View Full Version : Thoughts on the Toyo 45AII

16-Aug-2006, 13:49
In the near future I plan to buy a large format camera for my landscape work. I've used 35mm and medium format, but want the sharpness that LF brings.

In coming to this camera I compared Metal vs Wood, Weight, and price. I don't mind the extra three pounds over the Tachihara, but I do encounter more wind than not so I wanted to go with metal.

The 45AII has rear movements and a revolving back, but I wanted to get your thoughts on this camera and possibly a comparable competitor. Are there any current owners that have comments on the usage of the camera?

Where I rent they have this camera so I've gotten familiar, but I am still very much a novice.

Your comments are much appreicated..

Loren Crannell

16-Aug-2006, 13:52
I have a 45AII, and love using the camera. I will be replacing it soon, with another 45AII. I can't think of anything about this camera to complain about, but if you have specific questions, I will be glad to answer them the best I can.

Merg Ross
16-Aug-2006, 14:11
Loren- I have used the AX model for a number of years and have been very satisfied. As you probably know, the AX does not have the revolving back of the AII. The lack of this feature has not been a problem and reversing the back takes about 5 seconds with a little practice. So, if weight or cost are considerations the AX would be an option.

Depending on your choice of lenses, you may find the 13" bellows a bit short. For my way of working they are fine as my longest lens is a 270mm. Of course if you wish to use a longer lens you could consider a telephoto. The shortest lens I use (rarely) is a 90mm which works well. Others may have thoughts if you are considering a shorter focal length. Welcome to large format.

Jean-Marie Solichon
16-Aug-2006, 14:19
In my opinion the best competitor to the Toyo 45AII is the 45CF: lighter, more front rise and fall, front swing more usable, cheaper.
On the other hand the 45AII will take 55 and 65mm in recessed lens board (75mm in recessed board is the widest usable on the CF) and it has a brighter ground glass.
I have been using the AII for 7 years and almost never used rear movements for landscapes.

Ralph W. Lambrecht
16-Aug-2006, 15:32
The Toyo is my favorite 4x5 (I own 2 others). However, don't get your hopes up too high. The quality jump from 35mm to medium-format is huge, but you won't see that repeated when going from MF to LF, unless you are printing bulletin-board sizes.

16-Aug-2006, 15:47
I have been using the AII for 7 years and almost never used rear movements for landscapes.

Funny, rear movements are almost all I use.

Mike Boden
16-Aug-2006, 16:05
I own a 45AII and have absolutely no complaints. It's built very well and using it to shoot landscapes that demand average movements, you can't go wrong. As for the revolving back, it's a pretty cool feature, but if you want to save extra weight and money, go for the model with a non-revolving back.

16-Aug-2006, 16:27
Thanks everybody... I would still encourage more views on the 45AII, but I now have to look at the AX as well.

I'm planning on using the new purchase on a trip to Glacier National Park in September so I have to get practicing and ready to go.

Thanks again for the responses...


Gary Smith
16-Aug-2006, 16:37
I also have a 45AII, it replaced a Shen-Hao. The camera is great, all the movements I need for landscape photography. I agree with Mr. Teague, I am thinking about another just to have it for a back up. The camera is strong, well build and I think it will serve you well.

Hope it helps.


16-Aug-2006, 17:32
My brother has an AII, I have an AX, and a CF that I bought new before getting a nice deal on the AX. Besides the revolving back on the AII that the AX doesn't have, but interchangeable instead and lighter, the AX and CF don't have the foldout cover for the ground glass. That's about $120 add-on if you want it. It is the first add I added to my AX. The CF opens differently than the AX/AII and certainly appears very solid. The instruction manual for the AX is the AII's with an insert page that describes the differences, so they are essentially the same camera except for the two differences mentioned above. I will be selling the CF shortly as new. If interested, send me a message.

16-Aug-2006, 20:27
The 45 AII is built like a brick s---house. It does everything one could expect and is very solid. It inspires a lot of confidence. The camera will allow you to take every picture that you can imagine within reasonable limits and will take a beating. I imagine my grandchildren will still be able to use it if anyone still makes film then.
Dave B.

17-Aug-2006, 00:25
I love my AII but at times I wish it had rear rise/fall. My AII has served me well for 8 years and well over 1000 images. It is a slipery slope though, I now own a 45 AII, D, E(x3), GX, 125 VX, 810 G&M a modified Polaroid MP-3 and a Wista. I am looking for a good deal on a 45CF. I am glad that my wife and kids shoot. When we go on vacation it is 100 Lbs of lugage and 300 Lbs of camera gear. If I had it to do all over again I would seriously look at the Canham but I have no regrets with my Toyo 45 AII. It is a beast, nothing fancy, it just works. It is still my main camera even above my Hasselblad 501 and my RZ67. Toyo is also great to work with for parts and service.

Ralph Barker
17-Aug-2006, 07:59
Another aspect of the Toyo you may find handy, Loren, is the modularity of the overall product line. Many of the components of the 45AX/AII, for example, can be used on other Toyo models. So, if your kit expands to include a monorail in the future, such as a Toyo 45C or G, or even an 8x10, you can mix some of the parts to provide greater flexibility.

Eric Brody
17-Aug-2006, 08:26
I'd like to make a pitch for the older, plainer Toyo 45A, it does not have a revolving back, a feature I have never needed in the field. The 45A saves weight and operates the same as its more expensive sibling. It happens that I have a 45A for sale, pm me if you're interested, but reagrdless, consider the lighter camera and ask if the revolving back is worth it. I find rear movements essential therefore would shy away from the CF despite its weight advantage.


17-Aug-2006, 09:15
Modular design is great. Most of my lenses are on Toyo 110mm boards 3 are on Linhoff for my wife's wista (she likes the pretty wood). With the right adapters I can use 110mm Toyo, Wista/Linhoff, Sinar, Graphic and a couple of others on my rail cameras. Makes for a very versital system (I can borrow lenses). I am looking for a 45 CF for two reasons, weight and for use in wet weather. Other than that the CF has some serious short commings in movement and durability with the main hinge. Don't drop one, they dont take abuse well. The 45 A, AX, and AII are built like tanks.

Steve Bell
17-Aug-2006, 11:27
I have a 45A, bought it used around 2 years ago. I'm very happy with it, used for landscape photography. As I understand, it is almost the same as the 45AII, but doesn't have rubber covered knobs. My 45A does have a revolving back, I find this very useful, less chance of dropping the back if I had to remove it to change orientation. I use it with lenses from 65mm to 210mm, and will soon add a 360mm tele once I adapt a lensboard.

17-Aug-2006, 15:41
I used to have a 45AII, and the only thing I didn't like about the camera was the single lock on the front standard for rough focus/shift/swing. You had to be extremely careful that you didn't throw the image out of focus when applying swing. It made it difficult to see what you were doing....

Other than that, it was a great camera. A friend now has it, and he uses it faithfully when he shoots 4x5.

18-Aug-2006, 10:12
I must say that I am truly impressed with the forum and the comments I got back for my question. It feels good that I can buy the Toyo and know it will last.

After reading, I am probably going to buy the AX and save some money for the Quickload system and a lens.

Thanks everybody for giving me confidence for my upcoming purchase.


25-Aug-2006, 10:34
After bidding and losing out to several 45A ebay auctions, I finally landed a very good condition 45Aii Toyo from KEH.

I'm excited to get it and hopefully my Nikon 150mm lens and film arrive in a couple of days. Thanks again for the comments.