PDA

View Full Version : What is the lightest 4x5 field camera with a rotating back?



nicemate1
3-Oct-2017, 01:05
Does anyone know which one is the lightest 4x5 field / folding camera that has a rotating back ?
Thank you !
Pietro

diversey
3-Oct-2017, 01:21
Tachihara 4x5 might be the lightest filed camera with landscape and portrait orientations.

LabRat
3-Oct-2017, 01:31
A Busch Pressman is very light with a RB (for a press camera with some movements)...

Steve K

rbiemer
3-Oct-2017, 03:05
The Intrepid is 900 grams--body alone--don't know how that compares to other cameras.

Rob

Doremus Scudder
3-Oct-2017, 04:01
Does anyone know which one is the lightest 4x5 field / folding camera that has a rotating back ?
Thank you !
Pietro

Pietro,

Do you really need a revolving back? Most field cameras have removable backs that can be mounted in either landscape or portrait orientation (horizontal or vertical). Getting somewhere in-between is usually done with the side-to-side tilt on the tripod head. Any camera with a truly rotating back will be larger and heavier and won't necessarily enable intermediate positioning of the back since many of them vignette the corners when the back is somewhere intermediate between horizontal and vertical.

If you can live without the rotating back, there are a lot of choices for lightweight wooden folding field cameras. The lightest camera I own is a Woodman, but I mostly use Wista DX cameras. The Chamonix cameras are worth looking at as well as the Tachihara and Shen Hao cameras too IM-HO.

Best,

Doremus

xkaes
3-Oct-2017, 05:59
Gowland made some 4x5 models and at least one was extremely light. I believe it was called the Gowland Pocket 4x5 or something like that. It may or may not have had a "rotating" back. From the ads I've seen, it was little more than a bellows!

And, as pointed out, "rotating" needs to be defined. Most use it for a back that can be turned without being removed -- such as with The Mamiya RB (Rotating Back) 67. Many LF cameras have backs that are flipped, instead of rotated -- accomplishing the same thing. Perhaps we need better terms.

Bruce Watson
3-Oct-2017, 06:34
Does anyone know which one is the lightest 4x5 field / folding camera that has a rotating back ?

If you want really, really, light weight, look at the Toho FC-45X (http://www.thalmann.com/largeformat/toho.htm). Does it have a rotating back? Yes and no. You can certainly use it to make horizontal and vertical photographs. But the whole bellows assembly rotates, not just the back. You'll find it's better to decide what you are trying to do *before* you set up the camera. It's easy enough to change after you've set things up, but not quite as easy as a true rotating back. But it's half the weight of a camera with a rotating back, so... tradeoffs.

The Toho is an ideal backpacking camera IMHO. I loved mine, that's for sure.

morecfm
3-Oct-2017, 06:40
I have a Horseman HF without a rotating back but the newer FA and HD, I think, have backs that can be removed and reinserted in either orientation. My HF has tripod mounts on the "side" of the case that I use for portrait orientation. This camera is light enough for me and appears to be a rugged package, especially when folded up.

xkaes
3-Oct-2017, 06:56
If you want really, really, light weight, look at the Toho FC-45X (http://www.thalmann.com/largeformat/toho.htm).

I'm glad you love your TOHO. I love my TOKO -- no relation -- which is heavier than yours. But there are several cameras that are a half a pound, or more, LIGHTER than your TOHO, and my TOKO.

I guess that they would qualify as "really, really, REALLY light weight" -- and they fold up "really, really, REALLY easy".

Alan9940
3-Oct-2017, 07:32
To my mind, a rotating back generally equals weight because most with this feature fall around 6 lbs. I love my Toho for backpacking. Couple that camera with Nikkor M lenses and you can trek anywhere!

Good luck!

hporter
3-Oct-2017, 08:04
Though you have to reposition the back 90 degrees rather than rotating the back, the Anba Ikeda 4x5 is very light.

http://www.cameraeccentric.com/html/info/nagaoka_1.html

Bruce Watson
3-Oct-2017, 08:17
But there are several cameras that are a half a pound, or more, LIGHTER than your TOHO...

And those would be...?

The Anba Ikeda is a little lighter, but not half a pound lighter IIRC. And it doesn't have the full movements front and back that the Toho has. What else is lighter weight?

Corran
3-Oct-2017, 09:13
The Intrepid was already mentioned, and apparently sits at just shy of 2 pounds. That answers the question of "lightest" camera with a back that can be set vertically and horizontally I believe.

I thought my first-generation Chamonix 45n1 camera was spec'd at 2.7 pounds but thinking about it and having it readily at my fingertips, I went and weighed it. The camera is just shy of 3 pounds according to my scale (no lens or anything of course). It has longer bellows reach and a shorter minimum extension - so personally I think the lightest 4x5 field camera with the most versatile set of features and abilities is the old Chamonix.

The Anba Ikeda mentioned above seems to be 2.6 pounds, according to someone on the internet (http://site.jimscamerasseattle.com/vANBA/). The Toho sits at just a bit over 3 pounds (http://www.thalmann.com/largeformat/toho.htm). xkaes' website says the Toko is about 3.75 pounds. So the Intrepid is by far the lightest, with the Ikeda next, then the Chamonix/Toho, then the Toko.

xkaes
3-Oct-2017, 09:35
And those would be...?

The Anba Ikeda is a little lighter, but not half a pound lighter IIRC. And it doesn't have the full movements front and back that the Toho has. What else is lighter weight?

I'm not here to do your homework, but check out the Ikeda, Nagaoka, Rajah, and Gowland models, as well as those mentioned by others. But more to the point, the original OP did not define "rotating", and did not state what is more important -- lightweight or rotating back?

Corran
3-Oct-2017, 09:44
I can not find an official specs page for the Gowland Pocket View, but an article describes the weight as "3-4 pounds." I think there was two different models or something - perhaps that's why the weight is given as a range. In any case, not that light, not even close to the Intrepid.

An online reviewer states the Nagaoka is 2.6 pounds - the same as the Ikeda. Same camera, different brand?

Oh, and "lightest camera with a rotating back" seems pretty clear to me, other than the distinction between "rotating back" like on a Linhof and the more common removable back that can be switched to h/v orientation. They both obviously do the same thing, so I don't think that matters. The answer is the Intrepid.

nicemate1
3-Oct-2017, 10:09
Thanks everyone for these amazing recommendations. The Intrepid seems really interesting, from a weight point of view, and also from a price point of view !

But what is the lightest camera that has a rotating back? The one a Toyo 45AII has, so to speak. Rotating, revolving, or whatever one wants to call it !

Cannot recall the times I have used such an amazing feature on my RZ. I want it on my 4x5 as well !

Corran
3-Oct-2017, 10:16
Just to be clear, do you want a rotating back that does not come off the camera? I don't think any camera that has that is even in the same league as the suggested cameras with simple removeable/switchable backs, in terms of weight.

Please watch this video of the Chamonix to see how the back "rotation" works. It is the same on the Intrepid more or less:


https://youtu.be/ek4xjtPf0L8?t=286

This link should take you to the time of 4:46 (https://youtu.be/ek4xjtPf0L8?t=286), which is where it is shown. If using the above video, just scroll ahead to 4:46.

If you want a quick rotating back like on the Toyo 45AII, Linhof Technikas, etc., the weight penalty will be quite a lot for the slightly faster mechanism. If you are shooting fast handheld I can see that being a plus - I do use that on my Linhof as such.

xkaes
3-Oct-2017, 10:50
Please watch this video of the Chamonix to see how the back "rotation" works.

Thanks for the video. It makes me glad I don't own a Chamonix!

More to the point, that is NOT a rotating back. It is a flipping back or repositionable back. It must be removed first and then manually flipped or repositioned.

Corran
3-Oct-2017, 10:55
Yes I am well aware, that's why I have "quotation marks" around rotation. I said above that you remove and switch. I can't seem to remember if there's a better descriptor.

Not sure why you say you are glad you don't own a Cham? It's a great camera, but of course to each his own, but what do you have a problem with?

Peter Collins
3-Oct-2017, 11:08
Light? How light? I just weighed my Chamonix 45N-2 on a gram balance to 2 grams: 1,590 grams, or 3.498 lb. I love it!

xkaes
3-Oct-2017, 11:22
what do you have a problem with?

I don't have a problem with it. It's just not for me. Like you said, "to each his/her own", but I can open and close my camera a LOT faster than in that video -- which has saved my sorry butt (and my gear and pictures) more times than I care to remember!

Corran
3-Oct-2017, 11:35
Yes the Cham does not open/close quickly. Personally I usually carry the camera on the tripod and don't stow it away very often. I have no idea how some of the other cameras mentioned fold up, I'll have to look for videos, out of curiosity.

Leszek Vogt
3-Oct-2017, 11:57
Hope you also looked at VDS rig....it's only around 1200 grams. The back has to be re-positioned as needed (not rotating).

The thing of "light" might be bit overrated as the lens adds more weight, and that also goes for tripod + head....urr, unless one just uses a beanbag for support.

Les

xkaes
3-Oct-2017, 12:14
Yes the Cham does not open/close quickly. Personally I usually carry the camera on the tripod and don't stow it away very often.

I guess you are an indoor photographer. I'm usually dealing with setting suns (setting up FAST) and incoming rain (closing down FAST). The last time I carried my camera any distance while on a tripod was to avoid a pair of big horn sheep charging at me -- above tree line!

Corran
3-Oct-2017, 12:24
Uh no I hike quite long distances, on the Appalachian Trail often lately. With the camera already on the tripod I can be shooting in seconds. I throw my jacket over it in rain.

xkaes
3-Oct-2017, 12:29
In the Apple Chains, all you need to worry about are chipmunks. Out here, we have Pumas and Grizz.

Corran
3-Oct-2017, 12:34
There's some serious issues with black bears here, especially with regard to food on the trail. Of course they are a bit different than grizzlies...

Anyway, we are getting far afield here. The above mentioned VDS camera I had not heard of. 1200g brings it to the same ~2.6 pounds as the Ikeda and Nagaoka. I wonder how Intrepid got their camera to be .6 pounds lighter? Just the plywood material or whatever it is? It certainly isn't winning any awards for looks, but who cares if it's shaving off a lot of weight.

Les is right though that the whole package is important though of course. Now some here would be appalled at my tripod, which weighs less than the camera. It works fine though, in most situations I am in. Windy conditions with a long lens would not work though.

Eric Leppanen
3-Oct-2017, 12:56
If you place a high priority on speed of setup, and can live with a removable back and modest extension, then something like the Ebony RSW45 might be a candidate. Mine weighs about 3.5 pounds with a RRS Arca-style quick release plate attached.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y97lDg2yKKY
http://www.largeformatphotography.info/forum/showthread.php?74909-Opinions-on-the-Ebony-RSW45

hporter
3-Oct-2017, 16:35
Out of curiosity, I placed my Nagaoka on my postal scales and it registered 2 lbs 11 oz without lensboard or lens.

And if a rotating back on a field camera is absolutely necessary, I also weighed my MPP micro-technical. She is a slim 6 lbs and 3.4 oz with lensboard and no lens! :rolleyes:

Bruce Watson
3-Oct-2017, 16:51
The Toho sits at just a bit over 3 pounds.

That's with that awful tripod adapter. First thing I did was replace that solid hunk of metal with an arca swiss quick release plate. Then I added two sets of bubble levels (for level and plumb either horizontal or vertical) to the rear standard, and a Fresnel focusing screen. When I got done, I weighed the camera. I was surprised it came in under three lbs. I believe it was right at 2.75 lbs.

That's what I took up the mountains in my pack. I can't imagine anyone actually using that massive threaded Toho tripod adapter in real life. I never weighed it but it was probably half a pound all by itself. Made no sense.

Oren Grad
3-Oct-2017, 18:49
Folks, Pietro, the OP, cited the revolving back feature of the (Mamiya) RZ as what he's trying to emulate - see his post #16. The cameras with "reversing" backs that have to be removed, flipped and remounted are not what he's after.

Off the top of my head, I can't think of a 4x5 with a revolving back that's going to be much shy of 6 pounds.

Alan Gales
3-Oct-2017, 21:03
Off the top of my head, I can't think of a 4x5 with a revolving back that's going to be much shy of 6 pounds.

Yeah, they are all metal like Toyo 45A, Wista technical fields like the SP, Super Speed Graphic, British MPP, Linhof Technika. I would think Linhof would be the heaviest but also best built. All fine cameras though.

AuditorOne
3-Oct-2017, 21:41
The only rotating back 4x5 I own is a Graflex RB Auto. I've never weighed it but "light" is not one of the words I would use to define it. It is a wonderful camera though and sets up and takes down very quickly. Movements might be a mite limited but it depends on what you need. For Portraits and Landscapes it does great.

I do have a couple of 8x10s where the back unclips and then clips back on in a different orientation. It is a lot simpler to do then to explain.

However, if I intend to hike any real distance, the Intrepid is my choice. Come to think of it, in 4x5, it is almost always my choice anymore. Nice camera although a bit on the basic side.

EDIT - It does have a very fast and simple rotating back though; just flip it over on its side. It is light enough that my tripod does not seem worried in the least. :D

JALP
3-Oct-2017, 23:40
The Wista 45VX, with revolving back, is spec'ed at 2.4kg. The Wista 45N, a VX without front swing but otherwise identical, may be fractionally lighter. Roughly, a 4x5 revolving back adds 450-500g. If it's something you will use a lot the added weight is a feature. If you never use it, it's deadweight.

jose angel
4-Oct-2017, 01:10
IMO it`s not only the ability of rotating the back, but also the easiness or smoothness in that rotation... so I`d not limit the search to "the lightest" but instead to "the fastest" or to the best build.
I don`t see the point of having a rotating back that is not smooth and precise unless you were changing from portrait to landscape in a continuous manner. And if so, the slowness of 4x5" makes me wonder about its suitability. Press cameras are history for a reason...

Cor
4-Oct-2017, 03:24
As has been mentioned in other threads may times: if you count in the weight of your tripod, film holders, loupe, lenses, light meter, filters,..etc..the absolute weight of the camera alone gets less important..

Good luck with the many choices !

Best,

Cor

Greg
4-Oct-2017, 16:27
"Lightest" to me just not an issue.
When I was doing ultra-light backpacking, I would go to extreme measures to save ounces. Then at one point realized that carrying an extra few pounds, was realized in a lot more comfort and better meals. Now I day hike with a f/64 backpack containing either a Whole Plate or 8x10 camera with as many lenses as I can carry. Carrying a water filtration system seems to save the most amount of weight for not having to carry full water bottles. Fortunately here in New England, water sources (streams) are more than abundant pretty much anywhere I go. For a 4x5, I now use a Chamonix, but if I had the money, without hesitation, would purchase the latest metal Linhof, and the weight difference has to be a lot. Interesting that Minor White and Fred Picker primarily used a Sinar Norma for their outdoor shots, and the Sinar Norma is no light compact camera by any means.

Jim Andrada
4-Oct-2017, 16:38
I love my Technika with its rotating back, but it's a beast to carry - heavier than my 5 x 7 Kodak. On the other hand if you need to pound in a few tent pegs the Technika is capable.

Corran
4-Oct-2017, 16:40
Carrying a water filtration system seems to save the most amount of weight for not having to carry full water bottles.

Great point Greg! I bought a Sawyer Squeeze earlier this year and have started carrying it instead of my larger water bottle / extra water on longer hikes. This saves a few pounds overall.

But, as someone who owns a Linhof 4x5...I still generally hike with my Chamonix. Lately I've been going out with my Cham, Shen-Hao 6x17, and 3 or 4 lenses max. Roll film holder for the 617 and 12-18 sheets of film in Grafmatics fill out the kit, along with some filters and such. It all comes to maybe 25 pounds, which I consider pretty good for two complete systems. If I am planning on real long distance I would take out the 6x17 (or 4x5 depending on the situation) and a lens or two maybe. For even less weight I would be reverting to my 2x3 Century Graphic or my new Mercury modular camera.

xkaes
4-Oct-2017, 17:23
To each his/her own. If had to choose between carrying a Chamonix with a water filter -- in the Apple Chains where there are lots of streams, or carrying a TOKO AND water -- in the Rockies where there are no streams, I'd choose the latter.

Either way, we will both get some great shots.

P.S. Does Chamonix offer a water filter as an accessory?

Corran
4-Oct-2017, 17:37
The OP hasn't specified why he wants the lightest camera. If I was more up for through-hiking, regardless of weight issues I would step down to MF, period, due simply to film handling. It is tempting to go for "the lightest possible" when contemplating / buying gear with the intention of going fairly far away from the car for photography. Of course issues with compatibility, flexibility, and of course most importantly personal preference will be better gauges of what camera one should get.

The good thing about all of these is that buying one used and reselling it if one doesn't like the camera for whatever reason is a pretty cost-effective strategy, as compared to the purchase of a digital camera which depreciates like a car. I went through several 4x5 cameras at the start until getting the Chamonix which I really liked and have had since. I even stupidly carried around a massive Toyo GII monorail some distances at the start. I kept that camera because it's practically worthless but it's good for architecture. Going more than 10 feet from my car is a chore. I am glad I had the experience though and learned on that camera the basics of view camera operation...but yes I was pretty quickly Googling "lightest field camera" too!

xkaes
4-Oct-2017, 17:52
a digital camera which depreciates like a car.

Not to be picky, but I'd say more like an asteroid.

Vaughn
4-Oct-2017, 20:23
Gowland was pretty handy at putting various backs on his 4x5 PocketView camera. I have the lightest variation -- you had to flip the camera, not the back! Right at 2.5 pounds with the Caltar IIN 150/5.6 on it. But I have seen advertised other versions -- Gowland did a good job of adapting backs -- might be a rotating one out there somewhere...add a couple pounds to the camera.

PS Found this review -- there seems to be some with rotating backs out there.

http://www.bnphoto.org/bnphoto/LFN/CamProf_GowlandPocketView.htm

Cor
5-Oct-2017, 01:09
Had a Gowland Pocket view once, too flimsy to my taste, I "upgraded" to the rare Galvin 4*5 view camera (more frequently found as a 2*3 Camera, design is the same), a monorail which sets up quickly and is much sturdier. That is my lightweight camera together with a 90mmTopcor, 150 and 210 G-Claron lenses..in practice it is not so much the weight saving as well as the space saving of this small kit when travelling with my family in our VW Westfalia T4 bus camper...


Cor

mdarnton
5-Oct-2017, 04:44
So... back to the question, the Intrepid is 900 gm and has a rotating, not flipping back. After all the arguing with the OP about whether he wants what he wants, and why he's wrong, has anyone come up with a better answer than was given in the 4th post?

Corran
5-Oct-2017, 06:00
Wow I didn't realize that it was actually a rotating back. I am impressed.

Max Grew
5-Oct-2017, 06:09
Wow I didn't realize that it was actually a rotating back. I am impressed.

You can see the back rotating of the Intrepid at the 30s mark on this video


https://player.vimeo.com/video/188358576?autoplay=1&quality=1080p

Corran
5-Oct-2017, 06:22
I saw the stop-motion video on their site but thought it was just illustrating a flipping back.

mdarnton
5-Oct-2017, 06:39
No, and it's a really nice iteration of the feature, too. Just the right friction and smooth. I prefer it to Graflex, Cambo, and B&J Press, all of which I do have. I don't have the 4x5 Intrepid, but playing with a friend's and marveling at the ergonomics that they get out of plywood and other simple materials is one of the things that convinced me to order the 8x10. Which does not have the rotating back, by the way--it's a flipper.

Drew Bedo
5-Oct-2017, 06:44
UMMM...TravelWide?

None lighter and if you shoot hand-held as it is designed for, the back rotates with your hands.

A similar optionn would be one of the Polaroid conversions, or a Graflex.

nicemate1
5-Oct-2017, 11:26
So... back to the question, the Intrepid is 900 gm and has a rotating, not flipping back. After all the arguing with the OP about whether he wants what he wants, and why he's wrong, has anyone come up with a better answer than was given in the 4th post?

+ 10

Ivan J. Eberle
8-Oct-2017, 10:06
I've had several cameras with revolving backs because not having one is a deal breaker for me. Maybe these aren't the lightest field cameras with a revolving back, but among the lightest metal folders with a revolving back mechanisms are the Meridian 45B and the Graflex Super. The Meridian weighs 80 oz without a RF and the Super, if I recall, is about the same and slightly more compact. I've heard it's possible to reduce the weight of a Super to about 3-1/2 lbs by removing the RF, and possibly a Dremel to skeletonize the frame some, but that sort of seems a pity. Of the two, I greatly preferred the Meridian for the back moves (ala extension posts), and a body physically large enough to take moderately large lenses like a Nikon 90mm f/8–even folding up with lens mounted and without having to reverse the board. Best weight savings from a metal folding "Presser" with a RF occurs when using it without always having to schlepp a tripod. Here a bit of extra mass can help to steady longer exposures.

Pat518
8-Oct-2017, 12:43
I like the Shen Hao Ptb45. If you are looking to save weight. RB's add weight and I agree with the other posts

mmerig
8-Oct-2017, 14:10
... but among the lightest metal folders with a revolving back mechanisms are [is] the Meridian 45B ...

Agree -- The Meridian 45B that I have weighs 4.75 lbs (76 ounces) without a lens and its board, and no RF. But as others say, a few more ounces or even a pound in a camera body should not matter that much, even when hiking long distances, when you add in all the other stuff. Knowing where water is, for example, and not carrying more then you need can make a bigger difference.