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John E
6-Feb-2009, 08:37
Hi Everybody,

Apologies on advance for asking some dumb newbie questions:o

I'm dipping my toe back in to the world of LF photography (my only experience of 4x5 was at college about 25 years ago...), and recently picked up a Linhof Karden standard 5x4. I'm trying to do this "on the cheap" - it's just the rail front and back (with ground glass) and bellows. The bellows are tatty and almost certainly in need of repair or replacement. So I now have to get lenses, lens panel, film holders etc.

Before I venture in to e-bay, I wondered if any one could give me some pointers on what to look for, and where to go next.

The bellow are fixed, non detachable. 150mm x 150mm (external) square, and fully extended they measure about 32cm. I tried to contact Camera Bellows in the UK, to get a ballpark figure on a replacement, but they appear to have closed down. I'd prefer to replace than try repair. I have spotted some (replacement for Toyo 45) bellows which are 150mm square on e-bay for about 50. A bit risky, but could be a cheap replacement option - the Karden bellows seem to be simply glued to the frame at each end. Is this a silly idea?

As the bellows are fixed, I also wonder what restrictions it will place on me in terms of lenses etc. I wish to use this camera initially for some still life and portraiture, so I'm thinking of getting something in the 150 - 210mm range for my first lens choice, but it would be nice to have something wider eventually for landscapes. Does anyone have experience of using wider lenses on this camera, should I be looking at recessed lens panels?

As far as lens boards go, it looks to me like the fixings are for a panel approximately 10cm square, although searching for "Karden" boards they seem to be 162mm Square. I'm guessing I'll be safe with a 96x98mm Linhof "Wista" size.

Finally, I'm thinking of getting a polaroid back for my initial experiments, partly because I don't have a dark room (I'm planning to scan any negs or transparencies, and possibly produce "digital negatives" for use with alternative printing processes). Given the discontinuation of Polaroid film, is this still worth doing?

Any help much appreciated!

Thanks,

John

Ulrich Drolshagen
6-Feb-2009, 10:27
I tried to contact Camera Bellows in the UK, to get a ballpark figure on a replacement, but they appear to have closed down. I'd

This is phoenix from the ashes

http://www.custombellows.co.uk

I don't know whether they are up and running already though.

Ulrich

Bob Salomon
6-Feb-2009, 11:06
Congratulations! You have a very unique camera! The 45 Standard, with it's fixed bellows took lenses on 45 Technika lens boards from 47mm to 360mm allowing full movement with the fixed bellows! There are no restriction on lenses in that focal length range as long as the rear element of the lens is not larger then the hole in the front standard of the camera.
As this was a special bellows you should contact the Linhof distributor in London or Linhof in Munich regarding replacement bellows.

GPS
6-Feb-2009, 11:13
This is phoenix from the ashes

http://www.custombellows.co.uk

I don't know whether they are up and running already though.

Ulrich

Not yet. Give them 2 more months.

Archphoto
6-Feb-2009, 11:27
Congrad's with your Linhoff Kardan !

As for getting a polaroid back: forget it for now: old stock sells for $$$$$ or ,
Fuji is a better choice, but not cheap.

Having a scanner is a good thing, look at the scanner part of this forum for mooooore info.

Peter

John E
6-Feb-2009, 11:52
Hi Everyone,

Thanks for the quick responses!

I'll try Linhof for bellows, but doubt it will be cheap! Maybe Custom Bellows can come up with something a bit more affordable when they are up and running.

On the polaroid front I believe that Fuji instant film will work with some of the polaroid backs, so I'll give that some consideration.

Thanks again.

John

Bob Salomon
6-Feb-2009, 12:48
Hi Everyone,

Thanks for the quick responses!

I'll try Linhof for bellows, but doubt it will be cheap! Maybe Custom Bellows can come up with something a bit more affordable when they are up and running.

On the polaroid front I believe that Fuji instant film will work with some of the polaroid backs, so I'll give that some consideration.

Thanks again.

John

A bellows that allows full movements with lenses from 47 to 360mm is very unique. You don't want a 3rd party bellows if you want the camera to function as it was designed to.

Remember, if you want to go real wide you can't just add a bag bellows at a later date on this camera. The basic bellows does it all!

John E
6-Feb-2009, 14:15
Thanks very much Bob. I'll bear that in mind.

John

dwhistance
9-Feb-2009, 09:41
John, speak to Paula at Linhof & Studio (the UK LInhof importers) she is really knowledgable about all things Linhof and Large Format. She is also really helpful so might be able to help you find some bellows at a good price. Her telephone number is 01702 716116 and website is http://www.linhofstudio.com/.

Good luck

David Whistance

John E
9-Feb-2009, 18:06
Hi David,

That's great, I will follow that up.

Many thanks,

John

John E
10-Feb-2009, 09:23
David,

Paula was indeed very helpful, I got the last one in stock, (I think thy are no longer made), for 90, so I'm pretty pleased with that.

Now what lenses to get....I'm really looking forward to learning this camera.

Regards,

John

dwhistance
10-Feb-2009, 12:48
John, I'm glad she turned up trumps for you, she has always been one of my first ports of call for LF equipment purchases and advice and is a really nice person to boot!

As for lens choices its very personal but for Portraits and Still Life I'd probably look for a reasonable 210mm (or 8" - don't worry too much about its age!) lens. Longer might be a bit better for portraits but you might find the bellows extension limiting. There are lots available at all sorts of prices and, in reality, its hard to go wrong, just make sure the shutter works as a new shutter costs as much as a secondhand lens.

David

PS - I have to say (as he contributed to this thread) that in my opinion Bob Salomon, Paula's Linhof counterpart in the US, also always gives good advice.

John E
10-Feb-2009, 13:22
Thanks for the invaluable advice everyone,

Regards,

John