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rustyair
1-Apr-2012, 11:23
Hello,

I'm new here and new to large format. I'm looking for a 4x5 camera probably under $2200 (cheaper the better) including lens.

I shoot with Hasselblad 500c/m mostly. I do black & white self developing (Tmax100+d-76) at home and I want to step up to 4x5 and shoot long exposure landscape & seascape. I also want to do color negative self developing at home but I have no idea where to begin.

I've been looking at jobo for color develop and cameras such as toyo, widerness, linhof and read every articles on http://www.largeformatphotography.info and still pretty confused. :confused: I'd love to get a 8x10 but I don't think I can afford $20 a film and the weight of the camera. It would be great if I'm missing something about the 8x10.

Can you guys give me some directions for camera, lens?

I'm a big fan of Mike Stacey's works. :)

Mark Barendt
1-Apr-2012, 11:36
Welcome.

We all started out confused.

You might post your locale and see if there's anyone close to you that you could hang out with.

You may also try renting a complete kit.

Ari
1-Apr-2012, 13:46
Cameras and lenses can be had for pennies on the dollar these days.
If $2200 is your budget, you could spend a fraction of that amount on gear, and have lots left over for film.
A monorail is cheap, strong, and will teach you the basic camera movements.
Older single-coated shuttered lenses are plentiful, especially in the 210mm range.
Get to learn how to use the camera, and buy lots of film with which to practice.
Jobo tanks are excellent for processing several sheets at a time.
You know your B&W processing already; B&H sells the Tetenal Press Kit for home colour development (C-41 process).
It's cheap, very easy to use, and gives great results.

And yes, the search function here will give you lots to read up on.
Good luck.

Tim k
1-Apr-2012, 20:26
Welcome.

We all started out confused.

You might post your locale and see if there's anyone close to you that you could hang out with.

You may also try renting a complete kit.

Very good idea.

Steve Barber
1-Apr-2012, 22:40
KEH is listing a Wisner Traditional 4x5:

http://www.keh.com/camera/Large-Format-Folding-Cameras/1/sku-LF039991144730?r=FE

Not cheap at $810, but rated Excellent and they are reputable.

I started with a Wisner and I still have it. Landscape photography does not need a large range of camera movements, but I find I do need longer lenses for it. The advantages of the Wisner are its wide range of usable focal lengths and movements. Landscape photography, for me, leads into architectural photography and being able to use the 72mm and 90mm Super-Angulon XL lenses, with movements that take full advantage of them, makes the Wisner a great architectural camera, as well. One caveat, however, is that it does require a bag bellows for these larger wide angle lenses.

Lenses such as a Rodenstock 90mm, f6.8 Grandagon-N; a Nikon 210mm, f5.6 Nikkor-W and a 150mm Schneider, f5.6 APO-Symmar—all mounted in black face Copal shutters would be great value and performance for the money and could be obtained within your budget. If you have to, wait on the 150mm focal length and start with just the 90 and 210mm lenses. Those two lenses will be, by far, the ones you will use the most and you will not need a bag bellows for the 90mm Grandagon-N.

As to 8x10, leave that for later when you are more experienced and have some appreciation of the exponentially increased expense and logistical effort that are required by such a large increase in film area.

Light Guru
1-Apr-2012, 23:16
New cameras are not to expensive ether. I recently picked up one of these https://www.badgergraphic.com/store/cart.php?m=product_detail&p=120

I know your looking into the jobo but whee you already do hand developing of smaller format films you may want to check this out.
http://www.mod54.com/index.php

I have not done any color negative developing myself yet but a have done a E6 once. It's not to different then developing B&W. There are several videos on YouTube you can watch. Both E6 and C41 kits are available from http://www.freestylephoto.biz/

As for lenses they are easily found on eBay.

Best of luck to you!

John Kasaian
1-Apr-2012, 23:19
A $100 Calumet 400, a 210mm lens from Schneider, Rodenstock or Nikon (or an older 203mm from Kodak or Wollensak) in a good working shutter, a used Tiltall tripod off ebay and a stack of film holders mght set you back all of $300. Add a box of Arista.edu Ultra 100 or some Ilford FP-4+ and you're in business!

Mark Barendt
2-Apr-2012, 05:52
Rustyair,

John's suggestion is really workable. The advantage here is that you get a camera to learn on very in expensively. From there you can upgrade one thing at a time. LF isn't like small format, brands don't matter much, things interchange easier.

My 400 has been a lot of fun and I now understand what's important for me in 4x5 and how it all works and I've built up the rest of the infrastructure, enlarger, tanks for developing, et al.

(Shameles self promotion alert ;) )

Given my new-to-me camera body arriving this week I'm seriously getting ready to sell my 400 series Calumet for that $100 John talked about. The bellows are young and it would have two lens boards, it's in fine working condition. Just add a lens, holders, film, and tripod setup and your ready to take pictures.

chassis
2-Apr-2012, 06:30
I started in large format last year. I went with a Toyo 45AII and haven't regretted it. My first lens was a 150mm Nikkor, followed by a 58mm wide angle Schneider, and a 280mm soft focus lens.

With your budget, you have alot of options. It's hard to go wrong, so read some more on this site, and go where your heart takes you. Sources of equipment include this site, APUG.org and craigslist. The auction sites are OK but prices tend to be higher.

Good luck and let us know what you decide.

rustyair
2-Apr-2012, 18:42
Thank you all guys! I'm leaning towards Ebony cameras and Sinar. A used Ebony RSW45 sounds great if I can find one. Sinar also looks interesting. I will look into Toyo, Calumet 400, Wisner as well. It's gonna be a long night!

richardhkirkando
3-Apr-2012, 07:38
The cameras mentioned in this thread are all very, very different from one another. Don't spend too much on your first 4x5 camera, there's a good chance it won't be what you really want. It's entirely possible that the second one you buy won't be what you want either.

If portability isn't important to you, get a monorail. They're almost all cheap, they will help you determine if you like the format, and what you want in a LF camera. If you want something to take places, start with something that folds up. You may find that your first camera is perfect, or you may think "this is ok, but I'd prefer one that can do ____". Either way, it's a good thing - I don't think choosing the best LF camera for you is something that can be determined purely through research.

DKirk
3-Apr-2012, 08:04
The cameras mentioned in this thread are all very, very different from one another. Don't spend too much on your first 4x5 camera, there's a good chance it won't be what you really want. It's entirely possible that the second one you buy won't be what you want either.

If portability isn't important to you, get a monorail. They're almost all cheap, they will help you determine if you like the format, and what you want in a LF camera. If you want something to take places, start with something that folds up. You may find that your first camera is perfect, or you may think "this is ok, but I'd prefer one that can do ____". Either way, it's a good thing - I don't think choosing the best LF camera for you is something that can be determined purely through research.

I'd second the monorail option. Especially if you don't intend on using it outdoors. You get a lot more movements to play with even with a cheaper monorail, than a field camera. If it's possible for you I'd look at trying to hire a camera to get to play with the movements and see what suits YOU best.

Have a look at what is available second hand and spend the money on quality glass.

Mark Barendt
3-Apr-2012, 08:11
Don't spend too much on your first 4x5 camera, there's a good chance it won't be what you really want.

I'd say almost a given the first camera won't be the one you really want.

Greg Miller
3-Apr-2012, 08:38
I'd say almost a given the first camera won't be the one you really want.

Ditto ditto.

E. von Hoegh
3-Apr-2012, 08:40
Ditto ditto.

Ditto.

rdenney
3-Apr-2012, 09:08
Generally, buying camera jewelry from the start is likely to be an expensive lesson in defining your needs. Sinar is slick stuff, but it was in such common use by pros that it's a drug on the market and really cheap for what it is, which means it has a bit of jewelish glitter but without the jewelish price. Not so much with the Ebony.

I always recommend a monorail as a first camera. It's much easier to learn with, because the movements are easy to see and understand. They are also all-metal, generally very tough and designed for hard use, comprise a range of interchangeable parts, fill six pages of goodies that fit on eBay, and don't cost much.

The notion that a monorail is not for outdoor use is silly. People use monorails, some of them a lot heavier than a Sinar F/F2, outdoors all the time. (F stands for "field".) They are harder to backpack with, but again more because of bulk than weight. My F2 weighs maybe 8 pounds, and I use it in the field almost exclusively. Every now and again I wonder if one of those wooden field cameras would be more suitable, but then I mess with one at a store and put that idea back in holding. They are more fiddly, and 4x5 is fiddly enough.

If I was packing a camera in a backpack where space was as much at a premium as weight, I might think differently. But I have carried a Cambo SC camera in a backpack, and the weight of the camera wasn't what was making the whole package heavy. Lenses, film holders, tripod--it all adds up. That Cambo is quite a bit more space-filling than a Sinar F-series camera, and that was the big challenge.

A Calumet CC-400 certainly represents a high ratio of functionality to price. It does have some limitations--no Graflok back, to name one--but it is a completely competent camera. A Cambo or Sinar F-series will be a little more expensive, but they are system cameras with a lot more parts interchangeability. If you are at that price point anyway, then you won't regret having those extra features. The Sinar is lighter, too.

Rick "the ability to fold is an expensive option in full-featured view cameras" Denney

Rod Klukas
3-Apr-2012, 10:32
Lensfielders.com has some great buys on used 4x5 Arca-Swiss monorails and lenses.
I inspect all their Arca-swiss stuff so know it functions and works correctly.
They are local to me.

Alan Gales
3-Apr-2012, 12:25
Thank you all guys! I'm leaning towards Ebony cameras and Sinar. A used Ebony RSW45 sounds great if I can find one. Sinar also looks interesting. I will look into Toyo, Calumet 400, Wisner as well. It's gonna be a long night!

Saying that you are leaning towards Ebony and Sinar is like saying you are leaning towards a Cadillac and a Ford F150, two very different animals. You need to first decide field camera versus monorail. Then decide which model you want.

I would recommend starting with a monorail. They are cheaper and are easier to learn movements on. I picked up a very nice Sinar P for $600.00 off ebay and it included a Schneider 210 lens and Calumet case. A Sinar F2 would also be a good choice if you want something lighter. They run a little more than Sinar P's due to being newer in age.

We have all been in your shoes. I bet there are few of us who kept our first camera choice. I didn't. A lot of us, myself included, own both a field camera and a monorail. The only way you can know what you really want is by just diving in and shooting. It's a lot easier on the pocketbook to start cheaper and buy the expensive stuff when you really know what you want. This advice goes for lenses also.

As far as 8x10 goes. The cameras, lenses, and tripods are generally more expensive. The film costs are more expensive. Unless you really have your heart set on 8x10, I would start with 4x5 and move up later if you wish.

All this advice is coming from someone who has been involved with large format for a little over two years. I'm no expert but I do know what mistakes I have made. I'm just trying to keep you from making some of the same.

Good luck to you. Large format is a lot of fun! :)

Brian Ellis
3-Apr-2012, 13:10
Just so you know that the suggestion to buy a monorail isn't unanimous, I'd strongly recommend that you buy a field camera if you plan to mostly photograph outdoors and will be walking around. A brand new Chamonix, which is a great camera, will cost you about $800. You can find excellent buys in Wisners, Tachiharas, Shen Haos, Toyos, and many other 4x5 field cameras for less than $800. Sure, you can pick up a big old honking monorail for maybe $250 - $500 but there's a reason why they sell that cheaply and it isn't because there are more of them out there.

rustyair
3-Apr-2012, 13:35
Thanks for all the suggestions! I shoot outdoors and usually walk around 4-5 hours. Also, I'm an ounce counter.:) So, I'm after field cameras thinking Toyo 45CF, Chamonix 045n-1, Wisners 4x5 field, Tachiharas 4x5 field, Shen Haos HZX 4X5-IIA, Sinar f1 or 2...Are there anymore of light weight field 4x5 cameras that I should consider? It will be so hard to narrowing down to one.

bobwysiwyg
3-Apr-2012, 14:43
Just so you know that the suggestion to buy a monorail isn't unanimous, I'd strongly recommend that you buy a field camera if you plan to mostly photograph outdoors and will be walking around. A brand new Chamonix, which is a great camera, will cost you about $800. You can find excellent buys in Wisners, Tachiharas, Shen Haos, Toyos, and many other 4x5 field cameras for less than $800. Sure, you can pick up a big old honking monorail for maybe $250 - $500 but there's a reason why they sell that cheaply and it isn't because there are more of them out there.

Yup, been there, done that. :(

Nguss
3-Apr-2012, 15:38
Just to say, the Sinar F is still a monorail camera as opposed to a folding camera like the others mentioned in you earlier post. I have a Sinar F and dont have too much trouble taking it out and about in the field, and I prefer the movements on it too. I have a folding press camera which was the first one I bought but it gets no use since I got the monorail. I have heard positive things about the Chamonix though.

Mark Barendt
3-Apr-2012, 19:01
http://www.largeformatphotography.info/forum/showthread.php?84917-FS-Wista-DX-4x5-Field-Camera

Here's a candidate.

Deepak Kumar
5-Apr-2012, 23:32
I wonder with such budget on offer why is there no definitive answer for a simple question. I know it not as easy though, but there could be clear understanding on it if a landscape photographer with clear intention to shoot long exposer would require metal field camera with enough movement. Plenty are available in used market. With landscape work one can really start with two lens in 120 mm to 210 mm range if someone is not looking for very wide shot.

I have myself started with Nikkor 90mm F- 4.5 & Rodenstock 210mm F - 5.6 lenses. But now I use 90mm with 120 back only. I find 90mm too wide for most landscape work. So investing in good lightweight lens kit with sturdy Metal field camera with two three lenses would make sense to me.

my two cents

Mark Barendt
6-Apr-2012, 06:09
I wonder with such budget on offer why is there no definitive answer for a simple question.

Most importantly, the OP as a LF beginner, doesn't really know how things work in LF.

Until an experience base is built with the OP's subjects and sensibilities and in the OP's world the right questions aren't even known.

For example any of the cameras the OP has mentioned can take good pictures and the OP does want a light weight camera but also shoots seascapes.

A light weight field camera may be a big problem for the OP when there is, as is normal at the beach, a breeze.

After the OP builds some experience the OP may decide a stiff monorail on a wooden tripod or a folder that's pound or two heavier is worth it to get those seascapes.

We can't answer that type of question yet.

Ivan J. Eberle
6-Apr-2012, 09:07
Be thinking lens choices before choosing a camera, is my usual advice.

For 135mm-203mm use, consider a Graflex Super Graphic. Extremely tough metal folder with synthetic bellows, sufficient moves for most landscapes. 5 lbs. Can easily be handheld and have accurate cammed rangefinders for fast-breaking light. Lens boards are extremely common. A relative steal nowadays at ~$300 or less for a nice example.

On the other hand, a monorail that easily accepts bag bellows is a better choice if you expect to be doing much extreme wide angle work. Sinars are fantastic in this regard.

John Kasaian
6-Apr-2012, 18:22
The is certainly nothiing wrong with folders,and if thats what the OP visualizes himself using, I think thats what he should get. Shens are very popular new cameras, as are Chammies, and the rare used ones aren't all that cheaper than new, but if he can save significant bucks on a used one then so much the better.
If I had that budget to work with I'd look for a 5x7 Nagaoka with a 4x5 reducing back (for future fun with 5x7 contacts) a 190mm Kodak WF Ektar or similar, a used $70 Tiltall tripod and a stack of three or a dozen Riteway Graphics, and an Omega D-II enlarger with either a good Schneider, Rodenstock or Nikon lens, or a Wolly 162mm if I'm punching the budget envelope.
Hows that for definitive?

rustyair
6-Apr-2012, 18:58
Thank you all you guys for help! I came down to two cameras. Chamonix 45n-2 or Shen Hao HZX 4X5-IIA. Now I need to narrow down to one... I think a 'tripod stone bag' should take care of the light weight problem. Wouldn't they?

Light Guru
6-Apr-2012, 23:02
Another thing I recently discovered that can help with weight and space in the pack is using a grafmatic film holder. It's the thickness of one and a half regular film holders but will hold six sheets of film. I recently picked up a couple on eBay, they save a lot of room.

rustyair
7-Apr-2012, 12:05
Another thing I recently discovered that can help with weight and space in the pack is using a grafmatic film holder. It's the thickness of one and a half regular film holders but will hold six sheets of film. I recently picked up a couple on eBay, they save a lot of room.

Thanks for letting me know. I guess I'm good to go with those two six sheets holder.

Hmmm...After intensive “research", I'm beginning to understand what's going on with large format. I like the idea of go non-folding cameras but what do I know.
I'm not allow to view the For Sale/Wanted forum yet but if you have a 4x5 camera for sale, please PM me. :)

John Kasaian
8-Apr-2012, 10:42
Don't be in a hurry to spend money. Grafmatics aren't cheap! I suggest learning with three or four conventional holders first. Also too light of a tripod is never a good thing, especially since old Tiltalls go for little and they can handle most 4x5s with ease. Save the bag of rocks for blustery days.
Graphmatics and rock bags solve problems, but they are problems you shouldn't have to be solving when you're just learning. Results are what is going to keep you interested. Stick with simple gear and shoot lots of film---experience = results. You can address any challenges when they come up (and they likely will, but just don't hurry them!--seeing the world upside down and backwards is challenging enough for now, no?)

Nguss
8-Apr-2012, 14:24
Also, not exactly an accessory, it might be worth picking up an umbrella. They come in very useful to shield the camera in windy conditions although you look a bit daft holding it.

cosmicexplosion
8-Apr-2012, 15:05
get a cheap camera, field or monorail, get out and shoot.

hardest thing to do is realise that people here are experienced in stuffing up.

its not about your gear

its about your experience shooting film.

thinking that better gear will make you better is like buying the stair way to heaven

it might seem impressive, and alot of people like to try and talk up the gear that they spent thousands on, but it still doesnt take photo's.

you do.

so unless you have unlimited budget, you have to get out digital mind set where its all about the camera. once you get your LF camera, you will be spending alot on film.
its like a high octane race car, or a very high maintenance girlfriend.

you have her but now come the dinners, the clothes, the theatre, the booze the diamonds, pretty soon your broke and back on the old digital you left her for.

so my advice, is reighn in your desire to show off a flashy camera, unless you have the bucks, and like others have said, spend your money on film, whilst learning.

there is a lot to learn.

i have a sinar P 4x5 and 8x10 and a kodak 2d field

the sinars never leave the house, but i enjoy the 8x10 much more as the image on the ground glass is bigger and easier to focus, i also can make contact prints the same size as the negative, so 8x10" print which is fine for assesment and even display.

4x5 some like i am sure but way to small for me. but you can use an enlarger, but you need an enlarger. i just need a light bulb and two bits of glass or a contact printing frame.

so 8x10 can be fast to get a print of a decent size. often i shoot an image and ten minutes later i have a test print.

if you are doing street photo's or you cant carry much stuff get a 4x5 and an enlarger.

but my dark room is 4 trays and a light. simple.

start as simple as possible get an 8x10 with a 300mm lens. doesnt matter which one there all good, or a 4x5 with a 120 or 210 not to sure, what they said above. say 3-8 film holders and go. oh and a light meter.

again your gear wont make you a photographer, you will, by getting out and shooting.

upgrade as you learn.

my hard earned 2 cents

Steve Barber
8-Apr-2012, 20:34
Thanks for letting me know. I guess I'm good to go with those two six sheets holder.



I would suggest you start with regular two sheet film holders.

Grafmatics are designed for use with a rangefinder style camera. Grafmatic film holders are mounted in place of the ground glass with the image composed and focused using the camera's rangefinder. They are useful where rapid film reloading is more important than composing, using camera movements and critical focusing; such as was the typical usage of the old press cameras like the Speed Graphic. For them to be properly mounted, they require the Graflok or Graflex (International style) back. Even if your camera has that style back, without a rangefinder it is tiresome having to constantly interchange the back and the film holder; first to compose and focus and, then, using the film holder to take the shot.

Also, only using the Grafmatics will limit your options when it comes to using different films and being able to isolate the film that you might want for special film processing, such as changing development times.

rustyair
8-Apr-2012, 21:25
its not about your gear

its about your experience shooting film.

thinking that better gear will make you better is like buying the stair way to heaven

it might seem impressive, and alot of people like to try and talk up the gear that they spent thousands on, but it still doesnt take photo's.

you do.

you have to get out digital mind set where its all about the camera.

so my advice, is reighn in your desire to show off a flashy camera, unless you have the bucks, and like others have said, spend your money on film, whilst learning.


I need to get out digital mind set? Well...I don't think you have read my first post. I shoot medium format with my hassel and I do my own developing....I've been shooting photos more than 10 years, I spent tons of money on film(and booze) over last 7 years. I'm not just a newbie who thinks 'better gear will make you better is like buying the stair way to heaven' and wants to show off my flashy camera. Also, I don't think a $779 Shen Hao HZX 4X5-IIA camera would be consider as a showing off camera. Thanks for other tips tho.

rustyair
8-Apr-2012, 21:44
Don't be in a hurry to spend money. Grafmatics aren't cheap! I suggest learning with three or four conventional holders first. Also too light of a tripod is never a good thing, especially since old Tiltalls go for little and they can handle most 4x5s with ease. Save the bag of rocks for blustery days.
Graphmatics and rock bags solve problems, but they are problems you shouldn't have to be solving when you're just learning. Results are what is going to keep you interested. Stick with simple gear and shoot lots of film---experience = results. You can address any challenges when they come up (and they likely will, but just don't hurry them!--seeing the world upside down and backwards is challenging enough for now, no?)

I'm not in hurry at all but thanks for slowing me down more. :)

Nana Sousa Dias
9-Apr-2012, 17:11
Ok, let's see....

You want a camera to shoot landscape and seascape...so, that's a field camera....

You want to spend 2200$....

I suggest the Shen Hao HZX 45 IIA if you want a really steady cheap camera with lots of movements or the Shen Hao PTB 45 if you want a lihtweight cheap camera. That one is exactly like the Chamonix 45, except for the wooden base instead of carbon fiber bas of the Chamonix.

For the lens, I would suggest secondhand Schneider Symmar S 150/5.6 and Schneider Super Angulon 90/8. You will find thes lenses very cheap on ebay.

If you are more a wide angle guy, I suggest 90/8 and 47/5.6 XL. These are the lenses I use more for landscape and seascape. I have a homemade 4x5 camera with the 47, wich has been my main kit latelly but, I always carry my Shen Hao HZX 45 IIA with Schneider Symmar S 150/5.6, Schneider Super Angulon 90/5.6 XL and Nikon W 210/5.6, too.

You may see waht I've been doing with those 2 cameras here: http://photo.net/photodb/folder?folder_id=299816




You can use the 47 with the HZX 45 IIA if it's mounted on a recessed lensboard.