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Ruleof72
4-Feb-2017, 07:56
Hi everyone,

I'm a long time lurker and first time poster who's looking forward to becoming a more active part of this community.

I've been an enthusiastic photographer for the last 5 years or so and I shoot both digital and film. My current digital kit is a Olympus EM-10 micro 4/3 and my film cameras consist of a Nikkormat FTn and Olympus OM-1 SLR and two Rolleicord Va Type 2's. I shoot a mix of street/urban, auto and landscape. I develop my own B&W film and up until now have been just scanning the negatives. I will be joining a local photographer's group this year which will give me access to real darkroom equipment so I plan on learning about everything that goes with that. I've also been talking about getting a 4x5 camera for at least 2 years and I'm finally ready to make that "threat" a reality.

My plan is to use the 4x5 mostly for landscapes but also in-town/architectural so portability and a versatility of movements are important. My initial budget is in the neighborhood of 2k "all in" (camera, couple of lenses, etc.). I've done some research and have compiled a list of possible cameras. I'm hoping here might be able to provide some insight into the pros/cons of the cameras and help me narrow the list down to the finalists. Here's what I've come up with so far:




Shen Hao HZX-IIa- Looks to have all the movements I would need but a little heavier than the others. Cost ~$1100
Shen Hao PTB45- Lighter than HZX but with no rear rise/fall/shift. Everything else seems good movement wise. Cost of ~$1000
Chamonix 4x5 N2 & N2- Both seem like good values with enough movements (no rear rise/fall/shift) and light weight. Cost of ~$1000
Chamonix 4x5 F1- pretty much same as N1 & N2 but with "asymmetrical" rear tilt which they claim is easier to use- New cost of ~$1100
Speed Graphic- seems to be a classic 1st 4x5 suggestion but while less expensive & hand-holdable it is heavier and lacks some important movements that might be helpful? Cost is ~$400-$700
Wista 45vx- another classic that is similar in weight to Speed graphic but with more movements. Cost ~$500-$700
Tachihara 4x5 Field- seems to me to be "best" choice for used field camera. Has all movements I'd need, is lightweight and seems to be available for $500-$750


Am I missing anything in this list? Can anyone speak to differences between Shen Hao and Chamonix as far as durability/usability go? Any other cameras I should be looking at based on my criteria and budget?

As for lenses I think I could get going with 2, a 90mm-105mm wide angle and a 150-180mm normal. I think those would cover me for a while. There are so many options but I know that my budget will only allow me to purchase used. Any suggestions?

Thanks in advance for the help!

Leigh
4-Feb-2017, 08:03
Hi everyone,
I'm a long time lurker and first time poster who's looking forward to becoming a more active part of this community.

Hi Rule, and welcome aboard.


Tachihara 4x5 Field- seems to me to be "best" choice for used field camera.
Has all movements I'd need, is lightweight and seems to be available for $500-$750I strongly recommend the Tachihara.
I have the 8x10 version with a 5x7 auxiliary back, and I love it.
This is a beautiful camera, hand-made from 300-year-old Japanese cherry.


My initial budget is in the neighborhood of 2k "all in" (camera, couple of lenses, etc.).
Your basic lens selection is reasonable, though your budget may be a bit limiting.
You can spend that much on a single lens.

That doesn't mean you HAVE to spend that much on a single lens.
LF lens performance is not nearly as critical as for 35mm since the enlargement ratio is much less.

- Leigh

Jim Jones
4-Feb-2017, 09:16
Don't expect the first 4x5 you buy will be ideal. Reading about using one and actually using it are quite different. Also, many old and relatively inexpensive cameras and lenses can do today what they did generations ago when they produced photographs that set many of today's standards. There are situations when the latest and best lenses would be significantly better for you, but you should discover them on your own.

Vaughn
4-Feb-2017, 09:37
A great deal in used modern lenses, would be the Caltar--IIN series (rebranded Rodenstock lenses). Their 150/5.6 was my only 4x5 lens for years -- very small and light. Should be well under $300.

Tachihara 4x5 Field is a beautiful camera. Not bomb-proof, but well-made. The Horseman WoodField is another nice wood field camera...more 'bomb-proof' than the Tachihara, but not as pretty.

IanG
4-Feb-2017, 10:14
The Wista 45DX is very similar to the Tchihara and slightly better made, I've had mine around 30 years.

A Super Graphic (graflex or later Toyo) is another option, more movements than a Speed or Crown I like mine and use it a lot, often hand held which is why I bought it after using a Crown Graphic.

Also the Toyo 45A is a good budget camera with raesonable movements,

Ian

Leigh
4-Feb-2017, 12:41
For handheld use I would certainly recommend one of the Graflex or similar press cameras.
They were designed for such operation.

My first exposure to LF was in 1960, shooting sports for a newspaper using a 4x5 Graflex (don't know which model).
The presence of an optical viewfinder and a coupled rangefinder certainly simplified the task.

- Leigh

Alan Gales
4-Feb-2017, 13:01
I used to own a Tachihara 4x5. It is extremely light weight, has a very bright screen to focus on, and can use a 90mm lens on a flat lens board. On the negative side, it's not as sturdy as the Chamonix or Shen Hao and it's so pretty that you need to be prepared for people approaching you asking about your pretty antique camera. :)

I would look for a used camera. For example, I've seen used Shen Hao's for $700 on Ebay and used Chamonix's for $800. You do have to be patient and wait for something to turn up for sale. After you shoot a camera for a while you may decide that you want a different one. You can usually sell a used camera for close to what you paid for it.

Spend your money on film!

Dan Fromm
4-Feb-2017, 13:42
About lenses. I've been shopping for several recently.

I don't think you can make a bad mistake with any 90 or 150 or 180 from the big four (in alphabetical order, Fuji, Nikon, Schneider, Rodenstock). Schneider's 90/6.8 Angulon, however, is marginal for 4x5.

Fewer choices in 100 mm lenses that will cover 4x5. The only two that come to mind are the 100/6.3 Wide Field Ektar and the 100/6.3 Meyer Aristostigmat. I've had the Meyer, it isn't that wonderful.

105s that will cover 4x5 with movements are even more limited. Off the top of my head, and I could be mistaken, two Fujinons. The rest are normal lenses for 2x3 (=6x9) and won't allow much shift/rise on 4x5.

At today's prices Fujis seem the best buys, but patience and luck in searching can make a difference.

Alan Gales
4-Feb-2017, 14:00
Yeah, I recently bought one of those inexpensive Fujinon 180mm lenses on Ebay from a Seller in Japan and I was very happy with the transaction.

Leigh
4-Feb-2017, 14:46
105s that will cover 4x5 with movements are even more limited. Off the top of my head, and I could be mistaken, two Fujinons.
Hi Dan,

Given the 163mm diagonal on 4x5...

I have a 105/8 Fujinon SW with a massive 250mm IC. It will cover 5x7 with movements.
It's a large lens (116.2mm FFL and 77mm filter), weighing 570gm in a Copal 0. It's very nice.

There's also a Fujinon 105/8 NSWS that may be a later version of the same lens. Same 250mm IC.
I don't have full specs.

Then there's the 105/5.6 Fujinon CM-W with its 174mm IC. Much smaller lens... 220gm in a Copal 0.

The Nikkor W 105/5.6 comes in just a bit shy with an IC of 155mm.

- Leigh

Dan Fromm
4-Feb-2017, 15:05
Leigh, I was thinking of the 105/8 Fujinons. Go here: http://www.subclub.org/fujinon/index.htm for reasonably clear explanations of which LF Fujinon is what.

There are also a couple 105/5.6 Fujinons that I prefer to think of as normal lenses for 2x3 rather than as w/a lenses for 4x5. You're right, they'll cover 4x5 but ...

FWIW, I recently got a 105/5.6 NW (engraved W, 6/6 if I counted reflections correctly) for use on 6x12. IMO it and the 105 CM W make better sense for 6x12 than for 4x5. Same goes for the 100/5.6 Nikkor-W (153 mm @f/22), the 105/5.6 Nikkor-W that you mentioned, and the Sironars and Symmars that don't quite cover 150 mm. Also for the 105/4.5 Super Topcor (158 mm).

Given the OP's budget I don't see why he should have to compromise by getting a relatively low-coverage 105 if he must get a 105. What's good enough for you should be good enough for him.

Leigh
4-Feb-2017, 15:36
Leigh, I was thinking of the 105/8 Fujinons.
Hi Dan,

I believe those are the ones I mentioned in the previous post.

That site is one of the resources I used when I compiled my database.
Unfortunately, Fuji apparently didn't feel documentation was very important. :mad:

- Leigh

angusparker
4-Feb-2017, 15:53
Some suggestions for lens sets for 4x5 cameras: http://www.angusparkerphoto.com/blog/2016/3/good-lenses-for-a-4x5-view-camera

I'm partial to Chamonix but the Shen Hao and Tachihara field cameras are basically the same thing. You can't go wrong with any of their 4x5 offerings.

Mick Fagan
4-Feb-2017, 16:19
I have a Shen Hao HZX45-IIA as my go anywhere do anything 4x5Ē camera. About 5-6 years ago, I picked up a bag bellows for this camera, but to be honest I didnít seem to need it that much. My work is landscape, architectural and portraiture, with the odd automobile thrown in for good measure.

The standard bellows are very good, enabling one to compress enough to allow a 65mm lens to be used. Essentially though, any shift requirements at that compression, really doesnít work. That said, my Fujinon 65mm lens only has just enough coverage for minimal movement, so movements at that compression, just really donít happen. I do though, use the bag bellows whenever I am using the 65mm lens, I see no point in really compressing the bellows to the minimum, and, if you pardon the pun, stretching their capability by using maximum compression!

Recently I acquired a 90mm lens with huge coverage; actually able to easily cover 5x7Ē. This was something I had really wished for, so I could utilise more, the movements this camera is capable of doing. Prior to this, I was using a tiny Schneider Angulon 90mm, perfect for backpacking and the majority of stuff I do, but for movements, it really wasnít the best.

With the arrival of my wide coverage 90m lens, I started to do a couple of architectural shots I had on hold. My tests in the backyard emulating shift, rise and/or fall, indicated to me that bag bellows would certainly make life easier with this lens attached. If I need to use a lot of shift/rise/fall with this lens, then the bag bellows is required, otherwise the standard bellows were going to be stretched. After using this lens in the street, literally, I now use bag bellows whenever I use this lens, unless it is a straight frontal type of shot with either no movement, or minimal movement

Attached is a picture of the standard bellows, alongside the bag bellows for my Shen Hao. The plastic zip lock type bag, is what the bellows came in, I see no need to change this and the whole lot sits in my backpack underneath my dark cloth. Very neat and tidy arrangement, takes about 1 minute to change the bellows.

Also attached are some shots of the wide coverage 90mm lens using approximately 23mm rear shift. I did actually take a picture as set-up, this was a test picture to ascertain whether or not running this much shift would work out quality wise on the negative; it did.

As you mention versatility of movement, but you at this stage donít know how much movement you may in the future require, having a camera that has the option of a bag bellows at a reasonable cost, may be something you may wish to consider.

Mick.

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Ruleof72
4-Feb-2017, 18:35
A great deal in used modern lenses, would be the Caltar--IIN series (rebranded Rodenstock lenses). Their 150/5.6 was my only 4x5 lens for years -- very small and light. Should be well under $300.

Tachihara 4x5 Field is a beautiful camera. Not bomb-proof, but well-made. The Horseman WoodField is another nice wood field camera...more 'bomb-proof' than the Tachihara, but not as pretty.

Thanks for the tip on the Caltar lens, I'll definitely check it out.



I used to own a Tachihara 4x5. It is extremely light weight, has a very bright screen to focus on, and can use a 90mm lens on a flat lens board. On the negative side, it's not as sturdy as the Chamonix or Shen Hao and it's so pretty that you need to be prepared for people approaching you asking about your pretty antique camera. :)

I would look for a used camera. For example, I've seen used Shen Hao's for $700 on Ebay and used Chamonix's for $800. You do have to be patient and wait for something to turn up for sale. After you shoot a camera for a while you may decide that you want a different one. You can usually sell a used camera for close to what you paid for it.

Spend your money on film!

Yes, the Tachihara is a very "bright" looking camera with lots of shiny parts. I'm into more of an "inconspicuous" look and to be honest the Tachihara is a bit too shiny for my taste. I know it's a good camera but I'd probably be happier in the long run with a more restrained look, which the Shen Hao and Chamonix have.



Some suggestions for lens sets for 4x5 cameras: http://www.angusparkerphoto.com/blog/2016/3/good-lenses-for-a-4x5-view-camera

I'm partial to Chamonix but the Shen Hao and Tachihara field cameras are basically the same thing. You can't go wrong with any of their 4x5 offerings.

Thanks for the link! There's a lot of good information there and it will definitely help in my research.



I have a Shen Hao HZX45-IIA as my go anywhere do anything 4x5Ē camera. About 5-6 years ago, I picked up a bag bellows for this camera, but to be honest I didnít seem to need it that much. My work is landscape, architectural and portraiture, with the odd automobile thrown in for good measure.

The standard bellows are very good, enabling one to compress enough to allow a 65mm lens to be used. Essentially though, any shift requirements at that compression, really doesnít work. That said, my Fujinon 65mm lens only has just enough coverage for minimal movement, so movements at that compression, just really donít happen. I do though, use the bag bellows whenever I am using the 65mm lens, I see no point in really compressing the bellows to the minimum, and, if you pardon the pun, stretching their capability by using maximum compression!

Recently I acquired a 90mm lens with huge coverage; actually able to easily cover 5x7Ē. This was something I had really wished for, so I could utilise more, the movements this camera is capable of doing. Prior to this, I was using a tiny Schneider Angulon 90mm, perfect for backpacking and the majority of stuff I do, but for movements, it really wasnít the best.

With the arrival of my wide coverage 90m lens, I started to do a couple of architectural shots I had on hold. My tests in the backyard emulating shift, rise and/or fall, indicated to me that bag bellows would certainly make life easier with this lens attached. If I need to use a lot of shift/rise/fall with this lens, then the bag bellows is required, otherwise the standard bellows were going to be stretched. After using this lens in the street, literally, I now use bag bellows whenever I use this lens, unless it is a straight frontal type of shot with either no movement, or minimal movement

Attached is a picture of the standard bellows, alongside the bag bellows for my Shen Hao. The plastic zip lock type bag, is what the bellows came in, I see no need to change this and the whole lot sits in my backpack underneath my dark cloth. Very neat and tidy arrangement, takes about 1 minute to change the bellows.

Also attached are some shots of the wide coverage 90mm lens using approximately 23mm rear shift. I did actually take a picture as set-up, this was a test picture to ascertain whether or not running this much shift would work out quality wise on the negative; it did.

As you mention versatility of movement, but you at this stage donít know how much movement you may in the future require, having a camera that has the option of a bag bellows at a reasonable cost, may be something you may wish to consider.

Mick.

160794

160795

160798

160801

That's good information on the bag bellows. Does that fit the other Shen Hao cameras as well? I'm definitely trying to err on the side of having more movement than less since, as you say, I don't know how much or little I might need. Trying to balance that with weight/portability is a challenge. Do you find the slightly heavier weight of the HZX (at 2.4kg) to be a big factor when hiking compared to a lighter camera? I like the specs of the camera but the extra weight is holding me back a bit.....but maybe it shouldn't?

Mick Fagan
4-Feb-2017, 20:34
It isn't as light as cameras that have arrived on the scene after this model of Shen Hao was released, so it is what it is. That said, it is very sturdy, all things considered. Every view camera I have used and/or owned, moves (or appears to move a fraction) as you place the film holder in and out, or at least that is my observation.

Weight is relative, possibly less relative the younger and/or fitter, you are. The size and number of lenses you wish to carry, also reflects your weight carrying capability. I looked at the link Angus Parker gave, on the whole I think his suggestions are pretty much on the money. What I particularly found interesting, is that I have a lens selection virtually identical to one of the ones he suggests. Which I have arrived at after using and owning this particular camera, for around 9-10 years.

I started on a quest to see if I would like to get into 4x5" cameras for fun, as opposed to working with them in a studio environment, many moons ago. Like you I narrowed camera choice down to one or two units. My particular Shen Hoa camera turned up secondhand, virtually in my backyard; something I didn't expect. Australia is reasonably hard to find LF cameras and equipment, so I picked up this camera with a bevy of lenses from 90mm through to a 400 telephoto. All worked fine, but I have slowly picked up a lens here and there that is more suited to my style of photography with this camera.

I ended up with a suite of Fujinon lenses for a couple of reasons, firstly there is quite a range of Fujinon lenses currently coming from Japan at good prices; this I think will not last forever, so I started looking in earnest about 2 years ago. Secondly, Fujinon lenses are (almost) all cheaper than any other of the four big manufacturers. Of my original suite of lenses, I have only kept one, which is the Fujinon f/6.3 150. This lens stays permanently attached to the camera when folded. It is placed backwards, then I fold the camera down. My range of lenses now allows me to photograph virtually anything I wish with this particular camera, and probably any other 4x5" folding camera I may at some later stage acquire. The lenses I now carry are, 65mm, 90mm, 150mm and 250mm. With the exception of the 65mm lens, all of these lenses have wide coverage, meaning I have ample movements available if I need or wish to use them.

Something you may not be aware of, is the ability to interchange your mounted lenses to a different sized lens board camera. Attached is my Toyo 4x5" monorail with the same 65mm lens on the adapter that allows it to be immediately transposed from camera to camera. Having one of these adapter boards for the Toyo, has been great.

Mick.

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Doremus Scudder
5-Feb-2017, 05:02
Rule,

I'll chime in here with my (admittedly biased) opinion: I'm going to focus on small and light. I do lots of hiking/biking and wilderness work with my 4x5 in addition to the city and architectural things I do, so I need a full-featured, but lightweight kit. Let me add here that I currently own seven 4x5 cameras, both monorails and field cameras, but end up using only one or two of them really regularly.

Like Ian, I've used a Wista DX (not the DXII with no shift!) for almost 30 years. It is my hiking camera. A small lens folds up nicely inside the camera, saving on space and the (cherrywood) camera itself weighs in at 1.8 kg (just a shade under 4 lbs). I also have a Woodman 45 and a Wista SW (basically a DX with interchangeable bellows) that are lightweight and that I use often. If I were looking at new cameras, I'd definitely be looking at the Chamonix cameras and the Shen Hao PTB. The Shen Hao HZX is starting to get a bit large for me, but is a really nice camera.

For me, keeping the camera weight at around 4 lbs and the dimensions small are paramount. I've owned larger wood folders and currently own one of the last-generation Zone VI cameras, but at around 6 lbs and with the extra size, these cameras are just too unwieldy for most of my work.

As for movements: I use movements a lot and would love a full range of movements on each standard. However, back movements mean weight. I can get by well with full front movements (rise, fall, swing and tilt) and only swings and tilts on the back, as long as at least one of the standards has a shift movement (I can't live without shift; I use it a lot, especially in the city). My Wista DX (and Wista SW) have shift on the rear standard, my Woodman has shift on the front; it really makes no difference where the shift is unless you're doing a lot of close-up work. Occasionally (especially when working on architecturals), I'll run out of front rise or shift. I've learned to quickly use the "point-and-tilt/swing-parallel) technique for the few times when that happens to get the needed amount of rise or shift. Sure, it's a work-around and takes a bit more time, but it is way worth it for me to have the smaller camera. As for asymmetrical movements: I find them overrated. I can swing and focus just as quickly without them. If I had them, I'd use them, but if they added any weight at all... forget it!

Bellows draw: The type of lightweight wooden folders that I use all have about 300mm/12 in. of bellows draw (more bellows = more weight). However, I can easily use my 300mm Nikkor M on them by mounting it on a top-hat lensboard. I have a 450mm lens that I use with other cameras, but, to be perfectly honest, it gets used only rarely. If you think you will want the option for using lenses longer than 300mm, then definitely look at the Chamonix and the Shen Hao PTB; their design is a bit fiddly (especially with front tilt and rise on the same control), but they offer a lot more bellows draw than more conventional designs in that weight/size category.

Lenses: You have a pretty good idea of where to start, so let me make a couple of suggestions within your parameters. First, if you're looking at a "range" of focal lengths for one choice, get the shortest; you can always crop 90mm to the 105mm view, or the 135mm to the 150mm view, etc., but not the other way around. As you've likely surmised, the 100mm-105mm lenses (with the exception of the monster super-wide designs) don't cover 4x5 well. Go for a 90mm; it's a standard focal length for a good reason. My lightweight 90mm of choice would be the Nikkor SW 90mm f/8. They (as well as most manufacturers) make a faster/larger 90mm with a bigger image circle, but, again, it's too bulky and heavy for me. I use a Schneider SA 90mm f/8 on a recessed board currently and just can't seem to give it up for the Nikkor with the slightly larger image circle since it's so incredibly sharp. I own a 100mm Wide Field Ektar that I'll take when I really need to pare down on weight, but it won't cover as much as the 90mm, which gets chosen anytime I think I'll need front rise for buildings, etc. I'd stick with a 90mm for my first wide lens if I were you.

I'd also recommend that you start with a three-lens kit (really, it won't cost you too much more than two lenses and will give you a ton more flexibility). I'd suggest you pick up a 135mm f/5.6 Plasmat design (Nikkor W, Fujinon W, Rodenstock Sironar (N or S or Apo), Schneider Symmar (Apo-). Note that later models of these lenses will be more expensive, but earlier ones are fine performers. This slightly-wider "normal" focal length is my most used. A slight crop gives you 150mm and the bit of extra angle of view seems to make this focal length much more versatile; it is my most-used focal length. Then, you can pick up a cheaper lens in the 180mm-240mm range. There are lots of 210mm Plasmats out there for not much, however they are too big for me. I've got several lenses in this range that are smaller and lighter. First is the Fujinon A 180mm f/9. These can be a bit more expensive on the used market but are really tiny and nice. I also have and frequently use an Ektar 203mm f/7.7. These come up regularly on the market, but you need to make sure that you get one in good shape. If you do, you'll have a small, sharp and reliable lens that covers 5x7. The 210mm Tessar lenses are heavier than the ones just listed, but readily available. I have a Fujinon L 210mm f/5.6 that is a fine performer. Schneider G-Claron lenses in this focal length are compact and great performers as well. If you want to go longer and stay small, look for a Fujinon A 240mm f/9 or a G-Claron in a shutter in that same focal length. Even longer and still compact are the Nikkor M 300mm and the Fujinon C 300mm, which you can use on a camera with 12" bellows mounted in a top-hat lensboard.

Hope this helps a bit.

Doremus

Jeff Keller
5-Feb-2017, 12:54
For architecture you will probably want a wide angle lens with ample movements. If you aren't doing close ups, you many find that you don't need much movement when using a long lens. Think carefully about your choice of camera & wide angle lens.

Although every camera you mentioned is a "box" style field camera you should also consider a Canham DLC45 (about $1200 used). They have excellent wide angle movements and a fairly long bellows. They fold up and fit into a small padded bag. (My favorite all around camera)

Considering price, you should also consider a Sinar Norma (about $450 used). They are beautiful metal monorails which use the same accessories as the Sinar F and Sinar P. You would only be limited by what you were willing to carry. You can collapse the camera onto a short rail section allowing it to be packed as a small bundle.

I would also recommend you consider a 72mm Super Angulon XL for your wide angle lens choice. Although fairly large and expensive ($800 used) they take sharp pictures and have ample movement range.

If you think you will get more than a couple lenses, you will probably find using technika style lens boards with an adapter to fit you camera will save space and let you change cameras easily if you decide to.

jeff

Darren H
6-Feb-2017, 13:38
While anything on your list will work as will the suggestions, my advice is keep it simple. Large format is very different from shooting 35mm film. Many way ways to make mistakes and almost all of them cost $$. Start simple. Learn to think and work slow. Landscape is good at this.

Any mentioned camera will work. Check out Intrepid camera. New company from UK with a new camera in the $300 range for a 4x5. Weighs just two pounds. Looks like it has all the basics you would need. Add in a single lens. Probably in the 135-210 range and go. Think small and simple.

Anything you don't like you can sell. Probably get back what you paid for it.

FWIW I use all of three lenses for landscape. 75mm, 125mm, 210mm. I could make it with just two.

Good luck.

Professional
7-Feb-2017, 13:10
Wish if you were living in my country then i will sell 2 large format cameras for you with some accessories, but i hope you can find/get what you want and enjoy it.

DrTang
7-Feb-2017, 13:42
2K?


Linhof Tech IV maybe

90 / 150/210 lenses

a stack of holders

a sturdy tripod

enough left for a good supply for Gin and Tonics

Eric Woodbury
7-Feb-2017, 16:20
I've been buying Fujinon glass. Their 135mm f/5.6 is cheap and wonderful. My favorite of over 10 lenses I'm using.

chassis
7-Feb-2017, 16:54
$2k is a reasonable budget. A Toyo 45A or 45AII outfit can be acquired for roughly this cost. This is was my first setup:

Toyo 45AII camera
Nikkor 150/5.6 lens
A few film holders
Sekonic L758DR light meter

Less expensive light meters can be found that will save some money and do the job just fine.

Ruleof72
8-Feb-2017, 14:09
Thanks to everyone for the help and suggestions, I really appreciate it! All the information really helped me prioritize what I wanted. I've started my progress with getting my system put together. Here's what I've done so far:

Camera: Chamonix 045F1- After looking at a number of used cameras and the prices that they were selling for I decided that I might as well get the one I was really the most interested in from the beginning. I have a fried who has had a Chamonix for a couple of years and he absolutely loves it. I ordered the camera from Hugo and should get it within the next week or two.

Lens #1: Nikkor W 135mm f/5.6 - I wanted something that was on the wider end of normal for my 1st lens and I think a 135mm will probably be a good match for me for a while. My next lens will probably be a wide angle (maybe a 90mm) but for now the 135 should be enough to get me going.

Light Meter: Pentax Spotmeter V - I think this will be perfectly fine for me for quite a while, maybe forever. I found one at a good price in what seems to be excellent shape.

Developing Tank: Stearman Press SP-445 - I don't have a darkroom (yet) so I wanted a light-safe development tank. There aren't many options in the 4x5 world but the Stearman SP-445 looks like a well thought out/practical/easy to use design and it seems to get good reviews. I'll report back on my experiences with it.

Miscellaneous Stuff: I picked up 4 film holders, a cable release and a super cheap partial box of 50 yr old film (for practice loading the holders and tank, etc.). I still need to get a box of new B&W film and am thinking of some FP4+ or Delta as I like the look of both of them on 6x6.

One thing I just thought about is film clips for hanging negatives. I've been using small binder clips for my 35mm and 6x6 images but will those still work with the single sheets? What are some suggestions?

I should have everything in a week or so and am looking forward to getting familiar with the camera and knocking out some test shots. I have already started planning a project that I've been wanting to do for a few years that I think would be great on 4x5 and hopefully I'm confident enough in my skills to start that this Spring.

Thanks again for the help everyone and I'm looking forward to being as active as I can in the forums.

Cheers!

Eric Woodbury
8-Feb-2017, 14:14
Film clips: wooden clothes pins. Bamboo ones are nice, too.

John Kasaian
8-Feb-2017, 20:06
One thing I just thought about is film clips for hanging negatives. I've been using small binder clips for my 35mm and 6x6 images but will those still work with the single sheets? What are some suggestions?




If they can grab the sheets on the unexposed rebate,, they should work fine

Alan Gales
8-Feb-2017, 20:08
Congratulations on your new camera. I've heard nothing but excellent reviews of the Chamonix 045F1. A 135mm is a nice focal length. Later pick up a 90 and a 210 and you will have an awesome kit.

I own 2 Pentax digital spot meters and one Spotmeter V. You really can't go wrong with them.

Like Eric says, wooden clothes pins work great or you can buy the special photographic clips. I've never used binder clips but they work fine for sealing potato chip bags. ;)

Jim Jones
8-Feb-2017, 20:16
Plastic clothes pins often have holes in the end of the handles that make stringing them across the darkroom or any other dust-free space convenient.

tgtaylor
8-Feb-2017, 21:19
This is what I use: https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/123163-REG/Delta_58050_Stainless_Steel_Film_Clips.html They have went up in price from the $10/10 clips when I bought them more than 10 years ago but they do a good job for 4x5 and 8x10. Film is slippery wwhen you pull it from the photoflo so after placing the clip on the edge of the sheet, clasp the edge of the clip with the thumb and index finger of the other hand while you are hanging it. With 8x10 film you need a little more bite on the sheet because of the weight of the sheet. For Fuji Acros you can use a straighten arm of a paper clip through the hole in the sheet and either use the delta clip to hold the paper clip or the paper clip itself on a line.

Thomas

Darren H
9-Feb-2017, 13:55
Congratulations. Sounds like a good kit. Take your time and work with it. Think about your needs slowly before you get lens two. 90 is popular focal length but might not be wide enough (unless you cannot go wider on your camera) so you you may jump down to 75 for a better fit.

Good luck and have fun!