View Full Version : Completing the set

4-Aug-2009, 10:44
Remember this?

I knew that if I ever touched a real filed camera I would buy it. Sure enough, last Saturday I bought one of Mr. Picker and Mr. Ritter's creations. A spakelly clean, made in Vermont, gold plated hardware Zone VI field camera, 4x5 model. My first two 4x5 cameras were Speed Graphics. I still have the second one. The Zone VI is my first "real" field camera.

For the last week I've been "practicing" with the camera at home. No real photographs yet. A few observations and questions...

Folding is easy enough. Not as quick as the Speed Graphic. Not unpleasant.
Unfolding is just about the same effort as folding.
Here's the rub...
I'm used to cameras having lenses and film planes locked parallel to each other. OK, so a view camera permits movements. I wanted that. I bought a field camera. However, the Zone VI camera doesn't have any way of starting from a square, plumb and parallel condition. The lensboard lacks detents to align with the front uprights. The detents on the rear standard aren't square with the bed. I have to get a level out and fiddle with everything to make the lens & film more or less parallel. Are all field cameras like this?

At the time of purcase, I had a choice between a Nikon Nikkor-W 180mm f/5.6 and a Caltar II-N 210mm f/5.6 lens. I've always had a soft spot for Nikkor optics so I bought the 180, Nikkor-W in a Copal #1 shutter. Checking the shutter on a friend's homemade shutter tester reveals that 1/125 = 1/100, 1/250 = 1/198 and 1/400 = 1/212. Is this within the tolerance of the shutter? Of course I have no way of knowing if the Copal #1 shutter with the Caltar lens was any better.

All in all, I'm glad to have a camera with all the proper movements. Heck, I have to use them before I can take a picture with zero movements. ;) I am wondering if a bit of grey gaffers tape will hide some of the sparkle. :eek: Did Mr. Picker make a camo model????????? :cool:

Ok, enough rambling. I'm going out in the morning with both 4x5 cameras. It should be interesting.

I forgot the picture of the camera.

With very little rhyme and no reason. Flaunting conventional wisdom, "Buy a 150mm lens and use it for a decade. Then pick a second lens." In a year's time I have assembled a 3 lens kit for the 4x5 Zone VI field camera.

I added lens #2 in the Spring. A wee Fujinon-W 125mm 1:5.6 with 46mm filter ring. A keeper for sure.

Today I added a Fujinon-W 250mm 1:6.3 lens. I should have it by the weekend. 67mm filters match the Nikkor-W 180mm and 2 of my Pentax 6x7 lenses.

Now I can use what I have for a decade and then decide on a 4th lens. :D

Gem Singer
4-Aug-2009, 11:23
Hi Wayne,

Good choice.

I use my Fuji f6.3 250 CM-W for both 4X5 and 5X7.

Mounted in a Copal 1 shutter and is not much bigger than a 210. It's one of my favorite focal lengths.

Use your new lens in the best of health.

BTW, how is that 4X5 Zone Vi holding up? Any problems with it?

Jim, at Midwest had the identical camera for sale in Santa Fe last weekend. It had one lens board and a high price tag.

4-Aug-2009, 11:26
Hi Eugene,

Boy I wish I could have gone to Santa Fe.

The Zone VI is holding up just fine. It doesn't get used enough! My BAD!

The new lens will fill up my #1 boards. If I get another lens it will have to be in a #0 shutter.

Gem Singer
4-Aug-2009, 11:36

125, 180, and 250 is a nice set of focal lengths for 4X5. However, you need a wider lens to fill out the set.

I have a Caltar II-N 6.8 90 MC for sale. Exc + condition. Reasonable price.

It will pop right into that empty Copal 0 lens board of yours.

Let me know when you're ready.

4-Aug-2009, 11:39
Grinning. You must have been a car salesman in a former life. Thanks for the offer, but I need to put the lenses I have to use.

I'm done. I have to use each of these lenses for a decade at least. YIKES! Will I live that long?

Gem Singer
4-Aug-2009, 11:42
Was a salesman, but never sold cars.

Just have too many lenses and not enough time to use them.

4-Aug-2009, 11:56

Just have too many lenses and not enough time to use them.

Same here.

Allen in Montreal
4-Aug-2009, 12:03

Just have too many lenses and not enough time to use them.

me three.

John Kasaian
4-Aug-2009, 14:35
Conventional wisdom, to my understanding is: Pick one lens and live with it until you discover that you really, really need another. :D
Have fun!

4-Aug-2009, 14:37
It seems that some of us discover "needs" sooner than others.

The two Fuji lenses were priced right and I pounced.

4-Aug-2009, 16:38
pounced...like a panther :D !


7-Aug-2009, 20:02
My early Christmas arrived. Mounted on the camera. Early indications: I like it. Not much bigger than the 180mm lens. Nice field of view. 125mm, 180mm and 250mm all fit in the Fishpond reel case!

A surprise: A roll of fresh 135-36 APX100 was in the box with the lens and a box of Tmax 400. Life is very good.

We are having fun!

8-Aug-2009, 17:59

I exposed 4 sheets of film today behind the Fujinon-W 250mm. I do like it. It allowed me to isolate a subject that I couldn't have done with one of my shorter lenses.

8-Aug-2009, 18:20

I exposed 4 sheets of film today behind the Fujinon-W 250mm. I do like it. It allowed me to isolate a subject that I couldn't have done with one of my shorter lenses.

The Fujinon-W 250/6.3 is a lovely lens for sure.

8-Aug-2009, 18:31
I am looking forward to seeing the negatives on Tuesday.