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Thread: First Tripod, Loupe, Darkcloth, Meter

  1. #1

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    First Tripod, Loupe, Darkcloth, Meter

    Hello all,

    I just bought my first 4x5 - a Linhof Master Classic. Very excited to get started, but need a few more things.
    Not trying to blow the bank here, but also don't want to get in the habit of reselling/buying stuff.

    What are your recommendations for:

    -Tripod+Head that will comfortably hold the Linhof, but that I can potentially carry around a bit?
    -Loupe?
    -Darkcloth?
    -Meter (incident vs. spot)

    Thank you!

  2. #2
    8x10, 5x7, 4x5, et al Leigh's Avatar
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    Re: First Tripod, Loupe, Darkcloth, Meter

    I use the excellent Sekonic L-558 light meter.
    It does all metering modes, including a great 1 degree spot meter.

    It does flash, and accurately calculates mixed flash/incident exposures.

    It was only available for a couple of years before being replaced by the over-priced 758.

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

  3. #3

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    Re: First Tripod, Loupe, Darkcloth, Meter

    Dark cloth? Sew or have one sewn for you.

    Loupe? Everyone swears by the Toyo. Used ones aren't all that hard to find reasonably priced.
    I have a Silvestri, which is probably overkill, but I like 6x. Most everyone else prefers a lower power.
    FWIW you could even use a Linen Tester like Ron Wisner.
    I steal time at 1/125th of a second, so I don't consider my photography to be Fine Art as much as it is petty larceny.
    I'm not OCD. I'm CDO which is alphabetically correct.

  4. #4

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    Re: First Tripod, Loupe, Darkcloth, Meter

    A proper focusing loupe is, for the vast majority of shooters, 4, 5 or 6x with a focusing eyepiece so you can set it to focus directly on the grain side of the ground glass and has an opaque skirt to block all extraneous light. These were made by several companies, including Rodenstock, Schneider, Wista, Peak, Nikon, etc.. if you wear glasses you want one with long eye relief and a rubber cup around the eyepiece so you don't scratch your glasses.

    Since you bought the MT Classic there is also a Linhof accessory that will eliminate both the dark cloth and a loupe. That is the Linhof Focus Metering Bellows.
    It attaches to the back in place of the Folding Focusing Hood that comes on your camera. It is a bag bellows that folds flat and has a built in eyepiece that has two loupes in it. A fixed 2x one and a screw in 2x one. When used together you have a 4x loupe that will let you concentrate on any area of the gg that is about the diameter of a US quarter. When you unscrew one and use it as a 2x loupe it lets you see the entire gg at 2x magnification. In addition, if you have a Gossen meter with the microscope adapter the adapter will fit into the rubber eyepiece and with the 2x only eyepiece you can then meter the entire gg, any portion of the gg or a spot on the gg about the size of a quarter.

    Additionally, like your Folding Focusing Hood the Focus Metering Bellows is hinged directly to the back and, if desired, it can swing away from the camera to give you access to the gg or Fresnel for, for instance, cleaning, or marking spots on the gg.

    In any case, you should be sure that you have the Fresnel screen installed. There is a small rectangular silver bar attached to the middle screw of the ground glass hold down bar. Simply swing these two bars aside, drop the Fresnel screen on top of the gg with the grooved side facing the ground glass and swing the bars back so they hold the Fresnel in place.

  5. #5
    SE Penna.
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    Re: First Tripod, Loupe, Darkcloth, Meter

    Here is what I use. Pretty satisfied with all of it.

    Meter - Sekonic L758DR
    Loupe - Peak 7x scale loupe
    Darkcloth - large blue bath towel
    Tripod - Bogen 3047 head; can't remember the leg set model

  6. #6
    Drew Bedo's Avatar
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    Re: First Tripod, Loupe, Darkcloth, Meter

    I have used a home made (hand sewen) dark cloth. It has weights sewen into the corners and a few bits of Velcro here and there. Still have it. Works well with my 8x10.

    A few years ago I picked up a BTZS hood for my 4x5, It folds small and keeps the sun off my head and shoulders . . .and doesn't flap like a traditional dark cloth will.

    Loups: I have used a magnifying "Opti-Vizor" (like some jewelers use) and that works. I have used a set of really strong prescription reading glasses, which also works. I now use a nice 5x loupe by Rodenstock.

    A good meter is a must. My first meter was the "Sunny Sixteen" rule. Thisgave good results within the limits of that technique. Next was a Luna Pro which worked well for reflected light (averaging, no spot) readings only. For years now I have used a Minolta IV F which measures incident (ambient and flash) with a dome and reflectedlight with a 9 degree semi-spot attachment. I am comfortable with it, but would get something brand new If I could. Sounds like you can, so go for it.

    Something you didn't mention:
    Changing bag/tent. I have both and both work well. The bag packs small and I have changed 4x5 holders on my lap in the back seat of a car going over Trail Ridge Road. The tent gives plenty of room but is heavier and bulkier to pack. There is a place for both in my photographic life.

    Don't get tangled in getting the optimal kit together. There is no" best" way. Your photography will evolve as you go on and so will the way you work and the tools you use. The important thing is to get out and shoot.
    Last edited by Drew Bedo; 24-Mar-2017 at 18:18.
    Drew Bedo
    http://www.artsyhome.com/author/drew-bedo




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

  7. #7

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    Re: First Tripod, Loupe, Darkcloth, Meter

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Salomon View Post
    A proper focusing loupe is, for the vast majority of shooters, 4, 5 or 6x with a focusing eyepiece so you can set it to focus directly on the grain side of the ground glass and has an opaque skirt to block all extraneous light. These were made by several companies, including Rodenstock, Schneider, Wista, Peak, Nikon, etc.. if you wear glasses you want one with long eye relief and a rubber cup around the eyepiece so you don't scratch your glasses.

    Since you bought the MT Classic there is also a Linhof accessory that will eliminate both the dark cloth and a loupe. That is the Linhof Focus Metering Bellows.
    It attaches to the back in place of the Folding Focusing Hood that comes on your camera. It is a bag bellows that folds flat and has a built in eyepiece that has two loupes in it. A fixed 2x one and a screw in 2x one. When used together you have a 4x loupe that will let you concentrate on any area of the gg that is about the diameter of a US quarter. When you unscrew one and use it as a 2x loupe it lets you see the entire gg at 2x magnification. In addition, if you have a Gossen meter with the microscope adapter the adapter will fit into the rubber eyepiece and with the 2x only eyepiece you can then meter the entire gg, any portion of the gg or a spot on the gg about the size of a quarter.

    Additionally, like your Folding Focusing Hood the Focus Metering Bellows is hinged directly to the back and, if desired, it can swing away from the camera to give you access to the gg or Fresnel for, for instance, cleaning, or marking spots on the gg.

    In any case, you should be sure that you have the Fresnel screen installed. There is a small rectangular silver bar attached to the middle screw of the ground glass hold down bar. Simply swing these two bars aside, drop the Fresnel screen on top of the gg with the grooved side facing the ground glass and swing the bars back so they hold the Fresnel in place.
    That's pretty cool, Bob!
    I steal time at 1/125th of a second, so I don't consider my photography to be Fine Art as much as it is petty larceny.
    I'm not OCD. I'm CDO which is alphabetically correct.

  8. #8

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    Re: First Tripod, Loupe, Darkcloth, Meter

    Quote Originally Posted by Drew Bedo View Post

    Don't get tangled in getting the optimal kit together. Your photography will evolve as you go on and so will the way you work and the tools you use. The important thing is to get out and shoot.
    ^^^this^^^
    I steal time at 1/125th of a second, so I don't consider my photography to be Fine Art as much as it is petty larceny.
    I'm not OCD. I'm CDO which is alphabetically correct.

  9. #9

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    Re: First Tripod, Loupe, Darkcloth, Meter

    This is what I use.

    Meter: Pentax digital spot

    Loupe: Toyo 3.6X

    Darkcloth: Blackjacket

    Tripod: Ries J100 with J250 double tilt head

    I really like my Pentax spot meter but if you are unsure what to use then get what Leigh uses. It does it all.

    The Toyo loupes can only be found used. Another inexpensive alternative would be the Peak with an opaque skirt. An expensive loupe with a focussing eyepiece like Bob suggested are said to be the best. If you have any questions about Linhof then ask Bob. He is the expert!

    I love my Ries tripods and heads but they are expensive and are not as light as carbon fiber which the backpacker crowd prefers.

    If you want a really "dark" dark cloth then you can't beat the Blackjacket ones. They are a bit slower to use though with the arm sleeves. Another nice dark cloth is the BTZS. Of course if you are on a budget a black oversized T-shirt or sweatshirt or even a large dark towel will work. If it were me, I'd look into that Linhof accessory that Bob suggested.

  10. #10

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    Re: First Tripod, Loupe, Darkcloth, Meter

    My advise? Avoid getting into the "NAME GAME" like so many do. As to loupes, there are many. I prefer 7X or 8X for higher magnification and more accurate focusing. Whatever you get, make sure it has an adjustable eyepeice (to focus for YOUR eye) and a neck strap so you will always have it ready.

    For darkcloths, the best is/was the WOODHOOD, but they have not been made in thirty years.

    For meters, here you will need to do some research. There are so many out there and it all depends on what type of metering you want to do. That might change over time. Whatever you do, get a used meter, ; you will save a TON of money. And don't pay attention to anyone's "This is the best". Garbage!!! I use a Minolta meter but it's no better than any other.

    Tripod? Again it will pay to do research and find one that meets your needs. Watch out for weight and look at the tripod features. There are two types of heads: panhead and ballhead. Different strokes for different foks. I've used both and the ball head is smaller, ligher and more flexible. But no matter which you prefer, there are MANY to choose from and there is no BEST model. But in any casae don't get a tripod or head that are bigger than what your camera needs.

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