View Full Version : toyo 2x3 view camera

22-Aug-2004, 11:11
Hi. I was wondering how many people actually have experience with this camera. I am unable to find much about it on the net; let alone examples of images created with it. Seems to be a rather obscure tool...

Darin Cozine
22-Aug-2004, 11:31
There was a recent thread on this camera here:


Also their is a good reveiw and comparison of the 23g vs galvin here:


beyond that, did you have any specific questions??



Jeffrey Goggin
23-Aug-2004, 08:09
I own a Toyo 23G and wrote the review mentioned above ... what do you need/want to know about this camera?

23-Aug-2004, 12:01
Uh...ok. Thanks for your reply, Jeffrey.

I am wondering (as it is due any day now) whether it is a sturdy camera; a trusted acquaintance recommended a Linhof Technika, which I was prepared to purchase. I wanted a full range of movements, however, and the Technikardan 23 is hard to find used, and far too expensive new. I stumbled upon the Toyo, (at which my acquaintance sneered, by the way) and have been wondering if the money demanded for the Linhof is actually worth the price. I am one of few people who will assert, for instance, that the Hasselblad system is not worth the price, and that photographic art of comparable quality may be achieved with many a less expensive instrument. I have owned three of them, am not fond of their quirkiness nor reliability, and value my far less expensive Fuji glass far and above any Zeiss lens I have owned. (Allow me a moment to sacrifice a poodle to the Zircon Moon Spirit in order to repel the wrath of the angry Camera gods for the sacrilege I have just commited. :-) )

But, seriously, I want to know if the price of the Linhof (or Arca, or Sinar, etc.) is actually WORTH it in terms of reliability. I am willing to pay for quality; I just don't want to pay exhorbitant prices when half the price will buy me objects of more than adequate quality.

Another thing...the 23g has been out of production for quite a while; just how much of an issue is this? Is there any advantage of using 6x9 over using 4x5 w/6x9 roll back?

I have appreciated all the responses thusfar, and do not wish to beat a dead horse. I submit this at the risk of being a royal discomfort in the buttock.

Darin Cozine
23-Aug-2004, 12:35
"I am wondering (as it is due any day now) whether it is a sturdy camera; "

Heh, its a little late to be asking since youve allready ordered it. Why dont you try it out and tell us your opinion after you compare it to your linhoff.

23-Aug-2004, 12:46
My reply was directed to Jeffrey.

Jeffrey Goggin
23-Aug-2004, 14:33
A friend of mine bought a used Technika 4x5 (a IV, I think) to replace his Tachihara and is quite pleased with it. Other than playing around with his camera a few times, though, I have minimal experience with Linhof cameras and am unable to answer your question about reliability with any firsthand knowledge. That said, they certainly do have a _reputation_ for being reliable...

As for the Toyo, I chose it primarily because I shoot a lot of architectural-type stuff and prefer to compose my images in the camera rather than crop them later (in order not to lose any image quality captured on the small piece of film, not necessarily from any sort of philosophical viewpoint) and I found that I needed geared movements to accomplish this quickly and without a lot of frustration. In return, I was willing to accept carrying a bit of extra weight compared to some other 2x3 cameras as well as put up with a bit of additional bulk.

As for the Toyo's ruggedness, I've never had anything break on it and I always carry it around mounted on the tripod, with the tripod slung over my shoulder, when I'm out in the field. The finish has suffered a bit as a result, but the camera still functions as it did when it left the factory. I'm sure it can be broken, but being an all-metal design (save for the knobs and fine-focusing gear rack), any competent machinist should be able to fix it in the event parts are not available from Toyo. (As an interesting side note, mine is now configured as a 4x5 and thanks to some parts-swapping and machine work, it actually weighs almost a pound less than it did as a 2x3!)

With regard to photography on the cheap, the lenses I ultimately settled down with for this camera were all adapted from Mamiya's Universal rangefinder series. I bought all of them very inexpensively and removed the shutter and lens assembly from the helical focusing mounts. While perhaps not quite as good as today's best, for the money, the lenses were without peer. Of course, now that the time has come to pass them along to someone else -- as I mentioned in the other thread cited above, I shoot only 8x10 these days -- I'll probably get next-to-nothing for them on eBay...

tim o'brien
23-Aug-2004, 14:46
I don't mean to rain on anybody's parade, but I have never understood the concept of a 2x3 sheet film camera with tons of movements, etc. If you are going to go to the trouble of using a real LF camera, 4x5 doesn't weigh much more than the 2x3. The film size is significantly larger and the film availabilty is 10 fold plus. I do shoot occasionally with a 2x3 Crown or a 2x3 Speed but that's when I want to play Jimmy Olsen with e-flash or bulbs. 2x3 movements are hard to do and image size is a contributing factor for doing any adjustments in that small a camera.

If you are going to do the switcharoo with groundglass and roll film holders, 4x5 works just as well.


tim in san jose

Jeffrey Goggin
23-Aug-2004, 22:29
I can't speak for others, but my interest in the 2x3 format was driven almost solely by cost: Not only were the lenses I used less expensive than anything comparable I could buy for a 4x5, the roll film and processing were also less expensive than sheet film (I used outdated Provia II bought for less than $1 per roll and had it processed locally for $3.85 per roll), and even the film scanner I used (Minolta Scan-Multi II) was considerably less expensive than any 4x5 film scanner available back then. It also helped that I am nearsighted, as I found it relatively easy to focus and see the effect of movements, even without a loupe.

However, now that I'm a few years older, my eyesight has changed enough that it's become difficult for me to shoot with even 4x5, let alone 2x3, and although money's still tight around our house, my finances have improved to the point I can afford to shoot outdated 8x10 Provia (at least so long as I choose my shots and exposures very carefully ... even with outdated film, bracketing is an expensive safety net).

And, for what it's worth, using Toyo rollfilm backs on a Toyo camera, I was able to slide them underneath the groundglass and avoid the filmholder switcharoo ... too bad I can't say the same thing for 8x10!