View Full Version : Clam shell 4x5" cameras - wide angle lenses?

Matus Kalisky
28-Jul-2012, 09:14
Those who have read or my endless threads about cameras that mostly do not exist may rest assured - I am one for more time looking for something similar again :cool:

Now - I have a simple question - is there a clam-shell camera (like Toyo 45A, Toyo 45CF, Horseman 45 FA - just to name a few) - that can handle 75 or even 65 mm lenses on a flat lens board without too much fuss and still allow for some shift/rise movements? On the long side of the bellows I would be fine with some 300mm (give or take) as I want to be able to focus Fuji A 240/9 or Fuji 400/8T a bit closer than infinity. I would intend to use it also with 6x12 back (probably Horseman).

I realized that I would appreciate a camera that is robust, reasonably heavy (even though not as light as Tachihara I have now - I get that), metal, and, is easy to zero all the movements (I find the Tachihara a bit too imprecise and not particularly stable). Folding focusing hood (do these things work ?) would be nice.

I do not need a rangefinder.

One more thing - I guess a Technikas would probably be more than I could/want afford - but I may not have the overview over all the models there were.

So - I am looking in a wrong direction again? Or is there a chance? :p

28-Jul-2012, 10:16
Linhof master technica 2000 or 3000?

David A. Goldfarb
28-Jul-2012, 10:34
If you want rise/fall/shift, that tends not to work well with clamshell type folding flatbed cameras, because even if it will focus a short lens on a flat board, the front standard is inside the box, so there isn't much room to maneuver. The rare Carbon Infinity 4x5" would be one of the few exceptions.

28-Jul-2012, 11:21
I've used a 75mm Rodenstock Grandagon N f4.5 on a flat lens board with a Toyo 45AX and was able to get some rise. I've also used a Rodie 55mm Apo Grandagon f4.5 on the Toyo with a recessed board, but with no movements - even if the camera could accommodate movements, that lens has virtually no excess image circle for 4x5. Before I started to sell off my Toyo gear, I had convinced myself that I could focus the 55 on a flat lens board - but I don't think I actually took any images that way and I no longer have any flat boards to double-check...though the camera remains unsold :(


28-Jul-2012, 12:16
I regularly use my 58mm XL on my Zone VI. Of course, that is with the bag bellows and then with the whole bed tilted down and the standards re-aligned to vertical in order to avoid getting the rails in the image. Considering how wide this lens is, I feel like it gives pretty significant movements in all directions with the fall being the only direction of real concern.

28-Jul-2012, 15:06
I've got a 75mm Super-W-Komura for my Toyo 45A with a flat lens board. This lens is a retrofocus design, though, and not to everyone's liking. Rise and shift are all possible with this set up, although I've never measured just how much movement is possible.


Noah A
28-Jul-2012, 15:59
The short answer is probably not.

I have an MT2000 and to be honest it's a pain in the neck with a 75mm. The 75 needs to be on a recessed board. You can get around this by putting it on the inside focusing track with a flat board and extending the back, but this is not using the camera as designed and it's asking for alignment problems.

Thankfully I don't like lenses shorter than 90mm, but that's just my opinion, I just mention it because if I did like wide lenses I'd pick a different camera! Because I primarily shoot with a 120mm and a 210mm, I love the Technika.

It's not what you asked for, but have you considered a Linhof Technikardan? They're relatively affordable on the used market since it's something of an underrated camera, in my opinion. But if you need something portable, precise and great with short lenses (on flat boards), it's hard to imagine a better choice. If I am going to use my 90 or 75 it's my first choice, but of course it's also great with normal and long lenses.

The Technikardan folds up to a package that's only a bit larger than some clamshell cameras. The bellows remain exposed, but I either wrap the whole camera in a large Domke lenswrap or I remove the bellows and wrap them in the lenswrap.

The folding focusing hoods from the Technika also fit the Technikardan. I don't think the camera came with one from the factory, but often you'll see a used TK sold with a hood. I have one that I purchased separately. It serves mostly as a groundglass protector, it's not as good as a darkcloth in my opinion. But it can work in a pinch, especially with longer, faster lenses since the view will be brighter.

Ivan J. Eberle
28-Jul-2012, 20:12
Meridian 45B, accepts wide angles easily on a flat board. Focus is via a separate rack and pinion for the inner rails. Bed drops 90 deg out of the way. Won't have a lot of rise inside the box, though, but neither will most 75's or 65's. Has a post back ala Triamapro or Technika for back swings and tilts, useful for wide angle work, I find. Spring but not Graflok/Universal back, might be modified for one.