View Full Version : second hand cam?

adrian tyler
16-Jan-2005, 00:25
i hava an urge to experiment with my (well used) master tecnica and a (pretty new) rodenstock 150 sironar s lens hand held. i've read on the forum of people succesfully using second hand cams.

i have been putting off sending the 2 items to germany to get a cam "made" as it is never the right time to be without either item (the distributor here informs me that they need both items). now, it seems that i can get hold of a second hand cam, and althought i am aware that in germany you get the depth of fied scale and all the rest of it, i could live without that (i've got the infinity stops in place), but obvoiusly it's only going to be useful if it is accurate.

anyone have any advice or warnings about using a second hand cam with these items?

can the cam be folded up into the camera, or does it have to be removed when closing the box?


Frank Petronio
16-Jan-2005, 07:28
I bet that Bob Salomon will correctly and selflessly answer your question within 24 hours.

16-Jan-2005, 08:32
They only sell for a few bucks on ebay. Why don't you just try one and see how well it works. For example, it may be terrible wide open but quite satisfactory if you stop down for f:16. (I've never understood why anyone selling a lens would seperate it from its cam.)

Brian Ellis
17-Jan-2005, 06:24
I've been tempted to do this myself with my Master Tecnika but I've never used a rangefinder and I'm unclear what else is needed besides the cam. I know about distance scales, I have several of those. I know about infinity stops, I have one set of those. But what about other things like the Linhof sports finder or the universal viewer. Do you need one of those two things? If not, how do you compose the image?

Ole Tjugen
17-Jan-2005, 07:12
"I've never understood why anyone selling a lens would seperate it from its cam."

Maybe I can answer that - or at least tell what happened in my case:

Some years ago I bought a Tech III 5x7" with a cammed 210mm lens and a 4x5" reduction back. The bellows were so full of holes they could have been made of lace, the shutter lacked both cable socket and flash contact, and the cam was adjusted for a different back.

A while later I came across another Tech III 5x7", this time with the 5x7" back from a Tech IV, a 300mm lens, and no cam.

I then combined the good bits from both cameras, and sold the "spares" on: Ratty bellows, broken rangefinder optics, 210mm lens, reduction back, and no cam. The prescence of a cam makes it a lot easier to close the camera, even if the cam doesn't match the lens. It just has to BE there!

So now I have a fine working Technika III 1/2 with a rangefinder which would have worked with the right lens, but in all other particulars a very fine camera!

Bob Salomon
17-Jan-2005, 09:07

There seems to be a lot of confusion here.

1: Cams, focusing scales and infinity stops are sold as a package which includes grinding the cam to match your lens. This is done by the distributor for Linhof cameras anywhere in the world.
2: For a V or a Master the cam can be cut from your lens alone. However if the service center does not have your camera they can not install the infinity stops in the correct location on the bed and they can not install the focusing scale. Most importantly they obviously can not test and confirm that the newly cut cam functions properly on your camera since they don'y have it to try it on.
3: There are people who believe that they can use a cam that was cut for a different lens of the same serial number and have it focus correctly. They are wrong - it won't!
The screws on the infinity stops on a Linhof have sharp points to anchor them securely into the rails to prevent them from moving accidently. When one uses a mismatched cam the user tends to re-adjust the stops as the rangefinder will not be accurate at all distances. Every time you re-adjust the infinity stops you will leave small dimples in the chrome rail. So whenever we see a camera with chicken pox marks on the rail we know that someone has been playing with the stop positions. Once the rail is dimpled you can not remove the dimples. Since there is absolutely no valid reason for stops to be moved this marring of the camera is unnecessary.

The cam for the 150 does not have to be removed when folding the camera. You do haave to remove it before dropping the bed or you will bend it. If you are dropping the bed you pull it out, drop the bed and then replace it.

And lastly the camera does not have to go to the factory for camming unless it is a gray market camera.

Bob Salomon
17-Jan-2005, 09:24
" But what about other things like the Linhof sports finder or the universal viewer. Do you need one of those two things? If not, how do you compose the image?"


You can use the groundglass or the Multifocus Finder. Depending on the focal length you may be able to use one of the Sports Finders but these only were set up for certain focal length lenses and were not as accurate as the Multifocus or use as many lenses or use with different formats.

And, again, mismatced cams will not focus accurately over the entire focusing range of the cam.

adrian tyler
17-Jan-2005, 13:28
thanks for clearing those things up bob.

the problems that i have here in the "backwoods" of spain are threefold. firstly the spainish distributor is unable to do the job, (he acted as if i told him that the martians had landed when i made the enquiry) he has to send everything to germany, this makes me a little nervous, these cameras and lenses are the "tools of the trade" and being without them for an undefined period of time is worrying to say the least.

secondly i have been informed that the focal lenghts which i use are un cam-able and the multifocus viewfinder is also not designed for there usage, read 80 and 110. so that leaves me with very little cam-able options, the 240 i feel is too long for hand holdablility which leaves me with the 150. so:

thirdly, if you do the sums: shipping, insurance, "downtime", viewfinder, grip and cam, your talking two thousand of your us "bucks" plus, plus, plus... to get one poxy lens up and running.

i think that given the situation a twentyfivebuck second hand cam becomes very attractive, even if it dosen't work!

oh good grief, bob, linhof, god, just do me a cam for a rodenstock 150 sironar s, it's a new lens, i don't need the scales and i can use the gg to find infinity, what's the probem....

Bob Salomon
17-Jan-2005, 15:50
" just do me a cam for a rodenstock 150 sironar s"

The problem is that without the lens we can't plot the curve for that lens.

If you buy a lens from a dealer in the US they frequently have us deliver it first to the service center for camming. The service people mount it on the board and cuts the cam and then the cammed lens and the required board are then shipped to either the dealer or the customer.

You should be able to order a cammed 150S from most dealers in Europe that handle Linhof. Or the Spanish distributor can order a cammed lens from the factory.

Just ask him to send you the instructions for locating the infinity stops and the focus scale as they are included in the package.

Brian Ellis
18-Jan-2005, 08:42
Thanks Bob. If you're still following this can you tell me whether any sports finder will fit a Master Technika (i.e. are there different styles of sports finders, some made for the older Technikas that wouldn't work on a Master)?