Which 4x5 to buy?

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I'm gunna do it! I'm goin' big! But... which 4x5 camera should I buy? I have an opportunity to buy a used Cambo 45 NX at a good price, or I'm looking at a new Toyo 45CX, which is also not too expensive. In comparing movement specs, they seem to match up closely. The Toyo has a tappered bellows while the Cambo does not. Is this good/bad/indifferent? The Toyo has geared focusing while the Cambo does not. Again, should this enter into the decision? Anyone with knowledge and/or experince with these cameras, please share with me and others your wisdom. many thanks! -brian

-- Brian Grady (bgrady@gblx.net), January 12, 2000


I depends on how you want to use the camera. If you are using it indoors most of the time, I think either camera will work fine. I've owned a Cambo since 1971. The reason I chose the Cambo over other view cameras at that time, was that most of the work I did with it was outdoors. The gearless focusing appealed to me because I didn't have to worry about sand, dirt, etc. getting into the gear mechanisms. I still have the camera and use it regularly, mostly for architectural photo work. It's certainly not a Linhof or Sinar, but it has been a servicable, rugged, simple to operate camera. Since the lens gives you the picture quality, I'd go with the least expensive of the two, and upgrade my lens selection with the money saved by buying the least expensive.

-- steve (s.swinehart@worldnet.att.net), January 12, 2000.

I agree, you should buy the cheapest, servicable, camera you can get the best place you can get these ar at camera fairs, (unfoutunately I do not know of any anywhere near where I live in Scotland, and consiquently had to pay a bit more for the camera than I wanted to, but I did get a 'free' Linhof darkslide and a box of fresh fp4+), as at fairs, you should, if you are careful and a bit lucky be able to get a good deal. Try to get the price knocked down on the asthetics of the camera (i.e wait until the stallholder is off on a break and see their assistant). Failing that, have a look at various retailers' websites selling s'hand gear.

-- David Kirk (David_J_Kirk@hotmail.com), January 12, 2000.

Way to go Brian! C'mon in the waters fine! I did the same thing about a year or so ago and bought the Toyo 45CX. I highly recommend it. Its well built reasonably light and the available componants are all reasonably priced. Its not as portable as a field camera but I put it over my shoulder sort of shotgun fashion and hike a couple miles with it no problem. I don't know what your ultimate plans are but the CX is a nice platform to build on if you decide to purchase a more advanced system somewhere down the road. Anyway I'm for the CX and if you have any further questions go ahead and e-mail me directly either about the camera or about stepping up to LF.

-- kevin kemner (kkemner@tateandsnyder.com), January 12, 2000.

I word about movments most lenses do not have enough coverage power for large movments. So don't get hung up on specs. What drove my choice was weight and price. I am using a Calumet Cadet, $399 for the body $699 for a basic set up. This camera has plenty of ability and don't let any one tell you other wise p.s When and if you are ready to move up Calmut will give you full purchase price credit on certian higher end models.

If you ask me this is the way to go Marc Fleischman

-- marc fleischman (marcfleischman@msn.com), January 12, 2000.

I too just bought a Calumet Cadet and am very impressed with the camera. It has all the movements I need (more actually), is very well designed, and easy to use. It's a great entry level camera to build upon, and just might meet my needs for a long time. My son, however, is already urging me to buy a new 4x5 so he can have the Cadet.

-- Darron Spohn (dspohn@photobitstream.com), January 13, 2000.

The thing that turns me off about the Cadet and the cheap Toyo rail is the lack of geared focus. I don't think I'd buy a camera without it -- and there are very few features I would say that about.

If I was looking for another rail, I'd go right out and try to find a Calumet/Cambo 45NX: I've had the chance to look one over and I like it. So if the price is good, that's what I recommend.

-- John O'Connell (joconnell@adelphia.net), January 13, 2000.

My bad. I thought the NX had geared focus. Since that is not the case, I have flip-flopped. Get the Toyo.

-- John O'Connell (joconnell@adelphia.net), January 13, 2000.

My Cadet has geared focus.

-- Darron Spohn (dspohn@photobitstream.com), January 14, 2000.

The Toyo has geared focus on the front and rear. It has friction rise, fall, tilt, shift, and swing with neutral stops on tilts and swing on front and rear standards. Rise/fall and shift have callibration marks. Check out toyo's website.

-- kevin (kkemner@tateandsnyder.com), January 14, 2000.

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