View Full Version : Linhof Technika in the real world

J Peterson
26-Jan-2007, 10:07
Hello new here...

I've been shooting fashion on Mamiya RZ gear for some time, but I'm really very strongly considering moving to a Linhof Technika. What is selling me is the rangefinder and the abilty to focus with the film in the camera ready to go. So now I have a couple of questions I'd appreciate if you could help out. I've done a fair bit of googling on the matter but would appreciate any info you may be able to offer.

-How accurate is the focusing? (I'd want to shoot f8-f11)

-How close can you focus with the rangefinder with a 150mm?

-I'm guessing the rangefinder isn't masked so you would need to focus with the rangefinder and then compose with an optical finder?

-Is the apparent focal length of the rangefinder anything near a 150mm?

The system appears on paper to be perfect...I'd especially appreciate any real world experience using the system to shoot people/fashion and the reality of doing so.

Much obliged, thanks in advance...:cool:

David A. Goldfarb
26-Jan-2007, 10:15
With a properly cammed lens and calibrated camera, the focus is accurate wide open to about 3 feet with a 150mm lens.

Indeed, you use a viewfinder separate from the rangefinder. The viewfinder can be adjusted for focal length and subject distance to correct for parallax error.

The rangefinder is of no use for framing with any lens of any focal length, because the viewing field is a circle.

J Peterson
26-Jan-2007, 10:29
Thanks David,

Is there a better optical finder to get? any to avoid?

David A. Goldfarb
26-Jan-2007, 10:44
There are two basic styles made by Linhof. The older one with the sliding button on the side for focal length and the knob on the back for distance crops, and the newer black one with the rotating rings for focal length and distance zooms. The newer type is better, because the finder image is larger, but the older type is quite functional and is less expensive. I've had both.

I've seen some Chinese aftermarket finders, but I haven't tried one. I suspect you get what you pay for with regard to these items.

J Peterson
26-Jan-2007, 10:48
thanks for the info, I bet those imitation ones are pretty rough.

Gordon Moat
26-Jan-2007, 11:25
The biggest viewfinder issue on the lower cost aftermarket items is parallax correction. When you are close focusing, the difference in the framing can be bigger. Your first few tries at this, you might want to try using a tripod to confirm the difference between the ground glass and viewfinder at close range.

I have been shooting fashion and lifestyle on 4x5 for a few months now, a different direction than my usual work. Rather than try hand holding a 4x5, I have been doing set-up shots and having each model stay within a pre-determined in-focus range within each set-up. While maybe not as dynamic as shooting hand held, it does allow me to direct the model without my face being stuck behind the camera (I actually stand off to the side). This approach works well, except that going from one set-up to another requires a greater time lag than if I had been shooting hand held the whole time. Anyway, just another approach to this. You might want to investigate Craig McDean, who shots lots of fashion with 4x5, 8x10, and sometimes a Mamiya.

On the film side of things, using Kodak Readyloads and Fuji Quickloads can speed things up, though if you have an assistant juggling regular film holders you can work quickly too. The other item I have used often is a Linhof Super Rollex, allowing ten (10) shots on a 120 roll; though with your RZ67 you might be less inclined to try that out. I don't mind the slower pace of things compared to medium format or small format cameras, though using a 4x5 definitely slows down the approach . . . and that is not always a bad thing. Best of luck with your shooting.


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

Ralph Barker
26-Jan-2007, 11:54
Then, there's always the Gowland 4x5 and 8x10 twin-lens reflex cameras. ;)

26-Jan-2007, 11:57
If you're thinking that you'll be hand-holding, forget the Technika. It's heavy, and it's clumsy, and all those front and back tilts and shifts, and the trippple extension bellows etc, are useless, even with the "ergonomic hand grip." It is basically a superb folding field camera which really needs to be used on a tripod, but can be hand-held in an emergency. Unless there's some real reason to go up to 4x5, I believe you should consider supplementing your RZ with a Mamiya 7 instead.

Ole Tjugen
26-Jan-2007, 12:00
If you're thinking that you'll be hand-holding, forget the Technika. ...

I happen to disagree :)

The camera I'm holding in the picture I use as an avatar is a Technika III 5x7". The 4x5" version is a lot lighter and easier to hand hold!

David A. Goldfarb
26-Jan-2007, 14:05
These are all handheld with a Tech V 4x5", cammed 210/5.6 Symmar convertible, and a Norman 200C flash setup on a bracket--


Bob Salomon
26-Jan-2007, 15:09
The current Multifocus Optical Finder is the one that has been available for the past 30 odd years. It is corrected for focal length as well as parallax and field size.

The older finders, regardless of version, are not as fully corrected and have a much smaller image size in the finder. In addition the format masks made for the past 30 years for the finder will not fit the older finders.

Additionally the movements are not "useless" when hand holding. The rangefinder and viewfider will not function properly (in fact the cam can become bent) when using camera movements. However, when used on a tripod the camera movements are fully functional and useful with ground glass focusing/viewing.

Ed Richards
26-Jan-2007, 17:32
> If you're thinking that you'll be hand-holding, forget the Technika.

I also disagree. If you can handhold the RB with big lens, the Technika will not be a problem.

The Multifocus finder is great, the rangefinder is very accurate. While I am not sure what movements might bend the cam, I have used front rise hand held several times. If you use the sports finder, you can actually get an idea what the rise is doing, but it does not frame as accurately as the Multifocus finder.

My favorite walking around lens for crowd stuff is a cammed 90. I find holders faster and easier to use than quickload for hand holding. Takes two hands to get a quickload out. I just wish I could justify buying a new one.:-)

David A. Goldfarb
26-Jan-2007, 18:56
I guess you could bend the cam by dropping the bed with a cam in place, though you're probably okay dropping it one notch, if it's not a long lens.

Grafmatics are the best for handheld shooting in my opinion. It's quick to cycle through six sheets without having to change the holder. I've got 8 of them as well as two Kinematics, which hold ten sheets. Kinematics are fiddlier and harder to find, but it is nice to be able to carry two holders sometimes with 20 sheets of film.

Ed Richards
26-Jan-2007, 21:07
Grafmatics would be good. I do not use them because most of my shooting is on the tripod and I use sequentially numbered holders to track the film. If I did more handheld I might get into the grafmatic business.

Jim Rice
27-Jan-2007, 08:25
Beautiful work, David.

27-Jan-2007, 11:07
These are all handheld with a Tech V 4x5", cammed 210/5.6 Symmar convertible, and a Norman 200C flash setup...
ok for flash use, but with available light that's more difficult !
Have you consider the littman 45 ? The alpa 6x9 ?

David A. Goldfarb
27-Jan-2007, 15:57
Thanks. Those are night shots, and I was going for the Weegee look, so flash was part of the deal. They're all at f:8, 1/15 sec, except for "La Pescadou," which is at f:5.6, since it was across a 5-lane street.

I also shoot available light handheld with the cammed lenses, often when I'm just making snapshots or when I can't use a tripod (like in a museum where photography is permitted, but not with a tripod). Here are a few I have scanned--

This one was with a 6x7 back, 135/3.5 Planar, just out for a walk and the light was right--


This one should have been made with a tripod, but I was just walking around without it, so it's 4x5", 150mm lens if I remember correctly and a medium yellow filter--


Here's a casual handheld portrait on 4x5" with the 135/3.5 Planar. No room for a tripod in the booth at the restaurant--


Ed Richards
28-Jan-2007, 17:51
Some of my Katrina pictures were done handheld, when I was walking through areas that were just being cleared. With others I used a tripod but focused with the rangefinder because I needed to work fast and did not want to be behind a darkcloth. I also use the rangefinder with the tripod in urban settings where being under a darkcloth is an invitation to trouble - like in New Orleans in some places.

J Peterson
29-Jan-2007, 04:42
Hi and thanks to you all for your replies and amazing pictures, very useful info indeed. I am going to go ahead with the intended plans.

Thanks a bunch :)