View Full Version : Linhof Query

11-Jan-2012, 09:07
I've seen an occasional mention of problems/undesirability of the Linhof Tech lll. What are the actual problems? It seems as though this would fit my needs for a field camera perfectly. Thanks for any input. BTW, "she who must be obeyed" has limited me to >$1000 on this one!

11-Jan-2012, 09:15
There aren't many problems, per se, just limitations on the III that have been corrected on later versions.
I'll leave the specifics to Bob at HP and others, but for one thing, parts, such as lensboards and cams, are harder to find and do not fit later models.
But Ii owned a III for a year and it was a pleasure to use; like any camera, you have tot be aware of its limits, and appreciate what it can do well.

Frank Petronio
11-Jan-2012, 09:46
There were several versions, the most desirable being the last "v.5" with the International Graflock-compatible back. The major limitation compared to the Technika IV is there is no front tilt. And it will 60 years old so expect it to need some care, usually a new bellows. The Tech III lensboards are different than all the later models (which are more popular and available). And parts/service are hit or miss with such an old camera... likely the rangefinder/cam/lens will be uneconomic to service for handheld shooting.

I think you could find a nice Technika IV with a vintage 135 lens ready to go for under $1000 if you are patient. Budget $400 for a round trip to get a new OEM bellows (or $120 for a Chinese DIY that will be serviceable, if not as nice).

I wouldn't pay over $350 for a Tech III that didn't have a newer bellows, maybe $500 for a really nice one. I'd be a lot happier spending $600 on a Tech IV is user condition and paying to get a new bellows. Last year I bought a cheap beater Tech IV for $550 and put a red Chinese bellows on it, replaced the folding focusing hood with a Graphic metal hood, and did a homebrew CLA. Also butchered the rangefinder and tore it off with power tools and files.... Result was a tank-like killer camera for $750 invested. throw a cameraleather.com covering on it ($45) and you'll have people with far more expensive cameras complimenting it. And your wife will be impressed ;-)

Another similar camera, sans rangefinder and with lighter build (still nice quality, just not Linhof solid) is the metal Wista VX or similar variations. There is also a vintage 50s British MPP that is metal and sturdy, sort of a Linhof copy.

11-Jan-2012, 09:47

Technically, the only problem is a lack of front tilt. Practically: see the response from Ari. (Note that a replacement bellows is going to cost you several hundred dollars.)

Brian Ellis
11-Jan-2012, 10:05
I don't think it's front tilt that's lacking, it's front forward tilt. The front does tilt backwards though that's not a movement you'd use very often. Lack of parts is the other problem, plus IIRC lens boards for the IV and later versions don't fit the III.

Frank Petronio
11-Jan-2012, 10:25

Chauncey Walden
11-Jan-2012, 10:29
I have two of them and I paid $200 for each. I love them dearly but I am a tinkerer and don't mind making my own lensboards (simple to do) and filing the notches for the infinity stops. Front tilt is not a problem for me as I have no problem using back tilts for the subjects I shoot and if I really needed front tilt, dropping the bed, using rise, and not using all the rear tilt would work. I did have to modify both of them to use my Grafmatic holders (Kinematics work as they come). Having said that, I would agree with other posters that with that much money to spend I would look for a IV.

12-Jan-2012, 06:31
Have been using a Tech III for 15 years: the front tilt can be obtained as the poster above me said, beware that you cannot fix the tilt, you can slide back and forth, but not fix.

lensboards are easy square DIY metal things, Tech IV and up are much more elaborate but can be obtained through Chines eBAY merchants, they (mostly) fit good enough.

Wide angle lenses below 90mm are hard/impossibele without extra things as helical focus mounts.

Other than that these camera's are a joy to use; solid, tight and excellent craftsmanship. I guess I got lukcy on the bellows (leather) my 1954 bellows are still ok!



BTW there is a great deal on a TechIV/V in the For Sale section, it's based in the UK..I am tempted, but I have put myself on hold here, first shoot some great images and than I might reward myself again with new toys..;-)..or should I kid myself that only a new toy will result in great images..;-)..



Bob Salomon
12-Jan-2012, 07:43
1: limited movements compared to later models
2: no front lens board tilt - except by dropping the bed which will dictate the camera position whereas front standadr tilt lets the photographer chose the camera position.
3: incompatible lens boards and ground glass and Fresnel with all later models.
4: no repair parts available for over 30 years
5: no III specific accessories available for over 30 years.

You are far better off with a IV or newer camera.

19-Jan-2012, 12:53
Its not a pretzel, but is is a sound field camera and far better than many "entry level" contenders. Compared to a Speed/Crown or Busch it has far more movements, remains compact and portable, and a III should be far more affordable without giving up much functionality. You are going to be more resourceful in supply and repair.