View Full Version : Just what do I have?

11-Jun-2009, 14:09
I'm looking to make the move from my dSLR to Large Format, and I have dug out my family's old 4x5 equipment. The problem is that I have no idea what exactly the equipment is. I've been able to figure out that the camera is a Toyo-View 4x5, but I can't gleam the exact model. It looks close to the 125VX, but I can't be sure:


The second thing I need help with is film materials. I have a few sheet film holders and a Polaroid 545. Ideally, I'd like to start out with instant film, so I can learn to use the camera. From what I've researched, it looks like the 545 is all but worthless. Digital also doesn't seem much of an option, considering the cost.

Thanks in advance!

11-Jun-2009, 15:44
Polaroid has stopped making instant film. There is still instant film made by Fuji. You may want to check out B&H, Adorama, or Freestyle for availability of instant film. you may need to get the film holder that matches your film choice. Browse this forum for other makers of instant film. I don't know which type of camera your have.

Oren Grad
11-Jun-2009, 16:23
It's most definitely not a VX125. I'm not even sure it's a Toyo at all - this particular type is unfamiliar to me - but perhaps someone here with more monorail experience will know.

Oren Grad
11-Jun-2009, 16:46
OK, scratch that "probably not a Toyo" comment, it looks similar to a Toyo D45A/D45M.

11-Jun-2009, 17:12
I don't think it matters too much whether it is a B45A or whatever Toyo.

I is great mono-rail camera with exchangeble bellows (by the looks of it) and loads of movements in all directions and sturdy at that too.

What you will have to learn is how to use this camera and the lens that is on it.
Put your camera on the tripod.
First you will have to find the knob that opens the Copal shutter so you can focus.
Before you can take a photo you will have to close the shutter, set the time and aperture (lightmeter !). f:22 is more or less a standard aperture with 4x5, so you
adjust the time to the lightmeters reading. Then you cock the shutter.
Insert your loaded film holder, take out the darkslide, expose, turn the darkslide 180 degrees and put it back into the film holder and you have made your first photo.

For starters I would go for a 100 - 125 ASA B&W film.

Loading the film holder has to be done in total darkness.
If you take the dark slide out you can open the film holder.
Hold it in "portrait mode" with the opening away from you.
The emulsion side is up when you feel notches on the right hand upper corner.
Slide the film under the guide rails in and put the dark slide completely in.
You are now ready for the other side of the film holder to be loaded in the same way as above.

Play with your camera, become familiar with it and hopefully you will start to love the slow and deliberate way of LF !


11-Jun-2009, 18:35
I don't think it matters too much whether it is a B45A or whatever Toyo.

I is great mono-rail camera with exchangeble bellows (by the looks of it) and loads of movements in all directions and sturdy at that too.

Well certainly the make/model of the camera isn't entirely important; its just nice to know. :)

The kit I have contains two lenses, a loupe, focusing cloth, and a lens cap. There is no lightmeter. Can I get away with a lightmeter from a SLR?
EDIT: NM, found another thread on the topic.

Also, can that Polaroid 545 be of any use, or is it just a fancy paperweight?

11-Jun-2009, 19:29
You can use the lightmeter of your (D)SLR, set it at A(perture prefered, f:22) and read the time.

And you will have to get some film holders, there is a thread on this, I use Fidelity.

Polaroid you can forget for now, Fuji has some instant film, but whether that fits....
I like to leave this part to others. There was a thread about it too, you will have to dig a bit.


11-Jun-2009, 20:53
The Polaroid 545 works nicely for Fujifilm "Quickloads." They are available in color and B&W -- more convenient, but also more expensive, than sheet film loaded into holders.

Steve Barber
12-Jun-2009, 06:15
Looks like a Toyo 45D to me.

The Polaroid 545 holder will accept Fuji Quickloads, but you may have to make an adjustment for the focus. If you try it, develop a couple of sheets and see if they are in or out of focus as compared to what you had on the ground glass before you get too many disappointments. You may have to get a Fuji holder for the Quickloads if this is a problem.

For instant film, use the Fuji FP-100B45 for B&W and FP-100C45 for color. These are peel apart loaded in packs of 10 and require a Fuji PA-45 film holder.

12-Jun-2009, 08:51
By-the-way, the front standard is turned backwards in the photo. If you have not already done so, you may want to disconnect the bellows and the lens board from the front standard, turn the standard 180 degrees and reconnect these. This should put the lens' entrance pupil (see, I can learn) closer to the swing and tilt axes, and so make the effect of swings & tilts more predictable.

People sometimes turn around the front standard if they need a little more extension, or the rear standard if they need a little less.

12-Jun-2009, 09:58
if you still are unsure of the model toyo,
why don't you contact them directly
( http://www.toyoview.com/SendInfo/sendinfo.html )
the folks there are very nice
i am sure if you send them this jpg they can
help you sort things out, and recommend which
long or short bellows, long or short monorail,
focusing-stuff / accessories that are being sold today
or yesterday will fit your camera. one of the nice things
about a toyo camera is that it is a modular system
so you can get a 5x7 back or 8x10 back for your camera
or longer/shorter bellows or monorails &C -- it will snap together.

nice camera by the way!


12-Jun-2009, 13:22
It's a D45A or M, as someone else has said. I've got two of them and love them to pieces. They're the best Toyo made (other than the new Vx125), in my opinion. The D45M has geared movements for everything except swing and tilt. All the Toyo monorails take the same lensboards. All that can change bellows are compatible with all Toyo bellows (to the best of my knowledge).

I like the fact that I can screw my monorails together, and couple the two cameras together to accommodate very long (1000mm non-tele) or do extreme macro.

Adapters from Linhof/Wista lens boards to Toyo cameras are available at the auction house, so I put all but my macro lens on Linhof boards, and can use them on either my Shen Hao or my D45M.

You missed the window with the Polaroid adapter, although it can be used with Fuji Quickloads, which might be your shortest path to seeing whether this stuff is for you.

There are sliding graflok backs for using roll film with this camera, at tht auction place occasionally. With one of these you could shoot 120 film with it and still take advantage of movements.