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Thread: Recommendations for a 4x5 field camera

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Sep 2014
    Location
    Norway
    Posts
    12

    Recommendations for a 4x5 field camera

    Hi everybody.
    In the near future I plan on stepping down from my 8x10 monorail to a 4x5 field camera.
    I don't know much about what's out there, so I am looking for some suggestions.

    I want it to be high quality and lightweight.
    About 1200 USD is probably my top dollar for camera only, but if it's cheaper that's great.

    I appreciate any suggestions!
    Thanks!

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Location
    Nashville
    Posts
    394

    Re: Recommendations for a 4x5 field camera

    I tried several wooden and metal field cameras and found they were finicky and lacked a full range of movements. I settled on a Technikardan. It is not much bigger and certainly more versatile. If you are used to the versatility of a monorail, it is something you should consider.

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Sep 2014
    Location
    Norway
    Posts
    12

    Re: Recommendations for a 4x5 field camera

    The Technikardan looks really nice, but I don't think it's what I'm looking for.
    If I have decent movements on the front standard, I'm a happy camper.

  4. #4
    2 Bit Hack
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Posts
    937

    Re: Recommendations for a 4x5 field camera

    This is one of my thread from a few years back when I also was shopping. The comments may be helpful.
    http://www.largeformatphotography.in.../t-111563.html
    I ended up with a Zone VI which I did not get to use much before I managed to damage it. It goes to Richard Ritter in then next week or two.
    I ended up hauling around a 4x5 Horseman monorail on my last trip after the Zone VI was damaged. There was a large advantage of full and geared movements on the Horseman as apposed to the slip and miss of a wooden field camera. Though the price is bulk and weight. I was not going hiking with a full metal 4x5 monorail.
    Good luck on your search.
    Regards

    Marty

  5. #5

    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Syracuse, NY
    Posts
    212

    Re: Recommendations for a 4x5 field camera

    I've been using the Shen-Has HZX 4x5 camera for about eight years, and have been very pleased. Sturdy, fairly lightweight, with a nice range of movements. I do a lot of documentation projects, with locations that often pose a bit of a challenge, and it has withstood the rigors with aplomb. From what I see on Badger Graphic's website, it is now listed at just under $1100, which is a pretty good rise since I bought mine in 2010.

    Bruce

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    La Luz del Oeste, Albuquerque NM
    Posts
    418

    Re: Recommendations for a 4x5 field camera

    I have been using the latest model 45N-2 from Chamonix and I am quite pleased with its operation and its weight. 1550 grams on my scale plus or minus 2 grams.
    Peter Collins

    On the intent of the First Amendment: The press was to serve the governed, not the governors --Opinion, Hugo Black, Judge, Supreme Court, 1971 re the "Pentagon Papers."

  7. #7
    Joel Edmondson
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Yatesville, Georgia
    Posts
    232

    Re: Recommendations for a 4x5 field camera

    Wista 45SP is (despite its' limitations) a pretty versatile and sturdy field camera. Not great with lenses less than 90mm unless you use the optional bag bellows and the maximum focal length (in standard configuration) is around 300mm which will get you to about 12 feet. These comments notwithstanding it is quick to set up, has good movements ( rise on front, tilt, swing and shift as well; tilt and swing with "micro-swing" on rear. The VX is essentially the same camera without the micro-swing feature. Movements lock down well and are convenient to use. The Toyo AX series is fairly similar though with somewhat less movement range. Available with rotating back (the Wista also has this) which I personally am not a fan of. I used wooden folders for many years but don't consider them great despite the fact that there are some good ones available. I used a Canham DLC for a long time and it is perhaps the most versatile 4x5 I ever owned - never had any problems with the "unsteadiness" that some complain about - but I now use only the Wista and a couple of lenses that I am really fond of. If you search, the Wista has a lot of options but (1) they are pretty expensive, (2) they can be very cumbersome and time-consuming to use and (3) are difficult to find used (unlike the cameras which seem to be plentiful).
    Joel

  8. #8

    Join Date
    Sep 1998
    Location
    GA
    Posts
    11,113

    Re: Recommendations for a 4x5 field camera

    Quote Originally Posted by AJ Edmondson View Post
    Wista 45SP is (despite its' limitations) a pretty versatile and sturdy field camera. Not great with lenses less than 90mm unless you use the optional bag bellows and the maximum focal length (in standard configuration) is around 300mm which will get you to about 12 feet. These comments notwithstanding it is quick to set up, has good movements ( rise on front, tilt, swing and shift as well; tilt and swing with "micro-swing" on rear. The VX is essentially the same camera without the micro-swing feature. Movements lock down well and are convenient to use. The Toyo AX series is fairly similar though with somewhat less movement range. Available with rotating back (the Wista also has this) which I personally am not a fan of. I used wooden folders for many years but don't consider them great despite the fact that there are some good ones available. I used a Canham DLC for a long time and it is perhaps the most versatile 4x5 I ever owned - never had any problems with the "unsteadiness" that some complain about - but I now use only the Wista and a couple of lenses that I am really fond of. If you search, the Wista has a lot of options but (1) they are pretty expensive, (2) they can be very cumbersome and time-consuming to use and (3) are difficult to find used (unlike the cameras which seem to be plentiful).
    Joel
    If you add the longer rails to a Wista the maximum lens is much longer then a 300mm.

  9. #9

    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Massachusetts USA
    Posts
    7,959

    Re: Recommendations for a 4x5 field camera

    How much bellows extension do you need ?

  10. #10

    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Posts
    998

    Re: Recommendations for a 4x5 field camera

    Crown or speed graphic, Meridian 45, and the Canham DLC all come to mind, in addition to what's mentioned above.

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