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Thread: Thinking about Toyo 45AII + Lenses

  1. #1

    Thinking about Toyo 45AII + Lenses

    Hello all. I am new to large format photography, but am extremely well versed with very high end 35mm based digital photography. I've been using a 1DsIII with multi-row pano head to yield high resolution, but I would like to get into large format photography because I am the type that enjoys the process. I've worked with some large format gear so I am familiar with the basics of the movements, etc.

    I'm looking to get a good solid 4x5 field camera along with a high quality wide angle lens (90mm sounds about right). I've done some research and it looks like the Toyo 45AII is a good solid field camera that should last me pretty much forever. I do see one on KEH right now, which looks like a decent setup. Do you guys agree with my research so far, or do you think I should look at a different model?

    Here is my question. If I were to get a 90mm lens for the camera, what are some suggestions for a high quality lens? Would a 90mm require a special lens board for the 45AII? Also, is there any advice that some of you may have to offer regarding the setup I'm describing? I'm looking to use it for landscape, and I really enjoy shooting wide.

    Any info would be greatly appreciated.

  2. #2

    Join Date
    May 2006
    grand rapids

    Re: Thinking about Toyo 45AII + Lenses

    try a search here for 90mm lenses, nikkor, schneider, rodenstock, you can't go wrong.
    search toyo too for past posts. Depending on your style, a recessed board may not be needed.

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    San Rafael, CA

    Re: Thinking about Toyo 45AII + Lenses

    I have, among other cameras and lenses, the pairing you describe: a Toyo 45A plus Nikkor-SW 90 4.5. I have had the lens, at various times, mounted on all four permutations of 110mm (field size) and 158mm (studio size) flat and recessed lens boards.

    The only board which I found unusable was the 110mm recessed; lens controls are nearly hidden and almost unreachable. On the other hand, I had more than adequate movements on the 45A with the flat board.

    Now my 90mm is mounted in a 158mm recessed and I use it on my 45G with a bag bellows to benefit from the full movement potential. If you choose a 90mm f/8 instead of the 4.5 I use, the lens will be somewhat more compact and less restrictive for both mounting and movements.

    More broadly, I am entirely satisfied with the Toyo 45A (any sub-model will do). It is sturdy, simple, quite adjustable for my field needs, and highly modular for accessories and repairs.

    Likewise, I love my Nikkor 90. But I have no basis of comparison since this is the only 90 I've owned.
    Duncan Dwelle

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Dec 2006

    Re: Thinking about Toyo 45AII + Lenses

    I've used one for years, and it is indeed robust and reliable. It will not really handle a lens wider than a 90. A nikkor 90/8 is a great lens for a lightweight wide. You may want to get a toyo recessed lensboard to optimize movement with a 90. Other lens choices are similar offerings from Fujinon, Schneider, or an older 90/8 Super Angulon. Avoid the 6.8 Angulon. Chris Perez has created an invaluable guide at: For ultra wide you may want to consider a camera with an interchangeable bag bellows, or alternatively a dedicated wide angle camera like a Cambo.

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Jan 2005

    Re: Thinking about Toyo 45AII + Lenses

    Welcome to the forum.

    I guess you have read this review, even if it is about the 45A (not the 45A II):

    Seems like a 90mm lens can be used without any problem, but you might need a recessed board for a wider lens, like a 75mm.

    Check out the website of Georg and Verena Popp-Hackner from Austria ( They are using a Toyo Field 45A with lenses down to 75mm.

    Any modern 90mm lens from Schneider, Rodenstock, Nikon or Fujinon gives excellent results. Depending on your preferences (weight, size, filter size, price, brightness on the ground glass, etc.) you can choose between f/8, f/6.8, f/5.6 or even f/4.5 versions. The all have pros and cons, but their image quality is always excellent.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Frisco, Texas

    Re: Thinking about Toyo 45AII + Lenses

    Toyo AII is an excellent choice. KEH is an okay seller. However, someone on this forum might have one for sale for less money. Not me. I already sold mine.

    However, I still have the accessory folding focusing hood (groundglass protector) for the AII. Willing to let it go for a very reasonable price. Let me know if you are interested.

    You'll need to use a recessed lens board in order to get maximum movements from a 90mm lens, due to bellows compression.

    Look for a 90SW from any of the 'big four" lens makers. I like my f8 Nikkor 90SW. It throws a 235mm image circle. More than enough to handle the maximum movement capability of that camera.

  7. #7

    Join Date
    Jun 2002

    Re: Thinking about Toyo 45AII + Lenses

    I'll concur, they are fine cameras. Not ideal for extreme wides or longer lenses but a good, solid workhorse.

    Of course there are a dozen more great cameras and the members here will chime in with various opinions. You can't go wrong with any of the leading, popular contenders, at least for starting out. Once you form some preferences you may swap things around and experiment.

    If I were in your shoes I would watch this forum's for sale section and scoop up an entire outfit from somebody bailing. Those are usually the best deals of all and you can "hit the ground running..." Give it a week or two and something nice is bound to show up.

  8. #8

    Re: Thinking about Toyo 45AII + Lenses

    I have a 45AII with 65, 75 and a 90 for my short lenses. I use the 65 and 75 more than the 90. The 90 and 65 are on recessed boards because I like the extra movement but it is rare that I actually need that much movement. With the 110mm recessed board there is no room for your fingers so I have a pointed piece of aluminum about the size of a pencil on a loop around my neck to make adjustments and a small flashlight also helps see in the recess.

  9. #9

    Re: Thinking about Toyo 45AII + Lenses

    Thanks for all the helpful responses! I have one more question. Since the camera would be used mostly for landscape for some backpacking trips as well as some day hikes. Do you think I should consider the 45CF? From what I was reading, some people felt it was not as sturdy as it should be. 3 lbs can add up to be quite a bit on top of everything else, but the main objective will be to capture sharp images --- so I do not want to sacrifice that for 3 lbs.

  10. #10
    Dave Karp
    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    Los Angeles, CA

    Re: Thinking about Toyo 45AII + Lenses

    I played with a 45CF when they first came out. It did not seem rugged enough to me.

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