View Full Version : Monorail to Field Question

29-Apr-2005, 07:02
Good Day

Currently I work with a Horseman L-series monorail view camera. I no longer have use for it since the courses which it was used for is now complete. I use lenses from 65mm to 300mm on this camera with little problems. Since I began hiking longer distances from my home/car I have realized just how unwiedly a big monorail is for such work (prior to this it was used mostly in architecture/studio, but my passion is in outdoor work). I am looking to upgrade to a field camera system--metal or wood--which will allow me to utilize my current lenses without much problems. I have looked into the Horseman 45FA, however, I hear that it is not such a great choice because of its bellows limitations for longer lenses, and it is difficult to work with wide angle, especially under 75mm. Are the Linhof Technika series (even the older ones, prior to the Master) worth looking into for my lenses? Price is definately a limitation. I cannot buy new.

Thank you.

Henry Friedman
29-Apr-2005, 07:11
I use a Canham DLC with the same range of lenses on standard boards with no issues. The standard bellows is pretty well compressed with the 65mm, but there's not a lot of spare coverage with those lenses anyway.

Ellen Stoune Duralia
29-Apr-2005, 07:43
Hi! I have been in your shoes and my solution was the Shen-Hao 4x5. If price is a limitation for you than you might want to check them out. Might be the answer to your prayers. Good luck :)

Leonard Evens
29-Apr-2005, 07:46
I use a Toho (not Toyo) FC-45X. It is a monorail, but is lighter than practically anything else, and comes apart easily for transport. I use lenses from 75 mm to 300 mm. I can do some rise/fall and shifts with the 75 mm. It should handle a 65 mm lens but with little movement. They also sell an eccentric lensboard which allows fairly extensive movement without moving the standards and is a reasonable substitute for a bag bellows. See the review at www.thalmann.com/largeformat/toho.htm.

Gem Singer
29-Apr-2005, 09:54
Hi Emil,

Call Jim, at Midwest Photo Exchange (www.mpex.com). He will take your Horseman in trade, and you can probably get an Ebony RW45 for only slight difference in price. Jim also has several other folding flatbed field cameras, both metal and wood, that will handle your lenses and will keep the price down.

Bill McMannis
29-Apr-2005, 17:58
Emil: I went through a series of cameras: Sinar configurations then a Zone VI. I preferred the movements of a monorail and the compactness of the folding field camera. I went with a Linhof Technikardan 45S this past fall. I was out using it today in a state park and love the compactness in my backpack. Earlier in the week I was doing some close quarters interior photography and the generous movements made shots possible that a field camera could not have dealt with. You may want to check it out.

Pay no attention to those who claim it is hard to open and close. If you can set up a field camera, you can open and close a Technikardan.

tor kviljo
30-Apr-2005, 05:50
The Linhof tech 4"x5"'s developed gradually from the -50 to be better at handeling wide lenses, with the tech. 2000 the best I belive (never held one... - they're rare!). The two current offerings, the Master tech & 2000 both have a wide-angle flap on top of body for better dealing with wide lenses - a feature neither the Tech V nor any earlier models sported. To use a 75mm or wider on tech V or tech IV/III, I understand that a separate wide-angle focussing device is needed (and lenses mounted in tech 2x3 boards...). Movements on cameras up to tech IV is awkward even with 90mm (probably next to impossible with shorter lenses) but were improved by changing from knob to ratchet-handle rise control on tech V. I have a 90mm Grandagon for my tech V, and even that one is a litte awkward to use: bed have to be dropped & front standard repositioned (and then focus will be combined with rise/fall....) for paralellity if shooting with back in vertical position... For WA work with a field camera, You probably would be better served by a wood-field as mentioned above, as the only tech really suitable (tech 2000) will be WAY out of any reasonabler budget bought new, about never found used. However, even with the relatively capable tech V, I miss the ease of use/adjustments of my Sinar when weight/space considerations force me to take the Tech. instead. Remember that a Sinar F2 can be folded sandwich-like with format-frames resting on top of rail, making it quite packable for a monorail - about 1,3 kilo heavier (4,4 kg or so w/150mm) than the tech V (but stay away from f/f1's with flimsy front standard!).

Juergen Sattler
30-Apr-2005, 07:16
Emil, I started out with a Sinar F1 and while I loved the range of movements and the built-in dials for DOF, Swing and Tilt, I had the same issues - just too heavy for field work and it required a huge backpack and still setting up the camera took too long. I then decided to try a Technika (the older III versions) and really did not like it at all. Wide angle lenses are very difficult to use on these type of folders, even though Linhof just came out with a Lensboard that supposedely takes care of that problem, but the other problem with the Linhofs is that everything is very expensive. I ended up buying a Canham DLC45 and I am very happy with it - it is sort of a compromise between a mono rail and a field camera. It does have all of the movements of the mono rail but folds up into a neat, light package. Talk to Keith Canham - he'll be very happy to discusss your needs and give you his views. I agree with Eugene you should also talk to Jim at MidWest Photo - he is very knowledabgle and offers the advantage of trading in your existing camera. I use the same range of lenses on my DLC45 (65-300) with the standard bellows -no need for an extra bag bellows.