Is the Linhof 4x5 Tech/Karden BI a good LF for architectural pictures? : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

I need a camera to photograph interior and exterior residential architecture. I have found a used Linhof 4x5 Karden Technika BI system for sale and would welcome help/opinions from someone who has one or is knowledgible about them. It is in mint condition and includes accessories. Thanks.

-- Mary Lou Hanpeter (, November 16, 2000


There is no Technika BI.

The camera was the the Kardan Bi which was discontinued 20 years ago.

Any accessories that were made to attach directly to the rail are long out of production and are no longer available. This include auxialliery standards, rail sections, rail clamps, etc.

Accessories that attach directly to the stadards are the same as the current Kardan GT and GTL. These include ground glass, fresnel, viewing devices, compendiums, lens boards, etc.

Do be aware that one difference between the B and later models is that the position of the rear U frame would not permit center tilts with a holder in a horizontal position or with a Polaroid back. An accessory extension for the rear frame was available to add some space to eliminate this problem.

The later kardan cameras with U standards repositioned the U so this no longer occurred.

-- Bob Salomon (, November 16, 2000.

If it's a Bi Kardan you're looking at, I'd like to put my two cents in. I've been using a Bi Kardan for about two years now and I find it to be a great camera to work with. As Bob mentioned, accessories are hard to find and are relatively expensive. On the other hand, it's a great camera, so it might be worth the extra effort. Having only used mine with lenses 150mm+, I can't really comment on its usability with shorter focal length lenses (though I would like to hear some input on this myself). I bring this up only because I assume that you'll be using a wide angle for some shots. The camera does have ample movements which are smooth and have nice detents. Overall, I think it's a great camera. Whether it would work well for you is something you'll have to figure out for yourself. Good luck.

-- Dave Munson (, November 16, 2000.

I have Bi Kardan 5x7 with 4x5 reducing back and I simply love it. You should have no problems with architectural photography. I use 90mm lens on recessed board for 4x5 because reducing back is about an inch "recessed" compared to 5x7, where I use 121mm lens. But you must also use wide angle bellows. There is one disatvantage over Kardan GT cameras I noticed: Bi is not jaw-free. It has also a base tilt, but it lies above swing. This is more critical at tabletop work. On the other hand Bi has plenty of direct rise/fall and shift movement. Enjoy,

-- Janez Pelko (, November 17, 2000.

i also have a kardan bi and think it is a spectacular camera. i have used it with a 65mm and no recessed board without problem. the bag bellows is necessary for lenses shorter than 135mm if you want movement. accessories are v. expensive and some are hard to find but most of what i've needed hasn't been hard to come by. for architecture it will do anythig you could want(as long as you have the bag bellows). i have never had a problem with yaw but then again i don't shoot tabletop.

-- adam friedberg (, November 17, 2000.

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