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photogirl
22-Aug-2007, 15:12
Hi,

I've dabbled in LF a few years ago, but am now looking to get back into it more seriously. I don't really have much experience with a vast range of cameras, so am looking for some advice as to which one to get.

I'll primarily be taking outdoor shots - landscapes, cityscapes, etc with possibly a few still lifes thrown in. I'm therefore primarily looking for a field camera, which is relatively light (though I am willing to carry a little extra weight for the right camera). I'm not too keen on wooden types though, so thought a metal one would better suit me.

I'm in the UK, so a little limited with what's around, however, have found the Canham DLC45 for 1400, or the Wista 45SP for 1300. I'd be interested in hearing your views on these cameras, especially any plus and minus points for each camera. Or if anyone has any suggestions about something else that could fit my needs, I'd be grateful to hear them.

Thanks very much,
Melanie

Rob_5419
22-Aug-2007, 15:21
http://www.canhamcameras.com/eventcameras.html

The pink one's yours, right? ;)

The Wista 45SP is a gorgeous camera. It'd be my first choice too. If you look around, it shouldn't cost you more than £1000 here. Some like the 1980's rangefinder cam too which enables portrait shooting on a roll-film back or faster operation. The problem most Wista users find is that the UK agents don't treat Wista customers too well, although I don't want to start slating on a public forum, you might need to think about your aftersales support/service etc. Like most technical cameras, the parts can be expensive.

I'm a Wista user too - 8x10 & 4x5 wooden field cameras. The 4x5 Wista wooden SW series is just fantastic and has a huge range of movements; your SP will be limited by the baseboard design but it's still very respectable for its movement range.

I guess the metal Ebony Finesse would be out of your price range, and the metal precision Silvestris similarly. An imported Graflex press camera costing less than £150 however might be a sweet portable step before you go down the more expensive route....

photogirl
22-Aug-2007, 15:35
Rob,

Thanks for your thoughts. Hmmm, not sure about the pink - don't know if I want to stand out quite that much!!

Teamwork are selling the Wista new for £1095 + VAT, which seems like a pretty good price. But I do like the look of the Canham, and I here good things about his aftersales service (though possibly not so much use to me in the UK).

The Finesse isn't necessarily out of my price range - but I thought it was only 120 roll film sized?

Rob_5419
22-Aug-2007, 15:47
Hi there,

Yes - Teamwork have brought their prices down (in line with the profit from the better UK exchange rate!) It is a good price - although have you seen the used price for an SP? Don't foret you still need to budget for a lensboard...a lens, film holders, roll film backs, tripod plate, darkcloth.

The Finesse is 120 sized - I keep forgetting. Must be the Ebony advertising blurb: 'in a class of its own' and all that.

The Silvestris are 5x4 though, but don't offer the kind of movements you're looking for, unless you go for a Silvestri Bicam with a bellows adapter for movements. I'd still say the Wista SP is the best buy unless you decide you wanted to afford a Linhof Technika...

The pink Canham would be wacky for disarming crowds. At least you won't get arrested as a terrorist with a suspicious black contraption under a black cloth. The fashion police might have a few words though..

Why do you not like wooden cameras? They don't rust you know ;)

photogirl
22-Aug-2007, 15:58
No, haven't seen the used price, not much seems to be around at the moment, and I'd like to get something fairly soon (yes, I'm impatient!)

I know I've still got to get a few other bits and pieces, but luckily I still have a few bits and pieces lying around, so shouldn't need too much. :-)

I had a wooden camera before, and just felt like I was using an antique all of the time. Some people might like that, but it just wasn't for me. Silly, I know!

Darryl Baird
22-Aug-2007, 16:00
In case your ready to plunge, are considering a used camera and don't mind the *bay auction route, there is a 45 DA (http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/Wista-45DA-Field-Camera-Beautiful_W0QQitemZ140150210702QQihZ004QQcategoryZ15247QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem)


or an older Wista 45 (http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/Wista-45-Metal-Field-Camera_W0QQitemZ140149771892QQihZ004QQcategoryZ15247QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem) (my model)

the exchange rate is surely in your favor

photogirl
22-Aug-2007, 16:04
I know, I've been looking on the auctions, both UK and US, but sometimes I think I'd rather just pay the extra and buy new, and be sure of what I'm getting. Unless there's a real bargain to be had.... ;-)

Rob_5419
22-Aug-2007, 16:04
I had a wooden camera before, and just felt like I was using an antique all of the time. Some people might like that, but it just wasn't for me. Silly, I know!



An antique??? An ANTIQUE??!!! Honestly! Kids nowadays ;)

I use a Gandolfi half-plate camera which is at least 100 years old. It's better built than any modern plastic Canon DSLR. Besides, I know you weren't referring to my bookform plate holders. It must've been those antique Ebony cameras. Yeah. That's it.

Darryl's right - even with import taxes, it could still work out well for you. Nothing beats trying a camera out in demo before acquiring it. I'm just concerned you're not going to get that kind of quality service from you know you. Maybe you do need to go to you know where and test-drive the Wista SP and then let us know if they treat you well ;)

photogirl
22-Aug-2007, 16:13
:-) Yeah, I know!! But I'll be shooting a lot in central London, and anything that draws a little less attention will be welcome! I just think that wooden cameras always seem to get people a bit curious.

I have been seriously considering getting something from auction, but then I think of all the things that could be wrong with the camera, it puts me off. Especially since I'm experienced enough to spot any potential problems.

I haven't dealt with any of the LF dealers in the UK before, maybe I do need to give them the opportunity to prove themselves worthy! ;-)

big_ben_blue
22-Aug-2007, 18:12
The DLC is certainly a fine camera; but it too got its limitations.
Most of the movements (other than focus) are done with friction knobs, rather than geared. Some people also find the nylon washers of the knobs a bit insufficient for locking down tight enough, and use brass washers from the hardware store instead.
You'll need a groundglass protector during transport.
For wideangle work (landscapes?) or anything wider than lets say a 90mm, I would advice to invest in either wideangle bellows (expensive though) or at the very least a recessed lensboard. With wide angle lenses, the compressed bellows put quite some pressure onto the standards, which makes the accurate use of tilt/shift/swing a bit of a challenge.
Well, all I can say is that I like my DLC (secondhand) a lot; it's built to last several lifetimes.
But don't forget about all the other cameras out there, including those wooden ones (Canham makes some really nice ones too). Or what about a used Linhof or a more budget friendly MPP (that's what I would love to have for city shooting on the go).

Chris

David Karp
22-Aug-2007, 19:56
Have you considered a nice homegrown Walker Titan SF? I have one and am very happy with it. If you have any questions, E-mail or call Mike Walker. Very nice guy.

davidb
22-Aug-2007, 20:03
I am very curious about the Wista as I am pondering one. Can anyone give a little more detail about why it is so good. Does it have a revolving or rotating back?

audioexcels
22-Aug-2007, 20:14
How about that beautiful Zone VI kit in the for sale section wink wink wink;)

Darryl Baird
22-Aug-2007, 20:57
I am very curious about the Wista as I am pondering one. Can anyone give a little more detail about why it is so good. Does it have a revolving or rotating back?

Wista SP, DA, VX are finely made, metal, gear driven, revolving Graflok style back (with roll film backs too), with a very bright fresnel GG, and decent (not great) bellows extension. It is capable of 90mm lens without a bag, but has an interchangeable bellows for easy switching. Go here (http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/63360-REG/Wista_214502_Technical_45SP_Metal_Field.html) for a fuller description.

it's comparable to the Linhof Technika line (really a bit of a knock off)

keeds
23-Aug-2007, 04:04
You missed a DLC on ebay.co.uk last night. Went for £700ish with 4 lens boards. I followed it and cancelled a snipe that would probably have won, but then I wouldn't be alive now to tell you about it... ;-)

Martin D.
23-Aug-2007, 05:32
:-) Yeah, I know!! But I'll be shooting a lot in central London, and anything that draws a little less attention will be welcome! I just think that wooden cameras always seem to get people a bit curious.

I have been seriously considering getting something from auction, but then I think of all the things that could be wrong with the camera, it puts me off. Especially since I'm experienced enough to spot any potential problems.

I haven't dealt with any of the LF dealers in the UK before, maybe I do need to give them the opportunity to prove themselves worthy! ;-)

You should also consider wooden cameras. They do not look all that serious, people have doubts about their functionality and therefore you might avoid paying for photo permits. Once I attempted to take a photo of the Trafalgar sq. and learned that one needs a permit for professional photography. And according to the London police, pro photography is everything with a tripod. Fortunately, my WistaDX does not look modern at all, so I used the 2 minutes given to me to take a photo. I have very much the same experience with my wooden camera all around the world -- it does not look professional and therefore I often avoided paying for photo permits. Any big camera on a tripod will attract attention of people, a metal camera will not help you in my opinion.

photogirl
23-Aug-2007, 12:19
Have you considered a nice homegrown Walker Titan SF? I have one and am very happy with it. If you have any questions, E-mail or call Mike Walker. Very nice guy.

To be honest, I don't know much about the Walker - is it comparable to the other 2?

photogirl
23-Aug-2007, 12:22
Thanks very much to everyone for their thoughts. Before I posted this, I was leaning towards the Canham, but it seems as if the Wista is a popular choice. Hmmm, decisions, decisions! :-)

photogirl
23-Aug-2007, 12:25
You should also consider wooden cameras. They do not look all that serious, people have doubts about their functionality and therefore you might avoid paying for photo permits. Once I attempted to take a photo of the Trafalgar sq. and learned that one needs a permit for professional photography. And according to the London police, pro photography is everything with a tripod. Fortunately, my WistaDX does not look modern at all, so I used the 2 minutes given to me to take a photo. I have very much the same experience with my wooden camera all around the world -- it does not look professional and therefore I often avoided paying for photo permits. Any big camera on a tripod will attract attention of people, a metal camera will not help you in my opinion.

I know what you're saying, and I know that it probably won't make any difference, but I did have a wooden camera, and just felt that it wasn't really me. I guess it all comes down to personal preference. Though I guess if the right thing at the right price came along, I wouldn't discount it.

Rob_5419
23-Aug-2007, 13:29
Photogirl -

http://www.walkercameras.com/titan-sf-4x5-01.html

Walker Titans are nice. I don't know much about the SF though if you are heading down to Teamwork for a Wista demo, make sure you check out the Walker Titan too. There's not much difference in the specs except for the ABS moulding of the Walker versus the traditional metal of the Wista. And the SP has a rangefinder for street shooting (ya gonna get mugged in London ya no').

The Wista is really nice - you should be happy with it. It'd be nice to hear if Teamwork actually respect their customers now, especially women ;)

photogirl
23-Aug-2007, 14:04
Thanks, the Walker does look interesting, another for my shortlist! The only problem is, the short list is supposed to be getting shorter, not longer!!

Rob_5419
23-Aug-2007, 14:06
No worries - the Canham never really figured, since you didn't like the pink camera thing ;)

Scott Davis
23-Aug-2007, 14:09
I once had a Walker Titan (unfortunately it got stolen before I ever got a chance to use it). For the money, the Walker Titan has some really impressive specs. I would consider one very thoroughly before getting a Wista.

Now I've got a Canham wood field 5x7, and you'd have to pry it from my cold, dead hands to get it away from me. They're extremely well made, and although a little quirky in their design, they're also user-serviceable for the most part, if you have a set of hex wrenches in imperial sizes. I've had to adjust mine (I bought it pre-owned) twice, and both times it was quite straightforward.

photogirl
23-Aug-2007, 14:14
The more I look into the Walker, the more I like it. And the fact that it's cheaper doesn't hurt!;) Is there any downside to it??

I'm confused!! :confused:

Scott Davis
23-Aug-2007, 14:17
Only "downside" is weight- about 3.5kg if memory serves. Which isn't bad all things considered.

Rob_5419
23-Aug-2007, 14:23
Downsides?

yes.... gravity. The weight. A wooden field camera won't weigh more than 2kg as a standard. Your metal technical variants add on at least 50-70% of that.

Go check it out and stop drooling! ;)

David Karp
23-Aug-2007, 17:14
Great points about the SF:
-It is very rigid.
-With movements, you can use up to a 450mm lens.
-The fit and finish is wonderful.
-It has all the movements you will ever need in a field camera.
-There are ample bubble levels.
-Its very durable.
-It is just about weatherproof. If it gets dirty, you can remove the bellows and wash it in the sink.
-Mike Walker is very helpful if you have questions.
-You can remove the standard bellows and replace it with a bag bellows if you use very wide angle lenses.
-There is a great price/feature ratio.

I really like my Titan SF. You may not, but it certainly is worth looking at one of them before you buy.

big_ben_blue
24-Aug-2007, 10:13
One more review to throw into the mix (for the DLC45; gotta have to give the Walker camp a run for the money :D ):
http://www.largeformatphotography.info/canham/canhamdlc.html (yup, it's straight from the site here).
Quite exhaustive in terms of text and filled with many pretty little pictures (oh, this is cruel I know;) ; but I am a visual type and the pics were what sold ME on the camera [certainly beat a boring spec sheet fer sure]).

Chris

PS: In the end, just make a decision and jump for one of the cameras, rather than going all crazy over a long list of real, imagined, true, false, and potential pros and cons. All of the cameras mentioned here are fine tools and capable of producing great photos. Hey, and if it turns out that you really don't like the camera you just bought, just resell it and try another one.

photogirl
24-Aug-2007, 13:03
Yes, yes, just confuse me even more! ;)

OK, it seems that all 3 cameras have plenty of movements - or at least more than enough for me. So, these are my thoughts -

Canham - I really like the look of the camera and it's the lightest of the bunch. It's also the most expensive.

Wista - Like the fact that it has the built in viewing hood, everyone seems to think that it's a v good camera, and it's a decent price. but it's also fairly heavy, and I'm not quite so keen on the styling of it.

Walker - Looks a nice camera (though not quite as nice as the Canham), will be pretty weather-proof, and is the cheapest of the bunch. But, along with the Wista, it's also fairly heavy.

Hmmm, well, that helped a lot!!!:confused:

keeds
24-Aug-2007, 15:16
Hold everybodies horses.... Did you just see this --> http://www.largeformatphotography.info/forum/showthread.php?t=28336
Man that's a sweet looking camera...

photogirl
25-Aug-2007, 01:12
Hold everybodies horses.... Did you just see this --> http://www.largeformatphotography.info/forum/showthread.php?t=28336
Man that's a sweet looking camera...

Does look a nice camera - however, it's wood ;) And I'd prefer to not have to order it from China. Very pretty camera though :)

big_ben_blue
25-Aug-2007, 08:48
Yes, yes, just confuse me even more!

Hmmm, well, that helped a lot!!!:confused:

Warning: the following statements are tongue in cheek, and not necessarily total serious.

Alright then; time to change selling tactics and bringing on the psychologial approach :eek: :

Lets see, we have to think not as men with expensive finely machined toys to drool over, but with the mind of of "photogirl" - a girls mind so to speak. And what do all fashion conscious girls like (stereotypical in general); especially girls in big cities? BAGS, HANDBAGS OF COURSE!!!! And wouldn't you have guessed it, the nice folks at Canham supply their beautiful rich black cameras (I take their brightly coloured 'adventures' as just a minor misstep) with an equally as nice carrying bag. Just imagine yourself walking with that bag and whipping out the big black camera in downtown London - what a statement of style that would be!!! OK, the bag isn't exactly a Louis Vitton (sp?), but hey, it comes for free with the camera.

:D :D

Chris

Rob_5419
25-Aug-2007, 09:03
Lol Chris.

You're in for a big internet slap.

big_ben_blue
25-Aug-2007, 09:08
You're in for a big internet slap.

You are probably right, but as long as the slap stays virtual ... ;)


Cheers, and have a great weekend everyone

photogirl
25-Aug-2007, 09:29
LOL. But I'm afraid I'm not your normal city-girl. Not at all into bags!:D

lithophotos
25-Aug-2007, 11:00
I have a Walker Titan and a Linhof Technika. I once owned a Zone VI - a bit too glitzy with gold plated brass knobs ( prefer English Understatement!) The Linhofs are like sewing machines, but for me the Walker wins, it is a bit more versatile,though not so refined in terms of construction and it is virtually weather proof. The real reason for me, though is that at one time or another I have dumped both of the cameras on the tripod, either through extraordinary bad weather, wind blowing it over or by accident, onto rocks. Both cameras survived, but the linhof though still useable was so badly damaged that it was written off by the company and the insurance, whereas there wasn't even a mark on the Walker. So go with the Walker. I always hang a pack from the tripod, but sooner or later it will surely go over.

good luck

Robin

photogirl
25-Aug-2007, 12:36
I have a Walker Titan and a Linhof Technika. I once owned a Zone VI - a bit too glitzy with gold plated brass knobs ( prefer English Understatement!) The Linhofs are like sewing machines, but for me the Walker wins, it is a bit more versatile,though not so refined in terms of construction and it is virtually weather proof. The real reason for me, though is that at one time or another I have dumped both of the cameras on the tripod, either through extraordinary bad weather, wind blowing it over or by accident, onto rocks. Both cameras survived, but the linhof though still useable was so badly damaged that it was written off by the company and the insurance, whereas there wasn't even a mark on the Walker. So go with the Walker. I always hang a pack from the tripod, but sooner or later it will surely go over.

good luck

Robin

Yes, from all of the good things that have been said about the Walker, I think I'm leaning in it's direction. Until I change my mind again, anyway!! :rolleyes:

photogirl
30-Aug-2007, 00:10
Called into Teamwork yesterday, to see what they had. I had a look at the Wista, which did look really nice - much nicer in the flesh than in pictures. It felt nice and solid, and not all that heavy. I also seemed nice and compact when folded. The guy I spoke to was nice enough, but didn't have a clue about LF cameras, so I was pretty much on my own in terms of working out how it worked - he didn't even seem to understand what front fall was.... Unfortunately, they don't hold stock of the Walkers, which is a real shame. I'd like to have compared them. I think I'll probably end up going for the Wista - it is a little more expensive, but at least I've been able to take a look at it, and know that I'll be happy with it.

Rob_5419
30-Aug-2007, 02:40
It's beautiful isn't it?

Knew you'd come around sooner or later. You'll love the rangefinder cam for fast street work, and for focussing slow f8 mules at lightning speed compared to traditional darkcloth users.

The Canham is a completely different type of machine altogether. They're harder to demo in England unless you're prepared to take a trip to the south coast.