View Full Version : The perfect item that you bought & you're done searching for another

Lee Hamiel
1-Sep-2006, 15:06
How many times have you bought equipment & hoped it was what you wanted - then sold it or traded away - then you buy an item that is simply just right & you are done searching for that item any more & you can put the serach to rest?

For me as far as tripod heads it's an Arca-Swiss B2 head that is great - not my lightweight head but for solid controlled usage is perfect so far as I am concerned - very pleased with it & I am done searching for the "ideal" head so to speak.

We all tend to spend a fair amount on photographic accessories & I for one will not hesitate to sell an item I am not happy with.

With that said - what item/camera/lens/etc. have you bought that "ends the hunt" for the perfect item in need?

I know that for many it's the desire to buy an Ebony camera/this lens or that/a Gandolfi or other camera/a Ries tripod/etc. ...

Simply curious as to what ended the search per se for a specific item however large or small for the photographic process.


Eric James
1-Sep-2006, 15:38
1) A small multipocket REI accessory bag that I hang from the center column of my tripod - it holds everything I need at the ready, from spot meter, to tape measure, to quickload holder and film sheets; and there's even a mesh pocket for the ground glass.

2) 5+ prescription glasses for focusing - actually I do plan to change the glasses to either a reading glasses frame or bifocals with 0 diopter upper lenses, so that I don't get dizzy when I emerge from beneath the dark cloth.

3) Fuji 240mm f9

Ken Lee
1-Sep-2006, 16:06
Rodenstock 150 APO-S
Fujinon 240A
Fujinon 300A
Fujinon 450C
Mac Powerbook
OmniWeb Browser

Ron Marshall
1-Sep-2006, 16:07
My Toho 4x5, Photog's vest and Kelty Coyote backpack, all of them suit me perfectly.

Michael Graves
1-Sep-2006, 16:11
Happened just today in fact. Even though I was perfectly satisfied with a 180mm Schneider Componon enlarging lens I bought a couple of months ago, I kept reading the praises of the Apo Rodagon. Then I got stupid and bid too much on an AR and won it. Damn thing arrived yesterday and today I printed with it for the first time. As nice as the Schneider is...the Apo just took her place. Good thing my wife doesn't watch my credit card bills!

Kerry L. Thalmann
1-Sep-2006, 16:46
It's not a single item, but rather something I've accumulated and customized to meet my exact needs. I'm very happy with my 4x5/4x10 ARCA-SWISS/Lotus hybrid camera. By mixing and matching parts, I think I've managed to pretty much assemble the perfect camera for my needs. It's easy to switch between 4x5 and 4x10 configurations. It's fast to set up and folds down compactly for carrying. It's smooth and rigid and has full monorail movements, yet it's small enough and light enough to use in the field. The controls are logically and consistently located, very easy to get at and can all be operated with ease - even while wearing gloves. The small 110mm front format frame uses reasonably sized lens boards and the self-arresting geared front movements (rise/fall and axis tilt) are an absolute pleasure to use. It easily accomodates my full range of lenses and can be expanded further if I ever want to use some REALLY extreme focal lengths. It's pretty much everything I've ever wanted in a camera.

In terms of items I've bought, it would be hard to improve on the combination of lightweight and rigidity of my Gitzo carbon fiber tripods. I've gone through multiple cameras and lenses over the years, but once I bought my Gitzo carbon fiber tripods (modified 1227 for backpacking - 1325 for everything else) my tripod hunting days ended. I still look at new models when I'm in the store, but nothing yet has come close to making me reach for my wallet. Even after almost 10 years, I haven't seen anything that comes close to matching the Gitzos for my needs. Everything else is either substantially less rigid, a lot heavier, or usually both.


Ted Harris
1-Sep-2006, 17:29
Two lenses fall into that category. I have to admit that I wasn't even sure I was on the hunt when I got each of them since each was purchased to meet one specific need but after just a few uses they proved themselves to be 'perfect things.' Eachhas become a standard that travels with me constantly and just feel 'right' (wnderful, high tech descriptons and explanations here). The lenses are the Super Symmar 110 XL and the Apo Sironar 150 W. Why, because I find their prformance to be superb and their coverage all I want and need for the formats I shoot.

1-Sep-2006, 17:50
A Smth "New Yorker, Jr" camera bag (the original Domke manufacturers,) purchased from Ken Hanson. The perfect bag, and I lost mine in a home burglary. They just don't make 'em like that no more.

Gordon Moat
1-Sep-2006, 18:05
Well, in tripods I find that the Manfrotto 3047 three way pan head is exactly what I have wanted, and I see no need to change to something else. The legs are a different matter, currently with 3021N, though I might consider different legs, perhaps even Berlebach.

The TOYO 3.6x focusing loupe does all I need it to do. It is simple and rugged, and easily fits around my neck at a ready to use height. I might add a stronger magnification loupe, but I will keep the TOYO 3.6x.

The camera and lenses I consider more variable. However, I have standardized on Fuji Quickload and Kodak Readyload films. I like these systems so much that I have no interest in owning regular 4x5 film holders. I do wish there were a few films I use in 35mm and medium format that were available this way, but I could always add a roll film back to my 4x5.


Gordon Moat
A G Studio (http://www.allgstudio.com)

Frank Petronio
1-Sep-2006, 21:36
No direct money was exchanged in the transaction, but my current wife is a "keeper" after loosing tons of $ on the earlier model. I liked trying the demos and loaners, but they had a lot of maintenance issues.

(sorry, it was just too good a set-up to let pass.)

1-Sep-2006, 21:55

In my case... the Horseman loupe! I'd tried the Rodenstock, Toyo, Kodak, Schneider, and Sylvestri loupes. The Horseman is perfect.

That said... I'm always on the hunt for the next best loupe!

And, of course, (LOL) the next best camera, lens, and tripod. :)



Too funny! :)


David Karp
1-Sep-2006, 22:46
My Walker Titan SF. I love it.

Ole Tjugen
2-Sep-2006, 02:53
The Carbon Infinity camera. Definitely a keeper.

John Powers
2-Sep-2006, 05:27
R H Phillips cameras; 8x10 Adavantage, 7x17 Explorer. Light, solid, adjustable to my needs, engineering anticipating my learning curve and fantastic support from a great guy.

John Powers

Ben Calwell
2-Sep-2006, 05:46
My Calumet loupe and dark cloth that came with the 4x5 package I purchased in 1982.
I no longer use that camera, but those other two items are still going strong.

David A. Goldfarb
2-Sep-2006, 06:05
My Linhof Tech V 4x5" and Tech V 23b seem like keepers, as well as my current model zoom finder and Linhof rollfilm backs. The Rodenstock 55/4.5 Apo-Grandagon and 75/4.5 Grandagon-N, Zeiss Planar 135/3.5, 11.5" and 14" Veritos, 360/4.5 Heliar, and my around 10" Petzval all seem here to stay. The 150mm Apo-Componon enlarging lens is a keeper. The current Schneider 4x loupe would be another.

Jack Flesher
2-Sep-2006, 06:41
Current most perfect items for 4x5:

Camera; A/S 141 F-Metric

Lenses; Sinar-badged Schneider 65 SA, new Schneider 120 APO L, Schneider/Kern 210 GD Dagor, Cooke PS945.

Tripod and head; Gitzo 1325 and Arca B2

Loupe; my eyes are bad up close so the Schneider 10x I bought this year has helped me regain perfect focus every time.

Darkcloth; One I custom-made out of breathable black cotton/poly fabric several years ago -- lightweight, breathable and works like a dream up to 8x10.

2-Sep-2006, 09:52
Fairly recently I replaced the two wildly popular SSXLs, 80 & 110, with a Nikkor 90. I originally bought the two based on their buzz, and they perform fine, but the 90 suits my vision so much better.

On this forum I read about using a t-shirt for a dark cloth. I didn't even have to buy one, just grab one from the t-shirt drawer; impossible to imagine a better dark cloth for 4x5.

I've been through my share of tripods, and the keepers are both Gitzos. I am out of the tripod market.

I suspect that my camera experience is pretty typical for members of this forum with some money in the bank. Selecting cameras seems to be a trial and error process -- it's hard to know what you really need/want till you have tried a few. I have passed through that phase, ending up with a 4x5 Walker SF Titan and an 8x10 Wehman.

2-Sep-2006, 09:55
Slightly off topic, I've burned through more than a few 35mm and 120 cameras, and am now 100% satisfied with my Widelux F7 and Brooks-Plaubel Veriwide.

Bruce Watson
2-Sep-2006, 10:18
For me that perfect item is my camera - a Toho FC-45X. (http://www.thalmann.com/largeformat/toho.htm) It's an amazing little camera. I can't imagine replacing it with anything else.

Renee Galang
2-Sep-2006, 16:46
I finally found a person that would sell me a pinkham and smith visual quality IV 12 inch but now am having second thoughts! Should I buy it or not? He's asking for a very steep price and am not sure whether it is worth it.

Joe Smigiel
2-Sep-2006, 21:13
Dallmeyer 3A Patent Portrait lens for doing 10x12 ambrotypes.

I also like the darkcloth I made for my 11x14 B&J. It is basically a single-layer tube of lightweight aluminized nylon, black on the inside and silver on the outside. It is about 5 foot long and about the same in circumference with a drawstring on one end. I climb inside the thing to focus and it also doubles as a waterproof cover for the camera.

David Starr
3-Sep-2006, 15:31
A NEW Jobo CPP-2 & lift, earlier this year.

4-Sep-2006, 18:20
Keith Canham 5x7 wood field camera
Fuji 240A
Fuji 450C

Happy with my 150 Schneider Super Symmar HM too....but would love to have one of the XL's.

Jorge Gasteazoro
4-Sep-2006, 18:34
Sekonic dual meter

4-Sep-2006, 18:53
8x20 Deardorf. Couple months ago. From Austria. That was exactly I wished for.

Tom Micklin
4-Sep-2006, 21:01
Years ago, I won a Turner-Reich Triple Convertible lens on eBay. Steve Grimes was the seller. He had rebuilt it and I've used it exclusively for all my 4x5 and 5x7 work since.

Ries Tripods and heads fall into that category for me also.

4-Sep-2006, 21:26
Toyo 45AX with bag, normal and long bellows and two extension rails for the studio. I have a 45 AII and VX125 for the field but I finaly replaced a 45D and 45E with the AX. It is smooth, solid and does everything I want in the studio.

Renee Galang
4-Sep-2006, 21:41
Just picked up a cambo monorail 11x14 with 8x10 and 4x5 back! All I need now is a good tripod to hold this awesome 11x14 camera! Not buying any camera for a long time, mind you The last one that I bought was 3 years ago and I traded it in for this new toy.

John Berry
5-Sep-2006, 01:37
No direct money was exchanged in the transaction, but my current wife is a "keeper" after loosing tons of $ on the earlier model. I liked trying the demos and loaners, but they had a lot of maintenance issues.

(sorry, it was just too good a set-up to let pass.)I just find it amazing, that there are two women on this planet that would admit sleeping with you. (sorry, couldn't pass that one up)

Frank Petronio
5-Sep-2006, 05:21
oooooooooooooooooooooooooooo----- crash

Just sent your name over to my uncle, Dick Cheney, he'll be sending some associates over to "interview" you soon.

Jim Galli
5-Sep-2006, 09:19
No direct money was exchanged in the transaction, but my current wife is a "keeper" after loosing tons of $ on the earlier model. I liked trying the demos and loaners, but they had a lot of maintenance issues.

gives a whole new meaning to "dip 'n dunk"

I'm on my 7th 11X14 and haven't found the keeper yet. Well, that's not quite true. #6 Seneca was the keeper but I lost it in a horse trade for a 12X20 that I just traded for a 14X17....

Frank Petronio
5-Sep-2006, 09:50
now now Jim, we gotta keep the moral standards high here ;)

john collins
5-Sep-2006, 09:57
Gitzo CF 1349
Sekonic 508
Sinar Zoom II Back

Pat Kearns
5-Sep-2006, 11:06
oooooooooooooooooooooooooooo----- crash

Just sent your name over to my uncle, Dick Cheney, he'll be sending some associates over to "interview" you soon.
I wouldn't worry about an "interview", I'd be more afraid about getting invited on a "Hunting Trip".

5-Sep-2006, 17:39
Just picked up a cambo monorail 11x14 with 8x10 and 4x5 back! All I need now is a good tripod to hold this awesome 11x14 camera! Not buying any camera for a long time, mind you The last one that I bought was 3 years ago and I traded it in for this new toy.

Congrats on your purchase; a great buy I think. For a while there I thought that was cheap enough to make me consider buying it for the 11x14 filmholders alone; then dump the camera. (Not a slight against the camera, but I'm not a studio shooter...)


Renee Galang
6-Sep-2006, 02:25
Hello Alec,
I reckon it was great buy! Before topogon ebayed it he was selling it to me for over 1000 AU dollars more that the end of auction price but I turned him down because he wasn't giving me much for the 4x5 stuff that I wanted to trade in. But now, I traded in all my 4x5 stuff and we made a clean swap! It actually ended up as an unbelievable buy!

evan clarke
6-Sep-2006, 07:48
Arca Swiss Cube and Gitzo 1325 tripod..terrific..EC

Kevin Crisp
6-Sep-2006, 08:08
Gitzo 1325. Pentax Digital Spot Meter. That loupe that starts with an "S." Accratech ballhead.

John Bowen
6-Sep-2006, 09:59
Zone VI Compensating Darkroom processing timer. Bought a second one just in case the first one breaks/dies.

Zone VI modified Pentax spot meter.

355 G Claron

Horseman Loupe

Satin Snow ground Glass


6-Sep-2006, 19:09
Markins M10 Ballhead. It is a perfect combination of smoothness during adjustment and solidness when locked. It is a joy to own. It makes all other ballheads I have seen look like cheap junk. If I lost mine and new ones cost ten times what they do now, I would gulp hard and buy another (and hide the credit card bill).

Terence Patrick
19-Sep-2006, 14:51
I recently replaced my Manfrotto 3047 head with the 405 geared head. It was a great value for my money and does exactly what I want it to.

Lee Hamiel
19-Sep-2006, 17:48
Interesting Terence - I had a 3047 head that was probably my favorite tilt/pan head & gave it to my son who then got a Manfrotto 410 geared head which is great.

My guess is that I would select the 410 head as one of the best all time simple/easy to use/cost/value & precision heads going.

Lee Hamiel
19-Sep-2006, 17:51
I forgot to finish my statements & posted too early - the Manfrotto 405 which I have not used appears to have a lot going for it & thanks for posting

21-Sep-2006, 00:05
with no hesitation... my bookmarks for large format forums !
the most helpfull piece of equipment !
considering harware i would said my gitzo carbon fiber... i used too sufer a lot from my back carrying a gitzo 5 classic !

but i still looking for the perfect head !
and i can't affort the arca C1... for sinar 8x10, the sinar is a good one... but i can't use it with my arca F line... the 405 manfrotto/bogen is very good for levelling but the 8x10 weight too much for it.... grggrgrggrg