View Full Version : First field camera - not wooden?

19-Jun-2011, 19:27
Hi, I have read enough to know what I need. Just wondering what are my options if I wanted the following:

4x5 field camera for outdoor field use
something that is more compact and lightweight
maybe that is not wooden but a black colour, yes, being picky

Should i get into building photography with a monorail, can I resuse the lens board and lenses?

I am in New Zealand so I would probably need to pick one up on my travels or import it.

19-Jun-2011, 20:05
Have a look at a Wista SP, RF or VX.
They're pretty sophisticated cameras, rugged, and well-designed.

19-Jun-2011, 20:33
Many people seem to recommend you just get something cheap to start with, anything really. I agree, once you have used it for a while you will understand what you need. I started with a Sinar f and an inexpensive 150mm lens, But really much preferred a 4x5 field camera with a 135mm lens. But didnt like the boxyness of 4x5 so found myself with a 5x7 dropbed and now a 5x7 field camera. Important in NZ is to get something that you can flick on easily without too much of a loss. So dont overpay or buy anything that is big and heavy and expensive to ship. Also remember that you will be stung by customs on anything over NZD400 including shipping, if you buy overseas.

When you have a camera, pm me and I can sell you a few film holders. They are expensive to ship from overseas and I have a few to spare.

Good luck

19-Jun-2011, 20:33
Toyo field cameras or a Canham DLC would round out the list.

Can't go wrong with Wista, Toyo AX/AII, or Canham DLC.

Canham is the most eccentric of the group. It is more expensive, lighter, has longer bellows, and is more fiddly to set up. It is a good choice if you want light weight and still use lenses longer than 300 mm. I am not as familiar with Wista but I think they have more limited bellows draw.

douglas gove
19-Jun-2011, 21:10
Another vote for Wista SP

Darin Boville
19-Jun-2011, 23:52
I'd second Jerold and vote for Toyo 45a/ax series. $500-$600 used in excellent condition, great camera.


20-Jun-2011, 00:46
I'll second the Sinar F as a good starter. Cheap, lightweight, plenty of movements, can use most of the accessories of a P/P2, so easy to upgrade as a modular system.
Where you go from there depends on your choice of subject/style/format. Either way, I believe this is a good camera to start with.
If you're getting into architecture, you'll need some movements. The type and flexibility of movements you want/need will limit some field cameras from your list of options.

20-Jun-2011, 01:12
Personally I'd go suggest a wooden field camera like a Wista 45DX, maybe a Shen Hao or a Chamonix rather than a metal Technical camera.

I've been using a Wista for 25 years and it's reasonably light weight, flexible and plenty of movements, I also use a Super Graphic for hand held work which the Toyo 45a is based on but there's fewer movements. So far even with buildings I've never run out of movements with a Wista, I do have a monorail but it rarely gets used and then just as a backup camera (because of living in two countries).


20-Jun-2011, 02:11
Sinar's dont sell well on trademe and are too big and ungainly to sell elsewhere, not portable at all, but they do everything really well and are a lot of camera for the money. there was one for sale in NZ by a guy called welly, you could PM him to see if it sold. Probably he wants too much if it hasnt. You wont see the FS section yet until you have been a member for 1 month, here is his ad posted on 19 January.

FS: Sinar F2 and Nikon 150mm f5.6 on Sinar board
Selling these separate.

Lens - Excellent condition, clean throughout. Looking for around US$275 plus shipping from NZ (around US$20)

Sinar F2 - again excellent condition, complete with spare ground glass. The bubble levels have dried up on a couple of them but aside from that, it's in an excellent state. Looking for around $400 plus shipping from NZ.