Feedback wanted on (Bender) home large format kits : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

I would like some feedback from people who have built there own large format cameras from a kit. I saw the Bender kits (which appear cheap !) but just need to know more from someone who has actually used one or similar. And is they really cheaper when you have to buy a lens. Ta, Ben.

-- Ben Langley (, October 28, 2000


There is a review of the Bender kits on this forum. Scroll on down from the questions & answers to equipment reviews...cameras...index of camera reviews...Bender.

-- Don Sparks (, October 28, 2000.


Most large format cameras and lenses are bought separately. Compared to many 'off the shelf' and used... the Bender isn't as expensive...after all, you're going to put in a couple of weeks worth of time (probably) putting it together, finishing it, etc. What is your time worth? The feedback on Bender captures the pros and cons well, although I discovered that many of the criticisms have been addressed in current versions of the kit. If you have questions, call Jay Bender and ask him. I found him to be very helpful.

I built the 8x10 this spring and enjoyed the process of construction as much as making pictures.

I'd suggest that if you don't like building things...and are anxious to start taking pictures, you might do better with a used camera to start...and still plan on putting your $ into a good lens. Remember there are other expenses too: tripod, holders, meter, etc.

Good Luck

-- Fred Leif (, October 29, 2000.

The Bender, or any other kit camera, no matter how well designed is only going to be as good as the effort and care the builder puts into it. If you are not a handy person, or if you are not already familiar with how view cameras are constructed (and why) - take a pass. As the previous poster stated, your time might be better spent. You can buy a much higher quality used camera for not much more than the cost of a Bender kit, and associated construction materials. Recently on eBay, I have seen hardly used Tachihara's going for less than $500 US.

-- Matt O. (, October 31, 2000.

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