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Thread: Another useful trick for Toho users

  1. #1

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    Another useful trick for Toho users

    My Toho FC-45X has a very small amount of play in the default detent positions. As a result, the standards can be slightly out of alignment. It is easy to check, using a torpedo level, that the standards are vertically aligned, but I've had some difficulty checking that they are horizontally aligned. I finally came up with the following method. I put the rail assembly on my tripod and turn the tripod so that it is roughly vertical. I have a small bubble level with a protuding margin, and I clamp it to one of the standard supports. I then adjust the tripod and the rail assembly so it is level. I then clamp it to the other standard support and note how far out of level that is and in which direction. I then make minor adjusments in the detent positions for tilts and swings, front or rear or both, until I can get them both level. This can sometimes take a bit of fiddling, but once I have it set, I can leave it that way until I use a tilt or swing, at which time I have to readjust them again. It is pretty quick just to check alignment if no adjustments are needed.

    Of course, one can also make adjustments by looking at the gg and looking at detail on either side or top and bottom at roughly the same distance (optically). But this method avoids having to mount the standards.

    The alignment errors for the Toho are not very large, and most of the time will be taken care of by DOF. But I do find that they sometimes can result in out of focus regions for short focal length lenses. I wonder what experiences other have had in this regard with a Toho or indeed any view camera designed to be used easily in the field.

  2. #2

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    Another useful trick for Toho users

    I can't believe it! It sounds to me as a description of a perfect piece of crap, sorry. I have Arca Swiss 6x9 and I can't imagine I would be performing this kind of devil's dance with it to take a picture. Do yourself a favor, buy a camera. Just my advice.

  3. #3
    Photographer, Machinist, etc. Jeffrey Sipress's Avatar
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    Another useful trick for Toho users

    Not very understanding there, gps. Perhaps ou should get a Toho. It goes where no Arca has gone before.

    I own a Toho, too, and have played with the adjustments a bit. As a machinist, engineer and model bulder, I applied some effort to smooth the surfaces and edges of the sliding mechanisms. A little lubrication helped. But overall, I don't care about slight misalignments as small as those inherent to this camera. I compensate when I am composing and focusing. And this camera's tightening controls require a bit of finesse to maintain focus as you tighten. It's all part of the experience. No it's not like using an A-S or my SV45U. But it fits in my fanny pack! And when I'm using it, I simply need to engage the thinking and approach that this camera needs. I have some pretty large and gorgeous prints shot on backpacks and hikes as a result.

  4. #4

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    Another useful trick for Toho users

    Hmm, not too impressed by your useful tricks either. Sounds even more like that piece before. Perhaps you should get the AS and go where your Toho has never been before?

  5. #5

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    Another useful trick for Toho users

    I'm sure your Arca Swiss is a fine mechanism, but let me make some comments.

    First, any 6 x 9 camera must be more precise than a 4 x 5 because the effect of misalignment is greater. My Horseman 980 Technical camera, for example, is more precise than my Toho, but I know it is not perfect.

    Second, I suspect that most 4 x 5 view cameras, possibly even your Arca Swiss 6 x 9, have small alignment errors. If you are going to allow tilts and swings, that is almost invevitable.

    Third, most Toho users probably never notice these small errors. I didn't until I started using short focal length lenses. After all I'm talking about swings or tilts of something like half a degree or less. You wouldn't ordinarily set a tilt or swing that accurately on purpose in the field.

    Finally, as Jeffrey pointed out, the Toho has advantages in weight and portability. When I started out, I didn't want to spend $3,000 for a camera, and I decided not to continue with 6 x 9. Because I have four herniated discs and spinal stenosis, weight was of paramount importance for me. The Toho is pretty much the lightest 4 x 5 around weighing in just over three lbs. It is significantly ligher than your Arca Swiss or my Horseman. Some day, if both my back and wallet improve---not too likely at my age---I may get a more precise view camera. But I won't expect it to be perfect, and I suspect I will find some small errors in alignment in the detent positions.

  6. #6
    Photographer, Machinist, etc. Jeffrey Sipress's Avatar
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    Another useful trick for Toho users

    gps, we don't need people like you around here. Your arrogance and rudeness are out of line. Take your Arca and your attitude and go hang out on dpreview with others like yourself. If I was moderating here, you'd be gone already.

  7. #7

    Another useful trick for Toho users

    As someone who owns and has extensively used both a Toho and an ARCA-SWISS F-Line, in my opion they are both ideally suited for their intended applications.

    The ultralight Toho FC-45X is the perfect camera for backpacking. Mine weighs 2 lb. 12.5 oz. It has full movements on the front and rear standards, is amazingly rigid for such a lightweight camera, and can use lenses up to 360mm, or 500mm in a telephoto design. I have never experienced the alignment problems Leonard described, but then I'm not a user of ultra wide lenses. The shortest lens I typically use with the Toho is a 90mm (although I have used a 75mm and an 80mm with it on a few occasions).

    The ARCA-SWISS is the best All-Round CAmera I have ever used. It's well designed, well built and reconfigurable for just about any photographic situation or application. I have even made a 4x10 conversion back for mine and am in the process of making a 7x17 conversion kit.

    Personally, I wouldn't want to live without either camera.

    Kerry

  8. #8

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    Another useful trick for Toho users

    Leonard, every camera can be misaligned, no doubt about it. Nevertheless, the AS has no play in standards that would be the cause of misalignment.

  9. #9

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    Another useful trick for Toho users

    There may be one point of confusion in all of this. The Toho doesn't have any play at all once you tighten down the knobs. What I'm talking about is the positive detent positions where something drops into a slot and is fixed there. The standards are supposed to be parallel when they are in these detent positions. I suspect that different Toho units vary slightly in the small amount of play in the detent positions, and mine may be slightly worse in this respect than Kerry's.

    Some view cameras don't have detents at all; there are just marks to line up with one another or a scale with a pointer. In that case, since the errors I'm talking about are quite small, one wouldn't know how well aligned the standards are without the kind of testing I've been discussing, and in most cases the error would be too small to matter. I haven't looked at an Arca Swiss lately, so I'm not sure exactly how it works. From pictures, it doesn't look at if there are any detents, but I could easily be wrong. Extremely precise control of tilts and swings is not possible without a lot of gearing down. Indeed, one would need two ways to tilt or swing, one to get the rough position and the other to fine tune it. I don't think I've seen any large format view cameras designed that way, but I admit my experience is somewhat limited.

  10. #10

    Another useful trick for Toho users

    Arcas don't really have detents, but there is a bi-directional zero stop that stops the movement at zero tilt when coming from either direction. This is a very nice system as there is no tendency of the standard to "fall" toward the zero position. BUT, I have seen many Arcas that have their zero stops poorly adjusted. Some so that the zero point coming from forward tilt is different than the zero position coming from rearward tilt. This is fixable, but the upshot is that, like any camera, it must be properly adjusted to work right.

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