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Thread: student LF camera: please advise...

  1. #1

    student LF camera: please advise...

    hello--



    I am venturing into LF--keh has a couple of basic 4 x5 cameras for around $200: an omega
    4X5 OMEGA VIEW 45C LARGE FORMAT VIEW CAMERA BODY http://is.gd/liCTaQ
    and a calumet
    4X5 CALUMET 540 CHROME LARGE FORMAT VIEW CAMERA BODY http://is.gd/6yc7N6
    uses: b & w--portrait, found objects, etc.

    Which appears to be the 'better' value (assuming this can be quantified w/unknown variables)? Is there another LF camera a student might consider?

    Thank you

    Dean Taylor

  2. #2
    jadphoto
    Join Date
    Feb 2000
    Location
    Solvang, California
    Posts
    465

    Re: student LF camera: please advise...

    I'm not that familiar with the Omega/Toyo C but the Cambo/Calumet is a very open ended system.

    By that I mean the almost all Cambo/Calumet accessories will fit. Bag bellows, extension (or short) rails, lens boards etc. etc.

    Some of the Toyo/Omega cameras had less interchangeability of accessories. You could probably check Toyo's web site to see if the C is one of those.

    Neither camera you're looking at would be considered a "precision" camera but either is probably much better than most of us started with, and they're both very capable "starter" cameras.

    Don't spend too much time obsessing over the choice(s), getting a camera and lens and starting to shoot is a better use of your time...have fun with it!

    JD

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    Location
    San Joaquin Valley, California
    Posts
    9,022

    Re: student LF camera: please advise...

    The one with less plastic.
    I steal time at 1/125th of a second, so I don't consider my photography to be Fine Art as much as it is petty larceny.
    I'm not OCD. I'm CDO which is alphabetically correct.

  4. #4
    Andi Heuser
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Düsseldorf,Germany
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    342

    Re: student LF camera: please advise...

    Dean,
    I can recommend to read the posts of Frank Petronio about
    cameras - lots of helpful info...

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Phoenix
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    18

    Re: student LF camera: please advise...

    Sinar F with DOF, tilt and swing calculator is a much more modern camera with loads of accessories available. Also Sinars student cameras alpina and A1. The Sinar System is a well researched solution to the old field camera. Sinar has a training manual "THE LARGE FORMAT Handbook of the Sinar system".

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Los Angeles, CA
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    Re: student LF camera: please advise...

    Dean, forgive my "attitude" but you've asked this same question, verbetim, on two or three other forums and have received many answers. What additional information do you think you didn't get already?

  7. #7

    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    St. Louis, Mo.
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    2,994

    Re: student LF camera: please advise...

    If you don't have much money then Cambo/Calumet is a great choice.

    If you can afford it, then Sinar is a better choice.

  8. #8

    Join Date
    Dec 1997
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    Baraboo, Wisconsin
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    7,695

    Re: student LF camera: please advise...

    Quote Originally Posted by BrianShaw View Post
    Dean, forgive my "attitude" but you've asked this same question, verbetim, on two or three other forums and have received many answers. What additional information do you think you didn't get already?
    He's looking for someone to tell him about that 4x5 metal monorail with a 30 inch bellows, asymetrical back, and all possible movements that costs $100, weighs 4 lbs and can be set up in a couple seconds. : - )
    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.

  9. #9

    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Germany, Aalen
    Posts
    850

    Re: student LF camera: please advise...

    I think you are looking in the right direction. But be sure to check out Sinar P or Sinar F - should not cost much more.

    And yes - Frank Petronio gave some great advice on this topic in the past.
    Matus

  10. #10
    Moderator
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    Apr 2009
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    Northern Virginia
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    Re: student LF camera: please advise...

    Please list:

    -What sort of pictures you intent to make (scenery, buildings, people, portraits, flowers, whatever).

    -How much you have to spend

    -A three-sentence synopsis of your photographic experience

    It's hard to give people advice when we know nothing about them.

    Millions of beginners learned on a Calumet CC-400 in its various incarnations, and KEH has one of those for $69.

    The next step up from that in flexibility and system support is the Cambo you are looking at. They have others of this same make for even less. The next step up from that is a Sinar F, and that's a BIG step. The Sinar is probably the most flexible camera on the market, and it's so cheap (because there were so many sold that are now being dumped into the used market) that it's just hard not to suggest it first.

    I learned on a Linhof Kardan from ancient times. It was an excellent camera, but owned by my university. Then, I went backwards to a Newton--really the only truly terrible view camera I've ever used. Beginners have it SO much better now. I thought my Calumet CC-400 was as good as the Linhof for most things, but I like really short lenses and it just doesn't go there. So, I got a Cambo like the one you are considering. But then I started liking even shorter lenses and the Cambo has limits there, too. I ended up with a Sinar F, that I upgraded gradually to a Sinar F2. Thus, I can recommend each of these first-hand--they are all completely usable and provide what any beginner might need to learn how to use a view camera.

    Originally, the Calumet was a hobbyist camera of good quality. The Cambo was an entry-level pro camera. The Sinar was the "field" (and lower-price) version of a high-end pro camera. Originally, their prices were much higher than they are now, and by a greater margin on the Sinar end of this spectrum.

    Rick "who paid less in real dollars for the Sinar than for the Calumet" Denney

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