Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 14

Thread: Bender 4x5 kit

Hybrid View

Previous Post Previous Post   Next Post Next Post
  1. #1

    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Posts
    23

    Bender 4x5 kit

    So,
    I was looking at the Bender 4x5 build it yourself kit, and was wondering if anyone else has one. I read the review on this page, but wanted other's advice. I am also looking at used lenses. There is a Rodenstock Apo-ronar 150/9.0 and a Seiko 180/6.3 for the same price, and was wondering which would be an all purpose starting lens. I like to take pictures of everything, so are eather of these good for $160?
    Peace OUT
    RadChad

  2. #2

    Re: Bender 4x5 kit

    Quote Originally Posted by radchad View Post
    So,
    I was looking at the Bender 4x5 build it yourself kit, and was wondering if anyone else has one. I read the review on this page, but wanted other's advice. I am also looking at used lenses. There is a Rodenstock Apo-ronar 150/9.0 and a Seiko 180/6.3 for the same price, and was wondering which would be an all purpose starting lens. I like to take pictures of everything, so are eather of these good for $160?
    Peace OUT
    RadChad
    I got a Bender built by someone. I'd recommend that route unless you are VERY handy with wood. It's a beautiful camera - wierdly elegant in all its imprecise, squeakiness. There's one on EBay now.

    -Anupam

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Johns Creek, Ga
    Posts
    57

    Re: Bender 4x5 kit

    Built the 4X5 kit probably 10 years ago. And it actually came out fairly well even if I didn't have tools to make exact measurements. If you build the kit get something other than just a ruler to make measurements and take your time..

    My major problem is that there was some play in the blocks that attach to the monorail making exact focus very difficult (standards will rock somewhat forward and back). Other problem with focusing is that you need to manually move the blocks along the rail and it's very easy to Overshoot / Undershoot the focus spot. Used it once with a figure model and I think she ended up falling asleep before I got the focus right. After that experience and a couple of tries with an impatient spouse and family I decided it would be healthier if I went out on my own and photographerd the landscape,

    I used mine with a old Fuji 210mm 5.6 along with a fidelity film holders and 545 polaroid back. I've had good results, and it was fun to use while learning. Still have several images that were framed hanging on the walls. Ultimately I stopped using it because it became just to cumbersome, and my access to a 4X5 enlarger that was not readlly accessable.

    Looking to get back into a 4X5 and thinking about something in a 4x5 Field Camera.

    Regards,

    John

  4. #4
    Rafael Garcia's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Atlanta, GA, USA
    Posts
    331

    Re: Bender 4x5 kit

    RadChad:

    I don't know about Bender's kits, but do understand wood construction, and when looking over their website I reached the conclusion that they appeared just a bit too light to be as rigid as I would want my camera to be. I spent the same amount on an old 5x7 Gundlach Korona View, which included a 180mm (7 1/2") Wollensak lens and several film holders. I also bought a 4x5 back from a Graphic View I and made a new back for the Korona so I can now shoot B&W 5x7 and color in 4x5. Total investment was $335.00 plus shipping of both purchases. The camera is solid. Yes, it doesn't have all the modern movements, but it has enough for me to learn on and decide if I want to stick to it (I do). I can buy a Tachihara later on!
    Last edited by Rafael Garcia; 3-Oct-2006 at 16:49.

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Posts
    101

    Re: Bender 4x5 kit

    I bought a kit some years ago and I've been very happy with it. Given the base cost, it is a very reasonably way to have a "new" camera.

    Careful assembly (sanding, a little cutting and fine tuning) is the key. Be patient, go slow. Also, having a film holder on hand during assembly is a good idea as you can use it to check the fit and make some measurements of the groundglass placement before final assembly.

    Use a simple wood finish and go easy on waxing the wood.

    As far as rigidity issues, it is more rigid than it looks. I've used mine with a Graphmatic holder. You have to be a little bit careful advancing the septums in the back but it worked. Works much better with standard holders though.

    And for focusing, the "trick" is to use both the front and rear standards while focusing. Once I have a rough focus and have made most of my adjustments for tilt, swing, shift, whatever I fine tune my focus with the standard that I have least adjusted. Since all the movements are held by friction alone, this seems to minimize any slippage.

    Another "trick" was to make washers for each of the friction grips out of 600 grit wet-dry paper and slip them between the metal washer and the wood. While it does scar the wood a tiny bit, it feels a bit more secure without the need to crush the wood fibers.

    Since this is a monorail type, it has greater movement range than a flatbed or field camera design. If you are planing on doing mostly landscape work, the movement range is generally wasted but occasionaly handy. And it does suffer from the usual monorail-in-the-wind shake. But all monorails will do this.

    Of the two lenses, the 150mm is the "nominal" length but my preference is for something a little longer, usually a 210mm. Email or call Jay and he will be happy to discuss anything about the camera or lenses with you.

    FYI, www.camerabellows.com is offering their Bulldog kit which is a 4x5 made from what looks like MDF. It is a flatbed design instead of a monorail. Around $285US plus shipping I suppose. Looks interesting.

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Posts
    2,952

    Re: Bender 4x5 kit

    You can get a Speed Graphic for $225 at KEH:

    http://www.keh.com/OnLineStore/ProductList.aspx

  7. #7

    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Harbor City, California
    Posts
    1,748

    Re: Bender 4x5 kit

    Regarding the lenses, Rodenstock rates the image circle of the 150mm Apo-Ronar at only 135mm - not enough coverage for 4" X 5" at infinity.

    Seiko is a shutter maker, not a lens maker, so it is impossible to say how useful this lens may be without more information. Perhaps the seller could tell you what all the markings on the lens are, then someone here could no doubt give you worthwhile advice concerning it.

  8. #8

    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Posts
    1,791

    Re: Bender 4x5 kit

    Quote Originally Posted by radchad View Post
    So,
    I was looking at the Bender 4x5 build it yourself kit, and was wondering if anyone else has one. I read the review on this page, but wanted other's advice. I am also looking at used lenses. There is a Rodenstock Apo-ronar 150/9.0 and a Seiko 180/6.3 for the same price, and was wondering which would be an all purpose starting lens. I like to take pictures of everything, so are eather of these good for $160?
    Peace OUT
    RadChad
    To me the Bender makes little sense today. How much is it currently? Last time I looked you could get various used cameras for less money. Plus some new cameras aren't a great deal more. Plus you don't need to build it yourself.

    The Seiko is going to be the shutter not the lens. My guess is it's a Fuji but the F/stops sound wrong to me. 150 F/6.3 is the Tessar Fuji I think. 180mm F/5.6 is the modern design. Plasmat?? The 150mm F/6.3 was a more budget friendly lens. The F/5.6 line had better coverage.

    Buying used lenses everything depends on condition.

  9. #9

    Join Date
    Dec 1999
    Posts
    1,904

    Re: Bender 4x5 kit

    If you want to build a kit of something get one. If you want a camera get one is my usual advice. There is another kit on the market from Lee Filters/Camera Bellows.


    www.leefilters.com

    It is called the Bulldog. View Camera did a review earlier this year. IMHO it is a better execution of the kit idea than the Bender.

    If you are new to large format there are several articles on the View Camera web site that will be helpful. Go to

    www.viewcamera.com and then to Free Articles.

    steve simmons

  10. #10

    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    London
    Posts
    105

    Re: Bender 4x5 kit

    Quote Originally Posted by steve simmons View Post
    If you want to build a kit of something get one. If you want a camera get one is my usual advice. There is another kit on the market from Lee Filters/Camera Bellows.

    www.leefilters.com

    It is called the Bulldog. View Camera did a review earlier this year. IMHO it is a better execution of the kit idea than the Bender.
    Easier to find at http://www.camerabellows.com/Bulldog.html. The UK's Black & White Photography magazine also reviewed it a couple of months ago.

    Cheers, Bob.

Similar Threads

  1. Shipping 4x5 kit on ahead of me
    By David G. Gagnon in forum Location & Travel
    Replies: 10
    Last Post: 13-Nov-2005, 12:17
  2. 4x5 lens kit
    By Calamity Jane in forum Lenses & Lens Accessories
    Replies: 13
    Last Post: 17-Mar-2005, 17:27
  3. Interesting comparison between 4x5 and digital
    By Dan Wells in forum Digital Hardware
    Replies: 37
    Last Post: 6-Mar-2005, 07:06
  4. Digital printing 6x9 vs 4x5
    By Glenn Kroeger in forum Digital Hardware
    Replies: 19
    Last Post: 22-Feb-2000, 13:42
  5. Critiques on the Bender 4x5 Kit
    By Bruce E. Steffine in forum Cameras & Camera Accessories
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: 6-Nov-1998, 23:58

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •