About camera and lenses selection.

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Now I'm really interested in LF format, and after reading those tips I made a decision of buying : Horseman 45FA + Schneider 110mm/5.6 sup-sym XL + Schneider 210mm/5.6 APO-aymmar. Am I right or there may be some more effecient choices? Basiclly I will use it for landscape photography. Is 45FA a good idea since Linhof Master Technicka is really expensive for me.

-- MAX (sf2301420@ucinfo.com), January 08, 2001


Have you looked at the Wista technical cameras?

-- Bob Salomon (bobsalomon@mindspring.com), January 08, 2001.

In a day where camera manufacturers use bellows draw like automobile sellers use horsepower, the Horseman 45FA comes up short. It's a very nice camera but that 270 mm bellows draw will be a problem.

Remember that your bellows has to be as long as the focal length of the lens in order to focus at infinity; and the bellows extension needs to be twice as long as the focal length to focus at 1:1. One of the lenses that I use is a Nikkor 300 M - for portraits mostly - and I couldn't use it at all with the 45FA. Even a 210 would be racked out about as far as your bellows would allow, and that may not be enough.

There are telephoto lenses that require less bellows draw than their focal length but they are expensive, heavy, and have a small image circle as well as not following some of the same focusing rules that non tele lenses use.

If you are anything like me your needs will change after time, and this camera will not grow with you. I'd rather have too much bellows extension and not use it, than the other way around.

-- David Grandy (dgrandy@accesscable.net), January 08, 2001.

Don't rule out the Linhof Tec III, IV or V. The III that I have is a bit limiting but there are work arounds.

-- Scott Walton (scotlynn@shore.net), January 08, 2001.

I wouldn't go with the Horseman either, but primarily that is because I just not that enamored with the drop bed/technical/press design as it seems too limiting to me and is difficult to use with wide angles. In that design category, my choice would either be the Toyo with the rotating back or a used Technika.

Other than that my preference for field work is the Canham DLC, and after that the more technically versatile Arca-Swiss FC or Linhof Technikardan monorails.

If you don't have a need for the huge range of movements that the 110 will afford you, than the 90mm f/9.8 Nikkor SW is an excellent lens to consider for landscape work: Sharp, contrasty, big image circle, in a small package.

-- Ellis Vener (evphoto@insync.net), January 08, 2001.


The Horseman FA is a fine camera with excellent craftsmanship, but it has some rather tough limitations.

Bellows draw has already been mentioned.

The small front standard (same size as on the 6x9 VH) poses two problems. First, there is limited room for working shutter controls. I had problems with flat boards and Copal 0 shutters, so I can't imagine using Copal 1 shutters on flat boards. Horseman makes some board with a slight protrusion for making shutter controls easier to work. Another problem is that the lens is mounted quite close to the bed. According to Horseman, a 120mm is the shortest lens that can be used for a vertical shot without adding some front rise. A 110XL might make it, but it will be tight. The closeness of the bed also makes using compendium lens shades and split neutral density filters a problem with short focal length lenses.

A final problem, shared with the Linhof flat-bed cameras is the "4- post" rear swing-tilt approach. It is not easy to get just tilt or just swing without fiddling around since the back is basically free to float on all 4 posts.

For landscape photography, where front swing and shift are not often used, a Toyo 45 series camera will address all of these issues: larger lensboards, more bed clearance, independent back swing and tilt, and enough bellows for a 300mm lens. And it will cost less. The sacrifice is about 1 lb of weight if you opt for the 45AX.

-- Glenn C. Kroeger (gkroeger@trinity.edu), January 08, 2001.

Like anything else, the FA has it`s limitations. If your willing to live with those limits, the FA is a wonderful LITTLE camera. I use mine with 75mm through 240mm lenses and rarely run in to a situation that I can`t work around. It is not an architectural camera, however I have used it for industrial work, large presses, machines, etc.,with few problems. "0" shutters work fine on flat boards, unless you have mittens on. "1" shutters need the board with the extension ring, it gives another 1/4" finger room. Recently I`ve started using a "1" shutter on the 25mm "tele" board, it works well indeed and gives another 25mm bellows draw.

-- Steve Clark (agno3@eesc.com), January 08, 2001.

"however I have used it for industrial work, large presses, machines, etc.,with few problems. "

Wow, this Horseman FA must be a tough little camera. I've used my 4x5 Speed Graphic as a hammer, a wheel-stop, a lever, and a footstool, but I never did any heavy machine work with it. On the other hand, it only cost 100 dollars.

-- Erik Ryberg (ryberg@seanet.com), January 08, 2001.

Erik, actually I only used it to photograph those objects, never really thought about those other uses...

-- Steve Clark (agno3@eesc.com), January 09, 2001.

The Horseman 45FA is expensive and limited. I would not buy it unless you really need the durability of a metal camera. A cheap Tachihara (about $600 new) offers more movements than the Horseman, and the Tachihara is nicely made. I like it better than the more expensive, but similar Wistas. So unless you really need a metal camera, I suggest a Tachihara.

-- William Marderness (wmarderness@hotmail.com), January 09, 2001.

Its a highly personal thing. Don't buy because someone recommended it. You really need to check it out yourself. From what I read on this site, there was specific equipment that I was going to buy, and when I checking it out, hands on, I didn't like it at all. Its nice to see other opinions, and find out faults of specific equipment, but try before you buy. It is hard with large format, though, and yes with certain things, feedback is very important. Make sure its returnable if you can't see it first.

-- Raven (mtand13@netreach.net), January 10, 2001.

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