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Thread: Which field camera for usage with 90mm lens

  1. #21

    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Stevens Point, WI

    Re: Which field camera for usage with 90mm lens

    Most any 4x5 will work. However, generally speaking the longer the bellows the more they will be compressed with the 90. If the bellows are compressed, movements are very stiff and it can be harder to lock the camera down without any slippage. I used a Toyo AX and it worked but it was tight. My Arca Swis F-Line Metric was better and it took a bag bellows. I think interchangeable bellows with a bag bellows option would be ideal, especially if you require lots of movements.

  2. #22

    Join Date
    Jul 2008

    Re: Which field camera for usage with 90mm lens

    Skip ALL those field foldable cameras as they are not an ideal fit for home interior images. Using 4x5 sheet film format:

    ~90mm focal length is often too long. Do not be surprised to discover needing lens focal length down to 47mm, then pressing the lens & camera for all minuscule amounts of camera/lens movement this combo is capable of.

    ~often used focal length for interiors would be 75mm with a 65mm often. Again once adding camera movements and all, these field folders are not going to allow ease of image making at all.

    ~Bag bellows is mandatory, non-option. Another requirement that does not fit well on the majority of field folders.

    ~Full camera movements Front and Rear. Majority of field folders easily meet the front camera movement requirement, few if any can duplicate ALL the identical camera movements at the rear.. which is a time saver and frustration reducer for interior images. A ground glass with accurate grid is mandatory.

    Been and done the Horseman L monorail, GOOD camera, they are on the heavy_ish side. They were at one point in view camera time the absolute bargain monorail view camera. Keep in mind the Horseman L monorail was designed and intended to be used as a in-studio camera which was THE majority view camera market back when these were new. It was feature on the cover of time magazine with AA (ponder why no light weight field folder in AA's later years).
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    IMO, your ideal camera would be a Sinar Norma in GOOD condition (cleaned, lubed, and properly adjusted) with a bag bellows or Sinar F/F2. Sinar allows little if any camera limitations, meets each and every need in a very nice way and expandable beyond most any possible view camera image making needs.

    The question of weight and portability comes up often, Sinar Norma is 7.5 pounds, lightweight field folder about 3.5 pounds. Fact is 3 pounds is not that significant for those not backpacking or hiking mile after mile with their view camera outfit.

    Set up is typically easier and faster with a Sinar monorail as the camera can be stored compete with lens in it's case. Set up means taking the entire camera with lens out of it's case then putting it on the Sinar tripod rail clamp. Takes seconds, no unfolding, fiddling with centering the standards, racking this or that our or... Example of what is not so easy if at all possible on a field folder.
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    ALL cameras are a mandatory compromise, they are specific tools designed and intended to do what they have been specifically designed and intended to do.
    Making demands or expectations above and beyond what they were designed and intended to do often does not work out so good at all.


    Quote Originally Posted by Times2 View Post
    I'm planning to use it for images of interiors and houses. I really want those parallel lines But I would also like to be able to shot portraits (ofc with a different lens). I'm not big on long lenses if that matters.
    Horseman L45 although monorail entered my mind. Still not sure what to think of it, mainly due to how time-consuming it seems to assemble and disassemble it and ofc its weight.
    Choosing LF camera seems like a mandatory compromise

  3. #23
    Corran's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    North GA Mountains

    Re: Which field camera for usage with 90mm lens

    Just get a used Chamonix if the new price is too high. Any model is good. "Universal" bellows will be best for large movements. A monorail is a cheap alternative with a large weight penalty.

    As others have said in the past, just get anything and learn what works for you. No LF camera can do-it-all; there's always a compromise. Even a cheap Crown Graphic can use a 90mm and do movements fairly well.

    IMO it's better to have a lighter and more portable camera that you'll actually get out and use than an anchor you never take out.
    Bryan | Blog | YouTube | Instagram | Portfolio
    All comments and thoughtful critique welcome

  4. #24
    Peter De Smidt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    Fond du Lac, WI, USA

    Re: Which field camera for usage with 90mm lens

    Bryan gives good advice, and Bernice makes some good points. The best LF cameras for Architecture/Interiors are the high quality monorails, Sinar Norma, F2, Arca Swiss F, all with bag bellows. They aren't that big or heavy. But, they aren't that much fun to hike with, although it can of course be done.

    The Chamonix isn't as precise, but it's significantly lighter and more compact.

    My Toyo AX has less movements, but it's more rugged. If I could only have one 4x5, I'd keep the Toyo and sell my Sinars, but I'd miss them for architectural work.

    Here's another option:

    A Toyo VX would also be a good choice.
    “You often feel tired, not because you've done too much, but because you've done too little of what sparks a light in you.”
    ― Alexander Den Heijer, Nothing You Don't Already Know

  5. #25

    Join Date
    May 2021

    Re: Which field camera for usage with 90mm lens

    I chime in here knowing that the previous posters all have soooo much more experience than I. Take all of this with a novice-sized grain of salt. I've read it, now that I've written it, and it sounds like a sales pitch, but I swear I have no affiliation with Kenko!

    Here are my thoughts after a month with my Horseman L45.
    Hiking with it is totally fine. If this is what stopping you, dont hesitate to pull the trigger! I've hiked and biked hours and hours at a time with mine on my back, often off track, up and down gullies here and gorges and "mountains", looking for cascades. My camera folds FLAT, maybe 35-40mm thick at its thickest, and sits inside a carry-on sized backpack perfectly with a whole heap of room for everything else. I understand that as people get older, or if they have injuries, they need lighter stuff, but for most of us 8kg (total, with all other gear included) on your back isnt a deal breaker, or wont be with a bit of practice.

    In terms of set up, again, I'm a newcomer but its about 90 seconds from zipping open my bag to having the camera ready to go. That includes aligning/zeroing standards, installing belows, installing lens and levelling the whole thing with a spirit block. And crucially, this also means the camera is balanced fore/aft on top of the tripod head. The weight of any sized lens can be counterbalanced by the back standard using the geared knob that moves the whole rail along the mounting plate. This gear also heaps massively when doing macro stuff on my kitchen table... focusing by moving the whole camera, rather than a standard, is really helpful

    The movements are awesome, the image circle of the lens, it seems, will usually be limiting factor in movements. Having geared, smooth rise and fall and side to side movements is nice. I focus 90% of the time with the back standard. The front and rear standards and mounts are identical and can be interchanged (with riser blocks) for 5x7 and 8x10 units at rear. Changing from landscape to portrait mode is a 5 second job. It can (apparently) accept down to 65mm lenses without the need for a recessed lens board.

    Other things in the WIN column are that it was super cheap, its solid as heck, and Ansel Adams used and loved one too.

    What don't I like about it?
    The grease in mine (and almost all of them I suppose) is old and the tilts and swings are a bit tight in cold weather (which is now in Australia). I work them for 10 seconds, back and forth and theyre then fine. They are pretty easy to service, though, and to adjust that friction plate. I'll do that sometime soon.

    What else don't I like? It doesn't have a classic look like wooden folder, and with the bag bellows, ballooning out when focused at infinity with my 125mm lens, i might even call it a bit ugly. But its a beast and there hasn't been a moment that I've regretted getting it. I was looking at a Wista SP before I saw Ansel's discussion of the Horseman, then I saw Giulio Speranza ( taking his on MASSIVE epics into the Italian mountains and I realised that it was all going to be fine, and I'd have a tool that was as useful for still life, architecture and portraits as it is for landscapes.
    Horseman L45 Mamiya Press Olympus OM2n 35RC Pen EE2 Canon EOS 1N

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  6. #26

    Join Date
    Jul 2008

    Re: Which field camera for usage with 90mm lens

    IMO, Horseman L series monorails were THE best used monorail value camera on the market. That was a time when less than $200 would result in an excellent Horseman L series with extras like bag bellows, lens boards and more. Not so much any more as the market has figure out how good these Horseman L series monorails are. Far better camera at the used price point than the Sinar F or F2, heavier, far less plastic bits than the Sinar F series. Better of all, most of the Sinar bits work on the Horseman L from Lens boards to Sinar shutter and etc.. This was the last Horseman L series camera (LM) before it found another home.
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    They remain an excellent value at their current market $ of about $400 with extras. Like this one complete with bag bellows which is a requirement for what your image goals are:

    IMO, don't spend too much on the camera which is not a lot more than a light tight box that is flexi in the center. Be far more generous with lenses and those other image creation bits, that is often far more significant than the camera. What a camera like the Horseman L, Sinar, Toyo or similar monorail camera can do is make life and creation of the image easier. Stuff like a camera movements with easy to apply front and back movements, center detents and all often makes the difference between simplicity of applying camera movements with accuracy and precision and knowing the camera will stay put once set or struggle with centering the standards, excessive or unwanted camera movements as they are adjusted.

    Two sample house room pictures made using a 5x7 Sinar Norma, guess the lens focal length used and what camera movements were applied:
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    If you're driving to a house to make interior pictures, ponder how and why a few extra pounds (about 3lb or so) in the camera impact the ability to transport the camera and ALL related to image making of rooms inside a house (hint, it is NOT important at all in many ways) ?


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