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dazedgonebye
14-Dec-2008, 20:17
Still looking at options...

I'm seeing a lot of Graflex cameras go for upwards of $300 lately. Some go for less than $200, but many are on the high end. That's discouraging from a cheap guy point of view. I see a Graflex as a value buy only.
That's got me looking at the Toyo 35CF. I've found a few opinions on it here and there. As near as I can tell, it shares some of the same limitations as the Graflex cameras. In fact, it seems (feature wise) a bit like a Super Graphic with perhaps better movements.

As an alternative to a Graflex, what is the thinking on this camera?

Oh...I just saw one go on ebay for about $560, including 90mm lens.

BradS
14-Dec-2008, 20:52
I'm sure that you mean the 45Cf...not 35CF - right?

Anyway, it is very much like a modern, carbon fiber interpretation of the Graflex Super Graphic...and for a good reason (Toyo bought the company? and produced a Super Graphic for a while).

Most people poo-poo the 45CF...I happen to like em. They seem to me to be a Crown Graphic with all the annoying things fixed. Unfortunately, the Toyo 45CF does not have a synchronized range finder so, it is not as easy to shoot handheld.

dazedgonebye
14-Dec-2008, 21:19
Yes...I meant 45.
I shouldn't type late at night.

Kuzano
14-Dec-2008, 21:51
Yes...I meant 45.
I shouldn't type late at night.

I've considered them, but the consistent complaint is that the thread bosses that are cast into the composite material of the bodies often strip out if you are heavy handed on locking the movements down. The weight savings is nice, but not all that significant. If you keep eyes out for the Toyo 45A metal field camera, you can often find one in nice condition for what most people pay for the CF. I bought a Toyo 45AII still in the box and like new condition last month for $600. The more recent Toyo 45AX sells in like new condition for about $700-800.

If you are really considering raising your budget to the $500-600 level, there are considerably more choices that appear to be better than the reports I have heard on the 45CF.

That budget will put you into Shen Hao's used, Tachiharas, Woodfields and Wista.

Last month I sold a Wista 45D wood folding camera for $450 on eBay. Sold it on Buy it Now and was snapped up on the first day.

I will offer this... not one of these camera's is the perfect camera. Almost every one of them has one or more reasons to look at the next camera up the line. I venture that if you reason this way, you will ultimately be looking at $1000 to $1500 cameras that won't do much more than a graflex will do. Simply put, that is to position the best lens/shutter you can still afford in front of a Ground Glass in certain variable juxtapositions with a light tight bellows in between. That's all the best of them do, and certainly what a less expensive graflex will do if all the parts are there and there are no bellows leaks.

Sorry if that's already obvious.

Terence McDonagh
15-Dec-2008, 06:36
I have a 45CF that I got at the intro rate of $400 when they came out. At under $500, it's a good deal. Above that, I'd go for something else. They're fine if you're not too rough with your equipment. There really is no need to torque down on anything. It stays pretty rigid, and any movement flexes right back into the original location.

I also have an AII. It is a far better camera in terms of build quality, movements, etc., but is significantly heavier for backpacking. For a day hike, I'll take the AII. For a four day, backcountry hike, I'll take the 45CF.

paul08
15-Dec-2008, 07:41
Used 45As and AIIs have been going on ebay for $500 - 750 the past couple of months. You could probably get a good deal after the holidays. Just try to get one from a reputable seller and make sure the bellows are in good shape.

dazedgonebye
15-Dec-2008, 07:45
As long as I'm getting a graflex, might as well get a toyo 45CF. As long as I'm getting a Toyo, might as well get a Shen Hao....

jnanian
15-Dec-2008, 07:51
the cf is nice ...
if something breaks on it, the folks at toyo ( MAC ) are very nice
and have the parts to fix the camera to send to you ...
i have a cx ( the view camera ) and one of the blocks
on the rail cracked ... i called them they had me send the camera
to them, the replaced BOTH blocks,
realigned the camera, sent it back to me, in little or no time
and didn't charge me anything ...

there's always going to be people who tell you to get something else ...

have fun

john

Kuzano
15-Dec-2008, 08:48
As long as I'm getting a graflex, might as well get a toyo 45CF. As long as I'm getting a Toyo, might as well get a Shen Hao....

If this comment was garnered from my comments, it was not my intention to imply that you should move up the price scale and go for a better camera, then I apologize. I obviously did not make my point very well.

It's all too easy to justify the next camera up the line. My intent was to imply that a good graflex (not a perfect graflex) would probably work for you as well as the more expensive cameras. I don't think a Graflex will ruin the large format experience for you. The mere impact of seeing a well composed and exposed piece of 4X5 film will overcome any limitations of the less expensive camera. I am surprised that you are finding only $400 Graflex cameras in the market, but I won't judge your standards on what will satisfy you.

All I was saying is that walking up the price scale is robbing money that will be needed for lenses, tripod, film, changing bag, loupe for focusing, dark cloth, and that's the short list.

I started with a Graflex, and frankly, although I have moved to full movement monorail, heavy weight Shen Hoa field, lightweight Wista, Gowland Pocket, A Bender kit camera, A Calumet CC402, and currently the Toyo 45AII, I will honestly say that I could have done all the LF work done so far with that original Graflex.

So, I campaign for the lower cost option on the camera, as an entry point to LF.

The trend to walk up the price scale is a fundamental weakness of "Gear Hogging", which I admit to. In fact if there was a support group for the addiction of constantly looking for the magic camera, I would probably be a charter member of the founders group. "Gear Hogging" is detrimental to the practice of image capture, but some of us are more turned on by the feel of the next camera, than we are by capturing the next image.

I'm not implying which one you may be. I am merely sharing experience here in terms of my opinion as to which cameras work. They all do...but they have varied limitations. However, even the lowly Graflex cameras have a fair number of the most often used movements.

dazedgonebye
15-Dec-2008, 08:50
I didn't take it that way Kuzano.
I was talking about my own tendancy to walk up that price scale. Something around $200 in a graflex is easy. Once they start to go over $300, I start to think maybe I should just spend more for a better camera.

dazedgonebye
15-Dec-2008, 08:58
I just realized that Toyo sold a version of the Super Graphic in to the 90's. No surprise then that the 45cf should resemble that camera.

venchka
15-Dec-2008, 09:08
Did you see the Graflex kit for $200 in the For Sale area here?

ps: I bought a meter from the same seller. Great transaction all around.

My Zone VI is nice. It has longer bellows extension but won't accept a Graphic roll film back. Overlooking the bellows extension, my Speed Graphic and the 4 lenses have are way better than I am.

dazedgonebye
15-Dec-2008, 09:33
Did you see the Graflex kit for $200 in the For Sale area here?

ps: I bought a meter from the same seller. Great transaction all around.

My Zone VI is nice. It has longer bellows extension but won't accept a Graphic roll film back. Overlooking the bellows extension, my Speed Graphic and the 4 lenses have are way better than I am.

Wow...no idea how I missed that. I check those pages every day.
I've pm'd him.

Mark Sawyer
15-Dec-2008, 11:14
I'm seeing a lot of Graflex cameras go for upwards of $300 lately. Some go for less than $200, but many are on the high end.

I think the Speed Graphics go for a fair amount because of the focal plane shutter, especially with the rising interest in old, wierd, and hand-assembled lenses, which all tend to be barrel lenses.

dazedgonebye
15-Dec-2008, 11:57
I think the Speed Graphics go for a fair amount because of the focal plane shutter, especially with the rising interest in old, wierd, and hand-assembled lenses, which all tend to be barrel lenses.

Probably best I don't get one then. I have an ugly history of buying old lenses and putting them on DSLRs...just to see what they're like. It's a bad habit that gets you drawers full of marginal stuff.

venchka
15-Dec-2008, 12:20
Then you find one keeper and it's all worthwhile.

BradS
15-Dec-2008, 14:12
Wow...no idea how I missed that. I check those pages every day.
I've pm'd him.

Good for you.. I looked, and looked, and looked....That was a really good deal. hard for me to pass by buut the lack of funds necessitate that I did. Glad it found a good home!

You'll love it.

Kuzano
16-Dec-2008, 14:54
I just realized that Toyo sold a version of the Super Graphic in to the 90's. No surprise then that the 45cf should resemble that camera.

That's right. The Super Graphic was the last 4X5 sheet film Graflex made before Graflex went to the MF Graflex XL press style cameras. The last variant on the Super Graphic was the Super Speed Graphic, which added a 1/1000 shutter and a chrome extended cocking ring on the shutter with Rodenstock optics. The cocking ring almost looked like a lens hood. The shutter was problematic and rarely shot over 1/800th, if that.

Toyo bought the tooling, MFR process and all the parts from Graflex. I'd love to find one... just for the oddity of it.

dazedgonebye
16-Dec-2008, 16:08
That's right. The Super Graphic was the last 4X5 sheet film Graflex made before Graflex went to the MF Graflex XL press style cameras. The last variant on the Super Graphic was the Super Speed Graphic, which added a 1/1000 shutter and a chrome extended cocking ring on the shutter with Rodenstock optics. The cocking ring almost looked like a lens hood. The shutter was problematic and rarely shot over 1/800th, if that.

Toyo bought the tooling, MFR process and all the parts from Graflex. I'd love to find one... just for the oddity of it.

One just finished on ebay with 2 lenses for around $500.
.
http://cgi.ebay.com/Toyo-Super-Graphic-4X5-Field-Camera-with-extras_W0QQitemZ110323594502QQcmdZViewItemQQptZFilm_Cameras?hash=item110323594502&_trksid=p3286.c0.m14&_trkparms=66:2|65:13|39:1|240:1318

Joe Forks
17-Dec-2008, 05:24
As long as I'm getting a graflex, might as well get a toyo 45CF. As long as I'm getting a Toyo, might as well get a Shen Hao....

By the same logic, you might as well ask how many of us started with a 45 and ended up with an 8x10 something or other, haha.

I started with the 45 CF and it was fine for my starter camera but our marriage didn't last more than a few months and I was shopping again.

It's ok though, there's enough used cameras on the market that you can easily justify trading until you find what is right for you. I was trading at nearly the same prices I paid so it was more like renting until I found something I was comfortable with.

If you take this course of action try to standardize your lens boards so you can use them on which ever camera you settle on. One way to do that is to use the technica / wista type board. Adapters will allow you to use these boards on a wide variety of cameras.

BradS
17-Dec-2008, 09:27
...It's ok though, there's enough used cameras on the market that you can easily justify trading until you find what is right for you. I was trading at nearly the same prices I paid so it was more like renting until I found something I was comfortable with.

If you take this course of action try to standardize your lens boards so you can use them on which ever camera you settle on. One way to do that is to use the technica / wista type board. Adapters will allow you to use these boards on a wide variety of cameras.

Really good advice. I've been through at least ten LF cameras in the past five years....never lost too much on any of them...so, it was like renting. Incidently, I've ended up with an Ebony (the third camera I bought- maybe shoulds stopped there) and a Crown Graphic (or three). Funny thing is, The very first camera I bought was a Crown Graphic. I regretted selling it less than a week after it left the house. So, I bought another...Point is, sometimes you just gotta date a bunch of cameras before you know you found the right one...and you can always go back to one you dumped !

tgtaylor
17-Dec-2008, 11:01
The 45CF was my first LF camera which I purchased from B&H back when the model was introduced by Toyo. It took B&H upwards of 3 months to get it in stock. "It's a hard item to get your hands on" the B&H buyer told me.

I find it an ideal camera to backpack with. It's lightwight, folds up with a normal lens attached, has all the movements typically required for landscape photography, and the carbon fibre body isn't affected by moisture like wooden bodies are. The only drawbacks for me is that a fresnel and folding focusing hood are optionals with the camera and both of those I consider essential. I purchased the folding focusing hood with the camera ($95) and use the back off my 45AX which I purchased a couple of years later. Except for the drop bed feature (15 degrees), the camera does not have any back movements but those are seldom required in landscape photography.

Again, the camera is an excellent choice for extended backpacking where every ounce counts. All you need is a normal and possibly a wide lens, a couple of film holders, box of film, couple of filters, a cable release and lightweight tripod and you're good to go for extended trips. For shorter distance trips - say 1 day out and setup camp - then you can tolerate the extra weight of a heavier camera and a couple more lens.

seawolf66
20-Dec-2008, 08:56
I have a Toyo 45CF and love it for its size and weight , I have a 15 inch raptar wollensak tel-photo lens that works on it since the lens only needs about 9-7/8 inch bellows ! as for back packing yes its the best to go with! Myself I would go with three lens one would be a Convertable lens and a 90mm and one other ? if i choose right then they would not weight much over a pound : good luck and have fun