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Thread: best low-cost field 4x5 for LF newbie?

  1. #71

    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Sonora, California

    Re: best low-cost field 4x5 for LF newbie?

    Quote Originally Posted by kevwil View Post
    OK, here's my short list so far.

    Anba Ikeda Wood View - light, low price, don't know much else about it.

    Toho Shimo FC-45X - light, sturdy & well built (for it's size), affordable, very nice bellows depth, but still a bit awkward for hiking and hard to find.

    Shen Hao PTB45 - light, inexpensive, but odd movements

    Chamonix 045n-2 - light, ground glass protector, universal bellows, accepts rollfilm backs, but most expensive of the bunch

    Graflex Super Graphic - least expensive, simple, but hard to find in good shape and is heaviest of the bunch

    I'm leaning toward the Chamonix based on the feature set, with the Toho being impossible to ignore. I want to learn more about that one, and I wish they were easier to find.

    I'm going to let this thread sit for a while and see what I find in the classifieds here after my 30-day "newbie" period is over. THANK YOU ALL for your advice and opinions. I'm doing my best to absorb it all and consider all opinions, 'cause I don't know squat about large format photography ... yet.

    My thoughts:

    Ikeda Anba - Light weight, and rather delicate. also hard to find.

    Shen Hao PTB45, Chamonix 045n-2 - these are basically the same design...and the design is some, non standard? That's not bad...just different. The 045n-2 is Chamonix's second try at this design and they have fixed several issues and made sme cool improvements....still, it has some annoying "features". Many love them...except for the lightweight, I'm ambivalent on both of these.

    Graflex Super Graphic...great camera with plenty of movements for landscape. By far the most rugged and reliable of the lot. Not suited really at all to short focal lengths.

    Toho...I think I'd be looking at a nice used Gowland Pocket View before one of these. But, I'm guessing that you'd not be pleased with either.

  2. #72

    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    San Joaquin Valley, California

    Re: best low-cost field 4x5 for LF newbie?

    What about a Tachi?
    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.

  3. #73

    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Sonora, California

    Re: best low-cost field 4x5 for LF newbie?

    Quote Originally Posted by John Kasaian View Post
    What about a Tachi?

    Indeed, the Tachihara and its twin sister from Wista are both fine cameras for field work. The horseman woodman also falls in this lot. The Tachihara seems a bit scarce in the US these days. I also like Shen Hao's, I mean, "interpretation" of this design, the Shen Hao TZ45-IIB. This design is actually fairly common - the Tachihara, the Ikeda Anba and the Nagaoka, for example all share this basic design. Shen Hao's more modern take is quite nice.

  4. #74

    Join Date
    Jan 2011

    Re: best low-cost field 4x5 for LF newbie?

    I haven't read the thread so it might have been covered, but I got my Tech III from KEH for like $225 and I could not be happier with it.

  5. #75
    Kevin Kolosky
    Join Date
    Jun 1999

    Re: best low-cost field 4x5 for LF newbie?

    my thoughts.

    get a cambo for $50.00 and make sure you like large format photography. then, later on, when your sure about it, you can take all of these other suggestions.

  6. #76

    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Vancouver WA

    Re: best low-cost field 4x5 for LF newbie?

    [QUOTE=kevwil;924573]I'm seeking some advice. I apologize if this question is commonly asked in some form or another, but I'm new to the forum as well. Sorry.

    I want to get a 4x5 camera. I have my eye on either the Chamonix 0-45n-2 or the Shen-Hao PTB45 (or any Shen-Hao really). I've used a tilt-shift lens (Canon) before and the technical movements don't scare me. I am attracted to the light weight of this type of camera, and the improved technical movements compared to, say, a Graflex. I'm strongly considering getting a 6x12 roll film back for this camera as well.

    Yes, there are other choices, better perhaps, but either Chamonix 0-45n-2 or the Shen-Hao PTB45 would be fine cameras. The camera, after all, is little more than a light-tight box with a device to keep the film holder flat at the plane of focus, a focusing mechanism (bellows) with the ability to see what you'll shoot and focus (ground glass/Fresnel screen) and offer some ability to control perspective, alignment and getting an apparent infinite depth of field without closing down the aperture which means movements. Things to consider, the weight of this light tight box if you intend to travel away from your vehicle at all. Whether the back is an international (grafloc) style back allowing common roll film holders to be mounted. Ease of use is very important, and if you can play with the camera prior to choosing would be great. You'll need to have confidence in the camera or you will not find happiness in your shooting. My first was a Crown, and with out movement (or very limited) I took great shots using really good lenses. Many camera later I own a Zone ultralight and truthfully, the camera is better than i am a photographer. Good luck.
    Jim Chesky
    Old Dog Studio
    "I shoot with old dogs, I have an old dog, I am an old dog."

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