Affoardable 4x5 setup, advice?

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by mike_murtaugh, Jul 11, 2012.

  1. mike_murtaugh

    mike_murtaugh Subscriber

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    Hello,

    I used to own a Tachihara 4x5 folding field camera and a Nikkor 210.

    I'd like to get back into using a 4x5 and was curious what people were using or would recommend. I'd like something affordable and wouldn't mind buying new, within reason.

    I'm considering a chamonix 4x5 and have been looking at KEH for lenses. Does anyone have any other recommendations on a setup/systems? I'd like to be as portable as possible so I'm guessing a field camera would be best.

    Thanks,

    Mike
     
  2. thegman

    thegman Member

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    I don't shoot LF, but if I did, I'd be talking a good look at http://www.walkercameras.com, they seem similar in price new to Chamonix.
     
  3. Shawn Dougherty

    Shawn Dougherty Member

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    Toyo 45A, AII and AX series cameras are portable, tough and reasonable on the used market right now... Love mine. If I could only have one lens it would be my Nikkor 210. Good luck!
    Shawn
     
  4. paul_c5x4

    paul_c5x4 Subscriber

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    Love my Wista Field although it does have limitations. Nice and light, but not as rigid as say a monorail when stretched to it's limits. It will just about handle a 300mm lens, but can't get in close due to the lack of draw on the bellows. Both minor points as far as I'm concerned as the weight savings make up for it.

    Lens wise, you would have to pry the Fujinon 135mm F/5.6 (Seiko shutter, lettering on the inside of the barrel) out of my cold dead hands with a pickaxe :tongue: - A nice small lens that has plenty of room for movements and coupled with the Wista, does for much of what I currently shoot.
     
  5. jadphoto

    jadphoto Member

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    At least on this side of the pond, the Walkers are quite a bit more expensive than the Chamonix. Both are great cameras, you might also consider the Shen Hao.

    I believe that Robert White is the UK distributor.

    Any modern 210 will serve, the oft bandied about differences are "but a tempest in a teapot" to quote another Brit. I don't think he shot large format though. :tongue:

    JD
     
  6. Mahler_one

    Mahler_one Member

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    HI Mike:

    That auction site has any number of 4x5 cameras listed....many listed are the brands that have been mentioned here...and many have lenses included. Might be a really good place to start. The prices are surprisingly low.

    Ed
     
  7. graywolf

    graywolf Member

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    Well, there seems to be two ways of buying a large format camera, my friends way, and my way.

    My friends way: He makes a low ball offer to the seller on eBay for a Toyo 45G, which is accepted. When he gets the cameras there are some things the seller did not mention. Like the lens that came with it, like the film holders, like the two boxes of film, nor was the included 8x10 conversion mentioned.

    My way: I pay the BIN for a Toyo 45G on eBay. Here there are some things the seller did not mention as well. Like the fact the rise rack on the rear standard was stripped. Like the fact the rear focus was stripped. Like the fact the rise locks were worn out. (apparently the front and rear standard did not come from the same camera.) He did mention that the bellows was bad however. After replacing the rear standard with a used one, and getting a new bellows from a Chinese company, I had the same money in the camera my friend did.

    I recommend doing it my friends way.
     
  8. RichardH

    RichardH Member

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    Tom ( graywolf )
    I live outside of Morganton and would like to get together with you sometime. I am also retired and anytime is possible.
    If interested, send a PM and we'll get the photo interest to going.

    Thanks
    Richard
     
  9. aterimagery

    aterimagery Member

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    I've never owned a view camera before and am interested in buying one. I could also use recommendations on a "first view camera" setup. Ken Rockwell seems to think that Tachihara is the best deal but I figure I ought to get some additional opinions and I can't really find a good comprehensive survey of what's available just randomly searching the net.

    I'm thinking it would be easiest to just buy a whole used setup from someone who's getting out of LF photography or something as that might be the best deal, but I'm not sure.

    I'm pretty sure I want a field camera. I know I don't want a press camera, and I expect to do mostly location shooting so I doubt I want to carry around a monorail.
     
  10. graywolf

    graywolf Member

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    Sure, alterimagery, the best deals are for complete outfits. Up there, if you do not know people into film photography, your best bet is probably going to be Craig's list.

    I used to live in that area, by the way.
     
  11. Jim Jones

    Jim Jones Subscriber

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    Anyone just starting large format photography should first invest in a few books on the subject. This forum is a great place to ask for specific information when one knows the right question to ask, but good books can give a more thorough overview.

    Ken Rockwell's Tachihara is one of many similar lightweight field cameras. Each has its strong points and perhaps shortcomings. My featherweight Inba Ikeda is almost too pretty for regular use. Sometimes a beat-up Burke & James flatbed or a monorail is more appropriate. One's first large format camera may be more of an educational venture than a lifetime investment. I learned enough from a Newton Vue many decades ago to make a wiser purchase the next time.
     
  12. Mahler_one

    Mahler_one Member

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    Regarding that first 4x5 camera: You will likely get as many opinions as there are subscribers! It is important to keep in mind that almost every camera with positive recommendations will be capable of providing years of use and yielding excellent images. Let us know how you make out.
     
  13. PhotoJim

    PhotoJim Member

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    If you want to buy a new, reasonably-priced camera, I can highly recommend the Shen Hao 4x5 field camera. I bought mine from Badger and shipping to Canada was reasonable. It's a beautifully-built camera. I was tempted to buy the Tachihara but it was unavailable when I was ready to purchase, but I have no regrets about getting the Shen Hao.
     
  14. John Kasaian

    John Kasaian Member

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    Buying a whole used set up is probably the quickest, and often most economical way to et in the game.
     
  15. John Kasaian

    John Kasaian Member

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    If you were "sympatico" with your tachi, why look elsewhere? OTOH if there were things you'd prefer to change on the tachi, see if other brands offer an improvement.
     
  16. Alan Gales

    Alan Gales Member

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    I bought my Tachihara a few years ago after reading Ken's recommendation. Since then Shen Hao has come out with new models and Chaminix has appeared on the scene. Tachihara's have increased in price and the metal Toyo's have decreased in price on the used market. The Tachi is still a fine camera but there are many options available.

    The best deal is to find a used camera with lenses and other extras that someone is selling. Buying your first View Camera is kind of like buying your first car. It probably won't be your last. After you shoot 4x5 for a while you will learn what you like and dislike in a camera. If you buy used at a good price then you can always sell later and get what you initially paid or close to it and then buy something you like better.
     
  17. Leigh B

    Leigh B Member

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    Put your money into the lenses. That's the only part of the system that the light sees. It can't read the name on the camera body.

    - Leigh
     
  18. TareqPhoto

    TareqPhoto Member

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    Maybe the quality of light is affected by the name on the body and the lens too :D :laugh: :whistling:
     
  19. Leigh B

    Leigh B Member

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    Several manufacturers would like you to think so. :D

    - Leigh
     
  20. TareqPhoto

    TareqPhoto Member

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    We should do more so we can keep them in industry, hahaha