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Thread: View or Field Camera? On which type did you start?

  1. #1

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    Jan 2004
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    View or Field Camera? On which type did you start?

    First off, this website is wonderfully insightful and informative AND the participants are all so helpful...kudos.

    I recently started in LF using a view camera (monorail) and am in love with it. I'm eventually going to get a field camera as well. I was just wondering (1) on which camera did you learn, (2) did you end up getting the other type, and (3) which do you use the most?

  2. #2

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    View or Field Camera? On which type did you start?

    I started with a field camera (a then new, but now ancient Ikeda Anbawhich I still have), but have never been a backpacker, and at 75 am not going to start now. I later went to a monorail which gave me a longer extension, more movements and a larger lensboard. When I don't need these I still use the field camera, but I do use the monorail more, largely because many of my subjects are small. I am sure the opposite is true for many people.

  3. #3

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    View or Field Camera? On which type did you start?

    I started on a graflex crown graphic then got a Ikeda Anba woodfield, which is my primary camera right now if i feel like shooting tiny 4x5s .

  4. #4

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    View or Field Camera? On which type did you start?

    I started with a Calumet 45N, moved to a Toyo 45AII, then a Gandolfi Variant Level III, and finally, a Linhof Master Technika.

    I'm done now :-)

  5. #5
    Resident Heretic Bruce Watson's Avatar
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    View or Field Camera? On which type did you start?

    The only LF camera I've ever owned is a field monorail from Toho:

    http://www.thalmann.com/largeformat/toho.htm

    Extremely light weight, and extremely flexible (full movements front and back). Like every camera, it has it quirks. But if you like a monorail, and want a field camera, you might consider one of these.

    Bruce Watson

  6. #6

    View or Field Camera? On which type did you start?

    My first camera was a monorail, a Calumet Cadet. It was inexpensive and had all the movements I could ever want. The Cadet was a bit of a hassle to carry in the field. I do relatively little non-field work, so I decided last fall to get a field camera. I used a Graflex Super Graphic for a little longer than I can hold my breath. It was a decent camera but didn't feel as sturdy as I wanted. (That may have had more to do with the particular Super I had rather than Supers in general.) I traded it in and bought a Wista metal field. Even though metal fields are a bit heavier than wood fields "hard to damage" was a much more important selection criterion for me. (I spend a fair amount of time climbing over moss and sea spray covered rocks to set up shots. Slipping and falling with gear in hand is a regular occurence.) I got the Wista six or seven months ago and haven't used the Cadet since. It doesn't allow as much movement as the Cadet, but it has far more than I'll ever use. My longest lens is a 210, so bellows draw has never been an issue either.

    Chris

  7. #7
    おせわに なります! Andrew O'Neill's Avatar
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    View or Field Camera? On which type did you start?

    I learnt on a beat up old 4x5 Cambo. I used it outdoors and quickly it became a pain lugging it around. I picked up an old Linhof Tech IV field camera. Nice and compact. Used that for a few years then moved up to 8x10. I now use a Canham light weight. Field cameras are ideal for bush work. I can carry lots of stuff around and not be bothered. The Cambo is sitting in its case in the trunk of my old BMW in Japan at my wife's relatives' (seriously!) and I would probably never use it again.

  8. #8
    Yes, but why? David R Munson's Avatar
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    View or Field Camera? On which type did you start?

    Started with a Bender 4x5 that I built. It was a fun project, but got more fun out of building it than I got out of using it. About 6 months later I bought a used Linhof Kardan Bi from Midwest Photo and have been using it as my 4x5 since then. I've had it about 6 years now, I guess. I'm so used to it I don't have to think about anything when I'm using it. I guess that's a good sign. Never did get used to the Toyo's at school. When I was 18 I got a used Deardorff 8x10, which I guess means I've had it about 4 1/2 years now. It's probably my favorite camera in the world to use, though with the way things have worked out, I've used it maybe twice in the last two years. Right now it's languishing in my parents' basement two states away in Missouri. I've really got to find some darkroom space here and start using it again...

  9. #9
    Yes, but why? David R Munson's Avatar
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    View or Field Camera? On which type did you start?

    Um, yeah....that is to say monorail, monorail, field. Both designs suit me quite well for what I use them for.

  10. #10

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    View or Field Camera? On which type did you start?

    My first camera (1950) was a 9x12 cm folding bellows camera made by Gaumont & Cie, Paris, in rosewood and brass. It had been "liberated" in WW2, and the original 135mm Tessar was long gone. I found a beautiful coated 150mm Steinheil Unifokal in Press Compur to fit it, and ordered a 3.25x4.25 film pack adapter, and a 120 roll film holder from Haber & Fink (6x6 or 6x9), and had a surplus Hugo Meyer coupled rangefinder fitted. A year later I started clerking in a local Photo store, and traded the thing for a 35mm Tower/Nicca (Leica 3a copy with 50mm Nikkor lens). In 1953 my best friend gave me a brand new Graphic View II monorail. I wish, oh how I wish, that I still that beautiful old 9x12 plate camera!
    Wilhelm (Sarasota)

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