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Songyun
5-Mar-2007, 08:32
What is the lightest field camera 4X5 (yet very rigid) that you have used?
Is a 3 lbs camera a good candidate?

steve simmons
5-Mar-2007, 08:43
I would be more concerned about getting the features I want in the camera.

steve simmons

Brian Ellis
5-Mar-2007, 08:43
"Lightest" and "very rigid" don't go well together. You're better off IMHO finding a compromise between "light but not the lightest" and "rigid but not the most rigid." The Tachihara is a good compromise, weighs about 4 lbs and is plenty rigid but it isn't the lightest camera there is. I've never used one of the super-light weights such as the Toho (which isn't a true "field" camera in the traditional sense of the word) or the wood Japanese cameras such as the Nagasaki (?), both of which weigh in the 3 pound range, so I can't comment on their rigidity. But in general I think it's safe to say that the lightest camera around isn't likely to be "very rigid," at least not in comparison with really rigid cameras such as the Linhof Technika.

Ole Tjugen
5-Mar-2007, 09:03
I haven't used any of them, but two of Argentum's (http://www.argentumcamera.com/_angol/html_pages/home.htm) models weigh less than 2 lb - and one (xl) less than 1 lb.

Christopher Perez
5-Mar-2007, 09:05
The lightest practical 4x5's I have used (in the sense that you have plenty of movements and "sufficient" rigidity) are the Ikeda Anba/Nagaoka camera. They weight 2 3/4 pounds.

Songyun
5-Mar-2007, 09:07
What I know about this camera that I mentioned, is that the bed is made of carbon fiber, that reduced some weight. as for the functions, it has front shift, swing, axis tilt, rise and fall. rear base tilt, swing(not much), no shift, rise. If it is as rigid as Tachihara, if not better, does that sound good?

I might have a try of that camera, so that I can reduce my gear to 10lbs + tripod on a hiking trip.

Songyun
5-Mar-2007, 09:08
forget to mention that the camera has max bellow extension 390mm

David A. Goldfarb
5-Mar-2007, 09:13
My lightest LF camera is a Gowland 4x5" front-moves camera. I don't know that I'd want it as my only LF camera, but it lets me carry a 4x5" camera when it would otherwise be impractical. I often bring it along with my birding kit--a 600/4.5 and Canon F-1N--for landscape and macro shots between bird photo ops like this one--

http://www.echonyc.com/~goldfarb/photo/jbnwr.jpg

This week we're traveling for the first time with our new baby, so there's lots of extra stuff that needs to be carried, including the baby of course, so I'm bringing the Gowland and a lightweight tripod that fits in our regular luggage. The Gowland kit weighs less than my Bronica S2a kit.

Paul Droluk
5-Mar-2007, 09:14
As long as you don't require movements, the Fotoman 45PS weighs in at 2.4 pounds. Remove the handles and your down to 1.65 pounds. That's for the complete camera. Body, Cone (65mm lens), Helical Focus Mount and Viewfinder. Rigid?... perfectly.

Bruce Osgood
5-Mar-2007, 09:46
I just got to use my new-to-me Tachihara this Saturday. It is everything I could dream of in a Field Camera. Ridged enough to hold a MM G-Claron without shake, enough swing, tilt and rise to keep me happy for a long time. (AND, it is a chick magnet. :D )

If you research the Tachihara you will find it is among the lightest in weight with more than adequate movements for landscape work. It is a pleasure to use.

Songyun
5-Mar-2007, 12:35
I just found out that Toyo CF is 3.5 lbs, Anyone tried this camera?

steve simmons
5-Mar-2007, 12:44
12" extension, minimal movements - front swing and tilt.

Wy is weight such an overriding consideration?

steve simmons
www.viewcamera.com

Scott Davis
5-Mar-2007, 12:49
I tried one of the Toyo CF cameras when they came out. It is very light, but it also feels very cheaply made. I was very concerned (perhaps wrongly, but nonetheless) that it would break easily in use. It has some bad design elements done to save weight and complexity, such as to fully close the camera, you have to remove the front standard from the focusing rail to slide it into place on the bracket inside the body. I bought a Shen Hao instead and in the last six years have been very happy with the decision. Even though the Shen is a bit heavier, I really don't mind the extra weight at all, because it IS a very rigid, substantial camera to shoot with.

Ole Tjugen
5-Mar-2007, 12:53
Wy is weight such an overriding consideration?

In my case, I'm planning to carry a LF camera up the longest uphill path in Norway this summer. That's a 1800m altitude difference in one go. Once I'm up there I intend to take about a full box of film (stopping to reload after every ten shots), then pack everything up and walk down again and be home in time for supper.

That's when weight gets important.

Bruce Watson
5-Mar-2007, 13:09
What is the lightest field camera 4X5 (yet very rigid) that you have used? Is a 3 lbs camera a good candidate?

http://www.thalmann.com/largeformat/toho.htm

Kerry L. Thalmann
5-Mar-2007, 14:41
As Bruce pointed out, I have a Toho FC-45X that I use for backpacking and extra long dayhikes (I use an ARCA-SWISS for everything else). The stock Toho weighs lust a hair over 3 lbs. (actual weight, not overly optimistic manufacturer's specs). With a couple simple modifiations, mine weighs 2 lb. 12 oz. Max. extension is in the 380 - 390mm range and it has full movements on the front and rear standards. Rigidity is amazing for such a lightweight camera.

Back when I wrote my original Toho review, I was one of the few (perhaps the only) FC-45X user in the US. Now there are several of us. I've even run into other Toho users in the backcountry (two on one four day backpacking trip back in October 2004). Just do a search for Toho in this forum and you'll get a lot of good information.

The little Toho isn't the perfect camera for all users or all uses, but for backpacking and hiking, I've yet to find anything better (and believe me, I've looked and continue to look).

Kerry

Kerry L. Thalmann
5-Mar-2007, 14:44
I haven't used any of them, but two of Argentum's (http://www.argentumcamera.com/_angol/html_pages/home.htm) models weigh less than 2 lb - and one (xl) less than 1 lb.

Ole,

I don't think those weights include the camera back - a rather necessary "accessory".

Kerry

Jim Noel
5-Mar-2007, 14:54
I used and Ikeda/Anba for over 20 years. Sometimes I still wish I hadn't sold it because it served me so well. None ofmy current 4x5's come close to its weight. My lightest field camera currently is a Toko, 4.1 lbs, 15" bellows, full movements front. rear shift, tilt and swing.

Ole Tjugen
5-Mar-2007, 14:54
Kerry, the "Type 1" back will weigh less than a film holder, so it's still light weight.

An Excursor I 5x7" H looks very tempting - and very portable with a 150/9 Germinar-W on it. :)

Peter Collins
5-Mar-2007, 15:04
I have owned both Nagaoka (Ikeda) and Tachihara cameras and can state that the Tachi is much more stable. Since, for me, n = 1, others' results that vary can be quite valid!

Rob_5419
5-Mar-2007, 15:15
Songyun -

your Kwok camera looks reasonably light - you could always keep it :) The Toyo CF is a bit too bendy (flimsy??) feeling for my liking even though it isn't flimsy - maybe it's just that the older metal Toyo's seemed to be built from more traditional quality metal/materials (and I still prefer to trek with a monorail) but you may like it. The lightest camera seems to be the Toho (Not Toyo) design before a no movement type 5x4" came along:

http://www.obscura-camera.com

The Silvestri system T30 or H25 with a 5x4" back wins the portability and useability stakes for wide-angle photography (i.e. landscape work) with enough cross-shifts to straighten trees, and enough DOF in the wide-angles to render the need for tilt irrelevant. It isn't the lightest, but certainly is one of the most rigid and robust (machined aircraft aluminium block design).

http://www.silvestricamera.it/eng/prodotti_eng/prodotti_eng.htm

The Gowlands never appealed (being a US marketed product) to those outside of the US.

Steve asked a reasonable question about why lightness is important - since any LF'er needs to carry a camera system, not just a camera. Leaving behind 20 double darkslides at home and using Quickloads saves huge effort (at a cost). I find that a light enough option to carry a monorail up mountains. As does being able to use a darkcloth coat; use small 135mm travel lenses rather than Super Angulon XLs and going for an extra light Carbon fibre tripod, rather than a standard CF tripod.

Bruce Watson
5-Mar-2007, 15:22
"Lightest" and "very rigid" don't go well together.

It had to happen someday. I finally disagree (to some extent anyway) with Brian. Oh horrors!

Seriously, as a former mechanical engineer who used to design machine tools, I think I can fairly safely say that lightness and rigidity are only loosely related. As a demo of this concept once (what, 30 years ago? Damn, I'm old) I made a couple of brackets to hold military style bayonnet cable connectors. One I made as your typicall "L" bracket out of 1/4 inch thick aluminium. The other I made out of 0.06" aluminum sheet metal that required some cutting and a few hits on a sheet metal brake to make some bends. The sheet metal version weighed 1/10 as much. In production both would have cost about the same to make.

The product was a mil-spec piece of radio gear. It had lots of testing, including time on a shaker table. The L-bracket failed the shaker test rather miserably while the sheet metal bracket proved so rigid that it was deemed over designed. I made the final bracket out of 0.04 inch thick sheet aluminum -- to save weight.

The moral of this story is that rigidity is much more a function of design than it is of weight.

The little Toho I have proves that, to me at least. It's one rigid little camera. That's not to say it is without quirks. But every camera design has it's own personality.

Kerry L. Thalmann
5-Mar-2007, 15:37
Kerry, the "Type 1" back will weigh less than a film holder, so it's still light weight.

An Excursor I 5x7" H looks very tempting - and very portable with a 150/9 Germinar-W on it. :)

Ole,

There's no free lunch. While the Argentum cameras look to be the ultralight champs (other than perhaps the original Gowland Pocket View at 1 lb. 14 oz. - back included), certain compromises were made to acheive the absolute minumum weight. For example, the Excursor models lack greared focusing and have no front or rear shifts or swings. As I said above, the quoted weight does not include the camera back, which would push the weight of the 4x5 Excusor I model to within about a 1/2 lb. of my modified Toho. The XL model is a dedicated ultrawide camera that only supports lenses up to 90mm. For some users, these may be perfectly acceptable compromises to get the absolutely lightest camera possible. Other users may find these compromises too limiting for their needs.

Likewise, some people may find the Toho too limiting, or too "quirky" for their likes. Nice to have choices.

Kerry

Dave_B
5-Mar-2007, 16:53
Folks:
I will come to the defense of the Toyo 45CF. I have one for my lightweight LF backpacking kit and I'm pretty happy with it.
Advantages:
1. Moderately priced, now $630 new at B&H
2. Lightweight-3lbs 6oz
3. Pretty solid for its weight-not like the 45AII but it does not cost or weigh what the 45AII does. It locks down to a pretty solid unit.
4. It will fold up with a lens inside to make a compact, rugged package that you could carry without a special camera case and is therefore lighter to carry. You can reverse the lensboard and fold the camera with a Nikkor 90 f8 inside for example. Smaller lenses can be folded up inside the camera with the board right side out.
5. If you have other Toyo cameras, you can use a common set of lens boards, view-finders, etc. for a lower cost of ownership.
6. It is a real camera with a range of movements allowing you to use 75mm to 500T lenses. As a practical matter, the real range is probably 90mm to 300mm lenses for most photography of the kind I would be willing to do. Focusing is geared. It has front rise and fall, front tilt, front swing and shift. It only has tilt on the back. It has a back that can moved to either portrait or landscape mode.
Disadvantages:
1. It is made of a type of plastic material. They call it glass fiber polycarbonate. You will call it plastic. The material is pretty solid and the camera works fine but it will not give you the same pride of ownership as will an Ebony. It basically is a lightweight camera that works.
2. The hardware is not bullet proof. It will require care in its use. Not overly so but some caution.
3. This camera will not take a lot of abuse. With care, it will be a functional, lightweight way to take pictures a long way from the car. Near the car, my 45AII or my Ebony will get used, not this camera. This is a camera to be used when the alternative is a digital point and shoot.

One of the posters asked why bother with lightweight LF systems. The answer is age. It is the same reason I give for ultralight weight backpacking gear. When I was younger, a fifty pound pack seemed like just the thing. Everything I carried was bullet proof with plenty of backup gear. Heavy packs, long distances, high mountains-I loved it. I was a horse. I am now a 55 year old with a dicey back. Now I carry an ultralight pack that has a base weight (no food or water) of ten pounds. My much lighter gear requires some care in its use but the alternative is to stay at home and read about other peoples trips. Ultralight weight gear lets me get out. The care in its use is a minor cost to still be able to still sleep in a tent in the mountains.

My current LF system for backpacking, built around the 45CF, weighs in at 12 1/2 pounds. This combined with my backpacking gear lets me get out for a multiday trip with an all-in pack of less than thirty pounds. It is about the limit for me but at least I can go. The sofa is a practice coffin. Not for me.
Cheers,
Dave B.

Christopher Perez
5-Mar-2007, 17:03
Well said!


... The sofa is a practice coffin. Not for me...

Brad Rippe
5-Mar-2007, 17:22
I have and use the ToyoCF for backpacking and it works great for me, see what Dave wrote above. Its fast, light and the main objection I've heard is the lack of rear tilt, but, you can drop the bed till it locks, then adjust the front tilt. It dioes feel somewhat plasticy, but it is fast, rigid, and and you don't have to assemble it like the toho. It folds up fast too. If your interest is backpacking, you want to make sure your system is as simple and light as possible. I bring a Rodenstock 150 Sironar-N and the fabulous Fuji 240-A. Sometimes a schneider 120 apo-L. I'm thinking abouut the Nikkor 105, but it think its too llmited for 4 by5
Another camera I'd look at are the Wista cameras.
I use an Arca Swiss F line field for local day hikes and anything else.
-Brad

Songyun
5-Mar-2007, 17:41
Rob, The Kwok camera is a little bit over 6 lbs, I weighted on a scale at post office. (I don't have a scale, and looking for one)

The wood on the Kwok camera is so nice that I don't want to abuse it. On a hiking trip or a backpacking trip anything can happen. And also if I can save 3 lbs weight from the camera, and also the new camera can take 300 f/9. To keep everything under 10lbs is very possible.

By the way, what is a good candidate for extra light CF tripod? Gitzo 1 series?


Songyun -

your Kwok camera looks reasonably light - you could always keep it :) The Toyo CF is a bit too bendy (flimsy??) feeling for my liking even though it isn't flimsy - maybe it's just that the older metal Toyo's seemed to be built from more traditional quality metal/materials (and I still prefer to trek with a monorail) but you may like it. The lightest camera seems to be the Toho (Not Toyo) design before a no movement type 5x4" came along:

http://www.obscura-camera.com

The Silvestri system T30 or H25 with a 5x4" back wins the portability and useability stakes for wide-angle photography (i.e. landscape work) with enough cross-shifts to straighten trees, and enough DOF in the wide-angles to render the need for tilt irrelevant. It isn't the lightest, but certainly is one of the most rigid and robust (machined aircraft aluminium block design).

http://www.silvestricamera.it/eng/prodotti_eng/prodotti_eng.htm

The Gowlands never appealed (being a US marketed product) to those outside of the US.

Steve asked a reasonable question about why lightness is important - since any LF'er needs to carry a camera system, not just a camera. Leaving behind 20 double darkslides at home and using Quickloads saves huge effort (at a cost). I find that a light enough option to carry a monorail up mountains. As does being able to use a darkcloth coat; use small 135mm travel lenses rather than Super Angulon XLs and going for an extra light Carbon fibre tripod, rather than a standard CF tripod.

Rob_5419
5-Mar-2007, 18:20
Hi Songyun,

I know what you mean. If I had a Leica, I would probably never take it out in case it got scratched. But the beauty of wood cameras is that each notch in the wood makes it more personal - more yours.

If I wasn't doing my retirement project and getting into plate photography, I would have been happy to buy your Kwok camera off you for that price.....it looks really really sturdy.



Carbon 6x:

http://www.gitzo.com/jsp/index.jsp#

Really light: so so good when you carry it.

All the best!

Brian C. Miller
5-Mar-2007, 20:17
The Kwok is about 6 pounds? So is my Graflex Super Graphic. Built like a tank, rigid like you wouldn't believe, and when its folded up you can use it to defend yourself. Should stop a 9mm pretty well, but I'm not sure it would be light-tight after that.

The movements are similar to the Toyo CF. The CF has more movement in a couple of places, but its pretty similar to the Super Graphic.

The Super Graphic has served me well, so I'd really bet that the CF would serve you well, too. There's nothing pretty on either of them to make you shed a tear when the inevitable scratch happens.

Smile, focus, load, photograph! Yeah, baby!

Turner Reich
5-Mar-2007, 21:47
The one I built, it's cherry, wood that is, and it's really cherry looking and with brass hardware. It's the lightest 4x5 I have found.

Songyun
5-Mar-2007, 23:49
Thanks everyone for the comments. I need to think about it. If I am going to get one, I will post the picture as soon as I get it.
I think the best suggestion on the forum for a beginner is to buy a used camera, play with it, after a while you will know what do you want. I had my first camera Kwok camera, I enjoy it a lot. As said, no camera is perfect, you just find the best fit. I have a discovery now, which is the kind of camera that can do everything. I will shoot with it within 1/2 mile from my car. If more than 1/2 mile, I would perfer a light weight camera with 2 compact lens at most. I am planing a trip to Grand Caynon, I was thinking about not having my LF gear down to the bottom of the caynon. But now I might have a chance here.

Mark Tweed
6-Mar-2007, 00:51
Hi Songyun,

In regards to the camera suggestions, I'd like to cast another vote for the Nagaoka/Anba/Ikeda line. For the past 15 years I've used a Nagaoka as my primary camera for use in the field. I carry the 4X5 into the backcountry often, many times for a week at a time, so having a light weight camera (and lens system) is critical to me. As much as lighter weight is a virtue, its compact size and extremely quick setup time are equally beneficial. The Nagaoka's narrow collapsed size allows me to pack along 5 lenses, a spot meter, filter pack, and loupe into a Lowe camera bag that's about the same size as a six-pack of beer (the short neck variety). Once the tripod is set up, I can snap in the camera (with the help of quick release system), erect the standards and have a lens in place ready for viewing in a matter of 15 seconds. All of which is helpful when your racing to catch critical light on a fleeting landscape.

For comparison, I also own a lightweight Wista (the model without rear shift movements). It's a lovely camera to use. Similar in design to the Tachihara, the front and rear swing movements are quick and fluid. But in the field, the majority of the time a simple application of tilt is all that I require. The Nagaoka will easily handle a 65 mm up to a 300 mm which is perfect for my use.

As to the question of stability, the Nagaoka's front and rear standards are as rigid as those on my Wista. I tweaked the mechanics slightly but the overall camera design is solid. I use a lightweight 300 mm Apo Ronar so when the front standard is racked out all of the way, there isn't any play. Now agreed, it might be a different story if you were attaching a 300 mm Apo Symmar or Sironar.

The Toho and heavier wooden fields will feature easier to use swing or shift movements and with some, a longer bellows draw. But staying within the limitations of your longest (normal) lens being a 300 mm, the compact and quick to set up Nagaoka is hard to beat. I've taken it into the Grand Canyon and countless mountain ranges where ounces and cubic inches add up in a hurry when you're carrying them for days on end.

These cameras aren't difficult to find on the used market, however I'd look for a clean sample. When I purchased mine, I completely disassembled it only because I wanted to refinish the wood. They are a simple design and easy to work on. I hope this has been helpful.

Good luck with your selection.

Mark

David A. Goldfarb
6-Mar-2007, 06:00
My lightweight kit, in addition to the front moves Gowland, is a 90mm Angulon, 135mm Sironar-N, a tiny Linhof Report tripod with a small Linhof ballhead (this is the one that folds flat with the three tubes all in the same plane from the 1950s), Toyo Loupe, Gossen Digisix meter, a couple of Grafmatic or Kinematic holders, and a set of Linhof 42mm drop-in filters with shade.

Other lenses that use 40.5mm screw in filters or the Linhof 42mm filters that fit a holder that clamps on the outside of the lens are the 135mm Symmar and 150mm Xenar.

On the particular trip I'm taking this week, I'm also bringing my Busch Vademecum set, which doesn't take standard filters, so I'm leaving the Linhof filter set at home and bringing a stack of gelatin filters and a clamp-on gel holder made by Voss, which is even more compact than the Linhof filter set. Moleskine makes a little book with folders that is perfect for 3x3" gels.

jloen
25-Jul-2013, 17:26
I agree with Mark. I've used a Nagaoka for backpacking and it did everything that I needed in a very light package.

welly
25-Jul-2013, 17:40
There's always the new Wanderlust 4x5 if you want ultimate lightness! Limited movements but it'll be light and rigid.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk 2

Drew Bedo
28-Jul-2013, 13:38
What is the lightest field camera 4X5 (yet very rigid) that you have used?
Is a 3 lbs camera a good candidate?

I would think that the lightest weight 4x5 camera would be the Wanderlust/Travelwide when it comes out at the end of this year. It ought to be as rigid as an aerial camera.


My light weight kit is based on a Zone-VI( the model made by Wista and badged for Zone-VI)