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Thread: NOOB Question About Starter LF Cameras

  1. #11

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    Re: NOOB Question About Starter LF Cameras

    I used to own a Sinar P and they are really nice. All geared and a joy to use. They are heavy so you won't be doing any backpacking with it. A lot of people prefer the earlier Norma's. Beautiful cameras but I have not had the chance to use one. The F series is lighter. F stands for field.

    I used to recommend Calumet or Cambo if someone wanted to save money. Monorails have gotten so cheap though that I think you are best going with Sinar if you are in the United States. There is so much used Sinar stuff on the market here.

    A lot of monorails are sold with 210mm lenses. A 210 and 135 make a great combination. If you buy a camera without a lens you may just want to pick up a 150 or 180. These are normal focal length lenses for 4x5 like a 50mm is for 35mm cameras. Look for a modern Schneider, Rodenstock, Nikkor, Fuji or Caltar lens. Let price and condition be your guide. All these brands are pretty close to the same. The later Caltars are rebadged Rodenstocks or Schneiders. Sometimes you can get them for a little less.

    Don't worry if you buy something and it just isn't for you. All this stuff has leveled out and if you buy at a fair price then if you sell you will get most if not all your money back. When I started I thought I wanted a 75mm lens but when I got it I found it too wide for my taste. I sold the lens for what I had paid. I was only out the price I had paid for shipping. I then bought a 90mm which I was happy with. I figured the little money I was out was a very cheap rental fee.

    Welcome to the forum. We may like to argue from time to time but for the most part people on here are really nice. Many are very knowledgeable too so you will learn a lot on here. I sure have!

  2. #12

    Join Date
    Feb 2014
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    Phoenix, Az.
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    34

    Re: NOOB Question About Starter LF Cameras

    I recently bought a cambo with 150 & 210mm lenses and several film holders off Craigslist. I just wanted a view camera, even though I already had a wood field by calumet that I've had for 20+ years, because it is more precise for studio work. I bought a C stand from the same guy and spent less than $300 for all of it. Calumet and Burke and James 4x5's are plentiful used and until you know how much you'll use it, it's probably prudent to not spend too much. Whatever you get, it will likely not be your last.
    Oh yeah, a good tripod (majestic, gitzo etc.) is essential.
    Last edited by jamesaz; 30-May-2019 at 21:46.

  3. #13
    Drew Bedo's Avatar
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    Re: NOOB Question About Starter LF Cameras

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Jones View Post
    A first LF camera will likely not be the last one. I started out in 1964 with an ancient Speed Graphic, then a New Vue, then a Burke & James flatbed (which I used for many years), then a Burke & James monorail, a Graphic view, an Anba Ikeda field camera, and other press cameras. A later Speed Graphic or Crown Graphic is still a fine camera for some photography. Even the New Vue with an appropriate lens would take almost any of the 4x5 photos I ever shot. The Anba Ikeda was the lightest and prettiest. Obviously there were view cameras with some better features and finer build quality, but they produce no better photographs. One important consideration: used LF cameras often come with lenses which lack the covering power for full use of front movements. Getting a good book that covers view cameras before shopping for the camera may save money.
    I think this nailes it. If you stay with LF photography you will own several cameras over the years. There is great advice in this thread. Choose to follow the recommendations that seem to fit your current thinking in photography, but recognize that your creative vision will grow and change. Accept that tno one assembly of gear is the "bewst" combination and adjust your kit as your photography changes.

    Most imp;mordantly: Shoot, shoot shoot. . . .something, anything.
    Drew Bedo
    http://www.artsyhome.com/author/drew-bedo




    There are only three types of mounting flanges; too big, too small and wrong thread!

  4. #14
    Jim Graves Jim Graves's Avatar
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    Re: NOOB Question About Starter LF Cameras

    I don't know where you're located ... but the best way to get an idea about LF is to go out with someone in your area and observe and then try some photos yourself with their gear.

    Most everybody on this forum would be happy to do that with you ... all you gotta do is ask.

    Then you can get an idea of size, weight, lenses, field or studio, etc, etc., etc (that might not be enough etceteras ...) ... of course, it might cost you lunch ... but it's well worth it.

    It's a great hobby and there are so many ways to get into it and to enjoy it.

  5. #15

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    Dec 2001
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    San Joaquin Valley, California
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    Re: NOOB Question About Starter LF Cameras

    Welcome aboard!

    The camera just sits on a tripod, holds the lens and the film holder, keeps the light out and forces the bellows to do stuff.
    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.

  6. #16
    Foamer
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    Re: NOOB Question About Starter LF Cameras

    Wonder if we'll ever hear back from the OP?


    Kent in SD
    Qui sedes ad dexteram Patris,
    miserere nobis.

  7. #17
    Vaughn's Avatar
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    Re: NOOB Question About Starter LF Cameras

    Quote Originally Posted by Two23 View Post
    Wonder if we'll ever hear back from the OP? Kent in SD
    My god...give a guy some time...
    "Landscapes exist in the material world yet soar in the realms of the spirit..." Tsung Ping, 5th Century China

  8. #18

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    Re: NOOB Question About Starter LF Cameras

    Quote Originally Posted by Two23 View Post
    Wonder if we'll ever hear back from the OP?
    Kent in SD
    +1!

  9. #19

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    May 2019
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    Re: NOOB Question About Starter LF Cameras

    Quote Originally Posted by Vaughn View Post
    Sinar Norma...a professional-grade camera. Can be upgraded from 4x5 to 5x7 and 8x10

    lenses -- a large variety to choose from! All modern lenses will suit fine -- it will depend on your plans of use...wide, normal or long lenses. Close-ups or not.

    If you had wanted to take the camera into the field (non-rail), then I would have suggested a Deardorff Special (4x5 with the possibilty of using a 5x7 back).
    Thanks for your response and apologies for my late one. I have been reading up a bit and looking at various cameras including the Sinar Norma as you have recommended. I have settled on a rail. I am wanting to do close up work and there are several lenses to choose from. I will be shooting black and white for the most part and the subject will be about 1-2 feet away. I am looking for zero distortion or bending of the image. Is there a lens that you would recommend?

  10. #20

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    GA
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    Re: NOOB Question About Starter LF Cameras

    Quote Originally Posted by gearhed View Post
    Thanks for your response and apologies for my late one. I have been reading up a bit and looking at various cameras including the Sinar Norma as you have recommended. I have settled on a rail. I am wanting to do close up work and there are several lenses to choose from. I will be shooting black and white for the most part and the subject will be about 1-2 feet away. I am looking for zero distortion or bending of the image. Is there a lens that you would recommend?
    120 or 180 Apo Macro Sironar or 210 or 300 Makro Sironar. But no macro for lf will perform optimally at infinity or ranges down to 1:5 or 10.

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