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LFLarry
18-Jul-2019, 17:50
Hi, I am looking for advice on which 4x5 camera would be best suited for handheld use?

The key here is that I need to be able to use the camera hand held in the field. I am thinking a model that has a rangefinder might be a good idea, but I am unsure because I haven't owned a camera like this before. I currently have a 5x7 wood field camera that I use for landscapes but this isn't suitable for my new project. The new project is for street photography, so I need to be very nimble and be able to focus and respond quickly.

You may be wondering why 4x5 and not a smaller rangefinder? I make large 30x40 and 40x50 silver gelatin prints and so I need the bigger film.

I appreciate any thoughts you may have based on experience.

Thank you,

Larry

interneg
18-Jul-2019, 18:42
The answer is: none of them. Not for the size of prints you want to make, unless you are willing to haul enough strobe power with you to hold f16-22 for adequate depth of field. A 6x7 or 6x9 rangefinder and Delta 100 or TMax 100 are all round better bets for this sort of thing. The lenses are better optimised for wider apertures & in many cases much higher resolving than the average LF lens.

Two23
18-Jul-2019, 19:18
Speed Graphic


Kent in SD

Bob Salomon
18-Jul-2019, 19:39
Linhof Master Technika and the Multifocus finder for lenses from 72 to 360mm that can be RF coupled. And the Anatomical grip.
Or a Wista RF that rangefinder couples 135 to 180mm lenses out of the box.
Both would be parallax corrected and the Linhof also corrects for field size.
However while each have full view camera movements the rangefinders and view finders can not be used when movements are applied.

LFLarry
18-Jul-2019, 19:54
Thanks Bob! That Wista 45RF looks like it could be a great fit. Now to be able to find one...



Linhof Master Technika and the Multifocus finder for lenses from 72 to 360mm that can be RF coupled. And the Anatomical grip.
Or a Wista RF that rangefinder couples 135 to 180mm lenses out of the box.
Both would be parallax corrected and the Linhof also corrects for field size.
However while each have full view camera movements the rangefinders and view finders can not be used when movements are applied.

LFLarry
18-Jul-2019, 20:02
Thanks Kent. The focal plane shutter on the speed graphic is a winner... I just need to find a camera that is clean and in good condition.


Speed Graphic


Kent in SD

Corran
18-Jul-2019, 20:56
Linhof is amazing if you want to shoot multiple lenses with coupled RF on all of them.

Speed Graphic is the answer for affordability and fast shutter speeds, if you can get one with a good FP shutter, but only couples with one lens basically.

Both have separate VF and RF which can be a real drag. If that is something you would like, a converted Polaroid 110B or similar is an amazing camera, and the most compact of the options, but can't use multiple lenses with the RF.

I own and use all of these and they each have their pluses and minuses. You don't mention what kind of images you want to make, so not sure if you need something specific. DOF and accuracy of focus will be a problem, especially with separate RF/VF if you drift a little, as well as composing (cropping to fix loose framing will hurt if you are trying to maximize resolution).

LFLarry
18-Jul-2019, 21:07
Very helpful info Corran, I appreciate it.

I am starting a new street photography project, so I needed to be mobile and hand-held, but wanted to use 4x5 film.

I didn't realize the single lens coupling to the RF on the speed graphic, so thanks for pointing that out.

Do you know of any good resources for how to adjust the RF with your lens on the speed graphic?





Linhof is amazing if you want to shoot multiple lenses with coupled RF on all of them.

Speed Graphic is the answer for affordability and fast shutter speeds, if you can get one with a good FP shutter, but only couples with one lens basically.

Both have separate VF and RF which can be a real drag. If that is something you would like, a converted Polaroid 110B or similar is an amazing camera, and the most compact of the options, but can't use multiple lenses with the RF.

I own and use all of these and they each have their pluses and minuses. You don't mention what kind of images you want to make, so not sure if you need something specific. DOF and accuracy of focus will be a problem, especially with separate RF/VF if you drift a little, as well as composing (cropping to fix loose framing will hurt if you are trying to maximize resolution).

Corran
18-Jul-2019, 21:17
There are two (basically) rangefinder options on the Speed - the side-mounted Kalart or the top-mounted model that takes cams. The side-mounted is generally preferred for coupling to specific lenses, as the cams are limited to certain lenses and can be hard to find (so buy a camera and lens kit already together, don't try to piece together a kit). Oh, and while it takes these cams, they are hard to get out and install, hence not really being appropriate for multiple lenses, even though technically you can.

The Kalart can be coupled...but it's a very difficult and time-consuming process. I've done it about a dozen times and it really is a PITA, and I've found that some Kalarts just don't work right with some lenses. A couple of times, I simply replaced the entire Kalart mechanism and suddenly it coupled just fine...so it's kind of a crap-shoot. Again, finding a camera/lens setup already is great, but of course you'll pay for the privilege.

PS: look in this thread (https://www.largeformatphotography.info/forum/showthread.php?89248-Street-Candid-Journalism)for some Speed Graphic "street" images posted recently by one of our members.

Personally I've shot some candid images on the street with these and the Polaroid was definitely the winner as long as the fixed 135mm was the focal length I wanted to use exclusively (you can get them made for a variety of lenses from 90mm up to 150 or maybe 180mm). The Linhof though was more precise and I was able to more accurately focus, but drift is a serious issue, when moving the eye from the RF to the VF. If you are shooting moving subjects, stopping down will be your friend...personally I like short DOF which is a real challenge...

Here's something I shot years ago with my Linhof and 150mm f/2.8 Xenotar, at about f/4 I think, on E100VS:

http://www.garrisaudiovisual.com/photosharing/awa-1672-12x16ss.jpg

Jeroen
19-Jul-2019, 00:16
Cambo TWR54, http://www.nederlandsecamera.nl/cambo-twr54.html

andrewch59
19-Jul-2019, 02:22
there are two (basically) rangefinder options on the speed - the side-mounted kalart or the top-mounted model that takes cams. The side-mounted is generally preferred for coupling to specific lenses, as the cams are limited to certain lenses and can be hard to find (so buy a camera and lens kit already together, don't try to piece together a kit). Oh, and while it takes these cams, they are hard to get out and install, hence not really being appropriate for multiple lenses, even though technically you can.

The kalart can be coupled...but it's a very difficult and time-consuming process. I've done it about a dozen times and it really is a pita, and i've found that some kalarts just don't work right with some lenses. A couple of times, i simply replaced the entire kalart mechanism and suddenly it coupled just fine...so it's kind of a crap-shoot. Again, finding a camera/lens setup already is great, but of course you'll pay for the privilege.

Ps: Look in this thread (https://www.largeformatphotography.info/forum/showthread.php?89248-street-candid-journalism)for some speed graphic "street" images posted recently by one of our members.

Personally i've shot some candid images on the street with these and the polaroid was definitely the winner as long as the fixed 135mm was the focal length i wanted to use exclusively (you can get them made for a variety of lenses from 90mm up to 150 or maybe 180mm). The linhof though was more precise and i was able to more accurately focus, but drift is a serious issue, when moving the eye from the rf to the vf. If you are shooting moving subjects, stopping down will be your friend...personally i like short dof which is a real challenge...

Here's something i shot years ago with my linhof and 150mm f/2.8 xenotar, at about f/4 i think, on e100vs:

http://www.garrisaudiovisual.com/photosharing/awa-1672-12x16ss.jpg

wow!

andrewch59
19-Jul-2019, 02:24
Cambo TWR54, http://www.nederlandsecamera.nl/cambo-twr54.html

What an amazing looking camera!

Pere Casals
19-Jul-2019, 02:46
4x5 camera would be best suited for handheld use?

A not very popular choice are the Graflex reflex models. http://camera-wiki.org/wiki/Graflex_reflex_models


Graflex RB models look weird devices, but they are reflex, so when you want a selective focus in a dynamic shot then they are pretty powerful. A drawback is that point of view is low, it's perfect to portray moving kids, for adult subjects you shot low, a particular point of view that is not the "standard" at all.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/rabato/46800421381/in/photolist-2eiAoLV-nabp2c-2edWPR5-rudmby-ssmg2k-susJax-nmYL73-rukGif-rvnwzW-VWvQrf-otsaqu-sicS7-q3XvKB-sicSa-nkZq1j-mRqa2t-nCfYb7-oimDax-oESkTN-ndqG3Y-mRrN9o-fhSy3t-reJFKM-snbcnC-eW2Sne-nuTRqF-oTZ7mM-ncxaFL-bwSae9-nikWfb-23WdfPw-8GNtsw-pAZ7HQ-nBqSKw-nEgbDT-cqWUfo-nu5JPY-6i2idv-pPkqG1-fi7JUd-mRqo9R-qCu1xW-VBacxs-nqPtyK-fi7MT7-fG9csq-o8t3ym-rxXsDY-Guhryo-pNmsxY

https://www.flickr.com/photos/84313222@N03/13990053872/in/photolist-njfFBo-RTe9e9-u1Vwpm-6HGpMp-eJB9MH-nQWUtB-fwuuER-qCsPkb-q3Dmio-fG9aJu-ry3XgF-ferVfo-gCF8pD-7SFxsv-fs7Tyb-23xfbfQ-fG9gLQ-nHc7qC-obJfzY-qX9TNH-onN1Sr-oz7RaH-c8bZvd-ferUPA-s5LttN-fG9fhU-njfCCh-mRq4z8-caWXKm-TuYjzc-fmt6HJ-qVJdMz-fmdSRT-2eq7hsa-fwupH2-24yaMW3-mRq7Z4-SMHGE6-2a2hsYB-qDizaB-qVJfBB-ds2fa2-pAqouh-nCcakZ-atLNcE-8Bu2tA-q5SER3-7nKiRh-oMuKak-2BfweT

https://www.flickr.com/search/?text=graflex%20rb

B.S.Kumar
19-Jul-2019, 02:58
If you can hold a Technika to your eye and take photos for an entire day, perhaps you could hold this at waist level :)

https://i.postimg.cc/sf4Zz4rx/Mac-Van-TLR-02.jpg

I sold this MacVan TLR camera last year. It was originally for 5x7, but had been modified to use a Toyo 4x5 back.

Kumar

Tin Can
19-Jul-2019, 04:03
Not sure if this is made absolutely clear.

Any RF camera should be guaranteed by seller that at least one good lens is accurately coupled with a working RF finder. If not don't buy.

Most are not and most need adjustment. Some never get there...return rejects.

I have struggled with this and only found satisfaction by buying and trying a few cameras. However I never return anything...

I now have 2, both not 'real' LF but the Baby models which shoot 2X3 sheet film. Both NOS.

Good enough for me, now...

Pieter
19-Jul-2019, 08:15
Just be aware a Linhof Technika with lens will weigh close to 3 kilos!

Daniel Unkefer
19-Jul-2019, 08:28
https://live.staticflickr.com/4636/27468791959_0d875031aa_z.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/HRjJRn)Norma Sinar Handy Final Version (https://flic.kr/p/HRjJRn) by Nokton48 (https://www.flickr.com/photos/18134483@N04/), on Flickr

I built this 9x12cm/4x5" Sinar Handy from original Norma parts, plus whatever else worked.

I tried to make it look "Norma" and it fits right in my Norma collection.

It is an absolute blast to use. It attracts attention of photographers everywhere it goes.

The lens is a dedicated Norma "cone and helical" for the 65mm F8. The center filter travels with it.

The viewfinder is 43mm Mamiya 7

Peter De Smidt
19-Jul-2019, 08:31
Daniel, is that a Sinar viewfinder on your Handy?

Daniel Unkefer
19-Jul-2019, 08:34
Mamiya 43mm Viewfinder from Mamiya 7. Really sweet for this application.

Peter De Smidt
19-Jul-2019, 08:35
Thanks, Daniel.

fuegocito
19-Jul-2019, 08:49
On top of all the previously mentioned, another option would be Polaroid converted 4x5's, it operates kind of like a fixed lens over size rangefinder camera. Do a quick search online and you should find most of the options. I have had used three, Dean Jone's Razzle (who have sadly passed away), Chamonix Sabre (not currently in production) and lastly a conversion by Alpenhause (can be found on ebay). If you are handy with tools, this could be a DIY project.

If you can live with shooting fixed wide angle lens set at hyperfocal distance, there are several options like Cambo, Gaoersi...

Pere Casals
19-Jul-2019, 08:58
I guess that Louis Mendes should be mentioned.

He has been crafting a top notch street work with the Speed Graphic...

https://www.newyorker.com/culture/photo-booth/new-york-citys-most-classic-street-photographer

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Louis_Mendes

193393

Bob Salomon
19-Jul-2019, 09:47
On top of all the previously mentioned, another option would be Polaroid converted 4x5's, it operates kind of like a fixed lens over size rangefinder camera. Do a quick search online and you should find most of the options. I have had used three, Dean Jone's Razzle (who have sadly passed away), Chamonix Sabre (not currently in production) and lastly a conversion by Alpenhause (can be found on ebay). If you are handy with tools, this could be a DIY project.

If you can live with shooting fixed wide angle lens set at hyperfocal distance, there are several options like Cambo, Gaoersi...

There are other choices like the Linhof Technar that took lenses from 65mm to 135mm on lens cones all with focusing mounts. But these types of cameras have no rangefinder and most have no movements.

Daniel Unkefer
20-Jul-2019, 06:36
https://live.staticflickr.com/7230/7220010658_a93f7cd18e_z.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/c11rCo)LX3L7053 (https://flic.kr/p/c11rCo) by Andrei Badoiu (https://www.flickr.com/photos/65095569@N00/), on Flickr

Seeing this camera on the internet inspired me to build my own.

https://live.staticflickr.com/4692/39396426651_b3262020f7_z.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/232jZ6n)Sinar Handy with Strap and Cable Extension (https://flic.kr/p/232jZ6n) by Nokton48 (https://www.flickr.com/photos/18134483@N04/), on Flickr

I drilled and tapped the Norma Auxiliary Frame, and installed Pentax 6x7 strap lugs, and a Domke Gripper strap. The camera goes on one shoulder, a Swiss Medical Bag holds 6-8 holders, meter, and personal stuff.

The grip is Graflex XL (Sinar Norma used this, just changed the badge out). Bought the grip from Glenn Evans.

Tin Can
20-Jul-2019, 06:48
Some of us have still working Travelwides.

Mine still works fine, but I am very gentle with it and shoot by distance. Which does work if calibrated by user.

I don't think the company makes them anymore and as they are fragile, try something else or not.

It's so light I usually add weight with a heavy QR Plate. Fun with flash bulbs!

https://wanderlustcameras.com/

Jac@stafford.net
20-Jul-2019, 08:56
Super lightweight
193432

Larry Gebhardt
20-Jul-2019, 09:08
In addition to the Speed Graphic, you might also consider the Crown Graphic. It doesn't have the focal plane shutter, but that comes with the advantage of less weight.

Other options I can think of and have tried are the Hobo, but those are fixed focus, and the Travelwide. Both use wide angle lenses, but the Travelwide at least has a helical for the 90mm option, though the 65mm option is fixed focus.

Tin Can
20-Jul-2019, 09:44
Like!



Super lightweight
193432

Peter De Smidt
20-Jul-2019, 10:24
That's some good work, Daniel and Jac.

Daniel Unkefer
20-Jul-2019, 11:12
Thanks, Peter. It was fun to fabricate and even more fun to take out and use :)

Two23
20-Jul-2019, 13:00
Thanks, Peter. It was fun to fabricate and even more fun to take out and use :)


Turns out there is yet another choice from the 1950. The Beseler C6. I can handle lenses from 90 to 250mm. Downsides are they tend to be expensive and I've read they are heavy.

Of the ones mentioned so far on this thread, I'd probably go with a converted Polaroid for what you want. It's the least fiddly and obtrusive.

https://lommen9.home.xs4all.nl/American/beseler%201.html


Kent in SD

Tin Can
20-Jul-2019, 13:17
Not 4X5 but yesterday I was looking at "A First Look at the Graflex XL" (https://graflex.org/articles/XL.html) as I saw 6 Graflex XLSW bodies FS.

Jac@stafford.net
20-Jul-2019, 13:45
Not 4X5 but yesterday I was looking at "A First Look at the Graflex XL" (https://graflex.org/articles/XL.html) as I saw 6 Graflex XLSW bodies FS.

Graflex XLs have a lot of optional parts, some hard to find. I built one using a Brooks Veriwide 6x8cm plus a Graflex snap-on universal 4x5 back so it takes sheet film holders and roll-film backs.


Here it is, ugly but useful and lightweight.

193434

I have a few strange LF hand-builts to show.

Oslolens
21-Jul-2019, 00:40
I got a Chinese 4x5" version of the Alpa 12 SWA with 30mm rise. Original ment for the 58mm XL, but I bought a lens in too big shutter, so I am using a 65mm Grandagon. Both 4x5" and roll film holders can be used, I prefer the 6x12cm Horseman. Biggest downside is the 2.5 kg weight /5 lb.
https://www.alpa.ch/en/article/alpa-12-swa

Sent fra min SM-G975F via Tapatalk

angusparker
21-Jul-2019, 12:29
The answer is: none of them. Not for the size of prints you want to make, unless you are willing to haul enough strobe power with you to hold f16-22 for adequate depth of field. A 6x7 or 6x9 rangefinder and Delta 100 or TMax 100 are all round better bets for this sort of thing. The lenses are better optimised for wider apertures & in many cases much higher resolving than the average LF lens.

+1 Had a 45 p&s from Fotoman. It was terrible compared to a 6x9 Fuji GW690iii. Heavy cone, single focal length, needed tripod to stay steady. Basically all of the downside of 4x5 with none of the upside.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk Pro

Sirius Glass
21-Jul-2019, 17:26
I use the 4"x5" Pacemaker Speed Graphic and a 4"x5" Graflex Model D. The Graflex has a plate so that I can use the same film backs on both cameras.

aly324
24-Jul-2019, 09:09
I was on a similar quest recently and ended up with a used copy of the Chinese 4x5 rangefinder "Sky Bow" with a 120 Apo-Symmar. I've been using it with Grafmatic backs for handheld street photography. The RF is basic and requires care in use, but is accurate and works well for spontaneous shooting. The Sky Bow is faster to use than the comparable Chamonix Saber and converted Polaroids, slightly bulkier than the former and considerably less bulky than the latter. I have cams for 135 and 150 also and will shortly switch to a 135/3.5 and see if the focus accuracy holds up.

https://www.largeformatphotography.info/forum/showthread.php?152975-quot-Sky-Bow-quot-Chinese-4x5-rangefinder

Alan Gales
24-Jul-2019, 09:23
Graflex XLs have a lot of optional parts, some hard to find. I built one using a Brooks Veriwide 6x8cm plus a Graflex snap-on universal 4x5 back so it takes sheet film holders and roll-film backs.


Here it is, ugly but useful and lightweight.

193434

I have a few strange LF hand-builts to show.


That's not ugly, Jac. It's a beautiful example of function over form! :cool:

Alan Gales
24-Jul-2019, 09:33
The answer is: none of them. Not for the size of prints you want to make, unless you are willing to haul enough strobe power with you to hold f16-22 for adequate depth of field. A 6x7 or 6x9 rangefinder and Delta 100 or TMax 100 are all round better bets for this sort of thing. The lenses are better optimised for wider apertures & in many cases much higher resolving than the average LF lens.

I agree.

I can get sharper results handheld with a medium format camera than a 4x5. I do admit that I have a bad back which plays into it some. I made this comment several years ago and Frank Petronio commented that it took him years to figure that out.

I guess the OP can try it and see what results he finds.

Drew Bedo
24-Jul-2019, 11:06
I think that for the fluidity and grab-shot look of 35mm street photography in a larger format, you must stick with the medium formats in RF or SLR bodies.

For a 35mm street photo look with medium format ease of use, Look at a Polaroid 110B conversion to 4x5.

However, for a different look, consider a TravelWide for cheap and light or a Graflex Reflex for flexibility in lenses. Both could be made to work with a monopod for a mobility/stability compromise.

Bill Poole
31-Jul-2019, 15:21
OP: there is a photographer in Portland who regularly shoots posed street with a Crown Graphic and a Graphic SLR, both 4x5. Worth a look if this is your interest. He is on both Flikr and Instagram. Flckr here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/jimhair/ Hope this helps. Bill Poole

PRJ
1-Aug-2019, 11:05
Carrying around a Speed Graphic or Linhof would not make my fun-to-do list.

Years ago i built several Polaroid 110b type conversions. I still have one. That would be my advice if you want a portable carry 4x5 camera. You can focus and shoot just like a Leica. The size is just right too so in low light you can rest it on your shoulder and get surprisingly good results at really slow shutter speeds. And they don't weigh much if they are done right. Don't get one unless the end is lopped off. The end adds a lot of weight needlessly. The only downside is you are stuck with either a 127mm or 135mm lens depending on how you do it. The Polaroid 900 can be converted too, but frankly I'd stick with the 110b. I plan on making one more in my life if I can find the lens that I want to put on one. They are fiddly to make, but they are fantastic cameras. Stick a Grafmatic on it and it can't be beat for what you are looking for. This is what one looks like.

http://www.patrickjames.net/lff/_DSC3892.jpg

Roger Smith
3-Aug-2019, 06:25
I would go with one of the press cameras like a speed graphic. Thatís what they were designed for

Tin Can
3-Aug-2019, 06:29
And learn how to hold it handheld, which is not obvious.

Look for a Military training manual.

Jac@stafford.net
3-Aug-2019, 12:23
I would go with one of the press cameras like a speed graphic. Thatís what they were designed for

Don't forget to get a big bag of big flash bulbs to use it in the original manner.

Bob Salomon
3-Aug-2019, 12:34
Don't forget to get a big bag of big flash bulbs to use it in the original manner.

Magnesium flash powder. Bulbs came later.

Jac@stafford.net
3-Aug-2019, 12:54
Magnesium flash powder. Bulbs came later.

Must have been a bitch to handhold a LF camera while using flash powder or paper.

Bob Salomon
3-Aug-2019, 12:56
Must have been a bitch to handhold a LF camera while using flash powder or paper.

Frequently they had an assistant who got to hold and set it off.

MonkeyBrain
26-Sep-2019, 14:52
@ OP, I looked into doing this a few years back, and found lots of good advice on this forum. I tried 2 (almost 3) of the suggestions you've already been provided with above. My experiences were as follows (although keep in mind that I shoot documentary-*style* portraits on the street, not genuine street photography).

- I started with a Crown Graphic (lighter than the Speed Graphic, and as I wasn't interested in movements I missed nothing by going this route). The Crown is light enough to use handheld, as long as you take regular breaks. This worked well for me for quite a while. I found the Crown *much* easier to use when attached to a flash handle (of the kind that Star Wars fans have unfortunately made a little scarce in recent years). I didn't use it as a flash at all, but just found that it made for an excellent grip, making the camera handle much better. The reason I eventually sold the Graflex was because I needed different focal length lenses that I could change "in the field" and discovered that it was almost impossible to find rangefinder cams for them.

- I moved to a Linhof Supertechnika V, purchased 3 or 4 great lenses for it, and sent the whole package off to Linhof to have them cut new cams, so that all the lenses are calibrated to the rangefinder. It's an amazing setup, and the results are incredible, but it's significantly heavier than the Graflex. It could probably be used for street shooting, but you'd definitely want alter your approach so as to spend more time sitting around waiting for shots to come together, rather than walking the streets with it in your hand(s). Even this would be more hard work than some may be willing to do. I'm something of a masochist though, and will do whatever is necessary to get the shot. You may or may not be as willing to suffer for your art.

- I also backed the Wanderlust Travelwide kickstarter campaign and received one of these cameras. But by the time it arrived my interest in shooting such a high-fi format in such a lo-fi way had waned. I was also incredibly busy shooting "real" work at the time, so I'm ashamed to say I've never even opened the box it came in. Will probably sell it shortly in order to buy film. Personally I think I'd opt for 6x7 roll film over a travelwide now, but that's just me.

In short, if you can live with a single focal length (or are willing to purchase 2 bodies, each with a different lens mounted on it), then the Crown Graphic is likely your best bet.

I did also look into the Razzles and various other polaroid conversions, but forget why I ultimately excluded them from my shortlist. I just remember that although they initially looked like the most appealing option, there was a single deal-breaker that meant that they just didn't work for me. Probably also the interchangeable lens issue.

Jac@stafford.net
26-Sep-2019, 15:04
@ OP, I looked into doing this a few years back, and found lots of good advice on this forum. I tried 2 (almost 3) of the suggestions you've already been provided with above. My experiences were as follows (although keep in mind that I shoot documentary-*style* portraits on the street, not genuine street photography).


*sigh* does nobody remember the fly-weight magnesium alloy Printex 4X5 (https://d1ro734fq21xhf.cloudfront.net/attachments/00AvNK-21571484.jpg)? I have a couple with good rangefinders.

Bob Salomon
26-Sep-2019, 15:16
@ OP, I looked into doing this a few years back, and found lots of good advice on this forum. I tried 2 (almost 3) of the suggestions you've already been provided with above. My experiences were as follows (although keep in mind that I shoot documentary-*style* portraits on the street, not genuine street photography).

- I started with a Crown Graphic (lighter than the Speed Graphic, and as I wasn't interested in movements I missed nothing by going this route). The Crown is light enough to use handheld, as long as you take regular breaks. This worked well for me for quite a while. I found the Crown *much* easier to use when attached to a flash handle (of the kind that Star Wars fans have unfortunately made a little scarce in recent years). I didn't use it as a flash at all, but just found that it made for an excellent grip, making the camera handle much better. The reason I eventually sold the Graflex was because I needed different focal length lenses that I could change "in the field" and discovered that it was almost impossible to find rangefinder cams for them.

- I moved to a Linhof Supertechnika V, purchased 3 or 4 great lenses for it, and sent the whole package off to Linhof to have them cut new cams, so that all the lenses are calibrated to the rangefinder. It's an amazing setup, and the results are incredible, but it's significantly heavier than the Graflex. It could probably be used for street shooting, but you'd definitely want alter your approach so as to spend more time sitting around waiting for shots to come together, rather than walking the streets with it in your hand(s). Even this would be more hard work than some may be willing to do. I'm something of a masochist though, and will do whatever is necessary to get the shot. You may or may not be as willing to suffer for your art.

- I also backed the Wanderlust Travelwide kickstarter campaign and received one of these cameras. But by the time it arrived my interest in shooting such a high-fi format in such a lo-fi way had waned. I was also incredibly busy shooting "real" work at the time, so I'm ashamed to say I've never even opened the box it came in. Will probably sell it shortly in order to buy film. Personally I think I'd opt for 6x7 roll film over a travelwide now, but that's just me.

In short, if you can live with a single focal length (or are willing to purchase 2 bodies, each with a different lens mounted on it), then the Crown Graphic is likely your best bet.

I did also look into the Razzles and various other polaroid conversions, but forget why I ultimately excluded them from my shortlist. I just remember that although they initially looked like the most appealing option, there was a single deal-breaker that meant that they just didn't work for me. Probably also the interchangeable lens issue.

Did you ever meet Mary Ellen Mark? She wasnít very big, in fact, you might have called her petite. Many of her photographs were done with a handheld Linhof Master Technika!

Many shooters that use the Technika handheld use a shoulder to help support the bed. Others use both the left and right hand grips with their elbows tucked into their body

Dan Fromm
26-Sep-2019, 17:02
*sigh* does nobody remember the fly-weight magnesium alloy Printex 4X5 (https://d1ro734fq21xhf.cloudfront.net/attachments/00AvNK-21571484.jpg)? I have a couple with good rangefinders.

Fly-weight? Surely you jest. And it is a much more limited camera than a Crown Graphic.

Kevin Crisp
27-Sep-2019, 06:37
With a Crown with a side-mount Kalart, you can use multiple infinity stops. They fold down easily to get out of your way if you are moving the front standard out for a longer lens, or in for a shorter one. Add tape to the bed if you can't find a proper bed scale for your alternative lenses. Mark infinity and a couple closer distances. Now you have a camera with 3 or more lens choices you can easily change in the field. Estimating distances then setting the focus to your marks takes a little practice, but it isn't that hard. (More than 2 million Rollei 35s with that system were sold...) True, Kalart is set up for just one of your lenses. But you don't have to worry about changing out cams.

Bob Salomon
27-Sep-2019, 07:26
With a Crown with a side-mount Kalart, you can use multiple infinity stops. They fold down easily to get out of your way if you are moving the front standard out for a longer lens, or in for a shorter one. Add tape to the bed if you can't find a proper bed scale for your alternative lenses. Mark infinity and a couple closer distances. Now you have a camera with 3 or more lens choices you can easily change in the field. Estimating distances then setting the focus to your marks takes a little practice, but it isn't that hard. (More than 2 million Rollei 35s with that system were sold...) True, Kalart is set up for just one of your lenses. But you don't have to worry about changing out cams.

Itís a lot easier guesstimating focus with a 40mm lens with a depth of scale index engraved around its barrel!

wyofilm
27-Sep-2019, 12:42
Here is a link to a company that is making something like the Travelwide. I don't have one. I have never seen one in real life. From the photos is looks clunkier than a Travelwide, but it looks legit.

https://www.cameradactyl.com/buttergrip/cameradactyl-og-4x5-hand-camera

Jac@stafford.net
27-Sep-2019, 16:12
Yes, Dan, it is limited in my experience to a ~127 mm lens. Limiting implies not schlepping two or more lenses which obviously adds weight. Less is good. Should I find a scale I will weight it then the obvious metrics can be compared.

Can anyone recommend a hanging weight scale? I have one for weighing fish but in our Upper Mississippi River it is way too optimistic. :)

LabRat
27-Sep-2019, 17:29
Yes, Dan, it is limited in my experience to a ~127 mm lens. Limiting implies not schlepping two or more lenses which obviously adds weight. Less is good. Should I find a scale I will weight it then the obvious metrics can be compared.

Can anyone recommend a hanging weight scale? I have one for weighing fish but in our Upper Mississippi River it is way too optimistic. :)

Jac, a digital bathroom or postal scale works well...

Steve K

LabRat
27-Sep-2019, 17:44
If you just need one or two lenses, a Busch Pressman or B&J press are lighter than Graflexes...

The FP shutter Graflex models seem to have an advantage, but in practice are a bit cumbersome to use, as the film slide has to be in while winding shutter (with film in) or changing slit speeds, they create some internal vibration, RF might not couple to many barrel lenses, if focusing with GG, shutter has to be set to open, and camera is slightly heavier than Crowns...

For faster shooting, the suggestion a RF MF camera is good, as one can shoot some of them fast while keeping camera at eye level while cocking/advancing film roll...

Steve K

LFLarry
29-Sep-2019, 07:30
Kent, I found a very clean Beseler C6 and was able to get it at a very good price. I have just started using it, but so far, it is producing very good negatives. I have the standard lens that came with the camera and it is perfectly calibrated. I may just leave well enough alone and always use it with this standard lens. The focal plane shutter on this camera has been a welcomed option for my style of photography. The camera is very simple to use and so far, I am very happy with it. I tend to use it on a monopod, but I can definitely use it free hand if desired for a period of time. I like to hike with it and when the view inspires me to stop, I will. Someone much younger could probably use it freehand all day without issue.





Turns out there is yet another choice from the 1950. The Beseler C6. I can handle lenses from 90 to 250mm. Downsides are they tend to be expensive and I've read they are heavy.

Of the ones mentioned so far on this thread, I'd probably go with a converted Polaroid for what you want. It's the least fiddly and obtrusive.

https://lommen9.home.xs4all.nl/American/beseler%201.html


Kent in SD

LFLarry
29-Sep-2019, 07:31
Thanks for the tip... I wasn't aware of them, so I will review more closely. Thanks!


Here is a link to a company that is making something like the Travelwide. I don't have one. I have never seen one in real life. From the photos is looks clunkier than a Travelwide, but it looks legit.

https://www.cameradactyl.com/buttergrip/cameradactyl-og-4x5-hand-camera

Andrew Plume
30-Sep-2019, 03:44
I've been following this thread with interest since I'm in the process of adapting a wooden 5 x 7 for similar use

I currently own at least four 5 x 7/British half plate's and I'll use the lightest. It's based on this model:-

https://www.flickr.com/photos/thorpehamlet/10978396414/in/pool-camerawiki

Which is lighter than my 4 x 5 Zone V1. Although it doesn't have a spring back, modern 5 x 7 DDS firmly fit into the rear 'slot', which is a real bonus. It has some movements which are more than enough. Although this model doesn't have any 'hand holds' I can easily grip both sides and should be able to use a shutter release at the same time. Ideally I would prefer to use older lenses but shuttered ones seem preferable, so I'll be using my 90mm, 135mm, 180mm and 210mm lenses

At one time I owned a 5 x 7 Technika, way way too heavy imo to be used for hand held work

Finally although I will not be using a RF, precision focus isn't what I'm looking for

regards

Andrew

cuypers1807
30-Sep-2019, 08:13
I use a Razzle 900 (Polaroid 900 conversion) with a 150mm Sironar N. Dean Jones gave me both backs so I could shoot regular film holders and Grafmatics.
It also has the focusing knob on the outside that he added to his later conversions.
The rangefinder patch is a little dim but dead on.
https://live.staticflickr.com/7091/7346832462_9a73e196c7_c.jpg
https://live.staticflickr.com/7086/7161622125_8177988348_c.jpg