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Thread: 6x9 camera or 4x5 camera with roll film back

  1. #1

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    6x9 camera or 4x5 camera with roll film back

    Hi guys,
    This is my first post but I would like to thanks all of you for so much information on this forum as I've been following for a while. I recently got all of my canon 1ds mk2 and mamiya gear stolen and so I would like to have a fresh start. I want to shoot medium format permanently and not sheet film due to its cost. So I was thinking about wether to get a 6x9 field camera or a 4x5 field camera with roll film back? Also if I go for the 6x9 camera would it be hard to find lens boards for them? I want to use lenses such as 47 -> 90 mm max with movement. Please help. Arca Swiss f 69 or linhof technikardan 23 would be nice but they are hard to find used here in the UK. Please also recommend me some other brand aswell.
    Thanks
    Minh

  2. #2
    Greg Lockrey's Avatar
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    Re: 6x9 camera or 4x5 camera with roll film back

    4x5's are more versatile in that you can get panoramic 6x17 backs for them. I use mostly roll film with mine too but that 4x5 neg comes in handy when you need only one shot. Plus using polaroid is a plus too. I use Sinar, Speed Graphic, and an Ebony. The lenses and backs go on everything. My 2 cents.
    Greg Lockrey

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  3. #3

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    Re: 6x9 camera or 4x5 camera with roll film back

    Hi. Thanks for your reply. However, do you think that by using a 4x5 body with such wide lens I will lose movement because the lens is too close to the back?

  4. #4

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    Re: 6x9 camera or 4x5 camera with roll film back

    Quote Originally Posted by Minhhich View Post
    Hi. Thanks for your reply. However, do you think that by using a 4x5 body with such wide lens I will lose movement because the lens is too close to the back?
    Using a 47mm lens on 4x5 is at the extreme. There are cameras which will accomodate that, but you are better off getting a 2x3 camera which is designed for MF. I personally think that for MF you are best off with something like your Mamiya rather than a field camera with roll-film back. I find roll-film backs to be more of a pain than regular sheetfilm holders, so the equation of medium format film on a 4x5 doesn't work out well for me. I'd rather use MF hand-held with a viewfinder of some sort or LF with tripod and ground glass.

  5. #5

    Re: 6x9 camera or 4x5 camera with roll film back

    Greg is right in my opinion; though I used a 6x9 super technika for decades and usually was pretty pleased (and they are about 50% smaller then a 4x5 in all but the wheigt dimention) - I was surprised at how much easier things got when I finally switched to the bigger brother: a lot more things are international standard. Notably film-backs, but even lensboards tend to belong to platform groups like Linhof Technika/Wista/Toyo etc or Sinar/Horseman. And even when you should have two different brands with lensboards that won't match - no problem! Usually at least one has the space it takes on his to offer the opportunity to provide for the adapting device! So you can still use but the other. And think of spares: its like being on an island there to for the 6x9 while 4x5 is the continent (sorry, this was possibly not so diplomatic on someone on one, but still, you get my drift?)
    This versatility is what really captivates me - really like Greg said.

    I might ad as a plus_ the switches and gears tend to be larger too, nice when you are less into manipulating your cam with the help of pincers
    Your second question as to brands: In 4x5 you have plenty so I ll start with the ones I know in 6x9: Linhof, MPP, Horseman, Plaubel, graflex, Mamiya, Polaroid, fuji, (most are known for folders (technical cams (sorry, but folders are my baby)) but there is a Plaubel monorail (Peco I think it is) from the 1950ies to 70ies)
    4x5 the same minus Mamiya, Polaroid, fuji; plus Cambo, sinar, ebony, chamonix, and a world of others and the same distinction as to type of cams.
    I ve had the pleasure to use Arca swiss F-line, Linhof S-Technika 3-6, Wista SP, and the unfortune to use a sinar f.
    Hope that was helpful?

  6. #6

    Re: 6x9 camera or 4x5 camera with roll film back

    a Super Angulon 47 without 'XL' is my main lens, while on a superTechnika 4x5 that will not do it can be operated on a Wista with special equipment or the technika 'classic' (2000 or 3000) and either of these will be better then a mamiya 23, not to mention a monorail with a 'large angle bag'

  7. #7

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    Re: 6x9 camera or 4x5 camera with roll film back

    Minh, what's your budget?

  8. #8

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    Re: 6x9 camera or 4x5 camera with roll film back

    Buying a 4x5 camera with a 120 back WILL tempt you to try 4x5 at some point, I can guarantee this for personal experience. If you're hellbent on never using 4x5 then I would definitely buy a 2x3 camera. But if you even vaguely entertain the idea of 4x5 then get a 4x5 camera.

  9. #9

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    Re: 6x9 camera or 4x5 camera with roll film back

    Hi I would like to spend maximum of 1000 for a body and a lens

  10. #10
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    Re: 6x9 camera or 4x5 camera with roll film back

    With your budget, you will really need to be considering a 4x5 camera.

    6x9 view cameras have a significant advantage: gear-driven movements in a small-camera package. The shorter the lens, the less the tilt and swing needed to achieve a give angle of the focus plane. The less movement needed for a given effect, the more finely the movement needs to be adjusted.

    But having this one advantage is expensive. I can't think of any inexpensive 6x9 cameras that have gear-driven movements.

    Not all 4x5 cameras are suitable. I have a Cambo SC that will not focus a 47 at all, even with bag bellows and a recessed board. A 65 is even challenging with that camera.

    But here is one fairly inexpensive option (inexpensive in the used market, that is): A Sinar F-series camera, with the Wide Angle Bellows 2. The bellows require some patience to find without buying new, but it's worth the search with the 47mm lens. (The standard bag bellows--the Wide Angle Bellows 1--is cheap and widely available, but requires a lot of fiddling to work with the 47 in order to prevent tangling with the standards and pushing them out of alignment.

    I prefer the F or F1 rear standard for this application, or an F2 standard with the non-metering back. The metering back that comes with the F2 adds thickness for the metering probe port.

    My Sinar has an F rear and an F2 front standard, and the WA Bellows 2. I use 47, 65, and 90mm Super Angulons on flat lensboards with no issue. I estimate that I can get about 6-8 degrees of tilt or swing with the 47 focused at infinity, plus shift limited only by the lens coverage. I have to raise front and rear and then rack the standards towards each other to focus it at infinity--the little bit of rise is required for the racked standard to clear the rail clamp. This is an insigificant issue in practice. That amount of tilt is usually all you need with the 47.

    I have a Wista 6x9 holder and a Sinar Vario holder (for 6x12, but it will do all formats).

    The Sinar has an advantage over most rail cameras in that the rail is modular. The base rail is 12 inches--much shorter than many monorail cameras--but you can even mount the standards on a 6" rail extension for using the 47. But you won't have to choose between the rail being in the picture or stabbing you in the chest as you will with some view cameras.

    I would think even on that side of the pond, where everything is more expensive, a used Sinar F, an older 47/5.6 (not SA), 65/5.6, and 90/5.6 SA's, not necessarily the latest models, plus a Wista/Horseman 6x9 holder would fit within your budget. I can't think of many other options that will fulfill your requirements within your budget.

    One prior poster declared his misfortune in using an Sinar F, but no camera will resonate with every user. It's only key weakness in this application: It does not have geared movements. But it works fine for me, and I'm not exactly delicate of hand. If it doesn't work for you and if you paid a reasonable price for it, just sell it and try something else. No real loss to try it out.

    It is true that if you have a 4x5 camera, you have the option of considering larger formats than 6x9. Even with roll film, you can explore 6x12 if you have a 4x5 camera. If you have a 6x9 camera, that's the format you are limited to.

    Rick "who has been down this path" Denney

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