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Thread: Picking a monorail camera.

  1. #1

    Picking a monorail camera.

    First I would like to thank Ellis Veneer and others who have commented on my pas t questions here and elsewhere concerning architectural/interior photography. Fr om reading the responses, and doing a little research, I have determined to take the plunge and buy what I believe to be the right tools for the job. As such I will be looking to exchange my current equipment to buy a monorail camera that c an be used for architectural as well as product photography.

    Ellis suggested buying an Arca Swiss Discovery as an inexpensive way (needed) to get started. I had thought that maybe I could pickup a used one, and put more m oney into getting better lenses. After looking at various ads, and comparing oth er new prices as well, I am seeing units such as the new Toyo models 45C and CX as well as used Sinar F1's and Cambo's, at prices better than the Discovery new; Used Discovery's are hard to find. So my question is: What used or new camera a nd system would allow me to accomplish my goals at a reasonable price and have e nough movements for what I need to do, and options for expansion, maybe includin g a binocular viewer. I would also like to use the camera for occasional landsc ape work as well.

  2. #2

    Picking a monorail camera.

    I have Linhof TK45 and I think is great for architecture, folds small enough to travel with it, you have all the movements you will need and is well made and sturdy enough. I think you can find some used ones in the range of 1500 to 2000. If you can check it out before you buy it, since some people hate the way it folds, personally I find it very simple and quick, I have timed myself and been able to set the camera with full locks in 2 minutes. Anyhow good luck!

  3. #3

    Picking a monorail camera.

    i have been using a cambo/calumet 45NX with a reflex viewer for almost 20 years for HABS/HAER architectural work. the cambo system has a wide range of affordable accessories that are easy to find even used. it is a rugged workhorse of a camera that has never let me down even though it has gone in the river and down the cliff. as hard as i try, i cant seem to wear it out. for several years, i have been able to afford any camera i want, and i just cant find any good reason to buy a different camera. it is everything i need, and at this point, it is an old and trusted friend. i am afraid i will breakdown before it does...

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Dec 2000
    Location
    Tonopah, Nevada, USA
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    6,336

    Picking a monorail camera.

    I second what has been said above about the Cambo system. I've had one for about 7 years now. Interestingly when I took on my current employment, I inherited an expensive Sinar P to use for things at work. I like the Cambo better and find it far more flexible and straight forward. FWIW

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Sep 1998
    Location
    Buford, GA
    Posts
    14,252

    Picking a monorail camera.

    The Linhof Kardan M is an all metal monorail with center movements.

    It has an 18" fully geared rail (longer rails available), A 20" BELLOWS, 5.5" OF FRONT AND REAR SHIFT, 3.3" (EXPANDIBLE TO 6.6") OF FRONT AND REAR RISE, 360? of front and rear swing and 75? of front and rear tilt.

    It has a selling price of $1170.00 in the US and comes with a 5 year warranty.

    There is nothing that this camera can not do.

    Shortest lens on a flat board is 65mm and shortest lens on a recessed board is 35mm.

    It can use all graflock or Graphic style roll backs as well (with adapters) all roll and digital backs for Hasselblad, Mamiya RZ. Mamiya RB and 6x9 Graflock.

  6. #6

    Picking a monorail camera.

    Wayne - Have you checked with Robert White? He has excellent prices on the Arca Swiss Discovery, and the camera is a pure joy to use, that's probably the reason you see so few used ones available.

  7. #7

    Join Date
    Sep 2000
    Location
    Farmington, MI
    Posts
    204

    Picking a monorail camera.

    I got my Sinar F-1 used for about $900. It's a great camera and has the advantage that accessories are commonly available used. I think there must be more Sinars out there than any other monorail camera, and parts are interchangable between the various models. Sinar is also good about support. For what it's worth, the majority of professional architectural photographers I know use a Sinar.

  8. #8

    Picking a monorail camera.

    Lots of choices, which makes it all that much harder. The usual unavailibility of cameras close enough to check out, especially here in S. Florida makes it a game of chance, which is why I ask for rec's.

    Bob, I didn't think the Linhof M model had front tilts? I read this Shutterbugs buying guide. Guess I'll have to visit the web site. But knowing Linhof, the accessories must be expensive.

    Since i'll be using short lenses, a bag bellows is a must. The Cambo/Calumets look real interesting and I see plenty of used parts for them as well as for the Sinars. Leafing thru Shutterbug gives a variety of prices, and models, so I'm wondering if anyone has anything to say about the Sinar A1's. I did check Robert White's prices on the Arca Discovery and they were about $100 cheaper without shipping.

  9. #9

    Join Date
    Sep 1998
    Location
    Buford, GA
    Posts
    14,252

    Picking a monorail camera.

    To see the Kardan M go to our web site and look under "Latest News"

    www.hpmarketingcorp.com

    All Linhof 45 cameras made since 1956 have front tilts.

  10. #10

    Join Date
    Dec 1999
    Location
    Forest Grove, Ore.
    Posts
    4,156

    Picking a monorail camera.

    I've always wondered about the older base tilt or double axis tilt Arca-Swiss cameras. Lens boards on this camera can be used on the new models. I'm not sure about bellows. But, these cameras are reseasonable in price; they sometimes go in the $500 to $600 range. Although I don't think they're "quite" as well built as recent models, I've examined them, and they look good to me.

    I own an Arca-Swiss F and like it a lot. But, as an alternative, I would check out these older models.

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