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Thread: Which camera do I buy when jumping into 4x5

  1. #1

    Which camera do I buy when jumping into 4x5

    My name is Jeff Rose, I live in Austin Texas. I have shot 35mm and 6x7 for abo ut 20 years now. I am attracted to the 4x5 format and think a field camera attr ibutes would meld with my persona. I have a few priority /dilemmas with my choi ce of a large format field.

    1, I do not want to spend more then $3000 for the body.

    2, I love macro photography

    3, I love landscape photography

    4, I love taking portraits. (disclaimer: I do have a solid 35mm system that ta ke great portraits suitable to 11x14 images so portraiture is my third priority.

    Priority 1 and 2 and 3 are all pretty close in weight and I really do not want to substitute one for the other.

    What do you suggest, am I out of my mind thinking I can realize this camera?

    Any and all information is greatly appreciated.


  2. #2

    Join Date
    Mar 1998

    Which camera do I buy when jumping into 4x5

    I recommend the Canham 45 DLC.

    But then, I recommend that to everybody!

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Mar 1998

    Which camera do I buy when jumping into 4x5

    two things: 1.) the above post is not from me.

    2.) the person who did post it is about to be busted and outed publicly.

    3.0 Jeff, go talk to Jerry Sullivan at Precision Camera about your needs

  4. #4

    Which camera do I buy when jumping into 4x5

    Obviously you want a field camera, and there are a number of them available unde r $3000, some considerably under $3000, that will suit your purpose. Just make s ure that the bellows extension is sufficicent to get the reproduction ratio you are looking for in your macro work.

  5. #5

    Which camera do I buy when jumping into 4x5

    I would suggest that you buy an older Linhof Color rather than a modern field camera if you are not sure if 4x5 is going to work for you. Here are the advantages that I see over a DLC or a conventional field camera:

    1) Cost. You can pick up a Color in great shape for $500. if you look around. In the future if you decide that large format is not your cup of tea, you can quickly resell it for what it cost you in the first place. If you decide that you like 4x5 and want a more advanced camera, you can either sell the Color or keep it for studio use.

    2) Macro. A monorail is going to be easier to use with long extensions and large movements. The Color is also a more rigid and stable camera than the Canham.

    The downside is that this is a bulky camera that is not that suited to backbacking. If you take most of your landscape shots within a mile or so of your car, this is not much of a problem.

    Spend the rest of your money on glass, not a fancy camera body. Not only are modern lenses great opticaly, but they come with accurate shutters. A classic lens with an idiosyncratic shutter is not fun after you have lost a few great shot because the shutter ruined the exposure.

    There are other older monorails like the Calumet and Omega that are also a good value as well. My own feeling is that the DLC is a bit overrated. It is a clever design, but the fit and finish leave a bit to be desired.

    Perhaps the best advice is that you get an inexpensive body, a good modern lens, and spend the rest of the money you have saved on film and processing.

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Feb 1998

    Which camera do I buy when jumping into 4x5

    I would recommend you try large format before plunking down 3k for a body and another 1+k for a lens(s). LF is much different than 35mm and MF, and having 4 or 5k sitting in a closet gathering dust doesnt make much sense. Im not saying you wont like it (I enjoy it very much), but I know at least 1 person who abandons it for every one that sticks with it. Maybe try renting equipment, or picking up something used for cheap (like an excellent Super Graphic) and try that for awhile. It will also give you time and experience to find out what you need before spending all that cash.

  7. #7

    Join Date
    Dec 1997
    Baraboo, Wisconsin

    Which camera do I buy when jumping into 4x5

    I don't think that macro photography is one of the strengths of large format. There are several problems. First,in order to get even to a 1-1 magnification the lenses tend to be on the long side - 150 and up. Secondly, you generally have a very long bellows extension to get to 1-1, so it becomes difficult to see the subject with so little light getting to the ground glass. Third, large format in general can be cumbersome and somewhat unwieldy when trying to focus on a flower petal that is three inches from the lens. Fourth, because of the shallow depth of field you tend to use very small apertures and because of this as well as the long bellows extension, often end up with really long shutter speeds. If you're photographing something that moves, the slightest breeze can ruin your photograph and when you're using shutter speeds of 15, 20, 30, or more seconds, which is by no means unusual, the likelihood that a breeze will occur sometime during the exposure is pretty great. None of these problems is insurmountable and I'm sure some people do a lot of macro work with large format but personally I wouldn't get into large format with the idea of doing macro work with it. You might use large format for landscapes, and maybe portraits, but stick with your medium or 35 mm formats for the macro work. Just my opinion. Brian
    Brian Ellis
    Before you criticize someone, walk a mile in their shoes. That way when you do criticize them you'll be
    a mile away and you'll have their shoes.

  8. #8

    Join Date
    Aug 1998

    Which camera do I buy when jumping into 4x5

    Go for it!! Canham 4x5dlc, wisner tech field, and a good lens and your cooking. You have tried 35mm, and 6x7, and i assume your looking for what your missing, so to hell with rational thought, grab one and shoot.

    Don't forget to post what you shot

    best wishes

  9. #9

    Join Date
    Mar 1998

    Which camera do I buy when jumping into 4x5

    Well I found out who made the first post, it was a guy named Bill Daily , e-mail address is:

    Mr Daily has decided it is cute to start posting answers in my name, maybe yours too. I am of a mind to contact AOL about this guy, as I am of the opinion that what he is doing is at least unethical, if not illegal, and should get him kicke d off his ISP(s) at the very least. what do you think.

  10. #10

    Join Date
    Dec 1998

    Which camera do I buy when jumping into 4x5

    I say go for it, Ellis!!!

    My advice on the 4x5 for your applications would be an old Linhoff Tech III or I V. They have a good range of movements including a drop bed for front fall, fron t rise by rack and pinion, front swings and shifts, the back revolves and tilts and swings on four pins that terminate in ball and socket joints in the corners of the back.

    The bellows on my old Tech III are about 16", the lensboards are flat (make 'em yourself) , they have a Graflock back for roll film and you can find the III's f or under $500 in really good shape and the IV's for under $1000. Even if the bel lows are bad, they can be replaced for under $150. .. And they fold up into a re ally good defensive weapon with a 135mm mounted inside...t

    Check out the wb site the moderator of this forum has for incredible details abo ut these good cameras... Oh yeah, I use a 90mm no mine, no problem...t

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