Hand held large format

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I am interested in obtaining a handheld 4x5. Am I restricted to the press cameras of old or is there something that I can buy new that will fit my needs? Is there a ragefinder situation that I can fit on to my existing view camera? Is there a conversion kit made that I can affix to my feild camera? I am looking for 4X5 candids. Any help would be greatly apreaciated. D. Austin

-- Austin Van Campen (avancampen@mind.net), April 23, 1999


What's wrong with press cameras? They worked very well through most of this century. They still work well. I take my speed out quite often. I've got some great shots. What do you conjure that a press camera couldn't do? james

-- james (james_mickelson@hotmail.com), April 24, 1999.

I agree. A decent Speed Graphic will see you a long way down the path. It fits well in the hands, the controls are placed logically, and if your rangefinder is adjusted for your lens, you can trust it without concern. Others may have mentioned it, but I will place it here also. Visit www.graflex.org for the full story, and links to other press type cameras as well. My Anniversary Speed Graphic always has a holder or a sheet of Polaroid in ready to go. It was our standard "duty" camera in the Navy, and it works just as well today.

-- tony brent (ajbrent@mich.com), April 24, 1999.

Sinar used to (maybe stil does) make a handheld. As I recall, it has a fixed 90mm (?)lens, and a neat single handle which projects down like an 8" monopod. I've only seen it advertised in European literature, and never seen it marketed in the US...but there must be one around somewhere. I also just saw an advertisement for a handheld 8x10, which looks convincing..I'll try to find it.

-- C MATTER (cmatter@riag.com), April 26, 1999.

Hand-holdable 5x4s aren't a real problem. Many are light enough, including the various press cameras, and the folders. If your camera has scale focusing, but you don't trust your guesstimation, you can get a separate (non-coupled) rangefinder.

But if 'candid' means 'unobtrusive', you have a different problem. When I use my big 5x4 SLR, or anything else with bellows, I get funny looks, curiosity, foul-language, chat-ups, you name it. It makes for an entertaining day, but creates photographic difficulties.

For really unobtrusive candids, you need something small and light, that doesn't draw attention, a P&S 5x4. This was exactly the design criteria behind Snibgo1< /A>. No this isn't a commercial post, you can't buy one.

-- Alan Gibson (
Alan.Gibson@technologist.com), April 26, 1999.

Thanks for all the responses guys. If anyone has any more I would love to hear them.

-- Austin Van Campen (avancamp@mind.net), April 26, 1999.

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