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mynewromantica
21-Nov-2008, 13:17
I am a phtot student and I have to have a LF camera next semester. I have no idea what to get. All the cameras I have looked at dont have lesnses on them just lens boards. What is a lens board? And what lens should i get if I am going to be doing mostly portraits. Basically, I have no clue what I'm doing.

THanks

P.S. Cost plays a big factor in all of this too.

Vick Vickery
21-Nov-2008, 13:47
Ohhhh...you need to do some serious reading! :-) Your questions are down at the most basic level! OK, lets try a few basic answers assumming that you will end up with a 4x5 view camera (one that uses 4"x5" film in sheet film holders):

1. Lens boards are detachable plates on the front of the camera upon which various lenses can be mounted for use. Look at the photos of view cameras on eBay or elsewhere and you'll find that they have a piece of glass on one end (the ground glass focusing pannel) and a board or sheet of metal on the other with either a lens on it or a small hole thru it (the lens board...the hole is the place to attach a lens).

2. Lens for portraiture...most folks shooting 4x5 tend toward a lens of around 210mm focal length. This is a bit shorter compared to the "normal lens" (a lens equal to the diagonal of the film...about 160mm on 4x5) since most people use a lens of around twice the normal focal length when shooting smaller format cameras. Twice normal on 4x5 would be about 320mm, which would model fine for portraiture, but which would also require much more room for shooting and would require a longer than normal bellows when shooting close shots. Lots of people use a normal lens for most everything and are quite happy with that. Longer lenses usually cost more money!

Cameras that sell reasonably on the used market would include the Cambo 45 (now imported and sold by Calumet) and the old Calumet View Camera. The Cambo has the advantage over the older camera in having interchangable everything (fronts, bellows, backs, rails, etc.). Have fun, and do some reading in books like Adams' "Camera and Lens" and other books about using view cameras. I mention Adams' book because many school libraries will have copies of it.

arkady n.
21-Nov-2008, 14:12
I am a phtot student and I have to have a LF camera next semester.

Just out of curiosity, which school requires students to buy an LF camera?

Ash
21-Nov-2008, 15:10
Just out of curiosity, which school requires students to buy an LF camera?

A school that can't afford to buy their own.



Our college (see long thread on morals of pro photography) has at least 2 sinar 5x4's, and a parts body, plus a couple old boxes of Type 55 and a 545i, and then holders, b&w and sheet film to purchase sheet by sheet.

Our latest brief was on 5x4 so I used my kit, the other people used the Sinar.

Bill_1856
21-Nov-2008, 15:20
Look for a GRAPHIC VIEW II, with a 203mm KODAK EKTAR lens. You should find a nice, clean one for under $150.

John Kasaian
21-Nov-2008, 16:47
1. Call Jim at MidWest Photo Exchange.
2. Read Steve Simmons book Using The View Camera. :)

John Kasaian
21-Nov-2008, 16:55
Look for a GRAPHIC VIEW II, with a 203mm KODAK EKTAR lens. You should find a nice, clean one for under $150.

If you can find just the 203 Ektar for $150, that would be pretty slick but a GVII and an f7.7 Ektar for $150? Thats pretty impressive shopping, Bill! A few years ago Calumet was closing out a bunch of used CC-400s with some old Caltars on board for $150 a pop. That's a heck of a deal. It wouldn't hurt to call and see if any are left (but I'd doubt it!)

Bill_1856
21-Nov-2008, 17:46
John, times are tough, and IMO he recent surge in LF prices on ebay is about to take a nosedive back to where it was three years ago when I bought mine for $150.
Anyhow, whatever the price eventually ends up, it's still the best combination for the money. My first one lasted me over 30 years before I foolishly traded it for a LInhof.
The Calumet (rebadged Kodak Master 4x5) is another excellent low-cost option.,but I think they don't age quite as well as the GVII.

Ron Marshall
21-Nov-2008, 17:50
Begin by reading this:

http://www.largeformatphotography.info/matos-begin.html

and this:

http://www.keh.com/OnLineStore/ProductList.aspx?Mode=&item=0&ActivateTOC2=&BC=LF&BCC=7&ID=59&CC=2&CCC=1&BCL=&GBC=&GCC=

John Kasaian
21-Nov-2008, 17:58
Bill, I'm with ya' on GVIIs and the f/7.7 Ektar. I've got one tucked away---one fine peice of equipment it is! :D

bumgardnern
21-Nov-2008, 20:16
I would first make 100% sure that your school does not provide a LF camera for you. I know that the college that I went to had several view cameras which we shared.

I personally shoot with a Toyo View C 4x5. I got the camera two sets of billows, 10 film holders 5 lens boards, 4 or 5 hundred sheets of film and a 210 f3.6 lens all for under 1k. You just have to search for a deal.

Merg Ross
21-Nov-2008, 20:25
You have some good advice from Bill and John. I have three Calumet View cameras, all purchased over 40 years ago, and they perform as well as much more expensive cameras. A 4x5 you should be able to locate in the $100-$125 range. In your reading you will perhaps discover that Ansel Adams used a Calumet camera. They are basic, strong, and all that you will need for what you propose. As for a lens, I would not suggest anything much shorter than around 210mm for portraiture. You will have many choices, look for a clean one and consider Caltar lenses in your search. Have fun, this is an excellent forum for advice. Be prepared to receive that, along with a lot of conflicting opinions.

mergross.com

Jim Galli
21-Nov-2008, 22:27
Borrow some $$ or hold up a Liquor store and get this one (http://cgi.ebay.com/BEAUTIFUL-ZONE-VI-4X5-FIELD-CAMERA-COMPLETE-SYSTEM_W0QQitemZ160298781067QQcmdZViewItemQQptZFilm_Cameras?hash=item160298781067&_trksid=p3286.c0.m14&_trkparms=72%3A1234%7C66%3A2%7C65%3A12%7C39%3A1%7C240%3A1318). Everything you need is there in style.

I've had 2 of these Zone VI cameras. They are a pleasure to use! I replaced the last one with the Chamonix 4X5 which I still have.

You'll nickel and dime getting this piece and that piece and spend this much before you're through anyways.

Gary L. Quay
21-Nov-2008, 22:30
Calumets are repackaged Cambos, so if you pick up a Calumet 4x5 (which I did last year for $325.00, including the binocular viewing hood and two lensboards), you can use all of the Cambo odds and ends floating around the internet. The design is very flexable and simple for those of us who can't afford a Sinar or Arca Swiss, and they have a full range of movements. As for Caltar lenses, the newer ones are by Rodenstock, and are very good for the price.

Jim Graves
21-Nov-2008, 23:10
Where are you located?

SamWeiss
22-Nov-2008, 00:59
Borrow some $$ or hold up a Liquor store and get this one (http://cgi.ebay.com/BEAUTIFUL-ZONE-VI-4X5-FIELD-CAMERA-COMPLETE-SYSTEM_W0QQitemZ160298781067QQcmdZViewItemQQptZFilm_Cameras?hash=item160298781067&_trksid=p3286.c0.m14&_trkparms=72%3A1234%7C66%3A2%7C65%3A12%7C39%3A1%7C240%3A1318). Everything you need is there in style.

I've had 2 of these Zone VI cameras. They are a pleasure to use! I replaced the last one with the Chamonix 4X5 which I still have.

The Zone VI may not be the right choice for the student. The teacher may very well require a view camera will all movements on both standards.

I picked up a used CC400 years ago, to learn the basic ideas of using a view camera. Such beasts (Calumet/Cambo) are ugly and not very portable, for fill the bill for learning.

john borrelli
22-Nov-2008, 03:20
I have never taken one of these photo courses but I am surprised that your instructor is not giving you more advice on what is an important and complicated purchase for the students.

You have received some excellent advice already. A folding camera like the Zone VI is a great camera for people who backpack like those of us who do landscape photography.

Monorail cameras are harder to backpack with as they tend to be heavier and are less portable but are great for people photography that is done in a studio or landscape photography done close to your car.

If you need to buy a monorail, here is a price I found on KEH.com. THis is an online camera store that has been in business for a while. You can find reviews of KEH on this web site and others.

Omega View 45E camera body. Excellent condition $179.00

There is also a modern Caltar 210 f5.6 lens, Excellent condition $310.00

You would need a lens board for this camera with a #1 size shutter. This lens might be a little expensive, others are less money on this site, but this lens is a top of the line type lens.

You have come to the right site for info on LF photography, If your teacher gives you an LF test we will help you cheat too!! Best of luck

Joseph O'Neil
22-Nov-2008, 03:58
While I love folding cameras myself, and use two of them, the reality is that you will find a monorail camera for a lot less money.

Secondly while a monorail is heavier to move around, and more bulky, I found when I was first learning to use a 4x5 camera (back in the days when dinosaurs still roamed the Earth :) ), that a monorail was, at least to me, easier to learn.

As far as lenses go, while I have many personal reccomendations, you will find that on the used market that a 210mm lens, any brand or focal length, seems to be the most plentiful, and the most economical to purchase. I feel a lens in the 135mm range is easiest to learn with (slight wide angle), but economy wise, look for a good, sued 210mm

good luck
joe

Rafael Garcia
22-Nov-2008, 05:51
Look in eBay for complete kits. I found a Korona 5x7 with 7 1/2" lens, six holders, 2 lensboards and 15 sheets of good film for $300 about 3 years ago, in "Buy it Now". It was my first LF camera and going strong. Some cameras may need a bit of work; a friend with wood working skills could help. I have a Japanese camera that needed a 4x5 back built, because it was a format called half-plate, no longer used much. I built the back and now use the camera all the time: it cost $140.00 plus the lenses.

Lens boards for all these old cameras are easy to make out of wood with basic tools. Some make them out of cold press board or masonite. It involves cutting, drilling a large hole, and producing a "step" on the edge, by laminating or routing.

For portraits find a longish lens for the 4x5 format: a 180mm to 230mm. KEH.com sells theirs in very good condition, even the "bargain" grade, but even then the costs are high. Lenses are your biggest investement. Be sure to get a lens mounted on a shutter. "Barrel" lenses are not mounted on shutters. You need a shutter on most cameras except the Graflex Speed Graphics, which are a good choice if you can find one.

Read the articles in this site, The View Camera by Simmons, and whatever you can find: you have a steep learning curve. Don't fret, however: it is great fun!

Kuzano
22-Nov-2008, 06:32
"Troll!"

And the original poster no longer participates in this thread?

Rafael Garcia
22-Nov-2008, 06:55
Sorry, Kuzano. What does "troll" mean? If I said anything out-of-place please tell me what is was and why. I am not sure I understand all the "new wave" ettiquette all you youngsters have created online.

Wayne Crider
22-Nov-2008, 07:15
Where are you located?

And what school are you in?

I can't see a classroom of students needing to all buy a LF camera without some instruction from the teacher as to what to look for. In addition, what fool doesn't read first and question second? If a school requires some LF work usually they let the students take time on a school camera as The Art Institute does.

Kuzano
22-Nov-2008, 07:43
Sorry, Kuzano. What does "troll" mean? If I said anything out-of-place please tell me what is was and why. I am not sure I understand all the "new wave" ettiquette all you youngsters have created online.

This was not aimed at you Rafael. And thanks for the "Youngster" definition.

Youngster... Thanks, but I'm 65 years old. Troll is a routine name on forums and been around for a long time, but happy to oblige with a response/clarification.

Troll.... someone who finds a forum and just posts for the fun of it... some inane question to stir the masses. Some people find great fun to generate this useless waste of time.

Now, mind you, I apologize if I am mistaken here, but we've only seen the original post of the "NewRomantica", and no participation since, like answering a couple of questions from all the people who are taking time to attempt to "help" this person. He is conspicuous in his/her absence.

EuGene Smith
22-Nov-2008, 08:41
Well, at least this troll asked a question that is of interest to any newbies who happen to be in the area. Though the same question has been asked and answered a zillion times before, it's a good one to rehash now and then for the new arrivals.

mynewromantica
22-Nov-2008, 08:53
Just out of curiosity, which school requires students to buy an LF camera?

Utah Valley University. I guess its not an actual requirement but i is STRONGLY recommended. The class I'm going into really focuses on the zone system and the best way to use and understand the zone system is definitely with a LF.

mynewromantica
22-Nov-2008, 09:02
"Troll!"

And the original poster no longer participates in this thread?

I'm sorry, i posted it yesterday afternoon and didn't expect any response until midweekend. I especially didn't expect this much response. Thnka you for your help, i think i know what Ineed now.

I just have one more question. How do i know what lenses will work with what cameras, are all the lens boards the same size on 4x5?

john borrelli
22-Nov-2008, 12:33
I will try to answer your question as simply as I can to avoid confusion.

A lens board will have to fit both the particular camera and lens that you buy. Often when you buy a camera it will come with one lens board. The lens attaches to the lens board, the lens board then attaches to the camera.

Lens boards have different lens hole sizes. The lens hole size has to fit the lens shutter size. Two common shutter and lens hole sizes are #0 and #1 respectively. As we mentioned 210 mm lenses before, a modern 210mm lens most often comes in a #1 shutter, so you would need a #1 lens board to fit that particular camera.

CG
22-Nov-2008, 12:42
Most cameras have their own size lensboards. Basically, all LF lenses fit and work with all LF cameras*.

Since LF cameras are basically a box with a lens at the front, and a way of putting film or a digital sensor at the back, they are in essence the simplest possible cameras. (But simplicity, in this case, requires knowledge and attention.)

Find a lensboard designed to fit the camera, and make sure the hole in the board also fits the lens. There are generally only a basic few size holes that will take care of the vast majority of lenses out there. Really older lenses do have more non-standard holes required, but the holes can be made for you, or if you are handy, you can do it yourself. Some people make wood lensboards and keep the cosr minimal. That's what I did with my first camera and lens.

* Before every experienced photographer here pounces upon me, there are some practical reasons a particular lens night not work with a given camera. The most common problem is that some short focus lenses sometimes need to be closer to the film that the design of a particular camera will allow. Short focus lenses - widangles - sometimes may need to be so close that the camera gets in the way of getting the lens close enough. The next most common is that really long focus lenses may need to be further from the film than the camera has made provision for. Another less common reason a lens might not fit is that a few lenses are just huge and wont fit the lensboard, or may be so heavy that the camera is just overstressed.

Best,

C

Ole Tjugen
22-Nov-2008, 14:02
Nobody has ever known what camera to get the first time, I believe. Instead we have all "chosen" by what is available, and "seemed like a good idea at the time".

I now own none of my first three LF cameras. They were all very very good, but I'm fortunate enough to be able to buy another (second-hand) one to see if it's any better. This has landed me with what I believe to be three of the best LF cameras ever made - but I won't recommend either of these to a beginner: There are cheaper alternatives that do the same thing(s) and are as good or better to learn with.

Anyway: For learning the Zone system, all you need is a camera and a lens, with a reliable aperture and a consistent shutter. Even if the shutter only fires at one single speed it's good enough - adjusting the aperture will give you all the variation you really need!

So my recommendation is an old but working Speed Graphic. I have a 4x5" Anniversary; that or anything newer whould be all you need. One advantage of these is that they have a focal plane shutter which tends to be reliable it at all working. With those you don't need a shutter in the lens at all - having one is just a bonus. With a simple barrel lens they are capable of very good results - I shot this one with a 1932 Zeiss Doppel-Amatar on the Anny: http://flickr.com/photos/71733804@N00/787831456/

SamWeiss
22-Nov-2008, 16:12
Utah Valley University. I guess its not an actual requirement but i is STRONGLY recommended. The class I'm going into really focuses on the zone system and the best way to use and understand the zone system is definitely with a LF.

Is the purpose of using LF in your class merely to use sheet film (for individual sheet processing), or, is the class to teach you about using a view camera (say for technical/commercial photography)?

The reason this is important is because some of the suggestions you are getting are presuming the first requirement only (e.g., the use of a field camera with limited movements.) Also, stick to 4x5 (not 5x7 or any other format.)

A monorail view camera is not hand-holdable and not really portable with ease (though with wheeled cases one can stroll about with such beasts.) Yet, again, if your teacher requires full movements on both standards then that is what you will likely need to get.

What one also quickly discovers is that the cost of the camera is a small part of the overall project cost. Film holders, light meters, changing tents, and of course lenses and lens boards, dark cloth (easily improvised though), loupes, etc. And then there is film cost (fortunately it sounds like you will stick to b&w).

This website (largeformatphotography) has many, many links to all the subjects you need to explore. Highly recommend you check them out!

For shopping, eBay will have the largest selection. Prices vary by season it appears, and right now certain LF items are increasing in price, but these things come in cycles. Nevertheless, I've seen decent beginning monorail camera packages (usually include a few accessories) go for around $200, and sometimes with lenses for around $300. Toyo monorails are very common and low priced, as are the Calumet/Cambo models (except for the top of the line.)

For film holders, look for ones that are barely used (you want clean.) I've bought near mint 4x5 holders on eBay for less than $8 each.

seawolf66
22-Nov-2008, 16:39
mynewromantica : there are many ways to find good used equipment, one by looking at major photographic house that have used equip , KEH.com there is Adaorama.com , B&Hphoto&video.com all have used equipmenmt depts, then there is Here and there is APUG.ORG both of these will give you fotos of the equipment, there is also photo.net which has a for sale section also Last but not least IS ebay.com but there you need to know what you want and need , and be able to ask a lot of question so you do not get burnt : Good Luck

Ron Marshall
22-Nov-2008, 17:01
I'm sorry, i posted it yesterday afternoon and didn't expect any response until midweekend. I especially didn't expect this much response. Thnka you for your help, i think i know what Ineed now.

I just have one more question. How do i know what lenses will work with what cameras, are all the lens boards the same size on 4x5?

You should read this:

http://www.largeformatphotography.info/matos-begin.html

and this:

http://www.largeformatphotography.info/roundup4x5.html

Rafael Garcia
22-Nov-2008, 17:35
No problem! :) (to use a bit of the jargon I know...)

Everyone looks like a youngster online. It may be one of the biggest attractions!


This was not aimed at you Rafael. And thanks for the "Youngster" definition.

Youngster... Thanks, but I'm 65 years old. Troll is a routine name on forums and been around for a long time, but happy to oblige with a response/clarification.

Troll.... someone who finds a forum and just posts for the fun of it... some inane question to stir the masses. Some people find great fun to generate this useless waste of time.

Now, mind you, I apologize if I am mistaken here, but we've only seen the original post of the "NewRomantica", and no participation since, like answering a couple of questions from all the people who are taking time to attempt to "help" this person. He is conspicuous in his/her absence.

tim o'brien
22-Nov-2008, 23:18
"Troll!"

And the original poster no longer participates in this thread?

You are an idiot. The original message was posted the day before. There was nothing troll like about the post. You got a bee up your butt or what? More likely, you have absolutely nothing to contribute and that makes you feel inferior.

As to the original poster, get the cheapest camera with the most movements you can. If 4x5 (I hope) get a 150 lens, good quality Japanese or German shutter. Get a good book on LF photography and know you will have better equipment than most of the truly great photographers shooting before 1930. Better equipment will come down the pike as you get better and grow into it. No need to spend several thousand dollars on equipment you have no chance of living up to in the next ten years.

tim in san jose

Turner Reich
23-Nov-2008, 04:00
http://www.apug.org/classifieds/showproduct.php?product=8375

Looks good, not mine, no relation. They even put in film.

SamWeiss
23-Nov-2008, 05:21
To OP:

Here are two eBay auctions (I'm not affiliated with either of them), the contents of which are very similar to the camera kits which are lent out by some colleges that I know. You of course will need a tripod (and a hand held light meter), but these are the basic kit:

http://cgi.ebay.com/Omega-View-Land-Camera-large-format-in-case-Nikkor-lens_W0QQitemZ140283471416QQcmdZViewItemQQptZFilm_Cameras?hash=item140283471416&_trksid=p3286.c0.m14&_trkparms=66%3A4%7C65%3A1%7C39%3A1%7C240%3A1318

http://cgi.ebay.com/Omega-View-45D-4x5-Camera-w-Nikkor-W-180mm-f5-6-Lens_W0QQitemZ320318826469QQcmdZViewItemQQptZFilm_Cameras?hash=item320318826469&_trksid=p3286.c0.m14&_trkparms=66%3A4%7C65%3A1%7C39%3A1%7C240%3A1318

John Kasaian
23-Nov-2008, 07:48
If buying a view camera for your class is strongly suggested, I'd imagine that there might be several camera kits" that were acquired by past students, and that these kits might be for sale if they're no longer needed?

Perhaps a gander at the bulletin board in the art dept. might be a good resource.

Also, don't be put off by remarks about the Calumet cc400 being heavy or hard to move around. I had one (and I wish I still did) and IMHO they aren't much heavier than, say a MF Bronica or Hasselblad set up.

mynewromantica
23-Nov-2008, 08:49
You guys have been a lot of help. THanks!

seawolf66
23-Nov-2008, 11:23
mynewromantica : Just hang around and learn here , and keep us posted , how your making out in the LF venture :

John Kasaian
23-Nov-2008, 17:12
Another thought---if you can find a good old flatbed like an Agfa Ansco or B&J with both the 4x5 and 5x7 back, you'll be able to make some neat sized alternative process contact prints as well---maybe for extra credit??

Wayne Crider
23-Nov-2008, 18:04
If you wanted to be really different you might consider a pinhole camera but then I guess learning the Scheimpflug principle might be useless. You can Google the term if it's unfamiliar. Still you can work in 4x5 and the pictures have a uniques look all their own. For a monorail the Omega line can be pretty cheap, and a 210mm lens would be good enough for an all around lens. For a cheap folder a Graphic is probably the first LfF camera for many of us and their hard to beat.

Kuzano
23-Nov-2008, 20:31
You are an idiot. The original message was posted the day before. There was nothing troll like about the post. You got a bee up your butt or what? More likely, you have absolutely nothing to contribute and that makes you feel inferior.
tim in san jose

Well, you certainly put me in my place. Thanks for the clarification on my mental condition. I had a friend check my butt for bees... Nada! How is that supposed to feel when it happens?

I am chagrined and mortified at my glaring deficiencies, so I took special note of your sage advice the the original poster... again Nada!

I am pleased the fellow showed up and that I was wrong, but I still feel that a lot of energy and bandwidth was expended before we knew it was legitimate. My best idiotic wishes to the gentleman seeking the information.

brad martin
23-Nov-2008, 22:32
And the state of Utah is running a buget surplus.

Sean Galbraith
24-Nov-2008, 05:48
Are there specific film holders for specific cameras, or are they fairly standardized?

Vick Vickery
24-Nov-2008, 07:07
You might want to look in the For Sale board on this site under "Beginner Setup"...there's a pretty nice Calumet 400 outfit for sale. You can avoid buying a new lens for portrature by getting a filter holder and a "minus 2" or "minus 3" filter for the 150mm lens...the minus filters increase the focal length of the lens at the cost of a slight amount of softness which I find nice in portraits.

Wayne Crider
24-Nov-2008, 19:57
Are there specific film holders for specific cameras, or are they fairly standardized?

In the common late model formats, 4x5 and 8x10 their standardized. Certain older bodies like the Graflex's, (and probably a few others I don't know of) took an odd ball size. I'm unfamiliar with anything over 8x10. In the newer 4x10 size their not standardized from what I read.