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mortensen
27-Dec-2010, 04:17
Hi lads.

within the coming year I will be buying a new camera. I have owned a Chamonix 45N-1 and currently have a Linhof Color 4x5. I photograph architecture and cityscapes exclusively and my current lenses are 90 Grandagon-N, 150 Sironar-W and 210 Caltar-something. 120 Super Angulon f8 soon to come... 90% of my shots will be done in the 90-150 range. So, I want a camera with unrestrained movements in the 90-120 range. Squaring the standards easily upon setup is also essential for me.

What appeals so much to me about the TK is the following:
- Linhof build quality and precision, geared focus with lock
- 'monorail' movements in a compact body with a stay-on lens when collapsed
- back movements allowing for 5x8" and even 4x10" diptychs
- separate levers for rise, tilt, shift, swing and zero-detents for everything
- levels and scales on everything
- appealing price point second hand

So before I completely loose sight of any alternatives: Are there any other cameras that would suit my needs - and maybe even better than the TK?

The Ebony SW45SIII also seems to be designed almost exclusively to my needs, weights much less... and is quite a bit pricier, I think? (can't find a price on that particular model at either Badger nor Robert White...)

The folding issues with the TK would be a minor problem to me, since I would be using the bag bellows almost all the time. It seems that rigidity would be 'intact' in that lens range, too, right? I am sure that a Linhof MasterTech 2000 and an Arca Misura would also be GREAT cameras for my needs, but they are double or more the price of a used TK45S and have limited (if any) back movements.

Last, but not least, a few notes:
I don't drive, I walk, so weight is a concern, but compactness more so. I liked many aspects of my now stolen Chamonix, but the screw-in front with no precise marks or detents was not my cup of tea. The looks and feel of it was great and appealing, but the back was neither to my likings. My current Linhof Color is great in many ways, too. I LOVE the quality and feel of it, but the design and the bellows is quite limiting with the 90... and again, odd back movements.

... I hope this works as portrait of my needs and wishes

Bob McCarthy
27-Dec-2010, 05:38
Are you using a bag bellows?

B

Frank Petronio
27-Dec-2010, 06:18
The Technikardan hasn't been as popular amongst forum members, but I think it gets a bad rap sometimes. I used one for a short while but couldn't afford to keep it at the time -- but I found it simple to close and very precise and solid camera. I'd definitely get the bag bellows for it. I also like the viewing hood from the Technika on the back to help protect the GG and allow easy dark-cloth free framing. If I were buying I'd expect to beat the seller up with a dose of reality because they usually overvalue their cameras, I wouldn't spend more than $1500, giving a couple hundred for the slightly more robust S model with the one-piece solid "L" frames.

Another camera worth considering is the Arca-Swiss Discovery, which is based on the now older 171mm sized frames. It differs from the basic F-line in that it only has geared fine focusing on the rear standard (which is all you ever need anyhow). A lot of the attention paid to Arca owners is for their F-Metric and Orbix features but they make a fine simple camera without the fancy gearing too. Discoverys are inexpensive, like $800. The excellent leather bag bellows is worth getting too. The only downside to Arca-Swiss is their rarity along with the company's arrogance and disdain for their customers but you're buying used. (For Americans their North American service center is precisioncameraworks.com, aka Bob Watkins, who is a peach of technician.)

I sound like a nag but also consider a Sinar monorail like the F2 or Norma. Not only are they plentiful and capable, they are inexpensive compared to the other options. I don't get the prejudice that they are bulky -- I wouldn't want to go ultralight backpacking with them -- but they compress down and can be folded up relatively compact, especially if you experiment, doing things like using the 6" rail extension and leaving the rail clamp and excellent Sinar Pan-Tilt Head on the tripod. For $800 you could probably get the tripod head and the camera with extra rails and a bag bellows, quite a bargain.

The older Sinar backs allow you to pop the metal folding focusing hood from a Crown Graphic into it, nice for protecting the GG and easy viewing.

It's trendy to get an Ebony or Chamonix but I don't get it? In order to save a pound or two you end up with a camera you have to baby. They are also slow to set up, which makes a difference in urban and Winter settings. It's just bizarre that people coming off their giant DSLRs fall in love with some wooden contraption when there are these precision tools going waiting... I get tempted by them sometimes but when I played with a Chamonix last year all I could think was how slow and frail it was to actually shoot with.

Thomas Greutmann
27-Dec-2010, 06:33
The TK is certainly not the only option but a good option, I think. Like you, I walk with my LF gear or take it along on the bicycle. I am using both a Chamonix 45N-1 with universal bellows and a Technikardan with both bag and regular bellows, and there are more similarities than differences, I find. Both cameras are very flexible and I use lenses from 65mm to 360mm on both. Setup and folding times are very similar, a little bit of practice is required on both.

Once the camera is set up the TK is very user friendly, easier to adjust and to control than the Chamonix, especially if you use the angled viewfinder (one of the best Linhof accessories).

Of course the TK is notably heavier and somewhat bulkier than the Chamonix. It is really a tradeoff. If I want something very light I take the Chamonix, if I want more control I take the TK. Depends on the situation.

I always fold the TK with lens attached and with the bag bellows. Changing the bellows is very quick, the bag bellows can handle all lenses up to 150mm.

Greetings,

mortensen
27-Dec-2010, 06:39
The Technikardan hasn't been as popular amongst forum members, but I think it gets a bad rap sometimes.

I think so, too. Gudmundur here on the forum seems very happy with it, though. And he put my attention to the fact, that Gabriele Basilico uses it. I think Rainer Viertlböck used it too, before he designed the Sinar Artec.

But, Frank, how would you compare its rigidity with short lenses to a Technika? I am also curious to hear how the movements 'feel' ? Are they 'yawfree'... whatever that means? Thing is, where I live it is terribly difficult to get my hands on one. Basically I have to go germany or england to get a hands on experience myself.

and yes, bag bellows (as stated, I think) :)

Frank Petronio
27-Dec-2010, 06:45
Yaw free is more of a marketing term than a practical concern for most landscape and architecture photography ;-) It's not really an issue I'd worry about at all.

I don't have the specifications but I am pretty sure you get more extreme movements with the TK -- especially rise with shorter lenses that you would likely use most -- which would be the big advantage over a similarly valued used Technika IV, V, or Master Technika. It is hard to find anything more solid than a Technika but the TK is very robust, especially with the moderate lenses you are using. Any complaints about (any of) these cameras seem to be with the long focal lengths but I think that is the case with any sort of field camera that gets extended out with a heavy lens on the end....

I wouldn't worry too much about what famous photographers use... Remember Edward Weston used a broken down jalopy of a 8x10 for his finest work ;-)

Gudmundur Ingolfsson
27-Dec-2010, 06:57
The absolutely most precise 4x5" is the Linhof Technika. But it is clumbersome with wide angels because there is no no down shift and no wide angle bellows. The Technikardan was designed as a kind of Technika on a rail to make it easier to work with a bag bellow and wide angels. It is almost as precise and they made a great improvement on the Technikardan S when they put in the zero dents that make the setup much faster. Technikardans are somewhat complicated to fold with the normal bellows and some people hate those cameras because they have torn the normal bellows by bad folding. I have a rule never to fold the camera with the normal bellows on also because I use the camera with the wide angle bellows most of the time.
P.S. get yourself a 115 Grandagon f6,8 instead of the 120 S.A. say I that suffer from 27 years of hating Super Angulons.

jeroldharter
27-Dec-2010, 07:27
The Arca Swiss F-Line Metric with Orbix would and the bag bellows would be perfect for you. I have one and it is an excellent camera with monorail precision and field camera weight and convenience. With the listed configuration it has geared shift (front and back), geared rise (front and back), geared tilt (front), geared focus (front and back). The rear tilt is not geared. It is fairly compact.

I can't remember if the bag bellows is long enough for 210. I think it is but that would be max. They have both a leather and synthetic bag bellows. You should verify the max extension of each.

F-lines come up for sale somewhat regularly. I bought mine new, but if I had been patient I could have had a great deal. The Orbix is nice, but not essential for me and add a lot to the price. Standard F-Line Metrics are more common and the bag bellows is easily purchased from Badger or Precision Camera Works. The View Camera Store also deals with Arca.

mortensen
27-Dec-2010, 08:36
Thanks, all of you - it seems you were right last summer, Gudmundur: The TK 45S is the right cam for me. Why do you have an issue with Super Angulons? I'm curious, haha.

Jerold, yes, the Arca's seem very nice and geared movements all over would be nice, no doubt. But if I'm correct an Arca F Metric Compact goes for almost 5 grand new at Badger's! And if I am patient, I can get a TK 45S for around 1400-1800 USD... What would you think was possible with an Arca used, if I was patient?

jeroldharter
27-Dec-2010, 09:03
I have seen F-Line Metric with Orbix go for as little as $2500.

The F-Line metrics are usually $2000-2500 used.

The regular F-Lines seem to go for $1500-2000.

This is from memory. The Tk's that I recall seem to go for $1500-2200. I have no experience with TK's, but it seems that people more often need to replace the bellows. That can cost some hundreds of dollars.

Sal Santamaura
27-Dec-2010, 09:09
...the slightly more robust S model with the one-piece solid "L" frames...You've got that backwards:

http://www.largeformatphotography.info/forum/showpost.php?p=58312&postcount=4

Bob Salomon - HP Marketing
27-Dec-2010, 09:19
You've got that backwards:

http://www.largeformatphotography.info/forum/showpost.php?p=58312&postcount=4

No it isn't.

Brian Ellis
27-Dec-2010, 09:46
I've owned a Technikardan and a Chamonix. I'm trying to think of what the Technikardan could do that the Chamonix couldn't and I can't think of anything except the Chamonix was faster to set up and much easier for me to operate after it was set up.

Of course it's been a long time since I owned the Technikardan and I didn't have it for very long so there's probably something I'm forgetting. The bag bellows would definitely help in setting the TK up and taking it down, which was one of my main problems with it. But the bag bellows won't help when you have those two levers with identical plastic heads on either side of the camera and try to tell by feel from under the dark cloth which lever is which, which lever controls which movement, and what position that lever is in relative to the others. It frankly drove me crazy.

Sal Santamaura
27-Dec-2010, 09:48
No it isn't.Bob, your post that I linked, from a 2003 thread titled "Technikardan vs. Technikardan-S," said


"...Originsl L made from one piece of metal with 2 90°. Later one has 3 straight pieces with a joiner block."

Was that post incorrect?

Bob Salomon - HP Marketing
27-Dec-2010, 10:39
Bob, your post that I linked, from a 2003 thread titled "Technikardan vs. Technikardan-S," said


"...Originsl L made from one piece of metal with 2 90°. Later one has 3 straight pieces with a joiner block."

Was that post incorrect?

Yes that is correct. In addition, the S has a beefier front L.

mortensen
27-Dec-2010, 10:46
Thanks for chiming in, Brian - I have read your TK review several times btw.

But, the thing is, that if the TK 45S just barely lives up to it's specs, it offers major improvements to my needs over the Chamonix. Zero-detents will easily square the standards, which is essential for me. Everything on the Cham has to be tightened (a lot) to be perfectly stiff. Extensive back movements, separate locks/switches for rise/tilt and shift/swing, geared focus (I guess the Cham has too, but not too impressive imo)... just to name a few. I liked my Chamonix, but found - as most others do with their first camera - that it wasn't perfect for my way of working.

Most cameras do most jobs - to me, the interesting part is how. I haven't had my hands on a TK, which is why I ask all these questions :)

btw... wouldn't you have solved the lever problem with a little rubber shoe on, say, the tilt and swing levers?

Matus Kalisky
27-Dec-2010, 11:22
I think one more camera you may consider is the Toyo 125CX (or 125VXb, NOT 125VXr which has only short rail and no geared movements). It is together with TK45S on my list ("at-least-get-my-hands-on-it-once"). It should be compact when packed (has telescopic rail) and has more geared movements. It should actually be somewhat lighter than the TK45S. It was (is) supposed to be very expensive new, but used should be under $2000. You should not need a bag bellows with the lenses mentioned.

mortensen
27-Dec-2010, 11:33
Interesting, Matus - will look into it, thanks!

Just read the review on the main page. It really sounds like the a true competitor to the TK45S... I wonder if you can still get them cheap in Japan? Seems like a truly outstanding camera.

Nathan Potter
27-Dec-2010, 12:20
I use a TK45 only now for 4X5 work and have exclusively for about 10 years. I prefer it to several other cameras I've used in the past mostly because of its movement flexibility and sturdiness. It is on the heavy side, 6+ lbs. without lens. I always remove the lenses because I transport it in a backpack. I have beat the hell out of my working TK but it still handles like new.

I will say that folded up, the bellows are open and so subject to abraison at the corners where they project beyond the edges of the rear standard. I get about 4 years out of a standard bellows. Folding the unit up after shooting was a bit crazy at first but I quickly got used to it so it was second nature within a couple of months.

Setup time for me from bag to holder insert is done in as little as 1.5 minutes. I use mine with 75mm to 700mm lenses.

I certainly concur with Franks comments that this is probably an under rated camera but I'm sure the weight issue is relevant for those backpacking.

Nate Potter, Austin TX.

Brian Ellis
27-Dec-2010, 12:28
Thanks for chiming in, Brian - I have read your TK review several times btw.

But, the thing is, that if the TK 45S just barely lives up to it's specs, it offers major improvements to my needs over the Chamonix. Zero-detents will easily square the standards, which is essential for me. Everything on the Cham has to be tightened (a lot) to be perfectly stiff. Extensive back movements, separate locks/switches for rise/tilt and shift/swing, geared focus (I guess the Cham has too, but not too impressive imo)... just to name a few. I liked my Chamonix, but found - as most others do with their first camera - that it wasn't perfect for my way of working.

Most cameras do most jobs - to me, the interesting part is how. I haven't had my hands on a TK, which is why I ask all these questions :)

btw... wouldn't you have solved the lever problem with a little rubber shoe on, say, the tilt and swing levers?

I did consider doing something to make it easier to remember which lever did what and to distinguish the levers by feel. I probably would have done something like that if I had otherwise really liked the camera. But since I didn't and sold the camera within a year or so of buying it I never got around to doing that. I also recognize, as I said in the review, that had I used the camera more frequently than I did, using the levers might have become more intuitive.

Bob Salomon - HP Marketing
27-Dec-2010, 12:35
.....
I will say that folded up, the bellows are open and so subject to abraison at the corners where they project beyond the edges of the rear standard. I get about 4 years out of a standard bellows.
Nate Potter, Austin TX.

Nate,
When the first TK was introduced we showed it first to Ken Hansen Photo in NYC and Lou Shu made the same comment. So we called Jim Domke and asked him to make an extra large Lens Wrap for us which we sold as a Linhof Camera Wrap for the TK. After a few years he asked us if we would let him add it to his line of Lens Wraps which we agreed to so it became the largest Domke Wrap. Today we sell the Large Novoflex WRAP for the TK. This is made from neoprene so it not only can be stretched for a tight fit but also adds some padding for protection. Either of these will greatly extend the life of your bellows.

Nathan Potter
27-Dec-2010, 13:18
Bob, great thanks for that info - was not aware of those wraps and I'm guessing neoprene is perfect for that application.

Nate Potter, Austin TX.

Neal Chaves
27-Dec-2010, 13:25
I had a Linhof Color and liked it very much. It was even faster to set up than a folding field camera. I had a big LowePro bag and I would put the camera away by taking off the rail clamp and closing the front and back tight on one end of the rail. Then it slid into my bag with the rail on top across the other compartments. It would go in like this with any lens, not just the normal, so it was ready to go as soon I pulled it out and put it into the rail clamp which remained on the tripod when I was working. You can exceed the covering power of just about any 4X5 lens with the Linhof Color, and as you say the price can't be beat.

I only sold it because I got out of all Linhof equipment and went back to TRF Crown Graphics and Toyo views and put all my lenses in Crown Graphic boards, used with adapter boards on the Toyos.
Never looked back except for that Color. "Like what "it" does not like." said Mr. Gurdjieff, and he was right.

Matus Kalisky
27-Dec-2010, 14:45
Side note for the Novoflex lens wraps - they are really great. I use the largest one as a camera wrap and several smaller ones too. One of them serves as a "case" for 5 film holders.

Sal Santamaura
27-Dec-2010, 18:29
Bob, your post that I linked, from a 2003 thread titled "Technikardan vs. Technikardan-S," said


"...Originsl L made from one piece of metal with 2 90°. Later one has 3 straight pieces with a joiner block."

Was that post incorrect?


Yes that is correct. In addition, the S has a beefier front L.Still not sure what you're saying. Was your 2003 post incorrect? Were the original Technikardan standards built up from multiple pieces and the S version went to monolithic?

Joe Forks
27-Dec-2010, 19:21
I've got an original TK sitting on my desk, both front and rear "L"'s are one piece, and the rear "L" is beefier than the front.

It was hard to fold the first time, after that no biggie. I love this camera, it's a joy to use, and the only thing I miss about my wista tech is literally pitching it in the back seat with a lens folded up inside. So now it takes three minutes to set up instead of two.

Sal Santamaura
27-Dec-2010, 19:32
I've got an original TK sitting on my desk, both front and rear "L"'s are one piece, and the rear "L" is beefier than the front...Thanks for that Joe. I was certain that, over the years, Bob had mentioned a number of times the newer S version went to multiple-piece built-up standards. His 2003 post that I linked to in this thread was the first one to come up when I searched for the history. Glad I wasn't hallucinating. :)

The miscommunication here appears to be related to sturdiness. Bob seems to be saying that the Technikardan S has a stronger front standard than the original camera, even though it's assembled from multiple pieces while the first version was monolithic.

Nathan Potter
27-Dec-2010, 21:32
Sal and Joe, I've used both the old and newer versions a lot and can't tell any practical difference between the two, at least as far as robustness is concerned.

Nate Potter, Austin TX.

Bob Salomon - HP Marketing
28-Dec-2010, 02:46
Thanks for that Joe. I was certain that, over the years, Bob had mentioned a number of times the newer S version went to multiple-piece built-up standards. His 2003 post that I linked to in this thread was the first one to come up when I searched for the history. Glad I wasn't hallucinating. :)

The miscommunication here appears to be related to sturdiness. Bob seems to be saying that the Technikardan S has a stronger front standard than the original camera, even though it's assembled from multiple pieces while the first version was monolithic.

The S standard is wider then the non S standard. The front and rear standard on the S are the same. On the original the front standard was substantialy narrower then the S front standard.

mortensen
28-Dec-2010, 02:53
So, if I decide to go with the TK, the S-version would also be a bit heavier?
(nevertheless, I need the zero-detents for fast setup, so it is a no-brainer for me)

Until now it seems, that the only 'true' competitors to the TK45S is the Toyo VX125 and Arca F-Metric Compact, both of which are much more rare to find second hand (my budget rules out buying new in any case with this class of cameras). And for my needs, I think the Toyo's design and bellows has an edge over the Arca. Mark my words: For my needs :)

Miguel Curbelo
28-Dec-2010, 03:40
The Ebony SW45 does not need folding or unfolding; it can be put away or transported with a lens on; it weighs well under two kilos; there are no problems squaring it; it has 60mm of front rise (the most used feature when shooting architecture);it can take extreme wide angle lenses (47mm, 58mm) on flat lens boards; it does not require fiddling with bag bellows and it is more than solid and rigid enough for its task.
It used to take me less than 45 seconds to set up the tripod, unzip my bag, get the camera on the tripod, level it and focus my 90mm lens.
Geared movements are convenient, admittedly, but they also make cameras heavy, and as to rigidity, once you reach a point where you can trust your gear to fulfil what it was designed to do, anything beyond that just adds bulk and more weight.

mortensen
28-Dec-2010, 03:55
... For me, it would be the SW45SIII because of back shift (for 5x8" diptychs)

With the Toyo VX125 they managed to give you geared focus, rise and shift on both standards in a compact 2.5kg package. That is only .5 kg more than the above mentioned Ebony. My problem with the Ebony is price and the lack of availability of this particular model second hand (which is also the problem with the Toyo. The TK45S is much easier to get second hand). But yes, it looks very appealing design-wise.

GPS
28-Dec-2010, 04:01
The Ebony SW45 does not need folding or unfolding; it can be put away or transported with a lens on; it weighs well under two kilos; there are no problems squaring it; it has 60mm of front rise (the most used feature when shooting architecture);it can take extreme wide angle lenses (47mm, 58mm) on flat lens boards; it does not require fiddling with bag bellows and it is more than solid and rigid enough for its task.
It used to take me less than 45 seconds to set up the tripod, unzip my bag, get the camera on the tripod, level it and focus my 90mm lens.
Geared movements are convenient, admittedly, but they also make cameras heavy, and as to rigidity, once you reach a point where you can trust your gear to fulfil what it was designed to do, anything beyond that just adds bulk and more weight.

Slow it down... The rigidity is not all that is needed for short lenses cameras. The geared movements have their reason to be added to cameras. It is nice to add a bag bellows to a wooden camera and think that a 47 wide angle lens will thrive on it. It won't. Woodies cannot have the technical precision needed for the alignment of standards with this short lenses and their movements. There a monorail comes to save the day. Many people don't realise that and think that if only the woody has bellows short enough it's all ok... Similarly , there are good reasons why digital LF lenses are not used on woodies - even if their bag bellows could take it...;)

mortensen
28-Dec-2010, 04:13
I don't think I will ever go wider than 72. But even with the 90, what you really want to have geared is front tilt imo. So for that particular thing, Arca wins :)

but geared shifts are certainly nice and undoubtedly the type of movement I use most of the time.

GPS
28-Dec-2010, 05:01
I don't think I will ever go wider than 72. But even with the 90, what you really want to have geared is front tilt imo. So for that particular thing, Arca wins :)

...

That I agree with you about...:)

Miguel Curbelo
28-Dec-2010, 17:21
Slow it down... The rigidity is not all that is needed for short lenses cameras. The geared movements have their reason to be added to cameras. It is nice to add a bag bellows to a wooden camera and think that a 47 wide angle lens will thrive on it. It won't. Woodies cannot have the technical precision needed for the alignment of standards with this short lenses and their movements.

Are you actually acquainted with the camera I am talking about? :) Not all woodies are comparable. The SW45 does not require a bag bellows, a 47mm can be used freely on a flat lens board (with as much movement as its IC will allow) and as to the technical precision required, well, not one of my architect clients has ever objected to the technical proficiency of my work. Alignment of standards in its case is not an issue.


Similarly , there are good reasons why digital LF lenses are not used on woodies - even if their bag bellows could take it...

True. That's why I have switched to an Alpa to mount my digital back on. But this is also true of traditional monorails, which are not rigid, precise or convenient enough to use with digital backs, which has led to the production of the Linhof Techno, the Arca RM3 or the Sinar Artec.


The OP is looking for a camera to shoot architecture with while travelling on foot: the SW45 is lighter, has more front rise and is faster to use than the other options being considered. And if we are talking film, its rigidity, precision, ease and speed of use are more than adequate.

mortensen
29-Dec-2010, 02:33
Yup, the SW45 is appealing, but the SW45SIII more so for me, since it has back shift and a bellows range that allow use of my 210. As I see it, the Ebony and Toyo have a strong advantage in having 'standard' bellows specifically designed to my entire lens range, allowing for completely free movements with 90s and wider. The Toyo is much more appealing for me, though, since it has an all metal construction and almost fully geared movements at only 2.5kg - the same as my current Linhof Color.

Main problem with these and the Arcas is still the price point! They are all rare used and simply out of my financial range new. The Technikardan is quite available around 1500-1800 USD for a used S-model, which seems to be quite a bit less than what any of the other cameras are ever going for on the used market. I mean, neither Badger nor Robert White have the above mentioned Ebony mentioned on their web... It seems to be special order only, which kind of rules it out ever finding one used at a reasonable price.

Only geared focus on the TK, weights more than all the others too, but as mentioned in the OP I nevertheless see many appealing aspects in it's design... And I have used a woodie :)

... daym, I'm repeating myself now, haha

Ari
30-Dec-2010, 09:05
Just my two cents, in case you're undecided.
I bought a Toyo G last month and it is very solid, lots of geared movements (no geared tilt or swing, though), very very smooth and the whole set-up was around $500, including bag bellows and an extra rail.
You don't have to baby it, it takes care of itself, and the only real downside is the comparable weight. Not that heavy, mind you, at least it won't fly off in a sudden gust of wind.
Not to mention, it works just fine in the cold Canadian winter.
I can focus a 65mm at infinity with a flat lensboard thanks to the precision focusing mechanism.
It's not a perfect camera, but it has many advantages worth considering.

Lachlan 717
30-Dec-2010, 11:26
Looked at the Shen Hao XPO?

mortensen
30-Dec-2010, 17:19
@ Ari: Yep, It seems that the Toyo's are very good bargains. But 12 lb is four times my previous Chamonix and twice the TK. The major issue for me with all the 'traditional' monorails, however, is that when using wides you have to place both standards on the same side of the clamp, causing asymmetrical distribution of weight on head and tripod = instability. It seems that the TK, the VX125 and the Arcas have overcome this.

@ Lachlan: I almost bought a XPO a month ago from mr. Zhang to replace my stolen Chamonix. Indian customs was my main concern, though, and I eventually bought a Linhof Color from one of Kumar's freinds in Mumbai. Nevertheless, I am looking for a precision tool and Linhof's weapon quality machinery is very appealing to me :) Having shot 4x5 almost daily for two months in India's largest and densest cities has given me a quite precise notion of what I want and need. And a woodie won't do. I need something compact, rock solid and precise with versatile movements for wides.

Gem Singer
30-Dec-2010, 17:22
Have you looked at the all-metal Canham 4x5 DLC?

mortensen
30-Dec-2010, 18:00
Yes. I really like the looks of it and the design seems very original.
But the first point in the 'dislikes' in the review of it on the main page really rules it out for me. The very same aspect is probably the feature I disliked the most on my Chamonix. Zero detents and fast and easy squaring of the standards are crucial for me.

Gem Singer
30-Dec-2010, 18:39
I have a feeling that review is out dated. Perhaps the camera tested was an older model.

I have owned a Canham all-metal 8x10, 4x5, and still own a 5x7. All of those
cameras had/have zero detents on both the front and rear standards.

There are also bulls-eye type bubble levels built into the top of the standards for verifying.

I have compared the set-up times between the Teckhnikardan 45S and the Canham DLC45. The Canham was faster and easier to set-up and fold.

A fitted carrying case and a Fresnel are standard equipment for the DLC.

Previously owned DLC's can be purchased for $1200-$1400.

Frank Petronio
30-Dec-2010, 19:49
FWIW the Sinars can use the rail clamp in between the standards, there is enough movement on the standards geared focusing to make up the distance.

I do not know the weight of a Sinar F2 with a short 150mm standard but it is not heavy.

Allen in Montreal
30-Dec-2010, 20:09
mortensen,

I have not read through all the pages of this thread, so forgive me if I repeat what has already been said.

I have owned and shot with both the TK and the Arca F.
They are both great cameras and I loved them both for different reasons.
Frank is bang on with the "Bad Rap" Linhof gets.

Like you, I shoot cityscapes and urban decay etc.

The TK was extremely fast to set up once you have done it a few times. It packs up in a smaller kit than the Arca did. There are many camera, and I for one would love to own them all, but like you, I can't afford to and I really miss the TK (and the Tech 5, I sold them both to move to Arca).
Years later and after many changes, I have found myself with a Sinar F2 and a Deardorff 5x7. The F2 is a really good camera, but every time I use the Sinar, I miss the TK and the Arca.

Go for the TK.
It is a keeper!

mortensen
31-Dec-2010, 02:47
Allen, you are not repeating anything. It is very valuable information for me, since you have owned that range of cameras and shoot under conditions similar to mine. I remember your post about regretting to let go of the Tech V for the Arca :)

And thanks for clarifying, Gem. I still think the TK45S is the strongest candidate for me, though.

mortensen
31-Dec-2010, 06:59
Btw, Allen, you've used both the TK and the Tech V for urban work, right?
How would you compare the two? Setup-times, ease of use, flexibiliy with a 90, ruggedness etc. What's your impressions?

Happy new year all of you! It's approaching rapidly here in scandinavia

Bob Salomon - HP Marketing
31-Dec-2010, 07:34
Btw, Allen, you've used both the TK and the Tech V for urban work, right?
How would you compare the two? Setup-times, ease of use, flexibiliy with a 90, ruggedness etc. What's your impressions?

Happy new year all of you! It's approaching rapidly here in scandinavia

The TK is much faster to set-up and close down, once you have opened and closed it a couple of times as some people find that the movement is tricky at first. It isn't. I can open and close the camera properly in under 20 seconds. Put a Linhof Quickfix on your head and the camera and it is on the camera, ready for the lens in less then a minute.

W/A from 35mm to 90mm is much easier and faster with more movements on a TK then a Technika and the TK easily accepts longer lenses as well. Full back movements are much simpler and more comprehensive then on a Technika. Yes, Linhof does make a Macro Support Rail to stiffen the TX at maximum extension only. In the 2+ decades that we have been the importer of the TK we may have sold 5 of them. The last one we sold wae sold off our factory store at a very deep discount since it had been in stock for over 3 years without a sale! We currently have the TK69 one also on the factory store as that has been in stock even longer!

Yes, it is available, no, very few owners actually find a need for it.

Bear in mind, that this Macro Support Rail is for use at full extension, several more inches of bellows extension then a Technika has. If the TK is only extended as far as a Technika the rail would have no use at all and the TK will be rock steady.

Now, lets go over the procedure to use a 90mm per the Technika instruction book:
1: Lower bed all the way.
2: Pull out the lens to the proper stop or position.
3: Crank the front standard all the way up.
4: Tilt lens standard back.
5: Tilt camera back so subject, lens and back are parallel to each other.
6: Put lens on camera

Here is the technique to use the 90 on a TK:
1: Open camera to first rail extension. (when you open the camera the front and rear standards swing to the proper position)
2: Put front standard where desired.
3: Put lens on camera.
4: if doing extreme movements you might want to use the WA bellows.

Thomas Greutmann
31-Dec-2010, 08:24
Btw, Allen, you've used both the TK and the Tech V for urban work, right?
How would you compare the two? Setup-times, ease of use, flexibiliy with a 90, ruggedness etc. What's your impressions?

Happy new year all of you! It's approaching rapidly here in scandinavia

Initial setup times for a Technika are faster, especially if you are using the infinity stops. Just open the camera, pull out the standard to the infinity stop and put on the lens. It doesn't get much faster than that.

Flexibility and adjustments with short lenses like 90mm is another thing. Here the TK has a lot of advantages, particularly if you use the bag bellows. Extreme movements can be done on a Technika, but it is sometimes fidgety, especially if back movements are involved. I think the Technika is not the best choice for urban work where you may need lots of front rise with short lenses. I would definitely prefer the TK for that kind of shooting.

Both cameras are very rugged, I wouldn't worry about either one. When closed, the clamshell Technika is better protected than the TK where you need some kind of outside protection for safe transport. I use a homemade bag/darkkloth for this. You don't really need outside protection for a Technika.

Greetings and a happy new year,

Bob McCarthy
31-Dec-2010, 09:09
Having owned both cameras, TK45 and T2000, I would suggest both camera are viable for your use. The later technikas have a better internal focusing system inside the box to make the comment earlier regarding wide lenses obsolete and only applicable to early cameras.

To me, only you know if the Technika has enough movement for your shots, if it does, to me its the obvious choice. Its a tank, and pretty invulnerable.

The TK is pretty and clever in the way it folds ( a non issue after a little familiarity) but the bellows is thin to allow the gymnastics, and vulnerable to damage. Better for a slow contemplative process, not a quick setup and takedown in the urban enviornment.

Actually Franks suggestion of a Sinar makes sense. Cheap ($250 for a workable F, a little more for a pristine model), It can be carried inside a shoulder bag, collapsed and hanging upside down in the center pocket. Plenty of room for film holders and additional lenses. In an urban enviornment, if it gets ripped off or damaged who cares. They're everywhere (why there cheap).

bob

Allen in Montreal
31-Dec-2010, 09:27
Mortensen,

I used the TK and Tech differently.

I am a staff photographer at a daily newspaper, I travel the streets of the city every day all day and at the time, I left the Tech 5, one or two lenses, and 6 holders in a gutted out case from a Nikon 300mm 2.8.

It stayed in the trunk of my car always, for pictures I might stumble on by chance. I did not have cam'ed lenses but I had a small sharpie mark on the bed of the camera to tell me where to pull the front standard out to and be really close. It was fast and easy and rock solid. I would drive by an old factory and see the wrecker's ball swinging and shoot a few frames and dash off to my assignment. I used the 90 a lot with that camera, but did not love using 75 or shorter, even though it is very capable, it was a quick hit, 90mm to 210mm camera set up for me. Later when I went to Arca, I dumped the 90 and used a 58/75/120 combo more.

The TK was more for "planned" shoots.
The first few times I used the camera I fumbled over the un lock levers but it becomes second nature quickly. I used everything from 58xl up and it was a great camera too. I guess I like the sharpie pen too much because I put a few lines on the bed of the TK too so I could just pull the bed to line X with a 300mm etc and I was close to bang on. It was fast easy and clean to work with.

Not to slaughter the Arca either, the three (TK, T5 and FC) were the best cameras I have ever used (and I bought, sold and traded way too much gear over the years). A friend had switched to the Arca FC and I followed suit. It was a great kit too but I had a big chunk of that kit stolen (Montreal is a very safe city but the smash and grab from cars is a very big problem), otherwise I would still be shooting Arca today. I sold off the parts and bits that were not MIA and in time went Sinar because the setup cost was a fraction of Arca or TK. But the camera just is not in the same playing field as the other two. Not to say the Sinar is junk, it is a great camera too, but it is a more methodical camera. The TK and the Arca are more extensions of the shooter than the F2 feels to be. This is my second go around with an F2 and that feeling remains still. Someone here on LFPF sent me a Sinar book with tips and short cuts and it has made the use of the F2 a little cleaner and I am grateful to him for sending it to me.

I guess that is way too many words just to say the TK and FC are cleaner cameras that become more of an extension of you than most (imho). You will never regret either and if your gut pulls you towards the TK, go for it. After a few shoots and finding your way around it, you will love the camera.
You asked about ruggedness. If, god forbid, a tech 5 fell off a tripod I think I would just wipe it off and put it back on!
If the FC and the TK are an E500, than the Tech is a Unimog! :-)
I would put the FC ahead of the TK in overall ruggedness. The TK looks like a "softie" studio camera but it's looks are deceiving.



~~~~~

The red sky was shot with the Tech 5, one night when I notice the sunset would be above average, I could have never gone home to get my gear. I was set up and shooting in a minute or less.
I don't leave my Deardorff in the trunk the way I did the Tech, one day I will have a Tech again.

My buddy and fellow Fotog Dave (sorry for the cell phone snap of an old print) clowning around wearing a face mask of one of our (many bad) Prime Ministers with my TK, a Rodenstock 300mm and Grafmatic back (which I love for street shooting).





Btw, Allen, you've used both the TK and the Tech V for urban work, right?
How would you compare the two? Setup-times, ease of use, flexibiliy with a 90, ruggedness etc. What's your impressions?

Happy new year all of you! It's approaching rapidly here in scandinavia

mortensen
1-Jan-2011, 11:38
Happy hangovers, everyone and thanks for your insightful contributions. I am quite sure I now know as much as I possibly can about the camera - without ever having touched it, that is.

Bob, do you have a hugely discounted TK45S in stock now? Demo model is fine :)



I guess that is way too many words just to say the TK and FC are cleaner cameras that become more of an extension of you than most (imho). You will never regret either and if your gut pulls you towards the TK, go for it.

Well, my wallet really pulls towards a used TK, haha. But my guts and practical needs also. The Toyo VX125 is still in my mind too, but I really fancy Linhof, because it's Linhof and the quality of manufacture which that implies. The thing you mention about the camera becoming an extension of you is really crucial. I guess that is the core of why we actually talk so much about the boxes between the lenses and the film.



If the FC and the TK are an E500, than the Tech is a Unimog! :-)


well put :)

Bob Salomon - HP Marketing
1-Jan-2011, 11:40
Sorry, only brand new ones.


Happy hangovers, everyone and thanks for your insightful contributions. I am quite sure I now know as much as I possibly can about the camera - without ever having touched it, that is.

Bob, do you have a hugely discounted TK45S in stock now? Demo model is fine :)



Well, my wallet really pulls towards a used TK, haha. But my guts and practical needs also. The Toyo VX125 is still in my mind too, but I really fancy Linhof, because it's Linhof and the quality of manufacture which that implies. The thing you mention about the camera becoming an extension of you is really crucial. I guess that is the core of why we actually talk so much about the boxes between the lenses and the film.



well put :)

Henry Ambrose
1-Jan-2011, 14:08
The Ebony SW45 (or a variant of it with longer bellows and back movements) is going to be fastest to set up and is wonderful for shooting with wide to normal lenses. I've shot mine from 47mm to 180mm and have always been satisfied with the results, fast set up and easy handling. Plop it on the tripod QR and you are ready. Nothing to unfold and nothing to fiddle with.

Rather than buy one of the long bellow variants I'd get the regular SW45 and the back extender since you stated you shoot 90% 150mm to 90mm. For the odd times you want the 210mm lens, just pop on the extender. The rest of the time you have just enough camera and nothing to get in the way.

Contrary to earlier comments, the Ebony, while very light and compact is perfectly capable of fine precision. I've shot thousands of sheets of film with wide and super wide lenses on my Ebony with excellent results. The vast majority of these were for pay and clients don't pay for half-ass results. There is no need for geared movements or monorails for the kind of shooting you do.

Bruce M. Herman
1-Jan-2011, 14:41
Mortensen,

I've had a TK45 since about 1991. It was a used model when I purchased it. It now shows some brassing due to extensive use over the nearly 20 years that I've had it. I highly recommend the camera. It sounds like you've made up your mind to get either a TK45 or TK45S. I know that funds are an issue, but you should view this as a lifetime investment. You may have to replace the bellows once in a while, but the camera will likely outlive you. I have no regrets.

Bruce

mortensen
1-Jan-2011, 14:56
Well, Bruce, another point for the TK :)
I do look at this as a lifetime investment, hence my extensive research and endless questions to all you helpful people!

Frank Petronio
1-Jan-2011, 15:58
Be patient and one will come up in the $1500 range soon enough. There is no point in overpaying.

pdmoylan
1-Jan-2011, 16:28
Maybe Bob can clarify an issue that is not crystal clear in my mind concerning the TK45s which has frankly kept me from acquiring one. The literature and some reviews refer to 135mm as being the shortest lens to use with the standard TK bellows (I assume with a flat board). Since I use 90mm and very occasionally a 75mm and my general impatience to set up asap precludes a bellows change, is his refererence to use of a 90mm with a recessed board, and if so, what kind of movements can I expect with the recessed board? I apologize if this has been addressed elsewhere.

GPS
1-Jan-2011, 16:47
...

Contrary to earlier comments, the Ebony, while very light and compact is perfectly capable of fine precision. I've shot thousands of sheets of film with wide and super wide lenses on my Ebony with excellent results. The vast majority of these were for pay and clients don't pay for half-ass results. There is no need for geared movements or monorails for the kind of shooting you do.

Fine precision cameras for short lenses are Cambo, Silvestri, Alpha and similar class cameras. Not a wooden camera where you assure the standards parallelism by hand and by eye. The fine precision cameras have their mechanical tolerances in the 0.001 mm ranges - something you can never dream about with standards moved by hand to their zero positions. Whenever you raise or lower the standard with these short lenses you make the parallelism even worse.
Clients are clients and fine precision is fine precision... ;) Just don't dream about a wooden camera as being on par with real fine precision cameras.

Frank Petronio
1-Jan-2011, 18:18
If a wooden camera is precise it would be an Ebony ;-) isn't that more diplomatic?

I just don't think it is all that super critical since your film is flopping around in the holder a few fractions of a millimeter... I don't think you really need that degree of precision until you get into the relatively small medium format digital backs.

I still prefer metal myself, for other reasons, but Henry's suggestion is more than valid.

Henry Ambrose
1-Jan-2011, 22:12
Fine precision cameras for short lenses are Cambo, Silvestri, Alpha and similar class cameras. Not a wooden camera where you assure the standards parallelism by hand and by eye. The fine precision cameras have their mechanical tolerances in the 0.001 mm ranges - something you can never dream about with standards moved by hand to their zero positions. Whenever you raise or lower the standard with these short lenses you make the parallelism even worse.
Clients are clients and fine precision is fine precision... ;) Just don't dream about a wooden camera as being on par with real fine precision cameras.

I don't think you have any idea what you're talking about - measurements or cameras.

.001 mm = .0000394" You obviously have no idea what a tolerance like this means. No camera is made to this standard. Not even close.

A quality wooden camera that's put together right will keep the film and lens planes where they need to be and give critical focus over the entire sheet. That assumes the film and holder are flat enough.

A typical photographic scene has sufficient variation in the distances of the various objects that you'd never see any loss of focus from imaginary camera tolerances when shooting at normal apertures. And by stopping down appropriately and using camera movements correctly you will distribute focus over the scene. The end result can be a photograph that appears to be entirely sharp. As sharp as your eyes can see at a given print size.

You do the things needed to make a picture using your hands and eyes. You don't need gears or imaginary levels of camera tolerances.

Bob Salomon - HP Marketing
2-Jan-2011, 02:22
Maybe Bob can clarify an issue that is not crystal clear in my mind concerning the TK45s which has frankly kept me from acquiring one. The literature and some reviews refer to 135mm as being the shortest lens to use with the standard TK bellows (I assume with a flat board). Since I use 90mm and very occasionally a 75mm and my general impatience to set up asap precludes a bellows change, is his refererence to use of a 90mm with a recessed board, and if so, what kind of movements can I expect with the recessed board? I apologize if this has been addressed elsewhere.

90mm easily works with the standard bellows. In fact, 45mm can work with the standard bellows.

But what is "work".

If yiu want to be able to use the maovements built-in to the TK then you will definetely want the simple and very easy to change WZ bellows with any lens below 90mm and if doing commercial product work with the 90 then you would also want it for that as well.

On a related question, lenses down to 65mm are used on a flat board with the TK.

GPS
2-Jan-2011, 02:24
I don't think you have any idea what you're talking about - measurements or cameras.

.001 mm = .0000394" You obviously have no idea what a tolerance like this means. No camera is made to this standard. Not even close.

..

Obviously you don't have technical education. On technical cameras the distance between the lens mount and the film gate is kept in tolerances even tighter than this. Linhof cameras of this kind have film gate ground to keep the correct tolerance. On woodies you keep the parallel distance between standards hand put by estimate.

mortensen
2-Jan-2011, 04:14
I did a project in the spring in italy, where I shot exclusively with my Chamonix. It has all been scanned on a Imacon FT848 @ 2040ppi and is perfectly sharp for my eyes and needs. I just don't like the way you set up and square the Chamonix. Non-folding Ebonys and the Shen-Hao XPO are another story - they are squared when you take them out of the bag. I don't care much for this debate about mechanical tolerances and agree with Henry's statement, that both Chamonixs, Ebonys and whatever cameras we have been talking here in this thread are precise enough to the job I need. Even more so, since I will probably never go wider than 72 and I might stick to my 90 as the widest.

Two weeks of using my Linhof Color just happended to get me knee deep in my addiction to the feel and quality of Linhof. It's not rational but a fact.


Be patient and one will come up in the $1500 range soon enough. There is no point in overpaying.

... in relation to that, how much would you say a 1963 Linhof Color is worth now? it's in pristine condition, bellows too. Only things missing are Linhof Folding Viewer, a bit of leather on the back and the end caps on the monorail.

gari beet
2-Jan-2011, 04:50
Hi Mortensen, I am also looking at getting another folding monorail, though I shoot mainly landscape and some details etc. I had a TK and can concur that itis an amazing camera, it was too heavy for hiking any distance when combined with lenses etc, the only reason I sold it. I do miss it and must admit that if one came at a good price I would probably get another as I have a lighter camera now that I can hike with.
Re the bellows, a bag bellows will go out to around 180@ infinity, I used mainly 75-180 and for the most part left the bag bellows on, it folded easier that way also.
I would change if I wanted to shoot close with the 180 and needed to focus out past infinity, it takes all of about 15 secs to swap them over and is alot easier than you would imagine.

I saw a couple at KEH for around $1500, fits your budget I think.

Good luck with the hunt.

Gari

mortensen
2-Jan-2011, 05:02
Thanks, Gari. I try to follow both KEH and the bay pretty closely. S-models are out from KEH at the moment and not much on ebay either. But they will turn up again soon enough, I think. I just need it within the coming six months, so thankfully I can afford to be patient :) When funds are actually present a WTB ad will show up here too, of course.

mandoman7
2-Jan-2011, 06:07
You do the things needed to make a picture using your hands and eyes. You don't need gears or imaginary levels of camera tolerances.

Exactly! ;)

GPS
2-Jan-2011, 06:17
...

You do the things needed to make a picture using your hands and eyes. You don't need gears or imaginary levels of camera tolerances.

That's why manufacturers of precision cameras used for short focal length lenses (Alpa, Sylvestris, Linhof to name just a few) make their cameras to such strict manufacturing tolerances. Because they like the high cost of their manufacturing...:rolleyes:
Nothing can beat happy ignorance!:)

GPS
2-Jan-2011, 07:03
If a wooden camera is precise it would be an Ebony ;-) isn't that more diplomatic?

I just don't think it is all that super critical since your film is flopping around in the holder a few fractions of a millimeter... I don't think you really need that degree of precision until you get into the relatively small medium format digital backs.

I still prefer metal myself, for other reasons, but Henry's suggestion is more than valid.

Personal needs vary, nothing bad on it. And film indeed is flopping in a film holder. What many people do not realise is that if you focus your 90mm lens (even more with 47mm beasts) on just a slightly not parallel standard and use 50 mm of rise the focus is out of its depth. And no focusing on the rail will put it there unless you square it again. That's why architectural cameras (read those nice Sylvestris etc.) must have precision inbuilt.

engl
2-Jan-2011, 09:09
Fine precision cameras for short lenses are Cambo, Silvestri, Alpha and similar class cameras. Not a wooden camera where you assure the standards parallelism by hand and by eye. The fine precision cameras have their mechanical tolerances in the 0.001 mm ranges - something you can never dream about with standards moved by hand to their zero positions. Whenever you raise or lower the standard with these short lenses you make the parallelism even worse.
Clients are clients and fine precision is fine precision... ;) Just don't dream about a wooden camera as being on par with real fine precision cameras.

How many sheets have you shot with wide lenses on the Ebony SW45 then? How often did you run into the problems you describe?

As for 0.001mm mechanical tolerances, do you have any source for that? ALPA has 0.02mm tolerances (20 times as large) on their expensive precision medium format gear. Seitz (Swiss made 38000$ digital backs) quote 0.01mm as their machining tolerance, which is not even close to meaning that any moving part built from those parts will stay within 0.01mm of design specs throughout their movement range.

Not that any such precision would matter with film, nor would it matter unless you could find a lens board, shutter (threads, retaining ring etc.), lens with the same tolerances.

GPS
2-Jan-2011, 09:45
In case you didn't get it I'm talking tolerances for the film to the lens mount distance.

Nathan Potter
2-Jan-2011, 09:56
The Linhof TK series are about as precise in adjustments as you can get but certainly 0.001 mm. (1.0 um., twice the wavelength of light), (about 1/100th the thickness of a human hair) is an irrelevant tolerance for even the most precise LF photography. Just the +/- .007 inch (+/- 175 um.) tolerance of the film holder at 4X5 far exceeds 1.0 um. Perhaps the point to be made has to do with the ease and speed of adjustments and how well those adjustments can be locked down so as to avoid repeatable fiddling such as can be encountered with some loose fitted wooden folders.
But the woodies sure are easy to haul around and backpack.

I commonly use my 75mm. Nikon with the standard TK bellows although that is near the lower limit without resorting to a recessed board or the bag bellows.

Nate Potter, Austin TX.

mortensen
2-Jan-2011, 10:04
As the OP, I hereby declare this thread to be about the use of cameras (thanks, Nathan) rather than rocket science tolerances :) I shoot film, not digi. I use wides, not super wides. I just came home from shooting LF in Asia's largest slums, I'm not in a studio.

thanks! :)
mortensen

Allen in Montreal
2-Jan-2011, 10:08
..... I just came home from shooting LF in Asia's largest slums, I'm not in a studio.

thanks! :)
mortensen

That sounds like a great project, black and white, color or a mix?
I really hope you post a few from that trip, or a link when you put them on your site.

amc

Frank Petronio
2-Jan-2011, 10:13
Ha the gear teeth probably have another 175 um of slop, I mean the whole process is a mess!

mortensen
2-Jan-2011, 10:43
That sounds like a great project, black and white, color or a mix?
I really hope you post a few from that trip, or a link when you put them on your site.

amc

Color, all of it... just give me half a year and it will all be developed and scanned :)
I will post, don't worry. Haven't yet seen a single shot of it myself, though.

I just came home from doing a two month project about rapid urban growth in India. I was just as interested in the bleak, new development as I was in the slums. But believe me, you don't want to go to Azadpur in Delhi, the literally shittiest place I've ever seen. Dharavi on the other hand (Asia's largest and far most famous) was a bustling area with tons of factories and commercial activity. Parts of the residential quarters were even cozy and had a nice vibe. I went for urban fabrics and structures only, so don't expect any slumdog portraits :)

GPS
2-Jan-2011, 11:13
...

As for 0.001mm mechanical tolerances, do you have any source for that? ALPA has 0.02mm tolerances (20 times as large) on their expensive precision medium format gear. Seitz (Swiss made 38000$ digital backs) quote 0.01mm as their machining tolerance, which is not even close to meaning that any moving part built from those parts will stay within 0.01mm of design specs throughout their movement range.

Not that any such precision would matter with film, nor would it matter unless you could find a lens board, shutter (threads, retaining ring etc.), lens with the same tolerances.

engl, Alpa has 0.02mm tolerance on the optical axis in total. In order to get that precision on several parts attached together you have to use stricter tolerances on each individual part...

GPS
2-Jan-2011, 11:40
The Linhof TK series are about as precise in adjustments as you can get but certainly 0.001 mm. (1.0 um., twice the wavelength of light), (about 1/100th the thickness of a human hair) is an irrelevant tolerance for even the most precise LF photography. Just the +/- .007 inch (+/- 175 um.) tolerance of the film holder at 4X5 far exceeds 1.0 um. Perhaps the point to be made has to do with the ease and speed of adjustments and how well those adjustments can be locked down so as to avoid repeatable fiddling such as can be encountered with some loose fitted wooden folders.
But the woodies sure are easy to haul around and backpack.

I commonly use my 75mm. Nikon with the standard TK bellows although that is near the lower limit without resorting to a recessed board or the bag bellows.

Nate Potter, Austin TX.

Nathan, just to be sure you got it - I was speaking about the range of mechanical tolerances as being in thousands of mm, i.e. the standard tolerance to three decimal places of a millimetre. (0.005mm)

Miguel Curbelo
2-Jan-2011, 12:07
[QUOTE]The more foolishness you spout the more obvious it becomes that you have no idea of what you're writing about.
Really, you have no business writing this nonsense./QUOTE]
I disagree. Reading what GPS has to say on this matter makes me giggle, it's like listening to one of those quirky Woody Allen characters.

mortensen
2-Jan-2011, 12:17
[QUOTE]The more foolishness you spout the more obvious it becomes that you have no idea of what you're writing about.
Really, you have no business writing this nonsense./QUOTE]
I disagree. Reading what GPS has to say on this matter makes me giggle, it's like listening to one of those quirky Woody Allen characters.


LOL :D
... but it kinda makes you extraordinary tired, too

btw. I know what I need to know by now. So thank you all. I will be going for a TK45S... as initially planned :)

GPS
2-Jan-2011, 13:11
...

True. That's why I have switched to an Alpa to mount my digital back on. But this is also true of traditional monorails, which are not rigid, precise or convenient enough to use with digital backs, which has led to the production of the Linhof Techno, the Arca RM3 or the Sinar Artec.


The OP is looking for a camera to shoot architecture with while travelling on foot: the SW45 is lighter, has more front rise and is faster to use than the other options being considered. And if we are talking film, its rigidity, precision, ease and speed of use are more than adequate.

The Alpa (and Sylvestri, Cambo etc. cameras) were not constructed originally as cameras for digital backs - that use came only later in their history. They were originally conceived as cameras for film photography - architecture photography among other uses (hence rise capacity etc.) for demanding photographers who appreciated their precision and who did not want to take their pictures with wooden cameras - if rigid etc.
Imagine (and giggle) - there are photographers who liked these precise instruments for architectural film photography! The world must be mad...:confused:

GPS
2-Jan-2011, 13:48
If a wooden camera is precise it would be an Ebony ;-) isn't that more diplomatic?

I just don't think it is all that super critical since your film is flopping around in the holder a few fractions of a millimeter... I don't think you really need that degree of precision until you get into the relatively small medium format digital backs.

I still prefer metal myself, for other reasons, but Henry's suggestion is more than valid.

Frank, with the same logic you could condemn Linhof as being foolish when grinding their lensboards on those famous three spots to the precision of 0.02mm... The fact that there are several parts in cameras that influence their precision is in no way a reason to get rid of the precision there where it can be achieved. Quite the contrary. Linhof was grinding their lensboards long before the precise Ebony cameras came to be...;)

Matus Kalisky
2-Jan-2011, 15:51
Well, 0.02 mm is easy to achieve and on the edge of relevant too - film emulsion thickness is comparable to that number. Still - 0.001 mm sounds simply unnecessary to me. Film flatness is what limits the location of focal plain with those very precise cameras as it is somewhere between 0.1 - 1.0 mm (indeed dependent on the camera back orientation).

I would to see a camera which allows movements (tilts or swings) on both standards to achieve the plan-parallelity of the standards of 0.02 mm over their length (which is about 15 - 20 cm). It may be relevant with the tiny (cca 6x4.5) digital backs, but hardly with 4x5. If that would be the case it would make cameras like Tachihara unusable.

An example:
150 mm lens at f/5.6 focused to 1.5 m has DOF about 3 cm (with circle of confusion 0.03 mm - like in 35mm film or digital FX) what translates to DOF at film plane about 3 mm what gives you about (rough estimate) 1 mm of room to keep you film in proper position AND to keep the camera (once focused on the ground glass) movements fixed. That allows for more than 0.02 mm errors. I agree that one needs to compute more carefully errors in tilt or swing.

EDIT: I realized I did not make my self clear. Both sides are right - metal parts are machined to precision of 0.02 mm or probably event better (though 0.001 mm sounds like too much to me), but the relative position of parts that allow shifts and rotations (like standards of LF cameras) by very simple geared or event just friction controllers is more realistically in the range of 0.1 mm. Whether this is relevant is just matter of scale (in the end just pixel density and DOF). Not so relevant for ~ 60 Mpix from 4x5 film, but probably relevant for the same amount of pixels from MF digital sensors.

GPS
2-Jan-2011, 16:25
Matus, I already said it - the 0.001mm mentioned was the order of tolerances, 3 decimal places so the actual tolerance is then 0.005mm.
And yes, it is not possible to maintain that precision of parallelism on wooden cameras but metal technical cameras can make it. And yes, the unwanted tilts and swings can very easily exceed the depth of focus when used with high rises and short lenses. Then the small angles make havoc on the film edges, a question of geometry.
When some of the first users of Alpa cameras saw the results of their pictures they referred to it as "being hooked". Such is the difference between a technical precision camera and a wooden one when short lenses are used. The parallelism is of outermost importance there.
I have to laugh when I see how the same people who brag about their nonchalance in mechanical precision of their cameras are suddenly so picky when it comes to the "sharp" lenses they have and use...

Noah A
2-Jan-2011, 20:07
As the OP, I hereby declare this thread to be about the use of cameras (thanks, Nathan) rather than rocket science tolerances :) I shoot film, not digi. I use wides, not super wides. I just came home from shooting LF in Asia's largest slums, I'm not in a studio.

thanks! :)
mortensen

Since you wanted to get back on topic...

It sounds like you work in the same kinds of conditions as I do and on similar topics. I'm a documentary photographer and my major project right now is about informal communities and unplanned urban growth. I'm doing a few local projects too here in Philadelphia such as one about empty lots and buildings used by prostitutes and junkies. Not places I want to spend messing around with overly complicated or overly precious gear.

I was shooting digital, then 6x7 and now 4x5 (it's a slippery slope).

I actually did shoot 8x10 for a while but found it too much to travel with and too expensive to shoot. But I mention it because with 8x10 I did have experience with a field-monorail in the form of an Arca Swiss F-Metric.

It was a wonderful camera and fast to set up, but getting my small 4x5 field camera was a bit of a revelation and is much better suited to travel and fast urban work. I'm shooting with a Wista 45VX. It's very, very tough and can fold up into a box. It's cheap so if it gets stolen I'll buy another. (I may buy another for backup anyway). It can fold with my 150mm lens mounted, though I'm mostly shooting with my 110 and 210mm lenses these days. It has a good amount of front rise, which is geared, and the front tilt has a friction mechanism that's sort of like gearing. It's super rigid and precise and everything locks down very tight. I can max out the front rise (about 50mm I think) with the 110xl with no bag bellows, though for max movement with a 90 the bag bellows might be needed.

My main complaint is that there is no direct front fall, though dropping the bed doesn't take too long even though it requires re-leveling the camera. But some more advantages are that I can fit the camera, a couple of holders and all of my lenses (80xl, 110xl, 150/5.6, 210/5.6) in a domke F804 satchel. And the folding focusing hood is good enough to let me work without a darkcloth if I need to.

I don't know about you but I find that the movements I use most are front rise and front tilt (and mostly just rise). A field camera will probably have plenty of tilt for you, so it comes down to whether or not it has enough rise for you.

If you can live with the amount of movements, I'd strongly suggest you take a look at a metal field camera like a Technika if it's in the budget or otherwise a Wista, Toyo 45AII, etc.

Unless you need extreme movements, a metal field camera was pretty much designed for the kind of work you're talking about.

Richard Wasserman
2-Jan-2011, 20:21
Noah,

Are the front pockets on the F-804 large enough for 4x5 film holders–how many? I use a Horseman 45FA and the Domke bag looks very appealing.

engl
3-Jan-2011, 06:55
Would something like a Walker Titan XL 4x5 be an option for you maybe? No back movements, but quick setup, light, rigid, all-weather, ideal for the 90-150 range (flat boards, standard bellows), without an Ebony pricetag.

Frank Petronio
3-Jan-2011, 08:26
GPS: An Alpa is a really nice camera but I don't think it matters how ultra-precisely its surfaces are machined after a couple of decimal points... what makes it "more parallel" is because the lens is on a helicoil, unlike a traditional view camera's standards that might allow a little error or slop.

Granted the bearing surfaces for the front plate, as it slides to rise and fall, as well as the back where the Horseman or Linhof (or MFDB) back rides must be "flat and parallel" but you'll have a hard time convincing me that it can somehow do a sharper photo than say, a less expensive Cambo model that does essentially the same thing. Even the homemade wooden project cameras some photographers make -- sticking an old Angulon into a butchered 35mm lens helicoil and bolting it to a homemade wooden box -- is going to give you the same results as long as the box isn't ham-handedly out of square.

It must be galling for you to know that in practice with these sorts of cameras, most photographers rely on zone focusing and relatively imprecise focus markings on the lens helicoil to set-up their shots ;-)

Nothing against Alpa. I would love one of their lovely cameras someday -- they are slightly better than the rest in terms of ergonomics, build quality, etc. -- but I have a hard time seeing the value in them.

GPS
3-Jan-2011, 08:50
GPS: An Alpa is a really nice camera but I don't think it matters how ultra-precisely its surfaces are machined after a couple of decimal points... what makes it "more parallel" is because the lens is on a helicoil, unlike a traditional view camera's standards that might allow a little error or slop.

...

Well, "after a couple of decimal points" the next tolerance is the one I spoke about - to 3 decimal points... And notice that the helicoid is as "parallel" as the machined surfaces allow it to be...
And no, I will not try to convince you on any difference between Cambo wide and Alpa, don't worry about that.

GPS
3-Jan-2011, 09:07
GPS: An Alpa is a really nice camera but I don't think it matters how ultra-precisely its surfaces are machined after a couple of decimal points... what makes it "more parallel" is because the lens is on a helicoil, unlike a traditional view camera's standards that might allow a little error or slop.

Granted the bearing surfaces for the front plate, as it slides to rise and fall, as well as the back where the Horseman or Linhof (or MFDB) back rides must be "flat and parallel" but you'll have a hard time convincing me that it can somehow do a sharper photo than say, a less expensive Cambo model that does essentially the same thing. Even the homemade wooden project cameras some photographers make -- sticking an old Angulon into a butchered 35mm lens helicoil and bolting it to a homemade wooden box -- is going to give you the same results as long as the box isn't ham-handedly out of square.

...

Say it to Alpa! Imagine - they refuse to make their 6x9 cameras also for 6x12 film format because they think that format will not maintain the film flatness they want to have. Must be galling for you to know...

Noah A
3-Jan-2011, 10:11
Noah,

Are the front pockets on the F-804 large enough for 4x5 film holders–how many? I use a Horseman 45FA and the Domke bag looks very appealing.

I'll get back to you on that. I've always used Domke satchels, mostly the F803 with my Leica and Mamiya 7 gear, but I don't own an F804 yet. I recently borrowed one from a friend to try out and it worked well, so I have one on order that should arrive in a day or two. I didn't try putting holders in the flap pockets, I used them for my loupe, cable release, etc.

I have a divider for my F803 (that fits the whole F803, it's long and narrow). I can't find a model number on it and can't find it on their site but it came with it's own internal dividers. So I have it set up to hold the camera on one end and two stacked lenses (110 and 210) in the other compartment. The whole thing fits within the F804 with about 2 inches to spare from front to back and 4-5 inches one one end. I could slip around six holders along the extra space on the long end. The space on the end I could either use for more lenses (at least two more stacked lenses would fit) or it could be used for more holders.

This is hard to describe. If you're not in a hurry I can post some pics to the 'show your bag' thread once the bag arrives. Since your FA is smaller than my Wista, I can't imagine it wouldn't work for you. Also, I just tried and I can fit 2-3 holders in the each flap pocket of my F803 (two easily and three certainly doable) and I think the F804 pockets were larger. When I shoot locally I often shoot close to the car, so if I can fit 4-6 holders that's usually enough. The F804 should easily handle that. When I shoot overseas I often work with a translator/fixer, so they can carry a second bag with more holders;) .



Alpas are beautiful cameras but I don't see what they have to do with this the OP's question. The OP wanted a 4x5 camera and I don't see any 4x5 backs on the Alpa site. If I were shooting with an MFDB (with it's flat sensor and it's requirement for a very precise platform), Alpa would be my first choice. But even if you could put a 4x5 back on an Alpa, that much precision is almost definitely overkill for 4x5 sheet film in plastic holders. Also the OP wanted a camera to use from 90-210mm, and while the Alpa can take lenses that long, it seems to really shine with shorter lenses (such as those optimized for MFDBs.

Back on topic--I just noticed that the TK45S has 50mm of front rise. The Wista SP/VX have 56mm of geared front rise. I suppose both cameras would support indirect rise by tilting the camera rail or bed, but with the Wista things might start to get tight and so of course the TK45S would be a more flexible system overall. Still, the VX is a very capable and tough camera and if you're patient you should be able to find one for $600-700 (USD).

Richard Wasserman
3-Jan-2011, 13:52
Noah,

Thanks for your kind offer of photos. As it turned out I got an offer I couldn't refuse and bought an Domke F-804. It certainly looks and sounds promising to carry my 45FA kit. We'll see.... I've always been partial to Domke bags.



[QUOTE=Noah A;668569]I'll get back to you on that. I've always used Domke satchels, mostly the F803 with my Leica and Mamiya 7 gear, but I don't own an F804 yet. I recently borrowed one from a friend to try out and it worked well, so I have one on order that should arrive in a day or two. I didn't try putting holders in the flap pockets, I used them for my loupe, cable release, etc.

This is hard to describe. If you're not in a hurry I can post some pics to the 'show your bag' thread once the bag arrives. Since your FA is smaller than my Wista, I can't imagine it wouldn't work for you. Also, I just tried and I can fit 2-3 holders in the each flap pocket of my F803 (two easily and three certainly doable) and I think the F804 pockets were larger. When I shoot locally I often shoot close to the car, so if I can fit 4-6 holders that's usually enough. The F804 should easily handle that. When I shoot overseas I often work with a translator/fixer, so they can carry a second bag with more holders;) .

Noah A
3-Jan-2011, 14:26
[QUOTE=Richard Wasserman;668710]Noah,

Thanks for your kind offer of photos. As it turned out I got an offer I couldn't refuse and bought an Domke F-804. It certainly looks and sounds promising to carry my 45FA kit. We'll see.... I've always been partial to Domke bags.


Good luck with it. I'm sure you can make it work.

I've used domkes since college and have carried them everywhere from my backyard to Iraq. They just work and even though they're traditionally geared towards the SLR/RF crowd, they're very adaptable.

Allen in Montreal
3-Jan-2011, 15:19
Richard,

I don't know if you use Domke already but....
I use Domke bags a lot, but don't use the satchel, and 4x5 holders fit in the front and rear pockets nicely on the F-1 original bag (but not the side (facing outwards while the bag is over the shoulder) pockets).

From the pictures I think you will be fine. I also use the belt pouches for 4x5 holders and the extra large size for 5x7 holders. The canvass on the Domke can get really dusty so I always zip lock them but they work very well.

Boy, all this Domke stuff is sure far off the OP about TK vs FC!! ;) ;)

David Lindquist
3-Jan-2011, 15:30
Richard,

I don't know if you use Domke already but....
I use Domke bags a lot, but don't use the satchel, and 4x5 holders fit in the front and rear pockets nicely on the F-1 original bag (but not the side (facing outwards while the bag is over the shoulder) pockets).

From the pictures I think you will be fine. I also use the belt pouches for 4x5 holders and the extra large size for 5x7 holders. The canvass on the Domke can get really dusty so I always zip lock them but they work very well.

Boy, all this Domke stuff is sure far off the OP about TK vs FC!! ;) ;)

What tolerances are the Domke bags held to?;)
David

mortensen
3-Jan-2011, 15:35
... but Domke bags are less boring than mechanical tolerances on cameras I wouldn't even buy if I was a millionaire :)

Richard Wasserman
3-Jan-2011, 15:38
I thought I was doing all of us a favor by changing the subject....

Sorry if I upset anyone, I didn't really mean to steal the topic
!





Boy, all this Domke stuff is sure far off the OP about TK vs FC!! ;) ;)

mortensen
3-Jan-2011, 15:48
no problem, Richard, really :)

Allen in Montreal
3-Jan-2011, 15:52
What tolerances are the Domke bags held to?;)
David

I guess that would really depend on the humidly factor in your region wouldn't it?







I thought I was doing all of us a favor by changing the subject....

Sorry if I upset anyone, I didn't really mean to steal the topic
!

The diversion was such a good thing, thank you! :-)

Richard Wasserman
3-Jan-2011, 17:22
You're welcome!

I wasn't being totally serious, but affect is such a hard thing to convey on these forums. I guess I should learn to use the smilies, but they always seem so silly :rolleyes:







The diversion was such a good thing, thank you! :-)

Joe Forks
3-Jan-2011, 17:28
... but Domke bags are less boring than mechanical tolerances on cameras I wouldn't even buy if I was a millionaire :)

I thought I was missing something, I was just going to tilt the back a little and swing the front a tad anyway....maybe even shift it too, or add a little rise to the equation.... I spent 20K for tolerances I just threw out the window?

Bill McMannis
3-Jan-2011, 19:09
Be patient and one will come up in the $1500 range soon enough. There is no point in overpaying.

Quite true. I bought mine new in 2004 and have watched prices on the used market come down fairly substantially since. Back in '04 there was not that much of a gap between new and used.

In hindsight I am glad to have bought new and have shot literally a couple thousand sheets with my lens kit ranging from 75 to 240mm. Based on your comments I think you will be VERY happy with a new or used TK45S.

Cor
4-Jan-2011, 03:22
Having shot 4x5 almost daily for two months in India's largest and densest cities has given me a quite precise notion of what I want and need. And a woodie won't do. I need something compact, rock solid and precise with versatile movements for wides.

Totally OT in this thread, but can we see your work from India somewhere (I imagine you surrounded by hundreds of Indians, watching trying to compose and expose)

Best,

Cor

edit: reading further in this thread I realised this questions was already answered, sorry..

Matus Kalisky
4-Jan-2011, 07:37
I would have one more question towards the original question - how does the tilt movement "feel" on the cameras mentioned that do NOT have this movement geared (TK45S, Toyo VX125, ...)? Is it precise? I have only experience with the Tachihara 4x5 and indeed the tilt movement is much less precise than rise or swing.

I would somehow intuitively expect that if a 4x5 camera is to have some movements geared, that tilt will be (after focus) the first in line. Obviously it is not the case ...

B.S.Kumar
4-Jan-2011, 08:39
I've exchanged some emails with Lars on the merits of various cameras. My two yen:

The Technikardan, Arca Swiss and Toyo VX all have geared shift and rise/fall. Tilt and swing are manual. Plus, the camera is going to be used in a relatively fluid situation. It's not a jewellery shoot where the camera has to be moved half a millimeter. So, where is the need for all this precision? Let me hasten to say that I value precision as much as anyone else (including GPS).

I use a variety of cameras - Sinar F2 and X, Linhof Color, Wista 45D and Toyo D45M. I have previously used a Cambo WideDS. All of them are perfectly fine cameras, with their own advantages and disadvantages. Being an architectural and landscape photographer, shooting film and digital, I realize that there are times when only the X will do, and when I can get by with the Wista or Linhof.

If I were in Lars' position, I would get a couple of Toyo D45M cameras. This camera also has geared rise/fall and shift, like the more expensive Arca and Technikardan. For the ridiculously low prices they sell for, they are incredible bargains, and best suited for this kind of work. They are precise enough for film, and cheap enough to be almost used as disposable cameras.

Kumar

mortensen
4-Jan-2011, 08:45
I would have one more question towards the original question - how does the tilt movement "feel" on the cameras mentioned that do NOT have this movement geared (TK45S, Toyo VX125, ...)? Is it precise? I have only experience with the Tachihara 4x5 and indeed the tilt movement is much less precise than rise or swing.

I would somehow intuitively expect that if a 4x5 camera is to have some movements geared, that tilt will be (after focus) the first in line. Obviously it is not the case ...

I completely agree! So TK-owners, how does the front and back tilt feel? Does the weight of the lens interfere with it? And while we are at it, can you describe the feel of shifts too?

thanks,
mortensen

Brian Ellis
4-Jan-2011, 08:55
I've exchanged some emails with Lars on the merits of various cameras. My two yen:

The Technikardan, Arca Swiss and Toyo VX all have geared shift and rise/fall. Tilt and swing are manual. Plus, the camera is going to be used in a relatively fluid situation. It's not a jewellery shoot where the camera has to be moved half a millimeter. So, where is the need for all this precision? Let me hasten to say that I value precision as much as anyone else (including GPS). . . . Kumar

The TK has geared shift and rise/fall? I sure don't remember that from the one I owned. But then it's been a long time since I owned mine.

B.S.Kumar
4-Jan-2011, 09:04
The TK has geared shift and rise/fall? I sure don't remember that from the one I owned. But then it's been a long time since I owned mine.

My bad. Didn't mean to include the TK in that list.

Kumar

Noah A
4-Jan-2011, 09:35
I would have one more question towards the original question - how does the tilt movement "feel" on the cameras mentioned that do NOT have this movement geared (TK45S, Toyo VX125, ...)? Is it precise? ...

I have no experience with the VX125 and I only tried out a TK45S in the shop. But I do have a lot of experience with the Arca F-Metric (8x10, without orbix) and the tilt is very smooth and easy to control, and it locks down easily and firmly.

The TK45S was smooth too, though I didn't play around with the tilt all that much. The lack of geared rise was a big negative for me. To be fair I never used the camera in the field nor did I really get to know it well.

I really like geared movements for working fast in the field. Geared front rise was one of my priorities when I was choosing a new camera, since it's the movement I use most often. I wouldn't want a camera without it. And geared front tilt is a huge benefit (on the Wista it's a friction setup not a true gearing, but it still works). It lets you control the focus and tilt with one hand while leaving your other hand free for the loupe.

Just because I work fast and in tough conditions doesn't mean I don't want precise framing, and geared movements are a big help in achieving the framing I want very quickly. I briefly worked with a Canham 8x10 metal field camera, and I hated the non-geared rise and the tilt was even worse.

Frank Petronio
4-Jan-2011, 10:31
If I were in Lars' position, I would get a couple of Toyo D45M cameras. This camera also has geared rise/fall and shift, like the more expensive Arca and Technikardan. For the ridiculously low prices they sell for, they are incredible bargains, and best suited for this kind of work. They are precise enough for film, and cheap enough to be almost used as disposable cameras.

I bought an older Cambo from Eddie last Summer but then found a 5x7 I wanted more, but it was cheap ($175) and while heavy, it was at least as well made as the Sinar I had sitting next to it. It even looked pretty, had a leather bellows.

The later Cambos, once Calumet got more involved, lost some of the build quality but were still very serviceable cameras.

Not to dissuade our friend, a Linhof still has the best build quality of all the brands IMHO. But it's like buying a Leica when a Nikon will do just fine.

GPS
4-Jan-2011, 12:46
...
The Technikardan, Arca Swiss and Toyo VX all have geared shift and rise/fall. Tilt and swing are manual. Plus, the camera is going to be used in a relatively fluid situation. It's not a jewellery shoot where the camera has to be moved half a millimeter. So, where is the need for all this precision? Let me hasten to say that I value precision as much as anyone else (including GPS).

I use a variety of cameras - Sinar F2 and X, Linhof Color, Wista 45D and Toyo D45M. I have previously used a Cambo WideDS. All of them are perfectly fine cameras, with their own advantages and disadvantages. Being an architectural and landscape photographer, shooting film and digital, I realize that there are times when only the X will do, and when I can get by with the Wista or Linhof.

...
Kumar

I think you answered your own question.
The precision topic came to the thread already in the OP of its author and then again when short focal lens used on cameras were discussed. The reasons why wide angle lenses need more precise movements are surely known to you too.
The technical "feel" of a camera the OP is so much after has also to do mostly with the machining precision of cameras. That feel, by the way, (;)) is much different on wooden cameras and metal cameras - heck, even Ebony says it openly that their cameras feel differently while using them when the atmosphere is humid or dry- for the reasons of mechanical tolerances...:)

mortensen
4-Jan-2011, 14:36
Very relevant points about working in harsh conditions, Noah. On my Chamonix I found the non-geared rise to be very fast and sufficiently accurate - and with an easy workaround I could use the tension locks on the rise to give a very usable front tilt. Sort of like you describe with your Wista, I think. I definitely like the geared rise on my Linhof Color, but - back to my question - if the feel on the TK is smooth and operable with one hand and so on, it is perfectly fine for me.

rdenney
4-Jan-2011, 15:37
Since Frank mentioned Sinar F2's, and for posterity (since the OP has already decided), I thought I would fill in a few blanks, relative to the OP's stated requirements.

The F2 does not have geared rise and fall. It does have geared focus on both standards. It does have separate lots for shift, tilt, and swing. It does not have geared tilt, swing, or shift movements, but it does have zero detents.

With the double-pleated Wide-Angle Bellows 2, it will focus down to 47mm on a flat board, with enough flexibility and mechanical room for up to about six degrees of tilt (which is quite a bit for a lens that short) and as much shift, rise, and fall as the lens coverage will allow. Those bellows will also focus a 210 usefully. It's easy enough, though, to hang a rod on the front standard, and mount a standard bellows to the rod using bellows clips to use as a compendium shade. If you need a long bellows, unclip the bellows being used as a compendium shade and clip them between the standards, and clip the bag bellows into the front rod to use as a shade. Changing bellows takes seconds on the Sinar.

The F2 has only base tilts, with a yaw-free design. What I like about base tilts is that the camera doesn't have u-frames or knobs at the axes, making it easier to stuff the camera into a pack or case. It is quite compact for a 4x5 camera.

As I said, it doesn't have geared tilt, but I decide what tilt I need using a loupe, and I've managed to use the 47 without too much fiddling. That does require a fine touch, but it is not impossible. The locks provide zero backlash and lock securely.

The big issue for the OP's purpose will be shifting the back for later stitching, and for that purpose, the F2 will be a bit of a pain. That's where the geared shift really will help, but it might come with a lot of attendant bulk and weight.

Rick "who bought a Sinar specifically to use with short lenses and roll-film holders" Denney

Bob Salomon - HP Marketing
4-Jan-2011, 16:53
The F2 does not have geared rise and fall. It does have geared focus on both standards. It does have separate lots for shift, tilt, and swing. It does not have geared tilt, swing, or shift movements, but it does have zero detents."

The TKs has very smooth front and rear rise, shift, swings and tilts. The rear has rise but no fall. Shifts, swings and tilts. Movements are on axis with 0 detents on tilts and swings and no knobs other then the lock for geared focus. That is a very small, knurled knob.

"With the double-pleated Wide-Angle Bellows 2, it will focus down to 47mm on a flat board, with enough flexibility and mechanical room for up to about six degrees of tilt (which is quite a bit for a lens that short) and as much shift, rise, and fall as the lens coverage will allow. Those bellows will also focus a 210 usefully. It's easy enough, though, to hang a rod on the front standard, and mount a standard bellows to the rod using bellows clips to use as a compendium shade. If you need a long bellows, unclip the bellows being used as a compendium shade and clip them between the standards, and clip the bag bellows into the front rod to use as a shade. Changing bellows takes seconds on the Sinar."

The standard, double tapered bellows will collapse flat enough to accept a 35mm Apo Grandagon at infinity without movements. Lift two clips on the front and rear standards and add the bag bellows which will allow full movements with the 35mm with a recessed board. Bellows change is very fast. If really wide angle is the objective then the Linhof Techno 6x9cm carbon fiber/aluminum field camera is fully geared, very light and accepts the 23mm Rodenstock HR Digaron on a flat board at infinity.


"The F2 has only base tilts, with a yaw-free design. What I like about base tilts is that the camera doesn't have u-frames or knobs at the axes, making it easier to stuff the camera into a pack or case. It is quite compact for a 4x5 camera."

And much larger then a folded TKs and larger then an unfolded TKs. The Sinar has only a 12" rail unless more rail is added and at its smallest is still 12" long due to the rail. The 45 TK S folded is only 125 x 215 x 255mm (4.92 x 8.47 x 10") with a total rail and bellows length of 510mm (20.07"). Longer extensions are possible with Wista Extension Lensboard Sets. And the TK uses an L frame. Not a U frame and is very easy to put totally into a case with no rail protruding.

"As I said, it doesn't have geared tilt, but I decide what tilt I need using a loupe, and I've managed to use the 47 without too much fiddling. That does require a fine touch, but it is not impossible. The locks provide zero backlash and lock securely."

Wide angle down to 47mm requires no "fiddling" on a TK S. Locks are very secure also and backlash is never a question with a Linhof. Neither is lubrication. There is none in a TK as all movements use dis-similar metal construction (brass on aluminum) which is self-lubricating.

"The big issue for the OP's purpose will be shifting the back for later stitching, and for that purpose, the F2 will be a bit of a pain. That's where the geared shift really will help, but it might come with a lot of attendant bulk and weight."

The 45 TK cameras have 2.4" of extremely smooth shift front and rear which is calibrated so stitching is very easy and repeatable. Total weight of a 45 TK S is 6.6 pounds. A Sinar F2 with 12" rail weighs 3.6Kg (8 pounds so there is no weight savings and the more rail and bellows you add to equal the TK triple extension the more you will have to carry in both weight and pieces.

"Rick "who bought a Sinar specifically to use with short lenses and roll-film holders" Denney

So the TK can easily do extreme wide angle on roll film thanks to its ability to conveniently use a 35mm wide angle lens.

The TK system has an International back so it accepts virtually all Graflex and Graphic type holders as well as all 45 sheet and plate holder except for the locking Riteway holders that will fit but not unlock. In addition, Linhof makes an adapter plate for Hasselblad V film and digital backs.

Bob Salomon - HP Marketing
4-Jan-2011, 17:02
.... if the feel on the TK is smooth and operable with one hand and so on, it is perfectly fine for me.

Very easy to do with one hand. Place your right hand on the side of the front standard, release the lock and shift. If you want to do a rise or fall with one hand place finger on your right hand under the front standard, releas the lock with your right thumb and lift or lower the front standard by the finger under the standard. Re-lock with your thumb at the desired position. To do swing or tilts use your left hand. Release the desired lock and swing or tilt with your left hand.

Same on the back. Right hand does sliding movements (rise, shift) and geared focusing. Left hand does the tilts and swings. The TK has a calibrated focus stage so computing DoF with either the free Linhof DoF chart from the Linhof web site or with the Rodenstock Pocket Dof/Scheimpflug calculator.

The TK cameras have an extra bubble level so if you want to use it as a yaw free camera just use it tilt 90° to the side. Then the tilt points are below the swing point and that makes a camera yaw free.

rdenney
4-Jan-2011, 20:16
So the TK can easily do extreme wide angle on roll film thanks to its ability to conveniently use a 35mm wide angle lens.

The TK system has an International back so it accepts virtually all Graflex and Graphic type holders as well as all 45 sheet and plate holder except for the locking Riteway holders that will fit but not unlock. In addition, Linhof makes an adapter plate for Hasselblad V film and digital backs.

No argument--I know little about the Linhofs having never been able to afford one. But the Sinar came up and I do know something about them, and wanted to fill in some gaps.

Rick "who didn't realize that Hasseblad and digital-back adapters were part of the OP's requirements" Denney

mortensen
5-Jan-2011, 12:14
... If you want to do a rise or fall with one hand place finger on your right hand under the front standard, releas the lock with your right thumb and lift or lower the front standard by the finger under the standard. Re-lock with your thumb at the desired position. To do swing or tilts use your left hand. Release the desired lock and swing or tilt with your left hand.

Same on the back. Right hand does sliding movements (rise, shift) and geared focusing. Left hand does the tilts and swings. The TK has a calibrated focus stage so computing DoF with either the free Linhof DoF chart from the Linhof web site or with the Rodenstock Pocket Dof/Scheimpflug calculator.

The TK cameras have an extra bubble level so if you want to use it as a yaw free camera just use it tilt 90° to the side. Then the tilt points are below the swing point and that makes a camera yaw free.

... Interesting. So if I get it right, releasing the lock for rise with a heavy lens mounted would make the front standard drop/fall because of the weight of the lens?

So there is no smooth hydraulics in the movements on the TK? ;)

If I just did not need to go all the way to Britain or Germany to get a hands-on experience with the camera...

Bob McCarthy
5-Jan-2011, 12:27
... Interesting. So if I get it right, releasing the lock for rise with a heavy lens mounted would make the front standard drop/fall because of the weight of the lens?

So there is no smooth hydraulics in the movements on the TK? ;)

If I just did not need to go all the way to Britain or Germany to get a hands-on experience with the camera...

The only front end on a view camera that is self arresting on full unlock is a geared camera , no camera I've ever come across has hydraulic damping.

But, friction controls can perform roughly the same thing. A huge percentage of view cameras have friction arrrested controls, very few have geared, most but not all geared cameras are porky studio cameras.

Exceptions are Technika and arca swiss. Both have geared rise/fall.

Just back off the friction tension knob a little and you can smoothly move the lens to your desired spot, retighten. Not necessary to back off friction lock entirely, just enough to move lens smoothly. Light or heavy lens, it doesnt matter. Its not sloppy nor floppy <G>.

bob

Bob Salomon - HP Marketing
5-Jan-2011, 16:27
The only front end on a view camera that is self arresting on full unlock is a geared camera , no camera I've ever come across has hydraulic damping.

But, friction controls can perform roughly the same thing. A huge percentage of view cameras have friction arrrested controls, very few have geared, most but not all geared cameras are porky studio cameras.

Exceptions are Technika and arca swiss. Both have geared rise/fall.

Just back off the friction tension knob a little and you can smoothly move the lens to your desired spot, retighten. Not necessary to back off friction lock entirely, just enough to move lens smoothly. Light or heavy lens, it doesnt matter. Its not sloppy nor floppy <G>.

bob

And that is why you put yur little finger under the front standard unless you have the service center add more tension to the locking mechanism. In all the years the TK has been available this has not been an issue.

Mark Sampson
5-Jan-2011, 18:12
You know, parsing this thread has reawakened my desire for a Linhof TK45. Should have spent the money back in '92, when I bought the 4x5 I've used since then. Guess I'd better buy a lottery tickrt...

Nathan Potter
5-Jan-2011, 18:15
With the 15 year old TK I use regularly the weight of a 4 lb. lens on the front standard won't cause that standard to fall once the lock is released. All the sliding motions of both front and rear standards have remained surprisingly consistent and firm but easy. The 15 year old has never been serviced, and I don't treat my gear very kindly. I'm more interested in images than equipment.

Nate Potter, Austin TX.

Nathan Potter
5-Jan-2011, 18:26
You know, parsing this thread has reawakened my desire for a Linhof TK45. Should have spent the money back in '92, when I bought the 4x5 I've used since then. Guess I'd better buy a lottery tickrt...

Mark, I need to re-assure you. Some of the greatest images I've seen have been made with some of the crummiest LF cameras. The advantage of precision usually manifests itself in ease of use, familiarity and experience with what one is using. The TK's were nice for the industrial work I used to do and that experience just destined me to bring them into the field. Shucks - just sell a ton of old gear and spring for a TK. :p

Nate Potter, Austin TX.

mortensen
6-Jan-2011, 14:40
With the 15 year old TK I use regularly the weight of a 4 lb. lens on the front standard won't cause that standard to fall once the lock is released. All the sliding motions of both front and rear standards have remained surprisingly consistent and firm but easy. The 15 year old has never been serviced, and I don't treat my gear very kindly. I'm more interested in images than equipment.

Nate Potter, Austin TX.

Hmmm... so after you release a lock you have to apply a bit of 'force' to use shifts or swings? And gravity won't interfere even with a heavy lens?

If I get this right, it's very appealing. Although not geared, would you say the system incorporates a great degree of precision and speed?

@Mark: Why do you think I keep on asking aaaallll these questions? The TK's are a STEAL second hand :) go grab one!

Bob McCarthy
6-Jan-2011, 15:04
The lock is not on-off , binary,

but a friction brake that you have some control over.

bob

archivue
6-Jan-2011, 17:33
i had many 4x5 cameras... the technikardan S was the worst... in windy condition or with the 6x12 back i didn't manage to have sharp results !
i've sold it to buy an arca swiss F line 171
Now i have an arca swiss f line field 141/110... a really fine camera, with a really good bellow !

Nathan Potter
6-Jan-2011, 19:27
You know Bob, by golly you're right. All these years I've use the locks either on or off. Never thought to see if there was any intermediate friction adjustment. I just set up TK15 in my workroom and fiddled a bit with the rise and falls. That would be handy at full extension when you are viewing the screen and can't quite reach the front standard for adjustment. But fully unlocked I have no lenses heavy enough to cause the front standard to drop. Maybe my standards are stiffer than some.

Nate Potter, Austin TX.

Bob McCarthy
6-Jan-2011, 19:34
My very first view camera in the 80's was the then newly released Technikardan. I was moving up from medium format at the time. I really enjoyed the camera.

Later I went Technika when I wanted A view camera with more portability. Both are wonderful cameras.

Bob

Joe Forks
7-Jan-2011, 06:54
i had many 4x5 cameras... the technikardan S was the worst... in windy condition or with the 6x12 back i didn't manage to have sharp results !
i've sold it to buy an arca swiss F line 171
Now i have an arca swiss f line field 141/110... a really fine camera, with a really good bellow !

I would think the weight an advantage in windy conditions. I use mine as an anchor sometimes when fishing ;) What was the problem with the 612 back?

Best
Joe

Bob Salomon - HP Marketing
7-Jan-2011, 07:24
You know Bob, by golly you're right. All these years I've use the locks either on or off. Never thought to see if there was any intermediate friction adjustment. I just set up TK15 in my workroom and fiddled a bit with the rise and falls. That would be handy at full extension when you are viewing the screen and can't quite reach the front standard for adjustment. But fully unlocked I have no lenses heavy enough to cause the front standard to drop. Maybe my standards are stiffer than some.

Nate Potter, Austin TX.

Nate,

Yes, you can apply tension by not fully unlocking the lever. But when you move the standard without the lock fully unlocked you can cause excessive wear internally which will require the service center to make an adjustment if the lock loosens too much due to making movements without the lock fully unlocked. On horizontal movements; shifts, focus, etc. this adjustment can be made by the user with a very small screwdriver. But on rise movements the adjustment should be done by service as there are parts that will fall out and be almost impossible to find and re-install properly.

So yes, it can be done this way but it will cause wear to the locking mechanism.

mortensen
7-Jan-2011, 07:39
valuable info, Bob(s) :)

Bob McCarthy
7-Jan-2011, 08:54
I kept the TK for 15 years. Never needed a thing adjustment wise.

The amount of remaining tension I used was very small and the force I entered into the front end was not excessive in any way.

I agree if you must use any significant force to change lens positions your too tight, but I would think that would be intutive. And its only whats necessary and where needed.

I am not suggesting anyone keep camera locked tight and using brute force to adjust position, with any camera for that matter.

bob

pdmoylan
16-Jan-2011, 21:23
Mortenson, not sure if you saw it but Midwest Photo has an Ebay auction for a 45 and standard bellows, Reserve of $850, one bid with only hours left. Hopefully that bid is yours.

I am waiting for my boat to arrive before I jump on a Technikardan.

Good luck.

PDM

mortensen
17-Jan-2011, 00:31
yup... I saw it - shhh! :)

engl
17-Jan-2011, 18:19
So is a Technikardan heading your way now :) ?

mortensen
18-Jan-2011, 00:04
nope! whom of you took it out of my bare hands in the last minute???

but patience is a virtue, right? :)

Frank Petronio
18-Jan-2011, 05:54
It didn't look so great with the cheap Chinese bellows ;-p

mortensen
18-Jan-2011, 06:12
It didn't look so great with the cheap Chinese bellows ;-p

.... although they were made perfectly for my needs - wide to 300.

Jeicob
18-Jan-2011, 08:52
Sorry to hear that you didn't get the camera!

Ari
18-Jan-2011, 09:02
Mortensen,
I know you have your heart set on the TK, so for fun, think about a Wista Tech camera.
I just bought one over the holidays and I really like it. I got the Wista RF, but there are several other metal cameras to consider, not the least of which is the SP.
They are very tough, well-designed, fold up into nothing, and feature a lot of movements, including front and rear swing, tilt and shift.
I have a small Lowepro shoulder bag; in it I can fit the camera with a 135 folded inside, a 180, and a 75 with two Grafmatics and a loupe.
With the 135, my RF weighs only 3.1 kg.
They also feature a really nice GG/fresnel screen and are more suited to lenses shorter than 300mm.
Anyway, good luck!

Bob Salomon - HP Marketing
18-Jan-2011, 15:41
Mortensen,
I know you have your heart set on the TK, so for fun, think about a Wista Tech camera.
I just bought one over the holidays and I really like it. I got the Wista RF, but there are several other metal cameras to consider, not the least of which is the SP.
They are very tough, well-designed, fold up into nothing, and feature a lot of movements, including front and rear swing, tilt and shift.
I have a small Lowepro shoulder bag; in it I can fit the camera with a 135 folded inside, a 180, and a 75 with two Grafmatics and a loupe.
With the 135, my RF weighs only 3.1 kg.
They also feature a really nice GG/fresnel screen and are more suited to lenses shorter than 300mm.
Anyway, good luck!

Ari,

Aw we are both the Linhof and the Wista distributor we would suggest that you compare the specsifications of both cameras before making suggestions like this. The TK has 8" more bellows, it takes lenses down to 35mm focal length, it folds up very compactly and weighs no more. One would not substitute for the other!

engl
18-Jan-2011, 17:16
Ari,

Aw we are both the Linhof and the Wista distributor we would suggest that you compare the specsifications of both cameras before making suggestions like this. The TK has 8" more bellows, it takes lenses down to 35mm focal length, it folds up very compactly and weighs no more. One would not substitute for the other!

Nothing wrong with that suggestion, have you even read what is being asked for?

The Technikardan is 3kg, the Wista VX is 2.4kg and in a protective shell (may enable lighter packing). The Wista can reach the same bellows draw and beyond with extension boards, although the creator of this thread stated the Technikardan on eBay with 300mm bellows to be "made perfectly for my needs" (the Wista has 300mm).

As for mounting a 35mm lens, that is not even a large format lens, and not of much interest to someone using a 90mm as his widest lens.

Very different cameras indeed, but I think more relevant differences for this discussion would be back movements, weight, setup time, geared front tilt etc.

Gem Singer
18-Jan-2011, 17:42
engl,

Are you sure that you aren't referring to the Linhof Technica?

The Technikardan is a completely different type of camera.

engl
18-Jan-2011, 19:22
No, I was referring to the Technikardan, why?

Edit: In case you were thinking about the bellows extension, I was referring to the Technikardan on eBay discussed on page 14 of this thread, which had a shorter 300mm bellows fitted.

Noah A
18-Jan-2011, 19:23
I had also suggested a Wista metal field camera and I still think it's a good suggestion. While it is a different camera than the TK45S, it does seem to fit most of the priorities mentioned by the OP in the initial question. The OP had also mentioned that a Master Technika 2000 would be perfect except for the price. And the Wista is similar to a Technika but at a lower price (yes, I know the Master Tech has longer bellows, but the OP didn't mention that as a requirement).

The Wista is very solid and precise. It works well with lenses from 90-210 which are the lenses the OP wants to use. Mine will focus an 80xl with a flat board and normal bellows (though for more movements a recessed board and bag bellows would be better). With my 110xl the standard bellows is fine.

There are extension bellows and focusing tracks for the Wista, but honestly if using long lenses were a priority I would recommend a different camera (probably an Arca Swiss).

The Wista is very solid, has 56mm of geared front rise, and is tough as nails. It sets up almost instantly. The front tilt is friction-geared. It can fold with a 150 Apo-Sironar S mounted on a standard board (even though I've read otherwise, mine does it easily, and with the lens cap on).

It's at least worth a look. I'm not sure why the metal Wistas are so underrated. They're great cameras. There's a VX on ebay right now (not my listing and I have no affiliation) for $650. That's probably about what I paid (hard to say because mine came with a lens).

Gem Singer
18-Jan-2011, 19:35
The Wista VX is a metal flatbed camera that folds into a protective clam shell case.

The Linhof Technikardan has a telescoping monorail. It is capable if folding, but does not fold into a protective clam shell.

The Wista is similar to the Linhof Technica.

The Technikardan is a folding monorail. Similar to the all metal Canham.

engl
18-Jan-2011, 20:18
The Wista VX is a metal flatbed camera that folds into a protective clam shell case.

The Linhof Technikardan has a telescoping monorail. It is capable if folding, but does not fold into a protective clam shell.

The Wista is similar to the Linhof Technica.

The Technikardan is a folding monorail. Similar to the all metal Canham.

I know! I have not claimed anything else, have I?

Ari made a recommendation for the Wistas, which Bob Salomon replied to by stating that he should "compare specifications before making suggestions like that". I do not disagree about the cameras being very different, but the weight was stated to be the same (which is it not), and for someone using a 90mm lens as his widest and preferring a 300mm bellows over a 485mm one, the specs compared did not in any way seem to be reasons for dismissing the Wista. If anything, they are in the Wistas favour in this case.

B.S.Kumar
18-Jan-2011, 20:20
Lars was using a Chamonix earlier, and if he still had it, perhaps he might not be considering a TK45. I've recommended cameras that I use for the kind of photography he does (which is somewhat similar to mine) - a Wista 45D metal field and a Toyo D45M monorail. But he's got his heart, mind and Visa set on the TK45, and I think we should respect that :)

Kumar

mortensen
19-Jan-2011, 01:29
Haha, Kumar - good one :)

Well, some more of my key priorities
... extended back movements! I want to be able to make diptychs with 115, 150 and 210. I prefer to do this with back shift rather than front shift. Not good with either the Wista or the Technika. I don't know about the Wista bag bellows, but reputation has it, that with the TK you can change bellows almost instantly, which is not an option with the Technika. So for my wide angle architectural work involving lots of front rise with wides, a bag bellows is good. My current wide angle is a 90, but I would like to get a camera that has the described flexibility with a 75 or 72 too.
Clamshell is certainly nice, but not essential to me since I don't have my camera over the shoulder.
Oh, and btw. Linhof build quality really appeals to me. Wistas and Toyo might be equally good, but I haven't ever touched any of their cameras.

B.S.Kumar
19-Jan-2011, 02:46
Well, Lars, I can see that a Wista field might not be the best for you, but for sheer bang for the buck, it's very hard to beat the lowly Toyo D45M. It doesn't have the silky smooth feeling of the TK45 or my Sinar X, but for film, it certainly has the capability. With a 6" rail and bag bellows, it will take almost any lens from 45mm to 150mm. For longer lenses, an extension rail and a spare standard bellows takes up very little space. It's tough as nails, and this whole setup probably costs less than just the TK45 bellows :)

Build quality? Yes, I have a Linhof myself - a Kardan Color, the model after your Linhof Color. I have a Sinar X, a Wista and the Toyo. All of them are perfectly capable of doing whatever they were designed for, and each gets used for different reasons.

Kumar

Frank Petronio
19-Jan-2011, 05:56
The Wista is well built. The build quality differences between it and a Linhof have more to do material choices. The Wistas (and other Japanese designs, like Toyos) cameras use lighter materials, more bent and stamped metal. The Linhofs, and to a lesser extent, Arcas and older Sinar Norma, seem hewn from Aluminum blocks, there is very little slop to anything and they just feel pleasurable to handle.

The Sinar F and P are great cameras but they surprised me in how much plastic and screwed-together assembly they use.

But having an expensive camera built to tight tolerances can actually be detrimental in the field, you don't want to get dirt or ice into fine mechanics. Ask the German tankers why they couldn't start their tank motors in Russia in WWII?

All the leading brands are well-made and engineered. I don't think you see design errors and outright flaws until you get into wooden and homemade cameras like XXisners, etc. ;-)

neil poulsen
19-Jan-2011, 07:40
The Arca Metric has the geared rise/fall and shift.

A little different combination is to use the Metric format frames on non-metric standards. This combination is a little more compact, weighs less, yet one still has the advantage of geared rise/fall. One loses the scale for shift, but there are center lines on both the standard and the frame, so it's easy to line them up and center the camera. I lucked out and and was able to purchase the metric format conversion kit for a reasonable price. I like this combination.

An advantage of the Arca is its ability to use a 700mm bellows, in case that's ever needed. Isn't the draw on the TK limited to about 20"? Although, that's a fair amount of draw. I use the leather bag bellows on my Arca for lenses between 75mm and 180mm. If I had a 65mm lens, this bellows could accommodate this lens as well. I rarely need to swap bellows.

I think that the Arca's ability to backpack is quite satisfactory. But, the TK has the clear advantage in this regard. It's all one piece. The Arca is about 6" thick, and the rail has to be stored separately. I have a space that's about 6x8x10 in my backpack that receives the camera, and the rail lays diagonally on the camera. I made a slip cover for the rail to avoid metal to metal contact.


. . . The Technikardan, Arca Swiss and Toyo VX all have geared shift and rise/fall. Tilt and swing are manual. Plus, the camera is going to be used in a relatively fluid situation. It's not a jewellery shoot where the camera has to be moved half a millimeter. So, where is the need for all this precision? Let me hasten to say that I value precision as much as anyone else (including GPS). . .

Noah A
19-Jan-2011, 08:06
You know, all of this talk about the TK45S has me curious. I tried one out in a shop once but never actually shot with it. It seemed a bit fiddly with lots of little controls--however it was very portable and did offer good movements.

Is the TK45S as rigid as a folding metal field camera? I've heard various conflicting reports on this, ranging from "it's a solid as a rock with a 300mm lens" to "it can't be used in a light breeze without the standards flopping around". I'm sure the truth lies somewhere in between. But how stable is the camera using moderate lenses (80mm-210mm)?

With which lenses does a TK45S need a bag bellows? (80xl, 110xl?) And what lenses can the bag bellows work with? (Can I leave it on for the 150?) Can I use my 80xl and 110xl on a flat lensboard?

I was about to pick up a Wista bag bellows ($400) and a recessed board for my 80xl ( the genuine Linhof is $$$, and I've heard the chinese ones don't fit). Just this morning I was shooting and I ran into problems with the 110xl on my Wista. I can't get all that much rise when shooting vertical due to the top of the camera body pushing the bellows into image area. I'm not sure but it seems this will still be a problem with the bag bellows.

But along came a chance to buy a TK45S, like new, for a great price with the bag bellows. So now I'm wondering...

mortensen
19-Jan-2011, 09:02
Dont' worry further, Noah, I'm sure the Wista is great for you - just pass on the offer to me :)

You are probably spot on, Kumar and Frank. I'm just one of those suckers who also like sexy looking cameras - and I fancy the TK.

But the thing about dirt makes me think a little, Frank.
Are the TK's easy to dismantle and clean, Bob?

Noah A
19-Jan-2011, 09:19
Dont' worry further, Noah, I'm sure the Wista is great for you - just pass on the offer to me :)



It's not as cheap as the one you lost on ebay (sorry:( ) but it's virtually unused with extras like the bag bellows. I'll let you know if I pass on it.

I wouldn't worry too much about the dirt...it's not a tank after all. I used to use an Arca F-Metric 8x10 in dirty rough conditions and it held up fine, and I think it qualifies as a 'precise' camera like the TK45.

Rod Klukas
19-Jan-2011, 15:21
Arca-Swiss 4x5 field or metric are extraordinary cameras and very easy to use. I have shot them in 6x9 all the way up to 8x10 and they are as precise as any in the field. and as light as most. The wide angle bellows for the metric you could just shoot a 135mm or 150mm. On a filed it is not necessary at all as the universal will let you use 65mm on flat board up to 360mm or 500mm tele with just a 15cm extension rail and give full movement as well. The best!

Bill McMannis
19-Jan-2011, 20:30
You know, all of this talk about the TK45S has me curious....
With which lenses does a TK45S need a bag bellows? (80xl, 110xl?) And what lenses can the bag bellows work with? (Can I leave it on for the 150?) Can I use my 80xl and 110xl on a flat lensboard?
...But along came a chance to buy a TK45S, like new, for a great price with the bag bellows. So now I'm wondering...

I often shoot my TK45S with the bag bellows in place when using my 150mm. My shortest lens is a 75mm and I use it with a flat board.

Bob Salomon - HP Marketing
20-Jan-2011, 02:46
""it can't be used in a light breeze without the standards flopping around""
Of course, any cameras extended to 20" will become a sail with all that bellows exposed to the wind. Especially all cameras at the same weight as they have all set the same amount of sail.

Matus Kalisky
26-Nov-2011, 03:38
10 months later ...

Lars, I understand that you finally got the Technikardan. As this thread you initiated was probably the longest on this topic - would you maybe make a short summary about this camera for us? Does it work as you hoped it it would? Or does it? :)

mortensen
27-Nov-2011, 04:40
Good point, Matus - after receiving so much input and good advice I certainly owe you a 'verdict'.

So to put it short: YES, the Technikardan is the right camera for me. I'm not saying it the only thing out there to fit my needs (an Arca F-line metric or a Toyo VX125 is probably just as great or even better), but given my budget it was certainly the best thing for me.

I haven't used it extensively on a project yet, so this 'micro review' or summery is based on shooting only around 30 shots with it so far.

Opening, setting up and closing the camera hasn't caused me any troubles and I like the way its done, especially that it squares up and clicks nicely into position. Focusing is a breeze and very precise and I find the camera to be relatively compact when closed. You can't blame it for beeing light, but that was no surprise.

I am really happy with the extensive back shift possibilities, as it enables me to easily do precise 5x8" or (close to) 4x10" stitches. A great thing for me when doing architectural elevation shots with Rodenstock S/W-lenses, that have the coverage. Front and back rise works very well, and the standard stays in position, when unlocking the lever, even with a heavy lens. But I find the levers controlling rise and shift to require quite a bit more force to unlock than the tilt/swing levers... might just be my sample - I would certainly like it smoother, if possible. The outcome, of course, is that controlling rise and shift is not quite as smooth and delicate as if it was geared.

All in all, I find the Technikardan S to be a superb do-it-all camera for my needs, and that was what I was looking for. I must admit, that I'm (secretly) looking for a beat up Technika IV as a ligth and compact companion for landscape and not-too-compact urban work. I guess I'm not totally uninspired by Noah's progression in cameras, since his subjects and working conditions are so close to mine. I would prefer the Tech IV over later Tech's, partly because of its price point, partly because of its - to me - better geared rise mechanism. But I might as well stay with the Technikardan 'only', since it actually does all I need.

Last, but not least, I've only used the TK with the excellent bag bellows. The standard bellows I got with the camera is pinholled by a gatling gun. The bag, as reported by others, lets me use everything up to 150 with full movements. Just as Noah, Ari, Speedfreak and others in here, I'm pondering to acquire a 'universal' custom bellows, that lets me use my range of lenses (up to 210/240).

Matus Kalisky
27-Nov-2011, 13:52
Thank you Lars. Happy to hear you like the TK. I have to admit I had one more reason for asking - Technikardan is one of my main candidates (together with Arca Swiss F and VX125 - does that reminds you of something ;) ) for the "future upgrade" of my Tachihara which does has limitations (wide angle lenses, precision of movements, lack of rear focus and somtimes too antique look :p ). Of course the change requires finding one in the Europe and also some investment, so I have not made the step. But every time I shoot with the Grandagon 75/4.5 N (I hate recessed boards and those flimsy plastic release adapters) or trying to do some close-ups I wish I have done it already. In particular since I am shooting less landscape/trekking stuff in last 2 years and have more city/architecture stuff planned (so a bit more weight would not be a deciding factor).

mortensen
27-Nov-2011, 14:59
Just jump into it - whichever of the three you choose will probably make you very happy. Accessorywise and regarding availability, you live in Linhof country...
I bought my TK in the US - if you have a friend over there whose judgement you trust, it can be a great way to avoid customs... good luck!

Matus Kalisky
3-Sep-2012, 14:55
Even thought I have not started this thread, I have 'used' is a lot so I guess it is OK to say that I finally got a camera - namely the Toyo VX125. I do not have it my hands yet - that may take about a week, but I am really looking forward to use it. My Tachihara will be on sale here soon.

It is also missing 2 important accessories (see my WTB) - namely the lens board adapter toyo->linhof as I use linhof technika lensboards as my standard. I guess I should at least get a single Toyo lensboard just to be able to use the camera :) It is also missing the extension caps (30mm each) that allow to get a total length of the monorail to about 300mm. I was thinking whether this is going to be enough and arrived to a conclusion that it should do the job.

So - I am quite excited - after so much of choosing, comparing and considering I finally actually did something.

If anybody has some secret tips or good ideas about the Toyo VX125 - let me know :)