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Thread: Beginner's Large Format Question

  1. #21

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    Jul 2008
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    Re: Beginner's Large Format Question

    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Ellis View Post
    Just so you know that the suggestion to buy a monorail isn't unanimous, I'd strongly recommend that you buy a field camera if you plan to mostly photograph outdoors and will be walking around. A brand new Chamonix, which is a great camera, will cost you about $800. You can find excellent buys in Wisners, Tachiharas, Shen Haos, Toyos, and many other 4x5 field cameras for less than $800. Sure, you can pick up a big old honking monorail for maybe $250 - $500 but there's a reason why they sell that cheaply and it isn't because there are more of them out there.
    Yup, been there, done that.

  2. #22

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    Jul 2011
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    Re: Beginner's Large Format Question

    Just to say, the Sinar F is still a monorail camera as opposed to a folding camera like the others mentioned in you earlier post. I have a Sinar F and dont have too much trouble taking it out and about in the field, and I prefer the movements on it too. I have a folding press camera which was the first one I bought but it gets no use since I got the monorail. I have heard positive things about the Chamonix though.

  3. #23

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    Re: Beginner's Large Format Question

    You can't depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus. ~ Mark Twain

  4. #24

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    Re: Beginner's Large Format Question

    I wonder with such budget on offer why is there no definitive answer for a simple question. I know it not as easy though, but there could be clear understanding on it if a landscape photographer with clear intention to shoot long exposer would require metal field camera with enough movement. Plenty are available in used market. With landscape work one can really start with two lens in 120 mm to 210 mm range if someone is not looking for very wide shot.

    I have myself started with Nikkor 90mm F- 4.5 & Rodenstock 210mm F - 5.6 lenses. But now I use 90mm with 120 back only. I find 90mm too wide for most landscape work. So investing in good lightweight lens kit with sturdy Metal field camera with two three lenses would make sense to me.

    my two cents

  5. #25

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    Re: Beginner's Large Format Question

    Quote Originally Posted by Deepak Kumar View Post
    I wonder with such budget on offer why is there no definitive answer for a simple question.
    Most importantly, the OP as a LF beginner, doesn't really know how things work in LF.

    Until an experience base is built with the OP's subjects and sensibilities and in the OP's world the right questions aren't even known.

    For example any of the cameras the OP has mentioned can take good pictures and the OP does want a light weight camera but also shoots seascapes.

    A light weight field camera may be a big problem for the OP when there is, as is normal at the beach, a breeze.

    After the OP builds some experience the OP may decide a stiff monorail on a wooden tripod or a folder that's pound or two heavier is worth it to get those seascapes.

    We can't answer that type of question yet.
    You can't depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus. ~ Mark Twain

  6. #26

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    Re: Beginner's Large Format Question

    Be thinking lens choices before choosing a camera, is my usual advice.

    For 135mm-203mm use, consider a Graflex Super Graphic. Extremely tough metal folder with synthetic bellows, sufficient moves for most landscapes. 5 lbs. Can easily be handheld and have accurate cammed rangefinders for fast-breaking light. Lens boards are extremely common. A relative steal nowadays at ~$300 or less for a nice example.

    On the other hand, a monorail that easily accepts bag bellows is a better choice if you expect to be doing much extreme wide angle work. Sinars are fantastic in this regard.

  7. #27

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    San Joaquin Valley, California
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    Re: Beginner's Large Format Question

    The is certainly nothiing wrong with folders,and if thats what the OP visualizes himself using, I think thats what he should get. Shens are very popular new cameras, as are Chammies, and the rare used ones aren't all that cheaper than new, but if he can save significant bucks on a used one then so much the better.
    If I had that budget to work with I'd look for a 5x7 Nagaoka with a 4x5 reducing back (for future fun with 5x7 contacts) a 190mm Kodak WF Ektar or similar, a used $70 Tiltall tripod and a stack of three or a dozen Riteway Graphics, and an Omega D-II enlarger with either a good Schneider, Rodenstock or Nikon lens, or a Wolly 162mm if I'm punching the budget envelope.
    Hows that for definitive?
    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.

  8. #28

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    Apr 2012
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    Re: Beginner's Large Format Question

    Thank you all you guys for help! I came down to two cameras. Chamonix 45n-2 or Shen Hao HZX 4X5-IIA. Now I need to narrow down to one... I think a 'tripod stone bag' should take care of the light weight problem. Wouldn't they?

  9. #29
    Light Guru's Avatar
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    Another thing I recently discovered that can help with weight and space in the pack is using a grafmatic film holder. It's the thickness of one and a half regular film holders but will hold six sheets of film. I recently picked up a couple on eBay, they save a lot of room.
    Zak Baker
    zakbakerphoto.com

    "Sometimes I do get to places just when God's ready to have somebody click the shutter."
    Ansel Adams

  10. #30

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    Re: Beginner's Large Format Question

    Quote Originally Posted by Light Guru View Post
    Another thing I recently discovered that can help with weight and space in the pack is using a grafmatic film holder. It's the thickness of one and a half regular film holders but will hold six sheets of film. I recently picked up a couple on eBay, they save a lot of room.
    Thanks for letting me know. I guess I'm good to go with those two six sheets holder.

    Hmmm...After intensive “research", I'm beginning to understand what's going on with large format. I like the idea of go non-folding cameras but what do I know.
    I'm not allow to view the For Sale/Wanted forum yet but if you have a 4x5 camera for sale, please PM me.

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