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Thread: Compact, lightweight 4x5 camera with precise coupled rangefinder and excellent lens

  1. #1

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    Compact, lightweight 4x5 camera with precise coupled rangefinder and excellent lens

    I am in search for a compact 4x5 camera that would be as user friendly as medium format rangefinders. The camera should support grafmatic holders, have a precise coupled rangefinder for critical focusing and an excellent lens, for example Rodenstock 135mm f/5.6 Apo-Sironar-S or Schneider Super Symmar 120mm f5.6. Chamonix Saber comes close, but the rangefinder is not that precise from what I have read. Oh, and a coupled built in light meter would be nice. Essentialy what I want is a Plaubel Makina that shoots 4x5 film instead of 120 roll film. Does something like this exist? Or could I make a custom request to some independent camera manufacturer to make it for me? Thanks.

  2. #2
    IanG's Avatar
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    Re: Compact, lightweight 4x5 camera with precise coupled rangefinder and excellent le

    Closest would be a Super Graphic, Graflex or later Toyo version, no built in meter though.

    Ian

  3. #3
    Drew Bedo's Avatar
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    Re: Compact, lightweight 4x5 camera with precise coupled rangefinder and excellent le

    What about one of the higher-end Polaroid conversions that were such a thing a while back?
    Drew Bedo
    http://www.artsyhome.com/author/drew-bedo




    There are only three types of mounting flanges; too big, too small and wrong thread!

  4. #4

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    Re: Compact, lightweight 4x5 camera with precise coupled rangefinder and excellent le

    Don't know about the grafmatic holders but it seems to me you're looking for Linhof MT, especially with your funding for a custom made camera.

  5. #5

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    Re: Compact, lightweight 4x5 camera with precise coupled rangefinder and excellent le

    Chamonix saber is your best bet, i have one, the rangefinder is pretty well calibrated, esp. If not trying to shoot wide open. Shooting at f/8-f/16, i never have any problems.

    The crown/speed graphic is probably the best 2nd choice, with a kalart rangefinder it can be calibrated to be spot-on even with a xenotar or aero ektar wide open at minimum focus distance, which is about as tough a requirement as you can get.

  6. #6

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    Re: Compact, lightweight 4x5 camera with precise coupled rangefinder and excellent le

    Ed, the OP specified several lenses of which he seems to want to use one, so in principle a Pacemaker Graphic with Kalart would be fine for him. But people change their minds and a Kalart can be calibrated for only one lens. Changing a lens in the field is easy, recalibrating a Kalart in the field isn't. A Linhof or a Horseman seems a safer bet than a Pacemaker Graphic with a Kalart even though one would serve the OP's immediate need well enough.

  7. #7
    Small town, South Carolina, US
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    Re: Compact, lightweight 4x5 camera with precise coupled rangefinder and excellent le

    I agree that a Pacemaker Graphic would be a perfectly good and adequate choice. Also the Super Graphic, Meridian, Linhof etc. The Beseler 4x5 (look it up on Google) fits the criteria perfectly except for the meter but they are very rare. I have one but have never used it.

  8. #8

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    Re: Compact, lightweight 4x5 camera with precise coupled rangefinder and excellent le

    Depends on how much weight the OP puts on the original requirements, which include "compact" and "light." The Linhofs are not light cameras. The various Graphics and Kalarts are not compact. (I know this is all relative, but I am taking the OP at his/her word.) The only cameras that qualify with very little compromise to the specs are the Chamonix Saber, and some of the Polaroid conversions. What it really comes down to is that there is no camera which exactly meets all the specs, so the OP has to decide where to compromise.

  9. #9

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    Re: Compact, lightweight 4x5 camera with precise coupled rangefinder and excellent le

    Quote Originally Posted by rfesk View Post
    I agree that a Pacemaker Graphic would be a perfectly good and adequate choice. Also the Super Graphic, Meridian, Linhof etc. The Beseler 4x5 (look it up on Google) fits the criteria perfectly except for the meter but they are very rare. I have one but have never used it.
    The Wista RF is smaller and lighter then the Linhof and has a fully coupled RF/VF for 135, 150 and 180 lenses.

  10. #10
    8x10, 5x7, 4x5, et al Leigh's Avatar
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    Re: Compact, lightweight 4x5 camera with precise coupled rangefinder and excellent le

    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Fromm View Post
    Changing a lens in the field is easy, recalibrating a Kalart in the field isn't.
    For anyone interested, here are the cal instructions for the Kalart (warning: 36Megabyte pdf):
    http://www.atwaterkent.info/Images/Kalart_instr.pdf

    - Leigh

    Note there is at least one other version of the Kalart rangefinder.
    If you believe you can, or you believe you can't... you're right.

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