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frias
3-Oct-2018, 10:27
Hi,

I'm a 35mm and medium format camera user and I'm thinking of buying my first large format.

One of my doubts is to buy a view or field camera, I would use it sporadically and my preference is for landscapes and architecture.

You who already use this format, which of the two would indicate me?

Regards,
Ricardo

Havoc
3-Oct-2018, 10:31
For landscape a field camera would be easier to transport but for architecture a view/monorail camera will give you more movements.

Jeff Keller
3-Oct-2018, 11:25
If "architecture" includes a lot of photographs inside of a building, you will probably want a very wide field of view and not extreme movements. Outside You will probably want extreme movements and fairly wide field of view capability.

Depending upon what your typical landscapes are you might want short focal lengths and/or long focal lengths. With some exceptions such as cliffs (Yosemite Valley, etc) you might not need wide movements. Macro often involves tilts.

Canham cameras are nearly as easy to transport as a field camera such as a Technika but generally have movements comparable to a monorail. Their normal bellows support quite short focal lengths.

jeff

Bob Salomon
3-Oct-2018, 12:00
For the compactness of a field camera but the movements of a monorail consider the Linhof Technikardan which combines the best of both.

Tin Can
3-Oct-2018, 13:00
It almost doesn't matter which type, brand or cost camera you buy as almost everyone changes to a different camera in short order.

I suggest bellows condition and lowest cost is primary at first.

Few want to make or buy new bellows right off.

Peter Lewin
3-Oct-2018, 13:04
The two best known “field monorails” are the Linhof Technikarden mentioned by Bob, and the Arca-Swiss F Field model with the collapsible rail. Both are exceptionally well-engineered cameras. OTOH, I have the Canham DLC^2 mentioned by Jeff, it seemed the best compromise for me. While the standard bellows allows me to use my 80mm lens, to allow movements with the wide-angle you will want the optional bag bellows. None of these are inexpensive, so you really should handle them before making a choice.

Jac@stafford.net
3-Oct-2018, 14:07
Field camera

Which ever one you can carry easily to your destination that also allows the movements you require. It is that simple.

In my case, a 72 year-old man with mobility issues, nerve damage, cane assisted and falls down unexpectedly and only uses front rise, a Linhof V (or later) is good because its shell is perfectly protective. (It also allows rear movements which I ignore)

AuditorOne
3-Oct-2018, 14:54
My thoughts -

If all you want to do is to expose large format film then just about any camera that you can carry to where you are interested in taking pictures will work. Field cameras, which I always thought of as the type that fold up so you can easily carry them around, work well for this. An inexpensive Graflex Crown Graphic is a great starting point and won't cost you an arm and a leg to get started with.

If you really want to LEARN to use a large format camera, which for me means you are interested in playing with all the various movements that make large format photography so interesting and so flexible, then start with a 4x5 monorail. A decent and inexpensive monorail that will serve you well until you learn enough to have a good idea of what you really need for your type of photography is the Cambo SC. This camera will allow you to do just about anything you want to do while learning, and can be used in an indoor studio setup while not being so unwieldy to prevent you from packing it into the field and using it outdoors as well.

There are a lot of different cameras out there that cost a little more, or a lot more, and are undoubtedly far more capable than the two I have recommended, but only you know the depth of your wallet and what you are interesting in spending to learn the ropes and to satisfy your curiosity. The Crown Graphic or the Cambo SC have been around for a lot of years and have proven that they are capable and sturdy cameras, which I think is probably most important to the beginner.

Just my thoughts, YMMV.

Bob Salomon
3-Oct-2018, 15:10
My thoughts -

If all you want to do is to expose large format film then just about any camera that you can carry to where you are interested in taking pictures will work. Field cameras, which I always thought of as the type that fold up so you can easily carry them around, work well for this. An inexpensive Graflex Crown Graphic is a great starting point and won't cost you an arm and a leg to get started with.

If you really want to LEARN to use a large format camera, which for me means you are interested in playing with all the various movements that make large format photography so interesting and so flexible, then start with a 4x5 monorail. A decent and inexpensive monorail that will serve you well until you learn enough to have a good idea of what you really need for your type of photography is the Cambo SC. This camera will allow you to do just about anything you want to do while learning, and can be used in an indoor studio setup while not being so unwieldy to prevent you from packing it into the field and using it outdoors as well.

There are a lot of different cameras out there that cost a little more, or a lot more, and are undoubtedly far more capable than the two I have recommended, but only you know the depth of your wallet and what you are interesting in spending to learn the ropes and to satisfy your curiosity. The Crown Graphic or the Cambo SC have been around for a lot of years and have proven that they are capable and sturdy cameras, which I think is probably most important to the beginner.

Just my thoughts, YMMV.

Since th OP stated that he would do landscape and architecture a press camera would not work! You would need a camera with front and rear movements since rear movements let you control image shape.

A Crown or Speed Graphic is a press camera with no rear movements of any kind!

AuditorOne
3-Oct-2018, 15:19
Since th OP stated that he would do landscape and architecture a press camera would not work! You would need a camera with front and rear movements since rear movements let you control image shape.

A Crown or Speed Graphic is a press camera with no rear movements of any kind!

Sorry Bob. I must be screwing up somehow since I seem to be able to manage to get adequate tilt and rise out of my poor little old press camera to keep my landscapes working well.

As for architecture then I would most certainly recommend that the OP opt for the much more capable Cambo SC if he intends to use the types of movement that may be necessary for that type of photography.

Of course I am pretty sure that you would recommend that we all go out and spend our life savings on some version of a Linhoff. I apologize wholeheartedly for not making that recommendation immediately.

But...I could be wrong. :D

Bob Salomon
3-Oct-2018, 15:29
Sorry Bob. I must be screwing up somehow since I seem to be able to manage to get adequate tilt and rise out of my poor little old press camera to keep my landscapes working well.

As for architecture then I would most certainly recommend that the OP opt for the much more capable Cambo SC if he intends to use the types of movement that may be necessary for that type of photography.

Of course I am pretty sure that you would recommend that we all go out and spend our life savings on some version of a Linhoff. I apologize wholeheartedly for not making that recommendation immediately.

But...I could be wrong. :D

You are wrong, you do know that we were the Wista and Linhof distributor at the same time donít you? A Wista would be far better then a Graphic and it is also available in the RF version which besides having back and front movements has a rangefinder and viewfinder.

Also Linhoff was a camera repairman in MI. Linhof is a camera company.

AuditorOne
3-Oct-2018, 15:41
You are wrong, you do know that we were the Wista and Linhof distributor at the same time don’t you? A Wista would be far better then a Graphic and it is also available in the RF version which besides having back and front movements has a rangefinder and viewfinder.

Also Linhoff was a camera repairman in MI. Linhof is a camera company.

Great!

I just love being wrong...especially twice.

As for the double-f sometimes my finger stutters when it gets to the end of Linhof. (It just did it again.)

As always, thanks for your knowledgeable and valuable feedback. I'll stay with my little Crown Graphic for now, or my little Intrepid which is much easier to pack around.

If I were personally intending to become more serious about large format, especially if I had intentions of doing large format professionally, then I would really consider either Wista or Linhof. As I already mentioned, there are many cameras available, some that cost a little more, some that cost a lot more. It all depends on what you are personally willing to spend.

Mark Darragh
3-Oct-2018, 18:45
+1 for monorails.

If you can afford one, a newer Arca-Swiss, Linhof or Sinar are all great cameras but there are plenty very capable older monorails which can be found at a pretty reasonable price. For example, the older Arca-Swiss Oschwald era cameras and Sinar Norma can often be a bargain compared to their more modern siblings.

agregov
3-Oct-2018, 22:48
A possible alternative to the monorail type cameras for architectural work is something like the Chamonix 45H-1. It's not a folder thus (likely) has smoother movements. I haven't tried it myself. But Richard Sexton has written about the benefits of non-folders. He was previously an Arca F user.

https://web.archive.org/web/20120201101618/http://www.ebonycamera.com:80/rev/45SU.Sexton.html

My experience with folders mirrors feedback in the thread about them not being ideal for architectural work. Folders movements are not as smooth and less precise as rail cameras. That said, the fixed back cameras like the Chamonix and now discontinued Ebony 45SU might be worth considering as they likely fall somewhere in the middle.

LabRat
3-Oct-2018, 23:28
One should start on a monorail if using movements is a goal, as you can clearly operate the controls in a straightforward way...you can see what you are trying in real time, so you clearly learn/see what movements do...

A field camera has movements, but often they are not laid out as logically, so prior knowledge of movements can be adapted to the more portable field or technical cameras...

Getting a monorail with on-axis tilts is better than a base tilt camera as you don't have to fiddle with the focus every time you change the tilt, so better to see the effect directly...

Don't spend a lot on your first camera, as you will learn and evolve, and make more informed choices later...

You might even love your first camera, cheap and cheerful as it is!!!

Have fun,

Steve K

Peter Lewin
4-Oct-2018, 04:26
You are getting two different types of answers. The first batch, and I was one of them, named the "best" cameras if you want something which is easily transportable, but still has the flexibility for serious architectural work. The second, especially those about Intrepids and Graphics, stressed inexpensive cameras as an introduction to large format (you mentioned sporadic use in your original post).

The first 4x5 I owned was a Sinar F (similar to the later, slightly improved, F1 and F2 models). The "F" was Sinar's lightest model at the time (I don't know how it compares to the earlier, discontinued Norma) and was meant to be their "Field" model. It is a monorail, very easy to use, part of a modular system if you want to add even more functionality, and reasonably transportable. Ultimately I traded it for a lighter wooden Wista folder, which was more easily transportable for hiking, but not as rugged or flexible, and ultimately settled on the metal Canham as the best compromise for me. So, if I had to recommend one camera meeting the various requirements, I would look for a used Sinar F/F1/F2 as a starter model.

frias
4-Oct-2018, 04:50
Guys, thank you for the answers, valuable suggestions!

Ricardo

frias
4-Oct-2018, 04:56
Unfortunately here in Brazil there are not many cameras of these for sale, and imports from eBay cost more than 60% of taxes.

I found the sale a Toyo 45 AII (only the body for about 675 dollars) and a Sinar F2 complete, with lens 75 and 150mm, bellows bag, back 6x7 for about 1200 dollars...

The F2 is in a neighboring city, I will mark to see it in person, the Toyo is in another state, making it impossible.

Tks for all
Ricardo

Mark Sawyer
4-Oct-2018, 10:56
A "real" large format photographer would have two or three field cameras, a press camera, a Graflex SLR, a monorail, a couple of studio cameras, for each format size...

Bob Salomon
4-Oct-2018, 11:58
A "real" large format photographer would have two or three field cameras, a press camera, a Graflex SLR, a monorail, a couple of studio cameras, for each format size...

That would, of course, depend on what type of work the photographer does!

Kind of like lawyers or doctors, some are specialists in some area and others are more general in their practice.

Mark Sawyer
4-Oct-2018, 12:08
That would, of course, depend on what type of work the photographer does!

Nope, doesn't matter. Even if we never ever use them, we need them...

Bob Salomon
4-Oct-2018, 12:21
Nope, doesn't matter. Even if we never ever use them, we need them...

I spent a decade owning a studio so I must be the exception!

Havoc
4-Oct-2018, 12:40
I spent a decade owning a studio so I must be the exception!

You must be. I have about 30 cameras and a some moment in time I have used each of them. (except a few I bought for the looks to keep on the shelf)

Tin Can
4-Oct-2018, 12:41
Acorn season :)

Mark Sawyer
5-Oct-2018, 00:30
Squirrels gather nuts, we gather cameras. At least they know better than to buy acorns on ebay...

Jim Jones
5-Oct-2018, 06:23
But there's not much of a market for used acorns on ebay.