View Full Version : How come no Master Technika wallpaper?

John Cook
11-Sep-2005, 07:52
I firmly believe two things about camera sales in general and LF camera sales in particular.

First, none is available for hands-on inspection at your neighborhood camera shop (unless you live in Manhattan). Nearly all are purchased from pictures (mostly seen on-line).

Second, most cameras are sold to amateurs, whose purchasing decision is largely influenced by the beauty of the product. How many have purchased the ebony Ebony rather than the mahogany Ebony because of the color of the finish? How many have spent the extra zillion dollars for a Master Technika over a Horseman because it is prettier?

Given these two facts, would it not seem worthwhile for camera makers to bombard photographers (connoisseurs of fine photographic images) with absolutely gorgeous, massively-large, tack-sharp wallpaper images of their products? Should not every photographer’s computer be graced with a desktop background of the mahogany, brass and black leather-covered treasure of his dreams?

From Leica to Rolleiflex to Nikon to Ebony, I see no such images. I was just browsing the HP site, and their representations of Linhof cameras could each fit on a postage stamp. Same with Toyo View and all the others.

Come on guys! Let’s get with the program!

Bob Salomon
11-Sep-2005, 08:35

You can see Linhof in places other then Manhatten. Dealers in Seattle, Billingham, LA, San Francisco Bay area, Columbus, Atlanta, Monterey, San Diego/Riverside all have cameras in stock.

As for the web, we are happy to mail you a CD with high res images on it if you are in the USA. All you need to do is ask for one.

Ole Tjugen
11-Sep-2005, 10:07
That's why I have some pictures of some of my own cameras on www.bruraholo.no/Cameras (http://www.bruraholo.no/Cameras). I like my Gandolfi :)

Kerry L. Thalmann
11-Sep-2005, 10:54

You'd be surprised just how hard it can be to get decent product photos from some large format camera makers. I always request product photos from the manufacturers when I write an article. In many cases, I get nothing. In other cases I get something totally unusable and downright embarassing (like a low res scan of an old, out-of-focus, faded, scratched up Polaroid). It amazes me that some camera makers can't be bothered to supply a simple photo that shows off the beauty of their products. I often end up taking my own photos (which while not "beautiful" are at least usable) for the articles I write.

On the other hand, some manufacturers are VERY generous with providing information and high res photos of their products. Ironically, ARCA-SWISS often gets bashed for not having a web site, but they've always been willing to send me quality, high res photos of their products on request. They also provided many megabytes of scans from old brochures dating back to the 1950s for an article I wrote a couple years ago on the history of ARCA-SWISS cameras. If ARCA-SWISS ever gets around to puting up a web site, it should be a good one as they already have plenty of digitized content.

With more and more people having broadband internet connections, it would be great if some of the manufacturers would post high res product photos online, including shots from various angles and close-ups of camera details, for potential buyers to download. As you mention, the majority of potential buyers don't live near a dealer that has ANY large format cameras in stock, let alone of variety of brands and models to compare side-by-side. This is a great opportunity for one of the online sellers. If they could create a virtual showroom with detailed, high res photos of all the LF cameras they sell, I'm sure it would increase their sales - and also the percentage of satisfied buyers.

In lieu of that, the BEST option I have found is to attend the annual View Camera Large Format Conference trade show. Sorry if that sounded like a commercial plug, but the trade show portion of the show is totally free and open to anyone who wants to show up and walk through the door (no registration required). With many LF camera manufacturers and several major dealers present, it really is a great chance to get your hands on several different cameras in one place. I personally consider it a highlight of the conference - and also a great place to just chat with old friends and make a few new ones, too.

Alas, the conference is "only" once a year and not everyone can attend. So, I still like the idea of an online virtual showroom - perhaps something that contains low, medium and high res product photos for users with varios bandwidth limitations.


Kerry L. Thalmann
11-Sep-2005, 11:10
You can see Linhof in places other then Manhatten. Dealers in Seattle, Billingham, LA, San Francisco Bay area, Columbus, Atlanta, Monterey, San Diego/Riverside all have cameras in stock.

The problem is, how many of those same dealers also have other brands of LF cameras in stock. Suppose I was considering the following four cameras: Linhof Technikardan TK45S, ARCA-SWISS F-Line Field, Canham DLC and Layton L45A. This is a realistic scenario as these are all metal 4x5 cameras designed for field use. They are all capable of handling lenses from ultra wide to very long and in the same general price range (not cheap). Is their a single dealer in the world that has all four of those cameras in stock today? Even if there is, I'd be willing to wager that dealer isn't within reasonable driving distance of my front door. Given the niche market that is large format, it's perhaps unreasonable for me to be able to drive down to my local camera shop and see all four of these cameras (or even one of them) sitting on the shelves.

Which is exactly the point - online high res product photos that are available to anyone, anywhere in the world 24 hours a day, 365 days a year would be a GREAT resource for potential buyers and a great marketing/sales tool for manufacturers/distributors/dealers. The time has come. The technology exists. Online storage space is cheap, bandwidth is cheap, millions of households around the world already have broadband internet service and thousands more are getting it every day. Let's see some of those high res photos online. You already have them scanned on a CD, why not post them online? Think of the postage and time you'd save. In our society of instant gratification, many people don't want to be troubled sending an email and waiting for something to come in the mail. They want their information and they want it NOW!


Richard Schlesinger
11-Sep-2005, 12:56
Bob, I would dearly love to know where in San Diego I can see Linhof or much else. Calumet has a store in Escondido - not San Diego, and that's about it. What about an association of manufacturers and/or distributors putting together a site with really good pictures and info on LF stuff. B&H puts out big, heavy catalogs of a lot - but not just LF. Maybe we (LF users) would even pay a small fee for access.

QT Luong
11-Sep-2005, 14:02
Well, if any manufacturer sends me those files, I will post them on the LFphoto.info site. After a few start doing that, maybe their competitors would feel compelled to follow ? Any takers ?

Bob Salomon
11-Sep-2005, 15:27
" would dearly love to know where in San Diego I can see Linhof or much else. "

A new store is about to open. They have already ordered a Technika 2000 for the opening.

Kerry L. Thalmann
11-Sep-2005, 15:37
[/i]Well, if any manufacturer sends me those files, I will post them on the LFphoto.info site.[/i]


I was going to suggest your site as a repository for high res images of LF cameras, but I have no idea how this would impact your bandwidth/cost. If you are willing, I have a lot of images on my local hard drive from the articles I've written. In some cases, I'll have to check with the manufacturers for permission as they hold the copyright on many of the images. I can't imagine anyone would object. They originally provided them to me for possible magazine publication, but I'd just want to check before putting them online.


Jim Rhoades
11-Sep-2005, 16:12
Damn John; You mean my rubber coated Horseman's not pretty? At almost half the weight of a Linhof it looks fine to me.

David A. Goldfarb
11-Sep-2005, 16:48
Tuan--Are you only interested in manufacturers' photos? I'd be happy to set up one day and shoot some large JPEGs of my cameras for the site, and I suspect others would oblige as well. Maybe post some guidelines (filesize, pixel dimensions, suggested views, etc.) and a request for images and perhaps a checklist of cameras you already have well documented, and I'm sure there will be takers. I think it would be an excellent addition to the site.

QT Luong
11-Sep-2005, 21:20
I was just mentionning manufacturer's photos because that's what people have been talking about, but any origin
would be fine with me. As for specs of the images, maybe Kerry, you could give us a recommendation.

Frank Petronio
11-Sep-2005, 21:51
Yeah, you guys ought to be photographing your lovely cameras like those wankers on PN that post "Leica-porn". Half the fun of owning Leicas and Linhofs is in the fondeling of them.

What I find unbelievable is that companies will announce cameras like the Arca-Swiss Misura or the new 141mm F-line and then completely fail to provide images to their customers. And people still plunk down thousands of dollars sight unseen. So when I hear about the sorry state of the camera business, I have to question why...? I mean they are doing almost anti-marketing and guys like Canham, Ebony, and Walker can't keep up. Even Wisner - with all his warts - seems to have a backlog.

If I understood French I'd really like this site more, but they seem to have the most complete collection of camera photos:


You can also do a Google search for images, which sometimes turns up a surprise or two.

The problem is that even the largest NYC dealers don't have all the viable cameras you'd like to consider in stock, on display, for you to touch and play with. Probably a LF conference is the best bet for seeing all the "exotics" and you can pick up a lot of practical insight from their owners (as well as see how they set up their entire kit.)

Oh, and here is my regularly scheduled slam at Arca-Swiss for being too lame to have a website and a second slam at Bob S. (whom I like very much) for not exploiting the potential of his excellent product line to the internet audience. I don't want to call you Bob and start a sales relationship, I want to aspire to buying a new Linhof in a couple of years - so give me a nice informative website, PLEASE.

I seems obvious that if one of the manufacturers hosted a really lively, well produced website (with lots of photos, advice, forums, etc.) that built a sense of community - well - that would be ALL the marketing they would ever need. I bet that almost 98% of the people into LF are online. And the amazing thing is you could probably get volunteers to do all the work!

David A. Goldfarb
12-Sep-2005, 09:56
Yeah, Frank, photographing cameras as on the Leica forum is kind of fetishistic, but I think it could be a valuable resource in LF, where there is a lot more variation and so little good info out there for those who have no other way of finding these things out.

In NYC, you would definitely have to visit a few shops to see everything you might want, but at least they are all within subway or walking distance. B&H has new Linhof, Arca-Swiss (Misura too), and Toyo cameras on the shelf. Photo-Gizzmo has a good variety, including Canham and Littman. Lots of the old standards to be seen at Lens and Repro. Bruce's Field Camera store (by appointment, I gather) has a range of Wisner, Linhof, and other cameras. Adorama, Photocare, and Calumet also carry LF gear, though Calumet NYC has less LF in stock than it used to. I'm not sure who is carrying new Sinar gear in stock where you could actually walk into a shop and try it, but there's plenty used floating around.

Isaac Crawford
12-Sep-2005, 11:20
After reading this thread, I remembered the Toyo site as having a really good array of pictures. Well, I went back to refresh my memory and they do, but they are itty bitty pictures! It's a shame because they look as though they have high quality shots availible, they just don't put them up for some reason.


Kirk Keyes
13-Sep-2005, 12:16
"Is their a single dealer in the world that has all four of those cameras in stock today? "

It's possible, but not likely. Kind of like having a car dealer that carries Ferrari, Lamborghini, Lotus, and Porsche - all on the same lot.

J.L. Kennedy
14-Sep-2005, 01:43
The best way I have found to see a lot of different large format cameras is to attend one of Per Volquart's free workshops. There's always a session for checking out everyone's cameras (and other equipment), and always an impressive variety.

Paul Cocklin
14-Sep-2005, 16:20
As a relative neophyte to LF, I would have found it an enormous resource to be able to view the cameras I read everyone write about. (Come to think of it, I still would find it such). I know that while I was looking around at different cameras, internetically speaking, I was desperate for something tangible to look at, not just dimesions and specifications.

A manufacturer creating an environment where consumers could go to look (and drool) over different cameras would do wonders for their business, I think. Particularly because the people who shoot LF seem to be the people who need to feel substance, either physically or visually. Else, most of us would skip to digital...I'm probably not explaining that point well, but it's been a long day.

Alright, coffee break's over, back on your heads...


Paul Cocklin
14-Sep-2005, 16:29
Internetically: adv. via the internet

I think I just created a new word....