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Thread: lightweight 4x5

  1. #1

    lightweight 4x5

    I would like to solicit opinions from those who do a large part of their photography in the field with 4x5 or 5x7. I realize a lot of opinions have been aired in previous forums on this topic but after studying the forums for a week, I still feel the need for some advice.

    I have been a serious amateur for over 50 years, a pro many years ago, and lately quite serious about being a much better photographer, so I can sell a few "fine art" prints which will allow me to write off the less profitable areas of the work. I do not rely on photography for a living.

    Cameras owned: speed graphic, Linhof tech IV, Shen Hao, Wisner Tech Field, Ebony SV45TE, and several medium format and 35mm. I tried out a Wisner pocket expedition 5x7 but sent it back.

    I now have a Wisner Tech field 4x5, which is ok but heavy and has really too many features for landscape work that I do. I will probably keep it, for decoration if nothing else-it is beautiful.

    I know all of Kerry's postings almost by heart, and MIGHT try the ARCA F line but am put off by the weight. The Toho is attractive, but no graflok style back, which keeps one from using Horseman roll film holders.

    What I would really respond to is a camera that I can carry in a shoulder bag with a couple of Graflock six shot holders, a light meter and an extra lens. for really long hikes I have a big f64 pack. The graflok back is appealing for the rollfilm holder aspect. The Crown Graphic I have will almost fit the bill, but really limited in movements and bellows extension. Lens use is from 90mm to at least 300, hopefully 450mm.

    Price is not a deciding factor, but obviously one need to have some common sense. if available on the used market, so much the better.

    I would really appreciate your help.

  2. #2
    Moderator Ralph Barker's Avatar
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    lightweight 4x5

    You might take a look at the Toyo 45AX field camera, a metal folder that has a Graflok back. I've been quite happy with mine in the field.

  3. #3

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    lightweight 4x5

    Herb: How about a Canham DLC? Very hard to find used and I wouldn't necessarily recommend it as a first view camera, but for someone with your experience, it would be fine. Really nice bellows, relatively light weight, well made, sturdy enough, graflok back, good focussing screen, very nicely made and reasonably priced lens boards.

  4. #4

    lightweight 4x5

    I would agree with Kevin's recommendation and would extend it to include Canham's metal 5x7 with a 4x5 back that would be easy to carry into the field, would accept the graflok back with the 4x5 reducing back and would also accept the 6x17 Canham roll film back. After using the Linhof, you will find the light weight Canham a bit spongy in the rear of the camera as clearly it is not as rigid as the Tech IV, but it produces razor sharp photographs time and time again. It is simply a trade off to make the camera lighter weight and find a distinct market nich which you clarified in your post as desirable. The 5x7 will easily handle a 450mm lens.

    Cheers!

  5. #5
    Whatever David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
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    lightweight 4x5

    It doesn't get much lighter than the Gowland PocketView--


    http://www.petergowland.com/camera


    He may have one with a longer bellows, but my front-moves PocketView will let me use a 360mm tele or a lens as short as 65mm on a flat board.

    I'm usually using the 4x5" PocketView (I also have an 8x10") as a companion to another camera. For bird photography, for instance, I might be carrying an F-1N with a 600/4.5 lens, and I'll bring the Gowland in the pocket of my ScopePak with a 135mm convertible lens, maybe a 90mm Angulon, and a Grafmatic or two. In that situation, I'll usually just use the F-1N as a meter, but if I want an ultralight meter, I use a Gossen Digisix. Alternately I might travel with a folding medium format rangefinder camera for handheld use, and bring the Gowland along for landscapes and architecture where I can use a tripod.

    The Toho Shimo could function in the same way.

  6. #6

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    lightweight 4x5

    I'll second the recommendation of the Canham DLC (4x5) or MQC (5x7) -- the latter can be used with two reducing backs --one for 4x5 and the other is the Canham 6x17cm rollfilm holder.

  7. #7

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    lightweight 4x5

    You've described a Tachihara. Weighs four pounds, all the movements you need for the kind of work you do. I used to do exactly what you say you want to do - carry it around in a shoulder bag (mine was made for a 35mm camera) with a couple holders, two small lenses, BTZS dark cloth that folds up into a small size, and a light meter. There's a review of the Tachihara on my web site www.ellisgalleries.com if you're interested.
    Brian Ellis
    Before you criticize someone, walk a mile in their shoes. That way when you do criticize them you'll be
    a mile away and you'll have their shoes.

  8. #8

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    lightweight 4x5

    The Tachihara is a nice little camera, and very light weight. Nice ground glass too. Going from memory it will barely focus a 300mm lens at infinity, unless I'm mistaken.

  9. #9

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    lightweight 4x5

    I love my Tachihara for all the reasons above, but I'm pretty sure it does not have the Graflok back you are looking for. I'm surprised that the Ebony or the Shen Hao you own (owned?) don't fit fit what you are looking for.

  10. #10

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    lightweight 4x5

    Ebony RW45. Exactly what you described, and if you liked the SV45TE except for the weight and extra movements, you should also like the RW45. Beats the Tachihara and Shen Hao for range of lenses, cheaper than the Canham, and very rigid. Weight: 3-3/4 lbs according to the Ebony website. At about $1500, one of the best buys there is.

    Steve

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