What type of LF for Landsacpe

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I heard so many different things I'm now confused. I will only be shooting landscape with a LF camera. I have a MF for the weddings I do. I know nothing about LF cameras and would like to know what type of camera will suit. I don't want something that once I've learn't a bit I will want to trade. I have heard the wooden feild cameras are good but have also heard that cameras like Sinar F2 or Arca- Swiss are good also whats the pros and cons of each design. Thanks

-- Keith Anderson (lollypops@pacific.net.au), January 05, 2000


Greetings! No matter what is suggested people will log on with opposing comments. Large Format seems to be a very "personal" type camera decision. Personally, I use and adore a wooden field camera in 4x5 and hope to add 8x10 someday. If at all possible, borrow or rent a couple of different styles and do alot of research, read some good texts, etc. so that you will have a feel for what you like and prefer. Best wishes,

-- Thomas R. Young (tryoung@jrec.net), January 05, 2000.


at first glance, I thought you meant Landscape. cameras are not permitted for Landsacpe, the aboriginal dance of the seasons. seriously, there are many, many threads covering the exciting launch into Large Format. take the time to read them, and you'll find that you are asking all the same questions of others before you.

happy prospecting ...

-- Daniel Taylor (aviator@agalis.net), January 05, 2000.

I agree with Daniel's comments above. But for what it is worth, This is how I selected my LF camera for landscape work. Because I hike and backpack, I looked for a field camera instead of monorail due to size and weight. I wanted a 4X5 so that I could take advantage of the Fuji Quickload film system and not worry about loading my own film. Because my camera would see a lot of backcountry use in both dry and humid environments, I decided on a metal camera rather than a wooden one. Being able to use a very wide 65mm lens and also telephoto lenses without having to change the bellows was important. A large amount of front tilt for shots with extreme depth of field was also important to me. Price was a consideration, but I was willing to postpone getting multiple lenses if I had to spend more to get the right camera. All of these factors lead me to get a Toyo AX. I have had the camera for well over a year and would make the same choice again. It is a little heavy (but bombproof) and will only allow enough extension for a 360mm tele lens, but for the price, It was the best camera for me. Good luck!

-- Lester Moore (mlmoore@peakpeak.com), January 05, 2000.

If you intend to backpack for two or more days then a wooden field camera will be more suitable. If you want to do hikes no longer than one day you should think about a monorail like Sinar f2 or Arca Swiss Discovery. I'm shooting a Sinar f2 and make many long day hikes with it in the Swiss Alps. It's not as heavy and uncomfortable as some people may pretend. The Sinar is an excellent camera for landscape photography and it allows much more movements then a field camera. Even in landscape photography this can be very important for example when shooting trees in a forest. I've also used a Arca Swiss Discovery which is a very fine camera, too, and less expensive than the Sinar. It doesn't have built in Scheimpflug and DOF calculators, however. A disadvantage especially in low light situations. Anyway I'd decide on 4x5 and not a larger format since you could only shoot wide angles with the larger ones unless you use a very long lens. They will be costly and heavy.

-- Tom Castelberg (castelbergthomas@hotmail.com), January 06, 2000.

I'll add my two cents as well. As was mentioned earlier read all the postings you can. There is also an excellent web site at http://www.cs.berkeley.edu/~qtluong/photography/lf/ that has a great discussion of the pro's and con's of each type of system.

I started out with an old Speed Graphic and several lenses, I liked the focal plane shutter as it allowed me to use the less expensive barrel mount lenses, but at 8 lbs the camera was a brick and had no movements to speak of. Once I realised that I REALLY loved working in large format I tried several wooden field cameras and then an associates Sinar F2. The field cameras are very light ( by comparision ), but again no movements to speak of. Since most of my backpacking is done on a bicycle and I also do table top and macro work I decided on the Sinar. The F2 is a little lighter then my Speed Graphic was and breaks down into my backpack very nicely. Also I really love the DOF and Tilt/Swing calculator. I have added a Gossen Ultra-Pro meter and Profi-Select "wand" so I can do Zone System measurements right at the film plane and not worry about bellows extensions when doing macro work.

The best part is the entire system, minus lenses, cost me under $1,500.00usd on ebay!

Hope this helps, -harry

-- Harry Pluta (hspluta@msn.com), January 06, 2000.

I use a 4x5 monorail. You do not need much of a camera, the movments are some what arbitrary for land scapes. In my opinion the cheapest camera that is in good working order with a good lens is the best bet. I use a calumet cadet $399 with a good schnider symmar lans. Total cost with a used lens $850.00. Total weight 5 lbs You can by low cost packages for $799

Never belive that you need more camera then this for landscapes unless you have more money then god Marc Fleischman

-- marc fleischman (marcfleischman@msn.com), January 07, 2000.

You'ld be surprised how little swig and tilt you need for most landscape shots. Most cameras out there will fit the bill. From Calumet Cadets to Sinars they are all good and it mostly boils down to what each participant here has gotten. A Tachihara or an Osaka are very lightweight, fairly rugged, versatile, take most lenses you will want to use without changing the bellows, and are small enough to backpack on a bike trip. And you'll end up with two lenses that will suffice for 95% of your images. I photograph alongside a lot of people and of all the LF cameras I see out there, a field camera wins hands down for ease of use. Monorail cameras are very good cameras but a pain to carry conveniently. They are very good at tabletop due to their yoke style movements. But packing for a day or more, a field camera will be much easier to use. And the Fuji Quickload system is a great way to go if money isn't an object. Otherwise if you use cut film holders make sure you learn to clean them very good and keep them in ziplock bags. By the way Bob S., do we need to put the symbol for the copyright in in text if we use the words like ziplock and fuji and quickload? Just a thought. Of course advertizing revenues are in order if we do. James

-- Mr.Lumberjack (james_mickelson@hotmail.com), January 08, 2000.

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