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Thread: Linhof Kardan Standard - help and buying advice

  1. #1

    Question Linhof Kardan Standard - help and buying advice

    Good morning all,

    I have the opportunity to buy a Linhof Kardan Standard with 3 x lenses and various accessories. I am viewing the camera for the second time this afternoon (Monday) and will be taking photos and noting serial numbers etc. I would like to know a few things:

    1. What is the value of this kit (complete list to follow)

    2. What should I look for before buying apart from obvious things like bellows condition, general condition, lens examinations, shutter operation etc?

    3. I have never used a view camera before. I am a professional photographer who shoots products, architecture and portraits using digital cameras and Tilt-Shift lenses. I intend to use the Linhof for this type of work, shooting black and white with film and paper negatives (i currently shoot and develop paper negs with some old MF bodies). Is the Linhof a good fit for me?

    4. In order to help you help me, what info should I collect this afternoon - photos, serial numbers, complete list of parts etc?

    I appreciate that many of my questions cannot be answered until I have the above-mentioned information, but I wanted to pre-empt my viewing by opening this thread, as I may have to make a decision on whether to purchase today.

    Many thanks for any help anyone can offer as always

  2. #2

    Re: Linhof Kardan Standard - help and buying advice

    I Googled for Linhof Kardan Standard and found a few back forum posts such as this one:
    http://photo.net/large-format-photography-forum/00HcRF which indicate one area of concern is the bellows condition. When you go to inspect the camera, take a small flashlight, remove the front lens board or the rear focusing panel, stick your hand and light in and look for pinholes in the bellows corners. Do this in as dark a room as possible, preferably a totally dark room. Throw your coat over you and the camera if no dark area is available. Rack the bellows out quite a distance and wiggle around on the bellows while moving the light inside. Any pinholes are bad, because more will come. It seems the bellows isn't removable on this model, so replacing the bellows won't be nearly as easy as with an interchangeable bellows camera.
    I understand some digital photographers adapt their DSLR or a dedicated digital back to a view camera in order to use the tilts and shifts. For that, a camera with interchangeable bellows would be much preferable so you could use a shorter bag bellows with shorter focal length lenses. I understand that isn't your intent for the camera at the present, but in the future you may want that option. I found one completed eBay auction where one of these cameras sold for $160 (#280634460593). The pictures have been removed, but the description makes it sound like a camera only with no accessories in nice condition. So, it doesn't sound like this model is worth a lot of money. If the bellows has holes (and it may be fine), it would be worth even less. And without being able to use a bag bellows, maybe not the best choice for you. But it may be a fine starter camera for you. You can always move up to something else later. Just don't overpay for this one.

    But the lenses may be where the value is. Get good pictures of the front and back glass of all the lenses. Cock and fire the shutters on all of them at least on the slower speeds. That is where shutters will run slow or hang up if they are in need of a clean and lube (which may cost around $75 per shutter). If any shutters sound like they need servicing, that doesn't mean don't buy the lens. But again, take in to account the service cost when making an offer on them. When you can post the lens make, model, and focal length, forum members can give approximate values.

    I guess the only other advice would be operate all the movements on the camera to be sure they are smooth, and examine camera and lenses for chips or dents indicating they may have been dropped. But the bellows inspection is the main thing.

    Len

  3. #3
    Jac@stafford.net's Avatar
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    Re: Linhof Kardan Standard - help and buying advice

    For me it is a clumsy camera to use outdoors, but many people cope by disassembling it, which is easy to do.

    You might want to go to the big auction site and use the advanced search feature to find the same models that have been successfully sold. Asking prices are meaningless.

  4. #4

    Re: Linhof Kardan Standard - help and buying advice

    So - I have seen the camera and here are the details:

    Linhof Kardan Standard - serial number 6931368 - Bellows beyond repair which may mean this is immediately a non-starter, unless they can be replaced (and would it be worth it?) otherwise fully functioning

    Schneider-Kreuznach Super Angulon 1:8/90 serial number 8444892 + shutter + lensboard - excellent condition

    Schneider-Kreuznach Symmar - s 5.6/150 serial number: 13239718 + shutter + lensboard - excellent condition

    Schneider-Kreuznach Symmar - s 5.6/210 serial number: 14128191 + shutter + lensboard - excellent condition

    Anyone have any thoughts on this?

    Many thanks

  5. #5

    Re: Linhof Kardan Standard - help and buying advice

    After my first post yesterday I started guessing what lenses might be included with a camera of that vintage. My thought was Symmar-S, probably a 210mm, and a 90mm Super Angulon, probably an f8, but maybe an f5.6. You should search eBay Completed Auctions to get a better idea, but right off hand I would say each of these lenses if worth around $200 on eBay. Possibly even a bit less than that for the Symmars.

    I don't know the cost of a new bellows. I'm thinking at least $200 plus postage. I don't know if you would feel comfortable changing it yourself, since it would be a pry the old one off and glue the new one on type of job. My feeling is the camera may not be worth fooling with for you unless you want a project, or unless it is essentially free with the lenses. Then put the camera on eBay for someone else to deal with.

    What else was included? Film holders? Maybe worth $10 each if in nice condition. Case? Might be usable with a different camera, but doesn't have much dollar value. Usually the extras are kind of thrown in for free with a complete outfit. I'm a really cheap guy, so maybe I'm being unrealistic, but this sounds like a $500 or $600 outfit, depending on what these lenses are actually selling for on eBay. You would be buying the lenses and the camera with bad bellows would be included for free. I doubt the seller is going to appreciate my thoughts, but maybe he is just trying to get rid of it.

    Maybe you don't even need the three lenses. For $500 you could probably get a 4X5 with interchangeable bellows (Sinar F comes to mind since I'm a Sinar lover), and one lens. But there is something very attractive about buying an outfit that you can look at and handle. Years ago I looked at an older Linhof and lens a studio was selling. It was more money than I wanted to spend at the time, but I still think about that camera from time to time! But then I fall in love with nearly any camera I see.

    Len

  6. #6

    Re: Linhof Kardan Standard - help and buying advice

    Thanks, Len.

    It's interesting you should mention Sinar - guess what I found in the same shop? I've started another thread here:

    http://www.largeformatphotography.in...-buying-advice

  7. #7

    Join Date
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    Re: Linhof Kardan Standard - help and buying advice

    This camera was made in Jan or Feb 1977. It is an excellent camera with a very unique bellows that can use any lens from 65mm up WITH FULL MOVEMENTS.
    If the bellows is currently no good it can be replaced by the Linhof Service Center. In the USA that is Nippon Photoclinic in NYC.
    They can also replace any broken track sections, if necessary.
    On the bottom of the camera there should be a sliding piece with a 1/4 and 3/8" thread for mounting the tripod. If this is missing Nippon can also get this piece as it is still used on the current model Kardan cameras.
    Since this camera uses a fixed bellows it is not advisible to take it apart for travel as you need to remove one of the rail guide stops in order to remove the standards from the rail. These are easily lost and not only do they keep the standards on the rail they also prevent the geared rail sections from moving.

    Unlike a Sinar F this is a complete camera with seperate locks for each movement and an 18" long rail rather then a 12" rail. Once you have that bellows repaired you will find it exceptionally easy to use and very versatile.

    Quote Originally Posted by threebythree View Post
    So - I have seen the camera and here are the details:

    Linhof Kardan Standard - serial number 6931368 - Bellows beyond repair which may mean this is immediately a non-starter, unless they can be replaced (and would it be worth it?) otherwise fully functioning

    Schneider-Kreuznach Super Angulon 1:8/90 serial number 8444892 + shutter + lensboard - excellent condition

    Schneider-Kreuznach Symmar - s 5.6/150 serial number: 13239718 + shutter + lensboard - excellent condition

    Schneider-Kreuznach Symmar - s 5.6/210 serial number: 14128191 + shutter + lensboard - excellent condition

    Anyone have any thoughts on this?

    Many thanks

  8. #8

    Re: Linhof Kardan Standard - help and buying advice

    Thanks for your reply, Bob.

    There is a thread for mounting the tripod, but both standards were actually not mounted to the rail when I viewed the camera this morning. After a little gentle persuasion, I assembled the camera and all movements worked nicely.

    Do you have any idea how much a bellows replacement would be in the USA?

    Many thanks again

  9. #9

    Join Date
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    Re: Linhof Kardan Standard - help and buying advice

    For parts prices and service you would have to ask the service center, nipponphotoclinic@aol.com. This is not a recommended DIY project.

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