Technikarden45 : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

Please could you advise me about the main differences between the older and newer models of the Technikarden 45 /45s and the value of the changes. I have a chance of buying the older model.

Many thanks


-- Robin Coutts (, November 06, 2001


1: detents for tilt and swings front and rear on S. 2: front and rear L same width on S. 3: L standards are made from two straight pieces and joined with a block to make the L on the S. On the older version it is a straight extrusion bent into a right angle. The S replaced the TK in 1992.

-- Bob Salomon (, November 06, 2001.

I have the older model. I love it and would never part with it. I would buy one in any other format if they made it. I've bid on the 6x24 conversion that comes up every now and again on Ebay. That said, I would absolutely love the 45S model because it is so much easier to set up and start a shoot with at zero for all movements, and the lighter L standard in the front of the 45 is easier to bend in an accident (I did and it cost me). Someday I'll buy one and keep my 45 as a backup.

-- Rob Tucher (, November 06, 2001.

I would go for the older model! It is lighter, has some more cm extension and has markings for vertikal swings that go up to 30 degrees, not only to 15 degrees, like the "s". If You need very big movements You can turn the TK to one side (90 degrees) which works very well. The only restriction will then be the bellows and of course Your lens. But the 15 degree scale ist definitely not enough when using horizonzal Scheimpflug with the turned TK in combination with the Rodenstock calculator. BTW it is difficult to get an used TK and even more difficult to get an used TKs. So go Ahead if the price is okay! You will love that camera.

Good luck!

-- J. Hildebrand (, November 06, 2001.

"I would buy one in any other format if they made it. I've bid on the 6x24 conversion"

Just as long as you realize that this is not a Linhof product. It simply uses parts from Linhofs and is made by third parties.

-- Bob Salomon (, November 06, 2001.

Hi Robin, I've owned both cameras and still own the 45S. I bought both cameras new. I bought the first camera in 1988 and I was thrilled. Opening/ closing is easy with practice. The controls, strange at first, quickly become familiar. Clever design, compact when folded and very easy to use.

But - and I'm sure this will generate some response - it just wasn't very stable. Indoors it was great. Outdoors it was no fun. The slightest breeze would get it wiggling, even when solidly mounted on a big Gitzo with the BIG Arca Monoball. Dare I even mention the fact that a Polaroid 545 back was enough weight to cause the rear to tilt. You can test this for yourself by centering the bubble levels and putting a little pressure on the standard. On those "breezy" days, the bubbles do a little dance! And yes, this was a new camera with all locks, etc. tight. I liked it, but sold it, and bought the 45S.

That first model was originally designed as a 2x3" camera, with the 4x5 version being a sort-of afterthought.

There are two main differences between the models; the click-stops on center and the larger "L" frames (and support hardware). The click-stops dramatically speed setting up the camera. Those larger "L" frames noticeably increase the stability.

I've owned my 45S for seven years now and am very happy with it. It seems to withstand a strong breeze now. On these pages I've seen a lot of opinions on the Technikardan, but basically it's a compact camera that can perform many different tasks easily without having to buy or carry much extra stuff.

A note to Mr. Hildebrand - the scales on my 45S - both tilt and swing are marked with a range of 28mm......

If you like the Technikardan, spend the extra $$ and get the new one.

-- Steve Artz (, November 06, 2001.

A note to Mr. Artz:

Maybe You are a lucky guy an have a special version. If You look at the Linhof website (which recently has been modified) You will see and read (in German) that the TK "s" has at least now (to my knowledge always had) vertical swings of 15 degrees (not mm!) on back and front standart.

Best regards

-- J. Hildebrand (, November 07, 2001.

"Maybe You are a lucky guy an have a special version. If You look at the Linhof website (which recently has been modified) You will see and read (in German) that the TK "s" has at least now (to my knowledge always had) vertical swings of 15 degrees (not mm!) on back and front standart. "

The TK 23, the TK 45, the TK 23S and the TK 45s all have 360 of tilt and swing on the front and rear standards. The tilt scale's length is restricted by the width of the L standard. but both series in both sizes have tilt and swing limited only by the bellows.

As for scales only the very first productions of the original TK cameras did not have fully calibrated rails. These scales are readily available to any TK owner who does not have calibrated rails. They are peel and stick and are free for the asking.

All TKs models have the scales.

-- Bob Salomon (, November 07, 2001.

A note to Mr. Salomon:

In my first thread I described the only by lens and bellows restricted movements of the Technikardan and pointed out that a 15 degree scale might not be enough in certain cases. Having said this my second thread was only about the scale (15 or 30 degrees) and not about any restriction of movements.

Best regards

-- J. Hildebrand (, November 07, 2001.

Yo Steve,

If your TK tilts when you put in a Polaroid back then there is something wrong and a servicing is in order, I would think. I not only use a P-back all the time, but built an extension back for my TK 45 out of an old Speed Graphic body coupled to a Kardan-sized board that fits nicely into the back of the TK. I did this in order to get more effective bellows draw and to gain a shutter so I could use my 600mm Nikkor barrel lens on the camera. And with all that weight towards the back my TK holds firm. I just attach the macro bracket for stability of the rail and shoot away. The camera is astounding and much prefered over my heavier, bulkier, slower Sinar C.

Hi Bob, yes, I realized that the 6x24cm is an aftermarket modification. But the camera in any other format makes it all so tempting. If I could I would modify to 5x7 and 8x10.

-- Rob Tucher (, November 07, 2001.

Hello Rob, Yo! from NYC....

I specialized in the business of large format and professional photographic equipment service for almost 12 years, so I'm pretty clear on the how's and why's of the problem. I've handled quite a few Technikardans and serviced several as well.

The problem is accentuated with short focal length lenses.... i.e. it will be less obvious with a 600mm but much more obvious with a 47mm XL.

Even so, I'm quite happy with mine. Best Wishes,

-- Steve Artz (, November 07, 2001.

I know this is a bit off the original question, that being said. I have recently sold my beloved Wista Field 4x5 and purchased a used Technikarden 45s. I have not looked back. The camera is rugged, lightweight (respectively) and instinctual to work with. After a few outings the movements and controls are very easy to adjust. I am quite happy. Now I just need to find a hood for the ground glass and perhaps a 75mm lens.

-- Jacque Staskon (, November 07, 2001.

Hey Steve,

Maybe I'm not getting this. Where do these TK's tilt? Is it at the base in some looseness in the rail when locked down or does the P-back acutally make it tilt at the tilt pivot? I've never gone shorter than 65mm and use the newer, lighter plastic Polaroid backs but have older metal ones that were never a problem. I can see where my Sinar C would never tilt, while the TK COULD but doesn't. I must say my heavy Speed Graphic rig doesn't seem to tilt but as you say, who would know way out at 600mm+? I recheck my levels just before shooting and I stay level. I've used my TK professionally for 17 years now and haven't really noticed a problem. Maybe I'm the lucky one or am not critical enough.

-- Rob Tucher (, November 08, 2001.

TH has center tilt.

Only the GT and GTL monorail Linhof cameras have base tilts and those have 2 tilts for yaw free work, 1 base and 1 center.

-- Bob Salomon (, November 08, 2001.

Hi Bob, Not talking about base tilt. I was asking if he gets tilting from the base because of the weight and less-than-tight lock down. Or wether he gets tilt within the tilt pivot because the Polaroid back is too tight for the camera. I get neither on mine so I wanted to understand.


-- Rob Tucher (, November 09, 2001.

He should contact service. He should not be getting a tilt from the weight.

-- Bob Salomon (, November 09, 2001.

No one has made a strong or compelling case regarding the value of the changes in the TK45S. The owners of the older version uniformly praise it as being lighter and more compact. One contributor said that the TK45 has slightly longer extension than its successor TK45S, a comment that I suspect is a case of bellows envy. Some contributors mentioned experiencing the older version slipping out of adjustment when weighted down by the Polaroid back, but presented no evidence that this was due to the TK45 design or widespread. I have to acknowledge that I have experienced the same problem of slippage, especially when inserting a Polarid back. I thought it might be due to same grime or other lubricant accumulating between the surfaces that are pressed together to inhibit movement after I have set the levers. Alternately I suspect that maybe some spring had weakened with time -- the camera is nearly 12 years old and shows wear and tear. Bob implied that the event was rare, unexpected, likely easily remedied, and not a recognized design flaw. I am curious to know what is the corrective action that needs to be taken with the TK45 that has a slippage problem. I find it difficult to understand how the average user would find the indents on the TK45S preferable to degree markings, but as an expert, Linhof probably did verify this. I would assume that Linhof designed enhanced crashproof resistance of the TK45S to deformation in a quest for engineerng perfection. Our readership can reveal whether deformation of the TK45 has been a common problem. I experienced this deformation after my camera crashed to the ground off a cliff. I sent it to Marflex, Marflex fixed the problem, and I remain a happy camper. I would appreciate some contribution by Bob as to what is the nature of the problem and how it arises, that led to enhanced strengthening of the standards on the TK45S and decision to put in indents.................................................Regards, David.....

-- David (, November 10, 2001.


The extension on the old and new cameras are identical as are all other specs save the addition of detents (which were due to requests from owners and potential owners) and the additional very slight increase in weight due to the detents and, possibly, the 3 piece front standard whioh is wider then the one piece older standard.

If someone experiences slippage it is time to have the camera serviced. There are no springs.

-- Bob Salomon (, November 10, 2001.

Bob and David,

apart from scales for swing (ceterum censeo!), detents and 3-piece standards there are some more slight differences between TK and TKs. Linhof manuals and brochures provide following data:

TKs TK 2x3 4x5 2x3 4x5 -------------------------------------------------------------------- Length 125 125 95 100 Width 165 215 160 210 Height 210 255 210 260 Weight 2800 g 3000 g 2200 g 2900 g Extension 340 485 330 510

All measures except weight are in mm.

According to the manual the shortest focal length for TK is 47 mm (at that time there was no shorter focal length for large format available). I heard with TKs one could use even the Apo-Grandagon 35 mm (Bob Salomon could confirm that). With some minor modification or a special recessed lensboard it should also be possible to use TK with the Apo-Grandagon 35mm or the Super-Angulon XL 38 mm.

If one wants to hike with a 2x3 the differences of weight and size between TKs and TK can really matter. With 4x5 differences are not substantial ... except the scales for swings (ceterum censeo!) and possibly maximum extension if one needs the 25 mm for macro work and/or long lenses.

Maybe someone knows some more differences ...

Best regards

-- J. Hildebrand (, November 13, 2001.


I made a tableau which did not work as You could see. Probably my fault or the eMail-server messed it up.

Once again without tableau:

TKs 2x3 L 125, W 165, H 210, W 2800 g, Extension 340

TK 2x3 L 95, W 160, H 210, W 2200 g, Extension 330

TKs 4x5 L 125, W 215, H 255, W 3000 g, Extension 485

TK 4x5 L 100, W 210, H 260, W 2900 g, Extension 510

All measures are in mm exept weight. I hope it works this way

Best regards

-- J. Hildebrand (, November 13, 2001.

"TKs 4x5 L 125, W 215, H 255, W 3000 g, Extension 485 "

Sorry not so. I just measured our sample.

Which extension do you want? Total extension or total extension to the film plane?

Total extension to the film plane on a TK 45S is 510mm. total extension is 560mm

Size and weight of the closed camera (TK45S) without lens board is.

220mm W x 259mm H x 122mm D (with bellows on.

Weight is 3209g

-- Bob Salomon (, November 13, 2001.


thank You for Your measurements and sorry for the confusion. As I said I took the data from printed material by Linhof. It seems that we cannot trust in Linhof brochures anymore, shame, shame. So please tell Linhof that they have to correct their brochures.

I own two TK (2x3 and 4x5) and could not measure a TKs. Until today I did not even measure my cameras. But tonight I will because Your measurements made me curious. Maybe the data in the TK manual is also wrong.

Best regards

-- J. Hildebrand (, November 13, 2001.

Linhof has not had accurate measurements for a long time. It seems that they might be making them from prototypes or design drawngs.

But the problem is increased by definition.

Total extension vs total extension to the film plane, Width and height on the TK 45, when folded does or does not include the bellows (it overhangs the camera but does not on the 23). Weight with or without lensboard?

After all you do need a lens board.

In the US a lens board is included with the TK. In Germany it is not included.

-- Bob Salomon (, November 13, 2001.

I compared the TK and TKS side by side yesterday. The differences as previously stated were slight. The TKS was slightly more stable with a heavy back attatched, but this was very marginal. I liked them both, had a real dilema choosing which one, but finally opted for the TKS as I would never have been quite certain otherwise. Thank you for your comments and advice.


PS Could you tell me a bit about the Boss screen please?

-- Robin Coutts (, November 14, 2001.

"Could you tell me a bit about the Boss screen please"

The Boss screen uses a layer of paraffin sandwiched between 2 pieces of glass. That means that it must be made for a specific camera brand as the wax layer is the imaging forming layer, unlike a ground glass where the ground side is the imaging forming layer. On a Linhof the ground side of the ground glass sits on 4 small, adjustable shims which allow service to adjust the exact positioning of the focusing layer of the screen. On a Boss screen that layer need to be compenstaed for so the internal wax layer is exactly on the film plane.

So you must have a Linhof specific Boss screen and, since tolerances occur, a service center should verify proper placement by calibrating the shims.

This means that if you need to replace the screen in the field it may not be properly installed.

Additionally, since the image forming layer is wax, it has been reported that extremes in temperature for some people have caused the wax to melt and reset in summer (transportation of camera in unisulated case in car trunk). or freeze and reset (witer) which both result in the wax cracking.

In most cases, with the widest range of lenses (wide to long) best results frequently are with the latest version of the manufacturer's ground glass and fresnel combination.

bearing in mind that by adding an enhanced focusing screen, Boss, Super Screen, Beattie, etc. has not increased the volumn of light that enters the lens. So it needs to brighten by either concentrating the light reaching the eye (frequently at the cost of blacking out the image when the eye is not in the optical center) or by making the grain very fine which can result in short lenses becoming very difficult to focus as the image begins to appear as an aerial image. This also happens when the enhanced fresnel screen is the improper focal length for the lenses being used with the camera.

-- Bob Salomon (, November 14, 2001.

All of Bob's comments are correct. Having said that let me give you my real world experience with a BOSS screen on a Phillips 4x5 (the comments should transfer to a TKS but may not):

1) It is definitely brighter but I can't tell you how much. When I first got it I set up the Phillips and a Sinar side by side with same focal length lenses and compared .. not terribly scientific gut showed it was brigher.

2) Personally I find it easy to focus but not necessarily easier than focusing my otehr 4x5 field camera a Horseman 45FA. I do find that I hvae no trouble focusing f8 lenses with the BOSS screen. I have not experienced any lens blackout with it but have in years past with some of the other 'brighteners.'

3) The temperature extreme limitations should not be ignored. I if you are in South Florida or the LA Basin, for example, and leave yoru camera in a closed car for a few hours in temperatures over 100F it will melt. Under normal high temperatures and with reasonable care there should be no problems. I hvae heard about the opposite extreme of cracks apeparing as a result of freezing but have not experienced any of it and I DO work in very cold temperatures. I have had the camera out in tempoeratures way below freezinfg for several hours with no ill effects.

4) The screen I am using is now pushing two years old and has suffered no ill effects from use. There is a slight separation at one corner (2mm square at the most) which I first noticed about nine months ago and it hsa not gotten any bigger and is outside the image area anyhow.

5) Since I never take both the Phillips and the Horseman (Horseman has standard GG w/fresnel) out together I can't compare the two. Thinking about it I don't believe the Phillips is REALLY any brighter than the Horseman but I tend to not use the slower lenses on the Horseman anyway.

Bottom line, a good screen. Ihvae used it for long enough to recommend it but I am not jumping up and down saying it is the be all and end all. The only real + in my mind is that I find fine focusing on the GG with a loupe somewhat more exact with the BOSS because it is so fine, again partially subjective. You won't be disappointed in it for srue.


-- Ted Harris (, November 14, 2001.

Thanks for the information on the Boss screen. If I go for the Fresnel, is there a special (cornerless) one for the TK45S or is it the same as the one for the Master Technika ??


-- Robin Coutts (, November 14, 2001.

"If I go for the Fresnel, is there a special (cornerless) one for the TK45S or is it the same as the one for the Master Technika "

They are the same.

-- Bob Salomon (, November 14, 2001.


I promised measurements of my TK 4x5 with bellows and without lens or lens board. Here they are (a bit late, I know):

Height: 255 mm

Width: 215 mm

Depth: 102 mm

Weight: around 2850 g (no digital device available)

All measures are very close to the date of the manual.

Best regards

-- J. Hildebrand (, November 20, 2001.

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