View Full Version : Is Toyo good to start?

31-Dec-2004, 08:06
I have to say,large format cameras still too expensive in CHINA(Unlike other stuff which made in china),so I'm looking for a cheap and reliable monorail 4x5 camera for automobile shooting,sniping,bombing....

My friends told me Japanese designed Toyo 45cx 45D 45cxi put too much plastic componets on,is it true?

michael meyer
31-Dec-2004, 09:10
I have a Toyo 45cx. It's an alright camera. It'll hold a lens in front of a piece of film just fine. I've used mine for some interior/architectural work, but most of the film it's seen has been recording urban landscapes. The camera would be a fine first camera. Plenty of movements. Geared fine focusing on front and rear. Lots of accessories. Can handle most common beginners' lenses (though, wider than 90 is a no go without the bag bellows). It is plenty sturdy if you're careful.

I have had no problem with the plastic content of the camera. Actually, before answering, I took a closer look at my camera and most of it is metal. The tripod block and the bases of the standards are plastic, as are the locking devices for rise, but the majority of the camera is metal. Mostly cheap metal (and cheap looking) but metal.

Nothing's broken on mine yet, and I'm not so gentle with mine (because if it breaks, oh sadness, I'd have to get a newer and nicer 4x5; not that I can afford one...). Actually, on the last excursion with the camera I set the tripod down, with camera attached, so I could open my car's trunk. Not noticing that there was a downgrade and the tripod's legs weren't fully spread, the tripod fell over and the camera went crashing to the ground. The camera was fine. The shift movement had taken most of the impact. The knobs were a little scratched up, but the camera is fine. Even the lens seems ok. So, it's sturdy enough, plastic and all.

It does have short comings and here are the ones that most rankle me:
It's not pretty, but what can you do?
The rear standard fine focusing mechanism tends to loosen up, and I carry a small allen wrench to (frequently) tighten it.
The standard bellows won't really allow wide lenses--even a 90 on a recessed board is sort of a hassle. You'd need the bag bellows for anything below 90.
The tripod mount doesn't necessarily hold the focusing rail perfectly aligned so you have to be careful in leveling the camera.
The swing and shift is controlled by the same locks, so when adjusting one, you must be careful not to knock the other. But all cameras have their quirks.
It doesn't pack down very small. (And this is my biggest complaint about it...)

For me, I don't use super wide lenses and don't tend to backpack with the camera so I have been happy. I have not been happy with the more sublte joys of using the camera--my Leica IIIc is far more soulful. But it does keep the space between my lens and film dark, and that's what is most important. So if the price is right--and it can be pretty low--this isn't a bad first camera. That's just my opinion.

You can see pictures taken with my 45cx on my website: michaelmeyerphoto.com (http://www.michaelmeyerphoto.com" target="blank). The Transience and Interiors were all taken with it.

Steve Hoffmann
1-Jan-2005, 07:07
I have a Toyo CX and I have successfully used my Rodenstock 65mm mounted in 12mm recessed board on my CX. There is just enough movement available to take advantage of the lens's limited coverage on 4X5...but it is TIGHT....:^) You have to rack the front and rear fine focusing in toward each other to make this work...

The CX can use a true 450 tele too. All you need to do is remove the plastic rail end caps and move the standards so that they are about 3/8 of an inch off the end of each rail…This allows for focus from infinity to about 15 - 20 feet….

This camera is VERY capable tool and other then the focusing mechanism getting loose from time to time; it is more versatile than cameras costing thousands of dollars more….

Mike Buehler
1-Jan-2005, 08:24
I'll agree with Michael and Steve,

My 45cx has served me well so far.

I too carry an allen wrench for the same rear standard problem Michael described. Not a big deal to tighten up though.

The plastic components don't really bother me much. I've even dropped mine from about 2 ft with no breakage. The cx is very lightweight for a monorail.

Good luck,


1-Jan-2005, 14:49
hi there

i am another person who has and uses a toyo 45cx. i bought it several years ago, mainly because i needed a view camera that could accomodate a 65mm lens. the camera i had at the time, a graphic view II, while it was a great camera that i sometimes miss it had a fixed bellows and i could not mount a 65mm lens on it. i have had it for a handful of years and i have done quite a lot of architectural/documentary work with it. i like it mainly because it can take all the accessories that their more expensive rail cameras take ( viewing hoods, monocular viewers, long rails, bag bellows, upgrade rear standard to make a 5x7 -8x10 camera ) and the adapter to use speed graphic lens boards. i eventually got a small crack in one of the standard/focus blocks which needed to be repaired. i contacted toyo shipped the camera to them, they replaced the cracked block, "upgraded" the "lockdown" and aligned the camera for me ... for FREE!

if i had to do it all over again, i would probably get the same camera, it is cheap enough ( $ that is ) and i can't really complain too much ...