Wide-angle shift aid for a folding camera

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The Linhof Super/Master Technikas are great universal tools but like most foldings, are somewhat irritating by the absence of a direct lens downward shift. Instead one must work with the back tilt, using sprit levels and being very careful on lens alignment. (Bob, don't you think a Master 2000 with a 20mm down shift possibility would be a great tool? I think it would be worse the extra overall size of the camera !) Since they wont build one extra for me , I am figuring out a way to improve my takings with wide-angles. I could get a Technikardan, Arca or other compact field monorail, but then, would be somewhat limited on my favorite long lenses. Screwing extensions, changing bellows or carrying two cameras: no thanks. So I am figuring out a way to work on the lensboard, whether by having a totally excentred hole and working to normal with the lense rise, or an excentred board that could be turned on either side to encrease shift possibilities in both sides. Or by having a special device like those made to give shift possibilities to normal lenses on medium format cameras, but there is very little space around the lensboard. Has someone already experimented?

-- Paul Schilliger (pschilliger@vtx.ch), December 13, 1999


I don't remember it ever coming up, but the easy fix would be to live with the convergence, and correct in the enlarger. If, for some reason it's a frequent problem, one can always use a wider lens and lower the whole camera a little.

-- Bill Mitchell (bmitch@home.com), December 13, 1999.

For the purists, I should have said "lens fall" instead of "downward shift". Sorry.

-- Paul Schilliger (pschilliger@vtx.ch), December 13, 1999.

Hi Paul;

I'm intrigued by your comment about being "somewhat limited on my favorite long lenses" with a monorail. The Technikardan has a maximum extension of 48 cm (19"), which is more than a Technika, so I can't see where you'd be liomited there.

The Arca-Swiss F-line's maximum extension is somewhat limited in its default configuration, at 38 cm (15"), but can be inexpensively upgraded to provide a maximum extension of 60 cm (23.6") by replacing one of the 15 cm monorail segments with a 30 cm part, and by adding a long bellows (with the F-line Compact you'd want to add the 25 cm rail extension II instead, which would bring the max. extension to 55 cm).

-- Patrick

-- Patrick Chase (patrick@sdd.hp.com), December 13, 1999.

I don't understand your reasoning.

The TK has everything you want in a folding camera + 4" more bellows than a Technika so if a technika is OK with your long lenses the TK is even better.

Secondly a Technika has limited rear rise by pulling the back out. That would make up for the lack in front drop.

of course the TK has lots of front rise/fall + lots of back rise so this is not a problem on the TK.

-- Bob Salomon (bobsalomon@mindspring.com), December 13, 1999.

OK Patrick and Bob, you are right about the Technikardan, although I am not sure what the shorter focal is that can be used with the standard bellows. But let me put it another way: I love the folding camera as it spends more time on my back than in the studio. With it, I use lenses from 47mm (which is contrary to the rules but rules are to be trepassed) to 360mm. For me it is the perfect tool and it would be a pain to turn to an awkward packing gear such as a monorail. Recently, I was several times confronted to the same situation: taking tables decorated with flowers and candlesticks in the setting of a grand hotel, or decorations in shops. In both cases I needed a raised point de vue but very close to emphasize the foreground. It would have been easy with a monorail, but with the SuperTechnika, it took a little bit of pain, setting the back and lens with a bubble level in a rather dimm light. The same situation could have been found in nature when shooting flowers for exemple. I guess I should comply to the rules and not ask for the impossible. But I have seen that there are a few centimeters below the lens hole in the plate and ...I confess...I am a rather stubborn person.

-- Paul Schilliger (pschilliger@vtx.ch), December 13, 1999.

Again I am a bit confused by your answer. Have you really played with a TK?

The TK is a folding camera. It folds quickly and easily to book size, appx. 4x8x10". Not that much different than a technika.

The TK can use lenses as short as the 35mm Apo Grandagon (in a special board).

The question about the bellows has 2 answers.

You can focus the 35mm at infinity using the standard bellows. Any lens from 35mm up will focus at infinity with the standard bellows.

But you probably want to be able to do camera movements.

You will need the wide angle bellows to do movements with lenses from 35mm to 90mm.

The above is not true for the 23 TK as it does not have the double conical bellows design of the 45 so the wide angle bellows is required to get extreme w/a lenses to focus at infinity.

-- Bob Salomon (bobsalomon@mindspring.com), December 13, 1999.

Bob, I rekon, I have never handled a Technikardan. I have now the illustration under my eyes and the 6x9 seems very compact and well protected when folded. I suppose the 4x5 folds in the same pattern, with perhaps less protection on the bellows. It could be true that this camera would suit my needs better than a Master and I will certainly give more attention to it, following your and Patrick's comments. Still, I assert that a new Master 2000 with a 20mm lens fall would be the most tempting camera and in fact, all I need. I have carried a S-Tech V intensively in my back pack for many years,in rugged conditions, it has fallen a few times, has taken rain, dust and some misuse too without great damage. Most of all, I like how fast it is ready to shoot. This is essential to me. Would the Technikardan be as quickly and easily deployed? Can it take a shock (reasonable) without bending and blocking the moving parts of the rail? ........ Thank you for your time and comments!

-- Paul Schilliger (pschilliger@vtx.ch), December 14, 1999.

The TK opens and closes much faster than a Technika and to date (13 years after introduction) has proven extremely reliable and very durable. There is far less to go wrong than with a Technika.

-- Bob Salomon (bobsalomon@mindspring.com), December 14, 1999.


I certainly don't have the experience of Bob when it comes to Linhof equipment, so I'm not about to disagree. However, I've used both the TK 45 and the Technika V in the field, and I prefer the Technika. Earlier this year I sold my TK 45 and bought a Technika V, and I've never been happier. The problem I found when backpacking with the TK was the settings would shift and I would spend more time resetting everything to zero before actually getting the shot set-up. (I also never collapsed the camera fully unless traveling, so the smaller size wasn't appreciated when hiking.) The Technika just pops open and everything stays at zero (or where you left it) without the constant fiddling. So I've found the Technika to be faster to use in the field. In addition, when using longer lenses with bellows extension, I've found the Technika to be more stable, probably because of the mass; the TK would sometimes have its bellows act like a sail in a brisk wind.

I do miss the ease of using shorter lenses on the TK, but I'm not unhappy with the long end on the Technika (I have no desire to use, or carry, anything longer than my Fujinon 600). At the short end, I use the 55/4.5 APO Rodenstock and focus with either the internal rail movement or by extending the back, since I want to avoid added the extra weight by using the WA Adapter (about 13 oz). As for 20 mm of downshift, I never seem to want to move the front quite that much. Most of the shorter lenses don't have sufficient coverage so they make the issue mute. I don't believe any lens presently made that is shorter than 75 mm (except the Schneider 72 XL) has that large of a circle. The WA adapter is mainly needed for 75 mm and shorter; it seems to be ideally suited for the 65 range. To avoid this difficult range (that places a lens between the internal rail and the first rail, while at the same time forcing you to drop the bed one notch), I on use the 55 and then skip to a

-- Robert Jones (rjones4@home.com), December 15, 1999.

Wouldn't it be possible to have a good machine shop make a shifting arrangement for the lensboard itself? This would be a smaller, captive lensboard that is attached to the standard Linhof lensboard. The smaller lensboard could then be shifted up when needed. You probably couldn't get more than about 20mm from this arrangement but would certainly be partial solution to the problem.

-- Bob Eskridge (besk@shtc.net), December 15, 1999.

Bob S., I am looking forward to put my hand on a TK and see how it feels. Robert, I do appreciate your report on your work with both camera types. I will keep this in mind, knowing nothing is more valuable than the field experience. And in this, using a camera is like wearing shoes: one must feel comfortable with. What I am saying is that some would perhaps prefer a TK and others a Tech. Having used a Tech for so long, I think I am spoiled for something else and it seems you've got the virus too! Bob E. you suggest the use of a mobile sliding attachment on the lens board. This is exactly what I had in mind. In fact, as both the 47 and 65 (55-75)mm need a little bit of extension from the plate, it should'nt be too difficult for a mechanical engineer ! to work with arrowed profiles, say, a 12-15mm shift. (As for me being my own engineer so far, it might take a little more pain!) These two lenses would benefit the most from such a device (they require very precise adjustments), as for longer lenses (90mm and more) the GG image is good enough to make the settings from the back. Still, and in case a Linhof engineer would come across these lines, I think a wide-angle capable Master 2000 with an additional 20mm lens fall would be a mighty versatile tool. See, the marketing is done so that you have to buy a camera for each of the specific uses. So you end up with a panoramic and it's lenses, a monorail for the studio, a folding for the field, a medium format system, a Sylvestri or similar for wide-angle work and two mules to carry it all along (and I won't speak of the financial aspect) . But what about the poor lonesome photographer far away from his car? You definitly have to make a choice on what gear and what kind of photography you are going to do on that day or on that journey. And this will force you to by-pass some nice opportunities. (And what about this precious accessory you have forgotten in the other bag?) This is why I love the Technika's concept: the all in one camera. It won't replace a medium format for subjects in motion (I have not found the cam thing useful) but when I have it in my back pack, I feel ready for most situations. The new Master 2000 capabilities for handling wide-angles places it in high estime, but it just misses the lens fall to be perfect.

-- Paul Schilliger (pschilliger@vtx.ch), December 15, 1999.


Linhofs have a tripod socket on top of the camera housing when you remove the accessory shoe.

This allows you to mount the camera upside down on a tripod.

When you do that the 1.5" of front rise becomes instead 1.5" of front fall. More than you are looking for.

-- Bob Salomon (bobsalomon@mindspring.com), December 15, 1999.


I agree, this should be possible, but a somewhat scary thing to do, due to the risk of a sudden shut down. And, as you know, especially with lenses mounted on the extension (90mm and on), the overall weight of the mobile part makes it very easy to happen. But if the inside of the housing was wider to allow for lateral shift, this would have worked well by placing the camera on the side. ... But perhaps aesthetically not very satisfying!

-- Paul Schilliger (pschilliger@vtx.ch), December 15, 1999.

Not everyone would agree with Bob's statement that the TK unfolds and folds quickly and easily and certainly not with the statement that it is quicker than the Technika. I've owned a TK and presently own the Technika. The Technika for me is much faster, easier, and simpler to fold and unfold than the TK ever was. It's always advisable to try using any camera before you buy it. With the TK, this advice is doubly important. Some people find it easy to use, others don't.

-- Brian Ellis (bellis@tampabay.rr.com), December 19, 1999.

Anyone who has read the instructions or watched me at a trade show would quickly see how quickly the TK sets up and takes down. Once really used to it it opens as quickly as an accordian and closed just as quickly.

To open: Set the red levers to off. Rotate the focus knob and pull. Since the detents for tilt and swing are on the camera clicks open in an aligned condition. With a Quickfix plate on the bottom you simply touch the plate to the Quickfix base and its automatically locked on to the tripod.

It taks much longer to read this than to open a TK and lock it on a Quickfix quick release (as opposed to a fast mountin) plate.

-- Bob Salomon (bobsalomon@mindspring.com), December 19, 1999.

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