Dear manufacturers of handheld LF cameras,
I have a simple proposal that I believe will increase sales of your products among existing large format users.
It is clear that there has long been a need for a handheld 4x5 -- something that can use existing LF lenses and is lightweight enough to take "untethered" photographs. However, not being able to switch a lens from a cone to a lensboard quickly and simply is problematic for many of us as it is often desirable to bring BOTH a camera with movements as well as a handheld body while on a shoot. It would be ideal (IMHO) if you could come up with a bayonet mount for #0 and #1 Copals that would mount to:
- Technica-style lensboards
- your own lens cones with helical focusing mechanisms
...both of which would be machined to receive the bayonet. This way one could bring one set of lenses and two LF bodies (i.e. one handheld and one LF with movements) and switch between the bodies on an as-needed basis. As it is, once you mount and adjust a 75mm lens to a lenscone, it pretty much always stays there even when it would be significantly better to swithc the lens to a view camera to use movements to capture a particular shot. The alternative of course would be to purchase TWO 75mm lenses, but both the cost and the extra weight are undesirable and ultimately unnecessary.
While it is true that one could just as easily bring a lens wrench and switch the lenses manually, it is both tedious and error prone, especially while out in the field. With the bayonet concept, the lens would also be easier to store in a vest or pocket as it could finally be divorced from the square lensboard (yay!). In short, you would be making a new LF lens attachment standard that would work with ANY size lensboard and/or lens cone.
Anyway, I for one would love such a standard feature and its availability would encourage me to opt for a very simple, lightweight handheld as an accessory to my normal view camera to provide a platform for more spontaneous shooting as I saw fit.
Just my two cents.