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Thomasjenkins
12-Jun-2009, 04:59
Hello all, I've spent some time reading this forum over the last few days and very useful it is! I'm hoping that some of you can give me some advice:

I have the choice between spending approx 1300 on a super technica iv with coupled schneider mc 150mm lense. This is pretty clean considering the age, but has some corrosion on a few of the knobs, and the leather is marked a little.

Or I could spend less money on a newer (but still second hand) camera - a wista SP or RF. Both would be pretty much mint and cost approx 700 minus a lense. Here I have a further question - I'm not sure of the usefulness of having the rangefinder, but since they are the same cost would it make sense to just get the RF or am I potentially adding extra weight and bulk to the camera for something I don't need...?

I suppose the key question here is not about the difference in money between the linhof and wista, as this is something for me to decide. Assuming I can afford either, would it be wiser to opt for a mint modern camera, or a much more used but fully functional older camera given the fact it's a linhof?

Thankyou very much for any help, it's much appreciated

Tom

Henry Carter
12-Jun-2009, 05:21
Linhof!

The article in the link below talks about the different Technika models (including the IV) as well as the advantages of using rangefinders:
http://www.cameraquest.com/techs.htm

Archphoto
12-Jun-2009, 05:33
I have used the Linhof Master Technika and I loved it.

The range finder comes into play when you decide to shoot out-of-hand with either 4x5 or a roll film back. For that you would need an optical finder like the Linhof Universal Finder aswell.

If you want to use the camera on a tripod with GG only than you will not need a RF.
The Linhof or Wista would be a folder only then and you might aswell have a look at the wooden camera's, like the Shen Hao, Chaminox, Ebony and others.

Linhofs are very well build and will give you a lot of photographic pleasure, even when they are older.
Two considerations:
- what camera has the movements you want/need, esp. important when you want to take pic's of architecture
- the weight factor, important when you want to make long hikes with the camera

Peter

Thomas Greutmann
12-Jun-2009, 05:34
First of all, I think all three cameras will be a good choice. The difference between a Linhof IV or similar Wistas will be minimal in practical terms.

One advantage of the Linhof will be that you buy into a larger system that is very common. There are many accessories for a Linhof which can be found easily. Wista accessories are more difficult to find.

I have bought a dirty (far from mint) but mechanically sound Linhof IV a while ago myself, and it still works well, even without cleaning. Linhofs are built to last, but I guess that will hold for Wistas, too. I suggest to go for an older not-so-mint camera and spend the money saved on lenses instead. As dirty as my Linhof is, I like this camera.

On the pricing: 1300 for a Technika IV with corrosion and scratches plus lens seems a bit high to me, you should be able to get a better deal if you look around. If the Technika includes a viewfinder plus grip, it is a different story. Then the price makes sense. A near-mint Wista at 700 seems like a fair price.

Mark Sampson
12-Jun-2009, 05:51
Mechanical condition is very important- even Linhofs wear out eventually.

Thomasjenkins
12-Jun-2009, 06:12
Thanks, for the replies, some good sense - just a quick response from me for now, but here are some pictures of the potential linhof. How does this look to you chaps? I should say it also comes with a trustworthy 1 year warranty, and apparently they've replaced the bellows.

Sorry I can see the pictures are too small, I'll upload to my webspace in a moment

Ok, please follow the link for larger pictures: http://www.thomasjenkins.co.uk/forums

Thomasjenkins
12-Jun-2009, 06:19
Ok, please follow this link to see larger pictures of the linhof - it would be great if you could let me know how it looks as I have little experience with these cameras!

Thanks

http://www.thomasjenkins.co.uk/forums

Frank Petronio
12-Jun-2009, 06:34
It maybe a little high but it does look like a very nice camera. Do eBay "past item" searches to get a feel for the prices and add a bit since the dealer is warranting it. Make sure that the lens is cammed to the camera itself and that the cam and lens serial numbers match. Also check the rangefinder to make it is accurate and usable. The other variable with the Tech IVs is that a lot of photographers experimented with various ground glasses and fresnel screens (in an attempt to brighten the viewing image). Sometimes these haven't been installed in their optimal position so the focus may be slightly off. Corrosion on the knobs is pretty minor unless material is coming off that could foul the lens, shutter, or gear tracks.

All of those problems can be rectified but if you know the camera's history you could safely assume that you could just pick it up and shoot away, rather than spending $150 USd for a "check up, clean, adjust" or much more ($350 for lens camming, a $100 plus for the rangefinder, etc.) at service center.

Please spend $40 USd with cameraleather.com and buy a new black covering that is very easy to replace -- about 90 minutes of work, you don't have to 100% remove all the old glue on the camera body -- that will make it look great. Why Linhof covered their cameras with leather the color of baby shit is beyond me?

As to Technikas versus Wistas, I've had the Tech IV and V and the Wista SP. All are excellent but the camera I would buy again would be the Tech IV because it is the best value and the strongest portable field camera made. I also think that the handheld rangefinder option is invaluable, and the Linhof is the best designed.

They are heavy though, at least if you are a backpacker, in which case I would opt for one of the Chamonix, Ebony, Phillips, or Shan-Hao wooden cameras (more movements, no rangefinder, more fiddly and slower to operate, always on a tripod).

For normal shooting, the extra mass is welcome and the Linhof cameras just feel warmer and nicer than even the other high-quality brands IMHO. They are a lot like Leicas and Rolleiflexes in that regard.

Bob Salomon
12-Jun-2009, 06:47
The Linhof also has much more bellows draw then a Wista (longer bed and longer bellows are available as accessories for Wista) and the Technika has limited direct back movements. The Wista metal cameras have no back rise/fall or shift.

The Technika IV can be rangefinder coupled to lenses from 72 to 360mm and can be used with wide angle lenses as short as the 35mm Rodenstock Apo Grandagon. The Wista RF can only be rangefinder coupled to 135, 150 and 180mm lenses.

The Linhof accessory viewfinder is parallax and frame sized coupled to lenses from 72 to 360mm. The Wista RF finder shows 135/150 and 180mm frames only. The Linhof finder accepts accessory masks for 6x6, 6x7, 6x12, 6x9 roll film. The Wista does not.

Thomas Greutmann
12-Jun-2009, 07:09
Thanks, for the replies, some good sense - just a quick response from me for now, but here are some pictures of the potential linhof. How does this look to you chaps? I should say it also comes with a trustworthy 1 year warranty, and apparently they've replaced the bellows.

Sorry I can see the pictures are too small, I'll upload to my webspace in a moment

Ok, please follow the link for larger pictures: http://www.thomasjenkins.co.uk/forums

Looks like the camera is in good shape and clean. Better than mine. With new bellows and dealer warranty I think it is a fair offer.

Paul Metcalf
12-Jun-2009, 07:17
The Technika IV can be rangefinder coupled to lenses from 72 to 360mm and can be used with wide angle lenses as short as the 35mm Rodenstock Apo Grandagon.Interesting, my stock Tech V has the bellows stretched to its maximum with a 300mm lens and pretty much fully compressed with my 90mm (useable though, but the bed needs to be dropped otherwise it shows up in the image). My 72mm with recessed (Linhof) board doesn't work on it. Did they do something different with the V versus the IV? (the above issues was the reason I procured a used but virtually new Wisner tech field).

Brian Ellis
12-Jun-2009, 07:30
I don't know about prices where you are but in the U.S. almost $2,600 would be very high for a Tech IV with an old 150 mm lens (I'm assuming this is the original lens since its coupled, which isn't necessarily true but likely is). A mint Tech IV in the U.S. would go for about $1,200 give or take a couple hundred, throw in $500 at the most for a used $150mm lens, and you're well above that. But possibly the market is different where you are.

I've owned two Technikas, a Tech V and a Master. I love the cameras, they're my all-time favorite 4x5s. But given the price differential and the age of the Tech IV, I'd go for the Wista. As Bob Salomon has often pointed out here, if you need more bellows extension with a Wista you can always get a "top hat" lens board.

evan clarke
12-Jun-2009, 12:20
I have a Wista RF, several of my friends have Technikas. They are equally well made, some of the movements are a little less fiddly on the Wista but the rangefinder is why I bought it..no cams. It is preadjusted for a 120, a 150 and a 180 with a little knob to turn for the different focal lengths. It was really easy to calibrate the lenses for focus with the rangefinder...Evan Clarke

Bob Salomon
12-Jun-2009, 13:29
Interesting, my stock Tech V has the bellows stretched to its maximum with a 300mm lens and pretty much fully compressed with my 90mm (useable though, but the bed needs to be dropped otherwise it shows up in the image). My 72mm with recessed (Linhof) board doesn't work on it. Did they do something different with the V versus the IV? (the above issues was the reason I procured a used but virtually new Wisner tech field).

To use the 72 you set the tracks back into the camera body rather then use them in the forward position. The bed has to be dropped all the way and the lens raised all the way. The back and the front are tilted back to parallel.

The proper lensboard for the 72mm on a V or Master Technika Classic is the 001015 "Comfort" board and the 72mm also requires a special spacer ring 300171.

Now how are you setting up to use the 72mm?

BTW, when shooting with the back in the vertical position with a 75mm or wider board the end of the drop bed will be in the picture. This has been eliminated on the Master technika 3000 as the bed drops down further so that even with a 35mm or shorter lens this would not occur.

Bob Salomon
12-Jun-2009, 13:31
Interesting, my stock Tech V has the bellows stretched to its maximum with a 300mm lens and pretty much fully compressed with my 90mm (useable though, but the bed needs to be dropped otherwise it shows up in the image). My 72mm with recessed (Linhof) board doesn't work on it. Did they do something different with the V versus the IV? (the above issues was the reason I procured a used but virtually new Wisner tech field).

And which board did you use with your 300mm and which 300mm was it?

Paul Metcalf
12-Jun-2009, 14:27
The 300mm is a Nikkor-M in Copal 1 shutter, on a standard Linhof board. My 72mm (Super-Angulon 5.6/XL) is on a....? I don't know, it's a grey recessed board, but there are no markings (i.e. Linhof badge). It's been so long ago since I purchased the board I can't remember what it is, it may be a Cambo (?, the cutout is squarish vice round like the Linhof's), but it does fit the Linhof standard. I have to use a flexible release extension with it, even then it's cocked to the side pretty good even as is. I have a Linhof recessed board with the spacer and it has the little plug that you insert your cable release into, but the metal extension that comes out of the plug and engages the shutter release is missing (I bought it used). I attempted to make one out of a paper clip, but I still had issues with interference on the cocking mechinism, IIRC (it's been several years since I dealt with this). Not sure if this the "comfort" board, never heard of that.

I do remember now that I have to put the tracks on the back like you say, and focusing is a bit tough in this configuration as well as a challenge to keep the standard from moving when adjusting the aperture/shutter (which is tough because everything is recessed). I'll qualify my statement from before and say the Tech V is useable with the 72mm but not very useable.

Paul Metcalf
12-Jun-2009, 14:41
Bob-
Here's pics of my setup, Linhoff recessed board and 72mm on unknown (Cambo?) board.

kev curry
12-Jun-2009, 15:15
For comparison a friend of mine bought me a Tech V(1968) with cammed Technika Symmar 180/315. The old pair are in almost like new condition... close to flawless.
I can only assume that they've been kept in a locked drawer for most of there years and occasionally fed on a diet of non corrosive soft boiled eggs...well the Tech has all its own teeth, and it was 500 cheaper (ebay dealer) than what you've been offered.
The Technika is a absolute marvel of German engineering -other than the anxiety provoking front rise and fall- if your not trudging up hills.

Bob Salomon
12-Jun-2009, 15:28
Bob-
Here's pics of my setup, Linhoff recessed board and 72mm on unknown (Cambo?) board.

That is a very old version of the lensboard made decades before there was a 72mm. Exactly which version of a Linhof board is impossible to tell from a picture.

Bob Salomon
12-Jun-2009, 15:32
The 300mm is a Nikkor-M in Copal 1 shutter, on a standard Linhof board. My 72mm (Super-Angulon 5.6/XL) is on a....? I don't know, it's a grey recessed board, but there are no markings (i.e. Linhof badge). It's been so long ago since I purchased the board I can't remember what it is, it may be a Cambo (?, the cutout is squarish vice round like the Linhof's), but it does fit the Linhof standard. I have to use a flexible release extension with it, even then it's cocked to the side pretty good even as is. I have a Linhof recessed board with the spacer and it has the little plug that you insert your cable release into, but the metal extension that comes out of the plug and engages the shutter release is missing (I bought it used). I attempted to make one out of a paper clip, but I still had issues with interference on the cocking mechinism, IIRC (it's been several years since I dealt with this). Not sure if this the "comfort" board, never heard of that.

I do remember now that I have to put the tracks on the back like you say, and focusing is a bit tough in this configuration as well as a challenge to keep the standard from moving when adjusting the aperture/shutter (which is tough because everything is recessed). I'll qualify my statement from before and say the Tech V is useable with the 72mm but not very useable.

No it isn't the Comfort board. The Comfort board has an aperture scale on the front face of the board as well as an aperture selector lever, a press focus lever and uses a new flexible cable release adapter that goes from the Cable release Quick Socket to the cable release socket on the shutter. It is a different depth recess then yours as well.

Bill_1856
12-Jun-2009, 15:51
If you don't need the rangefinder, I'd go for a much less expensive package. Maybe a new 4x5 Tachihara with a good used lens.

Thomasjenkins
12-Jun-2009, 16:07
Thanks so much for all the comments and advice, I'm still yet to make a decision but it's good to hear from different people.

One random question first of all - is the image seen through the optical viewfinder on the wista, and also the linhof (I assume the answer will be the same for both) reversed and upside down as per the GG, or is it corrected and "realistic"? I fully understand that asking this is ridiculous :)

In general it seems the linhof is the favoured option, and I suppose this answers my question as to which is preferred between an old well used linhof versus barely used mint wista.

Now I just need to judge how much money I should or can spend! Regarding the linhof, I could buy the body only and fit an older schneider-s non multicoated lense I have for the time being since I could not afford the viewfinder at the moment anyway, and therefore the fact it would not be coupled wouldn't be so bad....However, I also feel I should put some good glass in front of such a good camera, and I believe the MC schneiders were a big step up. For body only I'd be spending approx 920.

The other option of course is to spend less on a wista RF (I think I've decided that if I go for the wista, I may as well go for the RF), and spend the difference on lense/better tripod/head/bag (!!).

Hmmm more my own musings here, sorry! Some actual questions then:

I have manfrotto 190 aluminium legs. I intend on getting the 410 head that is so popular here, but I'm worried this tripod is not quite substantial enough- perhaps the 055 is the minimum I should use?

Again, many thanks for any advice

GPS
12-Jun-2009, 16:53
...

Assuming I can afford either, would it be wiser to opt for a mint modern camera, or a much more used but fully functional older camera given the fact it's a linhof?

Thankyou very much for any help, it's much appreciated

Tom

Take it with common sense. The wiser choice is always related to your photographic needs the cameras can fulfill, as each of them corresponds to different needs or to different ways of approaching them. If you don't know (it seems to be your case) your photographic needs you cannot choose a camera with this most important criterion in mind. Nobody here can tell you what your needs are. Of course, you can always start choosing a camera according to their names, but unless you know what you need and why, the choice will not be truly wise one.

Thomasjenkins
12-Jun-2009, 17:09
I know my needs fairly well, although admittedly I haven't stated them here. I shoot a variety of things- I currently have a rail camera but rarely use movements hence considering a field camera. Without trying to sound like a very annoying person, I tend to shoot for conceptual reasons and so the "thing" in my photograph could be anything in any genrre. Sometimes the photograph may be secondary to the overall concept, although I suppose there is always a visual aesthetic even if it isn't primary to me on that particular project. Regardless, this vagueness means that I rarely enter the extremes of techniques in photography as this becomes the point of the picture in my opinion, which is fine, but not generally where I'm coming from at the moment.

So....yes, I'm largely choosing based on name. Is that such a bad thing? I'm completely confident that either camera will easily cover my 5x4 needs, hence my lack of detail in nitty gritty of movements and so on.

Hope this all makes sense

Bob Salomon
12-Jun-2009, 17:10
Thanks so much for all the comments and advice, I'm still yet to make a decision but it's good to hear from different people.

One random question first of all - is the image seen through the optical viewfinder on the wista, and also the linhof (I assume the answer will be the same for both) reversed and upside down as per the GG, or is it corrected and "realistic"? I fully understand that asking this is ridiculous :)

The viewfinders show an unreversed, right side up image. Same as looking out your window.

The Linhof does not have a built-in viewfinder. It is an accessory. The Wista RF does have a built-in finder.

The Linhof Multifocus finder (current version and the same one has been made for over 30 years) corrects for both parallax and frame size as you set the focus on the finder. The Wista does not so over the entire focusing range the Linhof's is more accurate at all distances.

Archphoto
12-Jun-2009, 18:17
Regarding your question about the Manfrotto 055 tripod with the 410 head: I have that combination for about anything upto my heavy studio camera, a RB 67 and my wooden Shen Hao 4x5.
It shurely would be e great combination for your Linhof/Wista/???.

Peter

Frank Petronio
12-Jun-2009, 19:18
A $35 USd wire frame finder for the Linhof was actually nicer (and lighter and more compact) than the very $$$ optical viewfinder in my experience.

An excellent condition Technika IV with a new bellows should cost $750 to $1000 USd, not UK Pounds!

Thomasjenkins
13-Jun-2009, 04:27
Thanks for clearing that up Bob - from my point of view that is pretty amazing, as I still occassionally find it hard to compose upside down/reversed.

Van camper - that camera is indeed beautiful, wonderfully crafted - thanks for the suggestion. I'm pretty set on a metal field camera this time however, as I need something that is bullet proof...

Archphoto - thanks for the confirmation on tripods. This is as I thought. I suppose I should get the 410 head, and try it out on my 190 tripod to see if it's solid enough. If not, I'll upgrade to an 055.

And Frank, yes I get the feeling the linhof is overpriced! It is from the official UK importers and so this will have something to do with it. You would hope the camera really would be sorted as a result, but it's a large premium. I've been scouring ebay for technika's in america and beyond, who are willing to mail to the UK - are you aware of any shops or private sales that would do this outside of ebay?

Thanks all

edit: actually, how do these two look:

http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT&item=140323353213

http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=140321590750&indexURL=0&photoDisplayType=2#ebayphotohosting

Frank Petronio
13-Jun-2009, 05:27
You'll do better bidding at auction, those are reliable dealers but those prices seem high to me. Those older Schneider lenses in the Linhof shutters are fine lenses, but paying more than $250 for them is silly because you can buy much later ones for $250-$300 everyday. I still wouldn't pay more than $800 for a IV and $1200 for a V unless they had recently been CLA's with new bellows, in which case that would be worth a few hundred more.

Even though you can buy from a good dealer or individual, and the camera will be in working condition, the Linhof bellows are very fine and thin leather and on V they will be 30 years plus and on IV probably 50 plus years old. So even if they are light tight, if the camera has its original bellows you will probably have to replace it pretty soon, at least if you use the camera frequently.

I think that is around $350 from Linhof; there are alternative manufacturers that might save you a little but you usually get what you pay for.

Sorry I won't do the conversions but I think you can get a rough idea... If those eBay buy it now Technikas were perfect with new bellows I wouldn't hesitate, but I think they are simply decent old camera that are only worth about 66% of what those dealers are asking.

Be patient and bid on auctions or watch this board for a private deal, as buying from forum members saves the eBay fees and I think most people here are a little more responsible and forthcoming when they sell here.

Peter K
13-Jun-2009, 05:58
edit: actually, how do these two look:

http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT&item=140323353213
The camera seems nice but it's the first viewfinder. Much bigger as the later ones and realy bad to look through. Also no masks for smaller formats like RF where aviable.

Archphoto
13-Jun-2009, 06:35
One the viewfinders: there are cheaper, non-Linhof one advertized on ebay, but they will not be the same as the real thing !
Could be handy though.

Peter

Archphoto
13-Jun-2009, 06:49
One the prizes: There is a shift going on from mono-rail to wooden field camera's right now, probably because of digital aswell.
Mono-rails can be had at a fraction of what the sold for when new, field camera's seem to retain their value more.
The Linhof fields were never cheap camera's, new or used. They are build to last and will last you a lifetime with the proper TLC.

Having said that there are more filed camera's that are/were build with quality and long livity, like in the US the Graphic's.

Peter

seabird
13-Jun-2009, 15:34
In general it seems the linhof is the favoured option, and I suppose this answers my question as to which is preferred between an old well used linhof versus barely used mint wista. ... For body only I'd be spending approx 920.


Another vote for the Technika. I like my Tech IV so much I recently bought a second one... Dont pay hugely over the odds but dont fret about spending a few extra bucks on these cameras. The camera will last the rest of your lifetime which (hopefully - depends on how long you live) means the extra cost equates to only a few quid per annum (this argument worked on my wife).


I have manfrotto 190 aluminium legs. I intend on getting the 410 head that is so popular here, but I'm worried this tripod is not quite substantial enough- perhaps the 055 is the minimum I should use?

Again, many thanks for any advice

I use my Tech on manfrotto 190 legs with a 141RC head. Works well enough even with Nikkor-M 300 at full stretch.

Best of luck.

Thomas Greutmann
14-Jun-2009, 06:29
Another vote for the Technika. I like my Tech IV so much I recently bought a second one... Dont pay hugely over the odds but dont fret about spending a few extra bucks on these cameras. The camera will last the rest of your lifetime which (hopefully - depends on how long you live) means the extra cost equates to only a few quid per annum (this argument worked on my wife).



I use my Tech on manfrotto 190 legs with a 141RC head. Works well enough even with Nikkor-M 300 at full stretch.

Best of luck.

I can confirm that a manfrotto 190 works well with a Linhof Technika, even with a heavy lens. I am using a 486RC2 ball head which is very compact.

Thomasjenkins
14-Jun-2009, 12:07
Thanks all.
Frank - Good advice, I'll keep an eye on ebay then. There's another I've noticed which is a different proposition being much more money, but looks nice- still overpriced though? It also mentions that the bellows have been replaced with merflex... http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT&item=140310198843

Seabird and thomas - thanks for the confirmation on the 190. Good to know it's enough, as it's a fine little tripod. One thing I'm struggling with is the current head though - I also have the 141, but the movements are not smooth. Initially there is some resistence in movement before it just "go's" and then it's smooth, until you stop moving. But this results in jagged movement for the finer adjustments. Any idea on how I could try and fix this?

Tom

Bob Salomon
14-Jun-2009, 12:35
bellows have been replaced with merflex...
Tom

That would be replaced by Marflex

jello22
15-Jun-2009, 10:01
I can confirm that a manfrotto 190 works well with a Linhof Technika, even with a heavy lens. I am using a 486RC2 ball head which is very compact.

I agree with you on that one. Nice website btw!https://www.chrome-scene.com/smileys/36/1242750956/smile.gif

Archphoto
15-Jun-2009, 13:03
I had the 408RCII on my 055 tripod, had the same problems with it not being smooth, replaced it with a 410 geared head and never looked back.....

Peter

Thomasjenkins
17-Jun-2009, 13:49
Thanks all.

I've taken the plunge! I've ordered a master tech aging back to the 70's. Mint condition and complete with a viewfinder...Should hopefully receive sometime next week - I am truely excited! :)

Tom