View Full Version : Lotus 4 X 5 - bad move ?

john david pope
8-Jan-2000, 00:42
I have been obsessed with getting a Lotus 4 X 5 for my first LF camera. I plan on doing portraits and landscapes, as a hobby ( I am a DP by profession).

I know I should probably start with a cheaper camera like a Toyo or a Tachihara, but I can't help feeling that I should get a top of the line camera that I can grow into.

I have heard that Lotus is pulling out of the US market, but I am still in love with this beautiful camera ! I have been warned that parts may be expensive and hard to come by. But then again, you don't worry about such things when you buy a Ferrari, do you ?

Should I stay away from this camera and go with a Wisner Pocket or even somethin g simpler like a Toyo AX ? Price is not an object, but I don't want to end up with a work of art that sits in the closet.

Doremus Scudder
8-Jan-2000, 09:21
John, If you haven't already, you can visit the Lotus website at: http://www.lotusviewcamera.at Their e-mail address is viewcamerea@wiesserlotus.co.at. Maybe they can give you the info you need about their North American marketing plans. I haven't seen the Lotus camera up close, but it looks like a good one. However, if this is your first view camera, maybe you should get your hands an few before you decide to buy just to see what you do/don't like about different models. For me size matters, so I chose one of the smaller wooden fields. The Lotus looks pretty big. Hope this helps ;^D)

Doug Paramore
8-Jan-2000, 11:42
John: Since you say this is your first LF camera and price is not a major factor, buy the Lotus! Any LF camera you choose is going to have a learning curve, so you may as well learn on a camera you really want. Part of the joy of LF photography is the use of cameras you really love. Every one of us has likes and dislikes for particular cameras. Primarily, most of the LF cameras don't vary much in operation. How they go about the various movements may vary a little, but basically they are the same. As long as the camera has sufficient bellows to use the lenses you want and the movements lock down solid, the camera will make good pictures. If size and weight are a problem, buy another camera body for the times when you are a long way from the car. A second, used camera body, can usually be found quite cheaply for backpacking. About any camera you choose will do what you want to do. Most of the bad view cameras disappeared from the market many years ago. Have fun with LF! Doug

Natha Congdon
8-Jan-2000, 15:03
If $ is not a major consideration, and you are looking for the ultimate wood field camera, I would suggest you check out the web site ebonycamera.com. I have been using an Ebony for a while now, after using a Wisner, and really love it. They are sold in the US by Badger Graphics (800-558-5350). I'd be happy to talk to you about my experience with the Ebony if you have any interest. They have several features (including asymmetric tilts) which the Lotus doesn't, though I have not used a Lotus.

Good luck, Nathan

John O'Connell
9-Jan-2000, 12:52
I think it's great that a professional Displaced Person can afford a Lotus view camera.

More seriously, I don't see the big deal if money is not an issue. Should you need spares, you'll still be able to call someone in England if Lotus pulls out here. The usefulness of some view camera "features" depends on the user: I could care less about yaw- free movements, but take away my geared focus and revolving back and I'd scream in agony.

Also, I wouldn't necessarily start with a bare-bones camera if you want more. A K1000 isn't a lot of money of break yourself in with: a Toyo is a good deal more.

(BTW: Ferarri spares are fairly easy to get, even for pretty old cars.)

David Ingalls
10-Jan-2000, 14:57
I second Nathan's comments with regard to the Ebony. If you are after "top of the line," this is it. There is nothing about this camera that is less than splendid. It represents the very best of wooden field camera design executed with the highest quality materials and with admirable panache. I am very pleased with my SV45TE and with follow-up service from both Badger Graphics and Ebony. Feel free to contact me if you would like to know more.

Christian Nze
12-Jan-2000, 08:41
you can also visit the ebony web page: http://www.ebonycamera.com/ a very well made camera