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LetterBeacon
9-Sep-2017, 04:55
I shoot a lot of portraits - digital and MF film - and would like to get into LF photography. I shoot in the studio but also go out on location a fair bit, so I'm after a 4x5 field camera. As I shoot mostly portraits, I'm not too bothered about loads of movements.

I'm torn between getting an Intrepid or a MPP Micro Press camera - I've been offered the MPP with a 150mm lens and some film holders for 299.

I haven't seen the condition of the MPP yet, but I've been told it's good. If the MPP is in good condition, is there any reason to choose the Intrepid over the MPP?

Any thoughts will be much appreciated!

mdarnton
9-Sep-2017, 06:13
An important question for you to decide is how wowed you are by fine mechanics. The two cameras you name are at the opposite end of that spectrum. I would buy the Intrepid because of the weight, but I'm sure the MPP is a mechanical marvel, which the Intrepid is not.

Tim Meisburger
9-Sep-2017, 06:50
If the MPP is a Mark VIII with a working rangefinder, you might be more comfortable shooting portraits with that.

Graham Patterson
9-Sep-2017, 09:05
The Micro-Press is not as versatile as the Micro-Technical from MPP. Press cameras were designed to deliver big negatives for newspapers, not table-top catalogue shots. But for portraits, and assuming there are cams for the rangefinder to match the lens, it might be a better choice than a pure ground glass focus design like the Intrepid. If your photography is likely to take you outside and away from easy transport or into landscape work, the Intrepid is lighter and has more movements.

There are other issues - capacity for long or short focal lengths, comfort using the controls, ease of focus, lens board availability - though subject matter and environment are probably the most dominant in this case.

xkaes
9-Sep-2017, 09:20
To me, the focal length depends on the type of portraits you plan on making. While 150mm seems fine for full length portraits, for head & shoulders shots, I would go with something longer -- like a 250mm at least, assuming your camera can handle that.

LetterBeacon
9-Sep-2017, 09:48
Hi all,

Thanks for the replies - all very useful.

Ideally I'd be using a 250mm - 300mm lens for my portraits, but I was thinking that as the 150mm comes with the MPP then that might be good to get me started for now. The Intrepid obviously doesn't come with a lens, so I'd be looking into investing more from the start if I went that route.

I've been searching round the net but I can't find the answer - what is the maximum focal length I can put on the MPP?

Sweep
9-Sep-2017, 10:55
I had a MPP mk8 and it was fab. One more thing to consider is the resale value. If you can buy a new Intrepid for 250 how much are you likely to lose when you come to sell it. I probably wouldn't pay more than 150 for a second hand one but with the MPP the values are likely to remain stable if not increase

mdarnton
9-Sep-2017, 15:01
I was just looking at Micro Press stuff on the web. It appears to be a Pacemaker Speed Graphic done British. If that's the case, its maximum bellows is around 13" or so, which is too short for using it at portrait distances with a 300mm lens. My Crown Graphic works nicely for portraits with a 210mm lens, though, and I wonder why you think you need something a lot longer? Anyway, if you really do, then none of the compact field or press type cameras have enough bellows for what you want to do.

I think MPP made a technical camera, which would have triple extension bellows (around 18"?) and that would work. However another consideration might be that none of the cameras you have named would close up with a lens like you want to use without removing the lens, nor would the RF couple with a longer lens in many cases, so perhaps the idea is an inefficient one.

My favorite studio camera (and I only shoot portraits) is a Cambo with a reflex viewer, but that's not portable without a lot of fuss. For out and around I have an old Graflex Crown view camera; it's wood, light, compact, and has 21 inches of bellows! I don't know if there's a British equivalent. A Sinar F might be a good thing for what you want to do, though.

You might find this instruction book for one of the MPP cameras helpful: http://apate.pl/mpp.pdf

LetterBeacon
10-Sep-2017, 15:45
I was just looking at Micro Press stuff on the web. It appears to be a Pacemaker Speed Graphic done British. If that's the case, its maximum bellows is around 13" or so, which is too short for using it at portrait distances with a 300mm lens. My Crown Graphic works nicely for portraits with a 210mm lens, though, and I wonder why you think you need something a lot longer? Anyway, if you really do, then none of the compact field or press type cameras have enough bellows for what you want to do.


Thanks for your reply, and yes 300mm probably is a bit too long. When shooting digitally I usually shoot at around 70mm, or use 150mm when using my Hasselblad for film portraits, so yes, a 210mm is probably enough for me.

Lachlan 717
11-Sep-2017, 00:23
I'd get a Speed Graphic simply for its focal plane shutter.

With this, you will be able to shoot non-shuttered (barrel) lenses accurately.

Think soft focus, pictorial, triplets etc. that are otherwise a PITA to shoot.

barnacle
11-Sep-2017, 11:23
My MPP Press has been going strong for seventy-odd years... it's tough as old boots but a heavy beast! It's a bit of a beggar to hand-hold...

The default lens, I *think*, was a 135mm so it's likely the cams won't work on a 150. I've never used either the range finder or the focal plane shutter, so they're a bit overkill for me.

With a 90mm lens, it's inside the body at infinity so no shift is really available there (and it's a little unsteady on that bit of the rack).

Neil

LetterBeacon
11-Sep-2017, 14:03
My MPP Press has been going strong for seventy-odd years... it's tough as old boots but a heavy beast! It's a bit of a beggar to hand-hold...

The default lens, I *think*, was a 135mm so it's likely the cams won't work on a 150. I've never used either the range finder or the focal plane shutter, so they're a bit overkill for me.

With a 90mm lens, it's inside the body at infinity so no shift is really available there (and it's a little unsteady on that bit of the rack).

Neil

Thanks for your reply - I think I'm pretty much sold on the MPP now. I doubt I'd use the rangefinder much as well - I loved the ground glass on the 4x5 I've used previously.

LetterBeacon
18-Sep-2017, 16:16
I read on the internet that the MPP Micro Press doesn't use an international back and has a proprietary system with special holders. Apparently the holder holds the film at a slightly different distance from the glass than a standard film holders.

I've only seen this claim once on the internet, so wanted to ask other MPP oweners if they'd experienced this too?

AuditorOne
18-Sep-2017, 19:42
I own a very nice Crown Graphic, a Speed Graphic, a Cambo SC Monorail and the Intrepid.

My own experiences have certainly been different than others.

In studio I use the Cambo SC. Simple, easy to use, all the movements I thought I would never use and all the accessories I could dream up on my own.

Out in the field I use the Intrepid. Very light but plenty sturdy, and comes with all the movements I was positive I didn't need, until I had them available.

The Crown and the Speed are very solid and extremely handy, but sit in their cases most of the time now.

If I could only have one I would probably keep the Intrepid and sell the rest. I am sure there are far better cameras available than the Intrepid, I have used a few myself. But what you get for the price makes the Intrepid a terrific value.

YMMV

EDIT - But 8x10 is a whole lot more fun. :D

Jim Jones
19-Sep-2017, 06:23
I read on the internet that the MPP Micro Press doesn't use an international back and has a proprietary system with special holders. Apparently the holder holds the film at a slightly different distance from the glass than a standard film holders.

I've only seen this claim once on the internet, so wanted to ask other MPP oweners if they'd experienced this too?

Probably on the old MPP user's webpage (unavailable now?) I read this. The company eventually changed to standard film holders. A MPP technical camera is well-designed and sturdy, but I haven't used mine or measured the "T" distance of the ground glass. The Speed Graphic family has the major features of the MPP except for rear movements, rotating back, and triple extension bellows.

barnacle
26-Sep-2017, 11:42
I have wondered in the past - but have convinced myself that occasional soft images are down to poor technique since I can produce pin-sharp images on occasion :)

I have some original MPP wooden holders designed for glass plates (of unknown thickness!) which have folded-metal film adaptors contained therein, but I use Fidelity film holders as a rule.

I will try and take some measurements on the flat table at work tomorrow.

Neil

barnacle
27-Sep-2017, 04:05
So, after some measurements... the ground glass holder on the MPP Micropress that I have has four reference flats on the casting facing the lens, and six on the opposite side which locate the glass. Seventy year's worth of wear has made things not-too-level, with the outer two flats (lens side) slightly thinner than the inner - presumably wear where the film holder slides past it.

The bad news: the distance between the glass and the reference is between 5.07 and 5.14mm.

I may have to do something about that - it will involve referencing the glass side and removing 0.2mm from the lens side flats, which are ~0.6mm high - but first I will check some of my film holders, with film.

Neil

barnacle
28-Sep-2017, 00:03
Measured the Fidelity holder: from the reference face to the backplate (i.e. back of film) is 4.81mm. Meh.

Something Must Be Done (tm).

Neil

Jim Jones
28-Sep-2017, 04:55
Barnacle -- you may be interested in this product: http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Micro-Precision-Products-Book-Basil-Skinner-Super-Condition-/202065480321?.

Jim Jones
28-Sep-2017, 06:43
Barnacle -- The U. S. standard for the distance from the film holder to the backplate is 0.197" +/-0.007", so your measurement of the Fidelity holder is almost within tolerances. That distance in the MPP back is also almost within tolerance, but in the opposite direction. Perhaps the ground glass isn't perfectly seated against its locating flats. That discrepancy would be appalling to a fine machinist, but might never be noticed to a landscape photographer who usually shoots at f/22.

barnacle
28-Sep-2017, 11:10
Indeed, I'm an f22 man when I can be...

Check my logic: all distances relative to the reference flat on the camera... the ground glass is at ~5.1mm. The back of a Fidelity film carrier is at ~4.8mm. The film is 0.15mm thick, and the emulsion faces the lens. The emulsion is therefore 5.1 - (4.8 - 0.15) = 0.45mm closer to the lens than it should be, I think.

(the measurements were miked as the thickness of the frame and standoffs supporting the glass. The outer side of the carrier is more worn; it gets a lot more sliding past it over the years than the inside.)

I'd have a job taking half a millimetre off the original ground glass carrier casting, but I might investigate machining some paxolin to make a new one.

Fortunately the sixty or so pictures I took last week were mostly in bright sunlight... my scanner has died but the first impressions are hopeful.

Neil