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Thread: best low-cost field 4x5 for LF newbie?

  1. #21
    hopeful
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    Re: best low-cost field 4x5 for LF newbie?

    Quote Originally Posted by John Kasaian View Post
    I personally wouldn't care to hike any great distance with one of the older monorails, but people often backpack with the Arca Swiss, Toho and Gowlands. That said I think a wooden folder is more intuitive to set up and shoot with. We need to get this thread back on track for the OP and discuss the finer points of the Shen vs the Chaminoix so he can make up his mind!
    Thanks! Yes, if anyone has knowledge of flaws with these cameras, I'd love to hear it.

  2. #22

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    Re: best low-cost field 4x5 for LF newbie?

    After you've been a member here for 30 days, you will have access to the "ForSale" section.
    One man's Mede is another man's Persian.

  3. #23
    hopeful
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    Re: best low-cost field 4x5 for LF newbie?

    Quote Originally Posted by neil poulsen View Post
    There are some monorails that backpack well. (e.g. Arca. But, it sounds like it's a bit heavy for what you want.)

    It seems like your first suggestions are pretty good. Also, I've seen Toyo fields cameras in the $700's on EBay. Do you want to do wide angle, like 90mm? If so, get a camera for which you can add a bag bellows later. (Like the Shen-Hao.) That's not true of the Toyo's.

    Another metal field camera I've seen go for reasonable prices on EBay are the Wistas. Some of these will accept interchangeable wide-angle bellows. (e.g. Wista SP.)
    Thanks! I've look at Wistas but I'm having a hard time combining low weight and low price. The SP looks to be about 6.3 lbs. The wood cameras are hard to find under $1000. I'll keep looking though!

  4. #24
    hopeful
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    Re: best low-cost field 4x5 for LF newbie?

    Quote Originally Posted by E. von Hoegh View Post
    After you've been a member here for 30 days, you will have access to the "ForSale" section.
    Good point! It would probably be wise of me to wait until then before making a purchase.

  5. #25

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    Re: best low-cost field 4x5 for LF newbie?

    Quote Originally Posted by neil poulsen View Post
    There are some monorails that backpack well. (e.g. Arca. But, it sounds like it's a bit heavy for what you want.)

    It seems like your first suggestions are pretty good. Also, I've seen Toyo fields cameras in the $700's on EBay. Do you want to do wide angle, like 90mm? If so, get a camera for which you can add a bag bellows later. (Like the Shen-Hao.) That's not true of the Toyo's.

    Another metal field camera I've seen go for reasonable prices on EBay are the Wistas. Some of these will accept interchangeable wide-angle bellows. (e.g. Wista SP.)
    The Toyo will accept lenses down to a 47mm and a 90mm on a flat board without bag bellows according to Toyo's site. I agree that if you were often using lenses shorter than 90mm and wanted lots of movement then a camera that does support bag bellows may be preferred.

    I recently saw an All go for less than $800.00 on Ebay and a few A's go for around 500 to 600. You do have to be patient to get the good deals with any used cameras.

    Yes, the Toyo is a little heavier than a wooden folder but once you get your backpack loaded up with everything a couple of pounds will not be noticed. I have a wooden Tachihara which is feather light and my friend has the Toyo A. The Toyo is a little heavier but sturdier.

    Everything is a trade-off. If you want light then it's not as sturdy. If you want light and sturdy then it's expensive.

  6. #26

    Join Date
    Jun 2002
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    9,476

    Re: best low-cost field 4x5 for LF newbie?

    Read the front pages of this website for how to do stuff. Also Kerry's old website has some interesting gearhead stuff: http://www.thalmann.com/largeformat/toho.htm and http://www.thalmann.com/largeformat/lightwei.htm

    For lightweight and not too shabby, just get the Chamonix new off eBay. Viva la China!

    Get a generic clone Technika Copal 0 lensboard for the Cham, a flat metal lenswrench, and start with a normal 135/5.6 Rodenstock Sironar-N or Schneider APO-Symmar lens in a black Copal shutter bought used for under $400.

    Either get a Pentax digital spot meter used or just use your Canon set to the same ISO and aperture.

    Get some B&W or color negative film, 5 or 10 Fidelity or Lisco plastic film holders, a 4 to 7x loupe - a cheap plastic one is fine. Use an old black t-shirt for a darkcloth. Treat yourself to a Harrison Pup Tent changing tent if you don't have a darkroom. Use a Tupperware food container for carrying the lens, wrap camera in darkcloth. Put your film holders into a Ziplock baggie. Get a camel hair brush and blower bulb for cleaning the holders. Buy a good Gepe cable release. Get a screw-in rubber lenshade for the lens.

    Put everything into the smallest backpack you can. You don't need an over-padded camera backpack. These are really nice when you get hardcore: http://www.photobackpacker.com.

    Splurge on a 2-series Gitzo or cheaper Chinese carbon-fiber tripod with 1" or larger legs, as high as you can stand. Use a RRS or decent ball head with Arca-Swiss compatible quick release plates.

    Send your film to http://4photolab.com if you don't process it yourself. Save the empty boxes for sending your exposed film.

    Get an Epson 700 flatbed to scan, use a color calibrator on your monitor, a pigment Epson printer is best, try the Baryta paper.

    Stand in front of lake. Wait for clouds to arrange themselves in a pleasing manner. Snap the postcar... I mean artistic photograph*.

    *Now that you are a hardened and experienced large format photographer, you need to buy the other necessary lenses to balance your backpack and to look professional - 58, 75, 90, 110, 180, 240, 300, 400, etc. You should also spend another few hundred on a fancy loupe and a Black Jacket focusing cloth. Then upgrade the Chinese camera to a Japanese Ebony with asymmetrical movements because your pictures will definitely be better.

    All of the above is the officially prescribed method of working with large format nature photography™. It's what we do here. Try to fit in with the group and follow along... the last deviant who rejected our core values sure got his!

    Have fun!

    On a serious note, all but the last two paragraphs are straight up. My other, most important tidbit of advice is to spend the good money on a serious tripod, the larger the better. You'll make much better photos with a cheap camera/lens and a good tripod than the opposite combo. I use a tripod that cost twice what my camera does....

  7. #27

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    Re: best low-cost field 4x5 for LF newbie?

    !!!

  8. #28

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    Re: best low-cost field 4x5 for LF newbie?

    Since you probably don't know anyone on here, click on Frank's website in blue letters at the bottom of his post. Frank is a pro who speaks from experience.

    He just gave you some great advice.

  9. #29
    jadphoto
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    Re: best low-cost field 4x5 for LF newbie?

    Badger Graphic Sales is a distributor for the Shen Hao line, along with a lot of other stuff. Jeff is one great guy to deal with.

    Check him out.

    JD

  10. #30

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    Re: best low-cost field 4x5 for LF newbie?

    Quote Originally Posted by E. von Hoegh View Post
    He should get a Baby Deardorff. A used one.
    Fixed it for you!
    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.

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