Camera for landscape and architecture : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

I am after advice on which large format camera to buy, I will be using it for landscape(quite long trips), and architecture mainly. I have been advised that monorails are out of the question, and to buy a field camera. MPP MKV11 has been mentioned, but I would like a revolving back, 6x7 back possibility and movements for perspective control and DOF.My budget is fairly small and I have seen Cambo/Callumet monorails, which have some good accessories and seem to fit the bill on paper, H E L P !!!!!!

-- Lee Pengelly (, March 09, 2002


Response to HELP!!!

Check out Kerry Thalmann's review of the Toho FC-45X. Sounds close. Also check out his photos. You can get it at Badger Graphics,


-- Steve Hamley (, March 09, 2002.

Response to HELP!!!

Definitely a Shen-Hao.

Excellent quality for the money.

I just changed my 2000$ tech V for a 645$ Shen-hao and are very happy with it. Used the extra money for accesories.

-- Enrique Vila (, March 09, 2002.

Response to HELP!!!

I would suggest that you rent or borrow a large-format camera before you buy one. Doing so will answer many of your questions.

I, too, thought that I wanted a Calumet/Cambo monorail (the 45NX, specifically) before I borrowed another monorail camera and found out just how heavy they could be. I'm still borrowing the camera, and now I'm thinking about buying a very light field camera (the Tachihara, specifically).

If you haven't used LF gear before, you might be surprised to learn just how little movement you will need to create maximum depth of field. I usually use about six degrees of tilt to create front-to- back sharpness with a 150mm lens. Once in a while I will use 10 or 12 degrees of tilt. You may need more for architectural purposes, though.

Also, why does the camera need a revolving back? I think that it could make life a little easier, but it may be heavier and more expensive. If you need it, get it, but if you don't need it, the thing may just burn holes in your budget.

As I said, rent or borrow an LF camera if you haven't used one before. After using it for a few days you will be mush closer to knowing which camera you need.

If you visit the Toho site, make sure that you turn your speakers up.

-- Matthew Runde (, March 09, 2002.

Response to HELP!!!

There;s nothing wrong with monorails; just remember that they must always be used with a tripod. And the generally, but not always weigh more than field cameras, and take longer to set up and break down.

-- Wilhelm (, March 09, 2002.

Response to HELP!!!

Lee: The MPP MK VII has a revolving back, swing and tilt at the back, triple extension bellows. The front has slide, rise, fall, a drop bed, swing and backward tilt. They are super cameras. They are a British version of the Linhof III, and will do anything a midern technical camera will do with the exception of forward tilt of the lens, which can be accomplished by dropping the bed and using rise. DOn't discount it until you look into it. There is a MPP users website.


-- Doug Paramore (, March 10, 2002.

Lee, I drag around a heavy monorail (Horseman 450 aka LE). I think you have to carefully consider the part of your question that reads "and architecture..." When it comes to photographing structures, I want the feel of solid detents that tell me by touch and sound that the camera is square. I want independent movement control, positive locks and I want to see what is going on from the back of the camera. I also want easy-to-change accessories such as the bag bellows. The unfettered movements on such a camera are a delight when working with short lenses. I've heard arguments that field cameras are faster to set up but with careful attention to how the camera case is laid out and lots of practice, I think the differences are small. I've got my beast in a carry-on size computer case that contains the camera, bag bellow, 4 lenses, 6 holders, a spot meter, filters, exposure log and misc. accessories (~24 lbs). I suggest you try a monorail on a few buildings and interiors. Then, factor how much architectural work you will be doing and then make your choice. I don't think I'll give up my monorail, but I may switch to an Arca Swiss. I understand they combine the best monorail features with a very light and compact design.

-- Andy Eads (, March 12, 2002.

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