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Thread: Need expert advice- best light weight folding field camera?

  1. #11

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    Re: Need expert advice- best light weight folding field camera?

    I agree with Dave--based on what you've stated the Chamonix would be the best choice. It was my first serious large format camera and I've yet to find anything better to replace it. It's very precise, super-light, but durable, and simple to set up and use.

  2. #12
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    Re: Need expert advice- best light weight folding field camera?

    How well suited is the Chamonix for handheld shooting?
    "Photography is a marvelous discovery, a science that has attracted the greatest intellects, an art that excites the most astute minds and one that can be practiced by any imbecile." Nadar, 1856

  3. #13

    Re: Need expert advice- best light weight folding field camera?

    Quote Originally Posted by Imagowan View Post
    have been shooting digitally, 35mm, and medium format. I am interested in large format because I would like to start to mature in the way I think and make images. Large format forces me to slow down and to critically think about and creatively construct an image in ways that I really appreciate. I tend to shoot fairly candidly, but often use of the fly lighting to highlight the visual absurdity I so often see.
    Facinating....and here I thought that this was achieved through self discipline and personal vision, not a camera equipment stereotype. Also, be aware that your chance of having pre-exposure dust ruin a shot is exponentially higher with sheet film versus roll film.

  4. #14

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    Re: Need expert advice- best light weight folding field camera?

    Count me in on the Chamonix vote. I have used owned a Wista DXII, an Arca Swiss F-Line Classic and a Toho and my favorite of all those by a long stretch is the Chamonix. I have owned mine about 4 or 5 years and love it.

  5. #15

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    Re: Need expert advice- best light weight folding field camera?

    Stick to digital.
    Wilhelm (Sarasota)

  6. #16
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    Re: Need expert advice- best light weight folding field camera?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kodachrome25 View Post
    . . . Also, be aware that your chance of having pre-exposure dust ruin a shot is exponentially higher with sheet film versus roll film.
    Ain't that the truth. No matter how hard I've tried, dust always finds a way to sneak up and ruin my day. But, learning to spot prints is very beneficial. Manipulating negatives directly has never been my forte.
    "Photography is a marvelous discovery, a science that has attracted the greatest intellects, an art that excites the most astute minds and one that can be practiced by any imbecile." Nadar, 1856

  7. #17

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    Re: Need expert advice- best light weight folding field camera?

    You "experts" are being unnecessarily bitter and cynical. We should be encouraging new photographers if we want to continue buying good quality film and cameras, as well as simply being generally being nice, decent, generous people. Or at least keep our disappointments and failings to ourselves.

    Large format photography does not have any significant burdens - even some nasty smelling, hungover, disease-riddled, curmudgeons can make some successful pictures with only rudimentary skills. Undoubtedly any young person dedicating her life to photography and going to Yale is going to shoot circles these jealous old men.

    Go for it! The vast majority of photographers don't let minor dust management concerns avert them from making great photos.

  8. #18

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    Re: Need expert advice- best light weight folding field camera?

    Quote Originally Posted by Imagowan View Post
    Hi guys,

    Just wanted to start by saying how great you all are! What informative and helpful answers! Thank you so so much!

    I am a bit confused of the differences between wooden folding cameras and non wooden folding cameras. Is it a matter of style? Weight? durability?

    As of now I have compiled a list of potential Cameras- mainly based on your recommendations. They are are as follows:

    1. Gandolfi Traditional Field
    2. Ebony (SV45Ti, SV45u, SV45TE, RW45)
    3. Chamonix 45n-2
    4. shen Hao
    5. Horseman 4x5 Woodman
    6. Wista 45DX

    The weight is super important to me. I really need to be carry this thing without being miserable. I am thinking something under four pounds. Ideally the camera I get will be very light. I am a bit worried about the durability of the wood camera, but believe these are the lighter cameras. I would like the camera to be sturdy, well engineered, not easily breakable. Set up would ideally be quick and not too annoying. I would need it to shoot wide angle and close up (so different lenses and long belows?) I am looking to use it on a tripod. While it would be nice to have a full range of movements, I know this is not possible. It would be great to have as many as possible, but I understand that I need to compromise somewhere! I would say weight is most important to me although I willing to overlook this by a pound or more if this will give me a better all around camera. Sometimes I shoot in situations with a bunch of people or at unusual gatherings and settings so the camera should not be too flimsy. (basically it looks as though I am trying to find a dream camera that just does not exist. Honestly, though, I just want to find the best light weight camera)
    I am not looking to break the bank but am willing to spend up if need be. I am having a hard time trying to tell which of these cameras would be best for me and distinguishing the pros and cons of each. If you have any other help, thoughts, wisdom, advice, and suggestions that would be incredible!

    again thank you so much for being so kind and helpful
    Based on those requirements the Shen Hao would be a very good match. If you can get your hands on a clean older Schneider Symmar 150 mm lens you will effectively get three lenses in one to go with it. Using the lens with the front or rear element removed gives you a super tool for portraiture and, with both elements in place, a very fine "standard" lens for 4x5. The Symmar would help you with the quest for keeping things light and compact without sacrificing quality. For wide angle work an Angulon of 90 mm will be fine and you don't need a bag bellows with it on the Shen Hao.

    RR

  9. #19

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    Re: Need expert advice- best light weight folding field camera?

    Dust to dust. Greg Miller uses an 8x10 view camera to photograph Catholics after they are marked with dust on Ash Wednesday. Dust on his negatives did not seem to stop him from turning in great work and winning a Gugghenheim: http://www.gregmiller.com/galleries/.../#.UenasRZxtSo

    Full disclosure, this week, Issy and I were in Richard Rothman's (author of Redwood Saw, great book, check it out!) large format class at the International Center of Photography. Next week, Issy and I are in Richard Renaldi's class on large format street photography class. Google "Touching Strangers" to see Mr. Renaldi's large format work.

    How many wooden 4x5 field cameras weigh under 4 pounds? I just weighed my little Wisner 4x5 and it comes in at 5 pounds, with the Manfrotto quick release plate, which adds a few ounces. I have found the Wisner to be a pretty amazing camera, because of all the movements it affords, as well as because it has 23" of bellows draw, allowing you to shoot long lenses. More information is here: http://www.johndesq.com/jdp/wisner.htm and here: http://www.largeformatphotography.in...ion-technical/ Somewhere, there is a manual for all of the old Wisner cameras. Does somebody have a link?

    I think the prices of the Wisners are kind of depressed because of the horrible business practices of Mr. Wisner, who eventually went out of business. Still, the cameras are terrific and can be picked up at reasonable prices, often around $600.

    Issy, make sure to remind me to let you borrow the plastic replacement ground glass I fashioned when I smashed my ground glass on a trip to France: http://www.largeformatphotography.in...h+large+format The ground glass is the most fragile part of the camera, breaking it should not stop you from shooting.

    I have the spanner wrenches from SK Grimes you need to mount lenses on lens boards, no matter what camera you get. Good luck!

  10. #20
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    Re: Need expert advice- best light weight folding field camera?

    Quote Originally Posted by Otto Seaman View Post
    You "experts" are being unnecessarily bitter and cynical. We should be encouraging new photographers if we want to continue buying good quality film and cameras, as well as simply being generally being nice, decent, generous people. Or at least keep our disappointments and failings to ourselves.

    Large format photography does not have any significant burdens - even some nasty smelling, hungover, disease-riddled, curmudgeons can make some successful pictures with only rudimentary skills. Undoubtedly any young person dedicating her life to photography and going to Yale is going to shoot circles these jealous old men.

    Go for it! The vast majority of photographers don't let minor dust management concerns avert them from making great photos.
    Thank you for that, Otto. Are you saying that the experts here are all "men"?
    "Photography is a marvelous discovery, a science that has attracted the greatest intellects, an art that excites the most astute minds and one that can be practiced by any imbecile." Nadar, 1856

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