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Thread: Calling out Toyo VX 125 owners

  1. #1

    Calling out Toyo VX 125 owners

    I'm interested in getting one of these intriguing machines, but am still not completly sure. Is there an owner in the So. California area that wouldn't mind me coming over to take a look at theirs? As I'm sure all of you have experienced, all the reviews in the world are no substitute for 5 minutes of hands-on examination.

    Or anyone see one used for sale in a shop? Or at least out of its box so I can try it out? Other forums to try?

    TIA!! Jeff

  2. #2
    Jack Flesher's Avatar
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    Calling out Toyo VX 125 owners

    Hi Jeff:

    I have one, but may be a bit too far North for you in Silicon Valley...

    It's a relatively recent acquisition for me, but FWIW, so far I like it -- a LOT.
    Jack Flesher

    www.getdpi.com

  3. #3

    Calling out Toyo VX 125 owners

    Thanks for your quick reply, Jack. I will hit you up if I'm ever traveling in the area.

    Glad to hear another positive review. I really love the design of the camera, and the whole modular system. I just need to see how the movements feel, and how rigid the standards are.

    Jeff

  4. #4

    Calling out Toyo VX 125 owners

    Jeff contacted me off list and I emailed him this response:

    I had the Toyo A-II previously but was not all that pleased with it. The VX is a great setup as long as you don't shoot big tele. It will handle a 360 standard or a 400 tele lens. It's great with WA. My 75mm is on a flat board and I get plenty of movement. I've been told it will take a 58mm on a flat board. The standard bellows is very flexible. I use a Toyo to Technica lens board adapter so all my lenses are on the small Technika boards. The camera is very compact and small when collapsed. Only problem is stiffness. The versatile and light collapsing rail on the camera has some flex in it. You have to be careful when doing long exposures. It's not sloppy or jiggley but has a tad of flex to is. A lot of my exposures are in the half minute range and I don't even bother to shoot in the wind. Wind would be a problem with this camera if shooting over 4 sec or so.

    It's very fast to set up and easy to get focused. You need to see one before you jump in. It's an innovative design. You either love it or hate it. I got mine mint for $2200. I would still rather have an Arca Swiss but the one I want would be $5k.

    * * * * *

    Just in case anybody else out there is interested.

    Jack,

    What's your take on the flexing of the rail that I mention above ... since you have one?

  5. #5

    Calling out Toyo VX 125 owners

    Thanks for your reply, Scott. Glad you found this post, though I wanted to be sure to reach you, and so sent an email.

    I don't use long lenses, so it's not an issue for me. 210 might be the longest, and even that would be focused pretty far out. In fact, a big plus for this camera is that it seems to me to be a good one to handle both 4x5 and 6x45 format digital backs. I figure I can use a 35 or 47mm digital lens, and get all the movements I'll ever need. Someone stop me if I'm misguided.

    Too bad the rail isn't sturdier, but I can always use my Toyo G rail and block if the stability is needed. I love the interchangability of the whole Toyo system. What I am concerned with, though, is rigidity of the standards. If I grab the tops of the standards on my G, and gently bounce them inward and apart, they flex maybe 2mm. This is stiff enough on a heavy camera like that, but might be too much on the lightweight VX. On a Canham I looked at, it was about 3-4mm, and on a Technika, it was 0 in back and less than 1mm in front. I guess the VX would need the rail collapsed to make a fair comparison of the standards themselves, but how sturdy would you say they are? Any other cameras you can compare it to?

    Thanks again guys,
    Jeff

  6. #6

    Calling out Toyo VX 125 owners

    Hi again Jeff,

    The standards are very steady against the force vector you describe. The movement that bothers me in this camera is vectored at 90 degrees to the rail. If you tap either standard at the top corner with the fingers of your hand, both standards will bounce back and forrth three or for times maybe three millimeters. It's a little mysterious where this flex comes from. It's a combination of the rail, the mount and my Kirk ballhead. Add the three together and they equal a fault. Though it bugs me it has never ruined a shot. I'd really be stuck though if I forgot my cable realease with this camera.

  7. #7
    Jack Flesher's Avatar
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    Calling out Toyo VX 125 owners

    Hi Scott:

    I had read that portion of your review before I bought mine and was thus wary of going with the VX125 in the first place. Fortunately my local camera store had (and still has) a display model on the shelf for me to look at before I bought.

    For whatever reason I did not find any inordinate amounts of flex as you described in the store's sample, so I bought the used one I had found. When it arrived this was the first thing I tested and again, nothing bothersome. All I can figure is possibly yours was loose somewhere or perhaps I am not as critical as you.

    On a side note, I think it was you who also remaked on the zero-detents being too agressive to allow small adjustments. Again, neither the store copy or mine are this way -- the detents are present and positive, but I can easily crank in minute amounts of tilt without any trouble while remaining partially within the detent's spring effect.

    Perhaps both of these issues were addressed by Toyo with subsequent production runs of the camera?

    ~~~

    Further comments, FWIW:

    I find all the geared movements smooth and positive and both swing and tilt easy to implement. The knobs are all conveniently located and very easy to use even while wearing thin gloves -- a trait I relish with my extra large fingers and hands

    If I have a gripe with the VX125 it is the standard bellows/rail extension limitation of just over 300mm -- but at least I am comfortable with its rigidity fully extended. By contrast, my Technikardan could focus a 58XL and 450 Fuji C at infinity using the same bellows, but it was extremely flimsy so as to be near useless when extended for the 450.

    Finally set-up. In short, I have never used a camera faster to set up in the field. The Toyo resides in my pack ready to go, with both end extensions and a lens mounted. I can have the camera on my tripod, extended, zeroed and ready to focus in under 30 seconds. Here is a shot of the camera as it rides in my f64 pack:

    Jack Flesher

    www.getdpi.com

  8. #8

    Calling out Toyo VX 125 owners

    Hi Jack,

    Thanks for the response. I carry my camera pretty much as you do except that I don't keep the rail extensions on it as the 210 is the longest lens i use. Having only three lenses I have memorized the precise setting for zeroing each lens at more or less hyperfocal distance. The fact that the camera has three basic positions makes this easy. I'm ready to fine focus for most shots without ever looking at the gg. I have little notes tucked away for myself if I forget. ;-)

  9. #9
    Jack Flesher's Avatar
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    Calling out Toyo VX 125 owners

    Good points Scott! I am not quite to that level of proficiency with my VX yet, but get pretty close out of the gate with my two main lenses -- I'm sure I'll get to your level of proficiency with more time.

    One thing for sure, as users of this camera we seem to be in a fraternity of fairly limited membership
    Jack Flesher

    www.getdpi.com

  10. #10

    Calling out Toyo VX 125 owners

    Great posts, guys. Nice info.

    Jack, not sure if I heard where you are from and thereby where this camera store with the one on display might be.

    Just got done calling every pro shop in Southern California, and no one has one, even in used or rental =(

    Sounds like I may have to jump in sight unseen. At least these cameras seem to be holding their value, in case I change my mind!

    Thanks again,
    Jeff

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