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

  1. #11
    IanG's Avatar
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    Re: Compact, lightweight 4x5 camera with precise coupled rangefinder and excellent le

    As someone who uses a compact relatively light wight 5x4 camera hand held quite frequently I don;t use the range finder, I often use a touch of front tilt so thatmeans no rangefinder. A Poloroid conversion was heavier than my Super Graphic, I looked at one last month.

    I've been out with ,members of this fourum and can work faster composing and focussing on the GG screen, and then shoot while they decide what to use. You have to know your equipment.

    Ian

  2. #12
    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 IanG View Post
    I don;t use the range finder, I often use a touch of front tilt so thatmeans no rangefinder.
    Hi Ian,

    You can always do the rangefinder with the bad flat, perhaps with the entire camera tilted if need be.

    Then do the back vertical and drop the bed as needed. The focus won't change.

    - Leigh
    If you believe you can, or you believe you can't... you're right.

  3. #13

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

    I have two handhelds with rangefinders, a Crown Graphic with top mount rangefinder and a Polaroid 900 Alpenhaus conversion. Both have Xenar 135mm lenses so photos are pretty much the same from both.

    The Crown weighs 5.234 lbs
    The Polaroid weighs 4.154 lbs
    not exactly lightweight, but lighter than my Cambo

    The top mount rangefinder on the Crown has different cams for different lenses, I can change a cam quicker than a lens board. There is one window for the rangefinder. you then compose through a view finder or sports finder. The Polaroid has a single viewfinder for focus and composition, it automatically adjusts the view based on focus distance (parallax?). For handheld I prefer the Polaroid, if I was to do it over again I would opt for a 110b as I like the focus knob on it better than the one on the 900. They both use the same rangefinder. The Polaroid rangefinder can be calibrated for different lenses, I believe its easier than calibrating a Kalart but i haven't personally tried either one.

    You can get a Crown with a lens for about a third the price of the Alpenhause. My Crown had lost all the balls and spacers from the rangefinder and had no cam. It took me about a year to find all the parts and get it functional. Alpenhause occasionally show up on this forum and eBay.
    You can't teach an old dog new tech's!

  4. #14

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

    Crown/Speed Graphics, Wista RF's and Linhof Technikas are a bit heavy and awkward to shoot handheld compared to medium format cameras. You may get a sharper image shooting a Fuji 6X7/6x9 rangefinder or Mamiya 7 handheld. I know I would.

  5. #15
    Drew Bedo's Avatar
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    Re: Compact, lightweight 4x5 camera with precise coupled rangefinder and excellent le

    JNmoyd: Whatever you decide on . . .please let us know what you get and how you uset it.
    Drew Bedo
    http://www.artsyhome.com/author/drew-bedo




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

  6. #16

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

    My 4x5 rangefinder experience is a Linhof Super Technika V and a Razzle Polaroid 4x5 conversion. Yes the Linhof camera is heavy but a great performer. I had two lenses with cams, a 150mm and a 270mm Tele Arton. I had a 75mm which had fantastic depth of field so didn't require a cam and easy focus on the ground glass. I foolishly sold the outfit through the LFPF when I went digital. I am now trying to rebuild a complete LF film system.

    Portraits are my preference so the 270mm with rangefinder focusing was just brilliant.

    The Razzle 4x5 Polaroid conversion was also very heavy and not as easy to use as the Linhof imho. I always used a tripod with both cameras.

  7. #17
    Corran's Avatar
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    Re: Compact, lightweight 4x5 camera with precise coupled rangefinder and excellent le

    Contact any of the guys doing custom Polaroid conversions and send them the lens you want to use on the camera. The RF is plenty accurate. Make sure you get a Polaroid 900 or 110B (possibly others that I'm not remembering) with the combined viewfinder and rangefinder, which is way quicker and easier than a split RF/VF like most anything else. Be prepared to pay a decent amount for the pleasure but there is nothing else like it. I have an Alpenhaus Polaroid 900 with 135mm Xenotar...however, I use it less these days because I ended up getting a Linhof Master Technika. The MT is your other option. The raison d'Ítre of the MT is that you can use a variety of lenses and have super accurate focus with all of them. You just might have to spend a bundle on getting the custom cams made for whatever lenses you want to use. The MT also has the option for a nice ergonomic grip, and the accessory viewfinder (which costs a lot too...) is super accurate when dialed in properly, but is still separate from the rangefinder which is a pain. It's also probably double the weight of the Polaroid.

    If you cheap out, a good Crown/Speed Graphic works okay and you can calibrate the RF, but it's a pain in the butt and generally not all that accurate close-up. If you want to shoot handheld wide-open and close up, this isn't the option for you.

    AFAIK, a built-in meter has never been a thing on 4x5.
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  8. #18

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Corran View Post
    Contact any of the guys doing custom Polaroid conversions and send them the lens you want to use on the camera. The RF is plenty accurate. Make sure you get a Polaroid 900 or 110B (possibly others that I'm not remembering) with the combined viewfinder and rangefinder, which is way quicker and easier than a split RF/VF like most anything else. Be prepared to pay a decent amount for the pleasure but there is nothing else like it. I have an Alpenhaus Polaroid 900 with 135mm Xenotar...however, I use it less these days because I ended up getting a Linhof Master Technika. The MT is your other option. The raison d'Ítre of the MT is that you can use a variety of lenses and have super accurate focus with all of them. You just might have to spend a bundle on getting the custom cams made for whatever lenses you want to use. The MT also has the option for a nice ergonomic grip, and the accessory viewfinder (which costs a lot too...) is super accurate when dialed in properly, but is still separate from the rangefinder which is a pain. It's also probably double the weight of the Polaroid.

    If you cheap out, a good Crown/Speed Graphic works okay and you can calibrate the RF, but it's a pain in the butt and generally not all that accurate close-up. If you want to shoot handheld wide-open and close up, this isn't the option for you.

    AFAIK, a built-in meter has never been a thing on 4x5.
    Cramming the Linhof is not exactly a "bundle" as the cam, cutting the cam, installing the infinity stops and the matching focusing scale is somewhere around $300.00 per lens.

  9. #19
    Corran's Avatar
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    Re: Compact, lightweight 4x5 camera with precise coupled rangefinder and excellent le

    $300 per lens is a bundle in my book, especially if one goes and gets several done. Yes I know the Master Technika costs almost $10k new, so it's not much compared to that cost...but it also can be found used for 1/10th that. In fact the MT might have the worst resale value, percentage-wise, of any LF camera, compared to the new price.

    I have two lenses I want to cam but have been putting it off for a while due to cost.
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    All comments and thoughtful critique welcome

  10. #20
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: Compact, lightweight 4x5 camera with precise coupled rangefinder and excellent le

    Lightweight is relative to other features and what kind of focal lengths lenses you need. Horseman has some beautifully machined 4x5 as well as dedicated MF
    technical cameras with rangefinder and rollfilm-back options, conspicuously lighter in weight than Technikas, but more limited in focal length options. They are a relative bargain.

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