View Full Version : 5x7 camera for field-architecture

Rob Tucher
8-Dec-1999, 15:44
I am directing this to the readers at large but Bob Solomon's input is also soli cited because it bears directly on the subject of Linhof. I have decided that n either my Gowland Pocket 5x7 nor my Deardorf 5x7 are precise enough or technical enough to do historic architecture, especially when I do scale-rectified elevat ions. I need independent movements so that the swing does not have the potentia l to move when I shift, or, for that matter, any other movement that might allow something else to go out of whack. I also need bag bellows potential because I use as wide as 72XL and I need extension because I use 600mm and more at times. I have a Linhof Techikardan for 4x5 work but more and more I do 5x7. Canham m etal 5x7 has been recommended, but I am not sure it is "technical" enough. I am also looking at a Linhof Kardan Master L 5x7 with bag bellows but no extension included (and not much hope of finding one used, I hear) plus very big and heavy for the field, and a Sinar C 5x7 (P rear and F front), which is a little smalle r and lighter but not much and certainly not foldable or convenient like a Techn ikardan. Is there anything out there that is readily available, has accessories like bag and extensions, is on the lighter side and transportable (carried into fields, up other buildings for different perspectives, clamped to tree limbs an d the underside of bridges, etc.) of the "technical" capabilities of a Technikar dan? Not a must but nice would be upgradable to 8x10. And oh, yes, affordable too? I'm asking a lot but I usually do buy used. Anyone selling something like this? Let me know if you are or have a favorite.

Rob Tucher
8-Dec-1999, 15:57
P.S. I might add that I read the 5x7 camera thread below but I think I am talking about different cameras. The people who mentioned the Canham there might want to contribute an answer if they use the camera the way I do and have pointers, advice, ideas, critiques, etc. Arca Swiss has the F-line but I never see them used and the new prices are not the sort I can even deal with.

Ellis Vener
8-Dec-1999, 16:56
I would seriously look at the Arca Swiss 5x7 FC camera. If you want geared rise and shift movements you'll want an FC metric. Due to the lack of demand for 5x7 in the US market you'll probably need to order this as a special order n ew item from an Arca dealer like Quality camera, Badger Graphics, The F-Stops Here, or Photomark. A Sinar 5x7 C will also be an excellent choice.

Bob Salomon
8-Dec-1999, 16:58
HABS, of the National Park Service under Jack Boucher in DC uses the 5a7 Linhof Kardan GTL AMS camera which weighs 20 lbs. less lens.

A very good alternative is the Linhof Kardan GT 57 with a telescoping rail 15 - 23" with longer ones available, and yaw free movements + optical axis tilts. 3.3" of rise front and back extendable to 6.6", 5.5" of front and rear shift, 3600 of front and rear swing with 750 of front and rear shift. Fully calibrated for use with Linhof's Dept Of Fied calculating system. Weighs 11.2 lbs compared to the GTL.

Takes all Kardan accessories and with an adapter board your TK lenses.

Rob Tucher
8-Dec-1999, 19:15
Ellis, you are the fastest answer on the net. I see your stuff all the time in here. The problem with Arca Swiss is that it is only available new or VERY rarely used (and never 5x7) so I can't justify the expense. I'm talking $2000 to $2500 used with bag bellows. The Sinar would seem OK but not all that portable, though based on what Bob S. said I should probably accept the weight and live with it. And I have never seen a Sinar C or P live. I used to have a horrible Sinar Alpina but I understand that this is a poor representation of what the Sinar line is all about. The Sinar C is available to me mail order. Thanks for your input. I'll see where else this question goes.

Thanks Bob. I met and had lunch with Jack B. this past summer via a mutual friend. He showed me his Linhof, lenses and facilities and that is when I started thinking that I work too hard with my Gowland to get the same results. His 20 pounder is huge when compared to 4x5, but I guess that is the nature of the beast. I am the person who wistfully dreamed of a 5x7 Technikardan in these threads a while back and you showed me the error of my ways then. The Master L is the only used Linhof I have seen in a long time, and has been there for ever. Am I right about the extension for the Master L, not available much? I do the same kind of work as Jack--though both HABS and HAER on contract. Doesn't pay that well so I try to keep expenses in line with profit margin. Commercial work can justify commercial prices for fabulous Linhofs and Sinars, etc. but contract work pays along the lines of photojournalism rates with the requirement of much more expensive commercial large-format equipment. I've done HUNDREDS of HABS/HAER structures and love it, and am a "historic preservationist" by trade. Can't say I do it for the money, but my wife is my business manager and she has ways of keeping my equipment lust in check.

Bob Salomon
8-Dec-1999, 20:48
No accessories specific to the L are available nor have been available since 1980 due to the law suit with Sinar. As a result of that suit linhof had to stop the sale and production of the L with its continuously assymetrical movements since the court ruled that the Linhof continuously variable movement conflicted with Sinar's fixed assymetrical movement used on the P.

Now that all patents are expired the Linhof Master GTL and GTL AMS have the continuously variable assymetric movement again.

Of course since the very first yaw free camera was the original Linhof Kardan camera this feature has been brought back on the GT and GTL.

Patrick Chase
8-Dec-1999, 20:56
Hi Rob;

Given the set of simultaneous requirements that you've listed, and your aversion to excess weight, I think that your budgetary expectations may be a bit unrealistic.

I doubt that you're going to do much better than the Arca-Swiss 5x7 that Ellis suggested. No other similar-weight or lighter 5x7 on the market meets your specific set of requirements (the bit about fully independent movements in particular rules out the otherwise promising Sinar f1/f2 because they uses combined tilt/swing locks). The Linhof system that Bob S recommends is also excellent (choosing between it and the A-S would probably be a matter of individual working style), but will cost you as much as or more than the A-S, so you're not going to save any money by going that route.

Ellis Vener
8-Dec-1999, 21:51
The Linhofs are very fine cameras, that should go without saying, but it really is excellent gear. I

Masayoshi Hayashi
9-Dec-1999, 15:17
I second to Ellis and Patrick. I suggest Arca F-line 5x7 metric or current version of classic. Sinar C is out for field purposes simply because it's not compact even when it's disassembled. Rob, I have seen Arca Swiss F-line 8x10 for sale on Ebay at least twice for the last couple of months. In fact, I bought my 4x5 F-line from a photo.net member. I don't know how much time you can wait but Arca/Canham cameras show up on used market sometimes. I have even seen a Canham MQC on ebay. I'd really suggest to try out this camera before making decision.

Canham metal 5x7 has been recommended, but I am not sure it is "technical" enough. Would you elaborate this more?

I think you know the following free automatic e-mail notification services when your wanted item shows up on the net.

<ul> <li>Photo.net classifieds Add/Edit Alert (http://photo.net/gc/domain-top.tcl?domain=photo.net) Click on Add/Edit Alert link. <li>Eba y personal shopper (http://cgi3.ebay.com/aw-cgi/eBayISAPI.dll?PersonalShopperViewSearches) </ul> Other good used sources for Arca and Canham (Always good to call for the most updated stock): <ul> <li>Mid West Photo (http://www.mpex.com/) <li>F-STOPs here (http://www.thefstop.com/equipment/used/canhamused.html) <li>Del's (http://www.dels-cam.com/) <li>TEAMWORK (UK) (http://www.teamworkphoto.co.uk/) <li>Robert White (UK) (http://www.robertwhite.co.uk/seconds.htm) <li>Bob Rigby (UK) (http://www.bobrigby.com/) <li>George Ury </ul> If you're going for Arca, you might want to check which edition you're buying since they improve their design constantly (well they don't number editions but if you ask Martin Vogt in Switzerland or Rod at Photomark you can figure out when the camera is made and what improvement has been made over the past editions).

james norman
9-Dec-1999, 22:55
rob - i also do habs/haer recordation for a living, though my main format is 4x5. jet lowe, haer photographer, uses a 5x7 outfit similar to jack boucher's. having worked with him on a couple of occasions, i can tell you his gear is heavy (i got to tote around his bag of filmholders - i think it weighed about 65 pounds), and really made me appreciate the ease and portability of my 4x5 setup. anyway, if you will email me directly, i will send you jet's email address at haer, and i am sure he would be happy to give you some feedback on your questions.

Natha Congdon
11-Dec-1999, 06:56
No one has mentioned the option of a used Linhof Tech 5 X 7. These do come available not that infrequently, have geared rise, separate tilt and swing mechanisms/locks, and I believe also have the rear focusing mechanism now offered on the Master Tech, which should make the use of wide angle lenses practical. Figuring from the extension on a 4 X 5, I bet you could use the longer lenses you mention. Linhof Tech is not the lightest camera on earth, but I bet it would be better than some of the 20 lb systems mentioned above! I've seen these sell used in Shutterbug for under $2K certainly.

11-Dec-1999, 08:22
Why not go all the way with an 8x10? If you were starting from scratch 5x7 might make sense, but you already have all that fantastic 4x5 stuff, and it's only 1.7x as much area, (even less if you crop to 8x10 format when you print). With your optimistic and perfectionist outlook you're probably going to end up with 8x10 eventually, anyhow.

John Wiemer
11-Dec-1999, 11:25
I agree with Bill....go with an 8x10 and use a 5x7 back when that format is need ed. You should have a greater choice of cameras in the 8x10 range. For me, the 5x7 format is a fabulous format. By cutting a 5x7 slide on your film holder in half you have a 6x17 panoramic camera...with two shots on a sheet of film. The measurements are identical.

henry butlerl
5-Nov-2000, 14:20
this isnt really an answer but another related question. how does the wisner 5 x 7 technical camera measure up to your requirements. i currently shoot with a rajah 5 x 7 and actually love it. i know i can hear you laughing now. if i did have that kind of money i would buy the wisner 5 x 7 technical field camera.

21-Oct-2011, 11:50

So you posted in 1999, what did you decide on? I made the same jump from 4x5 to 5x7 for HABS HAER HALS work here in California a few years ago. Decided on the Cambo 5x7. Cheap and available used, I bought about four 4x5 and 5x7 bodies to build the perfect beast. They had a nice pleated leather bag bellows and a rare special set of front and rear standards for architecture in the 1970s that eliminated the need for recessed lens boards, I never regretted the step up to 5x7. The Cambo isn't geared but it's light enough yet sturdy... that magical balance. I now use a 4x5 reduction back on it for my 4x5 work. The bubble levels were too small for quick calibration so I mounted larger ones.

I too had a Linhof Technicardan at Brooks, and sold it at Dells in the 1990s, should have kept it, it was sweet. But those tiny Linhof recessed lens boards drove me crazy, I love the Cambo lens boards, they're big and can be drilled off center, and turned upside down to give a little more rise/fall.

25-Oct-2011, 13:19
Arca Swiss 5x7 F-Line Metric.

Although it might not be technical enough, a less expensive option would be a Ritter 8x10 with a 5x7 reduction back and interchangeable bellows. Maybe he could customize some movements for you.