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View Full Version : 6x9 camera or 4x5 camera with roll film back



Minhhich
25-Apr-2011, 10:09
Hi guys,
This is my first post but I would like to thanks all of you for so much information on this forum as I've been following for a while. I recently got all of my canon 1ds mk2 and mamiya gear stolen and so I would like to have a fresh start. I want to shoot medium format permanently and not sheet film due to its cost. So I was thinking about wether to get a 6x9 field camera or a 4x5 field camera with roll film back? Also if I go for the 6x9 camera would it be hard to find lens boards for them? I want to use lenses such as 47 -> 90 mm max with movement. Please help. Arca Swiss f 69 or linhof technikardan 23 would be nice but they are hard to find used here in the UK. Please also recommend me some other brand aswell.
Thanks
Minh

Greg Lockrey
25-Apr-2011, 10:46
4x5's are more versatile in that you can get panoramic 6x17 backs for them. I use mostly roll film with mine too but that 4x5 neg comes in handy when you need only one shot. Plus using polaroid is a plus too. I use Sinar, Speed Graphic, and an Ebony. The lenses and backs go on everything. My 2 cents.

Minhhich
25-Apr-2011, 11:32
Hi. Thanks for your reply. However, do you think that by using a 4x5 body with such wide lens I will lose movement because the lens is too close to the back?

Jack Dahlgren
25-Apr-2011, 11:50
Hi. Thanks for your reply. However, do you think that by using a 4x5 body with such wide lens I will lose movement because the lens is too close to the back?

Using a 47mm lens on 4x5 is at the extreme. There are cameras which will accomodate that, but you are better off getting a 2x3 camera which is designed for MF. I personally think that for MF you are best off with something like your Mamiya rather than a field camera with roll-film back. I find roll-film backs to be more of a pain than regular sheetfilm holders, so the equation of medium format film on a 4x5 doesn't work out well for me. I'd rather use MF hand-held with a viewfinder of some sort or LF with tripod and ground glass.

FISCHERMAN-FRIEND
25-Apr-2011, 11:57
Greg is right in my opinion; though I used a 6x9 super technika for decades and usually was pretty pleased (and they are about 50% smaller then a 4x5 in all but the wheigt dimention) - I was surprised at how much easier things got when I finally switched to the bigger brother: a lot more things are international standard. Notably film-backs, but even lensboards tend to belong to platform groups like Linhof Technika/Wista/Toyo etc or Sinar/Horseman. And even when you should have two different brands with lensboards that won't match - no problem! Usually at least one has the space it takes on his to offer the opportunity to provide for the adapting device! So you can still use but the other. And think of spares: its like being on an island there to for the 6x9 while 4x5 is the continent (sorry, this was possibly not so diplomatic on someone on one, but still, you get my drift?)
This versatility is what really captivates me - really like Greg said.

I might ad as a plus_ the switches and gears tend to be larger too, nice when you are less into manipulating your cam with the help of pincers ;)
Your second question as to brands: In 4x5 you have plenty so I ll start with the ones I know in 6x9: Linhof, MPP, Horseman, Plaubel, graflex, Mamiya, Polaroid, fuji, (most are known for folders (technical cams (sorry, but folders are my baby)) but there is a Plaubel monorail (Peco I think it is) from the 1950ies to 70ies)
4x5 the same minus Mamiya, Polaroid, fuji; plus Cambo, sinar, ebony, chamonix, and a world of others and the same distinction as to type of cams.
I ve had the pleasure to use Arca swiss F-line, Linhof S-Technika 3-6, Wista SP, and the unfortune to use a sinar f.
Hope that was helpful?

FISCHERMAN-FRIEND
25-Apr-2011, 12:02
a Super Angulon 47 without 'XL' is my main lens, while on a superTechnika 4x5 that will not do it can be operated on a Wista with special equipment or the technika 'classic' (2000 or 3000) and either of these will be better then a mamiya 23, not to mention a monorail with a 'large angle bag'

Dan Fromm
25-Apr-2011, 13:17
Minh, what's your budget?

dave_whatever
25-Apr-2011, 13:49
Buying a 4x5 camera with a 120 back WILL tempt you to try 4x5 at some point, I can guarantee this for personal experience. If you're hellbent on never using 4x5 then I would definitely buy a 2x3 camera. But if you even vaguely entertain the idea of 4x5 then get a 4x5 camera.

Minhhich
25-Apr-2011, 17:02
Hi I would like to spend maximum of 1000 for a body and a lens

rdenney
25-Apr-2011, 18:14
With your budget, you will really need to be considering a 4x5 camera.

6x9 view cameras have a significant advantage: gear-driven movements in a small-camera package. The shorter the lens, the less the tilt and swing needed to achieve a give angle of the focus plane. The less movement needed for a given effect, the more finely the movement needs to be adjusted.

But having this one advantage is expensive. I can't think of any inexpensive 6x9 cameras that have gear-driven movements.

Not all 4x5 cameras are suitable. I have a Cambo SC that will not focus a 47 at all, even with bag bellows and a recessed board. A 65 is even challenging with that camera.

But here is one fairly inexpensive option (inexpensive in the used market, that is): A Sinar F-series camera, with the Wide Angle Bellows 2. The bellows require some patience to find without buying new, but it's worth the search with the 47mm lens. (The standard bag bellows--the Wide Angle Bellows 1--is cheap and widely available, but requires a lot of fiddling to work with the 47 in order to prevent tangling with the standards and pushing them out of alignment.

I prefer the F or F1 rear standard for this application, or an F2 standard with the non-metering back. The metering back that comes with the F2 adds thickness for the metering probe port.

My Sinar has an F rear and an F2 front standard, and the WA Bellows 2. I use 47, 65, and 90mm Super Angulons on flat lensboards with no issue. I estimate that I can get about 6-8 degrees of tilt or swing with the 47 focused at infinity, plus shift limited only by the lens coverage. I have to raise front and rear and then rack the standards towards each other to focus it at infinity--the little bit of rise is required for the racked standard to clear the rail clamp. This is an insigificant issue in practice. That amount of tilt is usually all you need with the 47.

I have a Wista 6x9 holder and a Sinar Vario holder (for 6x12, but it will do all formats).

The Sinar has an advantage over most rail cameras in that the rail is modular. The base rail is 12 inches--much shorter than many monorail cameras--but you can even mount the standards on a 6" rail extension for using the 47. But you won't have to choose between the rail being in the picture or stabbing you in the chest as you will with some view cameras.

I would think even on that side of the pond, where everything is more expensive, a used Sinar F, an older 47/5.6 (not SA), 65/5.6, and 90/5.6 SA's, not necessarily the latest models, plus a Wista/Horseman 6x9 holder would fit within your budget. I can't think of many other options that will fulfill your requirements within your budget.

One prior poster declared his misfortune in using an Sinar F, but no camera will resonate with every user. It's only key weakness in this application: It does not have geared movements. But it works fine for me, and I'm not exactly delicate of hand. If it doesn't work for you and if you paid a reasonable price for it, just sell it and try something else. No real loss to try it out.

It is true that if you have a 4x5 camera, you have the option of considering larger formats than 6x9. Even with roll film, you can explore 6x12 if you have a 4x5 camera. If you have a 6x9 camera, that's the format you are limited to.

Rick "who has been down this path" Denney

Two23
25-Apr-2011, 20:52
What kind of images do you want to make? What will you be shooting and how? Match the gear to the use.


Kent in SD

Professional
25-Apr-2011, 20:58
Buy 4x5 camera and buy 6x9 MF camera such as Fujica GW/GSW690 II/III, i have GSW690III, i know i can't change the lens or have movements, but the camera giving me really sharp nice results, most of the time you will not use the movements, so have that Fuji as backup and buy 4x5, if you still have rest enough budget then get that 6x12 roll back, some 6x12 roll back coming with masks for 6x9/6x6/6x4.5, so you will have a big plus or bonus then.

Good luck!

Professional
25-Apr-2011, 21:03
Here are few shots i've taken with my GSW690III:

http://img94.imageshack.us/img94/5940/img087np.jpg
http://img185.imageshack.us/img185/8157/img073x.jpg
http://img832.imageshack.us/img832/2116/img072.jpg
http://img827.imageshack.us/img827/3752/img070.jpg
http://img203.imageshack.us/img203/7749/img063m.jpg

Frank Bunnik
25-Apr-2011, 21:31
These were made in Oman I guess?

Frank
www.frankbunnik.zenfolio.com

Professional
26-Apr-2011, 04:59
These were made in Oman I guess?

Frank
www.frankbunnik.zenfolio.com

No, all of these are from my country, United Arab Emirates, which is just bordered with Oamn ;) few shots above are very close to Oman borders, but the rest which are the desert shots are in center of UAE, Sharjah city or area.

Noah A
26-Apr-2011, 05:19
If I were shooting rollfilm with wide to normal lenses, there's no way I'd be lugging a view camera kit around. I'd go for a technical camera.

If budget isn't a problem, I'd go for something nice like an Alpa or Silvestri. I might even buy digital lenses in some cases since some of them can cover, say, 6x7 film but they'd also be a good investment for the future. Same goes for the camera, since it has the required precision for a digital back.

If budget is a concern, I'd probably think about a Fotoman Dmax.

The technical cameras are small, can be used handheld and they're very precise.

On the other hand, you could just shoot 4x5. The film isn't cheap, but you end up shooting fewer frames so it works out about the same in my experience.

Bill_1856
26-Apr-2011, 07:13
Stick with digital.
If you just MUST go to film, look at Mamiya RB67.

Professional
26-Apr-2011, 09:44
There are many options, i have digital MF and because of it i converted to film but i still shoot digital, i will be done or completed once i can get myself a technical camera, it is like i keep the most precise gear to the end, so i go through 35mm digital to MF digital then MF film and now with LF, all of them are really interesting to use and have fun enjoyable shooting with, i know that is so pricey within the time, but i can remember every moment i use each gear for shooting anywhere, this is truly priceless whatever i do.

If i want to shoot only rolls of film then i have few options:
- Get Mamiya 7II, it has an optional adapter so you can shoot with 35mm panos
- Fuji 667, the new one which you can shoot 6x6 and 6x7 at the same time
- Hasselblad V series or Mamiya 6x7 options with back changeable
- Horseman or Fotoman or similar for 6x17 or 6x12
- 4x5 field camera lightweight with roll back

with any option above you should be able to use rolls anytime, but think of each pros and cons for your advantage, sometimes go with 2 options if possible instead of one, we always don't know what we will want in the future, so getting 2 things instead of one will make our future choices even less and less [i mean 2 systems or formats than one].

Dan Fromm
26-Apr-2011, 10:00
Hi guys,
This is my first post but I would like to thanks all of you for so much information on this forum as I've been following for a while. I recently got all of my canon 1ds mk2 and mamiya gear stolen and so I would like to have a fresh start. I want to shoot medium format permanently and not sheet film due to its cost. So I was thinking about wether to get a 6x9 field camera or a 4x5 field camera with roll film back? Also if I go for the 6x9 camera would it be hard to find lens boards for them? I want to use lenses such as 47 -> 90 mm max with movement. Please help. Arca Swiss f 69 or linhof technikardan 23 would be nice but they are hard to find used here in the UK. Please also recommend me some other brand aswell.
Thanks
Minh
Minh, your budget of UKP 1,000 won't buy a modern 6x9 view camera. It will buy an ancient one, if one can be found, and some lenses. Ancient ones, such as my 2x3 Cambo SC, are pretty hostile to short lenses.

If you can sacrifice movements, a 2x3 Crown Graphic with Graflok back or a Century Graphic (plastic-bodied 2x3 Crown with integral Graflok) will do what you need. All these bijoux offer in the way of movements with short lenses is ~ 10 mm front rise, and that with the front wire frame finder removed. Easy surgery.

One of these beasties with several lenses in your focal length range should fit your budget easily. But you'll have to shop on ebay.com, not on ebay.co.uk.

Note that on 2x3 90 mm is just 10% shorter than normal for the format.

You can read about the lenses I use on my little Graphics at http://www.galerie-photo.com/1-lens-6x9-dan-fromm.html , http://www.galerie-photo.com/2-lens-6x9-dan-fromm.html , http://www.galerie-photo.com/3-lens-6x9-dan-fromm.html . Section 1 discusses adapters and macro lenses, section 2 discusses short lenses (with a few in the appendix to section 3), and section 3 discusses long lenses.

I understand that a press camera won't do all that you think you want to do. Your budget is, though, constraining. A press camera is a compromise, may be the best you can do if you insist on shooting 6x9 with a camera made for 6x9.

Others have suggested that you think hard about shooting 2x3, sorry, 6x9, with a 4x5 camera. I can't evaluate those options, but a 4x5 may be a better compromise for you than a 2x3 press camera.

Frank Bunnik
26-Apr-2011, 13:26
FFordes in the UK is a reliable company that at this moment has a used Linhof Technikardan S23 with some extra available for GBP 949.

For 300 pounds less you can buy a Shen Hao 4x5 camera. The money you save buys you a lens and possibly a Chinese 6x12 back (on Ebay).

I always thought that sheet film was a hassle and that I was never going to use it. How wrong could I have been! Sheet film is easy to use and since I use it, I keep postponing buying a roll film back.

Compared to the 4x5 camera I now use, the Horseman VHR 6x9 camera was a real hassle due to small knobs, a dim screen and a 6x9 screen is really too small to check movements.

My advice would be to buy a 4x5 camera. The Chinese sell a roll film back on Ebay that gives you the choice between 6x4,5cm, 6x6, 6x7, 6x9 and 6x12. Not as sophisticated as an Arca Swiss back but much cheaper and not as fragile. The back is sold under several names, among them Shen Hao. Labeled "Da Yi" however, it sells for about half the price of the same back labeled Shen Hao. You could use this AND have the possibility to shoot 4x5 sheet film.

Good luck with your choice, Frank
www.frankbunnik.zenfolio.com

evan clarke
26-Apr-2011, 14:00
Hi guys,
This is my first post but I would like to thanks all of you for so much information on this forum as I've been following for a while. I recently got all of my canon 1ds mk2 and mamiya gear stolen and so I would like to have a fresh start. I want to shoot medium format permanently and not sheet film due to its cost. So I was thinking about wether to get a 6x9 field camera or a 4x5 field camera with roll film back? Also if I go for the 6x9 camera would it be hard to find lens boards for them? I want to use lenses such as 47 -> 90 mm max with movement. Please help. Arca Swiss f 69 or linhof technikardan 23 would be nice but they are hard to find used here in the UK. Please also recommend me some other brand aswell.
Thanks
Minh

Consider an Ebony 23s..a sweet camera..EC

evan clarke
26-Apr-2011, 14:11
Also consider a Shen Hao TFC69A. It's a non folder and is inexpensive. I have a 4x5 version for a grab and go knock around camera and habe been satisfied. I believe Robert White can sell you one, Badger Graphic in the US list it at $719.95 US..Evan Clarke

ic-racer
26-Apr-2011, 14:44
6x9 camera or 4x5. At least within the Horseman system, they are both about the same size.