Considering 4x5 kit, sanity check

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by Brian Legge, Nov 26, 2010.

  1. Brian Legge

    Brian Legge Member

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    Edit: I initially deleted this post with a suggestion of deleting the thread as I thought i missed out on it. Turns out i didn't. This was rewritten after the first response to the thread.

    Thought I missed out on this offer but I'm meeting the seller after all.

    Here is his offer:

    Tachihara 4x5 body in good shape with bellows light-tight
    Rodenstock 150mm, f/5.6
    Nikkor SW 90mm, f/8
    Fujinon A 240 mm, f/9
    Schneider-Kreuznach 65mm, f/9
    12 4x5 film holders
    Calumet 20-exposure medium-format film-back

    He is asking $1200, I'm initially offered $1000.

    This would be my first 4x5 experience. The total cost is high, but I figure that could immediately recover $500-800 by selling a pair of the lenses, making the total cost something much more reasonable. This would also be total overkill for a first kit.

    Any feedback would be appreciated.
     
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  2. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    It sounds like a good kit for an OK price, but it is not the first thing I would buy if I was just thinking about 4x5, as you stated you are. I'd get something cheaper and more basic, like a modern (black) Calumet, Omega, or Toyo monorail with a lens or two. They are everywhere in good shape for peanuts, and are full-featured view cameras. "I want to try 4x5; here is $1,000 for everything I need" is not a good approach IMHO. In other words, to get into the pool without knowing how to swim, I'd not jump into the deep end straight away, but would come down the steps on the shallow end one by one. YMMV, but that is the way I see it.
     
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  3. Brian Legge

    Brian Legge Member

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    Thank you for taking time to reply. It looks like I missed out on that anyway so I edited the original post assuming no one had gotten around to reading it yet.

    You're right, I was looking at it purely from a financial view. Given that the camera came with 4 lenses, I was thinking about selling two of them straight away to get down to something more manageable. From a learning standpoint, that would have been a poor way of learning.
     
  4. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    I didn't mean to say that it would be a poor way of learning. You could learn to shoot 4x5 on that camera, no problem. It is just that it is expensive, and a lot to bite off for a simple trial run.
     
  5. Brian Legge

    Brian Legge Member

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    Thanks. I clarified my initial post to more accurately reflect my intent now that I'm meeting him after all.
     
  6. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    If the medium format back is a 20 exposure back, does that mean it requires 220 film to work?
     
  7. Roger Thoms

    Roger Thoms Subscriber

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    Looks like a good kit to me, I'd shoot with lens before decided whether or not to sell any of them. I think if you due a little research on pricing you'll find that you would be hard pressed to put that kit together for less.

    BTW don't let sanity get in your way of purchasing a nice 4x5 outfit.:wink:

    Roger
     
  8. Adrian Twiss

    Adrian Twiss Member

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    In terms of money expended its a lot of $ but you are getting quite a bit of bang for your buck. The pick of the bunch in that outfit (IMO) is the 240mm Fujinon. Its a remarkably compact lens for the focal length and I don't see them going cheap on Ebay or the classifieds. You don't have a dud lens in that outfit. I would point out that the 65mm would need to be on a recessed board to be fully effective and, ideally, a set of bag bellows would be a welcome addition. I am a relative newcomer to LF myself and can say from experience the greatest virtue for the newcomer is patience. You will make a lot of mistakes, its the nature of the format, and overcoming the frustration of failed images is a challenge. However once you get into it LF photography has an unique attraction. Its a very relaxing, almost therapeutic way of making images and the quality will blow your socks off when you get it right.

    I hope you will enjoy what is a fascinating photographic journey.
     
  9. 36cm2

    36cm2 Member

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    That kit is very very close to what I have put together over the last 3 years. $1000 bucks is a big initial outlay and I agree with 2F/2F that it's good to be sure of what you want before jumping in so heartily. But...... I think the Tachihara is great, especially if you're contemplating a lot of field work that you'll hike to. The lenses are a great set of sizes, although I'm a little confused by the 65mm, that sounds shorter than you can use on the Tachihara. The Calumet back is designed for 220, so not sure how well it will work with 120, although I wouldn't be surprised if it's totally fine. You can certainly do this cheaper (rail camera, one lens and some learning time), but if you think you know what you want, you're getting a very nice kit.
     
  10. Jerevan

    Jerevan Subscriber

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    One thing to consider is if the 65 mm is just an Angulon - then it will not cover 4x5, only the roll film sizes. If it is a Super Angulon, then it will cover 4x5 with a little room to spare. Where I live, there's is not much of a market so prices are very different (loony-bin high, rather). If I spotted this sort of kit for $1000, it would not be sitting long on the shelf. :smile:

    The initial cost may be high for you, but you get a great kit for the money, I think.
     
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  11. Laurent

    Laurent Subscriber

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    Looks like a good kit. The 65mm would be better on a recessed board, but even on a flat one it should allow you to focus at infinity (at least a Grandagon I tried on my Tachihara allowed me to do so).

    The Tachihara is a very nice camera.
     
  12. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    the lenses alone are worth almost $1K ... :smile:
    looks like a worthwhile investment,
    that you could easily sell if you decide
    you don't like the 5x4 experience.
    i think jerevan is right about the 65mm lens
    maybe it was for the roll film back .. but
    i have also heard like laurent says
    a 65mm angulon might
    just barely cover a 5x4 sheet


    john
     
  13. Darkroom317

    Darkroom317 Member

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    A guy offered me a similar Deardorff kit for $2500. This a good deal. I would get it I if was you
     
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  15. Brian Legge

    Brian Legge Member

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    jnanian, that was my read on the value as well, thanks for the confirmation (pending condition, etc of course)

    Honestly, I'll need to sell off a few of the lenses to cover this if I go for it. I'd love to keep the Fujinon and Nikkor but as the highest price items, but one or both will have to go. I can always pick them up down the road if that is where my shooting takes me. I'm less excited about the Schneider - particularly if it doesn't cover 4x5. I'm not sure about it yet.

    If I did sell off all three lenses, that would still leave me with the Tachihara, Rodenstock 150mm, holders, the 120/220 back and a bunch of accessories for an outlay closer to $300. I can't complain about that.
     
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  16. ronlamarsh

    ronlamarsh Member

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    Good Deal

    Its sounds like a great deal. I'd check the market on the lenses as you could have them up for sale for quite some time before they sell. Keep the the 150 and 240 they will be of the most use starting out and 95% of the rest of the time. I have a linhof TechIII I shelled out $500 bucks for some years ago and have never been sorry.
     
  17. jp498

    jp498 Member

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    4 lenses and a camera for $1000 is a good deal as long as the lenses are in working order (shutters aren't all gummed up).

    You'll also want some film & supplies that probably aren't free. If you do darkroom now, you might have half this stuff.
    $75 1 box of film (tmy2 is my choice)
    $? 1 changing tent if you don't have a darkroom or temporary darkroom
    $0 some anti static bags for storing/transporting the loaded film holders (probably free from computer repair places or IT departments)
    $90 system for developing the film (combiplan tank, or mod photographic reel and used 3-roll sized paterson tank)
    $50 chemicals
    $30 quality stainless thermometer
    $25 negative pages for storing processed film
    $10 measuring container, funnel, etc..

    Then you'll have some potentially nice negatives which you can scan ($400ish and up for an epson v700 or better) or get the stuff for printing it. Used 4x5 enlargers will cost you more to transport than their purchase price; keep an eye on your local craigslist or ebay sorted by distance. If you buy one online at Ebay or here or something, figure $150 shipping if the seller is willing to prepare it for shipping and put it on a pallet.
     
  18. Jerevan

    Jerevan Subscriber

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    Yeah, the 65 might cover if you shoot head-on, with no rise/fall and stopping down a bit beyond f22 (f32 or f45). What's confusing me a bit is the f:9 part. Let's see what it really says on the lens when you have had a look at the kit.
     
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  19. Two23

    Two23 Member

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    I shot 4x5 for several years, then stopped when I bought a Nikon D80 then D300. I pulled it out a few months ago and was blown away by how much more detail I get from 4x5 than I do Nikon DSLR. One thing I'll bring up is that to be really happy, you need a scanner. I just bought a used Epson V700 for $290 from eBay. I'm buying the wet mount holders from BetterScanning.com in a week or two. I'm using the stock Epson holders until then. Doing your own scanning is the way to go, I think. If you photo in a studio it won't matter so much what camera you get. If you photo outdoors much, a field camera is the thing to get. I'm once again shooting 4x5, so far only b&w.


    Kent in SD
     
  20. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    I am still blown away by how much more detail I get from 35mm film than from a digital camera. Anything above 35mm, digital does not even begin to approach. I guess I must be really easy to please!
     
  21. Brian Legge

    Brian Legge Member

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    Thanks again all -

    I'm primarily an outdoor, wander-about photographer. I've dabbled in studio work but I don't think its my thing. That was what lead me to a field camera; the more portable something is, the more likely I am to use it. Once I get comfortable with it, I expect this will also become a reason to do a little more traveling with my wife.

    I develop 35mm and 120 at home using a dark bag and daylight tank. I haven't decided on tray vs tank yet for 4x5. I was already planning to set up a darkroom in the garage though with a 4x5 enlarger. This will just accelerate that plan. I'll probably shoot roll film at first while I continue getting that set up. Once I do, I plan to shoot primarily 4x5 sheet and leave the MF to the MF cameras.

    At that point, my goal would be to make prints for 4x5 shots (probably a mix of contact prints and 8x10s at first). To get work online, I'm going to try to stick with scanning prints. I scan negatives right now in absence of a darkroom but I have a 8800f. I'm going to try to keep 4x5 more analog at least for a while.
     
  22. Brian Legge

    Brian Legge Member

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    So to wrap this up, I picked it up for his asking price. This is what was included in the end:

    - Tachihara 4x5 w/sliding back standard (later version from what I've read?), standards seem stable, bellows look good.
    - Fujinon A 240 mm f/9
    - Nikkor SW 90 mm f/8, some specks of coating loss on the front element.
    - 150 mm APO-Sironar N f/5.6, some specks of coating loss on the rear element.
    - 65 mm Super-Angulon f/8 (from 1965)
    - 120/220 back
    - 9 holders
    - Cokin filter kit w/9 filters
    - Home-made dark cloth
    - Lupe, cable release
    - Assorted dark room odds and ends
    - A Users Guide to the View Camera (2nd ed), Using the View Camera (revised ed), The Book of Pyro

    The shutters all sounded fine at multiple speeds. All mounted. He said the coating loss didn't have any noticeable impact so hopefully that was accurate. No worse than what I've used on a Bronica SQ lens without any problems. He is the original owner of all but the Super-Angulon.

    Once this is formally given to me over the holidays, I'll pare the kit down a bit as I mentioned earlier. Until then, I have plenty to read. :smile:

    Thank you all for the feedback and encouragement while I looked at this. I have a hard time spending money and taking chances; your thoughts really did help immensely.
     
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  23. Roger Thoms

    Roger Thoms Subscriber

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    Brian, congratulations on your new outfit. If you have questions while your learning to use it you know where to come.

    Roger
     
  24. Jerevan

    Jerevan Subscriber

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    Great! Now, when you get you hands on the camera, get out there and try all the lenses a few times to see how and if they work for you. It would be annoying to sell off something you realise you actually need a few weeks later. Don't ask how I know. :whistling:
     
  25. Alois

    Alois Member

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    Hi ! I don't know weather you have made your purchase yet, but never the less. I think for outdoor work the camera body would be an ideal and the 150/5.6 would be perfect. The three remaining lenses are too slow and not too easy to focus.
     
  26. Brian Legge

    Brian Legge Member

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    I did make the purchase. I also have a tripod on the way so I haven't had a chance to take it out yet.

    What sort of shooting do you do? I've heard good things about the Fujinon and Nikkor - I'm curious what you use.