View Full Version : wide angle friendly field camera

Mort Freeman
12-May-2005, 19:58
After working with some borrowed equipment (a Tecknika 3 and a Toyo CF) I have decided to take the plunge and purchase my own camera. I should probably mention I shoot alot of landscapes and the odd building now and then. I have figured out that I like back base tilt as my main movement. It is one of the reasons I liked the 3 over the CF.

I have been using lenses from 75 to about 350 and I find the 75 to be my favorite.

I really like shorter lenses and would like to get a 75mm as my main and first lens. After working with a 75 and a 90 I found the 75 easier to work with than the 90. Well at least the f/8 models. The f4 models are nice but too big for field work so I am going for the 75. I have not settled on a long lens but really a 210, 240 or 300 would suffice.

Yes I have tried a 150 and they are nice but I find that view too boring-I just prefer the look a wide angle gives. I also know the 110 XL Schneider is a great lens from reading here. It might be a future pick up but not a first lens. Future desired lenses are more likely to be a 58mm, the 110 XL, and a short long (maybe the 240 Fuji).

So I am trying to decide on a body. Simplicity has high value for me. Ideally it will be wide angle friendly and work with the 75mm lens, preferably without having to change the bellows or use a recessed board. The alternative is a wide angle bellows that can stay on all the time. Like I said, I want it to be simple- if I have to change the bellows every time I set up then I will get frustrated with the camera.

I also would like easy to change orientation (portrait/landscape).

I like the Teck 3 rotating back, rear base tilt but not 75mm friendly.

The CF is cheap, but no back movements.

Toho seems to fiddly, especially to change orientation.

Wondering about Cadet Wide, Shen Hao, Tachihara. Maybe even a Badger M1 or Arca-Swiss (Field or Discovery) .

The Technikardian is out of my price range. Weight does not bother me. Size might. Well-at least the size of something like a Toyo GX monorail does. I would like whatever I choose to be able to fit in a LowePro backpack.

So in summary, I have seen and used a few cameras. I shoot outdoors. I want a 75mm friendly camera with back base tilt. Down the road I may add a 58 or 210.

Will one camera setup meet my needs? Thank you for any help.


Jeffrey Scott
12-May-2005, 20:51
It is too bad you have a price limitation. I had used a Tech III for many years and then I got a Tech V for a short while and then a Master Tech 2000, which had so many issues I returned that and bought an Ebony 45SU. The Ebony is killer for wide angle photography. I use lenses ranging from a 58XL up to a 305 G-Claron, and the camera is a breeze to use. It is pricy but you will stop looking for another camera, which may make it more cost effective in the end!

Tom Perkins
12-May-2005, 21:35
Check out the Walker Titan; can't go wrong.

Richard Littlewood
13-May-2005, 01:32
Good idea to check out Walker cameras. www.walkercameras.com. I got a Titan SF with bag bellows that have about 3 normal bellows folds at the back - I think the amount of extra bellows tacked on the back can be discussed with Mike Walker. I use lenses from 65 to 210 with this set up, with no problems at all. The 'standard' bellows that came on the camera were removed the day I bought it, and have been off ever since. Using the 65 lens is as easy as any other.

paul owen
13-May-2005, 04:13
Easy - the Ebony 45S!!

Brian Ellis
13-May-2005, 05:12
For short focal length lenses the two considerations are: (1) how short a focal length can I use without needing a bag bellows, and (2) if that isn't short enough will the camera accept a bag bellows?

Ideally you'd like a camera that will go as short as you need without requiring a bag bellows (unless you keep the bag bellows on the camera at all times, which you might do given your lens choices). With that in mind I'd suggest looking at one of the Ebony non-folders, a Canham, or perhaps a used Zone VI or new Shen Hao if the Ebony and Canham prices are too steep.

One of the Canham models (sorry, I forget which one, I can't keep the Canham children's initials straight) will go as short as 58mm I believe without the need for a bag bellows. A Tachihara will go to 65mm without a bag bellows but not shorter and you indicate a future interest in a 58mm lens. One of the Ebony non-folders would be ideal if you don't mind the non-folding aspect and never go longer than their maximum extension (which I think is something around 150 or 210, the Ebony web site will give you the actual number ). Personally I wouldn't buy an Ebony non-folder becuase of the limitation on longer lenses. While you're primarily interested in short focal lengths now, you might be surprised to find that your photographic vision and interests change over time (at least you hope they do, it certainly would get very boring to always make only one type of photograph).

Used Zone VI cameras and new Shen Haos can be had for under $1000 and both accept a bag bellows. Personally I wouldn't buy a Shen Hao because of the short (12") maximum bellows extension but that might not bother you.

Linhof Technikas are my preferred camera out of the various large format cameras I've owned and I've owned quite a few (and tried even more). But I can't recommend any Technika other than the Master 2000 for your purposes because of the difficulty of using leneses shorter than 75mm on them (and the Master 2000 is very expensive and almost never available used). I think you're right to reject the CF because of the absence of back movements.

Mark Sampson
13-May-2005, 05:41
Speaking as a long-time user, the Zone VI will work with a 75mm lens but it's not really convienient. There are better choices.

Frank Petronio
13-May-2005, 05:47
I agree about liking back base tilts. Take a look at the Arcas. An older, pre-1980s Arca is still a light, compact design, and you can get a new leather bag bellows fitted with the older style frames, so it is compatiable. They came in three variations - with base tilts, axis tilts, and base and axis tilts. Make sure you don't get the axis tilt model...

Surprised you had trouble with a Technika 2000 - care to elaborate?

13-May-2005, 06:48
Mort, I'm with Frank - I'm also interested in what issues you had with the Linhof....

Herb Cunningham
13-May-2005, 08:58
Just about any of the Arcas will do. Even an 8x10 is a joy to use with wide angle- if the rail is in the photo, everything slides up and out of the way.

Bob Salomon
13-May-2005, 09:02
"because of the difficulty of using leneses shorter than 75mm on them"

Lets see, you place a 35 to 65mm lens, on flat boards or on boards with a cone, into the front standard, place the front standard into the camera body (or not pull it out of the camera body, and then slide the focusing lever left to right while focusing on the GG. Of course you drop the bed all the way before focusing.

How is that difficult?

13-May-2005, 09:12
I think you will find many more cameras that can accommodate a 65 than a 58. Be real sure that those extra 7mm are very important to you before letting it be a deal-breaker.

I use my Walker with standard bellows from 80mm (very little movements) to 450mm. With the bag bellows from 65mm (my shortest) to 110; I assume it would reach as far as a 210 focussed on infinity, but I have not measured or tried it (email me if you are curious). I also assume you could squeeze a 75mm on with the standard bellows.

I'm with you all the way with back base tilt; that and front rise are my can't-do-without movements. One appealing choice is the Ebony bottom-of-the-line, RW45, at $1550.

Wisner makes a bellows that reaches from 47-305.

If you haven't purchased the 75mm yet, you may want to consider the SSXL 80mm as well. Compare the stats here on this site.

Brian Ellis
13-May-2005, 10:16
Bob Salomon said:

"Let's see, you place a 35 to 65mm lens on flat boards . . . . "

Really? I understood that to use any lens shorter than 75mm on all Technikas except the Master 2000 a wide angle focusing device was required. As I said in my original message, the 2000 could be used but that's a very expensive camera and since the original poster said he couldn't afford a Technikardan he certainly couldn't afford the considerably more expensive 2000. Surely you weren't misleading us into thinking the simple procedure you describe could be used with any Technika, when in reality it can be used only with the Master 2000 which costs about $4,000 new. You wouldn't do something as misleading as that would you?

"How is that difficult?"

I guess it isn't if as you say it's just a matter of sticking lenses as short as 35mm on a flat board and dropping the front bed. I must have been wrong in thinking that all Technikas except the 2000 required a wide angle focusing device to use lenses shorter than 75mm. So to me the difficulty came first in paying for a wide angle focusing device (about $1,500 or more new IIRC, not seen often used), then in having to lug it around and fiddle with it every time a lens shorter than 75mm was used. And I didn't know that lenses as short as 35mm could be used even with the wide angle focusing device.

But I apparently was wrong in all of this since you work for the U.S. distributor for Linhof and surely know more than I do about Linhof cameras. So please do tell us how 35 to 65mm lenses can be used on Technikas just by the simple procedure you describe (again assuming you weren't being oh-so-clever by failing to tell us that your procedure applies only to the Master 2000). As the owner of two Technikas I'd certainly like to know how this can be done and I'm sure there are many other Technika owners here who will be interested in your explanation.

Bob Salomon
13-May-2005, 11:54

Today the Wide Angle Focusing attachment is no longer made. If one wants one for lenses from 55 to 65mm on a Technika IV through the Master technika Classic it really was difficult.

You mounted the attachent to the front standard that you placed inside the camera housing. Put the lens on a Technika 23 board so it could mount to the attachment and then focused the lens by turning the knob on the attachment. Like the 2000 example above you also drop the bed.

Today Linhof has another method.

Extreme wide angle lenses, shorter then 72mm, are mounted into a helicoid mount at the Linhof factory. The lens is mounted on the front standard, just like any other lens. The standard is placed in the body and the helicoid mount is rotated to focus. of course you still need to drop the bed.

In short focusing a Technika Iv or later with an extreme wide angle lens is no more or less complicated then any other camera. And you don't have to change to a WA bellows to use one of these lenses.

Bob Salomon
13-May-2005, 11:56
OK, I give, what is IIRC?

David A. Goldfarb
13-May-2005, 12:03
IIRC="if I remember correctly"

Brian Ellis
13-May-2005, 15:34
Bob Salomon said:

"Extreme wide angle lenses shorter than 72mm are mounted into a helicoid mount at the Linhof factory . . . In short focusing a Technika IV or later with an extreme wide angle lens is no more or less complicated than any other camera."

Thanks for the information, I didn't know that the wide angle focusing device had been discontinued. So if I understand you correctly, if I want to use a 72mm or shorter lens on a Technika IV, V, or Classic Master I ship the lens to the factory and they put the helicoid mount on it. I assume this can be done with any 72mm or shorter lens (i.e. that I don't have to purchase the lens new from the factory and that the procedure isn't limited to only certain specific lenses). If that's the case then I'd agree it's no more or less complicated to use wide angle lenses with a Tech IV, V, and Classic Master than with any other camera, except of course that with other cameras you don't have to ship lenses to the factory and, more importantly, pay for having a special mount put on a lens. Just out of curiosity, what's the cost of having the mount put on a lens?

Bob Salomon
13-May-2005, 16:13
Not quite. If you have the 72mm you put it on an 001015 or 001016 lensboard and use it like the 75 or 90mm.

If you have a shorter lens you would sell it and order a new lens in helicoid as tested and supplied by Linhof. Yes you buy the 65mm or shorter lens from Linhof.

There is no cost for putting the focus mount on a lens as you have to buy a lens with the focus mount as well as the control hardware to adjust the aperture on the lensboard.

David A. Goldfarb
13-May-2005, 16:14
Focusing mounts for Schneider lenses are priced at 165 UKP from Robert White.

SK Grimes has a custom focusing mount priced at $500 plus $75 for an engraved scale.


This raises the question--is it possible to use a 47mm Super-Angulon or Super-Angulon XL on a Technika with the Schneider focusing mount? Or the 45mm Apo-Grandagon with a Rodenstock helical, if they are still making them?

Bob Salomon
13-May-2005, 16:51

The Linhof helicoid is unique to Linhof and includes controls to operate the shutter as well as to focus. The Schneider helicoid won't work. Rodenstock makes a complete range of helicoids for all of their lenses in 0 shutter. They also make a helical system for 39mm Leica thread mount lenses as well as for 32,5mm mount lenses and C mount lenses. They fit to a T mount or a C mount camera as well as to a lens board.

Mort Freeman
13-May-2005, 17:22
Thanks for some opinions. To clarify. The Teck I got a chance to use was a old model 3. Several posters mentiond a 4 and beyond. My understand is the 3 is different than the 4 and newer. Bob can you tell me if the Tec 3 is usable with a 75mm? Or maybe what is the widest lens you can use? BTW, I know to drop the bed.

I will admit the Arca Swiss looks really nice but I am not sure of the $2700 for it. No doubt it is a fine piece of equipment but if a Shen Hao would work that is $2000 for film and trips.

What worries me is the Shen Hao needing a bag bellows all the time. Shen users, can you use a 75 with the regular bellows?

I saw some Walkers but I thought they were rigid backs.

That leads me back to the Tachihara. Too bad they use all that brass, it looks like a pimps camera. I guess I like more understated.

Any comments on the Badger model? Looks a little like the Arca, just not modular. I see they pulled the whole line. Interesting.


Bart Langenaken
14-May-2005, 02:03
I have worked with a Technika 2000 for about a year. I used my Schneider SA47XL on this camera with a flat lenboard. Focusing goes very well. Downside is that you have very limited movements because the builtin wide angle device is only about 70 mm long and stays inside the housing when you use a 47XL. You can of course open a flap on top of the camera but then movemets are still limited because of the compressed bellows. I also used a Schneider SA75/5.6 with this camera. Therefore you will need a special lensboard with a tubus. With this lensboard you'll expand the wide angle device with 15 milimeter and you can focus at infinity with a 75mm lens. So after a year I sold my MT2000 and bought a Linhof TK45S. Body is not that larger when you fold it together (about 2 centimeters in height and width). Much more movements; downside I have two bellows to work with. One for wide angle lenses and one standard bellows.

Last year I saw at Photokina Germany the new Arca Swiss 4x5 Field. They use now only one bellows for my 47XL to my 400mm Compact. I used this camera for a few days and I was impressed. Lot of movements als with the 47XL and a very very good groundglass. The best I have seen untill now e.g. I saw even the corners and the clouds in the sky on the screen with my 47XL. Hotspot is less annoying than the other groundglasses I have used even Bosscreen. So I'm selling my Linhof TK45S for a new Arca Swiss. Downside; the Arca costs a lot of money.

Alan Davenport
14-May-2005, 10:15
A Tachihara would probably be able to use a 58mm lens with a recessed board. Remember that these lenses (just about anything that short) don't offer much excess coverage so front movements aren't really possible anyway. Too bad you don't like brass; the Tachihara is a fine camera and a chick magnet.

We got a steam train coming to Salem this AM (see SP&S 700 TO STEAM INTO DOWNTOWN SALEM (http://www.sps700.org/salem2005.html) for details. I'll be pimpin' with my Tachi...