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Thread: Tachihara 4 x 5 Field Camera & Roll Film Backs

  1. #1

    Tachihara 4 x 5 Field Camera & Roll Film Backs

    I have just about decided to purchase a Tachihara 4 x 5 field camera as my first view camera. I almost exclusively shoot landscapes. Most of the time I day hi ke, or backpack, to nature areas for shooting pictures.

    I would like to use it primarily with a roll film back (to save film costs and not be required to carry film holders with me). Can you use a 6 x 9 roll film b ack with the Tachihara? Which are the best ones to use with it? Will it take a Toyo back? Is there a problem with the camera shifting focus when a roll film b ack is inserted? Is this problem mitigated by certain roll film backs but not o thers? Any shared experiences or advice is appreciated.

    I find the terminology for roll film backs confusing. What does it mean to be a Graflock back for instance?

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Mar 1998
    Posts
    1,973

    Tachihara 4 x 5 Field Camera & Roll Film Backs

    Any of the "slim line" roll film backs that can slide between the frame and the groundglass (Sinar and certain Toyo backs) should work fine with no focus shift. Horseman also makes/markets terrific roll film backs but these are so thick tha t removing the Groundglass and its frame is mandatory. Hence the desirability of having Graflock (aka International) locks on your camera. With a graflock moun t you unhook the groundglass frame and set it aside. Place your roll film or gra fmatic back against the frame on the camera and slide the two bars down so that the back is now held against the camera frame.

    Another alternative to carrying individual film holders are the competing Kodak Readyload and Fuji QuickLoad film holders. While each has it's defenders and cri tics (I for one think the Kodak system is lousy and unreliable based on over thr ee years of working with various iterations of the back and still having a 25 to 30% failure rate due to light leaks.) they do have the advantage of letting you shoot 4x5 with out having to carry a bunch of dead weight with you, and both of fer the assurance of perfectly laboratory clean film. In the US, Fuji has releas ed only transparency emulsions (RVP, RDPII, RAP, and 64T) (overseas there are a black&white(neopan 80) and a color neg availible. Worldwide Kodak has released E 100s, 64T, a ISO100 color neg, and T-max 100. Each has their own proprietary backs but both will work in a Polaroid 545 or 545 i holder.

  3. #3

    Tachihara 4 x 5 Field Camera & Roll Film Backs

    Back when I had a Tachihara I did use one of the "fatter" Calumet C2N 6x7 holder s without any problems. Although the Tachihara seemed to be looser in the back, I just made sure everything was tightened down real good before inserting the b ack. Never seemed to have a focus problem. The Calumet holders are also a litt le less expensive. One note....I also backpack with a 4x5 camera and I never br ought the 120 holder with me because of its heavy weight. Quickloads are nice, but expensive. I bring about 6 holders, film and a changing bag...or the sleepi ng bag at night. The Tachihara is an excellent camera...but don't drop it. Enj oy.

  4. #4

    Tachihara 4 x 5 Field Camera & Roll Film Backs

    I own two of the older Calumet C2 (as opposed to the newer C2N)slide-in 6x7cm roll backs. They are the made-in-America-terrible quality version. The frame spacing is uneven so I can only reliably get 9 frames (instead of ten) per 120 roll. I believe the newer C2N made-in-Holland-better-quality is improved. The film flatness is also a problem because there is ONLY one roller near the pressure plate. After extensive testing and botched shoots I finally placed a few layers of gaffer tape in a particular place to prevent any floating film problems. That was three years ago and the film flatness is OK, just not the uneven spacing.

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Oct 1998
    Posts
    106

    Tachihara 4 x 5 Field Camera & Roll Film Backs

    I am using the Tachihara with a Horseman 6X9 back. After reading many reviews of the various rollbacks here and elsewhere on the web, the Horseman came up a winner in reliablity, film flatness and accuracy. The problem on the Tachihara is the springback design cannot be removed, however it is hinged to open plenty wide to accept the horseman. Another problem, however, is the filmback will rest against the ground glass and damage or break it. I made a ground glass protector out of 1/8" thick plastic that I use when I pack it. When I put the 6X9 back on the camera. I insert the protector between the ground glass and the filmback. Sounds a bit complicated but really is not a problem. I would rather do this than deal with some of the stories I hear about the Calumets. There may be some other slim backs that are reliable, film flat, and fit the Tachihara without these issues. The Tachihara does accept a "standard graphlock back". You will find this on just about all film backs for 4X5.

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Oct 1998
    Posts
    106

    Tachihara 4 x 5 Field Camera & Roll Film Backs

    I am using the Tachihara with a Horseman 6X9 back. The Tachihara does have a "standard graphlock back" however, it is hinged and cannot be removed. It does open plenty wide to accept the Horseman back but it will rest against the ground glass and damage it. I made a ground glass protector out of 1/8" thick plastic I use when packing the camera. When using the Horseman filmback, I insert this between the ground glass and the film back to avoid damage to the ground glass. It sounds a bit complicated but really isn't a problem and after reading many reviews here and elsewhere on the web about the various film backs, the Horseman always came up at or near the top for reliability, film flatness and accuracy. I didn't want to deal with the stories I read on the Calumets. (my second try on posting this, I usually put "nospam" when posting to avoid so much junk mail. I'll try again (some trepidation...) to post again with my email address)

  7. #7

    Tachihara 4 x 5 Field Camera & Roll Film Backs

    Thanks for all the responses, thus far. I have a follow-up concerning the last comment by Gary.

    > I made a ground glass >protector out of 1/8" thick plastic that I use when I pack it. When I >put the 6X9 back on the camera. I insert the protector between the >ground glass and the filmback. Sounds a bit complicated but really is >not a problem. I would rather do this than deal with some of the >stories I hear about the Calumets. There may be some other slim backs >that are reliable, film flat, and fit the Tachihara without these >issues. The Tachihara does accept a "standard graphlock back". >You will find this on just about all film backs for 4X5. >

    Wouldn't putting something between the 6 x 9 back and the ground glass throw off the correct position for appropriate focusing? I.e. isn't the film plane now 1/8" too far back?

    How does this work?

    Also, have you heard anything good/bad about the Toyo backs?

    What is the shortest lens you have used on the Tachihara with which you have been able to tilt the focus plane a bit?

    I assume that the Tachihara back is reversing, i.e. I don't need to flip the camera on a tripod to shoot verticals. Is this correct?

  8. #8

    Join Date
    Mar 1998
    Posts
    1,973

    Tachihara 4 x 5 Field Camera & Roll Film Backs

    To answer your questions: "Wouldn't putting something between the 6 x 9 back and the ground glass throw of f the correct position for appropriate focusing? I.e. isn't the film plane now 1 /8" too far back? How does this work?"

    A: you focus before you insert the roll film back. Focus plane remains unmoved, but he spring loaded ground glass is now behind the inseted back. Just remember to remove the protective plastic plate after you have made your shot and removed the RF back and before you set up for the next shot.

    Also, have you heard anything good/bad about the Toyo backs?"

    No. I use Horseman and Sinar backs. Toyo is a good company and they generally ma ke good product.

    "What is the shortest lens you have used on the Tachihara with which you have be en able to tilt the focus plane a bit?" A. Probably a 90mm. If you want more short (and long) lens versatility in a fold ing camera, spend the extra dollars and get a Canham DLC.

    "I assume that the Tachihara back is reversing, i.e. I don't need to flip the ca mera on a tripod to shoot verticals. Is this correct?"

    A.) Correct. Although as with all view cameras you have to stand on your head or hang by your knees to see the image right side up. (that was a small attempt at a joke.)

  9. #9

    Tachihara 4 x 5 Field Camera & Roll Film Backs

    I agree that the Horseman roll film back is less suspect when it comes to film flatness. It uses two rollers that work in tandem to "pull" the film flat as opposed to Calumets and Toyos system of using a looped film system. Yet my experience is that the Calumet system has worked for me. Also...when I did have a Tachihara I used a 75mm lens without a need for a bag bellows. And I did use tilt...although not a lot. By the way a better camera with a Graflock and spring back for a fair price is the new Toyo 45AX. They offer a student discount of $1063.

  10. #10

    Tachihara 4 x 5 Field Camera & Roll Film Backs

    If I had it to do over again, I would purchase a Toyo slide-in back, rather than the used Calumet backs which I currently own. The slide-in style is much easier to use that others, especially if the back doesn't lift out far enough for a Horseman type back (i.e. with my Sinar P). I haven't used the Toyo, but anything is better than the older Calumet backs.

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