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Thread: new into LF: 4x5 Camera and lens recommendation

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Aug 2017
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    10

    new into LF: 4x5 Camera and lens recommendation

    Hello,

    I have used digital, 35mm and medium format in all combinations 6x4,5 6x6 6x8 6x9.
    I am this kind of perfectionist person that does not only enjoy the result but that values a lot the process. I am sure that LF was invented for me ;-)

    The question is from where to start !

    I thought that a good 4x5 is the sensible option.
    I read a lot but I could not find an answer to this question. Perhaps because there is not a single answer.

    Here are my requirements:

    1. Portable (which does not necessarily means "folding") - I guess that monorail are out.
      It means that it should be suitable to carry in a backpack so it can be used for landscapes
    2. Portrait and landscape formats
    3. Front movements (as much as possible, but I guess that this is a common requirement)
    4. Back movements (Scheimpflug Principle)
    5. Normal lens, tele and wide to the possible extend.
    6. Wide lens bellows option
    7. I prefer to spend some more money now than to change gear later
    8. I would not mind to buy second hand in good condition
    9. View finder needed (not to get mad with the movements at the begining)
    10. I live in Germany


    Camera

    I have been looking at the "Shen Hao" and with the requirements above I am thinking on the TZ45-IIC (folding) or TFC45-IIC (non-folding).
    What do you think ? Please propose any other alternative.

    Lenses

    I may have a working 300mm and 210mm. I say may because I am not sure if they are in working conditions.
    Therefore I thought that a 150mm could be a good start. Nikkor ?
    Any other recommendation ?

    Other required gear ?

    Focusing magnifier and recommendation ? - I am afraid of the lack of light to manage the image composition and focusing.
    Film holders and compatibility ? - I believe that the film holders are kind of standard but I am not sure. Could someone help me here also ?


    I apologise in advance if there are other post answering these questions. I could not find them.
    I also thank any answer in advance. I am very excited about the new path where this purchase would lead me. Any advice, comment even criticism will be welcome.

    Thanks again

    Regards

    Ra

  2. #2
    Joel Edmondson
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Yatesville, Georgia
    Posts
    262

    Re: new into LF: 4x5 Camera and lens recommendation

    Ra... welcome to the Forum. You probably would be best served by delving a little more into LF here on the site in order to gain a little more insight into the variations available. Having said that I will suggest a folder since you possibly have a couple of lenses already (do they have shutters and are the shutters working?). Monorails are usually the least expensive and generally have more movements than you are likely to use but they are also inconvenient to transport (there are some exceptions to this but they are also fairly expensive in Germany - you can go the internet route but Customs and VAT usually add significant cost. I assume you are considering a rangefinder - not viewfinder - and that will be a significant cost for both the camera and cams. The ground-glass is your viewfinder and you will need some time to become accustomed to using it but it can't be avoided if you want to become proficient... what you see is what you get.

    Joel

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    La Luz del Oeste, Albuquerque NM
    Posts
    458

    Re: new into LF: 4x5 Camera and lens recommendation

    Welcome, Ra!

    First, with the lenses you have: There is a shutter speed tester available for iPhone and Android, developed by Lukas Fritz in Germany--
    https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/shut...560154244?mt=8
    and
    https://play.google.com/store/apps/d...er_speed&hl=en

    Second, you might look into Chamonix cameras. I have the 45N-2 and it is the best I've owned in terms of workmanship and ease of use. Very simple; some here would say too simple. (I've owned an old Arca-Swiss, Ikeda, 2 Wisners.) With the extension accessory I can use my Nikkor M 300mm f9 lens using the standard bellows. Yes, this just one person's experience and opinion!

    BUT, there are many, many options re cameras.

    Third, whether your next lens is a 150, or other, look at the lenses you most commonly use in your other formats. Convert those focal lengths to equivalents in 4x5. This might give you some places from which to start. For example, I purchased a 90mm f8 Fujinon years ago, but I find that I seldom use it. If I had thought about it some more, considered what I used when I shot 35mm, I might have skipped that lens!

    This forum has been for me like a library populated by research librarians! I hope you have the same experience. And I hope that you can link up with other large format photographers in your country!
    Last edited by Peter Collins; 15-Aug-2017 at 09:05. Reason: additional text to improve modesty
    Peter Collins

    On the intent of the First Amendment: The press was to serve the governed, not the governors --Opinion, Hugo Black, Judge, Supreme Court, 1971 re the "Pentagon Papers."

  4. #4
    fredfoto's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2017
    Location
    Barcelona
    Posts
    5

    Re: new into LF: 4x5 Camera and lens recommendation

    Hi rallodi,

    If you want a 4x5 to go hiking with a backpack, and looking at your well thought out requirements- I'd look at the Linhof Technikardan (I had the 6x9 for years and loved it), with some very light- weight process lenses in the range of 150/210/240 like G Clarons or Rodenstock/ Nikon equivalents. Even with f9 maximum apertures, you'll have enough light to focus with a dark cloth. I've hiked this rig up the Picos de Europa in my youth, no problems.
    You'll need a wide lens too- but that's up to you- 90 is wide on 4x5, but some like a 65.
    You are in Germany, so you are already in the best place to find this new or second hand. Try these guys- http://www.greiner-photo.de or eBay.
    I use a Schneider loupe to focus. 4x5 Fidelity Film holders are standard for camera backs- I have 10- it saves changing film on location and carrying a changing bag.
    You don't need a viewfinder with a 4x5 camera. YMMV.
    Buy yourself a good spot meter- Sekonic still make a great one.

    Good luck!!
    JFA
    www.fredfoto.net

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    Madisonville, LA
    Posts
    1,820

    Re: new into LF: 4x5 Camera and lens recommendation

    Camera: I'd get a used wooden Wista or any of it's clones. Best bang for the buck! - it should handle a 90 mm lens, if you need wider, Get a Sinar F2!
    Lens: I'd get a 210 f5.6-6.3 in any of it's iterations in a Copal shutter. They're basically giving them away at auction.
    Holders, yes, get some-Fidelity or Lisco or Regal as long as they're plastic.

    L

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Aug 2017
    Posts
    10

    Re: new into LF: 4x5 Camera and lens recommendation

    Quote Originally Posted by AJ Edmondson View Post
    Ra... welcome to the Forum. You probably would be best served by delving a little more into LF here on the site in order to gain a little more insight into the variations available. Having said that I will suggest a folder since you possibly have a couple of lenses already (do they have shutters and are the shutters working?). Monorails are usually the least expensive and generally have more movements than you are likely to use but they are also inconvenient to transport (there are some exceptions to this but they are also fairly expensive in Germany - you can go the internet route but Customs and VAT usually add significant cost. I assume you are considering a rangefinder - not viewfinder - and that will be a significant cost for both the camera and cams. The ground-glass is your viewfinder and you will need some time to become accustomed to using it but it can't be avoided if you want to become proficient... what you see is what you get.

    Joel
    Thanks for your answer Joe.
    I have been reading the forum already for a while, but to be honest is somehow difficult to find information as the posts are disconnected or at least I could not find the logic.

    The shutters of the lenses that I have are compur Electronic 1. they miss the battery and I need some help with the polarity of the battery. I have posted asking for help on this also: http://www.largeformatphotography.in...Battery-holder

    With "viewfiner" I meant something like this: http://www.shen-hao.com/productsabout.aspx?i=968&id=n3


    Thanks once more for your help.

  7. #7

    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Posts
    62

    Re: new into LF: 4x5 Camera and lens recommendation

    Quote Originally Posted by rallodi View Post
    Focusing magnifier and recommendation ? - I am afraid of the lack of light to manage the image composition and focusing.
    The large ground glass (GG) is both the best and worst of LF. You get to see the whole picture, WYSIWYG, so that's wonderful. OK, its upside down, but more importantly, its dim. Corners are sometimes hard. There are a few ways to improve, but the dark cloth, or black T-shirt mounted as a tube you look through, are the best answers. I've used one of those viewfinders, but they are hard in the corners, and want to be at just the right place and angle - which is not easy. Better to struggle with the GG, and get a magnifier that can angle for the corners. I think Silvestri makes a nice 6X for that purpose. Good luck!

  8. #8

    Join Date
    Aug 2000
    Location
    California
    Posts
    2,688

    Re: new into LF: 4x5 Camera and lens recommendation

    The "viewfinder" you picture is used by a few. To start with you are better off to try a dark cloth about 4x5 feet with weights in the corners to help hold it in a mild wind. i have found that students get very confused and have trouble focusing with a device similar to what you have in mind.

  9. #9

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    Jan 2013
    Location
    Madisonville, LA
    Posts
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    Re: new into LF: 4x5 Camera and lens recommendation

    "Viewfinder": Get a dark cloth and some 5x readers from your optometrist!

  10. #10

    Join Date
    Aug 2017
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    10

    Re: new into LF: 4x5 Camera and lens recommendation

    Quote Originally Posted by Luis-F-S View Post
    "Viewfinder": Get a dark cloth and some 5x readers from your optometrist!
    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Noel View Post
    The "viewfinder" you picture is used by a few. To start with you are better off to try a dark cloth about 4x5 feet with weights in the corners to help hold it in a mild wind. i have found that students get very confused and have trouble focusing with a device similar to what you have in mind.
    Quote Originally Posted by GG12 View Post
    The large ground glass (GG) is both the best and worst of LF. You get to see the whole picture, WYSIWYG, so that's wonderful. OK, its upside down, but more importantly, its dim. Corners are sometimes hard. There are a few ways to improve, but the dark cloth, or black T-shirt mounted as a tube you look through, are the best answers. I've used one of those viewfinders, but they are hard in the corners, and want to be at just the right place and angle - which is not easy. Better to struggle with the GG, and get a magnifier that can angle for the corners. I think Silvestri makes a nice 6X for that purpose. Good luck!
    Noted
    Thank you !

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