viewfinder or hood for Technikardan 45S : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

I've had my TK45S now for 5 months and like it a lot, but I am not happy with the speed of composing.

I currently use a darkcloth from Darkroom Innovations. Light leaks from holes between the camera and darkcloth, it sags between the camera and my head, and it gets hot. And I can't move the camera and hold the darkcloth at the same time.

What I'm looking for is ease of composing. Linhof makes several products which look like they could help: (1)Linhof folding focusing hood, (2) Linhof "45 4-way right angle reflex finder" (monocular), and (3) a finder like (2) which is collapsible rubber.

I use 58/80/110/135/180/360mm lenses, with the 110, 135 and 180 most frequently.

Does anyone use any of these Linhof products on their 45S? I know the folding focusing hood would definitely be an improvement (I've seen it), but I'm wondering if the reflex finder would be really nice, or just an idea that seemed nice. Linhof does a terrible job of giving specifications for these products (dimensions, weight, recommended uses, etc). And none of these products are cheap, so I want to get the right thing the first time.

Thanks, Lloyd

-- lloyd chambers (, January 16, 2001


i use the reflex viewer and would recommend it. it disassembles into 2 pieces that are somewhat compact to store. you will need a fresnel or superscreen with it. the folding focussing hood is not great. the bellows viewer - a bag with a 2x loupe built in - is a very good option if you like the inverted image (it is also more compact and probably cheaper than the reflex hood).

-- adam friedberg (, January 16, 2001.

The Focus/Metering bellows is not 2x. It has two 2x loupes screwed together. With both it is 4x for critical focusing. With one it is 2x for viewing the entire screen.Or to add an exposure meter.

It has been several years since it was 2x only.

-- Bob Salomon (, January 17, 2001.

I am not familiar with the TK45S, but I find having a fresnel makes setting up a shot very easy without a darkcloth. Only in very dim light or with the sun behind the camera is this difficult. If you don't like fresnels for the other problems they present, feel free to disregard this comment!

-- Richard Ross (, January 17, 2001.

How bulky is the bellows viewer?

-- lloyd chambers (, January 17, 2001.

i stand corrected - sorry for the misinformation. the 2x/4x capability makes the focussing/metering bellows even more attractive. as for their bulkiness you should ask bob salomon directly as he can give you the dimensions and probably the weight. it should be only slightly heavier than the bag bellows and roughly equivalent in size.

-- adam friedberg (, January 17, 2001.

The folding focusing hood is pretty useless except in very bright light. The problem is that the sides are made of fabric so if you try to press your head against it to keep light out, it collapses. It also doesn't stay all the way open by itself. It sags and stays about half way open. In order to keep it open all the way you have to hold it open with a finger, which leaves only one hand for everything else. All in all it's a very nice, very expensive ground glass protector. I'm surprised that one didn't come with your camera. I owned a Technikardan (not S) and it came with the camera, as it did with my Technika. I purchased and tried but ultimately returned the focusing bellows. It works fine but I just didn't like squinting through that small hole. It was too much like using a 35 mm camera for my tastes. This, of course, is a matter of personal preference. Unlike the folding focusing hood, it does do the job. It costs around $630 from B&H. I've been very tempted to try the reflex viewer but I've been concerned about the added bulk and weight plus the possibility that it wouldn't be corrected for my eyes and might be difficult to use with glasses. New it costs around $760 from B&H. You see them fairly often on e bay in the $300-$400 range. However, you have to make sure you get the two piece version if you buy it used. There used to be a one piece version that didn't come apart and so took up a good bit more space than the two piece version. Personally I'd be inclined to buy it new from B&H or a similar store that allows you to return items within 10 days or so if you don't like them. The ability to return it would be worth the added cost to me.

-- Brian Ellis (, January 17, 2001.

I should have mentioned that the focusing bellows isn't very bulky. It looks very much like a beret and is about the same size. I don't know what it weighs but it didn't feel very heavy at all. From a weight and bulk standpoint it should be quite a bit better than the reflex viewer.

-- Brian Ellis (, January 17, 2001.

just to note - i wear glasses and have no problem using the reflex finder. weight is minimal. volume on the other hand is roughly equivalent to five 4x5 film holders (although i'm sure some could pack it smaller than i do).

-- adam friedberg (, January 17, 2001.

Thanks everyone for the helpful advice. I will try to get a demo of the reflex unit and the bellows unit before buying.

-- lloyd chambers (, January 18, 2001.

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