View Full Version : What 4x5 camera for long lenses?

22-Jul-2009, 11:21
What 4x5'' camera do you reccomend for lenses in (210)-300-450 range? I would shoot on medium distances (trees), with non-telephoto lenses, like Fujinon-C or Nikkor-M. The camera should be fine for backpacking.

I was thinking about Chamonix, but don't know how is with rigidity with 450 mm lens? As I read, a special adaptor must be used for 450 mm.

Or is the only suitable solution a monorail camera like Arca-Swiss? I had Sinar F2, but didn't like it, I found it too clumsy and heavy to backpack.

What do you think?

Paul Kierstead
22-Jul-2009, 11:38
With a 450mm lens, your going to want well over half a meter of possible extension for even moderately close subjects. I'd think that is going to limit camera choices severely. A standard Chamonix has only 395mm (http://www.chamonixviewcamera.com/45.html) of bellows, so clearly would require an adapter to even get it to infinity focus.

Tony Lakin
22-Jul-2009, 11:43
I use a Canham DLC which is extremely versitile and light weight.
Good luck

David Karp
22-Jul-2009, 11:45
I use a 450mm with My Walker Titan SF. You have to use a combination of back axis tilt and front base tilt to accomplish this. The Titan SF is a very rigid camera, and the Fuji 450 C is a light lens, so I have not had any problems with stability doing this.

Other triple extension field cameras will allow you to go up to 450mm, such as Ebony, Wisner, Zone VI Ultralight, other non-Wista or non-Tachihara Zone VI varieties, Lotus, as will a lightweight monorail camera such as the ARCA-Swiss F-Line.

Gem Singer
22-Jul-2009, 11:52
The Canham DLC45 has a maximum bellows extension of 521mm.

It is relatively compact and light weight and folds into a fitted soft case for transporting.

When I owned one, I often used a Fuji 450C lens. No problem.

22-Jul-2009, 12:01
A telephoto formula lens would add several more cameras to the list. And several more ounces to your backpack.

Do not trust my memoery, do your homework, but I think that the Fujinon 400T infinity focus is in the 250mm range. folks who have used the lens will know for sure.

22-Jul-2009, 12:03
Simple answer is a 5x7 with a 4x5 back.

22-Jul-2009, 12:04
Or a 5x7 camera and forget the 4x5 back.

Ken Lee
22-Jul-2009, 12:28
If you intend to backpack, the Canham DLC will be a nice fit, since it's a metal camera and therefore less prone to damage (ground glass aside).

Among the wooden field cameras, if you can find one, a (used) 4x5 Wisner Technical Field nicely accommodates a 450mm lens at closer than infinity, and folds up as small as other wooden field cameras, give or take. So does one of the Ebony cameras too, but Ebony cameras are in another price range, and rarely appear on the used market. People who get them, tend to keep them.

Shooting 5x7 film, requires lenses that are roughly 133% the length of lenses for 4x5. So to get the equivalent reach of a 450, you need a 600mm lens, etc. And if you're backpacking where weight and size are important, it's the extra size and weight of each film holder, not just the camera, to consider. The image quality is 35/20 times greater, but so is the weight.

The biggest advantage of non-tele designs is their wide coverage. A typical 450mm lens can be used on 11x14 cameras, but a Fujinon 400T or Nikon 360T will provide only modest movements on 4x5.

If you don't need a lot of coverage or view camera movements, then you can use one of those teles on a mainstream field camera, like a Tachihara, Shen Hao, Chamonix, etc.

The "C" lenses are small, and take small filters - but they are not telephoto lenses: they require a normal bellows draw. They are generally modified Tessar designs, with fewer internal elements, a smaller maximum opening. So they are compact.

22-Jul-2009, 12:29
You remind me that I've kept a couple of plastic bits from a 40" Roll of Multigrade paper, the paper core sat on them in the box, but they will make ideal lens extension cones for my Wista :D


Drew Wiley
22-Jul-2009, 12:37
What I used for years was a Sinar with an extra rail extension and a Horseman 28-inch
bellows (the orginal bellows became the lens shade). You could even leave the lens
in place and just pop the cap. A very fast camera to set up and shoot.

Steve Barber
22-Jul-2009, 14:16
Why limit to a range of 210-450?

A Wisner 4x5 Technical Field will take a 47mm S-A XL through a 19" Artar and on up to a 600mm Fujinon T.:D

Ed Richards
22-Jul-2009, 15:30
The Sinar is a cheap, rigid way to shoot long. Just use rail extensions and an extra standard with two bellows. Heavy, but strong and cheaper than most alternatives.

Ron Marshall
22-Jul-2009, 16:44
Canham woodfield or Toho if you want ultra-light.

22-Jul-2009, 20:35
The Canham DLC is hard to beat for versatility, wide to long. I happen to have one for sale with a Maxwell focusing screen! Arca Swiss is an excellent, but very expensive, alternative.

Kirk Fry
22-Jul-2009, 22:37
You want cheap, a Long Rail Calumet CC401. A way under valued tool. Shoot, filters cost more than these cameras.


23-Jul-2009, 03:33
The standard Canham Traditional 4x5/5x7 has 26" of bellows and can focus up to a 600mm lens on an extension board at infinity with good rigidity, helped in part by a tripod mount that stays centered on the camera as the front and rear standards extend roughly symmetrically, and further enabled by its excellent design and construction. Plus the dual format capability, and throw in 6x17 if one wishes. Most pleased with mine, caused me to quit pining over the Ebony ads.

Philippe Grunchec
23-Jul-2009, 10:14
I use a Schneider/Linhof Tele-Xenar 5,5/360 on my Toyo 45AII. It is supposed to cover 5x7!

Robert Hall
23-Jul-2009, 10:33
The Nikkor T lenses are quite nice. I can use the 600mm model and those shorter on my Canham 45 and 57 cameras with no trouble.

I believe the lenses are getting harder to find however.

Eric Woodbury
23-Jul-2009, 10:53
A tough problem. I've been looking for just such a camera with the added requirements of lightweight and lenses from 58mm to 450mm without having the camera to jump through hoops or fold like a Chinese puzzle.

I now use an Ebony now, but it doesn't have enough bellows and it must be folded in contrived manner to handle wide lenses. Similar is my 5x7 Deardorff, which handles all the lenses (at least for 5x7) from 72mm to 800mm tele. I had a DLC and it is interesting, but a real puzzle to set up. I'd rather have a non-folding camera, similar to the non-folding Ebony cameras, but without many of the movements (I don't use shifts or front swings and tilts) and reduced weight.

23-Jul-2009, 14:31
Light: Sinar F(x)
Luxus: Sinar P2

If you don't go too far from your car allmost any 4x5 mono rail will do.


Craig Roberts
23-Jul-2009, 16:42
A deardorff 5x7 with a 4x5 back. Can't go wrong. Craig

John Hennessy
23-Jul-2009, 17:36
No one has mentioned the Technikardan probably because it is not too light. But it is sturdy and will use a 450mm (especially the Fujinon) well. Mine was in the USD2000's but now there way too expensive.

Nathan Potter
23-Jul-2009, 18:41
I use a Tecnikardan because it is somewhat heavy (about 7 lbs I think) but it locks down nice and tight and is a pretty precision instrument. I pack it but usually not more than a mile or so. I would not backpack it long distances. I use it with up to 500 mm. lenses (Nikon T ED) but even then brace the front board or lens with monopods for stability.

Nate Potter, Boston MA. still in the rain it seems.

28-Jul-2009, 00:13
Thank you all for your advice.

Ron Marshall
28-Jul-2009, 08:10
No one has mentioned the Technikardan probably because it is not too light. But it is sturdy and will use a 450mm (especially the Fujinon) well. Mine was in the USD2000's but now there way too expensive.

KEH has a Technikardan for $1400, and an S for $2000.