View Full Version : Horseman 45FA / Horseman 45HF

Ig Nacio
3-Feb-2019, 09:06
Hi guys,

I am interested in getting into Large Format.

I have seen beautiful pictures of LF 4x5

My shooting interests are portraiture, group
portraiture, social life and low-rise architecture.

So, lenses with focal lengths of 240, 135,
75 and 65 mm. (By the way, I would only
start with one lens, the 135 mm. lens and
then a 210 or 240 mm. lens. Over time I
would get the first of the wide angle lenses,
either a 65 or 75 mm. lens. Just out of
curiosity , are there any wider focal lengths
than 65 mm. Which are the most common
ones, in case there are, to the widest of the

I am interested in using film for a project
I have in mind. I think it would be beautiful
to shoot it in LF. The good thing about film
and LF is that with 4x5, one can always keep
both, large 4x5 negatives and scanned copies
of it.

I had seen on e-bay several field cameras.
At first, it my attention got caught by the Wista
cameras being offered. They are beautiful!
Suddenly, Horseman 45FA and the 45HF
caught my attention. They are a bit lighter
and it's ok with me if at this starting phase
I don't do many camera movements.

What do you guys think of this camera choice?
Would you suggest any other camera instead of
this one?

Where would you suggest to buy it? Is e-bay
a good place to buy it, where else would you
recommend to take a look? You have been
here for long and you know what prices are like.
What is a price range I should think of
for a still in good shape camera of
this brand and modell?

Last but not least, some internet offers for this
camera may mention that a bellows change has
been made or one adequation of this sort or
another. When reading, which camera changes
or adequations should be like a warning for not
buying it?

Thank you very much for your time and kind
attention to this post.

Kind regards,


P.S. I forgot to mention that I find very appealing
Ilford HP5 and Kodak Portra 400 for LF photography.
Are any of these two films your to go films? Bergger 400
and Foma 320 look also interesting to me.

3-Feb-2019, 09:57
No experience with Horseman cameras but, since your intended subjects are rather static, I would use a slower film. Ilford FP4 or Delta 100, or TMax 100 are good options to consider. While grain is modest in LF, I recommend using film with the best resolution possible. Others here with far more experience than I may feel differently, but it may be worth considering.

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

3-Feb-2019, 09:59
I'm also new to 4x5 and Horseman cameras, but I've been really enjoying the compactness and build quality of my Horseman HF. A couple of things that might affect your camera/lens choices:

1.) The Horseman HF does not have a rotating back like the FA does, so using it in "portrait orientation" requires you to "flip" the camera. There is a place to mount an extra QR plate on the side, however, and if you can get used to translating what would be "swings" into "tilts," and vice versa, it's certainly usable.

2.) All Horseman technical cameras are a bit limited as to what lenses they will handle. In terms of focal length, I believe 65mm is the lower limit, and you probably will have to drop the bed to keep it out of the frame. On the long end, both the FA and HF have modest bellows draw--I believe the consensus is that 240mm will work, but you will probably want to have a "top-hat" lens board if you plan to focus much closer than infinity.

Just as important, you'll need to take into account the diameter of the rear cell when choosing a lens--not all, especially "fast" wide angle lenses, will fit. (This link has some good info:

At any rate, I'm sure more experienced LF members will be along to give advice as well...good luck!

Ig Nacio
3-Feb-2019, 12:30

Thank you for your messages : ) !!!

Yes, I think it would be good to try the lower ISOs at 100 and 125 ISO.
The resolution should be much better!

Yes, either the FA or HF would be good for me! I am not too sure
how much disadvantageous would be to use a 45HD compared to
the other models.

I just hope to buy it in good shape at a price that is not so bad either.

Thank you again, kind regards,


P.S. I wonder if in this forum people also sell some of their equipment.

Louis Pacilla
3-Feb-2019, 12:51
P.S. I wonder if in this forum people also sell some of their equipment.

Hey Ig

You should have access to an area of the forum that has a For Sell/For Trade" section w/ access is available after being a member for 30 days. If your not seeing this section of the forum try logging out and then back in again and if that doesn't work contact the Moderators and they'll set your access.

3-Feb-2019, 15:05
I have the 45FA that I bought new about 18 years ago and still use it sometimes. I like it's robust construction, ease of setup and use. It's small and very well made. The longest lens I've used is a 180mm, and widest angle I've used is 75mm f/6.8, both with no problems.
More info on this camera cane be found here: https://www.largeformatphotography.info/forum/showthread.php?62633-Horseman-FA45-specifications

3-Feb-2019, 15:06
The Horseman FA is a special lightweight field camera with many hard to find accessories. You might be better with a monorail camera for portraits.
This is a 210mm focused in the distance. You will probably need more extension for portraits.

3-Feb-2019, 16:46
I regularly sell Horseman field cameras. They are fine cameras, with great build quality. They are lighter than other makes, and have a smaller volume. The limiting factors are the bellows draw and the 80mm lens board size. Minimum extension is 60mm and maximum is ~270mm. Using a 65mm lens is doable, but movements are difficult. Mounting a large and heavy 240mm plasmat lens in a Copal 3 shutter is not easy, given the small size of the lens board. However, you can use lightweight telephoto type lenses up to 400mm without any problems, since these are generally mounted in Copal 1 shutters. Horseman also made special lens boards for these lenses.

Wista or Toyo cameras are more versatile.


4-Feb-2019, 03:16

Ig Nacio
4-Feb-2019, 13:40
Hi guys,

Thank you for your messages : ) !!!

Yes, I would try Ilford FP4. I think I find its hues
at the moment more interesting than Delta 100.
Perhaps to each format its own. The time I shot
the most B&W, (that also wasn't a lot), was when
I shot 35 mm. I don't know if I am 'translating'
correctly, but FP4 appeals now more to me than
the Delta 100 that I once used. The same goes
for HP4, (with 400 ISO). Looking at photos on
the internet FP4 and HP5 have an interesting
exposure lattitude. This by looking at results
compared to its own Ilford counterparts. I tried
Tri-X and T-Max and they are not so much my
cup of tea at the moment. Gerat films, though.
A great Kodak B&W film, was Kodak Veripan or
Verichrome Pan. It was one of their 'Pan' film that was
also very inexpensive compared to the other Kodak
B&W counterparts. I was able to get a couple
medium format rolls and then my photo store
didn't get anymore of this film. I used a Yashicamat
124 and printed the pics on Ilford baryte based
paper and they looked very good! Sheet film
of this film was also sold at my photo store.

Is Arista the Forte brand film of years ago?
Bergger looks very creamy to me. Foma looks
interesting too, but perhaps I am pretty much
'married' to Ilford for the near future.

Would you guys like to see some nice B&W. Take a
peek inside. You may like this:
Have you seen it?

Yes, on the long end I would be happy to settle for 210 mm.,
240 mm. as a maximum.

Actually, just like in 35 mm. (or medium format), for me
it is helpful to shoot the following focal lengths:
21, or wider, when possible, to 16 mm.; 24, 40 to 45, (not 50),
and 60 to 70 mm.

I may start with just one lens, either a 135 mm or
another lens with focal lens between 180 and 240 mm.

I will ask because I'm not so new here ; ) !!!
Some years ago, I signed up but after a few
months, understandably, as I didn't have a
LF camera, I slowly frecuented less and less
this group. Hopefully, I'll be able to leave a
message soon in there.

That is interesting. I had no given it much thought to the
180 mm. for LF. It is the equivalent to 60 mm. in 35 mm.
isn't? I'll check out pictures done with that focal length.
On the other hand, I can think of using the 75 mm.
for low-rise architecture, of buildings no taller than five
storeys high, and for group portraits. Would one be better
off with a 90 mm. for group portraits, in 35 mm. a 35 mm.
lens may be good enough.
It is nice to read that it has already been with you for
eighteen years.

I find interesting that the camera is very portable or more portable
than most cameras. The monorail cameras I have seen
are heavy. I saw a light monorail camera on the internet, but it
may be cost prohibiting for me. The brand name is Arca Swiss.
What accesories with the Horseman are hard to come by?
As a first camera for me is quite tempting, but I have to be
open to other options. The Wista appealed to me at first,
but then I discovered that it can up to three or four pounds heavier
than the Horseman. At the closest I'll be doing some neck and
head portraits at a distance of some seven to ten feet,
(two to three meters), away from the subject. Would a 210 mm.
be ok or is it more like 240 mm. to do that? Probably,
with those focal lengths one only gets from the chest up
at seven to ten feet away.

@B.S. Kummar
Do you know of a lonely and lovely Horseman 45FA/HF?

Thank you for joining the conversation!

Looking forward to more of your thoughts and comments!!!

Thank you again, kind regards,

Ignacio : ) !!!

4-Feb-2019, 14:37
[QUOTE=Ig Nacio;1482006]
I may start with just one lens, either a 135 mm or
another lens with focal lens between 180 and 240 mm.

A couple of thoughts about lenses--if you're looking for a 135mm for a Horseman, the classic choice seems to be the Apo-Sironar N 135mm F5.6, since it can be left mounted when the camera is folded-up. (It's also a great, tiny, lens--though using filters with it can be a pain.)

Another thing to note is that a head-and-shoulders portrait with a longer lens might cause you to run out of bellows--for that reason, a telephoto lens (I've got a Schneider 270/5.5 Tele Arton) might be a better option. I would probably make a very specific query here at LF to see if any Horseman owners can give you feedback before I bought a lens on the long end.

4-Feb-2019, 15:04
I have the Horseman 45-FA, very solid camera, my favourite landscape lens was the Horseman LF 210mm, good quality lens at a decent price. I also used the nikkon 90mm f8, but swing , tilt and rise were tight, but doable. The screen is nice and bright too. A bit fiddly with rear tilt as the rear extension uses four small posts which slide out for swing and tilt adjustment. Limited on lens choice, but I only ever needed those two lenses.

4-Feb-2019, 23:51
Here is a list of lenses that will and will not work with the Horseman 4x5 field cameras.


5-Feb-2019, 00:11
Great reference material Kumar, thankyou

5-Feb-2019, 10:32
What accesories with the Horseman are hard to come by?

As an example, the optical finder (I'm still looking), the extension back and the correct Topcor 90mm f5.6 lens that fits in the front standard hole
The zoom finder is of special note as I can't say I have ever seen one for sale. Maybe it was a Japanese market only item.



Ig Nacio
6-Feb-2019, 10:07

Thank you for your messages : ) !!!

Yes, I think I would start by that 135 mm.
focal length. To use a lens like the 270 mm.
that you mention an extension may be
needed, isn't?

Yes, as CreationBear and other members
mention, with this camera not all lenses
will do. I wonder who manufactured for
Horseman the large format lenses?

Thank you for your compliment and recommendation to
do business with B.S. Kummar. I was able to read it
before it was erased, but I had not had a chance to
repply to you guys earlier.

@B.S. Kumar
Thank you for your message. I'll be sending you an
e-mail very soon!

@B.S. Kumar
Thank you for the lens list!
I found interesting that some of these lenses are as
luminous as f/4

Yes, I see what you mean! I imagine, for example,
that the extension back allows for the use of any
long lens. It is not so enjoyable if one does not find
one. It is not fun if one is looking for an accesory
and it may not be available.

Thank you again for your messages : ) !!!

Kind regards,


6-Feb-2019, 19:51
I use a Horseman FA, and like it very much. I have several lenses, from a 75mm Fuji to a 300mm Fuji T (telephoto). Those both work fine, but I usually have to drop the bed with the 75. My standard lens is a Rodenstock 135 APO Sironar-N, which will actually fit inside the case when the camera folds up; most lenses won’t fit. I also have a Rodenstock 210mm MC, which works fine on the FA and makes lovely images. Yes, the lens selection is limited due to size, but the FA is one classy, compact 4x5, in my opinion.