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Thread: First LF camera - Intrepid or MPP?

  1. #1

    First LF camera - Intrepid or MPP?

    I shoot a lot of portraits - digital and MF film - and would like to get into LF photography. I shoot in the studio but also go out on location a fair bit, so I'm after a 4x5 field camera. As I shoot mostly portraits, I'm not too bothered about loads of movements.

    I'm torn between getting an Intrepid or a MPP Micro Press camera - I've been offered the MPP with a 150mm lens and some film holders for 299.

    I haven't seen the condition of the MPP yet, but I've been told it's good. If the MPP is in good condition, is there any reason to choose the Intrepid over the MPP?

    Any thoughts will be much appreciated!

  2. #2

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    Re: First LF camera - Intrepid or MPP?

    An important question for you to decide is how wowed you are by fine mechanics. The two cameras you name are at the opposite end of that spectrum. I would buy the Intrepid because of the weight, but I'm sure the MPP is a mechanical marvel, which the Intrepid is not.

  3. #3
    Tim Meisburger's Avatar
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    Re: First LF camera - Intrepid or MPP?

    If the MPP is a Mark VIII with a working rangefinder, you might be more comfortable shooting portraits with that.

  4. #4

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    Re: First LF camera - Intrepid or MPP?

    The Micro-Press is not as versatile as the Micro-Technical from MPP. Press cameras were designed to deliver big negatives for newspapers, not table-top catalogue shots. But for portraits, and assuming there are cams for the rangefinder to match the lens, it might be a better choice than a pure ground glass focus design like the Intrepid. If your photography is likely to take you outside and away from easy transport or into landscape work, the Intrepid is lighter and has more movements.

    There are other issues - capacity for long or short focal lengths, comfort using the controls, ease of focus, lens board availability - though subject matter and environment are probably the most dominant in this case.

  5. #5

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    Re: First LF camera - Intrepid or MPP?

    To me, the focal length depends on the type of portraits you plan on making. While 150mm seems fine for full length portraits, for head & shoulders shots, I would go with something longer -- like a 250mm at least, assuming your camera can handle that.

  6. #6

    Re: First LF camera - Intrepid or MPP?

    Hi all,

    Thanks for the replies - all very useful.

    Ideally I'd be using a 250mm - 300mm lens for my portraits, but I was thinking that as the 150mm comes with the MPP then that might be good to get me started for now. The Intrepid obviously doesn't come with a lens, so I'd be looking into investing more from the start if I went that route.

    I've been searching round the net but I can't find the answer - what is the maximum focal length I can put on the MPP?

  7. #7

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    Re: First LF camera - Intrepid or MPP?

    I had a MPP mk8 and it was fab. One more thing to consider is the resale value. If you can buy a new Intrepid for 250 how much are you likely to lose when you come to sell it. I probably wouldn't pay more than 150 for a second hand one but with the MPP the values are likely to remain stable if not increase

  8. #8

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    Re: First LF camera - Intrepid or MPP?

    I was just looking at Micro Press stuff on the web. It appears to be a Pacemaker Speed Graphic done British. If that's the case, its maximum bellows is around 13" or so, which is too short for using it at portrait distances with a 300mm lens. My Crown Graphic works nicely for portraits with a 210mm lens, though, and I wonder why you think you need something a lot longer? Anyway, if you really do, then none of the compact field or press type cameras have enough bellows for what you want to do.

    I think MPP made a technical camera, which would have triple extension bellows (around 18"?) and that would work. However another consideration might be that none of the cameras you have named would close up with a lens like you want to use without removing the lens, nor would the RF couple with a longer lens in many cases, so perhaps the idea is an inefficient one.

    My favorite studio camera (and I only shoot portraits) is a Cambo with a reflex viewer, but that's not portable without a lot of fuss. For out and around I have an old Graflex Crown view camera; it's wood, light, compact, and has 21 inches of bellows! I don't know if there's a British equivalent. A Sinar F might be a good thing for what you want to do, though.

    You might find this instruction book for one of the MPP cameras helpful: http://apate.pl/mpp.pdf

  9. #9

    Re: First LF camera - Intrepid or MPP?

    Quote Originally Posted by mdarnton View Post
    I was just looking at Micro Press stuff on the web. It appears to be a Pacemaker Speed Graphic done British. If that's the case, its maximum bellows is around 13" or so, which is too short for using it at portrait distances with a 300mm lens. My Crown Graphic works nicely for portraits with a 210mm lens, though, and I wonder why you think you need something a lot longer? Anyway, if you really do, then none of the compact field or press type cameras have enough bellows for what you want to do.

    Thanks for your reply, and yes 300mm probably is a bit too long. When shooting digitally I usually shoot at around 70mm, or use 150mm when using my Hasselblad for film portraits, so yes, a 210mm is probably enough for me.

  10. #10
    Lachlan 717
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    Re: First LF camera - Intrepid or MPP?

    I'd get a Speed Graphic simply for its focal plane shutter.

    With this, you will be able to shoot non-shuttered (barrel) lenses accurately.

    Think soft focus, pictorial, triplets etc. that are otherwise a PITA to shoot.
    Lachlan.

    You miss 100% of the shots you never take. -- Wayne Gretzky

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