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adrienne223
19-Sep-2017, 00:29
I've been playing with film for a while now; I'm getting curious about large format. Ground glass and the bellows... I'll also get into developing my own film soon enough.

I'm looking for suggestions for a Large Format Camera. Where Can I get one? Are there big differences in quality? Fotoman, Toyo CF.
I'm generally looking for one that can fold into a box that I can go hiking with.

I'm still in the process of my research stage. However, there aren't any places around me where I can look and learn about it.

Alan Gales
19-Sep-2017, 02:04
Don't worry about buying the "perfect" camera. After shooting for a while you will learn what you like and dislike in a camera. What is perfect for one person is not for another. Most of us (including me) did not keep our first camera. Also you may find sheet film isn't for you so it's a good idea to start cheap so if you decide to sell you won't lose a bunch of money.

How about an Intrepid 4x5? It's an inexpensive way to get your feet wet.

https://intrepidcamera.co.uk/products/intrepid-camera


Welcome to the forum!

jose angel
19-Sep-2017, 05:14
I'm still in the process of my research stage. However, there aren't any places around me where I can look and learn about it.
http://www.largeformatphotography.info
and specially,
http://www.largeformatphotography.info/matos-begin.html
Check the secondhand market; craigslist, eBay, etc. Alan suggestion seem right to me, too.

Peter Collins
19-Sep-2017, 12:31
I just saw this up for sale here on the forum. Use link below. I owned one, and I should not have sold it! Beautiful wood, beautiful metal. Light. Folds up. I don't think you can go wrong--it's a 'keeper.' But it is not the cheapest camera for getting into 4x5.

http://www.largeformatphotography.info/forum/showthread.php?141445-FS-Tachihara-4x5-Camera

John Kasaian
19-Sep-2017, 14:40
I'll suggest picking up a copy of Steve Simmons Using The View Camera before spending serious $$. For specific cameras and lenses check The LF Homepage on the blue banner at the top of this page for links to articles, reviews and performance data.
After 30 days you can access the FS forum here, which will surely have the gear you're looking for. Also Keh Camera is a good source with excellent (I think) prices.

Another good book to whet your appetite is Ansel Adams The Making of 40 Photographs, especially if you enjoy B&W mountain landscapes.
Have FUN!

xkaes
19-Sep-2017, 14:56
Welcome to the Club.

You will get a million opinions, but it all depends on your situation. Some will say get the cheapest and then move "UP" if you want. Some will say get the best (AKA most expensive) and you won't be disappointed. I say, get the most knowledgeable.

There are a TON of new and used large format cameras out there -- using different formats, options, accessories, features, etc. You can buy today, or you can do some research into what you want and what is available. You can spend as little or as much time as you want -- and have -- on research, but it pays off.

Much comes down to how much time you have for research, and how much money you have in your pocket. My advise? Don't believe anyone that says "this is the camera (or lens(s) -- that's another matter) that's best for you.

Tim Meisburger
19-Sep-2017, 15:38
Ya. I agree with that. For buying stuff, after a month you will have access to the forum classifieds (there is a one month waiting period to discourage spammers), but I would say ebay is your friend for most of the stuff you will need. You can buy new or used, but I think you should get a field camera, not a monorail or press camera. A field camera is a generalist, and will do all you want to do; while the others are specialists, perfect for their job, but not as versatile in other areas.

If you want to try some cameras, ask around on the forum, as their are surely a few LFers near where you live that are always happy to share with a fellow enthusiast. Good light!

Jac@stafford.net
19-Sep-2017, 15:44
In my humble opinion, a good entry into large format is to choose the least expensive camera you can find that uses conventional LF film. Do that. (That means forget the Soviet/Russian stuff.)

By least expensive I do not mean you should buy some flea-bag piece of s**** with a leaky bellows and a fogged lens. We can help you determine those.

My point is that with minimal expense at the start you can get the sense of LF and decide for yourself if spending more is really worthwhile. Often it is not.

John Kasaian
19-Sep-2017, 20:44
With second hand cameras, it comes down to condition. Either a Ford or a Chevy will get you where you want to go, however a Ford or Chevy with a leaky radiator, shot brakes or a bad clutch will only cause fru$tration and will take you nowhere but the poor house.
There are no perfect cameras and if they were they'd cost a King's ransom.
There have been posters here who spend all their time on researching first camera.
I'll argue that you'll get farther, faster getting just about any LF camera that's in good condition and getting out there and shooting film.
You won't really know what you want (or more accurately what you need) in a field camera until you've spent time playing with one.
My 2-centavos anyway.
No print ever knew the name of the company on that little plate that came with the camera.

LabRat
19-Sep-2017, 21:13
The logical thing would be to sign-up for a photo course that includes LF cameras, and darkroom access... You would be able use the cameras, all the other accessories, and a place to process & print... You would learn many things, have help answering you questions, and someone to show-as-you-go the things that come up at the moment...

Beyond the camera & lens, there are other needed things, such as stronger tripod, film holders, film, focusing cloth, loupe, exposure meter, smaller stuff like cable release, lens hood, changing bag, empty film boxes, maybe filters, etc and if you process and print the film, a darkroom set-up is used to make the images real... More and less expensive, but it might take time to gather what you would need... But a fairly well set up community college or private instruction program should have what you need to get your wheels turning... So some kind of program would be a wise first step...

So get started, and you can also ask any question here...

Good Luck!!!

Steve K

Leigh
19-Sep-2017, 21:29
However, there aren't any places around me where I can look and learn about it.
Where are you located?

- Leigh

David Karp
19-Sep-2017, 21:31
You will get lots of advice here, that is for sure. I get that you want a camera that folds into a box. That makes sense. That desire may change over time, but it is a reasonable path to take.

I recently purchased a Wista VX that folds into a box. I really like it. It has lots of movements. An older Wista DX has fewer movements and is available for less $. Toyo 45A, AII, and AX are also options. Horseman also made similar cameras, but I am not very familiar with them. Older press type cameras like the Crown Graphic and Speed Graphic are good options at lower prices, but they offer fewer movements. If you don't want to use extensive camera movements, a good Crown Graphic is an excellent option. These cameras generally allow you to use a 300mm lens max, and that only at infinity. If you want to focus closer, 240mm is about as long as you can go. (I believe that the Horseman cameras of this type had even shorter bellows than the others I mentioned. Others can confirm.)

All that being said, I am glad I started with an inexpensive monorail. It helped me to learn how to use all of the available movements and figure out what type of camera(s) I wanted in the long run.

chirsthelen
20-Sep-2017, 01:57
You can use the GRAFLEX Super Graphic 4x5 Camera with Graflex Optar 135mm Lens and Flash Arm which is very useful for large format camera.

Luis-F-S
20-Sep-2017, 05:35
Whatever you buy, you will likely replace it within a year, so don't by something that you can't resell ( and don't pay stupid money), or something with low demand. I'd stick to a wooden folder like Wista, Tachihara, or Zone VI or the like. Plentiful, cheap and resellable. You can go with Intrepid if you want new, but the resale price will likely be less than what you pay. The lenses you're more likely to want to keep, so buy them in recent Copal shutters.

Bruce Barlow
20-Sep-2017, 06:37
In 1984, I bought a Wista DX as my introduction to LF. Figured I'd replace it with something better after I learned.

I recently replaced the bellows on it. I never replaced the camera. It does everything I want to do.

I have added to it with 8x10s and a 5x7, but they don't replace my go-to Wista.

Take the plunge.

xkaes
20-Sep-2017, 06:47
Whatever you buy, you will replace it within a year.

I guess I'm an exception to your "rule". I bought my first 4x5 over 35 years ago -- a TOKO NIKKI II -- without ever seeing or using a 4x5 before. I did a lot of research first -- well before the days of the Internet -- and it paid off. I liked my first TOKO camera so much, I later bought another -- a TOKO FL-452.

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

Luis-F-S
20-Sep-2017, 09:48
I guess I'm an exception to your "rule". I bought my first 4x5 over 35 years ago -- a TOKO NIKKI II -- without ever seeing or using a 4x5 before. I did a lot of research first -- well before the days of the Internet -- and it paid off. I liked my first TOKO camera so much, I later bought another -- a TOKO FL-452.
http://www.subclub.org/toko/

Wonderful! To the OP, there you have it, an unsolicited testimonial to buy a Toko (Nagaoka) which you'll likely keep for 35 years! I too have cameras I bought 40 years ago (Deardorffs) but they weren't my first LF cameras.

xkaes
20-Sep-2017, 10:11
Wonderful! To the OP, there you have it, an unsolicited testimonial to buy a Toko (Nagaoka)

First, Nagaoka made a very FEW late model TOKO cameras, but not many.

Second, I was not suggesting to anyone to buy a TOKO. You have to figure out for yourself why you read that into what I wrote. My point was, and still is, to do some research on what is available before you put down your cash -- whether hard earned or not. That way, you are less likely to go through the trouble of needing a replacement.

I also wrote on this thread:

"Much comes down to how much time you have for research, and how much money you have in your pocket. My advise? Don't believe anyone that says "this is the camera (or lens(s) -- that's another matter) that's best for you."

which you intentionally (?) neglected to mention.

DG 3313
20-Sep-2017, 19:07
I'd start with a press camera and a good lens. I did with a Bush press camera and after a short time sold it. I got it back a few decades later and made it my travel camera. I put a Fuji 125mm lens on it and love them together. Sometimes simple is better.

Jim Andrada
20-Sep-2017, 22:26
Super graphic would be my suggestion. Not too expensive, reasonably light weight, generally nice cameras. The Super has front tilt, which is something you will want.

xkaes
21-Sep-2017, 07:11
Here is an INCOMPLETE page with a table listing MOST of the FOLDING WOODEN 4X5 FIELD cameras -- current and past.

http://www.subclub.org/toko/4x5table.htm

Although it is not finished, it has many of the features of these cameras for easy comparison. It is useful to understand what features to look for in a camera, as well as, what cameras have been and are being made.

There are many other 4x5 cameras that are NOT folding, or NOT wooden, or BOTH, which of course, are not listed on this table.

Tim Meisburger
21-Sep-2017, 18:11
I think you lost the OP long ago...

john borrelli
21-Sep-2017, 18:47
Also consider your favorite lens focal lengths and see if a particular camera you are interested in will be able to handle those focal lengths. If you are OK with using only "normal" focal length lenses to start then itís not as much of an issue. However, some people have a favorite focal length equivalent to a 20mm lens on a full frame or 35mm film camera, others may like longer lenses like the equivalent of a 100mm lens in 35mm film terms. The more "extreme" kinds of focal length lenses will work best with particular cameras. All the best, John

Luis-F-S
21-Sep-2017, 19:12
I think you lost the OP long ago...

+1, no sign of him!

Jim Andrada
22-Sep-2017, 08:52
+2 re missing OP