Horseman HF 4x5. Anyone knows this camera? : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

Somebody offers me a Horseman HF 4x5 field camera. Is anyone familiar with this camera? I tried to find more information about this camera but couldn't find anything (horseman website) What is the age? In what way does it differ from the Horseman FA or HD?

Theo Hartman

-- Theo Hartman (, February 28, 2002


This camera comes in brown artificial leather rather than black, it is a predecessor of the present models 45FA and HD. It does not have a reversible back, otherwise it is similar to the 45FA and is a 4x5 field camera with excellent stability and low weight. These cameras are rare, I have seen only one of them before. Hope this helps.

Bert Otten

-- Bert Otten (, February 28, 2002.

Hi Theo

I`m an owner of the HF cold "handy field" the lightest metall field camera I know 1,7kg.The camera was produced to the 50 years jubilee of horseman at 1983-85. It was then followed by the FA 1985. She is in the same category like the Linhof Technika but much smaller and has not the long bellows of a Tech. You will love it if you want not go longer then a 300mm lens but for a 300mm you need already an extention tubus or you only go up to 270mm with a tele lens. I would not change it against a Technika because of wight and largness of the Tech! Good luck!

-- Armin Seeholzer (, February 28, 2002.

Hi Theo

I forgott to say thad you only with a very small lens like the 135mm APO Sironar N or the older Sironar N 135mm can you close the camera with the lens on it( G-Glaron 150mm and the older Xenars should also work ) the 150 mm Sironar is already to large. Horseman stated you can`t, but it is possibel. Tell me if you need to know more! Hope it helps!

-- Armin Seeholzer (, March 01, 2002.

Hi Theo

Did you buy it or not? Mine looks still like new and it was love from the first moment! What about your expirience? Horsemans are build for 100 years of use so 17 years is not very old!

-- Armin Seeholzer (, March 02, 2002.

"HF cold "handy field" the lightest metall field camera I know 1,7kg."


I've seen you make similar statements before. I suppose it all depends on how you define "field" camera. For me, it's any camera intended to, or capable of, being used in the field. That would also include the Gowlands and Tohos. These are ultralight monorails of metal construction. The original Gowland Pocket View was well under 1 kg (my sample weighs 865g - about 1/2 the weight of the Horseman HF). The HEAVIEST Toho, the FC-45X is 1.3kg in it's stock configuration (my modified sample weighs slightly less). It's predecessor, the FC-45A was 1.1kg and the new Toho Mini weighs between 700 and 880g (depending on condiguration). Other than the Toho Mini (which lack movements expect when combined with the Toho Eccentric Lens Panel), these are full featured monorail designs with 12" - 15" of bellows extension. Finally, WRT weight, you might want to put your Horseman on a scale. The Horseman FA I previously owned weighed 4 lb. 14oz. (over 2.2kg) - exactly the same as my Canham DLC and a fair bit more than the advertised weight.

I'm not trying to knock the Horseman cameras. They are beautifully made and a pleasure to use. I just wanted to point out that if camera weight is really an issue, there are even lighter alternatives available in metal field cameras.


-- Kerry Thalmann (, March 02, 2002.

I have an HF and will second the previous opinions. It's a beautifully made camera and wonderful to work with if you know it's limitations. There may be other lighter 4X5s, but I'm sure there are none that back as compactly as the HF. Beside the lack of a reversible back (not a problem for me, I usually shoot horizontal 6X12 with it), the main limitaion it has in common with all Horseman metal fields is the lack of lens fall. you can get around this by mounting the camera ubside down (it has a tripod socket on top) and using the rise adjustment.

-- Paul Shambroom (, March 03, 2002.

Hi Kerry

I`m disagree with your definition of field camera. Your cameras are monorails or the Gowlands are some box or wathewer cameras and of course you can use them in the field because they are not heavy but the design is still a monorail same category as my Arca F-Line. For my understanding is a metall or wooden field camera one who folds in here own body and can be used handheld, if I put my Linhof viewer on it witch fits perfectly on my Horseman HF. Its of course a matter of viewpoint but this is how I think about it!

Good light!

The right camera for every body monorail or field!

-- Armin Seeholzer (, March 03, 2002.


I think this is one of those issues where we're just going to have to agree to disagree. When most people hear "monorial" they think of some huge beast mounted on a stand in a studio. However, as my previous post pointed out, the lightest 4x5 cameras ever made have been of the monorail type. No matter what you want to call them, they were designed to be used in the "field", and are VERY lightweight and fold up very compactly.

I think the real distinction here is flatbed (or clamshell) vs. monorail. And just because a camera is a flatbed design, doesn't mean it is well suited to handheld use. My Wisner Technical was a flatbed design, but I never considered using it handheld. The only large format cameras that really work well for handheld applications are the press camera designs (and their descendents) originally intended for such purposes (Graphics, Linhof Technikas, Horseman, Sinar Handy, etc.). Personally, I shoot 100% in the field, but never shoot handheld. So, for me, it doesn't matter a lick if a camera can be used handheld. If it did, I'd be using a press (or technical) camera like a Linhof Technika or Crown Graphic. I'm not, so I don't.

If a camera is ultralight weight, folds very compactly and is full featured, why exactly would one not consider it a "field" camera? Especially if that was the manufacturer's intent? Just because it rides on a rail and not a bed? To not consider such cameras for field use is unecessarily limiting one's choices. And if my Toho is not a field camera, what is it? It certainly isn't a studio camera. Although it could be pressed into duty as a studio camera in a pinch (so could a Wisner, or a Linhof Technika, etc.), there are much better cameras for that application (that happen to be much heavier, but in this case, weight is not critical). It just so happens that BOTH of my current "field" cameras ride on rails. In addition to the Toho, I also use a Linhof Technikardan TK45S in the "field". And, it just so happens that Linhof calls it a "Compact Field Camera" right on the cover of their promotional brochure (so, it's not just "my definition"). It's definitely heavier than the Toho, so I don't do multiday overnight backpacking trips with it, but it does get used exclusively in the "field".

Just so you don't think I'm some sort of monorail snob. I have used numerous flatbed and clamshell cameras in the past. Personally, I don't care if it rides on a rail or a bed, I just choose the best design compromise to meet my personal needs. It just so happens that these days, my choices (Toho for backpacking and TK45S for general purpose landscape photography) both happen to be monorails. In the past, I have often used two flatbeds for the same purposes.

So, it comes down to semantics. I call them field cameras, you don't, No matter what you or I chose to call them that doesn't change their intended purpose or their use. I'm not trying to be overly argumentative. You're content with your definition, I'm content with mine. The real reason I made my original post was not to argue terminology. I was just trying to point out that there are alternatives to the Horseman that are lighter, have better movements, longer extension, handle wide angle lenses better, cost less and are very well suited for field use (even if they do happen to ride on a rail).


-- Kerry Thalmann (, March 03, 2002.

Let me add two more points to the reasonably complete discussion.

1) Not sure I understand the response regarding fall. You can get front fall on the bed it self on either the HD, HF or FA. You push in on the rails and the bed falls a few cm .. I am not srue of the exact degree.

2) It is my understanding thta the HF is stil manufatured, just not for the US or European markets. The rest of the descriptiuon is accurate.


-- Ted Harris (, March 04, 2002.

Hi Ted

Its 15 degrees where the bed can get lower for wider lenses or whatever.

Of course there is no doubt thad any camera has its + and - .

-- Armin Seeholzer (, March 04, 2002.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ