Help to choose format please : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

Hello, I am brand new to large format having dabbled in 35mm for over twenty years and latterly owned an ETRS. My interests include scenics and natural history, colour and mono as you will see on my web pages:

I would estimate that I take about 50 medium / large format shots per year and mainly use Velvia for colour and XP2 or T-Max for mono which I scan from the negatives on my flatbed scanner. I am an amateur and at present do not plan to market my photographs other than magazine contributions.

I have a choice of cameras - a Linof Color 5x4 or a Linhof Super Technika Mk. 4 6x9. Which ever one I choose will come with three optics - 90mm Angulon, 105mm Tessar (cammed to the Technika) and 180mm Tessar along with various sheet film backs in both formats, adapters (5x4 to 6x9) and two Rollex film backs. I plan to keep one camera and the lenses along with at least one of the Rollex backs and dispose of the unused gear.

Could anyone please advise as to which format would suit me best and why?

Thanking you in anticipation.


-- Clive Kenyon (, May 01, 2001


Is the Linhof Color to which you refer the camera that's like a Technika on a rail, with a Technika front?

-- neil poulsen (, May 01, 2001.

Only you can make the choice between the convenience of rollfilm, and the slight extra quality of 5x4.
If you decide on the 5x4, then forget the 105mm Tessar, it just won't cover the format. In fact, none of the lenses you mention will give you much room for movements on 5x4.

-- Pete Andrews (, May 02, 2001.

Well, I think if those are the only lenses under consideration I'd go for the 6x9 Technika. The whole outfit wouldn't be any bigger than your ETRS outfit, you'd get the advantages of the movements on the 4 body, and I just think those little Technikas are the bee's knees in 120 cameras.

-- John O'Connell (, May 02, 2001.

Are you interested in large format or in expanding the scope of your medium format work? The Technika would allow you to shoot 6x9 compared to the 6x4.5 provided by the ETRS. It would also allow for movements. The lenses you specify seem fine for 6x9, although I would prefer to have a 65mm in place of the 90mm. As it stands now, you have two "normal" 6x9 lenses and one long lens. The other camera would move you up to 4x5, which I would consider to be large format. The problem, of course, is that the lenses noted above are not the best choices due to limited coverage on 4x5. The Angulon, for example, has an image circle of about 156mm. The minimum for 4x5 is approximately 161mm. If you like the look of images with light fall off and you don't plan on using rise/fall and other movements, this might be ok. Otherwise, you might be disappointed. On a related note, what type of enlarger do you have? Can you enlarge 4x5/6x9 or is your enlarger limited to 6x7?


-- Dave Willison (, May 02, 2001.

Clive, I honestly think that there is a substantial difference in quality between roll film and sheet film, especially when it comes to black and white. But you do need to ask yourself whether the increase in quality is worth the extra effort to you by following the LF route. If you don't need the extra that LF gives you then stick with 6x9. But as the old saying goes, "a big one always beats a small one!". Best of luck Paul

-- paul owen (, May 02, 2001.

If the Linhof Color 4x5 is like the following camera that you can see on EBay, you might give serious consideration to getting the Color.

Linhof Technika Kardan 4x5 Monorail camera + Item #1234787449

The back of this camera is open at the top. That, and the specially designed bellows, allows you to use wide angle lenses. I've owned both of these cameras, the one above and the 6x9 Technika IV, and I know from experience that you will get limited movements on the 6x9 with a 65mm SA. A 65mm SA is only a moderate wide-angle for 6x9. I happen to like wide angle lenses, so I would opt for the Color. Even if it isn't open at the top of the back like the camera above, you should still be able to use the Color w/90mm lenses and get plenty of movement. (You might check this out.)

A couple of more comments that I would offer about the Color. If the camera has the short detachable rail like the camera shown on EBay, then it's a convenient camera for back-packing. You can manouver the camera onto the short rail and detach the combination from the main larger rail. This gives you the advantage of being able to stow the two parts in separate locations of your backpack.

As to my second comment, it was my belief that I experienced more flare with the Color than I liked, so I sold it. At the same time, I can't see how flare for the Color would be different from that of any Technika bed camera, yet the latter are respected cameras. Perhaps I was too picky.

Finally, while I don't know about the Color that you've seen, I believe the camera above has an Graflok international back that could be used for 6x9 photography. While I'm not entirely sure about this, it's something that you could check regarding the Color you're thinking of purchasing.

-- neil poulsen (, May 02, 2001.

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