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View Full Version : Instant gratification vs. Delay and Cost: Technikardan vs. Arca Swiss



Acheron Photography
11-May-2009, 23:46
Like a number of other posters here over the years, I'm debating the Technikardan 45S vs. Arca Swiss problem. The difference is a Linhof has been offered to me second hand in reasonable condition, while I can't find the Arca Swiss I want (F-metric Orbix) except new from Robert White - and that is really a lot of money. Can more experienced members advise me: is it worth simply getting something reasonably cheap now to learn on and then deciding whether it is worth spending more money on the Arca Swiss, or should I wait until I can find the exact camera I want for money I can afford? Thank you.

Archphoto
12-May-2009, 02:34
My questions to you: why the Acra and not the Linhof: why not a Sinar ?
What makes you want the Acra over the Linhof ?

I have been into LF for the past 30 years, most of it with the Sinar P2 8x10 and 4x5.
Widen your options and see what camera comes along, but at least get started.
Once you started photographing on LF you will be adicted for the rest of your life.

Lenses are important too.
With LF you don't buy new ones for each camera: you just swap lens boards.

Good luck,
Peter

Acheron Photography
12-May-2009, 03:14
My questions to you: why the Acra and not the Linhof: why not a Sinar ?
What makes you want the Acra over the Linhof ?

The Linhof seems to be a pain to fold; the Arca seems to be a bit more rigid. Also the Arca comes in 5x7 which gives me an aspect ratio I really like. As I want maximum sharpness, geared adjustments are a must.

(And yes, I do actually know that you swap lenses - I might not own an LF camera but I have shot them a reasonable amount...)

jb7
12-May-2009, 03:21
It sounds to me like you're thinking aloud...

You might be waiting a while for a 5x7 F-metric orbix to show up though,
so it might be good to have other options...

Bob Salomon
12-May-2009, 03:25
The Linhof seems to be a pain to fold; the Arca seems to be a bit more rigid. Also the Arca comes in 5x7 which gives me an aspect ratio I really like. As I want maximum sharpness, geared adjustments are a must.

(And yes, I do actually know that you swap lenses - I might not own an LF camera but I have shot them a reasonable amount...)

Have you actually ever folded one by following the very simple instructions yourself?

Phil Hudson
12-May-2009, 03:49
In the UK you may find that the choice of 5x7 film options (and holders) will lessen the appeal of that format.

The two cameras that you are comparing have such big differences that there's no comparison in my view. They are both the best, but optimised for different things. Like other posters here, I'd say don't overlook the many other cameras that will also suit your needs.

gari beet
12-May-2009, 03:49
I have a TK45 and don't find it an issue to fold at all, takes a litlle getting used to of course as with all new things. About half a dozen folds did the trick for me...

It is quite heavy so if you want to pack it along way that may be an issue, I shoot landscape and so hike alot with it and am searching for a lightweight alternative for the mountains, I am happy to lug it around a fair distance on the flat however.
It has all the movement you could want, will work with really wide lenses and extends to 500mm easily. It packs well too, fits in my Lowepro phototrekker with 4 lenses, meter, grads etc no problem.

so, apart form being a little overweight for hiking(which in fairness it wasn't strictly designed for) it is pretty much the ideal all rounder.

Hope that helps.

Gari

Ed Richards
12-May-2009, 04:12
I would get something really cheap to start with - once you start shooting and using the camera, you will get a better idea of what is important to you. As many will testify, the odds are good that your first camera will not be the one you want to stay with, and if money is an issue, starting with a really expensive camera can make it hard to move on. Mount all your lenses on Linhof technika boards and use an adapter for each camera, or you will spend a fortune on boards each time you switch. Plus they pack better than larger boards.

Archphoto
12-May-2009, 04:57
@Gari: ever thought about a Chamonix or Shen Hao as a second camera ?

What Ed says makes a lot of sense: if you start with a Sinar F you can grow into a P2 and still be using all the parts from the F.
The Sinar goes from 4x5 upto 8x10 so the potential for growth is there.

Worth thinking about !

Peter

Acheron Photography
12-May-2009, 05:44
@Gari: ever thought about a Chamonix or Shen Hao as a second camera ?

What Ed says makes a lot of sense: if you start with a Sinar F you can grow into a P2 and still be using all the parts from the F.
The Sinar goes from 4x5 upto 8x10 so the potential for growth is there.

Worth thinking about !

Peter

It is, thank you - and everyone else who commented. I'm still pretty Sinar hostile after having struggled with hire P2s, but they are cheap to be fair, and the 'figure out exactly what you want before dropping thousands of pounds' argument makes a lot of sense.

gari beet
12-May-2009, 06:01
there is also a monorail here in the classifieds as we speak, as it were. Light, cheap and a good start point.

Gari

http://www.largeformatphotography.info/forum/showthread.php?t=48843

John Powers
12-May-2009, 06:39
No one tool does it all perfectly. I think if you read here a bit you will find that many of us have enjoyed or hated quite a few cameras and formats as we grew and our vision evolved. You are looking at very good cameras and several other good ones have been mentioned. I like the Nike advertisements that say, "Just do it". You canít go wrong with any of these choices, but you have to make a choice. You will enjoy the growth.

My experience consists of trying a school provided 45 Calumet monorail, buying a TK45, growing to a 8x10 RH Phillips and an 8x10 Sinar P, then a 7x17 RH Phillips which is my primary camera and wishing I could carry and afford to add a 12x20 Chamonix. The difference in vision and tools is what keeps photography ever new and exciting.

John

Ken Lee
12-May-2009, 07:09
"is it worth simply getting something reasonably cheap now to learn on and then deciding whether it is worth spending more money on the Arca Swiss, or should I wait until I can find the exact camera I want for money I can afford?"

I've used a variety of LF cameras since 1970, and I'm still... learning. With each change, I thought I had the exact camera.

So get as close as you can now - within the parameters of your current situation - and as they say, "Let the learning begin !" :)

John Schneider
12-May-2009, 08:05
The Linhof seems to be a pain to fold * * * * Also the Arca comes in 5x7 which gives me an aspect ratio I really like. As I want maximum sharpness, geared adjustments are a must.

1. I've owned two Linhof Technikardans, and they most definitely are NOT a pain to fold. It's very simple and quick, but you must do it correctly.

2. If you want a 5x7 Arca your options are very limited. Although it may be listed in their price list, they make a batch of two dozen or so every 5 or so years. They finally got enough orders to make such a batch last fall (?), so there are a few new ones still available. Your chance of finding a used 5x7 F are nil. I have never seen one in 6+ years or searching. But, there is a 5x7 A/B model Arca (minus back) available in the UK which would fit right on a modern rail and function carriers and which would take a modern 5x7 back.

3. Geared movements have nothing to do with sharpness (except for geared focusing, probably). If having geared movements everywhere is easier for you then go for it, but expecting geared everything = increased sharpness doesn't really follow.

Bruce Watson
12-May-2009, 08:22
"is it worth simply getting something reasonably cheap now to learn on and then deciding whether it is worth spending more money on the Arca Swiss, or should I wait until I can find the exact camera I want for money I can afford?"

I've used a variety of LF cameras since 1970, and I'm still... learning. With each change, I thought I had the exact camera.

So get as close as you can now - within the parameters of your current situation - and as they say, "Let the learning begin !" :)

What Ken says.

If you are an LF newbie, it's really difficult to know what "the exact camera I want" really is. Very few LFers still have the camera they began LF with for exactly this reason. Experience trumps all.

Brian Ellis
12-May-2009, 08:45
I've owned one Technikardan and it most definitely was a pain for me to fold. I've owned and sold about 10 LF cameras and it's the only one that at some point I've never regretted selling, mostly but not exclusively because of my folding problem. But nobody can tell you in absolute terms that it is or isn't a pain to fold, all they can do is relate their personal experience and that was mine.

There are few absolutes when it comes to buying a LF camera but I think it's a big mistake to buy a new, very expensive, LF camera as your first. Buying new will make it difficult to recoup the cost when you sell it used and expensive means you'll be out a lot of money when you can't recoup your cost. Whatever you buy, I'd suggest buying it used or if you must buy new then at least get something relatively inexpensive (compared to a new Arca).

As John said, geared movements have no relationship to "sharpness" except possibly geared focusing. But if you want all or even most movements to be geared I'm not sure why you're even thinking of a Technikardan since IIRC it has no geared movements (except possibly focusing, I forget how it focuses, it's been 14 years since I owned mine).

Which camera you start with is relatively unimportant IMHO. I'd guess that something like 20% or fewer veteran LF photographers are still actively using their first LF camera as their only LF camera. No matter how certain you are today that you want the Arca Swiss, odds are it won't be your primary LF camera five years from now. So I'd suggest buying whatever camera seems to more or less fit your needs and start making photographs.

gevalia
12-May-2009, 09:00
Make a list of what movements you need for what you are going to do. List what your weight requirements are. Is a pretty camera important or is function what you are after? Min/Max bellows draw?

Now look for a camera that fits your requirements. Otherwise, you will always spend too much $$.

Drew Wiley
12-May-2009, 09:23
Sinars are a lot easier to balance than Technikardans, which hang out forward with long rail extensions. With a Sinar you can place the center point of the rail anywhere
you wish, as well as configure it for any focal length lens imaginable. Very easy to get
components too, and tremendous bargains available right now. The only thing I didn't
like about the Sinar was the standard rail clamp - the heavy duty clamp is preferable.
I equipped mine with a 28 inch Horseman bellows for long lenses, but it could be instantly switched to a standard or bag bellows.

Frank Petronio
12-May-2009, 10:08
They are all nice, high quality cameras and you're not going to make worse pictures if you get one or the other. I'd go with what is most appealing and affordable. The Arcas are really nice but to me it is hard to justify paying several times the price of an equivalent Sinar for a ~>20% weight/size savings. If I was that concerned about size and weight I'd probably look at some entirely different camera, like a woodie or a Toho.

Finding parts and options for the Arca is difficult! Most people grab the 4x5s and never venture too far out of the norm. But with a Sinar you can practically build any camera you want and the cost of the parts is no longer out of sight because they are so plentiful in the USA.

Peter De Smidt
12-May-2009, 10:38
What didn't you like about the rented Sinar P2s? Were they in poor condition? The Sinar P2 is my favorite studio camera by far.

A friend of mine is an Arca Swiss dealer. According to him, special order parts can take years.

jb7
12-May-2009, 11:10
This is turning into Nikon/Canon...

I use Nikon,
but I love my Arca like a Canon fan loves their E's...

:D

Although though those Canon fans have been a bit quiet recently...


:D :D :D

Amazing how Sinar users have to rely on hearsay-

I have rented Sinars in the past,
but I much prefer the Arca-
nothing more than individual preference, I suppose-

I'm not sure, but I don't think I've ever heard a report of an Arca user not liking their camera, but of course, I stand to be corrected-

I've never had a problem getting all the bits for the camera,
or even making them- part of ther benefit of a modular system-

Yes, parts can be expensive, but so can parts for other cameras-
veneered lensboards springs to mind...

Sorry, been on a bit of a ramble-

Just get something, anything, better than nothing-
as everyone says, if you don't like it, you can sell it, and not lose too much,
as long as you didn't buy it new-

And it seems to be a good time for putting a kit together too-
much less expensive than last year, or the year before...

Peter De Smidt
12-May-2009, 12:22
I've used an Arca F-line for a couple of years. They are nice cameras. I prefer a Sinar P2 for studio work and a Toyo 45AX for field work, but that's me. As has been said, all of these are great cameras. IMO Sinars are a much better value, given the prices one can currently buy Sinar cameras and accessories for, but the ARCAs are nicer for field work.

John Schneider
12-May-2009, 12:58
A friend of mine is an Arca Swiss dealer. According to him, special order parts can take years.

According to Rod at Photomark, that is very true, and he talks to Martin Vogt regularly. Many of the owners for this batch of 5x7's were waiting 4+ years.

Kerry L. Thalmann
12-May-2009, 18:15
Like a number of other posters here over the years, I'm debating the Technikardan 45S vs. Arca Swiss problem. The difference is a Linhof has been offered to me second hand in reasonable condition, while I can't find the Arca Swiss I want (F-metric Orbix) except new from Robert White - and that is really a lot of money. Can more experienced members advise me: is it worth simply getting something reasonably cheap now to learn on and then deciding whether it is worth spending more money on the Arca Swiss, or should I wait until I can find the exact camera I want for money I can afford? Thank you.

The question is impossible to answer based on the information provided (and even with more information will likely come down to personal preference).

What do you plan to photograph with this new camera? What focal lengths do you like to use. How important is weight? Bulk? Will you be using this in the field, or in the studio?

I have used both cameras (and many more) extensively, but unless I know more about your goals, I can't possibly recommend one over the other - or perhaps even soemthing else.

BTW, most people here probably wouldn't consider a Linhof Technikardan "something reasonably cheap" to learn on. Perhaps you could also tell us a little more about your budget. The camera is just one part of the system. You will also need lenses, a meter, a tripod and head, etc. If you spend less on a camera, you will have more money left to spend on the rest of the system.

Kerry

sanking
12-May-2009, 18:24
Just curioius. How does the difficulty of folding a Technikardan compare to folding a wood Canham camera?

Sandy King

Kerry L. Thalmann
12-May-2009, 18:36
Just curioius. How does the difficulty of folding a Technikardan compare to folding a wood Canham camera?

Sandy King

Sandy,

I actually found the Technikardan faster and easier to fold/unfold than the wooden Canham.

When I first got the Technikardan, I read the instructions a couple times and practiced folding it and unfolding it in the comfort of my den. That was all it took. I never had any problems folding/unfolding it in the field. In fact, since it can be transported with a lens installed, it found it faster to remove from my pack and set-up than many folding wooden cameras. However, it is also heavier and bulkier than most wooden field cameras - although not much more so than the wooden Canham, which is really a 5x7 camera.

My problem with the Canham is my large hands. I found it difficult to get at all the various cams and levers that were hidden away in various places. I found the metal Canham DLC/MQC much easier to fold (and operate) than the wooden Canham. In fact, like the Technikardan (and the ARCA-SWISS), I found I could operate the metal Canham while wearing gloves - a feature I apreciated many times when working in sub-freezing conditions.

Kerry

Doug Dolde
12-May-2009, 18:39
I once owned a 6x9 Technikardan. It was indeed a very nice camera but I soon realized whats the point of shooting 6x9 if youre going to all the trouble of using a view camera.

The Technikardans are basically a Technica front end and a Kardan back end. Hence the name.

For 4x5 I'd prefer an Arca Swiss any day though.

Don7x17
12-May-2009, 18:47
It sounds to me like you're thinking aloud...

You might be waiting a while for a 5x7 F-metric orbix to show up though,
so it might be good to have other options...


Actually, he can purchase a 4x5 F-metric orbix, and then add the 5x7 format conversion as it is now being sold again.

Frankly - I've tried all 3 (technikardan, Arca, and Sinar). The folding issue with the Technikardan and its pinched/misfolded bellows is pretty well known. The sinar is a PITA in the field. And we all know that Arca's don't come up often and tend to hold their value pretty well, so they're not as cheap as sinars and technikardans.

Get whichever one you can find immediately at a decent price. Put your money into the lenses, and if you want to upgrade later to an arca, you have time. You can always sell any of them cheaply (and break even if you bought low to start). watch the lens coverage if you've starting in 4x5 and want to move to 5x7 -- not all lenses cover 5x7.

I've owned all three - sold the technikardan and the Sinar.

If you're looking for a used Arca, consider giving Rod Klukas a call at Photomark (no affiliation with him other than I'm a satisfied customer).

Bill McMannis
12-May-2009, 18:52
Just another one to chime in that the TK45S is not a problem to fold. After a couple times it becomes second nature.

What I like about the TK45S as opposed to a monorail such as the Arca or Sinar is that it is so portable. I can put the folded TK45S in the inner pocket of my Domke vest, place an extra lense in one pocket and a Grafmatic in the other and I can hike in anywhere with my tripod on my shoulder. It is about as portable of a 4x5 as you will find.

The cost and weight of all movements being geared on the ARCA (IMO) are not necessary. The TK45S's friction movements are as smooth as silk with no slop and never bind or jump. The geared fine focus is all I need.

Don7x17
12-May-2009, 18:52
Just curioius. How does the difficulty of folding a Technikardan compare to folding a wood Canham camera?

Sandy King

Sandy
I've owned Technikardan and Canham (5x7,8x10 and 12x20 all wood).
No issues folding the Canhams. You'll rarely see damaged bellows. Just rack out the front focusing rails, drop the front standard backwards while giving the lensboard a rotation, and then rack in the front rails. No issues, and very quick.

Not so with the Technikardan -- look at those on the used market. The bellows are often misfolded/pinched and look like heck. Mine was a PITA to fold - could never do it quickly. YMMV.

Acheron Photography
13-May-2009, 00:00
Again, thank you all for the replies: this really is most helpful and I appreciate it.

Don--

Thanks in particular for the clue on Photomark.

Bill--

I think I might be coming around to your way of thinking about the geared movements. Certainly I think that geared focus is necessary for me, but as several people have pointed out, I can probably live without the rest...

Kerry--

>What do you plan to photograph with this new camera?
Mostly landscapes and architecture. Rather little studio work.

>What focal lengths do you like to use.
75mm to 300mm, with 150mm the most important single length. I don't care about lenses beyond 300.

>How important is weight?
Reasonably. I have carried my Pentax 67 and tripod five miles across rough country before now, and ideally I'd like to be able to do that with the new camera.

>Bulk?
Ideally it should at least fit in a cabin baggage sized bag.

>Perhaps you could also tell us a little more about your budget.
I'd be willing to grit my teeth and go up to two thousand pounds for a camera, one lens, and a couple of double darks. I have a great tripod and stable head (the 67 is a lovely camera, but it needs a really solid tripod at slower shutter speeds thanks to that huge mirror moving, so fortunately I don't have to upgrade there), a suitable light meter and loupe already.

David

Frank Petronio
13-May-2009, 04:42
Just a tip, you will spend more on all the other things -- including film and shooting expenses -- and find you need more than "just a couple of double darks" -- to be effective with your outfit. So you may want to err on the slightly more modest side of the camera equation. There are numerous threads with cantankerous farts (such as myself) warning newbies not to invest in "that perfect camera they'll keep forever" because once they get started their expectations will change.

In fact, this old fart's advice is to get an inexpensive Sinar or some sort of field camera, or even a cheap Crown Graphic and simply go shoot and try it large format before blowing a lot of money on it. Although I do admit it is nice to buy mint gear from people who go off and buy all the nice goodies and resell them, barely used, for a nice discount.

Brian Ellis
13-May-2009, 09:39
Just curioius. How does the difficulty of folding a Technikardan compare to folding a wood Canham camera?

Sandy King

I don't know, I've never used a Canham. I've described the problems I had with the Technikardan in the review of it that I wrote for this forum and that's in the camera review section. So there's no need to go into it all here except to say that back in the days when comments to reviews could be added, a number of people responded to mine. Some - probably a majority - said they had no problem, others had problems similar to mine. So I don't think it's a matter of just one person - me - being a mechanical klutz.

Peter De Smidt
13-May-2009, 10:04
You might consider the Walker 5x7, although you wouldn't be able to focus that close with a 300mm, at least without a top-hat type lensboard.

See:
http://www.walkercameras.com/XL5x7.html

Bob Salomon
13-May-2009, 10:13
On the TK there are 3 red locks and 3 green locks on both the front and rear standard. To close the TK you put all controls at their 0 point. Lock all red locks and unlock all green locks. Close the extension rails if they are extended and rotate the focusing knob in the direction of the arrow on the face of the knob. That is how you close a TK. If it is a TK S then you depress the zero detents while you begin rotating the knob.

To open the camera reverse the procedure. Total time to close the camera with the lens off? No more then 15 seconds once you have done it a few times. To open the camera? Even quicker.

Patrick Dixon
13-May-2009, 10:50
And if you are shooting B&W?

Pete Roody
13-May-2009, 11:10
Why not find a nice Deardorff 4x5 Special. You can add a 5x7 back and shoot both formats. The Deardorff has front rise built into the lensboard mount that is very useful for wide angle landscape work. You still have plenty of bellows for long lenses. Deardorff prices seem a bit distressed of late and with patience, you can find a really nice one under $2k. If I had to replace my Arca's, this is what I would do.

Kerry L. Thalmann
13-May-2009, 13:11
What do you plan to photograph with this new camera?

Mostly landscapes and architecture. Rather little studio work.

What focal lengths do you like to use?

75mm to 300mm, with 150mm the most important single length. I don't care about lenses beyond 300.

How important is weight?

Reasonably. I have carried my Pentax 67 and tripod five miles across rough country before now, and ideally I'd like to be able to do that with the new camera.

Bulk?

Ideally it should at least fit in a cabin baggage sized bag.

David,

It sounds like any number of field cameras on the market would meet your needs - and be less expensive and much lighter and more compact than a monorail, even a collapsible monorail like the Technikardan or ARCA-SWISS.

I used a Canham DLC for several years as my main camera with lenses from 75mm - 450mm. For landscapes use, it handled those lenses with ease with the stock bellows (and the 75mm mounted on a Toyo recessed board). For serious architecture shooting, you may need to add a bag bellows for 75 - but you'd have to do that with either of the other cameras, too.

A Chamonix with the universal bellows would also easily handle lenses from 75mm - 300mm. It would be well under half the weight and about a fourth of the price of the two high end monorails you are considering.

I've used both the Technikardan and ARCA-SWISS extensively. They are both very nice cameras, but may be overkill for your needs. Rather than spend so much on a camera, especially your first large format camera, you may want to start (and possiby stay) with a less expensive camera (that would still meet your needs) and have more money left over for lenses and film - the things that will have a bigger impact on image quality and accelerate your learning curve.

Kerry

shadowleaves
6-Oct-2009, 19:00
With an optional extension rack, Chamonix 045n1 can easily handle lense from SA 65mm/5.6 to Fuji-C 450mm/12.5 with its universal bellow. I've done this many times and no wonder Chamonix is the champion in accepting lense of different focal lengths without changing bellow. But if you're used to the precision control of an advanced monorail camera, i.e., Sinar F1/P1 or Arca F-series, you might not like the total freedom you get from a Chamonix.



David,

It sounds like any number of field cameras on the market would meet your needs - and be less expensive and much lighter and more compact than a monorail, even a collapsible monorail like the Technikardan or ARCA-SWISS.

I used a Canham DLC for several years as my main camera with lenses from 75mm - 450mm. For landscapes use, it handled those lenses with ease with the stock bellows (and the 75mm mounted on a Toyo recessed board). For serious architecture shooting, you may need to add a bag bellows for 75 - but you'd have to do that with either of the other cameras, too.

A Chamonix with the universal bellows would also easily handle lenses from 75mm - 300mm. It would be well under half the weight and about a fourth of the price of the two high end monorails you are considering.

I've used both the Technikardan and ARCA-SWISS extensively. They are both very nice cameras, but may be overkill for your needs. Rather than spend so much on a camera, especially your first large format camera, you may want to start (and possiby stay) with a less expensive camera (that would still meet your needs) and have more money left over for lenses and film - the things that will have a bigger impact on image quality and accelerate your learning curve.

Kerry

Bob McCarthy
7-Oct-2009, 09:38
Too much thinking for a light tight box that holds a lens on one end and a film holder on the other.

I've owned both a Technikardan and a Technika 2K. Wonderful workmanship, very nice camera. The Technikardan is easy to fold, just got to get you head around the process, the uprights slide past each other. One of those things you figure out and do easily forever. Like folding a field camera. If you force it not knowing what to do, you will damage the bellows, but you should have know that.

Anyway to my point, it is possible to pick up a Sinar F/F2 for peanuts in very nice shape and it fits beautifully in a shoulder bag. I paid $200 for mine in very nice shape. That included a bag bellows, lens boards and xtra rails.

Put in a good ground glass and it is every bit a good a picture taking machine as those your mentioning, costing you 1/10 the $$$. Spend the money on great lenses, that's where it really counts.

bob

Bob McCarthy
7-Oct-2009, 13:17
I decided my words were a little strong, though my message was on the mark. The real estate world is on it's ass and it's the principle source of income for my little company (www.creativegeographics.com). So I'm in conservation mode waiting out the storm. It can't last forever. If the world were different I would still be happily using the Linhof. But picking up a cheap Sinar has not diminished the quality of my negatives/slides one wit.

Actually, after spending some time getting it optimized, I am enjoying it. And the prices are almost silly. I saw a 8x10P for under $500 yesterday, in decent shape too.

bob

Ron Bose
7-Oct-2009, 14:01
TK45S is easy to fold, you just have to move both standards at the sametime to minimize the stress on the bellows.

The Canham 5x7 wood took me longer to figure out how to close properly.

If I knew when I was starting out in LF what I know now ...

- I wish I'd never bought the Sinar F2 with a pile of accesories - it's worthless now, but still an excellent (but heavy) monorail.

- I'm glad that I owned a Wisner Traditional 4x5 for 9 months, what a beautiful camera ! It taught me that you don't need geared movements or all the markings the Sinar has (the F2 doesn't have geared movements).

- I wish I'd never bought the Gandolfi Variant II - now sold.

- I'm in two minds about the Canham - even used it was pricey. But it's a nice camera.

- I'm glad I bought the wife a Chamonix, because now she doesn't want to use my Canham.

- I still love my TK45S - a foldable monorail.

- I still ask myself why anyone would spend so much money on a new Sinar or Arca-Swiss.

If your new to LF buy a cheap camera and nice lenses !! You never know when you'll meet your first Leica !!

pocketfulladoubles
9-Oct-2009, 09:59
I've concluded that two cameras are really needed. One should be a lightweight field camera that is easy to deal with and has "enough" movements for what you'd need outside, which isn't much at all. The second should be a heavy and stable monorail with lots of room for movements that you can use for table-top and interiors. Having two cameras is of course ideal. The key is that you should not overspend on the camera itself. Spend you money on your lenses (eg Schneider XL), so that if you decide to do more technical shots, you have enough image circle to work with.

Frank Petronio
9-Oct-2009, 10:33
After coming of age in the 80s, I think it is really funny that we are talking about a Technikardan as being "just OK" and Sinars as being bargain cameras ;-)

I've owned them all now and I would get a nice clean Sinar. We're talking about a pound or two of extra weight, maybe a couple of inches of bulk, for a camera system that is every bit as well-designed and built as anything ever was, for 1/10th the price of an Arca that you'll spend years finding exotic parts to.

With PART of the savings, you could always purchase an ultralight woodie, Toho, or Gowland for backpacking. Or a Mamiya 7 system for that matter.

But the weight and bulk savers are most often just fooling themselves -- so they save a little on the camera -- what about the holders, changing tent, film boxes, and that rack of exotic glass they must have along?

And for the record, of the three top brands mentioned, the Linhof had the best build quality of them all. The Arcas are very nice but face it, they are luxury, status, goal-orientated purchases. You really can't make a rational price-use-value justification. More power to you if you got one but don't go blowing smoke up my butt telling me your photos are better because of the camera. It's like having a Rolex instead of a Timex.

Robert Fisher
9-Oct-2009, 11:21
Frank, Arcas are basically $1,000 cameras that sell for $5,000.

They consist of $25 of metal, $150 of machining and a $50 bellow.

jb7
9-Oct-2009, 12:06
Souds expensive alright, when you compare used sinars with new arcas-

percepts
9-Oct-2009, 12:40
Since the thread was started back in May I think the instant gratifciation is no longer a consideration. Infact since the OP isn't participating in the revival, the question is redundant. But then since we like to spout our opinions I'll spout mine too.

I own a Technikardan 45S. Been trying to sell it as I rarely use it now. It is a fine camera but it is a specialist tool best suited for location photography. If I were buying again I would get a Technika. Why? Because I want to backpack with low volume sack and have a very very rigid camera which is very simple to setup. But it would be nowhere as useable for table top / macro work as a technikardan which wouldn't be as good as sinar monorail.

If wanted to do all of those but only buy one camera then I would look at the Technikardan.

So it really comes down to having the best tool for the job. None of them are as good as another in a different circumstance. But if you want the flexibility to use one camera for all jobs, then the technikardan has it where others don't.

But then it seems to me that the primary overiding factor for most people is price rather than getting the best tool for the job. Go figure...

p.s. All 4x5 cameras are capable of equal quality results in the right hands. It's more a question of useability for the task at hand and the criteria each of set for ourselves on what constitutes "useability".