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Thread: 4x5 folding camera for architecture?

  1. #1

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    Oct 2007
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    4x5 folding camera for architecture?

    I`m looking for a lightweight and small folding 4x5 camera. I normaly use a sinar f2 but I need something more compact for traveling. What do you think is the best folding camera for architecture (small, lightweight, "good" movements, works with wide angle lenses) What do you think about a toyo 45 cf or horseman 45fa ?

  2. #2

    Re: 4x5 folding camera for architecture?


  3. #3
    Stefan
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
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    Re: 4x5 folding camera for architecture?

    Neither of those two cameras take bag bellows AFAIK, and for architecture you might want that. The Wista 45VX does take bag bellows, and has generous front rise as well as geared front tilt and rise.

    You could also look at something like the Shen Hao HZX or TZ45. Both take bag bellows (or Chamonix universal bellows), have quite extensive movements, and can have the back standard moved forward to keep the front bed out of the photo with wide lenses. You will need indirect rise to get to the edge of the image circle with something like a 72XL or Nikon 90/8 though.

    Edit: There are also non-folders like the 4500$ Ebony mentioned above, or on a more modest budget, the Shen Hao XPO and Walker Titan XL 4x5. I wish the Titan XL would have had rear rise or tilt, since I sometimes need more front fall than it provides. I use a Chamonix 4x5 for urban shooting, pretty similar to architecture in camera needs. Extremely capable, but I wish it had swing zero detents.

  4. #4

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    Re: 4x5 folding camera for architecture?

    I've thought about this quite a bit myself. It depends a little on if you're doing seriously demanding commercial architectural work or more fine/art urban landscape shooting. I assume you'll keep your f2 so you can use it for very demanding shoots and for working close to home.

    The Wista VX/SP, which is the camera I started with, can use a bag bellows. The problem is that the body casing is fairly deep and it tends to get in the way of the bellows when you try to use significant front rise.

    The Linhof Technikas, starting with the Master Technika and including the MT2000 and MT3000, have a little flap on the top of the body that does improve the situation.

    I didn't look at the Toyo CF, but the TOYO AII has much less front rise than the Wista or Linhof. You can add additional indirect rise, but that can be annoying since it will involve re-leveling the back, etc. The Horseman is tiny but I never tried one. I wonder how flexible the camera would be for movements since it's so small. Some lenses with big rear elements won't fit through the front standard opening.

    I've been using a Technikardan 45S, which is an incredible camera for architecture and urban landscape when you need full movements with a range of lenses. It's not tiny, but it can do anything I need it to do. It's a pleasure to work with and I wish I had discovered it sooner. It folds up small and is self-contained, but it may not be that much smaller than your f2.

    I just added a Master Technika 2000 to my kit for when I need to travel light and when I won't need as much range of movement. The Master Technikas have the most usable front rise of any of the metal field cameras I've tried. The MT is built like a tank and is very intuitive to work with. The only downside is that it has no front fall, so you need to either drop the bed or mount the camera upside-down (it has a tripod socket on the top for this purpose). It's kind of annoying, but I use front rise much more than front fall, so I can live with it.

  5. #5

    Re: 4x5 folding camera for architecture?

    I use a Horseman 45FA and would not recommend it for serious architectural photography as its movements are fairly limited—no fall, only front rise. Also the range of lenses that can be used is somewhat restricted by the small front opening. It is very compact and weighs about 4 pounds which for me makes it ideal as a travel camera, and also for less demanding work than architecture. I really like it very much for what it is. That said I am looking at a Technikardan as a more versatile and still portable camera.
    ____________________________________________

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  6. #6

    Join Date
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    Re: 4x5 folding camera for architecture?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark_Se View Post
    I`m looking for a lightweight and small folding 4x5 camera. I normaly use a sinar f2 but I need something more compact for traveling. What do you think is the best folding camera for architecture (small, lightweight, "good" movements, works with wide angle lenses) What do you think about a toyo 45 cf or horseman 45fa ?
    These would be among my last choices for the purpose. They are too limited in movements and use of WA lenses.

  7. #7

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    Re: 4x5 folding camera for architecture?

    Look at the Toho. Its a lightweight monorail that may fit your needs.
    Peter Y.

  8. #8
    O.K.
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    May 2007
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    Istanbul, Turkey.
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    Re: 4x5 folding camera for architecture?

    I think the best portable 4x5 is Peter Gowland's (RIP) 4x5 All Moves Pocket View. I have the one on the left (scroll down the page just a little bit). It's not as flimsy as it seems. A very good camera actually. I would always prefer Gowlands to a Toho (also out of business company AFAIK).

  9. #9
    Kirk Gittings's Avatar
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    Re: 4x5 folding camera for architecture?

    I used a Tachihara for years. Once the below is broken in it is very flexible-though only good up to a 90MM wide angle IME.
    Thanks,
    Kirk

    "Vocation to Solitude -- To deliver oneself up, to hand oneself over, entrust oneself completely to the silence of a wide landscape of woods and hills, or sea, or desert; to sit still while the sun comes up over the land and fills its silences with light." Thomas Merton

    KIRK GITTINGS
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  10. #10

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    Re: 4x5 folding camera for architecture?

    The Ebony 45SU takes a bag bellows - I use it all the time. It makes a great normal bellows for lenses up to 180mm. I use a 47XL, 72XL, 80SS, 90mm Nikon f4.5 and 110SS and have no problems with any of them. I picked it for wide angle use and looked at a lot of cameras before I bought it. Nothing comes close, and you can still focus a 300 at 10 feet with the universal bellows it comes with. The universal bellows will work with wide lenses but does not allow much movement.

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