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Thread: Toyo half-plate rearing its head again: what size would you say this back is?

  1. #1

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    Toyo half-plate rearing its head again: what size would you say this back is?

    The listing this photo comes from doesn't specify, and I'm certainly no expert, but is this a 4x5 back, or is it just the half-plate back? It's on a Toyo half-plate field camera.

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  2. #2

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    Re: Toyo half-plate rearing its head again: what size would you say this back is?

    I'm no expert either, but that looks like a 4x5 back. Half-plate (4-3/4" x 6-1/2"?) is a longer and narrower frame than I'm seeing here.

  3. #3

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    Re: Toyo half-plate rearing its head again: what size would you say this back is?

    The 4x5 back. The half-plate back fills the entire back.

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    Re: Toyo half-plate rearing its head again: what size would you say this back is?

    Thanks. Without a side by side comparison, I don't think I could easily eyeball the difference in aspect ratio: by my calculation that would be 1.25:1 versus 1.37:1. It looked like this back has a little space to spare in relation to the camera and the rear opening of the bellows, so I was hoping it was 4x5.

    Now I have to debate with myself whether to buy it or wait. I don't know how often this config is available in Japan. I'll need a field camera as I don't see myself hefting my monorail along on hikes, and though the Intrepid is a good contender based on weight, I'm already spoiled by Toyo build. I like the price and the utilitarian look of the metal Toyo field cameras, too.

  5. #5

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    Re: Toyo half-plate rearing its head again: what size would you say this back is?

    The Toyo is basically a metal-bodied Speed Graphic -- or based on Speed Graphic design for front standard and bed, Toyo bought the rights - with all the limitations that brings. If you want a metal 4x5 field camera I recommend one of the Wista 45 variants particularly a 45VX or SP with front swing, or for something more interesting a Rittreck View 5x7 with revolving 4x5 back: there won't be much difference in size and weight to the Toyo but there will be in functionality. Get the 5x7 back when you want some larger-format fun.
    Last edited by Vaughan; 23-May-2024 at 19:06.

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    Re: Toyo half-plate rearing its head again: what size would you say this back is?

    The camera shown is not a Toyo Super Graphic, which is a smaller camera. It's a larger folding metal field camera, with more extension and movements than the Super; designed by Toyo, presumably before they bought up the Graflex tooling in the mid-70s. I've only seen one of these, last year, and was quite impressed by it.

  7. #7

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    Re: Toyo half-plate rearing its head again: what size would you say this back is?

    Thanks for the clarification, Mark. I was a bit baffled by the Speed Graphic comparison, as I'd not heard it before.

    This one's a model that seems to be discussed quite often, with mostly favourable comments, from what I've seen. The downside is that it's originally intended for half plate (Japan version) photography, and there's been some discussion about whether it's capable of 5x7. That would be nice, but as far as I understand, that wouldn't be possible without some significant modification. Half plate is dead in Japan - no film, apart from anything - and 5x7 is close to nonexistent. If I wanted to try that out, the camera, the accessories, and most expensively, the film, would all have to come from abroad, so I've largely abandoned that idea.

    Plenty of owners seem happy with this Toyo as a 4x5 camera. If I do get it - more than a bit squeezed for cash right now - it looks about half the unshipped price of an Intrepid 4x5, though probably would need an extra $100 or $150 for a new bellows.

  8. #8
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    Re: Toyo half-plate rearing its head again: what size would you say this back is?

    Just for the record, although it's not relevant to your interest as you describe it, there's also a whole-plate expansion back, with matching film holders, for this camera. Unlike the rigid expander backs for the Rittreck View, the whole-plate back for the Toyo includes its own extension bellows and rails.

  9. #9

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    Re: Toyo half-plate rearing its head again: what size would you say this back is?

    Yes, as Mark says, that is a metal Toyo Field - it should say "Toyo Field 4-3/4 x 6-1/2 Sakai Special" on the top rear. It does take Speed Graphic lens boards, but it folds up like a field camera, with front and rear tilts that are somewhat more functional for landscape photography than a Speed Graphic. The detents to the zero tilt position are kind of strong, which would make setting tilts just different from zero a little hard, I think. Someone could maybe modify the part to change the depth of the detents.

    The pictured camera has a 4x5 spring back missing the hinged hood for the GG.

    This page has some good photos of one, showing the half-plate back vs a 4x5 back. However, the 4x5 back he has is not the usual one - his came from a tan-colored Toyo monorail camera, I think. The usual Field back is gray and doesn't have those Graflok-style sliders to remove the rotating GG part. https://johnbrewerphotography.com/bl...special-camera

  10. #10

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    Re: Toyo half-plate rearing its head again: what size would you say this back is?

    That's the one. I'm partly responsible for the confusion occurring in the first place, as I only posted the photo that showed the camera back. I'm not sure about the policy for lifting photos from other sites, and I also didn't want to make it too easy to find the item I was thinking about purchasing. Though anyone who wants to nip in ahead could should be able to locate it without difficulty. Even if I don't get this one, at least I now know how to identify the back I want when the model comes up again in the future. Thanks for pointing out the missing hood, I didn't notice that.

    I have seen this camera model on the page you linked, and also another site for a photographer based in Hong Kong. The movements are clearly explained on both sites, which is why I was thrown by the mention of press camera-type limitations. But as I say, if I'd put up the photos that show the camera more clearly, or explained myself more clearly, Vaughan would have known which camera I meant.

    While I don't think dragging a monorail out to the mountains would be dead easy, I was at least happy to find yesterday that my model allows the front and rear standard to be swung in line with the rail, which adds an option for packing it flat and carrying it. At least I can satisfy my curiosity, as others have before me, about whether taking one out on a hike is a "once only never again" type of thing, or a viable alternative to using a field camera. I only do day hikes, travelling by train and bus, and if taking a large format camera, would only intend to take around 4 shots per trip.

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