View Full Version : Technical Camera vs. Metal Field Camera

Charles Hohenstein
19-Nov-2004, 05:17
This may be a stupid question, but what is considered to be the difference between a technical camera and a metal field camera? It can't be the rangefinder, since not all technical cameras have them.

Bob Salomon
19-Nov-2004, 05:36
In the case of the Linhof Technika and the Wista technical cameras there are back movements. Press cameras like the Graphic don't have back movements so there is no way to control subject shape since that is what back movements do.

Frank Petronio
19-Nov-2004, 06:48
Technical = Technika. A marketing term.

Back in the day, at least in the USA, most people had either Graflex Speed or Crown Graphics; or Linhof Technikas, with cammed lenses and rangefinder focusing. The Technikas have alot more movements, robust metal construction, and were more expensive. Linhofs were sold as Technical cameras because they could be used for more than simple photo-journalism - their extended movements allowed the photographer to make architectural and studio corrections (although not as easily or as large as a good monorail camera.) The Graphics were made of wood (except for the Super Speed Graphic, which was metal) and only had limited movements on the front standard. They are workhorses, but simply not as versatile as Technikas.

Field cameras were thought of as wooden Deardorffs, Kodak Master Views, etc. - they had a full set of movements, but were lighter weight and folded into a compact package - compared to their studio counterparts. Obviously, you had some crossover between what people would call Field Cameras and Technical Cameras.

Now there are wooden "field" cameras from Wista, Gandolfi, Ebony, etc. that offer the same or more movements than the metal "technical" Technikas. Plus there are several monorails which are lighter than wooden field cameras. So the distinction is moot, and you have to judge each camera individually.

Gem Singer
19-Nov-2004, 06:57
On their website (www.toyoview.com) Toyo refers to their 45AX and 45AII metal folding flatbed field cameras as "compact 4x5 technical field cameras". That descriptive name separates this category of cameras from the older press cameras that had fewer movement capabilities. In that case, the Toyo 45CF model is actually a press camera, since it has no movement capability on the rear standard.

Ted Harris
19-Nov-2004, 08:28
Currently Linhof, Wista, Toyo and Horseman all make metal field cameras. The Linhof is available with a rangefinder, the Wista used to be and perhaps stillis. Neither the Horseman or Toyo offerings are available with rangefinders although the Horseman 6x9 version used to be available with a rangefinder. Look for the features you want and don't worry about the name.

Ralph Barker
19-Nov-2004, 09:24
Eugene - I agree with the first step of your Toyo logic, but if the 45CF also lacks the features that would be necesary for "press" use, wouldn't that make it a depress camera? ;-)

Bob Salomon
19-Nov-2004, 09:30
"the Wista used to be and perhaps stillis"

The Wista RF has a rangefinder as does the Linhof Master Technika. The Wista VX, SP and the Linhof Master Technika 2000 do not have a rangefinder. All are metal body cameras with back and front movements.

Gem Singer
19-Nov-2004, 09:37

As usual "great minds-----". The Toyo 45CF is the Holga of LF cameras. Calling it a press camera would be a stretch of the imagination. It actually doesn't fit into that category, either.

Brian Ellis
19-Nov-2004, 15:43
A "press camera" was a sheet film camera that was intended primarily for hand-held use and so included a viewfinder and often a rangefinder. They typically didn't have any back movements. A "technical camera" is a press camera with back movements. Both obviously can be used in the field but weren't "field cameras" in the usual sense of that term. "Field cameras" didn't have viewfinders and rangefinders and almost always had some back movements. However, large format cameras come in many different varieties and they don't all fit into neat well-defined pigeon holes. Different people use some of the descriptive terms differently without necessarily being "right" or "wrong," as you can see by the responses here.

Jim Rice
20-Nov-2004, 17:00
By my personal way of thinking:

Press camera- no back movements at all (ie. Graphic)

Techncal camera- back movements, but achieved in a less than conventional manner (ie. Technika)

Field camera- back movements with more or less traditional operation (ie. Wisner)

Or course, anyone is welcome to disagree.

David A. Goldfarb
20-Nov-2004, 17:09
Technical camera--a large format camera with more movements then a press camera.

Press camera--a large format camera with fewer movements than a technical camera.

Mountain--an elevated area of land taller than a hill.

Hill--an elevated area of land lower than a mountain.

Field camera--a large format camera more portable than a studio camera.

Studio camera--a large format camera less portable than a field camera.

tim atherton
20-Nov-2004, 17:23
"Mountain--an elevated area of land taller than a hill.

Hill--an elevated area of land lower than a mountain."

what's a Fell then... ? :-)

Jim Rice
20-Nov-2004, 18:15
I thought fell was something you had done after too much whiskey. ;=)