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Thread: MPP - newbie question

  1. #1

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    MPP - newbie question

    Hello,

    I am trying to get started with 4x5 format photography. There are a couple of cheap mpp cameras on ebay minus lens and board; what do you think? Would they be a good starting point, or should I spend a bit more to get something ready to go? I have a modest budget of 3-400 pounds. Thanks for any help offered. I will now browse the rest of the forum

  2. #2

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    Re: MPP - newbie question

    Hi James

    Well I've owned a couple maybe more of these, I've found their movements pretty limited, if I was you and with you stated budget I'd look at a Sinar F1, far more movements to put it mildly and if you do not mind 'shelling out' for a better Camera I have a terrific Zone V1 4 x 5 which is way better (imho) than any of the 'MPP
    range'.................send me a pm if interested etc etc

    good luck and regards

    andrew

  3. #3

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    Re: MPP - newbie question

    I agree with Andrew.
    Also look this https://www.largeformatphotography.i...ive-answer-FYI

  4. #4

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    Re: MPP - newbie question

    I picked up a Linhof Colour very cheaply (~150) a few weeks back. MPPs and cheap Linhofs will be old though so you need to ensure that they are complete - NO missing or broken parts - and working well. Then they can be fair bargains. You also need to appreciate exactly what sort of use your camera will get - if its for use in the field weight can/will be an issue. Depending on you location I can point you at some dealers with well price items. pm if interested.

  5. #5

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    Re: MPP - newbie question

    I would think about an Intrepid 4x5. Not that expensive and can be bought new so you'd have a guarantee and some technical back up. Even the last MPP's are around 40 years old now. A lot of people who sell large format cameras on ebay either know very little about them or profess ignorance. So they either don't know if there are any faults with the camera or pretend that they don't. Factor that in when you are looking around and ask questions, especially about the condition of the bellows.

  6. #6
    Pete Oakley
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    Re: MPP - newbie question

    I agree with Andrew as well. Limited movements and vastly over engineered. The MPP press version is even worse. Wista 45 DX are nice cameras. I always liked my B&J 5x7, a lot of people slag them off but I've had mine for about 20 years and I've never had a problem with it.
    Pete.

  7. #7
    Jim Jones's Avatar
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    Re: MPP - newbie question

    I've used B&J 5x7 view cameras, usually with a 4x5 back, more than any other LF camera over several decades. It may not be elegant, but it does almost everything the more expensive cameras do. This also applies to B&J press cameras. B&J may be less common in Europe than here in America. The MPP technical camera is beautifully engineered and built, but heavier than press cameras like the Speed Graphic.

  8. #8

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    Re: MPP - newbie question

    MPP made both monorail cameras and technical cameras. I've used their monorail cameras at school in the 70's, and they were of high quality with full movements, but very heavy. The monorail camera is great for studio use, but not very practical for field use without an assistant. The MPP technical cameras were clones of the Linhof Technika, and also appear to be well made, but I've never owned or used one. The MPP technical cameras are definitely easier to use in the field, but have reduced movements and are still relatively heavy.

    They were made in England, so they are likely more available there. They're long out of business though, and were never common in North America. I'd be hesitant to buy one now unless it was VERY cheap (say under $100).

    Since these cameras are going to be at least 50 years old, expect them to need replacement bellows. This could certainly be a problem, since there won't be any new ones readily available, and used ones are likely to be in poor condition as well. It is possible to get new bellows attached to your existing bellows frames, but that won't happen fast, and it won't be cheap. A view camera is basically useless without a good bellows, so make sure you've factored in the cost and time for a replacement in your purchase price.

    Since you're new to large format, I'd suggest trying to buy a complete outfit from someone you trust. You'll want something that has been checked for light leaks and basic operation, and is ready to go. The outfit should include at least one lens (on board), as well as some film holders. If you can get an MPP outfit with lens and holders (that has been fully checked out) for under $400 then it might be worth it. I wouldn't do this through eBay, since there's no way to confirm the functionality. Your best be would be through a reputable store.

    If you want a studio camera, a Sinar is always a good choice, as is a Cambo. Lots of parts are still available used which may still be in good condition. Linhofs are good too, but more expensive.

    If you want something to take pictures in the field, I'd recommend one of the wooden field cameras. They're much lighter and more portable, but as before you'll want an outfit that has already been checked out.

    It's always possible to get things cheaper if you're prepared to take a risk, but it's better to play it safe for the first one. There's nothing worse than buying something that you can't use because something basic needs to be repaired, and is not readily available.

  9. #9

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    Re: MPP - newbie question

    Thank you so much for your considered reply. I will most likely buy a full setup from someone on this forum or from a store. I have very limited studio experience so I would buy a field camera; the wooden ones look really interesting. I could do with some explanation of lens choices for a beginner as well; there seems so many different choices ! Enlargers are another thing I have no idea about for large format

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