View Full Version : Ready to Plunge - Opinions Please

Greg Liscio
12-Jan-2007, 23:05
After all my research I decided to stay with the 6X7 format, as I do not do my own processing, and I'm getting a view camera primarily for the ability to fine tune/change the perspective.

I decided to get:
- Linhof Technikarden 23
- Linhof fresnel screen
- Linhof Rapid Rolex film holder, that can be inserted without removing the ground glass
- Schneider 120/5.6 APO Symmar "L" lens. Is there a better choice for a first LF lens?
- Linhof tripod (see a pattern here?)

For now, I'll compose my shots using the ground glass with a fresnel screen and a 4X Rodenstock loupe.
Please let me know what you think of this setup.


Doug Dolde
12-Jan-2007, 23:41
I'd get a Pentax 67 if I only wanted to shoot that size.

13-Jan-2007, 02:14
In your list you forgot the Linhof pin...

John Powers
13-Jan-2007, 06:14
I have a Linhof TK45 and found adding the Bosscreen very helpful. I was shooting a white sports car head on in a studio with a friend. After I took my shot he set up in the same place and said "what about the sand bag in the image corner by the front tire?" I couldn't see it on the standard Linhof ground glass, reshot the image without the sand bag, and bought the Bosscreen. I think they claim or users claim a two stop improvement.

http://www.stabitech.nl/Bosscreen.htm On their web site they say no screen for Linhof 6x7, but then further on they say contact them for any size not listed. They do offer a 4x5 Linhof size. I think someone imports them into the US, but if you need a custom size it may be faster to go direct.

Just out of curiosity why are you set on 6x7? 4x5 is sooo much more common, used components so much more available, and prices so much more reasonable. Besides if you are like so many of the rest of us, you will be moving up soon. I have had 35mm, 6x7, 4x5, and currently shoot 8x10 and 7x17. I would love a 12x20, but at 66 pushing a baby jogger full of gear, I am about peaked out of carrying capacity.


Ted Harris
13-Jan-2007, 06:51
Too add to what John says above ..... virtually any 4x5 camera equipped with a Graflok/International back can accept a variety of MF backs so you aren't limitd to buying the smaller size camera and you will find that the 4x5 vrsions are little of any heavier or bulkier (depends onthe camera). Finally if you are shooting rolls and you go with the larger 4x5 you can shoot 6x7, 6x9, 6x12 and 6x17. BTW whichever your choice I highly recommend 6x9 over 6x7.

Brian Ellis
13-Jan-2007, 12:55
You asked for "opinions" so here are mine:

I've owned a 4x5 Technikardan, I didn't like it. You can read why on my web site under "equipment reviews."

I've used many different types and brands of viewing screens including the screen that came on my Technikardan (which I think, but am not sure, was a Linhof Fresnel, it's been a long time). Of the screens I've used the Maxwell and the BosScreen were the best. The one that was on my Technikardan was my least favorite.

I don't know what has led you to the Linhof tripod. Maybe you've done a lot of investigating and found that it has some special feature that's really important to you. If so then by all means get it. But if you haven't investigated much and are just getting it because it seems like it would be a good tripod and has the Linhof badge on it then I'd suggest you investigate other tripods, especially carbon fiber tripods made by Gitzo, Manfrotto, Feisol, and other companies, before buying the Linhof.

I'd also echo those who have suggested 4x5 rather than 2x3. I used a Pentax 6x7 camera for years and as someone else said, if all you're going to do is medium format I think you'd be better off with a medium format system. That's especially true if as you say your interest in the Linhof 2x3 is only because of the movements. The various perspective controls available in Photoshop seem to me to have really narrowed the gap between large format gear and smaller stuff for that purpose.

Those are just my opinions, you'll hear plenty of others, many of which will no doubt differ from mine and be equally valid (or invalid as the case may be).

Greg Liscio
13-Jan-2007, 20:03
Whew!! Well I asked for your input. Actually it's vary valuable. Sounds like I need to do more thinking/analysis/head scratching.
As always, a pleasure hearing from y'all.

Robert Oliver
13-Jan-2007, 20:21
I'd buy a 4x5 with a graflok back and get a roll film back. That way you aren't spending on a system that you won't be able to expand with in the future. If you buy the 23, you will never be able to shoot 4x5.

With 4x5 you can shoot medium format and 4x5. With the 23 your limited to MF and when you decide to upgrade to 4x5 (inevitible) I think you will find a resale market for the 23 that doesn't seem as strong as the large format market. 4x5 might even be cheaper but I haven't shopped 23's. I love my inexpensive 4x5 chinese camera. I'd start with a 180mm or 210mm lens from any of the major players that are as plentiful on the used market as opinions on this forum.


erie patsellis
13-Jan-2007, 21:00
I love shooting 6x7 ( I use a rather extensive RB system), though given the choice, it's 4x5 or 8x10. I think you'd be better off as others have suggested with a 4x5 camera and a roll film back. If you have a burning desire to shoot wide, a P67 or an RB would be a good idea, espcecially at the prices they are going for these days. Do yourself a big favor and whatever you do, don't look through an 8x10 camera, as you'll suddenly want one, and find lots of excuses to get one, too...


Vick Vickery
13-Jan-2007, 21:46
Like many of the others, I'd give a hard look at the benefits of using a 4x5 camera with a roll film back given your plans. One point I'd add, since you liked the 120mm focal length lens a a basic lens with your planned 6x7 camera, a very inexpensive 127mm Optar or Ektar would give you plenty of movements with either a 6x7 or 6x9 format back, are quite sharp in their central image area, and would give minimum movements with 4x5 when you try out that film size. An inexpensive basic lens like these would leave a bit of room in your budget for another lens right away to play with...either a longer or shorter lens as your general preference dictates.

neil poulsen
14-Jan-2007, 03:26
I had a Tech IV, and I sold it. It's a great camera in many ways. My biggest problem with it was using wide angle lenses. What a pain. For one thing, you need to use the drop bed. Plus, my Tech IV permitted very little rise with a 65mm lens. The lens would soon bump into the camera housing above. I think this is also true for the 75mm's on both Tech IV's and V's. Not sure about this though. Check it out.

In many ways, I like the 6x9 format size. But, not on a Tech.

If you use wide angle a lot, consider getting a different camera.

Bob Salomon
14-Jan-2007, 04:32
"In many ways, I like the 6x9 format size. But, not on a Tech."

No your problem weas with the IV not with later Technikas.

Leonard Evens
14-Jan-2007, 08:09
For many years I used a Horseman 980. I still have it and I use it occasionally. I used it primarily with 6 x 7 roll film holders but I would occasionally shoot 6 x 9 using sheet film holders.

I eventually moved to 4 x 5 for reasons I won't go into here. Using 6 x7 to 6 x 9, I would find 120 mm a bit long for general use. It would depend on what sort of photography you were doing. I had 65 mm, 90 mm, and 150 mm Horseman lenses. If anything, I would have wanted something shorter than 65 mm, but there isn't anything avaliable for the Horseman shorter than that.

With medium format, you don't need to use tilts or swings as often as you would with a larger format because of the generally increased DOF for equivalent scenes. But it is helpful to be able to use such movements when necessary. The most common movements with any view camera are rises, falls, and shifts. My Horsemen is a bit limited in this regard for wide angle shots, but the Linhof may be better.

I found I needed two magnifiers. One allowed me to view the whole screen for composition. This is hard to do with the naked eye with such a small screen, even assuming you are still young enough to be able to focus that close. I don't know if a 4 X magnifier would allow you to see the whole screen. The one I use with 4 x 5 certainly wouldn't. I also needed a higher magnifier, in my case a 10 X magnifer, for looking at fine detail and critical focusing. I don't think a 4 X magnifier would suffice for that with a 6 x 9 or smaller image.

John Powers
14-Jan-2007, 21:14
[QUOTE=Brian Ellis;209086]You asked for "opinions" so here are mine:

I've owned a 4x5 Technikardan, I didn't like it. You can read why on my web site under "equipment reviews."/QUOTE]

For a different opinion, no more or less valid, the positive review that sold me on the TK was Paul Butzi's http://www.butzi.net/reviews/linhoftk45s.htm

From what I learned the most common problem with the design was bellows wear. I bought one 2nd hand with a damaged bellows and a price to compensate. I had CameraBellows.com (England) build a new one for $200 and maybe 10% postage to Ohio. Worried about repeating the problem I asked them how to deal with it? They pointed out that there were four simple levers that allowed you to pop off the bellows, then do the twist and fold up routine without fear. I used it for about 1.5 years without problem until I moved up to 8x10. I liked it for all the precise movements and the long bellows. It can use a 450mm non telephoto lens or shoot macro very close up with the long bellows. Using the macro/tele bar underneath it is as solid as a rail camera. For really wide angle you can add a bag bellows. It is a great learner LF camera because as your needs, interests and capabilities change you discover the design is already there.

Another opinion,

John Powers

Bob Salomon
15-Jan-2007, 03:05

To reiterate a continuing point about the TK bellows.

They last forever if the instructions for closing and opening the camera are followed. If the instructions are not followed then there will be excessive wear on the bellows.
There is absolutely no reason to remove the bellows to close the camera.

Folding the camera is so easy there is even an arrow prited on the face of the focusing knob as well as icons printed on either end of the geared focusing track to remind users how to collapse and open the camera.

Users who follow the directions do not have problems. Users who do not follow the directions do have problems.

We have been taking the 45S to trade shows every year since the introduction of the 45 S and still show it with its' original bellows.

John Powers
15-Jan-2007, 09:14

It may not have anything to do with the bellows but more with how people want their products. The day of “Make it and they will come” seems to have gone down the drain. Ford and GM are just noticing what Toyota and Honda discovered in the 1970s. They did market research and made products that work the way people want them to work.

I want products that function my way rather than how some manufacturer and his representatives want me to work. I have noticed that many people here have a similar way of thinking. The sales of the TK45 and TK45S may also be good indicators.

Some such as Brian Ellis try new products, decide whether they fit their style, keep them or sell them and move on. Some such as myself like the product in general, see potential difficulties, find a work around, keep the product and use it. Some like Greg Liscio say that looks interesting. I wonder what the community thinks of my idea? Several of us who have tried the product offer our thoughts.

I like the program. Just the other day I posted on APUG that I was going to try something that I haven’t done before and asked how others solved the problem. Several gave me ideas that look like they will work quite well for me.

In short, the instructions are there, but they don’t feel right. If the camera does many of the things we want, we will do it the way it feels right or dump the product. The alternative is that we keep looking until we find a camera that meets more of our perceived needs.