RF cams and lenses for Horseman VH-R!

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Hi, there

Under the sincere help here, I eventually got myself a Horseman VH-R in a true Mint- condition for nearly $650. Can anyone tell me if this is a good/bad deal? Well, my main question is about to add lenses for it. There comes with the body three cams which match with three different focal length lenses, i.e. 90, 105 and 180mm. But, I have noticed there are five pairs of colured stop on each side of the focusing rail designing for positoning the front standard with five different lenses. Do the extra two lenses need other cams, or those three cams can be inter-usable with other lenses of close focal length? I read the manual that I ordered from Horseman but could not find the answer of this kind. I am aparently new in this kind of camera. But I am very happy with the way of photography. VH-R's design is so user-friend that I worked out myself all the movments before the manual came within 10min only. But the back movements need some work when there is only the ground glass back there. This may become confortable when a rollfilm back attatched, I guess. I have many questions but not for this time. Thank you very much in advance!


-- Dongyun Hao (hao@nibh.go.jp), February 03, 2000


There are (or have been) many lenses for which that camera has been cammed. I haven't time to check at this moment, but somewhere in my archives, I have information on a man who makes custom cams and other accessories for the Horseman VH and VHR. I've ordered his custom lensboards and they are a work of art! I'll try and post his name later this eve. Some of the other focal lengths of lenses that have been available in the past for that model are: 65mm, 75mm, 150mm. There is also a multifocal viewfinder that slips onto the accessory shoe. This is handy for use with focal lengths for which there are no bright lines in the camera's veiwfinder.

-- Robert A. Zeichner (razeichner@ameritech.net), February 03, 2000.

You might try Midwest Photo Supply for additional cams if you need them. They are a good source of large format parts and pieces. To be precise, the cams need to be mated with the proper focal length lens. However, you might find that you can use a 150mm with a 135mm cam, etc. as long as there isn't a lot of difference. You must use the proper infinity stop. Then, check between the rangefinder image and the ground glass image at various distances to see how much correction you need to make. Probably not much if the lenses are close in focal length. Set the camera up on a tripod and play with the back movements until you get familiar with what the movements do. Wonderful stuff happens when you can correct an image on the ground glass. Enjoy the new toy. Doug

-- Doug Paramore (dougmary@alanet.com), February 03, 2000.

As promised, here is the name and last known address for Scott Bonnett of Phototype Design: 507 W. Church St. Suite 10, Champaign, IL 61820. (217) 352-1620. This address dates back to 1995, so I hope he's still in the same location. If you're fortunate enough to hook up with him, you will be impressed with his service and the super high quality of his work. Good luck to you.

-- Robert A. Zeichner (razeichner@ameritech.net), February 03, 2000.

Scott closed his PhotoType Design business a year or two back. Most if not all of the stock he had on hand was sold to Bob Eskridge of Cheraw, SC (besk@shtc.net) 803-537-4048. I'm not sure if Bob has any items left.

-- Garrett Adams (gadams@jps.net), February 03, 2000.

I think $650 is a good price. I can add that the reflex viewer is a great item to have. I find it much easier to use than the ground glass especially in the bright sun light. There are lots of used cams available and it is possible to make a copy if you cam borrow one. However Bob Eskridge did have the quality cams available last year and they are superior to anything you can make with a file. There are other fresnel lenses availble which improve the focusing performance. Howard Slavitt uses them with his horseman and he recommends them.

Ray Fenio

-- Raymond Fenio (rfenio@indiana.edu), February 05, 2000.

Thanks very much for all your invaluable info! In particular, the Doung's of using close focal length lenses with one cam. I do not have those lenses now but would like to try in future.

Do your buys take portraiture/still life with VH/VH-R? I know they might not be the ideal camera for this, but thinking of a compromising way. If so, what is the appropriate focal length of lens? 180mm, 240mm or longer (taking into account the minimal focusable distance)? How about the Nikkor and Fuji lenses (old and new type) in comparison with the Horseman/Topcon? I am thinking of buying lens with bigger image circle which enables the usage for 4X5 with reasonable movement there in future. Can $500 get me a nice used lens of this kind? Thanks again!



-- Dongyun Hao (hao@nibh.go.jp), February 07, 2000.

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