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Thread: Choosing my first 4x5: please help!

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Jul 2010
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    Choosing my first 4x5: please help!

    Hey everyone. I've been shooting 4x5 for sometime but I recently graduated from school and do not have access to the university's equipment anymore, so I am looking to buy a camera of my own. After doing research for a while, I have wound up looking at mainly Wista, Wisner, and most recently, Chamonix. Mainly, I want to get a field camera that is sturdy and has the most movements for less than $1,000. I shoot mainly fine art still lives, which I often find myself in fairly difficult positions when I shoot them, so I want a camera that is versatile. I recently discovered the Chamonix cameras and got very excited about them but I want to make sure that I am making a good decision. The Wista's and Wisner's are in the same price range used on Ebay, but they appear to be bulkier and a little less durable. Wista's and Wisner's appear to have more movements on the rear standard in comparison to the Chamonix, but not by much. What do you think? Thanks for the input!

  2. #2
    Octogenarian
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    Sep 2003
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    Re: Choosing my first 4x5: please help!

    Look at the "For Sale" section of this forum.

    Two days ago, John Wilton listed a Wisner 4X5 tech field camera for sale at a very reasonable price.

    This is an opportunity to purchase a $1500 camera for less than 1/2 of that price.

    The Wisner is slightly bulkier, but it is a well built and a better camera for your needs than a Chamonix or a Wista.

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Dec 2001
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    San Joaquin Valley, California
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    8,211

    Re: Choosing my first 4x5: please help!

    Your subject is fine art still life? Why not use a monorail? You can buy an excellent Calumet 400 series or Graphic View for far less than a field camera (I've seen them for less than $200)
    I steal time at 1/125th of a second, so I don't consider my photography to be Fine Art as much as it is petty larceny.
    I'm not OCD. I'm CDO which is alphabetically correct.

  4. #4

    Join Date
    May 2006
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    Southlake TX
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    Re: Choosing my first 4x5: please help!

    I agree with John. For the price of a field camera, you can buy a used Sinar P and own the still life dream setup.

    Or save money and buy a excellent Sinar F or Omega for a couple hundred, the difference you can put towards lenses. Far more flexible as far as movements, especially at the rear.

    Look at Gemsingers Omega. He sold an Omega to Wil, Wil decided digital was the path for him, Gem I understand took it back.

    Your probably a better candidate.

    No decision, but I have a clean as a whistle Sinar F I haven't used in quite a while. I might concider selling if you can't find what you want from others or Gem.

    bob

  5. #5
    Octogenarian
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    Re: Choosing my first 4x5: please help!

    Bob, the OP stated that he wants to get a sturdy field camera, a light weight wooden folding flatbed.

    He prefers a camera like the Chamonix.

    That rules out bulky, heavier weight, non-folding monorails.

    Besides, my Toyo/Omega is not for sale.

  6. #6

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    New Jersey
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    Re: Choosing my first 4x5: please help!

    Exactly, right Gem. I've used monorail cameras before for my work but I really prefer field cameras. When I say "still life" it's because I don't really have any other term to classify it as. It really is a variety of subject matter from interiors to exteriors. That's why I want something compact and versatile. So you think I'm better off looking around for a reasonably priced Wisner as opposed to a Chamonix?

  7. #7
    Octogenarian
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    Re: Choosing my first 4x5: please help!

    Yes.

    Check out John Wilton's Wisner for sale on this forum.

    Although not as compact, it beats the Chamonix for build quality, movement capability, and price.

  8. #8

    Join Date
    Jan 2001
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    Re: Choosing my first 4x5: please help!

    Look at the Busch Pressmaster model D as a good first 4x5 camera.
    Wilhelm (Sarasota)

  9. #9
    Lachlan 717
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Posts
    2,283

    Re: Choosing my first 4x5: please help!

    Not as compact as the Chamonix, and not a folding design, but the Shen Hao XPO has way more functionality. Greater bellow range, accepts Sinar shutters and bag bellows and will handle bigger lenses. I had a 3kg+ lens mounted in a lens iris with a Sinar shutter on mine yesterday.
    Lachlan.

    You miss 100% of the shots you never take. -- Wayne Gretzky

  10. #10

    Re: Choosing my first 4x5: please help!

    I recently discovered the Chamonix cameras and got very excited about them but I want to make sure that I am making a good decision. The Wista's and Wisner's are in the same price range used on Ebay, but they appear to be bulkier and a little less durable. Wista's and Wisner's appear to have more movements on the rear standard in comparison to the Chamonix, but not by much. What do you think? Thanks for the input!
    I have similar problem deciding but decide I like Wista. My Wista is very durable and sturdy - better than the Chamonix front which screws on and fix at one point only. The Wista back can swing and tilt and shift but no rise. Bellows come off to fit bigger wideangle lens. Front has tilt and rise and swing.

    Chamonix - only combined back swing with shift not independent. The front is hard in use with rise and tilt using same key. Bellows do not come off. Lighter - yes. But front shakes more. The Wista is better made.

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