Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 15

Thread: Thoughts on a beginner large format camera

  1. #1
    LarryH
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Posts
    44

    Thoughts on a beginner large format camera

    I am ready to move into the world of (4x5) LF photography and I have been doing a lot of reading and research to get an idea of what I should be looking for in a camera and lens. It seems there are some good options out there in my price range but I am finding it difficult to make a final selection in a camera and lens. I want to buy used initially and I want a field camera. I plan to use it for landscapes, portraits and possibly some exteriors of buildings. I believe that a non-wooden camera is best for my use. Can anyone offer a thought process to help me narrow the choices a little more? I see some options on EBay but I don't know where to go from here. Maybe I am over thinking this process.

    Thanks

  2. #2
    Octogenarian
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Frisco, Texas
    Posts
    3,528

    Re: Thoughts on a beginner large format camera

    Larry, since you believe that non-wooden cameras are best for your use, consider the Toyo field cameras.

    The CF45 is made of carbon fiber. There was one for sale on this forum a few days ago.

    The Toyo "A" series are metal field cameras. Slightly more expensive, but built like tanks.

  3. #3
    The Great Ivan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    San Diego
    Posts
    23

    Re: Thoughts on a beginner large format camera

    I had a Toyo 45AII and also built like a tank, I would backpackit around the city and just shoot anything, it was good on the beach and in the snow, a superb allaround view camera. They are plenty used out there.
    I've seen some new brands (to me ) like the Chamonix.
    You can read this thread: "http://www.largeformatphotography.info/forum/showthread.php?88164-Seeking-perfect-field-4x5-camera"
    Let us know what you get.
    Form is emptiness, emptiness is form.

  4. #4
    Lachlan 717
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Posts
    2,356

    Re: Thoughts on a beginner large format camera

    Larry,

    What's the reasoning behind the non-wood preference? While there are plenty of metal 4x5s out there, I'd wage that there are a heap more wooden ones!

    Perhaps throw your rationale out there to see what others think? There are so many shooters here, of both wooden and non-wooden that you should get a good gauge on its validity.

    Best of luck in the hunt.
    Lachlan.

    You miss 100% of the shots you never take. -- Wayne Gretzky

  5. #5
    Lee Smathers
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Daegu, South Korea
    Posts
    371

    Re: Thoughts on a beginner large format camera

    Best to start cheap, then sell it and work your way up IMHO. (You might not even like large format in the long run)
    Monorails can be had for practically nothing, sometimes including a lens. They can be a little difficult to take to the field (e.g Calumet and Cambo). I got mine for $150 (including a 210 Schneider Symmar-S) and a few holders. Once you get into the LARGER format demon you realize that that Calumet/Cambo 4x5 monorail isn't very heavy or as uncomfortable as it once seemed and it has all the movements you'll ever need. Great to learn on or use exclusively!

    Speed Graflex and old (c. 1920s) Korona and Kodak cameras (though wooden) are nice too. I got my 5x7 for real cheap, and can get 4x5 reducing back for them. 5x7 is a nice format, and the camera is not that much larger than 4x5.

    Investing in large format isn't as bad as new DSLR bodies, that will go from $3000+ to less than $100 in 10 years time (happened to me!). You should be able to get what you paid for in the large format stuff. Plenty of us are still interested - and more and more people are looking for a cheap way to enter the medium.

    Just my two cents.

  6. #6
    The Great Ivan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    San Diego
    Posts
    23

    Re: Thoughts on a beginner large format camera

    I forgot to mention a friend of mine had a Speedgrafic 4x5 very well built.
    Form is emptiness, emptiness is form.

  7. #7
    LarryH
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Posts
    44

    Re: Thoughts on a beginner large format camera

    Thanks everyone. I will keep you posted.

  8. #8
    Les
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Seattle, WA
    Posts
    1,085

    Re: Thoughts on a beginner large format camera

    Larry, you might have to contend with the weight issues if metal is your choice. There are several wooden rigs that are below 5lbs. I have a 4x5 C41X Calumet and it's nearly twice as heavy (yes, metal) as the wooden 5x7 I just got (early 1900's Kodak). The only reason I keep the 4x5 is because I like how Acros renders.

    If you understand what lenses you liked in FF/MF....you can translate that into LF. Check the tables. My own preference is more tele look or WA, so 210mm is just too boring for me, but I'll still play with it and see if I can use it in some capacity. Good luck.

    Les

  9. #9

    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    Location
    San Joaquin Valley, California
    Posts
    8,968

    Re: Thoughts on a beginner large format camera

    You can have an awful lot of fun with an old Calumet or Graphic monorail and a 210mm or 150mm lens and a box of Arista .eduUltra for not much money.
    Just sayin'
    I steal time at 1/125th of a second, so I don't consider my photography to be Fine Art as much as it is petty larceny.
    I'm not OCD. I'm CDO which is alphabetically correct.

  10. #10

    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Posts
    1,564

    Re: Thoughts on a beginner large format camera

    Rather than focus on the camera, decide what lenses fit your work and where and how the camera will be used. Once this is better known, the a camera choice can be made. LF is not like roll film where the user is far more locked in by the camera manufacture for optics. LF cameras are more like a flexi box with a lens on one end the recording media on the other. Optics choices for LF is quite large with moderate limits. Do consider a camera system that offers enough flexibility and capability to cover your current and possible future needs.

    Newer view camera may not be better than older ones depending on actual needs rather than fashion.


    Bernice


    Quote Originally Posted by Larry Huhn View Post
    I am ready to move into the world of (4x5) LF photography and I have been doing a lot of reading and research to get an idea of what I should be looking for in a camera and lens. It seems there are some good options out there in my price range but I am finding it difficult to make a final selection in a camera and lens. I want to buy used initially and I want a field camera. I plan to use it for landscapes, portraits and possibly some exteriors of buildings. I believe that a non-wooden camera is best for my use. Can anyone offer a thought process to help me narrow the choices a little more? I see some options on EBay but I don't know where to go from here. Maybe I am over thinking this process.

    Thanks

Similar Threads

  1. Beginner's Large Format Question
    By rustyair in forum Cameras & Camera Accessories
    Replies: 36
    Last Post: 9-Apr-2012, 16:11
  2. Whatt'ya know - another beginner to large format...
    By NickSimcheck in forum Introductions
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 17-Jul-2010, 13:38
  3. Some thoughts for a beginner: Xenar or Optar?
    By sdwfx in forum Lenses & Lens Accessories
    Replies: 21
    Last Post: 26-Feb-2008, 18:01
  4. Large Format Beginner Assistance
    By Bob Bell in forum Lenses & Lens Accessories
    Replies: 19
    Last Post: 2-Apr-2007, 18:49

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •