, 09:20
Welcome! I grew up in the White Mountains, and spend a lot of time there, hiking and photographing. I use a wooden field camera for shorter, flatter hikes, but medium format now if I plan to summit a 4000 footer. I would recommend the Shen Hao for new, a Tachihara, Wista or similar for used. Having said that, I use a Wisner. There is a Zone VI on eBay right now, with a lens, that would be the same. The Wisner/Zone VI is heavier, but the rigidity and better bellows are worth it, so I sold my Tachihara. For general landscape use, the Wisner/Zone VI is all you need.

Thank you so much David. I'll have a look at that - sounds like a good setup. And I think I'll be the same for 4000+ climbs (bring the Plaubel-Makina). Do you see an advantage to new Shen Hao over any of the used ones you mentioned (or vice-versa?)

David Schaller
9-Feb-2016, 10:23
I have not had in-hand experience with the Shen Hao, but it has been recommended by many photographers whom I respect, on this forum and elsewhere. While it is nice to have a brand new piece of gear, you will certainly make your money go farther by buying used equipment. Once you have been on this site for a month you will have access to the buy and sell forum, where you will find some trusted sellers and very good deals. Saving a few hundred dollars on the camera buys you another lens.

raylarose
9-Feb-2016, 10:26
Excellent, thank you. And looking forward to getting access to the buy/sell forum in a month.

Larry Gebhardt
9-Feb-2016, 11:47
Welcome. I'm in Amherst. I have a few 4x5 cameras and they all have their strengths. My main 4x5 is currently a Chamonix 45N. You are welcome to stop by and check it out if you wish.

raylarose
9-Feb-2016, 11:59
I appreciate that Larry, thank you. I just may take you up on that! :)

Alan Gales
9-Feb-2016, 14:22
I appreciate that Larry, thank you. I just may take you up on that! :)

Definitely take Larry up on his generous offer. Playing around with a few different cameras will help you plus you will make a new friend! :)

Before deciding on a camera you need to have an idea of which lenses you may want to use. Some field cameras work better with wide lenses than others. Some support bag bellows and some do not. If you like ultra wide lenses then you will want a bag bellows too. If you want to close focus longer lenses for head or head and shoulder portraiture you need to make sure you have enough bellows to do that. Some field cameras have more bellows extension than others. Of course you can always add a cheap monorail if you do a lot of portraits with long lenses.

raylarose
19-Feb-2016, 08:06
As one to always jump into gear with both feet (and after playing around with several cameras) I have decided to make the move. To raise the funds, just sold one of me Leica's and it covered all this:


Chamonix 45n-2 (teak / gray metal)
Schneider Symmar-S 5.6/150 (Copal 0 shutter)
Fujinon SW 8/90 (Copal 0 shutter)
Zone VI lightweight wooden tripod w/ Bogen head
4 film holders
Pentax spotmeter V
Box of Ilford Delta 100

EdSawyer
20-Feb-2016, 07:19
Sounds like a good choice. We should all have a NH LF get together sometime. I am in the seacoast area, grew up in the white mountains and still get up there regularly. For serious hikes I usually take a chamonix saber, it's the smallest/lightest 4x5 I have, and packs down pretty small. Limited movements and lens choice of course but that's the compromise....

-Ed

David Schaller
20-Feb-2016, 07:32
I'd be up for that meetup too.

c.d.ewen
20-Feb-2016, 10:33
Love to go along, too. I'm over on Sunapee when the water isn't hard as a rock, and sometimes when it is.

Charley

photog_ed
13-Mar-2016, 20:15
I'm catching up with this thread a little late, but I'd be interested in a meetup too. I'm just over the border in northern Mass.

Ed

raylarose
14-Mar-2016, 03:37
Wow, looking like we have a bunch of folks up for getting together sometime. Spring is right around the corner, I think we should make this happen.

Nodda Duma
14-Mar-2016, 06:48
I'd be all for a meet-up.

Maybe meet somewhere like the Common Man in Merrimack (just off the turnpike) or Martha's Exchange in Nashua on a suitable weekend?

Martha's is downtown and right near the Nashua millyards if you wanted to do some urban landscape photography afterwards.

photog_ed
14-Mar-2016, 17:40
I'd be all for a meet-up.

Maybe meet somewhere like the Common Man in Merrimack (just off the turnpike) or Martha's Exchange in Nashua on a suitable weekend?

Martha's is downtown and right near the Nashua millyards if you wanted to do some urban landscape photography afterwards.

Either venue sounds good to me.

Ed F.

onnect17
14-Mar-2016, 21:03
BTW, your guys are not that far. I would suggest stopping by this show:

148286

raylarose
15-Mar-2016, 03:47
Yeah, either venue sounds good to me too. I'm in Derry, so neither are that far.

Also, that show looks like it'll be good, thanks!

Nodda Duma
15-Mar-2016, 06:19
I got the newsletter yesterday with the flyer for the show. Already got permission from "the boss" to attend ;)

EdSawyer
17-Mar-2016, 06:15
Looks like an interesting show (I remember going to it back in the early 1990s) but I have more than enough gear at the moment.

Some sort of photo walk/shoot/etc. would be a fun adventure though. Ray don't you have one planned in May for Ogunquit or something?

raylarose
17-Mar-2016, 07:33
Looks like an interesting show (I remember going to it back in the early 1990s) but I have more than enough gear at the moment.

Some sort of photo walk/shoot/etc. would be a fun adventure though. Ray don't you have one planned in May for Ogunquit or something?
I sure do: http://www.newenglandwalk.com/ I am thinking of going all LF for this walk. Usually do something different. First one was Leica M-A, second was 120 pinhole. Might as well go 4x5 next! Ha ha ha.

Old_Dick
17-Mar-2016, 07:38
A good site for the Marginal Way. http://marginalwayfund.org/photos-webcam/lighthouse-webcam/

raylarose
17-Mar-2016, 07:39
Also, wanted to share my first handful of shots with the Chamonix. I've done a few test shots here and there (landscapes / portraits), but these are my more serious ones:

http://www.raylarose.com/2016/03/old-portsmouth/

Feedback is more than welcome! Shot on Delta 100, developed in the sink with Kodak D-76, scanned on Epson V700, toned in Photoshop. (Plan to chemical tone for darkroom printing).

raylarose
17-Mar-2016, 07:41
A good site for the Marginal Way. http://marginalwayfund.org/photos-webcam/lighthouse-webcam/

Awesome, thank you! I am doing a pre-walk of it in a couple weeks.

EdSawyer
17-Mar-2016, 14:16
Marginal way is a nice walk, I've been there many times, with LF (usually chamonix saber or maybe a crown/speed graphic, handheld most always.), and with medium format too. Lots to see, some nice beach/rocks/sand compositions. It can get crowded in the summer though.

Ken Lee
17-Mar-2016, 15:05
I'll come to a meetup if it isn't too far away - I'm in Western Massachusetts.

raylarose
18-Mar-2016, 05:17
Marginal way is a nice walk, I've been there many times, with LF (usually chamonix saber or maybe a crown/speed graphic, handheld most always.), and with medium format too. Lots to see, some nice beach/rocks/sand compositions. It can get crowded in the summer though.

Excellent to hear, Ed. I decided to have it early May to avoid the crowds. :)

Ken Lee
18-Mar-2016, 10:54
http://www.kenleegallery.com/images/forum/MarginalWay.jpg

This was done off the Marginal Way, early enough in the morning to avoid crowds and footprints in the sand.

EdSawyer
18-Mar-2016, 13:07
Nice one Ken. I have been on that beach, I am sure.

raylarose
21-Mar-2016, 03:28
Really nice Ken, I like that!

Andrew O'Neill
29-Mar-2016, 12:18
Welcome!

EdSawyer
1-Apr-2016, 06:15
Signed up for the Marginal Way walk, will probably bring a couple 4x5s. It would be cool to meet others from LFPF that are in the area too.

raylarose
1-Apr-2016, 06:21
Signed up for the Marginal Way walk, will probably bring a couple 4x5s. It would be cool to meet others from LFPF that are in the area too.

So happy you're coming along Ed. Now I won't be the only one in "slow motion" compared to these 35mm film kids. Ha ha! Actually a good mix of shooters so far - about half shoot 35mm and the other half 120. You and I will be the 4x5's.

jnanian
1-Apr-2016, 06:54
Also, wanted to share my first handful of shots with the Chamonix. I've done a few test shots here and there (landscapes / portraits), but these are my more serious ones:

http://www.raylarose.com/2016/03/old-portsmouth/

Feedback is more than welcome! Shot on Delta 100, developed in the sink with Kodak D-76, scanned on Epson V700, toned in Photoshop. (Plan to chemical tone for darkroom printing).

nice work ray, i like the windows with stickers on them :)

i haven't been to portsmouth since i had a few jobs across at ( PNS ) shipyard.
once in a while i'd stop at the DQ at the rotary for some fries before i drove 4 hours home.
strawberry banke still there ?

john

raylarose
1-Apr-2016, 06:57
Thanks so much John! Yes, Strawberry Banke is still there - such a great place to shoot.

Nodda Duma
1-Apr-2016, 13:48
My kids love strawberry Banke so we go a couple times a year. Such a great place for photos. Last time we went the replica Spanish galleon was at the dock. What a treat

jnanian
1-Apr-2016, 16:39
i had a feeling it wasn't going anywhere, having stayed in 1 place for 300 years but i had to ask ! :)
one of my teachers was one of the people, if not THE person who restored the colonial gardens at strawberry banks ..
she did soil analysis to identify the pollen of what plants were there as well as other "stuff" to restore the local landscape.

EdSawyer
1-Apr-2016, 18:30
That DQ is still at the circle, but kittery foreside has gone much more upscale recently, some great places to eat over there. We've taken a cruise on the privateer lynx out of the portsmouth harbor before, it was a great time. (It's a tall ship). I always wanted to get on PNS to shoot the old naval prison, but so far haven't found a way on to do that.

jnanian
1-Apr-2016, 20:54
hi Ed,
the tall ship ride sounds like a blast. I don't think I ate or did much in kittery when I was there.
I have a feeling it will be nearly impossible for a civilian to photograph things at the shipyard.
I was working for an engineering firm who was doing EIS&section 106 reviews on-base, and fo me to use a
camera I had to get all sorts of clearance not to mention, no film left the base without being processed
and scrutinized by security. I had a camera badge when I was there ( both pre and post 911) and
every like 10 seconds someone asked to see my badge and questioned me. luckily I became friendly with a mp,
who ran interference for me otherwise I would have spent my days answering the same questions rather than making photographs. the stop and question was natural there, there are never cameras on base so when they see a rail camera they are supposed to ask ( being not normal and all ) ...
ive done work at arsenals ( army ) and the buildings at PNS/naval stations are equally as cookie cutter, Seabee/cool stuff you really don't see anywhere else. I mean who would have imagined an enormous Quonset hut with flying buttresses. totally wild stuff.

raylarose
4-Apr-2016, 03:56
Oh man, yes, the tall ships are a blast. I was lucky enough to be part of the crew on the Liberty Clipper out of Boston for a race down in Rockport.