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Thread: 4x5 field camera with geared movements

  1. #31
    Corran's Avatar
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    Re: 4x5 field camera with geared movements

    I have a Chamonix 4x5 and a couple Linhofs (IV and Master).

    Over the years with my Chamonix and thousands of sheets/rolls of film, I have had shots ruined by, in no particular order: focus drift, either from heavy lenses or the force of inserting a film holder as there is no focus lock, imprecise neutral positions of the movements causing a slight left/right tilt making edges go out of focus, especially with ultrawides, imprecise focusing from bad fresnel (this was corrected in later versions and I removed my fresnel), accidental forward tilt at "zero" position due to one or more of the front standard mounting holes being tilted (this may be my fault after hauling this cameras for hundreds of miles and regularly knocking it about in use), etc.

    Lately I've been shooting with my Master Technika 4x5 and enjoying not having to triple-check movements being zeroed-out, and I also like the focus lock and click-stops for tilt, though I certainly have quibbles, such as the massive amount of tilt needed to get over that click-stop and the difficulty in using wideangle lenses. Sure, the Technika is a whopping 3.5 pounds heavier. I could carry two Chamonixs at that point. But for hikes of only 3-5 miles and not up a mountain it's not that bad. About as bad as my 8x10. As long as I don't overstuff my pack with 4 Grafmatics / 24 sheets of film (I really don't need that many usually) or all the extra stuff I tend to want to bring it's fine. I probably should in time buy another Chamonix, having about slap worn this one out, but if you want more overall precision along with the good packability of a clamshell design, the Linhof is certainly a great option.

    Personally I don't like monorails for general usage, so I've ignored those options. Still use my Toyo GII 4x5 on occasion for architecture but of course that thing is double even the Linhof's weight!!

    Just some opinions from someone who actually regularly hikes with my LF cameras and shoots a lot of film.
    Bryan | Blog | YouTube | Instagram
    All comments and thoughtful critique welcome

  2. #32

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    Re: 4x5 field camera with geared movements

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Salomon View Post
    The 2000 and 3000 both have a plate over the opening as do earlier Technika models. On those Super Technika had the rangefinder and Technikas came without one.

    However, what do you think is the weight savings? Donít forget, you have to add the weight of the plate.

    To give you a hint, there is a 50 gram difference in weight between a Master Technika Classic with RF and a Master Technika 3000 without one.
    A 30cm2 x 2mm alluminium plate weights 17gr, would the range finder plus the cams etc weight 250 gr? just speculating...

    I guess a photographer not wanting the range finder may have other reasons to remove it beyond weight. He may keep it pristine inside a box, then the camera gets a bit smaller, perhaps it's a bit more convenient to deploy and operate.

    I only had a technika in my hands, never shot with it. My impression was that most of the times a Pro would be happy to haul the additional weigth. IMHO 4x5 format IQ is not a massive overkill as with 5x7 and 8x10, so a precission job may be important. I insist, I've never shot one, but when I had one in my hands I guessed why some Pros used it as their workhorse.

  3. #33

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    Re: 4x5 field camera with geared movements

    My Master Technika with range finder weights 2826 gr. After stripping the range finder 2510 gr.

  4. #34

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    Re: 4x5 field camera with geared movements

    I see my question stirred many souls. I'm coming from an Intrepid mk3, which is not a bad camera overall but it certainly is not the most accurate tool on the market. I tend to spend way too much time fiddling with the knobs and whatnot - unfortunately I also often find myself in situations where I'm not totally relaxed and free to take all the time I want. Maybe a more polished camera like the Chamonix will suffice, I honestly never tried any other camera other than the one I have. I shoot on the field, landscapes basically, so if you say geared movements would cause more problems than they solve, I trust your expertise.

    For Corran: which Chamonix is that? Is it really that bad? What could I expect from the F2? Also that startrail print on your IG profile is nice.

    P.S. I don't want to sound gear-centric, given also my limited experience with LFP. The upgrade may take place more than one year from now, it's not a rushed thing.
    Last edited by afxstudio; 13-Jun-2019 at 07:55. Reason: grammar

  5. #35
    Corran's Avatar
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    Re: 4x5 field camera with geared movements

    My Chamonix is the very first model, the N-1. I guess they still make it but the F model is a slight upgrade. A friend has one and I have seen how it works. It's a little better for putting the rear standard in place. I am sure overall it might be a tad better but it still is not going to be a Linhof.

    Regardless, the best way to learn is to use the camera. If you find a used camera, likely you can resell it for relatively close to what you bought it for. This goes for most 4x5 cameras. So if you don't get along, you won't be out much after reselling it on. I went through 4 cameras before getting my Chamonix, and have continued to try different cameras since.

    And, thanks for the compliment!
    Bryan | Blog | YouTube | Instagram
    All comments and thoughtful critique welcome

  6. #36

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    Re: 4x5 field camera with geared movements

    +10..........

    Learning the basic camera skills is only the beginning. Once enough camera skills have been gained comes trying out a variety of cameras to find the one that fits your image making needs and skills best. There is definitely a image maker-camera feel relationship here. Do know as your camera skills and image making needs change so will your demands on camera, lenses, film and the entire system. Know this is always a trade off with no ideal camera-lens-system that meets all demands of the image maker. This is why those who have been at this LF stuff often have several cameras and more.



    Bernice

  7. #37

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    Re: 4x5 field camera with geared movements

    Wisner made (well at least had a catalog page) a Pocket Expedition with geared movements. 4x5 was 3.6 lbs. Geared front axis tilt and rise and fall. Plus rear geared axis tilt.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Wisner Pocket Ex004a.jpg  

  8. #38

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    Re: 4x5 field camera with geared movements

    Sinar F. "F" is for field right?

    I think Ken Lee has your answer in post #3. Get a monorail camera for when you want geared movements and take your field camera along when you do a lot of hiking.

  9. #39
    Peter De Smidt's Avatar
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    Re: 4x5 field camera with geared movements

    My experience with a Chamonix mirrors Bryan's. I found it much more fiddly to use, in particular making sure all parts lined up properly, than my Toyo AX. Sure, for the most part if one has the time, it's not a big deal, but sometimes conditions are unfavorable, speed is needed.....This doesn't mean they're bad cameras, it just a trade-of between ease of use and weight. That trade off might get much more compelling at larger camera sizes.
    J. Haidt's 3 great untruths:
    What doesnít kill you makes you weaker.
    Always trust your feelings.
    Life is a battle between good people and evil people.

  10. #40

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    Arca Swiss w/Geared Front Rise

    I sure like my Arca Swiss with front geared rise. (See below.) From my perspective, it's the front geared rise that makes a camera so nice to use. No klutzy, two handed operations, while one is trying to stay under a dark cloth.

    https://www.largeformatphotography.i...ca#post1453088

    My camera has a 171mm rear format carrier and a 6x9 Metric front format carrier with geared rise. The problem with combining an Arca 4x5 rear with the Arca 6x9 front, is that one has to raise the front about 35mm just to be on axis with the rear. That leaves only about 25mm for rise, which isn't sufficient. Of course, one can turn the camera on its side or use front and rear tilt to achieve greater "rise". But, both of these options are inconvenient.

    So to overcome this difficulty, my camera has a Metric front function carrier, which is taller than the standard F function carrier, and an older "A" (axis tilt) rear function carrier, which is shorter than the standard F function carrier. The end result of this combination, is that my camera is capable of about 50mm of rise. It also means that I have no rear tilt. But for me, front tilt is sufficient.

    I happen to prefer the 171mm rear, 4x5 format frame to the current 141mm, 4x5 format frame. But, I have an unconfirmed theory that, due to the smaller size of the 141mm format frame, if one combines the 6x9 Metric front standard (6x9 Metric format frame and Metric function carrier), with the non-Metric 4x5 rear standard (4x5 F format frame and F function carrier), that one will have at least 50mm of rise, as well as a lighter weight camera. Note that geared rise on the rear function carrier isn't really needed. If fall is needed, one can raise the rear using two hands to some nominal level, and then optimize the overall fall under the dark cloth using the geared front rise. With the configuration that I'm suggesting above, one will also have geared front shift. But, I rarely use this feature.

    Note that this configuration also packs into a relatively small space.

    I suggest the above combination, because it works so well. I realize that cost can be a problem. (It wasn't for me, because over the years, I've pounced on some very good deals.) But, at least what I've suggested is an option with what is available today.

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