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Thread: Linhof - which one to buy?

  1. #11

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    Re: Linhof - which one to buy?

    Just a short additional note to my Post at #7 above, and further to Mr. Salomon's comments (whose info and opinions about anything Linhof should be considered definitive). My Master Technika Classic kit came with 3 lenses that included unique rangefinder keys, but (I confess) the few times I tried to use those lenses with my MT Classic's rangefinder I was underwhelmed by the experience. This, even though my 35mm Leica M and MF Mamiya 7ii cameras both rely on rangefinders for focusing. My several years of experience using my MT Classic has been with lenses spanning 75mm to the Fujinon 600T (which requires 39cm bellows draw for subjects at infinity), and using a focusing loupe on the ground glass to be sure everything is in proper focus while necessary lens movements are applied (sometimes significant). For my LF landscape photography I don't know why or when I would need to rely on the rangefinder feature of the Linhof MT Classic - but each to his/her own if it will help.
    ... JMOwens (Mt. Pleasant, Wisc. USA)

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  2. #12

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    Re: Linhof - which one to buy?

    Interesting that people assume that what's being asked is about the Technika series. When I think of the wonderful cameras I've used, the Bi comes to the top of my list, and the one I would buy if I had all the money in the world would be the Technikardan, not one of the pressish cameras.

  3. #13

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    Re: Linhof - which one to buy?

    Quote Originally Posted by mdarnton View Post
    Interesting that people assume that what's being asked is about the Technika series. When I think of the wonderful cameras I've used, the Bi comes to the top of my list, and the one I would buy if I had all the money in the world would be the Technikardan, not one of the pressish cameras.
    My choice would also be the TKS for most work, especially outdoors or architecture. But most people had commented on the Technika and the OP never indicated that that was not what he wanted.

  4. #14

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    Re: Linhof - which one to buy?

    When using a Technika (my own experience is a 2003-built MTC), an additional aspect is that a number of the smaller lenses between 120mm and 150mm focal lengths ([Apo-]Symmar as well as [Apo-]Sironar N or S) can remain attached to the camera when folded. This makes a Technika & 'normal' or moderate wideangle lens a very compact (yet not a lightweight) package. I second (third, that is ...) that Technikardan may be worth a thought, too. A bit less compact than a Technika, it has extended movements while being less bulky and (un-)folding quicker than a rail camera.

  5. #15

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    Re: Linhof - which one to buy?

    Bob will blow a gasket..but I love the tech III... it's smaller, cheaper and even though parts are not available.. buy one that works..they are built like a tank and unless you dropkick it off a cliff..it will outlive you

    of course I never use the rangefinder - so matching cams are not an issue

  6. #16
    Corran's Avatar
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    Re: Linhof - which one to buy?

    Most everything has been said but allow to chime in. You need to define what it is you are looking for.

    If you just plan to shoot in a studio environment, a good monorail will be all you really need, and so leaving aside the Technika you should compare the commonly available ones and the Linhof models to see what you want.

    If you are looking for a field camera to pack and take on the trail, the Linhof Technika will have a massive weight penalty compared to any wooden camera for the slight increase in rigidity and precision. When I bought my Master I thought I would sell my Chamonix but after hoofing it around a bit, I absolutely did not and rarely take the Technika out on the trail unless I have a good reason.

    The Technika series is the only LF camera that can readily use multiple lenses with its rangefinder quickly, easily, and accurately. You do have to use separate RF and VF so it's not quite as intuitive or quick as a modern Leica but it's still pretty easy to use, along with the newer Linhof VF as long as you are meticulous about the parallax control. In my experience, having bought and used Technika III, IV, V, and Master cameras, it is easiest and cheapest to find a camera set with the lenses you want to use with the RF at the get-go, rather than sending things out to get calibrated later. Piecing together a kit can be hard.

    As alluded earlier, technically only the Tech V and later can interchange RF cams, but sometimes you get lucky. The cam for my 75mm Biogon is for a different lens and from a Tech IV but works fine on my lens on my Master, but there's a bit more tolerance with a wide-angle.

    There's nothing quite like a Technika but if you really don't "need" the capabilities, I wouldn't bother.
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    All comments and thoughtful critique welcome

  7. #17

    Re: Linhof - which one to buy?

    +10.

    If the range finder feature is not needed, there are few real world user reasons for a Technika. Having previously owned the V and Master in 4x5 then a 5x7-13-18cm V, there is little to recommend them unless the range finder feature is really needed. If a lens needs to be cammed to the given Technica range finder, it is highly speciality work for the cam to track over the entire focus range and match the specific lens. This is why if one really wants a system like this, purchase the Technica system with matching lenses and cams for that specific Technica.

    Using really wide angle lenses is a hassle as the bed needs to be dropped and if the focal length is really short the wide angle focusing device must be used, adding to this camera movement is extremely limited.

    Build quality is a good, but in many ways should not be the deciding factor as the camera's ability to provide movement and ability to accommodate a broad variety of optics is often far more important then instrument precision build. Due to the precise nature of the ways and focusing mechanism, they can develop problems with dirt and stuff getting caught in these precision mechanisms.... a problem wood and mindfully constructed metal field cameras can avoid.

    As previously mentioned, best to figure out the kind of images to be created, then choose the camera-optics system as needed.


    Bernice




    Quote Originally Posted by Corran View Post
    Most everything has been said but allow to chime in. You need to define what it is you are looking for.

    If you just plan to shoot in a studio environment, a good monorail will be all you really need, and so leaving aside the Technika you should compare the commonly available ones and the Linhof models to see what you want.

    If you are looking for a field camera to pack and take on the trail, the Linhof Technika will have a massive weight penalty compared to any wooden camera for the slight increase in rigidity and precision. When I bought my Master I thought I would sell my Chamonix but after hoofing it around a bit, I absolutely did not and rarely take the Technika out on the trail unless I have a good reason.

    The Technika series is the only LF camera that can readily use multiple lenses with its rangefinder quickly, easily, and accurately. You do have to use separate RF and VF so it's not quite as intuitive or quick as a modern Leica but it's still pretty easy to use, along with the newer Linhof VF as long as you are meticulous about the parallax control. In my experience, having bought and used Technika III, IV, V, and Master cameras, it is easiest and cheapest to find a camera set with the lenses you want to use with the RF at the get-go, rather than sending things out to get calibrated later. Piecing together a kit can be hard.

    As alluded earlier, technically only the Tech V and later can interchange RF cams, but sometimes you get lucky. The cam for my 75mm Biogon is for a different lens and from a Tech IV but works fine on my lens on my Master, but there's a bit more tolerance with a wide-angle.

    There's nothing quite like a Technika but if you really don't "need" the capabilities, I wouldn't bother.

  8. #18

    Re: Linhof - which one to buy?

    Technikardan, been there used this, lacks rigidity. The 4x5 version is the problem offering, the 2x3-6x9 is good in this aspect.

    IMO, over priced for what it has to offer.


    Bernice



    Quote Originally Posted by mdarnton View Post
    I would buy if I had all the money in the world would be the Technikardan, not one of the pressish cameras.

  9. #19

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    Re: Linhof - which one to buy?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bernice Loui View Post
    +10.

    If the range finder feature is not needed, there are few real world user reasons for a Technika. Having previously owned the V and Master in 4x5 then a 5x7-13-18cm V, there is little to recommend them unless the range finder feature is really needed. If a lens needs to be cammed to the given Technica range finder, it is highly speciality work for the cam to track over the entire focus range and match the specific lens. This is why if one really wants a system like this, purchase the Technica system with matching lenses and cams for that specific Technica.

    Using really wide angle lenses is a hassle as the bed needs to be dropped and if the focal length is really short the wide angle focusing device must be used, adding to this camera movement is extremely limited.

    Build quality is a good, but in many ways should not be the deciding factor as the camera's ability to provide movement and ability to accommodate a broad variety of optics is often far more important then instrument precision build. Due to the precise nature of the ways and focusing mechanism, they can develop problems with dirt and stuff getting caught in these precision mechanisms.... a problem wood and mindfully constructed metal field cameras can avoid.

    As previously mentioned, best to figure out the kind of images to be created, then choose the camera-optics system as needed.


    Bernice
    Bernice, times have changed, several years ago, with the introduction of the Master Technika 2000 and its replacement, the 3000. These models have no rangefinder and instead have a built in extreme wide angle focusing system inside the camera housing. They easily handle lenses down to 45mm simply by mounting them on the proper board.the 2000 has a focus lever for the inside lenses mounted above the front standard when it is in the camera body. The 3000 has a focus knob on the bottom right side of the body.
    With the 3000 there is an additional drop bed position to 90 degrees to make sure the bed is not in the picture. This additional stop position can be added to all 2000 and most MT cameras by the service center. So the 2000 and 3000 probably take the widest range of lenses of any 45 with the same bellows!
    Additionally the Wide Angle Focus Device has been out of production for many years. In its place Linhof now supplies lensboards with helical focusing mounts with focus and DOF scales for lenses from 65 to 45mm for the Master Technika and earlier rangefinder models back to the IV.

  10. #20

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    Re: Linhof - which one to buy?

    Quote Originally Posted by DrTang View Post
    Bob will blow a gasket..but I love the tech III... it's smaller, cheaper and even though parts are not available.. buy one that works..they are built like a tank and unless you dropkick it off a cliff..it will outlive you

    of course I never use the rangefinder - so matching cams are not an issue
    Cams may not be an issue but lack of front tilt on the front standard, probably the single most used movement on a view camera, on the front standard certainly is! The III on had backward tilt on the front standard.
    This means that if you need front tilt you have to tilt the bed. That means that the camera will then dictate the camera position. Rather then allowing the photographer to!

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