4x5 field choices..

greenspun.com : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

hello all... I'm considering buying a 4x5 field camera...but lot of choices...all things considered... could you please give me some advices on top and midrange (quality and prices)... also which 4x5 field will take the Sinar's lens board? ...I shoot landscape mostly on the field... thanks in advance

-- dan n. (dan@egmail.com), October 05, 2001


Dan, what sort of focal length lenses will you use?

-- paul owen (paulowen_2000@yahoo.com), October 05, 2001.

I want to add my lenses choices... 210mm and a 90mm. thanks

-- dan n. (dan@egmail.com), October 05, 2001.

Most of the big names in landscape (John Sexton, David Muench, John Gravilis, John Fielder, etc, use the Linhof Master Technika.

Because of them, I bought a MT and used it for years. Very fine field camera. But I needed more.

So I bought a Technikardan 45S, which is a full featured view camera that thinks it is a field camera. I'm extremely happy with the TK. It satisfies all of my large format needs. Marvelous camera.

99% of my work is color landscapes.

-- Jim Brick (jim@brick.org), October 05, 2001.

If you want to use the Sinar lens board just take a Sinar into the field. I don't think there are many field cameras that use it. The Technica/Wista boards are some of the more popular ones. Look back at older threads on buying a 4x5 & most of the questions you have will be answered.

-- Dan Smith (shooter@brigham.net), October 05, 2001.

i'd consider the Linhof TK45s, the Arca-Swiss 45Fc and the only true field camera of this trio: the Canham DLC. The Ebony cameras get great reviews from some people butthey (like other variations on the Deardorff theme, seem to fiddle-y for me. the Linhof technika is also a very fine camera but if you are used to working with the capability of a monorail camera (I'm going to assume that you are already working with the Sinar P) you might be a wee bit frustrated with the drop the base rais the front and tilt front and back to use wide angle lenses, at least those 75mm and shorter. The DLC gets around this by letting you putthe lens atthe front of the bed and bringing the rear standard forward. It won't feel as precise as a Sinar P, the Arca-Swiss or the TK45s but it gets the job done very niely and is quick to operate and locks up all nice and rigid, even at long extentions.

-- Ellis Vener Photography (ellis@ellisvener.com), October 05, 2001.

Ellis, can you explain what you mean by your comment about the Ebony (and other similar cameras) as being "too fiddle-y"?

-- Michael Feldman (mfeldman@qwest.net), October 05, 2001.


What did you need that the MT didn't have that prompted you to move to a Technikardan?

-- Jerry Gardner (w6uv@hotmail.com), October 05, 2001.

Thanks Ellis...and others too.... Ellis you're right... I use the Sinar..A..F.. P for years..dragging them from studio to field...lot of weight...I think that a Linhof field will a luxury for me...

thanks again ;)

-- dan n. (dan@egmail.com), October 06, 2001.

I own a Canham DLC 45 and love it. It weighs under 5 pounds, has a 21 inch bellows, and can work with a 75mm lens without changing to a bag bellows. Not much in movements with that setup, but doable.

Keith Canham is a wonderful person to have a conversation with, and that is what convinced me over other brands and models.

If you can, definitely rent some different field cameras before you buy.

Also, what is your budget? This will make the world of a difference.

-- Andy Biggs (abiggs@tvmcapital.com), October 06, 2001.

I think that your best option is to replace your current lens boards with Linhof T. model and buy an adapter for these on your Sinar,it is true that this costs quite a bit of money but at the end, it opens new possibilities. However, if most of 4"x5" use Linhof(like) boards, it is equally true that many 8"x!0" use Sinar(like) boards, so why don't you grow up to this format, especially if you already have lots of 4x5 maybe it could offer you a nice expansion of your activities, clients like real large ground glasses!

-- Andrea Milano (milandro@multiweb.nl), October 06, 2001.

I have a late model Linhof Technika III which has served me well for many years. Definitely consider this or later Technikas,IV, V etc. as a very proven camera to use in the field. As an example of just how popular they are, one year at the parking lot near Dante's View in Death Valley I noted 11 photographers with Technikas all lined up to shoot the valley below! A friend of mine had the Canham MQC 5x7 camera for a short while but it had several failings. The focus knobs fell of all the time no matter how well tightened down. The problem stems from the two setscrews at 180 degrees from each other which made the knobs impossible to really lock down on the shaft, they should have been placed 90 degrees to each other. The front and back standards couldn't truly be locked as the locking knobs were right at the pivot points for the base tilts so you could move the standards rather easily such as by putting a film holder in the back. The bag bellows was flexible but would get all out of shape and not fold at it's pleats once this happened. There are no field cameras to my knowledge that take the Sinar lensboard except the Sinar F which really is not a field camera by definition. To me a field camera is one that can be backpacked. I have seen many folks out there with Horsemans, Arca-Swisses, Sinars, etc. but they usually have to break down the camera for transporting (removing the bellows and or standards from the rail), not very convenient to say the least, think dust getting into the camera. With a real field camera you can very quickly set up and close the camera; I can set up and be ready to fire the shutter in very short order with my Technika if needed.

-- Jeffrey Scott (jscott@datavoice.net), October 06, 2001.

Why is it that we feel the need to dish a camera like the Canham 57 that is primarily designed for low weight when we claim its shortcomings are an inability to lock the focusing mechanisms "tight". Maybe these folks would like to see a 3/8 inch bolt with an inch wing nut for a focus lock down? Then we would hear complaints about the fact that the camera weighs to much. From a design perspective, the focusing hold down mechanism is to keep the camera from moving its focus point. And for that designed purpose, it does a fantastic job. You do not need to get carried away with cranking on it. I own a Canham 57 and know four others that own the Canham 45 and the camera has performed perfectly for us for many years delivering tack sharp images again and again. Why do so many photographers feel that they need to muscle the controls I do not know. Must be a macho thing.

Even if a problem was experienced, Keith would make it right as quickly as possible. Customer service to the nines. I would buy a Canham again and have no problem recommending them to others that use them as they were designed. They are very light weight and have long and flexible bellows.

-- Michael Kadillak (m.kadillak@home.com), October 06, 2001.


-- Andy Biggs (abiggs@tvmcapital.com), October 07, 2001.

How does one "dish" a camera? Must it be cooked first?

-- Sal Santamaura (bc_hill@qwestinternet.net), October 07, 2001.

i enjoy a raw toyo from time to time.

-- adam (asfberg@hotmail.com), October 07, 2001.

I have used just about every view camera out there at one time or another and have never had a knob come off except for the Canham. I do not muscle my cameras, I know exactly how to use them. In fact my friend did talk to Keith about it and all he could really do was tell him what size wrench to use to tighten the setscrews in the focus knob. The problem was not with the locking knob but with the focusing knob not staying on the shaft. By the way I am about as macho as you must be an ugly, overpriced, automobile, Michael Cadillac.

-- Jeffrey Scott (jscott@datavoice.net), October 07, 2001.

Who had the problem with the camera? The guy that talked to Keith and was supposed to have been told what wrench to use or you? I do not believe for a minute that Keith responded in that way unless you or your friend was excessively abrasive with him. Since Keith is not here to defend himself, I will only respond with some common sense. His ability to make a living selling cameras is directly proportional is to his willingness to provide customers great service. So if he needs to replace a $10-20 part on a $2,500 camera, why would he not do it? Only a fool would resort to this proported activity, and Keith is no fool. The End

-- Michael Kadillak (m.kadillak@home.com), October 07, 2001.

My friend with the camera had the problem. Keith was very nice to him but did not offer to repair the camera itself, only to suggest retightening the setscrews on the knob. The MQC and DLC are fine cameras for lightwight use and do have a considerable range of movements, but a knob falling off from normal use is very frustrating in the field. I still stand by my observation that the setscrews are placed improperly from an engineering point of view to really be able to lock the knob onto the focus shaft without rotating and ultimately coming loose. Before I had the chance to use the camera I had read the article/interview with Kieth and looked at the ads thinking this would be my next camera to replace my Technika, it was only after actually using the camera a number of times that I felt it had some shortcomings for my use. I did in fact have the rear standard move backward while inserting a film holder, perhaps I should have been "macho" with the tilt lock knobs as you suggested I had done, but I don't do that sort of thing with fine products. So for now I will keep on using the Linhof, which with the lightest touch really does lock down solidly.

-- Jeffrey Scott (jscott@datavoice.net), October 08, 2001.

Hi Dan

I just had the chance to buy a Technika V but it was a very used one and for me she was to heavy and to big against my Horseman HF the pre version of the Horseman FA. So I will be in the field with my Horseman again, always a 135mm Rodenstock N mounted and I can use lenses from 55mm up to 300mm. Its the lightest metall fields I know and very easy to use! Good light!

-- Armin Seeholzer (armin.seeholzer@smile.ch), October 08, 2001.

Armin, does the Horseman FA have geared front tilt ?

-- Don Hall (dhall5662@cs.com), October 08, 2001.

Thanks all for the infos.... have a nice day..

-- dan n. (dan@egmail.com), October 09, 2001.

Dear Dan:

Check Robert White in UK, Badger Graphic, and B&H Photo Video in US for prices on top quality new field cameras. They all have websites. Over the years they have maintained a good reputation. You may also want to consider buying a mint condition used camera. For example, Keeble and Schuchat in Palo Alto, CA, has about a half dozen used mint 4 x 5 Technikas, with asking prices in the $2500-$3200 range, all predecessors to the current MT2000 model. View Camera magazine usually has numerous ads for used mint Technikas and Technikardans. Asking price on a mint TK45 (predecessor to TK45S) usually lies in the range of $1500-$2000. The TK45S has a slightly sturdier upright standards and weighs a few ounces more. You may also want to consider buying a less than mint condition camera and have it rebuilt or refinished. Replacement of bellows on some 4 x 5 cameras can cost you more

-- Dave (caldw@aol.com), October 13, 2001.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ