View Full Version : Field cameras suitable for wide angle photography?

31-Jul-2011, 16:00
I am currently using a Field DX45, which comes with glued on bellows that extend to ~300mm (So no bag bellows available). I would like to have extensive wide angle movements (eg 72mm xl for architecture and wider in the future) while maintaining my current long lens xapabilities in a camera. I have been thinking about my options. The arca is at the top of the list.. But seems like a financial nightmare..similar story with the ebony. I have not handled a Shen but I have heard it's a definite step down in the precision and stability. I would like to at least remain at the same quality camera as I am now with the aim of moving up.

What are your suggestions on which camera could be a good one to move on to? And why? Should I just bite the bullet and save for the arca? I guess having something in the meantime would be great...

31-Jul-2011, 16:09
I have an Arca field camera and with a bag bellows it is hard to beat. From what I have seen, used prices for a standard F-Line field camera run $2000-2500. The newer models have a pretty forgiving bellows so you might not need the bag bellows with that.

evan clarke
31-Jul-2011, 16:16
I have Arcas in all formats and may be one of the biggest fans..but I have an Ebony 45S which I use exclusively for my 58 and 72 XLs..Just a great little package..Evan Clarke

31-Jul-2011, 16:20
I now have both a Chamonix and a Shen Hao. The Chamonix with bag bellows would probably do what you want.

Kent in SD

Gem Singer
31-Jul-2011, 16:42
Take a look at the Canham DLC45. Since the new DLC2 has been introduced, previously owned DLC45's are selling for a very reasonable price.


Bob Salomon
31-Jul-2011, 16:53
The Linhof TK45s and the Master Technika 3000 both easily handle lenses down to 35mm.

31-Jul-2011, 17:05
. Everywhere I look it seem to be some level of compromise even though some cameras are very very good.

I would like to buy into a system. Get it once and get a no compromise system is what I am thinking.

Would like to be a Capable studio camera as well as field..

Maybe I have already set my mind for an arca. the precision and the interchangability of components just seem sO convenient.

The technikardan was another option but it does not offer that interchangeable flexibility..

Something like the rw ebony (custom version iii) seems excellent as a pure light weight field camera though...

31-Jul-2011, 17:31
I've used a 47mm with ease on my Zone VI.

Frank Petronio
31-Jul-2011, 17:38
I see 171mm friction-drive Arca 4x5 F-lines and Discoveries selling for a lot less than $2000... add a bag bellows. Done.

Brian Ellis
31-Jul-2011, 18:39
Any of the more or less usual wood field cameras that can take a bag bellows - which includes Shen Hao, Zone VI, Wisner, and Chamonix among others - will do what you want. There's no need to leap into the realm of heavy, bulky monorails or $5,000 field cameras just to use the type of lens you mention.

As an aside, I've only owned a Shen for a short time (not because of any problems with it but because it was misrepresented by the seller) and have handled and played around with but not owned a Wista. FWIW I didn't notice any obvious differences in stability or precision between the two. They both seemed like stable, well-made cameras about as precise as any wood field camera is going to get (which is to say sufficiently stable for virtually all purposes). I also owned other wood field cameras - Ebony (2), Chamonix, Deardorff (2), Tachihara (2), and Agfa-Ansco - and they all seemed to be well-made, stable, reasonably precise cameras.

No matter how much you spend you won't have quite the same degree of precision with any wood camera that you will with a metal camera. For that reason my own favorite cameras have been Linhof Technikas. But they lack a bag bellows and the ones I owned (Tech V and Master) required an expensive, somewhat cumbersome wide angle focusing device to be used with lenses shorter than 75mm. Since my shortest lens was an 80mm that wasn't a problem for me but would be for you.

31-Jul-2011, 19:38
Take a look at the Shen-Hao XPO. It will do wides (it was designed for the 72 on a flat board with the standard bellows, and I'm reasonably sure it will go down to a 58 with a flat board and a bag bellows).

But the main advantage is that it is compatible with Sinar monorail cameras, and will accept their bellows, lens boards (including recessed boards), and backs.

The XPO has a quadruple-extension bed and will go as long as you describe, but you could also buy a cheapie Sinar F, extended as long as you dare (as Sinars do best), and all without having a lens board mismatch.

Rick "who finds the Sinar system to be the most modular and the cheapest on the used market considering the high quality" Denney

31-Jul-2011, 19:48
. Everywhere I look it seem to be some level of compromise even though some cameras are very very good.


All camera gear compromises something.

Kent in SD