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Thread: Monorail vs. Folding Camera Weight

  1. #21

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    Re: Monorail vs. Folding Camera Weight

    Quote Originally Posted by Drew Wiley View Post
    same kind of folks who think they need an anodized forty dollar designer-logo pee bottle in their tent.
    I hear ya, man. The wooden ones might be a bit lighter, but getting the cork out could be a nuisance if you're in a hurry.

  2. #22

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    Re: Monorail vs. Folding Camera Weight

    A friend of mine, and a member here, has an Arca-Swiss Monorail; I don't remember the model and haven't seen him since the pandemic hit. I do remember being very impressed by its modular design. I don't remember the weight or any significant particulars. I seem to remember his being able to put it together and up on the tripod just about as fast as a folding.

    As several have pointed out, there are trade-offs to each system.

    To be clear, I am not in the market for a camera. I am quite happy with the TOHO for hiking and the Master Technika (and others...) for everyday use.
    It's fun to speculate though.

  3. #23

    Join Date
    Jan 2019
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    263

    Re: Monorail vs. Folding Camera Weight

    It's all about tradeoffs and intended purposes. The people using large format cameras now are mostly a different market and using it for different purposes than when large format was the default professional photographers' tool for many applications.

    I have a fairly lightweight monorail camera - a Linhof Kardan Standard. Here's some pictures of one (not mine): https://www.oddcameras.com/linhof_kardan_standard.htm It was intended as an entry level monorail in the 1970s, I think, and I guess is sort of like a Super Color with lighter standards that takes Technika lens boards. All aluminum with a nylon focusing track, weighs less than 5 lb, pretty rigid. Sounds great, but saving weight and cost meant lack of certain features, in particular, the bellows are fixed to the standards, the standards don't come off the rail easily, and there's no rail extensions or short rails. That makes it bulky, and about as much of a nuisance to transport as any other monorail. For its intended market, I imagine it was just fine.

    It can be done, but whether it will produce the desired result is another question.

  4. #24

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    Re: Monorail vs. Folding Camera Weight

    Quote Originally Posted by reddesert View Post
    It's all about tradeoffs and intended purposes. The people using large format cameras now are mostly a different market and using it for different purposes than when large format was the default professional photographers' tool for many applications.

    I have a fairly lightweight monorail camera - a Linhof Kardan Standard. Here's some pictures of one (not mine): https://www.oddcameras.com/linhof_kardan_standard.htm It was intended as an entry level monorail in the 1970s, I think, and I guess is sort of like a Super Color with lighter standards that takes Technika lens boards. All aluminum with a nylon focusing track, weighs less than 5 lb, pretty rigid. Sounds great, but saving weight and cost meant lack of certain features, in particular, the bellows are fixed to the standards, the standards don't come off the rail easily, and there's no rail extensions or short rails. That makes it bulky, and about as much of a nuisance to transport as any other monorail. For its intended market, I imagine it was just fine.

    It can be done, but whether it will produce the desired result is another question.
    The Standard handled 65mm and up lenses with full movements with that bellows.
    The standards will easily come off by removing either the front or rear stop screw. Just remember to replace that screw and it’s washer!
    Longer rails were available as it used the same rail as all of the various JBL model cameras but since the bellows was fixed why would you need a longer rail?

  5. #25

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    3,689

    Re: Monorail vs. Folding Camera Weight

    Even wooden folders have gained a lot of weight through the years. My 5x7 Deardorff weighs about 7 pounds more than my 5x7 Seroco from about 1930. My 8x10 "lightweight" 8x10 weighs 8.5 pounds w/o lens. The Kodak Universal had a much longer bellows, far more movements and weighed 7 pounds.
    How is that possible - the wood used. Even my new holders for 5x12 weigh 30% more than my original Korona holders.

  6. #26

    Join Date
    Dec 1999
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    Re: Monorail vs. Folding Camera Weight

    I've had my stint with 4x5 and smaller folding cameras, and I'm done with them.

    I began with a Linhof IV MF Technika. Nice camera, but some definite tradeoffs. I also had a Deardorff 5x7 camera with both 4x5 and 5x7 backs. Not for me. Even a 120mm lens is a challenge with the camera that I had.

    Probably the best folder I had was a Wista SP. It's an interesting camera that has bag bellows for super wide lenses. Nice thing about this camera is that one doesn't have to drop-bed the front to use a 75mm lens. Were one to do architecture with a folder, this is the one that I would select. It also has a nice viewing system, with a choice in Fresnel lenses. Still, a fidgety sort of camera; for example, changing the bellows was not very smooth.

    The two rail cameras that I would recommend are the following. If expense is important, and one doesn't mind some customization, I would recommend the following Sinar camera.

    https://www.photrio.com/forum/thread...camera.172997/

    If expense isn't as much of an issue, I really like my Arca Swiss system. For example, the following configuration is a nice combination of rail capability in a compact package.

    https://www.largeformatphotography.i...+format+camera

    And, having collected parts for this camera over time, it wasn't really that expensive.

    In considering folding versus rail cameras, I think that 8x10 is different. One can get by very nicely with a folding 8x10, in large part because, one can have a very usable set of lenses that don't require a bag bellows.

  7. #27
    Drew Wiley
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
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    15,960

    Re: Monorail vs. Folding Camera Weight

    Too many stereotypes. Now folders can be made of composite plys of wood/carbon fiber, like Chamonix, or at first, like my original Phillips 8X10 : wood/fiberglass ply, epoxy-impregnated, allowing both light weight and excellent rigidity. My little Ebony 4x5 is beautifully crafted pattern-grade mahogany with titanium hardware, combining light weight with good stability even at full extension. I already expressed my opinion about monorails being more versatile; but when you need something that closes flat like a book, there are numerous excellent choices out there.

  8. #28

    Join Date
    Jan 2019
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    263

    Re: Monorail vs. Folding Camera Weight

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Salomon View Post
    The Standard handled 65mm and up lenses with full movements with that bellows.
    The standards will easily come off by removing either the front or rear stop screw. Just remember to replace that screw and it’s washer!
    Longer rails were available as it used the same rail as all of the various JBL model cameras but since the bellows was fixed why would you need a longer rail?
    All true of course, my points were that the Kardan Standard is light, but it's not the type of system camera that comes apart easily to make a smaller / flatter package for transport. One can take the standards off, but it needs a little care to put them back on and get the focusing track aligned, it's not something you'd like to do every day while setting up the camera. The bellows is super flexible, but mine has pinholes (of course, it's also over 40 years old). It is a neat camera because very smooth/rigid feeling for its weight, in a kind of Linhof-precision-machined way.

  9. #29

    Re: Monorail vs. Folding Camera Weight

    Best of both worlds... Arca Swiss.

    Itís just a smaller user base due to cost.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  10. #30

    Re: Monorail vs. Folding Camera Weight

    Along this line of questioning, I am currently building a trekpak system to fit into a backpack to carry my Calumet CC400 around. Do I really need a 21" rail or could I make do with a smaller(shorter) rail? I mostly shoot with a CZJ 320mm or a Nikon 90mm, aI am using the Calumet cause I have 2 of them and they are here.

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