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View Full Version : Buying new camera, advice appreciated



Lenrick
14-Jan-2017, 11:04
I've been using a Toyo 45CF for 10 years now. This is the only view-camera I have ever used or even fiddled with (due to lack of LF communities where I live in Sweden). The Toyo 45CF have served me well, but two things keeps annoying me:
1) lack of "rigidity"
2) lack of back movements

It will be very hard for me to get my hands on the cameras available on the market. Therefor I was hoping for some opinions from you guys to narrow the search.

What cameras do you you think fit these criteria:
1) foldable field 4x5" view-camera
2) feels rigid and things really stay in place when locked in
3) can be heavy and bulky (but the less the better of course)
4) it is not necessary with large, or special axis, movements but as lest some: front rise/fall, front tilt/swing and back tilt
5) fairly easy to find in good condition on eBay or similar
6) around or below 3000 $/ or 2500

Any thoughts are highly appreciated.

Bob Salomon
14-Jan-2017, 11:06
Linhof Master Technika or Master Technika 2000 or 3000.

Alan Gales
14-Jan-2017, 11:44
To add to Bob's (top of the line) list you might also look at the metal Toyo's. Also look at Wista metal cameras. No front fall but a lot of front rise on the Wista's.

A lot of people who shoot wood Chamonix's claim they are really sturdy.

Pfsor
14-Jan-2017, 11:49
Linhof Master Technika or Master Technika 2000 or 3000.

Correct me if I'm wrong - Master Technika 2000 or 3000 for below 3000$/Euro or 2500 ???

Jac@stafford.net
14-Jan-2017, 11:50
Linhof Master Technika or Master Technika 2000 or 3000.

Oi! Stop that, Bob! I'm on a hardware diet.
One more Linhof and I'm done. Just one more!
.

xkaes
14-Jan-2017, 12:28
You can't do better than a TOKO:

http://www.subclub.org/toko/

If you can find one!

locutus
14-Jan-2017, 13:37
I fear that you are now going to get every single 5x4 camera available recommended.......

Steven Tribe
14-Jan-2017, 13:48
You don't need this sort of budget! A Sinar (9x12/4xs) will give stability and precision movements. A good source is LP Foto in Stockholm. Unless you are a "backpacker", the extra weight compared with folding cameras is very slight.

Thre is no real advantage in buying new, as older models can be at least as good as current models without their very necessary extra costs because of very limited production.

dpn
14-Jan-2017, 14:41
Toyo VX125?

Louis Pacilla
14-Jan-2017, 15:37
I fear that you are now going to get every single 5x4 camera available recommended.......

Any manufacturer of a 4x5 field or rail camera that has not been mentioned above.:p:rolleyes:

David Karp
14-Jan-2017, 16:12
My Walker Titan SF meets all of the criteria. It folds. It is rigid as can be. It has front rise, fall, swing, rear tilt, and shift. The rear swings and shifts. They were built in England. I imagine you should be able to find them bouncing around Europe.

I really, really, like that camera.

Lenrick
15-Jan-2017, 01:27
Thanks.

I found some ok videos about the metal Wistas and Toyo AII:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gAQkOnCnxsk&t
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Izdotk9g5Y

I can't find a similar type video about the Master Technikas. If you know of one, please post it.

However, is the Master Technika similar enough to the Horseman 45FA that this video will show me how it works:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2X7na0TJgtk

Bob Salomon
15-Jan-2017, 03:37
Thanks.

I found some ok videos about the metal Wistas and Toyo AII:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gAQkOnCnxsk&t
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Izdotk9g5Y

I can't find a similar type video about the Master Technikas. If you know of one, please post it.

However, is the Master Technika similar enough to the Horseman 45FA that this video will show me how it works:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2X7na0TJgtk

Just download the Master instructions and brochure from the Linhof factory site.

locutus
15-Jan-2017, 04:32
A manufacturers brochure isn't going to point out the impractical parts of a camera, a reviewer might but I doubt Linhof is going to tell you how impractical the back movements on rods really is.

Doremus Scudder
15-Jan-2017, 04:37
I can only recommend from my personal preferences and experience. However, if you want lightweight and portability you may wish to consider my approach.

I carry my cameras in the city, the country, on extensive day hikes in the back country and on the occasional multi-day backpacking trip. Over the years I have refined my kit to be both lightweight and fully-functional.

Here's my method, with a few specifics:

1. I like to carry as little weight as possible

I like wooden folding field cameras on the smaller side, but with enough movements to allow me to do architectural work. My workhorse cameras are a Wista DX and a Wista SW (basically a DX with interchangeable bellows). They weigh in at only 1.8kg and 2kg respectively. I have a Woodman 45 that weighs even less for backpacking. These cameras have only 300mm of bellows draw, but I'm able to use a 300mm lens on them with a top-hat lensboard. If I were buying new, I'd consider the lightest Chamonix model as well. I would not buy a camera without a shift movement. There are some lightweight folders that don't have shift. I'd avoid those if I were you, especially if you do and work in cities.

There are heavier wooden folders like the Wisner technical field and the Zone VI/Ritter and Shen Hao HZX45 cameras that have lots of bellows draw and movements, but are simply too heavy and bulky for my needs (I own a Zone VI and use it close to the car or when I really need to use that 450mm lens, otherwise it stays packed up). Most of them are in the 2.5kg or higher range and have larger bodies, making them harder to pack. Metal cameras like the Toyos and Wistas and Linhofs are great, but too heavy for me as well.

My lens kit is also very lightweight: My heaviest lens is a 90mm SA f/8 (I'd get the Nikkor SW 90mm f/8 if I had to buy again). It has enough coverage for my needs in that focal length. I also have a lightweight 135mm WF Ektar, that is great for its coverage, 180mm and 240mm Fujinon A lenses (very small) and a Nikkor M 300mm. I carry these regularly. Camera and five lenses = less than 5kg. Add to these meter, holders, filters, lightweight tripod etc. and I'm still under 10kg. (Tripods don't have to be too heavy either.)

FWIW, I carry my kit in the city in a small rolling carry-on/combination backpack. Rolling is nice on smooth surfaces, but I can put it on for rougher terrain/stairs or climb on my bicycle and cover a whole lot of territory that I couldn't on foot. In the back country, I use a lumbar pack and a photo vest.


2. Rigidity is overrated:

Unless you're stressing your camera when you trip the shutter, you don't need your camera to be a rock; it just has to hold still when you shoot. Having movements that are easy to set and that stay in place is important, but a front or rear standard that deflects a bit when you put pressure on it is normal for lightweight cameras. Just don't do that when you photograph. Once I get my cameras set up and locked down, they are plenty stable, even for very long exposures (I made a 30min+ exposure the other day; razor sharp).

Cameras I would consider: Of course, the ones I use, especially the Wista 45SW (which may not be so easy to find...) because of the ability to use a wide-angle bellows in the city. I like the Chamonix cameras with the "universal" bellows. The Shen Hao PTB looks nice too. I own and use a Woodman, but would not buy it again; the bellows are prone to leaks and the back tilt gets blocked by the hardware.

Hope this helps a bit,

Doremus

Bob Salomon
15-Jan-2017, 05:34
A manufacturers brochure isn't going to point out the impractical parts of a camera, a reviewer might but I doubt Linhof is going to tell you how impractical the back movements on rods really is.

Well then, you could always ask users like John Sexton or Bruce Barnbaum.

Lenrick
15-Jan-2017, 05:57
My cousin will be in Tokyo in few days. Anyone knows of a second hand camera store where one could expect to find this type of gear? He is not there to run my errands so it must be easy to find.

Drew Bedo
15-Jan-2017, 06:27
Is it less complicated (customs, shipping etc) to get a camera that is built and sold in Europe rather than one from the UK, USA or Asia? If so, then the Linnhoffs mentioned by Bob above would be good choices. They are well designed,stoutly built, though a bit heavy, have all the movements you want and are self-storing.

There are so many good csmeras that will meet your needs, that I think that your decision would comer down to what is available with the least problems in acquisition from customs, duties and so on.

chassis
15-Jan-2017, 06:39
Lenrick, because you have experience with the Toyo 45CF, I suggest the Toyo 45AII. The camera uses the same principles of operation, but it is metal and much more rigid. It also has very nice back movements. The movements lock down firmly. There are many accessories for this camera, including a 4 inch / 100 mm back extension. The extension allows use of longer lenses, and I find this useful. The camera folds for backpacking or packing in luggage. The price fits in your window. I use lenses from 58mm to 270mm with this camera. and the appropriate lens board and back extension.

Pfsor
15-Jan-2017, 06:55
Is it less complicated (customs, shipping etc) to get a camera that is built and sold in Europe rather than one from the UK, USA or Asia? If so, then the Linnhoffs mentioned by Bob above would be good choices. They are well designed,stoutly built, though a bit heavy, have all the movements you want and are self-storing.


And they cost > 6 000 $ just a nude camera... Exactly what you wanted, didn't you?

Alan Gales
15-Jan-2017, 12:24
Thanks.

I found some ok videos about the metal Wistas and Toyo AII:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gAQkOnCnxsk&t
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Izdotk9g5Y

I can't find a similar type video about the Master Technikas. If you know of one, please post it.

However, is the Master Technika similar enough to the Horseman 45FA that this video will show me how it works:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2X7na0TJgtk

I used to sell film gear on Ebay. Mostly medium format but some large format too. I picked up an earlier Wista mostly to try it out. It was an early version of the SP and also had Micro Swing. A very good friend of mine owns the Toyo 45A.

The Wista supports a bag bellows and also an extension bellows. There were longer bed extensions for using longer lenses made. I've seen them for sale on Ebay. Like I mentioned earlier the Wista has no front fall but very generous front rise. I found I didn't need the micro swing (it had regular swing as well) but some find it useful. Not all metal Wistas have the micro swing. Wistas use Technika style lens boards.

The Toyo does not support bag bellows or extension bellows. If my memory serves me right, it does have front fall. Some Toyo 45Aiis use Toyo boards and some use the smaller Technika style boards depending upon which model you bought.

Quality wise both cameras are pretty much the same. I've never even seen the Horseman but from what I have read the quality is similar.

The Linhofs that Bob recommends are the top of the line. They are the Rolls Royce of technical field cameras. I believe they are a little heavier and of course a lot more expensive. I've never had the pleasure of even holding one. I did ride in a rented Rolls Royce once as part of a wedding party! :)

Bob Salomon
15-Jan-2017, 13:19
And they cost > 6 000 $ just a nude camera... Exactly what you wanted, didn't you?

Not used. And new they cost much more. Do your own search and don't guess!

https://www.google.com/search?q=linhof%20master%20technika&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8

Pfsor
15-Jan-2017, 13:28
Not used. And new they cost much more. Do your own search and don't guess!

https://www.google.com/search?q=linhof%20master%20technika&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8

Have already done my own research and did not guess - http://linhof.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/linhof_preise_2016_15_11.pdf

Used Master Technika 3000 for under 2500??? Continue hoping!

Bob Salomon
15-Jan-2017, 14:07
Have already done my own research and did not guess - http://linhof.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/linhof_preise_2016_15_11.pdf

Used Master Technika 3000 for under 2500??? Continue hoping!

There is one right now on the bay. Just click on the link I sent.

Pfsor
15-Jan-2017, 14:18
There is one right now on the bay. Just click on the link I sent.

Did you mean this one - http://www.ebay.com/itm/Linhof-Master-Technika-2000-45-4x5-Large-Format-Camera-free-EMS-shipping-/152293322097
With no lens, no lens cam, no lens board, for 2 599$ ? Or did you mean Master Technika 3000 for under 3000$ ?

Bob Salomon
15-Jan-2017, 15:55
Did you mean this one - http://www.ebay.com/itm/Linhof-Master-Technika-2000-45-4x5-Large-Format-Camera-free-EMS-shipping-/152293322097
With no lens, no lens cam, no lens board, for 2 599$ ? Or did you mean Master Technika 3000 for under 3000$ ?

No, the auction one for $1599.00

Leszek Vogt
15-Jan-2017, 16:11
I think one could get a new Chamonixer for 1/3 of the other stratospheric cameras. You might want to look at others such as VDS camera, etc. Also, you could get an arm (attach to tripod) and you could easily stabilize even a flaky rig. Good luck finding the ideal rig (for you).

Les

Pfsor
15-Jan-2017, 16:41
No, the auction one for $1599.00

It doesn't say anywhere it's a Master Technika 2000 or 3000.

Greg
15-Jan-2017, 16:54
Well then, you could always ask users like John Sexton or Bruce Barnbaum.

Last I remember John Sexton was using a Linhof but had stripped it of many parts probably to conserve weight. Every now and then have seen a stripped (no handle, rangefinder, etc.) but still totally useable Super Technika up FS at under a grand. Also once found a very early 5x7 Technika for under $200!!! It was very used but worked 100% fine.

AA+
15-Jan-2017, 17:13
I have spent my life in 5x7 photography but have an opinion about what 4x5 to get. After years of Burke&James 5x7 Grover monorail, I got tired of it and for the first time in my life I examined carefully 8 prospective cameras. I settled on a K B Canham wood and have been ever more pleased with my decision. His wood 4x5 and 5x7 cameras are very similar.

Best wishes --- Allen

Bob Salomon
15-Jan-2017, 17:41
Last I remember John Sexton was using a Linhof but had stripped it of many parts probably to conserve weight. Every now and then have seen a stripped (no handle, rangefinder, etc.) but still totally useable Super Technika up FS at under a grand. Also once found a very early 5x7 Technika for under $200!!! It was very used but worked 100% fine.
John traded his Master Technika for a Master Technika 2000 at Glazers in Seattle when the 2000 was introduced, since both the 2000 and the 3000 have no rangefinder there isn't much for him to strip.
As near as I remember John signed the Master that he traded to them so someone, somewhere, has a John Sexton autographed and used Linhof Master Technika. Not a common item.

Bob Salomon
15-Jan-2017, 17:44
It doesn't say anywhere it's a Master Technika 2000 or 3000.

It is the Master Technik Classic, that means that it has the rangefinder. A 2000 and 3000 do not have a rangefinder and, in its place, is an extreme wide angle focusing system inside the camera housing for 65 and wider lenses, down to 35mm.

Bernice Loui
15-Jan-2017, 19:34
Once upon a time the Linhof Master Technika was the image making tool. This was a complete system with 5 lenses and more. Over time and in real world image producing demands. It was apparent it is and always be a flat bed press camera. Using a wide angle lens is a hassle, rear movements are not convent or precise, bellows draw is limited along with other Technika designed in limitations. This Technika was sold to a new owner. No longer a fan of that design of camera.

After that, KB Canham introduced their DLC45, which is IMO, the best metal flat bed from a user's perspective. It has far fewer of the limitations baked into the Technika, light weight, good rigidity, enough bellows and the bellows will compress down enough to ease use of a wide angle lens. It is more user oriented design than the Technika. Field or technical press cameras are a mixed bag of trade off for lower weight and small size.


After all that, Sinar mono rail remains the preferred camera and camera system. At this point. I'm going to try an Arca Swiss-Sinar hybrid as an experiment.


Bernice

Bob Salomon
16-Jan-2017, 05:07
Once upon a time the Linhof Master Technika was the image making tool. This was a complete system with 5 lenses and more. Over time and in real world image producing demands. It was apparent it is and always be a flat bed press camera. Using a wide angle lens is a hassle, rear movements are not convent or precise, bellows draw is limited along with other Technika designed in limitations. This Technika was sold to a new owner. No longer a fan of that design of camera.

After that, KB Canham introduced their DLC45, which is IMO, the best metal flat bed from a user's perspective. It has far fewer of the limitations baked into the Technika, light weight, good rigidity, enough bellows and the bellows will compress down enough to ease use of a wide angle lens. It is more user oriented design than the Technika. Field or technical press cameras are a mixed bag of trade off for lower weight and small size.


After all that, Sinar mono rail remains the preferred camera and camera system. At this point. I'm going to try an Arca Swiss-Sinar hybrid as an experiment.


Bernice

Bernice, after the husband of Nicky Karp's widow died, several decades ago, she sold the Linhof factory to a much younger owner, Peter Baurenschmidt, who is still the owner today. Linhof never sold offf the Technika brand.
The Technika is not a Press camera, Linhof did make a Press camera called the Technika Standard Press back in the 50s for sale only in the American market to compete with American press cameras like the Graphic. The Linhof Technika was always designed to be a technical camera as it has far more movements, front and back then a press camera.
Linhof also makes a superior folding field camera, the Technikardan, that is a collapsing monorail camera with a 20" bellows and all movements front and back that collapses to the size of a book. If you attach its wide angle bellows it can use lenses as short as 35mm with full movements. It would also sell used in the OP price range.

asf
16-Jan-2017, 05:21
I'd recommend the Technikardan 45s as well (not the earlier 45)
Get the newest, cleanest used one you can find
I've seen very nice ones with accessories on eBay from reputable sellers go for under $2k

neil poulsen
16-Jan-2017, 06:29
. . . Like I mentioned earlier the Wista has no front fall but very generous front rise. . . .

Technically, perhaps not. But, the Wista has a drop bed and front back tilt. So, one can drop the bed and tilt the front standard back to effect front fall. Am I missing something here?

gary mulder
16-Jan-2017, 06:53
I'd recommend the Technikardan 45s as well (not the earlier 45)
Get the newest, cleanest used one you can find
I've seen very nice ones with accessories on eBay from reputable sellers go for under $2k

I used a Technikardan 45s intensive on a trip to Island in wet en windy conditions. After that I traded it for a Technika and never looked back. The later is a winner in harsh conditions.

Bob Salomon
16-Jan-2017, 10:57
Technically, perhaps not. But, the Wista has a drop bed and front back tilt. So, one can drop the bed and tilt the front standard back to effect front fall. Am I missing something here?

No, it just means that you get front drop by using indirect movement rather than direct displacements. End result? Same thing. Just an extra step or two.

Linhof placed two tripod sockets on the Technika body housing. One on the bottom of the housing and one on the top. This lets you turn the camera upside down on the tripod so what was lens rise is now lens drop.

Alan Gales
16-Jan-2017, 11:49
Technically, perhaps not. But, the Wista has a drop bed and front back tilt. So, one can drop the bed and tilt the front standard back to effect front fall. Am I missing something here?

You will achieve the same thing but it's fiddly. You also have to adjust your tripod head to match the bed drop won't you? I don't know. I've never done that.

Maybe not a big deal if shooting landscapes but if you are shooting a portrait and want to adjust fall a little, it would be a pain to do it that way.

Bob Salomon
16-Jan-2017, 13:55
You will achieve the same thing but it's fiddly. You also have to adjust your tripod head to match the bed drop won't you? I don't know. I've never done that.

Maybe not a big deal if shooting landscapes but if you are shooting a portrait and want to adjust fall a little, it would be a pain to do it that way.
Easy to do. You mount the camera upside down the exact same way that you normally mount it.

However, no one says that you have to set up the camera with the lens all the way down at the bottom of the standard. Unless you are handholding with the rangefinder and the Multifocus Finder.

For all other uses you can position the front standard wherever you want. In fact, when using wide angles with the bed dropped you have to raise the front standard. So, nothing stops you from moving the standard up half way or all the way if you want to be able to drop the lens.

Alan Gales
16-Jan-2017, 14:46
Easy to do. You mount the camera upside down the exact same way that you normally mount it.

However, no one says that you have to set up the camera with the lens all the way down at the bottom of the standard. Unless you are handholding with the rangefinder and the Multifocus Finder.

For all other uses you can position the front standard wherever you want. In fact, when using wide angles with the bed dropped you have to raise the front standard. So, nothing stops you from moving the standard up half way or all the way if you want to be able to drop the lens.

Thanks Bob. That makes sense. I'm so used to leveling my camera and then zeroing it out and starting from there. I guess I'm just not used to thinking that way. :)

Lenrick
25-Jan-2017, 07:06
Thanks for all your advise. For me it became a decision between a Linhof Technika, a Wista Technical, or a Toyo-View 45A/AX/AII. In the end I was offered second hand Linhof Master Technika Classic with some lenses, lensboards, and cams for 2300 including shipping. Seemed very reasonably, so that's the one I went for. I have played around with it but not exposed any film yet. So far I'm very happy.

Thanks again.

jnanian
25-Jan-2017, 07:11
You can't do better than a TOKO:

http://www.subclub.org/toko/

If you can find one!

couldn't agree more ..

and if you can't find one,
a toyo field view.

srpirolt
25-Jan-2017, 07:41
I don't know anything about these cameras, but there is currently a Toko camera outfit on eBay.


couldn't agree more ..

and if you can't find one,
a toyo field view.

Bob Salomon
25-Jan-2017, 08:06
I don't know anything about these cameras, but there is currently a Toko camera outfit on eBay.

Have you read #42 in the replies?

egologursky
28-Jan-2017, 14:55
Canham DLC45