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View Full Version : MPP as a first camera?



Captured City
28-Dec-2009, 09:48
Hello, im new to the forum (and to LF) and am hoping to get some advice on a good starter 5x4 camera. I have searched the forum for similar threads to try and whittle down my requirements and have found a potential MPP camera on ebay:

http://cgi.ebay.com/MPP-5X4-CAMERA_W0QQitemZ350295223824QQcmdZViewItemQQptZUK_Photography_Film_Cameras_ET?hash=item518f38ee10#ht_500wt_1182

Budget is a big consideration as I am a student with very limited funds. I could probably stretch to 300, which might get a second hand shenhao for example, but then I will still need a lens and other accessories which I avoid by getting the MPP which includes a couple of lenses and a roll film back.

I am an architecture student based in London with an interest in urban photography (currently using dslr and 120mm mf cameras) so am probably looking for a field camera rather than a mono. From what I have read on here the MPP is far from ideal, but people always say the first camera is rarely a perfect fit anyway. So the question is this...Is the MPP a worthwhile investment in terms of learning and getting used to LF photography baring in mind I can prob sell for a similar price later and upgrade? OR is it worth getting a better camera from the off?

Any comments/help greatly appreciated.

Dan

Bill_1856
28-Dec-2009, 10:12
If it was indicated to be in great condition then I'd say it would be an excellent camera and combination of lenses to start with.
However, it looks like a potential train wreck from the "limited" description and cautious comments. I'd avoid it like the plague.

Dave Dawson
28-Dec-2009, 10:14
Hi Dan, I have an MPP and it would be a good entry level camera to learn and perfect:) the skills of LF. I also have a Sinar.

The camera you have your eye on doesn't show a focusing hood but as you rightly say, you would probably get your money back if and when you upgrade.

Good luck and GO FOR IT.

Cheers Dave




Hello, im new to the forum (and to LF) and am hoping to get some advice on a good starter 5x4 camera. I have searched the forum for similar threads to try and whittle down my requirements and have found a potential MPP camera on ebay:

http://cgi.ebay.com/MPP-5X4-CAMERA_W0QQitemZ350295223824QQcmdZViewItemQQptZUK_Photography_Film_Cameras_ET?hash=item518f38ee10#ht_500wt_1182

Budget is a big consideration as I am a student with very limited funds. I could probably stretch to 300, which might get a second hand shenhao for example, but then I will still need a lens and other accessories which I avoid by getting the MPP which includes a couple of lenses and a roll film back.

I am an architecture student based in London with an interest in urban photography (currently using dslr and 120mm mf cameras) so am probably looking for a field camera rather than a mono. From what I have read on here the MPP is far from ideal, but people always say the first camera is rarely a perfect fit anyway. So the question is this...Is the MPP a worthwhile investment in terms of learning and getting used to LF photography baring in mind I can prob sell for a similar price later and upgrade? OR is it worth getting a better camera from the off?

Any comments/help greatly appreciated.

Dan

Ivan J. Eberle
28-Dec-2009, 10:15
My advice is to be patient and buy the newest and best condition camera you can afford-- and that a better kit will soon come along. This MPP looks decrepit and is described as being in poor condition. The lenses are scratched, and likely the shutters are in similarly lousy shape.
There's more than enough of a learning curve to LF without having to restore a camera for which parts may be unobtainable or to be fighting your equipment.

Dave Dawson
28-Dec-2009, 10:18
I've seen alot worse:)

Cheers Dave



If it was indicated to be in great condition then I'd say it would be an excellent camera and combination of lenses to start with.
However, it looks like a potential train wreck from the "limited" description and cautious comments. I'd avoid it like the plague.

Jim Graves
28-Dec-2009, 10:59
Dan ... There are a lot of cameras out there.

This might be a good deal but it is almost impossible to tell from the description given. It really helps to have a seller who knows lenses and can describe their condition accurately, can test the shutters on all speeds and inform of the results, can test for light-tight bellows, can describe the movements available on this particular model, can describe how freely and completely the movement of the front standard is, etc. This seller obviously can't do that. And, when you're limited in budget, it's important to make sure each purchase will work as expected. If budget wasn't critical, I'd probably side with Dave on this one figuring it looks like quite a bit for the cost ... if everything works ... and say dive in and get started.

Also, I don't know anything about this model ... but if it is typical of the press camera I have ... a speed graphic, they have very limited movements ... something that would be a concern if I was looking to shoot architecture. Architecture shooting also requires use of wide angle lenses. The 90 mm Angulon is a nice light-weight mildly wide angle for 5x4 field work but is VERY limited in movement before you start getting distinct darkening in the corners and then vignetting.

This outfit just sounds a little too risky given your needs ... and, as I said earlier, there are a LOT of cameras out there. You could also try an ad on this forum ... describe your circumstances and see what's available. A lot of the old hands here have a lot of idle equipment and like to help students enter the hobby.

Good luck, whatever you decide, and welcome to LF ... you'll love it.

Dan Fromm
28-Dec-2009, 11:09
Dan, visit http://www.mppusers.freeuk.com/ to learn more about MPP cameras.

Ron Bose
28-Dec-2009, 11:18
If I were you I would try and get a Sinar, maybe an F1 or F2.

Especially if you may be doing architecture. It won't be good for field photography as much but it'll teach you real fast how to handle a view camera.

If you want to do street photography in LF I would suggest otherwise. A Mamiya RB67 is likely the biggest camera I would use for urban photography and it can be bought for rock bottom prices. Also, in my opinion, the RB glass is better than my Hasselblad glass because I can't focus the 'blad to save my life.

In my opinon, 4x5 is not that far off from MF 6x7 unless you need bags of movements.

To me 5x7 and 8x10 contact printing is what LF is about. As I said, my RB67 and Mamiya 7ii cameras have gotten me equal quality to 4x5 ...

I'd be patient and wait for the right cam to come along. Also, if you know someone, they may lend you an entry level 4x5 to see if it's for you or a passing fad ...

Pete Watkins
28-Dec-2009, 11:54
Dan,
There are register questions with many of the MPP cameras. Standard film holders will not work well on them.
If you're a bit hard up liook for a decent condition B&J view camera or some of the older view/field cameras that come up on this forum. I'm sooooo happy with the 4x5/5x7 B&J that I bought on this forum for $200, I also bought an Ansco for $100, gotta get new bellows but it was still an incredible bargain.
Pete.

IanG
28-Dec-2009, 12:05
Almost all MPP's knock spots off most US Press camera's, there were some early Press models but the V, VI, VIII but particularly the VII's are the best, they are Technical camera's like the Linhofs and so have excellent movements.

The register problem was only with the very early MPP models of which there are only a few around anyway, this isn't one of them.

Ian

rugenius
28-Dec-2009, 12:06
IMHO there are better deals on the LF forum classifieds than this Ebay auction described in the thread.
Even if you paid $300, you might find it was $300 too much.
The seller description of lenses are needing TLC.
I.E. probably not worth owning.
The seller description of the "light tight" bellows was "unsure".
I.E. the camera is probably not light tight (an essential).
Lastly,... The seller had the following quote:
"the outfit is in a poor/unclean state and will require a lot of TLC !! BUT IT IS CHEAP! Thanks ..."That says it all.

Sure,... take a risk... then unload it again on Ebay if you don't like it.
What you will be paying for is 100% risk
A pair of worthless lenses
A camera that needs TLC

My advice is find another camera to bid on...
Or,... For a couple of hundered dollars more you could get a decent camera right off of the LF forum.
You can experiment and get lenses cheap off of Ebay certainly better than included in that auction for god's sake. Lots of bargains also in the LF forum.

My2cents,
Bill

William McEwen
28-Dec-2009, 12:13
I suggest you consider a 4x5 Sinar Alpina. It's a monorail, but it's light and portable, and every one I've seen has been a good bargain. I used one for five years and sold it when I moved up to 8x10. If I were to return to 4x5, I would get another Alpina in a heartbeat.

rugenius
28-Dec-2009, 12:38
Here's a few examples of decent 4x5" starter cameras (approx $300 to $425, press, mono-rail, and wooden field) all purchased on Ebay:
The possibilites are really endless BTW...:)

http://cgi.ebay.com/Graflex-crown-Graphic-Beautiful-4x5-Press-camera-set_W0QQitemZ390105572730QQcmdZViewItemQQptZFilm_Cameras?hash=item5ad41aa57a
http://cgi.ebay.com/Nagaoka-4x5-Wood-Field-Camera-W-135mm-f4-7-Lens_W0QQitemZ350293724676QQcmdZViewItemQQptZFilm_Cameras?hash=item518f220e04
http://cgi.ebay.com/Graflex-Speed-Graphic-4x5-view-press-field-camera_W0QQitemZ330385592431QQcmdZViewItemQQptZFilm_Cameras?hash=item4cec84106f
http://cgi.ebay.com/Shen-Hao-HZX45-IIA-4x5-Field-Camera_W0QQitemZ290378772355QQcmdZViewItemQQptZFilm_Cameras?hash=item439bec6f83
http://cgi.ebay.com/Horseman-4x5-LX-Top-of-the-Line-Monorail-Camera_W0QQitemZ280439395179QQcmdZViewItemQQptZFilm_Cameras?hash=item414b7d936b
http://cgi.ebay.com/Sinar-F2-4x5-view-camera-NO-RESERVE_W0QQitemZ200420870748QQcmdZViewItemQQptZFilm_Cameras?hash=item2eaa03ca5c
http://cgi.ebay.com/Estate-Find-Vintage-Graflex-Speed-Graphic-4x5-Camera_W0QQitemZ400093309690QQcmdZViewItemQQptZFilm_Cameras?hash=item5d276b6afa
http://cgi.ebay.com/Vintage-Speed-Graphic-Graflex-Camera-Large-Format_W0QQitemZ150397541111QQcmdZViewItemQQptZLH_DefaultDomain_0?hash=item2304645af7
http://cgi.ebay.com/WISTA-D-camera-4x5-inch-Lots-of-tilts-and-swing_W0QQitemZ120508601434QQcmdZViewItemQQptZFilm_Cameras?hash=item1c0edf545a
http://cgi.ebay.com/REPAIRED-FULLY-WORKING-TOYO-45A-45-A-4X5-FIELD-CAMERA_W0QQitemZ170420299196QQcmdZViewItemQQptZFilm_Cameras?hash=item27add765bc

Dave Dawson
28-Dec-2009, 13:29
Dan, Here is an offer I don't think you will be able to refuse.....You can borrow my Mk VII MPP for a couple of months to try one out :eek: It has a 150 mm and a 90mm Angulon and some DD's.

Why am I prepared to lend it to you? Well with the offer being 'on here' you would be foolish not to bring it back wouldn't you?

Cheers Dave

Paul H
29-Dec-2009, 02:03
Nothing wrong with the MPP Microtechnical cameras, but you really want to be looking for a MK VII or MK VIII. Make sure the cam is matched to the lens (and then you can also shoot it handheld too).

You are probably better off buying from someone like Peter Loy (http://www.peterloy.co.uk/Stocklist.htm) (I got my MK VII from him) or similar. Having said that, Ebay UK seems to have a steady stream of MPP's, so just wait a little until a good one comes up.here's a link (http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/MPP-Micro-Technical-Mk7-5x4-Camera-Xenar-135mm-f4-7_W0QQitemZ120509495452QQcmdZViewItemQQptZUK_Photography_Film_Cameras_ET?hash=item1c0eecf89c) to one that looks to be a much better bet.

Captured City
29-Dec-2009, 06:02
Thanks to everyone for the advice!

I decided not to go for that particular MPP. I asked the seller some questions on ebay and as rugenius pointed out, his responses did not fill me with confidence. I have looked at all the links posted, but im reluctant to order from the US because the shipping adds another 15-20% to the cost then on top of that import duty and VAT add a further 20-25% so suddenly a $300 camera could cost as much as $500.

Dave - that is a wonderful offer and one I may just take you up on (although I will be slightly terrified of breaking/losing it!). Im away at the moment but will be back in London in January so unless an amazing offer on a camera presents itself i'll be in touch.

In the mean time, thanks again for all of the advice. Hopefully i'll be snapping away soon.