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Thread: Seeking the perfect monorail

  1. #11
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    Re: Seeking the perfect monorail

    Quote Originally Posted by jspillane View Post
    Horseman LE looks beautiful, but unfortunately almost 10lbs as camera weight is going to pose a rather big restriction for intended use.
    As explained in the review mentioned, you are anyways going to have to move around a sturdy enough tripod, etc. even with some sort of super-light high-tech wonder camera. A cleaned-up Sinar Norma is a good compromise, as is the Sinar F. Both of these fold up nicely. I'd think the Alpina/Wolf option is a bit limited if you want a longer or shorter rail (harder to find) so I'd rather go with an F.
    "Be still and allow the mud to settle."

  2. #12

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    Re: Seeking the perfect monorail

    I have been looking for the PERFECT 8x10, as well as 4x5 ad 5x7, since about 1939. Good luck.

  3. #13
    archigraph Axel's Avatar
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    Re: Seeking the perfect monorail

    I'm in the process of wondering about that very subject myself... although I have it already : the Norma

    Perfect for field work : lightweight, very sturdy, accepts any lens, easy to use, ample shifting ranges (H and V).
    It is easy to find, too, and generally cheap (in 4x5"), accessories included but I had to buy several before I got one that is in really really good shape. I use it every day, come rain come shine : see at www.axeldahl.com

    What it doesn't do too well : vertical swing isn't yaw-free and getting the two standards aligned to perfection is... difficult. Apart from that, zip, nothing : it is made to work, withstand dust, rain and daily professional work. No idea how much it weighs but it is a moot point for me as I pack 7 lenses with it (from the 75 to the 210, with the 55 and 400 on the side whenever necessary). It isn't a P2 for sure but "light" is in the eye of the beholder - and his shoulders mostly !

    Never mind the Sinar F1/2 : easy to find yes, lightweight, yes, very cheap, yes but they age extremely rapidly when one uses them outside, in the real world. I used the rear standard of an F2 for a while and two crucial points are now worn beyond redemption... Back to the Norma I went.

    However, what troubles me is the lack of available parts and repairs possible and that weighs on the alternative candidate as well : the VX125. Apparently Toyo doesn't make cameras anymore (?) so it just is a matter of time before the same happens. The VX is pricier, too.

  4. #14
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    Re: Seeking the perfect monorail

    Quote Originally Posted by Axel View Post
    However, what troubles me is the lack of available parts and repairs possible and that weighs on the alternative candidate as well : the VX125. Apparently Toyo doesn't make cameras anymore (?) so it just is a matter of time before the same happens.
    If you have a specific source for this, please cite it. As of this moment, the company's website is still up, with pages for both their camera and their machine tool products. See, for example, the page for their monorail cameras:

    http://www.toyoview.co.jp/sub13.html

  5. #15

    Re: Seeking the perfect monorail

    I'd definitely try to kick the tires on both the Toyo and Linhof TK before making up your mind. You'd be a little short-sided in terms of focal length with the Toyo (~325mm IIRC) but the bellows are supple enough you can go "wide" without having to switch to a bag bellows. If you only now and again shoot longer than 300mm, going the tele route for the occasional long shot might make sense given the convenience of the overall package.

  6. #16

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    Re: Seeking the perfect monorail

    The Cambo SC 4x5 seems to work pretty well for me. Very simple to use. Pretty inexpensive. Not too bad to carry if you slide the standards off the rail and it is pretty easy to set up. Parts can be found in any number of places. Lens boards are large enough for any number of lens sizes, bag bellows are fairly common and not terribly expensive. And the graflock back is basically the standard so there are probably hundreds of options for film handling.

    I usually pack my Intrepid into the hills because it is so light and handy but if I need the movements for some architectural work or other reason I have no difficulty bringing the Cambo along with me. Good little camera and very flexible.
    The Viewfinder is the Soul of the Camera

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    Dan

  7. #17
    Unwitting Thread Killer Ari's Avatar
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    Re: Seeking the perfect monorail

    I like both the TK45s and the VX, but using the hybrid extension rail of the VX is kind of annoying. Just a touch too clever.
    Another monorail to consider is the Linhof Kardan Color (not sure if this is the correct model name).
    It looks like they took a Technika and added a rail. Very solid and stable, but a bit heavier than your needs.

  8. #18

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    Re: Seeking the perfect monorail

    Quote Originally Posted by Axel View Post
    However, what troubles me is the lack of available parts and repairs possible and that weighs on the alternative candidate as well : the VX125. Apparently Toyo doesn't make cameras anymore (?) so it just is a matter of time before the same happens. The VX is pricier, too.
    Toyo still makes new cameras, though at a much smaller scale than earlier. The lead time on some models can be a few months. Parts for the VX and G and series and field cameras are available.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ari View Post
    I like both the TK45s and the VX, but using the hybrid extension rail of the VX is kind of annoying. Just a touch too clever..
    The telescoping rail on the VX125 is somewhat over-engineered, but you can use all the accessories of the G system.

    Let me know if you need more information.

    Kumar

  9. #19

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    Re: Seeking the perfect monorail

    Quote Originally Posted by AuditorOne View Post
    The Cambo SC 4x5 seems to work pretty well for me. Very simple to use. Pretty inexpensive.
    If a long long rail is needed, 80/20 1"x1" T-slotted extrusion is available quite inexpensively in lengths up to 97". Shorter pieces can be connected.

  10. #20

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    Re: Seeking the perfect monorail

    I really like my Arca Swiss F-field metric with orbix (tm), but there's no denying they are rather pricey, even when buying used.

    It's light, precise, will work with any of the lenses you mentioned, is quick to set up and dial in. Very bright ground glass too.

    Seems like you have a lot of great options suggested in this thread.

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