View Full Version : Hand Holding the Technika 4x5?

9-Jun-2008, 09:59
I have a Master Technika 4x5 which had the rangefinder removed by the original owner. I am thinking of having it put back on and getting cams made for a few lens (currently favoring 110/5.6 SSXL, 150/4.5 Apo Lanthar, and perhaps a 210/4.5 Heliar; I think they might provide a nice mix of a classic to a modern look with reasonably fast lenses to help compensate for my own unsteady hands). The cost is not insubstantial. Therefore, I am wondering if people with similar setups (Technikas, Graphics,etc) do much hand held shooting and are they happy with their results, or should I not go to the expense and stick to a tripod and ground glass? Is it really possible to do candid type portraiture with such a setup, or to be able to travel more lightly for outdoor scenics? Are there other advantages to the availability of the rangefinder?
Any and all information/input/advice/scorn/whatever will be most appreciated (and please forgive my posting essentially the same question in some of the other photo forums in search of more opinions).

David A. Goldfarb
9-Jun-2008, 10:11
Go for it. I do a fair amount of handheld shooting with my 4x5" Tech V and 2x3" Tech V 23b and have cammed lenses for both. Try a search on "handheld" and "hand held" and you should turn up a few older threads on this topic.

One of the attractions of the Technika for me, particularly for travel, is that I can alternate between shooting press camera style or view camera style, and everything from the trip will be in the same format with the same lenses and have a greater consistency of form than if I used two cameras.

The rangefinder is also useful with a tripod mounted camera for moving subjects, portraits, and such, when you want to be able to check focus with a filmholder ready to shoot.

Frank Petronio
9-Jun-2008, 10:13
You might do better swapping the body with some other Master Technika user who wants to go lighter, I bet you could make an even trade and save a lot of money, since many people foolishly think they won't use the rangefinder. Since you are looking at a steep bill for camming three lenses from Marflex regardless you might do better finding someone with a cammed 150 on their similar condition MT and try it before dropping a grand on three cams...

That said, I've had a Tech V set-up and several Graflexes, and handholding is perfectly viable. I shoot portraits wide open and close so I have to focus carefully and there can be some chance of movement, so I think you'd have to practice your technique to do that.... but shooting medium distances at f/11-f/16 is super easy and is always sharp so long as you have the shutter speed up there in the 1/60th or faster range. Which usually means using ISO 400 film.

So for outdoors in good light it is never a problem. I like using a tripod for static subjects because I like to maximize my framing. When I handhold I simply allow a little extra room on the edges so I can crop.

9-Jun-2008, 10:18
I found it much easier to hand-hold by replacing the "anatomical grip" with the plain side strap (like a Speed Graphic).

Brian Ellis
9-Jun-2008, 11:12
I owned a Tech V and a Master Technika, with a cam for a 150mm lens. I practiced hand-holding a few times and concluded that while it was certainly possible to do, it wasn't the highest and best use for the camera given the type of photographs I make and considering the alternatives (e.g. a Mamiya 7).

But that's obviously a personal thing. If you want to pursue this, Frank's suggestion to look for a trade seems like a good one - I've seen stripped Technikas go for more than ones with rangefinders on ebay. Or perhaps you could find one with a rangefinder to try out before you leap. You're looking at some fairly serious money to do what you're talking about, last time I checked with Marflex they charged $250 to cut and fit a cam and that was at least six years ago. I don't know what the cost would be to install the rangefinder but I've never found Marflex to do anything inexpensively, which isn't a criticism just a fact. You pay for excellence and Marflex is excellent.

E. von Hoegh
9-Jun-2008, 11:26
I've used my STIV handheld many times. I have the anatomic grip, optical finder, and wire frame finder. Also the 6x7cm back.

I shot bobsleds at Mt Van Hoevenberg in Lake Placid, standing at Shady and panning, on 4x5 by pre-focussing and shooting when they reached the right spot. I use my left hand on the grip, right hand under the camera or holding the flash if I'm using one.

It takes some getting used to, but it is certainly practical - this is one of the things they were designed to do, and they do it very well.

9-Jun-2008, 19:19
parallel universe....