View Full Version : still looking for that perfect camera (cheap view)

scott russell
5-May-2008, 08:37
Hi, I've been shooting with a super speed graphic and i've come to the conclusion that what i really want is a view camera (that may or may not have compatible parts).

-So far i've been looking around the omega 45D/Toyo C,CX, or G OR maybe a graphic view 2.

-I want to purchase the lightest one of the group that still meets my needs as it will be taken on location 90% of the time (im not backpacking, but having the most heavy duty 30lb view camera is totally unnecessary). I've read that the omega 45d weighs only 7.7 pounds which is not much more than my super graphic, whereas the view g might weigh 10-14 pounds, but i can't find that exact info right now.

-I want something that comes with a case, or has a case for it that can easily be found that is small enough to carry with one hand with my tripod being carried in the other.

-needs a graflock back

-Needs interchangeable bellows, or has a standard bellows that can fit lenses on the shorter end. the longest lens i plan to use will be a 210mm, which i might do a little macro with. I shoot with a 6x9 back so it would be nice for it to be able to handle a 65mm super agulon as that would gimme a little bit of wide angle with a lot of movement space at the 6x9 size. My super graphic can't do this.

-It would be nice if the lens board on my super graphic could somehow fit on the camera. The lens is the rodenstock 135 4.5 with 1/100th shutter that is cocked by twisting the lens shade. i've heard this is some special lens that may or may not be easily switched to a different lens board.

a lot of these cameras can be found on keh from 200-400 dollars, so that is my target price. I will still probably need to spend some money on a bag bellows for the wide angle, and buy that super angulon that i want, and maybe even another 135/150 lens if this rodenstock can't be switched over to the new camera.


5-May-2008, 08:53
I don't think the Graphic II can change bellows. Your board IIRC won't fit either.

Do you really want a monorail? Wouldn't a field camera fill your neeeds better? At least I don't see anything a field camera can't do. The high end of your budget isn't much less then a brand new Shen 4x5. You can get a reasonable priced bag bellows and a case.

Things like bellows and other add ons are often expensive. One of the bonuses of the Shen line is the reasonable add ons.

Ron Marshall
5-May-2008, 09:30
KEH has a few that would suit you, some are sold with a bag bellows. Their bargair grade is usually fine:


erie patsellis
5-May-2008, 14:06
a Toyo 45F would suit you fine, I have a custom bag bellows I made for it that allows using up to a 210 lens with it, as well as being able to focus quite short f.l. lenses. What size lensboards does the Super use, 4x4? (Toyo makes an adapter to 4x4 boards as well, they do show up form time to time used) I'd also suggest a compendium bellows, as a good shade makes all the difference in contrast.



scott russell
5-May-2008, 17:51
the lensboard on my super graphic is 3 5/8" and 5" across diagonally.

5-May-2008, 18:14
i thought the shenhao is a perfect camera?
ahahaa! well, at least to me. and it's my only largie so far

Alan Davenport
5-May-2008, 23:20
I agree that the Shen Hao is a good candidate for Scott, based on the listed requirements. It might be hard to find one in the target price range.

6-May-2008, 05:08
I bought and returned a 4x5 Kodak Master View in a case with one lens board for $50. The owner may still have it. I can get her phone number if your interested. Shipping might cost as much as the camera. It's in Houston. No Graflok back. No wide angle bellows. You would probably need a recessed lens board for a wide angle lens. The front and rear standards on these & the Calumet clone come together at about 110mm. One reason I returned it because I couldn't get my 105mm lens to focus at infinity.

Good luck.

Vick Vickery
6-May-2008, 07:52
Scott, with your specific requirements, universal back, interchangeable bellows, able to use G. Super boards, and cheap, only one camera comes to my mind...the Cambo 45 or its Calumet equivalent. I use one that I picked up for little more than an old Orbit would have cost me and have been very pleased with it. Since I was also a "Super" user, I took a spare Cambo lens board (6" x 6") and made my own adapter to use the Super Graphic boards very easily. I see many Cambos for sale on eBay and at retailers like KEH and they are usually priced very reasonably. Of course, by the time you buy all the accessories you'll want...lenses, boards, recessed boards, bag bellows, short and long rails, viewers for the back, hoods, roll film backs, etc., etc., ad infinitum,,,you're gonna still have a pretty good bit of change involved!!! :)

scott russell
8-May-2008, 21:51
im still deciding between a few. i looked at an omega 45c today and got to play around with it a bit. i liked how everything on it attached/detached and how all of the movements worked. the geared shifts, and the tilts and swings seemed pretty precise. Id still like to know what the differences are in the A B C D E F G series of cameras that omega and toyo made but i cant seem to find anything that complete online. I've figured that the letter progression somewhat dictates them being newer, but i know that certain letters are more compact and lighter than others. I looked at an omega 4x5b today too and it had noticeably more metal parts on it than the c, which made it heavier. I've also been looking at a horseman L because i read up on them and even though its not the lightest; it seems like it can be packed down into a more manageable shape. The most troubling thing i've come accross though is that even though a view camera is 7-15 pounds, the case that comes with it weighs 30 pounds alone. I'm pretty sure i wont be able to fit a view camera into a camera backpack, so i'm fine with carrying a semi heavy box as long as i can carry my tripod in my other hand. I was thinking of building a custom case, or finding a light(er) box shaped tool box or case that i could modify with some dividers and foam to be most weight and space efficient for whichever camera i end up buying.

erie patsellis
9-May-2008, 08:00
the basic lineup that I have experience with is:

45D, entry level, all friction movements except focus, depending on age and/or options bought, rotating (take off and turn) or revolving back (push release, turn)

45E, Geared rise/fall, geared focus, more rigid tilt than the 45D, rotating back. First in the Toyo/Omega line that is (IMO) to be a workhorse.

45F, Same as 45E, adds removable/interchangable bellows, revolving back.

45G, Same as 45F, adds geared shift

I'm not sure where the C falls in the lineup, but the majority of the Toyos sold used seem to be usually D, E, F or G's. I do know the older model usually called the D45M is an all metal beast, on par with the Sinars, Cambos and the like. (though also heavier the the 45X series)

I like my 45F, and were it not for one company I do some arch./commercial shooting for requiring that I use their lenses (mounted on Sinar Boards) then I'd probably still be using my 45F, though it usually ends up sitting on the shelf these days. The Toyo 45F is a heck of alot lighter than a 4x5P, and more easily carried around.


scott russell
16-May-2008, 16:41
So i ended up getting a Cambo SC for a pretty good deal. It was a little overwhelming seeing the size of that box when it came in the mail; but today by some miraculous feat, i managed to fit the 12 inch rail, bag bellows, lens, polaroid back, a couple film holders, and a few other things into my lowepro backpack! It still needs a little more moving around to be perfect, but i'm really glad i don't have to lug that gigantic case around. Now if i can only find an adapter so my graphic 1000 135mm lens will work on it...