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View Full Version : To explain, I'm doing up a Technika V...



TJV
24-Sep-2011, 15:27
I posted this on Get DPI too...

So, I've been asking a lot of rather dull questions lately regarding fresnel lenses, taking lenses etc, and I'm about to ask another rather boring question. But before I do, I thought I'd explain that I'm in the process of doing up an old Linhof Technika V.

The camera used to belong to the medical illustrations dept. at the local city hospital but hadn't been used in over fifteen years when I bought it. I got it for a great price, all things considered, although I'm ending up spending a lot of money on new parts and fancy accessories like CF tripods, loupes etc! The bellows were shot, the leatherette is ok for its age and I can live with how it looks, but the shutter of the Schneider 150mm Symmar that came with it was seized. I am very fortunate to be friends with an ex Linhof repair person. Although in this part of the world there has never been a high demand for Linhof cameras or service, he is also Olympus and Hasselblad factory trained and I'm really lucky to have him here to help me out.

My friend fixed the Symmar as good as new, the shutter is now accurate and glass is pristine, plus he did an amazing job cleaning all camera parts and making everything very smooth. I now have new bellows for him to install thought I'd give the Chinese made ones off Ebay a try and a new fresnel screen on the way from Linhof Studios in the UK. I was also going to buy a replacement groundglass screen but bulked at the last minute. I have heard the new Linhof groundglass screen has a finer grain and is brighter than the older Tech V part but have no way of knowing how true this is, and, if it is, how noticeable in real use it might be. Can anyone comment? Will the newer GG screen be worth it in terms of clarity when using a loupe?

Up until now I have been using a Horseman 45FA. I have been borrowing it from work and in 15 years I am literally the only person who has used it. It's as fresh out of the box as you can get. I must admit that I love this camera and looked hard at spending the money and buying a new one from Hong Kong over the net. It seems far lighter than the Technika but is rather restricted in terms of what lenses one can use due to maximum bellows draw and, more importantly for me, how large the back element of the lenses can be due to it's small size front standard. If I'm to be picky, the knobs are also very small and although hardly ever a problem in the climate I live it, are hard to use when it gets cold. I like the Linhof system of the ratcheted front rise in this regard. I confess I'm a bit of a perfectionist and love shiny, new things so it's going to be hard putting the 45FA back in the cupboard when my Linhof is ready for action.

At the moment, besides the Symmar, I only own a 90mm Super-Auglulon f8 MC. It has proven to be a good little lens, if not a sharp as it's faster and bigger siblings. I have purchased a recessed lensboard to go with this when I get the Linhof working. I want to sell the Symmar and buy a modern MC 150mm lens. With the Horseman, I've been using a modern Topcor 150mm f5.6 lens, which I've never read anything about but it seems to really deliver. I'm wondering if it's actually a rebranded Rodenstock. The only info I can find online regarding the Topcor branded lenses is for designs that look, cosmetically at least, a lot more vintage in design. Anyone care to weigh in on if it's worth shelling out the cash for a Schneider APO-Symmar or Rodenstock APO-Sironar over a cheaper Nikon W or Fujinon W? I intend to produce very large prints, 48x60" in size on a semi-regular basis. I'm a professional fine art photographer and I've been working towards this style of working for a long time.

Well, at the end of the day I think doing my Tech V up will cost me about what I would have paid for a very good to excellent plus condition 45FA but I've always loved Linhof engineering so I guess all things are equal in the end. I really do love using a 4x5 field camera and find the way of working invigorating.

Be cool all,

T

Frank Petronio
24-Sep-2011, 16:32
Nice story and good luck. What was the question?

Noah A
24-Sep-2011, 16:58
The Horseman FA seems like a great camera, but I haven't had a chance to work with one. I thought about it, but the limited front rise as well as the fact that some lenses won't work due to the small front standard kept me from buying one. It's nice and small though and I gave it serious consideration. I'm sure the differences between it and a Linhof are minor and come down to personal preferences.

I'm using a Linhof MT2000 and I love it. It's rock-solid, has plenty of front rise, which is my most used movement, and it folds up into a tough little brick.

If you do the refurbishment right, you'll end up with an amazing camera that can last you a lifetime. Don't worry that it's not new. You can clean it up, get new leather from cameraleather and it'll look great.

If you replace the groundglass and fresnel, make sure you do so properly so the spacing remains correct. Check with Linhof or your local Linhof service facility to be sure, or ask around here if you have specific questions.

Lots of people are going to disagree with me, but I think if you're going to do huge enlargements that your lens really matters. I do 40x50" and larger exhibition prints on a regular basis and I can see a noticeable difference between my older Apo-Symmar and Apo-Sironar-N lenses and my current Apo-Sironar-S lenses. The older lenses are great and in small prints there will be no noticeable difference. But in 40x50" or 48x60" prints my newer lenses are sharper.

Consider the price of a few mounted 48x60 prints and I think the cost for a (used) Apo Sironar-S starts to look like a small expense. Personally, I'd go for an Apo-Sironar-S or Apo-Symmar-L lens, though the latter seem to be less easy to find on the used market.

Best of luck with the restoration.

TJV
24-Sep-2011, 20:04
Thanks Noah,

Funnily enough, I was out with the Horseman FA today and ran out of front rise. The bellows began to obstruct the path of light before I ran out of lens coverage. I can see more clearly now how the Horseman is not such a good choice for extreme movements or architecture. The small from standard actually really does bother me. With my 50mm lens, the shutter release is very close to the edge and when the shutter release cable is screwed in it obstructs the tilt movements. Really annoying! It is really light and nimble though. A great choice for many people who want to travel light and don't need to do extreme perspective corrections.

As I said, I'm lucky to know a very good repairman and he does an amazing job. The only thing I'm not sure of is if I change the groundglass screen, how one would check it's in the correct register, i.e. properly aligned with the film plane. Linhof service in my country is pretty much nonexistent. I rang the distributor and they couldn't remember if they even had the Linhof agency anymore! I'm lucky to have my friend, but I try not to bother him too much in fear he will get sick of me asking silly questions! He seems to think he is up to the task of calibrating focus though...

One simple feature I'd really like on my field camera is a spirit level on the rear standard. I found myself using the drop bed today, plus needing to point the camera down to achieve the correct point of view. This required me to make use of the Horseman's (minimal) back movements. I wanted to correct for keystoning (is this the correct term?) and it was hard using the fine grid etching on the groundglass alone to square things up as light was dim. If I had a spirit level on the rear standard I imagine it would have made set up a heck of a lot quicker.

I agree about modern lenses. I've mostly used a Mamiya 7II system over the last seven years and those lenses are nothing short of stunning. I get the feeling that I could get a lot more out of the 4x5" negs if I spend a little more on modern glass. The difference between my old Hasselblad negs and Mamiya & negs was like night and day at large print sizes. The Mamiya glass had more bite, less distortion and less fall off. It's a pity that little system doesn't have movements! I guess the closes one could get it it in a technical camera is an Alpa.

T


The Horseman FA seems like a great camera, but I haven't had a chance to work with one. I thought about it, but the limited front rise as well as the fact that some lenses won't work due to the small front standard kept me from buying one. It's nice and small though and I gave it serious consideration. I'm sure the differences between it and a Linhof are minor and come down to personal preferences.

I'm using a Linhof MT2000 and I love it. It's rock-solid, has plenty of front rise, which is my most used movement, and it folds up into a tough little brick.

If you do the refurbishment right, you'll end up with an amazing camera that can last you a lifetime. Don't worry that it's not new. You can clean it up, get new leather from cameraleather and it'll look great.

If you replace the groundglass and fresnel, make sure you do so properly so the spacing remains correct. Check with Linhof or your local Linhof service facility to be sure, or ask around here if you have specific questions.

Lots of people are going to disagree with me, but I think if you're going to do huge enlargements that your lens really matters. I do 40x50" and larger exhibition prints on a regular basis and I can see a noticeable difference between my older Apo-Symmar and Apo-Sironar-N lenses and my current Apo-Sironar-S lenses. The older lenses are great and in small prints there will be no noticeable difference. But in 40x50" or 48x60" prints my newer lenses are sharper.

Consider the price of a few mounted 48x60 prints and I think the cost for a (used) Apo Sironar-S starts to look like a small expense. Personally, I'd go for an Apo-Sironar-S or Apo-Symmar-L lens, though the latter seem to be less easy to find on the used market.

Best of luck with the restoration.

Noah A
25-Sep-2011, 07:29
Thanks Noah,

Funnily enough, I was out with the Horseman FA today and ran out of front rise. The bellows began to obstruct the path of light before I ran out of lens coverage. I can see more clearly now how the Horseman is not such a good choice for extreme movements or architecture....

A Technika is also probably not the right choice for "extreme movements" either. But I've found that it works quite well for my urban landscape work and non-commercial architectural work. You may still get the bellows in the way if you push the movements too far, but it's rarely an issue for me. I tend to prefer a 115mm lens to a 90 so that gets me a bit more bellows extension which makes movements easier.


As I said, I'm lucky to know a very good repairman and he does an amazing job. The only thing I'm not sure of is if I change the groundglass screen, how one would check it's in the correct register, i.e. properly aligned with the film plane.

You can measure or just re-install the new one the way the old one was installed and shoot some tests to make sure it's correct. Or try to contact someone directly at linhof.


One simple feature I'd really like on my field camera is a spirit level on the rear standard. I found myself using the drop bed today, plus needing to point the camera down to achieve the correct point of view. This required me to make use of the Horseman's (minimal) back movements. I wanted to correct for keystoning (is this the correct term?) and it was hard using the fine grid etching on the groundglass alone to square things up as light was dim. If I had a spirit level on the rear standard I imagine it would have made set up a heck of a lot quicker.

I use a shoe-mount level from Kaiser, and it works very well. I posted this question recently and was advised that it's better to use the grid screen for final adjustments, the level is just to rough things in. The Linhof screen has a nice, easy-to-see grid.

With a Technika you don't need to tilt the camera to use the drop-bed. You can mount the rear section (the body box) to the tripod, so it stays level even when you drop the bed. You can also mount the tripod to the underside of the bed, which is good to balance longer lenses. But for lenses of 150, even 210 and shorter, I use the tripod socket on the body box so I only have to level it out once, even if I decide to drop the bed later.

If you want to mount a level on the actual back, the part that moves if you use back movements, that would be tough since there's no real place to mount one. I know some people use levels or angle finders that they can hold directly against the groundglass. I just use the shoe-mount level and the grid, and I've never used the back movements on the Technika.


I agree about modern lenses. I've mostly used a Mamiya 7II system over the last seven years and those lenses are nothing short of stunning. I get the feeling that I could get a lot more out of the 4x5" negs if I spend a little more on modern glass. The difference between my old Hasselblad negs and Mamiya & negs was like night and day at large print sizes. The Mamiya glass had more bite, less distortion and less fall off. It's a pity that little system doesn't have movements! I guess the closes one could get it it in a technical camera is an Alpa.

I also used to use a Mamiya 7 kit. The lenses are amazing but I switched because I needed the perspective control.

I think that using the best lenses will make a difference at the huge print sizes you're talking about. It may not be night and day, but there is a definite difference. Of course it's probably more important to use really good technique, nail the focus, use a very solid tripod and head, etc. The Technika is a very solid camera so you'll be in good shape there.

Bob Salomon
25-Sep-2011, 09:08
"Originally Posted by TJV
As I said, I'm lucky to know a very good repairman and he does an amazing job. The only thing I'm not sure of is if I change the groundglass screen, how one would check it's in the correct register, i.e. properly aligned with the film plane."

For over 30 years the ground glass grain side on a Linhof has been positioned directly on the shims under the groundglass. And the Fresnel has been positioned on top of the gg closest to your eye.

Older cameras from linhof had the Fresnel positioned below the gg so it was positioned directly onto the shims and the shims were positioned to compensate for the thickness of that Fresnel.

It is recommended, if you want to be able to remove the Fresnel, that you set the gg/Fresnel up as the modern linhof cameras so. That means that the shims will need to be reset to compensate for the Fresnel being placed on the other side of the gg. Any compentant repair shop can easily do this but they will want to get a set of the current Fresnel Holding Clips either from Linhof Service in Munich or from any Linhof Service Center. Otherwise you would have to sandwich the GG and the fresnel under the black GG hold down clamps and then the Fresnel would not be easily removable, if desired.

TJV
25-Sep-2011, 13:21
Thanks Bob,
Yes, my tech says that mine is set up in the modern way, with gg inside and fresnel facing out. I'm hoping this mean it will be a simple swap out to move to the new style gg and fresnel I caved in and ordered a replacement gg from Linhof Studios to accompany the new fresnel. Might as well do it all at once, eh?


"For over 30 years the ground glass grain side on a Linhof has been positioned directly on the shims under the groundglass. And the Fresnel has been positioned on top of the gg closest to your eye.

Older cameras from linhof had the Fresnel positioned below the gg so it was positioned directly onto the shims and the shims were positioned to compensate for the thickness of that Fresnel.

Thanks again, Noah. Great website too, by the way.

I'm not needing extreme movement very often as I shoot subjects more in line with you mainly urban landscape and portraiture. I've migrated up from the Mamiya kit also for the same reasons as you, mainly front rise movements. Plus I was finding I used the Mamiya almost exclusively on a tripod with an aperture of f11. I just wanted to slow things down that little bit extra and really concentrate on composing right to the edges of the groundglass. The only thing I'm not enjoying about 4x5" is the cost of processing!

With regard to using the spirit level vs. the gg grid, I agree. The levels are usually not 100% accurate. I find the Horseman a little weird in this regard. The back movements are very hard to employ in a subtle way as they click in and out of the zero position very coarsely and it takes a lot of fiddling to set in between "in and out", if that makes sense.

Having said all this, I find so many people concentrate too much on the gear and not enough on the actual photographs they take and what they want to say with them. In this regard, perhaps like a lot of people here, my job crosses over with my hobby and what I do for pleasure. I love the process of using these seemingly archaic tools and I love finely engineered and designed things. I also think some people forget that the process of making work is sometimes just as important as the work itself, at least in a self satisfactory sense. In this regard, it was nice to talk to Alec Soth about process, art, ideas and intentions. I found his perspective incredibly refreshing and his work ethic very inspiring. I'm sure a lot of people here feel the same way.

Bob Salomon
25-Sep-2011, 14:27
Thanks Bob,
Yes, my tech says that mine is set up in the modern way, with gg inside and fresnel facing out. I'm hoping this mean it will be a simple swap out to move to the new style gg and fresnel I caved in and ordered a replacement gg from Linhof Studios to accompany the new fresnel. Might as well do it all at once, eh?

1: Take the current Fresnel off.
2: Unscrew the three hold down screws on one end of the gg.
3: Loosen the three hold down screws at the other end of the gg.
4: Carefully lift off the old gg from the shims it sits on.
5: Place new gg on the shims, grain side down, facing the lens.
6: Place removed hold down clip on the new gg and replace and tighten the screws,
7: Tighten the screws at the other end.
8: Put new Fresnel under the Fresnel clips, grooved side facing the gg.

9: Go take some pictures.

TJV
25-Sep-2011, 16:55
Awesome, thanks!

Darin Boville
25-Sep-2011, 17:07
Hey Bob,

Have you ever thought about writing a book on Linhof--not o make money but just too capture all that stuff in your head?

--Darin

TJV
26-Sep-2011, 01:17
Yes, a lot of very knowledgeable people on there. Good to know this particular craft is not a dying art!

Now, how far can I stretch on a new 150mm lens...

TJV
29-Sep-2011, 13:02
First bit of bad luck this week, although only obliquely related to the camera. Lab ruined 30 sheets of my film in a processing accident. Pretty nauseating to say the least. Went back out and tried to reshoot things I knew I'd lost and lost my nerve somehow. I started to make silly technical mistakes – like forgetting to zero off settings after a shot – and rush things. Ah, the wonders of film and totally manual camera operation...

anglophone1
29-Sep-2011, 13:18
Hey Bob,

Have you ever thought about writing a book on Linhof--not o make money but just too capture all that stuff in your head?

--Darin

Good idea , a real world "linhof practice"