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View Full Version : Cost for SK Grimes mod to the Technikardan 45



MJSfoto1956
22-Dec-2006, 09:03
Several of you have pmailed me inquiring as to the cost to do the mod to the Technikardan 45S shown in the 2nd issue of MAGNAchrom. (see www.magnachrom.com (http://www.magnachrom.com) to register and download the free copy)

Here is the picture of the mod:
http://www.magnachrom.com/Cameras/Linhof.after.1621.jpg

I have just received email from Adam at S.K. Grimes that to modify your own TK45 as shown would cost $500 plus shipping and handling. You can contact him directly (I have no economic interests in this).

As a side note: I also just received an email from Bob Salomon of H.P. Marketing who strenuosly denies that the TK45 exhibits this torque-induced deflection behavior. I maintain that mine has behaved in this manner since new and that several other users of BetterLight backs have also experienced this torque deflection in the rear standard. (keep in mind that we are talking about 1-2 mm of deflection which amounts to 83-168 pixels out of alignment, which in my book is significant and problematic especially when you are doing composites and/or panoramas)

To allay Bob's concerns, I have agreed to meet with a noted Linhof expert (he too had never heard of this behavior). If he and I can agree that my camera is defective, then I will issue a full detraction in MAGNAchrom magazine and then also promptly send my camera to Marflex for repair. (and for those of you also experiencing similar behavior, you would then be wise to consider sending your cameras to Marflex as well)

However, if the expert and I can reproduce this behavior on his equipment then I will then add his observations to the article in a new revision of the 2nd issue of MAGNAchrom.

So I have a question to the LF audience on this forum: who here owns TK45's??
And have any of you experienced similar torque-induced deflection of the rear standard?

tim atherton
22-Dec-2006, 09:12
Mine's the first version of the TK with the solid rather than sectioned L supports, but yes, it certainly does exhibit it that. I was trying it with a digital back at the University here and with the extra weight, it was noticeable enough. (with a film holder, it's not really an issue).

I'd add the whole camera was serviced maybe 18 months ago.

Switched to an old chrome and steel Sinar P (2 I think?) and no problem at all.

Much more "boing" in the whole frame/body of the TK, which has never bothered me with film, but seemed more of an issue with digi backs

Jorge Gasteazoro
22-Dec-2006, 09:12
I had a TK 45, the previous model and never saw this problem when the lever was in the locked position. I have the feeling that you have worn out the or the locking part was defective since I never saw this behavior, which I should have seen when you put the film holder.

naturephoto1
22-Dec-2006, 09:17
Hi Michael,

I have owned a Linhof Technikardan 45S for quite some time (since I believe September of 1994). I can not remember having experienced the problems with the camera that you have mentioned, but I have never used anything as heavy as the BetterLight Back on the camera. I have used heavy lenses on the front standard including Nikon 500mm T ED which has performed extremely well. One of these images was used by Bogen/Gitzo at Photo Plus and is in their corporate Headquarters. The digitally printed 40" X 50" copy is almost as sharp as the 19" X 24" copy.

Rich

tim atherton
22-Dec-2006, 09:20
I should add this particular back was probably over 2lbs - 35oz or something I think. That's much more than any of my film holders weigh sat in there.

The back standard may flex a bit when I put in a film holder, but it returns to its "zero" position once it's in place. The weight of the digi back basically caused a small amount of "sag"

Knew I shouldn't have sold the Arca... :-) (not really a problem - as I only ever use other people's dgital backs)

David A. Goldfarb
22-Dec-2006, 09:41
Looks like an effective mod, but my solution is just not to expect one camera to do everything. My Tech V and Sinar P handle those heavy Super Rollex backs and the DaYi 617 back just fine as well as some heavy lenses, and I'd expect them to do just as well with a digital back. Of course the Tech V doesn't have quite the versatility of the TK45, and the Sinar P doesn't have the portability of the TK45.

wfwhitaker
22-Dec-2006, 09:55
...If he and I can agree that my camera is defective, then I will issue a full detraction in MAGNAchrom magazine and then also promptly send my camera to Marflex for repair.[/B]

At the risk of sounding pedantic, wouldn't that be a retraction?

neil poulsen
22-Dec-2006, 11:27
Would a retraction really be warrented, since the camera will have been proven to have had this problem? It seems like an update would be better, letting people know about the attention and potential redesign that the Linhof team was willing to provide.

RichardRitter
22-Dec-2006, 11:34
When was the camera designed and released to market?

When was the BetterLight back designed and released to market?

robc
22-Dec-2006, 11:46
I would have thought that an M679 was the better option for digital anyway but if that back is for a 4x5 or larger then was it sold with a disclaimer about being too heavy for some camera models. i.e. why is the assumption that it is the fault of the camera which has been around for a long time and not the back which adds excessive weight to camera back?

tim atherton
22-Dec-2006, 13:38
I would have thought that an M679 was the better option for digital anyway but if that back is for a 4x5 or larger then was it sold with a disclaimer about being too heavy for some camera models. i.e. why is the assumption that it is the fault of the camera which has been around for a long time and not the back which adds excessive weight to camera back?

because the manufacturer/distributor apparently says it shouldn't be a problem

naturephoto1
22-Dec-2006, 13:46
The Technikardan 45 and 45S were never at least initally designed for digital backs. They were introduced for sheet film and I do not think that Linhof should be held responsible since the camera was introduced as a field camera well before the design and the intent of said back. If the camera does need some sort of modification for this usage, then it should be up to the discretion of the owner of said camera for this usage. I have never seen reference to Linhof ever making suggestion that the camera should be used with these heavy backs. However, if Bob Salomon of HP Marketing and Linhof believe that these backs should not be an issue.....

Rich

tim atherton
22-Dec-2006, 14:13
They were introduced for sheet film and I do not think that Linhof should be held responsible since the camera was introduced as a field camera well before the design and the intent of said back.

hmmm - I must have missed the post where someone was "holding linhof responsible"? In fact forking out a few hundred of your own dollars to make a modification you are very happy with seems quite the opposite. Holding linhof responsible would be expecting them to make the modification.

However when this question is raised on a number of forums - either the Grimes modification to strengthen the rear standard for a digital back, or someone saying that their TK isn't sturdy enough for a digital back - and Linhof pops up and basically seems to say - hey, don't dis the Technikardan, it's built like a Panzer tank and is plenty sturdy enough for a digital back - then Linhof is apparently saying this camera is suitable for such a use - and whenever it was designed is moot.

MJSfoto1956
22-Dec-2006, 14:53
At the risk of sounding pedantic, wouldn't that be a retraction?

LOL!! hehe. My mistake. Yes of course retraction it should be.

FYI, the BetterLight backs were invented back in 1994. The TK45S (I believe) was introduced in 1996, the year I bought mine.

I wholeheartedly agree that the TK45S is an ideal field camera when used with film backs -- even HEAVY film backs as the center of gravity of such backs is only a few inches from the TK45S rear standard bearing. However, the BetterLight back's center of gravity is probably twice the disctance from the rear standard bearing, and this is what causes the noticeable deflection/sag. In my case, it does *NOT* spring back up, but rather stays in its deflected state. The result is that the image area is ever so subtly at an angle to the bubble levels. This makes stitching scans painful and makes using BetterLight's motorized panoramic adapter problematic with the TK45S.

Lest anyone think I'm dissing the TK45S, I happen to think it is one of the best all-around field camera on the market today. It is truly a brilliant feat of engineering. But then, like most brilliant engineering feats, it has its own unique "features" (funny how engineers never call them bugs!) And more importantly, I happen to own five Linhofs total and have been shooting Linhofs for over 30 years. So you won't ever find me saying anything negative about the company or its products.

But for my specific application I felt the TK45S needed some "help", some body-building if you will. In the next few weeks we'll see if my experience can be reproduced by another Linhof expert. However, the engineer in me tells me that it is not a matter of zero deflection (which if I recall my college statics class is mathematically close to impossible), but rather how much. Clearly for a normal sheet film holder any deflection would be so miniscule that it probably is nearly unmeasurable and certainly unnoticable to the average user. However with the right scientific measurement, I can guarantee some deflection would be detectible even with a light load -- again we simply don't know how much to expect.

I will report back to you when I have the information. In the meantime, do enjoy your TK45S -- a great camera for backpacking in the snow. Here is a shot I made the first winter I owned my then-new TK45S:

http://farm1.static.flickr.com/8/7851735_a5e854f346_o.jpg

naturephoto1
22-Dec-2006, 15:07
Hi Michael,

I like my Technikardan 45S very much, but I believe I purchased mine in September of 1994 (replacing my Marflex Modified Super Technika IV which had been stolen days before). I took my first photos in the high peaks region of Adirondaks in September and October of 1995 with this camera. I am not sure if the camera was introduced in 1994. For some reason I believe that the original Technikardan 45 was introduced between 1988 and 1990.

Rich

Bob Salomon
22-Dec-2006, 16:09
Michael,

My issue is your opening comment that it is a "common problem" Not that it exhibits on your camera. Or on Better Light user cameras.

It is very rare, so rare that not one user of the TK has ever reported this problem to us or Marflex.

A "common problem" would be one that is continuously and frequently complained about. As you can see from most responders here it is not "common".

tim atherton
22-Dec-2006, 16:58
Michael,

A "common problem" would be one that is continuously and frequently complained about. As you can see from most responders here it is not "common".

err - the two people who have responded on here who have used a TK with a Betterlight back both report - no one elses who has posted on there who appears to own a TK has used that combination or commented on it.

As you can see from most responders here it is not "common"

is thus far innacurate

(I'd add that I very much enjoy using my TK with film)

MJSfoto1956
22-Dec-2006, 19:48
Lest this turn into some sort of nasty misunderstanding, I've amended the article in MAGNAchrom and have posted Issue 2, build 3 on our website. The copy change is as follows. (hopefully, most will judge this to be a fair and honest description of the situation leading up to the modification)

A not uncommon complaint among digital scan-back users with the otherwise noteworthy Linhof Technikardan is the fact the front and rear standards are "L" shaped and as such there is a tendency for torque-induced deflection on the rear standard when used with such heavy digital scan-backs as the BetterLight 6K2.

As shown in the illustration at right, the rear standard (as ingenious and well-engineered as it is) allows approximately 1-2mm of movement (particularly in the up and down direction) with such an application. This of course is not a problem for most ordinary photographs where a standard film holder weighs mere ounces and the exposure is measured in fractions of a second. However, this behavior is particularly troublesome when using a heavy scan-back like the BetterLight which requires a rock-solid platform during its typical 3-7 minute exposures.

Rather than sell my beloved TK45S for the likes of an Arca Swiss, I contacted S.K Grimes in Woonsocket RI to modify my camera so that it would be rock-solid, yet allow full control, and also be removable on those rare cases when I needed 100% movements.

Based on a design sketch I provided them, they worked diligently to improve my camera for my application as shown in the photograph at right.

To test the mod, I took my TK45S with me on a trip to Ireland last year to see how it would behave when creating large-format, digital panoramas. It took some getting used to remembering to unscrew the RIGHT side of the rear standard, but after a few tries it became second nature to me. The mod performed flawlessly providing a very stable platform to shoot in the windy Irish weather.

The result is a camera that is as solid as ANY other field camera, yet offers complete movements and no downsides. To say Iím happy with the result is an understatement!

Shown at right is the camera with the support removed for those rare times when I require full movements. It takes nothing more than an Allen wrench and about 1 minute to remove it.

All in all, a simple, elegant solution that Iíll bet the Linhof engineers wish they had thought of!

tim atherton
19-Jun-2007, 09:19
As a side note: I also just received an email from Bob Salomon of H.P. Marketing who strenuosly denies that the TK45 exhibits this torque-induced deflection behavior. I maintain that mine has behaved in this manner since new and that several other users of BetterLight backs have also experienced this torque deflection in the rear standard. (keep in mind that we are talking about 1-2 mm of deflection which amounts to 83-168 pixels out of alignment, which in my book is significant and problematic especially when you are doing composites and/or panoramas)

To allay Bob's concerns, I have agreed to meet with a noted Linhof expert (he too had never heard of this behavior). If he and I can agree that my camera is defective, then I will issue a full detraction in MAGNAchrom magazine and then also promptly send my camera to Marflex for repair. (and for those of you also experiencing similar behavior, you would then be wise to consider sending your cameras to Marflex as well)

[/B]

so what was the result of the examination by the "noted Linhof expert"? I may have missed it in Magnachrom