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Thread: Linhof Karden restoration project

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Posts
    8

    Linhof Karden restoration project

    Hi Everybody,

    Apologies on advance for asking some dumb newbie questions

    I'm dipping my toe back in to the world of LF photography (my only experience of 4x5 was at college about 25 years ago...), and recently picked up a Linhof Karden standard 5x4. I'm trying to do this "on the cheap" - it's just the rail front and back (with ground glass) and bellows. The bellows are tatty and almost certainly in need of repair or replacement. So I now have to get lenses, lens panel, film holders etc.

    Before I venture in to e-bay, I wondered if any one could give me some pointers on what to look for, and where to go next.

    The bellow are fixed, non detachable. 150mm x 150mm (external) square, and fully extended they measure about 32cm. I tried to contact Camera Bellows in the UK, to get a ballpark figure on a replacement, but they appear to have closed down. I'd prefer to replace than try repair. I have spotted some (replacement for Toyo 45) bellows which are 150mm square on e-bay for about 50. A bit risky, but could be a cheap replacement option - the Karden bellows seem to be simply glued to the frame at each end. Is this a silly idea?

    As the bellows are fixed, I also wonder what restrictions it will place on me in terms of lenses etc. I wish to use this camera initially for some still life and portraiture, so I'm thinking of getting something in the 150 - 210mm range for my first lens choice, but it would be nice to have something wider eventually for landscapes. Does anyone have experience of using wider lenses on this camera, should I be looking at recessed lens panels?

    As far as lens boards go, it looks to me like the fixings are for a panel approximately 10cm square, although searching for "Karden" boards they seem to be 162mm Square. I'm guessing I'll be safe with a 96x98mm Linhof "Wista" size.

    Finally, I'm thinking of getting a polaroid back for my initial experiments, partly because I don't have a dark room (I'm planning to scan any negs or transparencies, and possibly produce "digital negatives" for use with alternative printing processes). Given the discontinuation of Polaroid film, is this still worth doing?

    Any help much appreciated!

    Thanks,

    John

  2. #2

    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Germany
    Posts
    86

    Re: Linhof Karden restoration project

    Quote Originally Posted by John E View Post
    I tried to contact Camera Bellows in the UK, to get a ballpark figure on a replacement, but they appear to have closed down. I'd
    This is phoenix from the ashes

    http://www.custombellows.co.uk

    I don't know whether they are up and running already though.

    Ulrich

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Sep 1998
    Location
    GA
    Posts
    12,868

    Re: Linhof Karden restoration project

    Congratulations! You have a very unique camera! The 45 Standard, with it's fixed bellows took lenses on 45 Technika lens boards from 47mm to 360mm allowing full movement with the fixed bellows! There are no restriction on lenses in that focal length range as long as the rear element of the lens is not larger then the hole in the front standard of the camera.
    As this was a special bellows you should contact the Linhof distributor in London or Linhof in Munich regarding replacement bellows.

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Posts
    2,480

    Re: Linhof Karden restoration project

    Quote Originally Posted by Ulrich Drolshagen View Post
    This is phoenix from the ashes

    http://www.custombellows.co.uk

    I don't know whether they are up and running already though.

    Ulrich
    Not yet. Give them 2 more months.

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Holland + Brazil
    Posts
    558

    Re: Linhof Karden restoration project

    Congrad's with your Linhoff Kardan !

    As for getting a polaroid back: forget it for now: old stock sells for $$$$$ or ,
    Fuji is a better choice, but not cheap.

    Having a scanner is a good thing, look at the scanner part of this forum for mooooore info.

    Peter

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Posts
    8

    Re: Linhof Karden restoration project

    Hi Everyone,

    Thanks for the quick responses!

    I'll try Linhof for bellows, but doubt it will be cheap! Maybe Custom Bellows can come up with something a bit more affordable when they are up and running.

    On the polaroid front I believe that Fuji instant film will work with some of the polaroid backs, so I'll give that some consideration.

    Thanks again.

    John

  7. #7

    Join Date
    Sep 1998
    Location
    GA
    Posts
    12,868

    Re: Linhof Karden restoration project

    Quote Originally Posted by John E View Post
    Hi Everyone,

    Thanks for the quick responses!

    I'll try Linhof for bellows, but doubt it will be cheap! Maybe Custom Bellows can come up with something a bit more affordable when they are up and running.

    On the polaroid front I believe that Fuji instant film will work with some of the polaroid backs, so I'll give that some consideration.

    Thanks again.

    John
    A bellows that allows full movements with lenses from 47 to 360mm is very unique. You don't want a 3rd party bellows if you want the camera to function as it was designed to.

    Remember, if you want to go real wide you can't just add a bag bellows at a later date on this camera. The basic bellows does it all!

  8. #8

    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Posts
    8

    Re: Linhof Karden restoration project

    Thanks very much Bob. I'll bear that in mind.

    John

  9. #9

    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Posts
    162

    Re: Linhof Karden restoration project

    John, speak to Paula at Linhof & Studio (the UK LInhof importers) she is really knowledgable about all things Linhof and Large Format. She is also really helpful so might be able to help you find some bellows at a good price. Her telephone number is 01702 716116 and website is http://www.linhofstudio.com/.

    Good luck

    David Whistance

  10. #10

    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Posts
    8

    Re: Linhof Karden restoration project

    Hi David,

    That's great, I will follow that up.

    Many thanks,

    John

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