Decisions, decisions - opinions sought

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by michael_r, Jan 28, 2012.

  1. michael_r

    michael_r Subscriber

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    In my quest to re-outfit myself for 4x5, I'm down to two camera options:

    1) Toyo 45AII
    2) Walker Titan SF

    As is always the case, no camera is perfect, and each has its positives and negatives, but these are both excellent, sturdy, rigid cameras. The Walker is a little more flexible in terms of movements and bellows extension, but the Toyo is a little easier to setup and "zero", has the revolving back, and a screen with no holes in the corners.

    So I'll be thinking about all this over the next few days and wanted some feedback on the following:

    The Walker cameras are pretty limited-production pieces, and in fact I don't think they will be in production much longer since Mike Walker has other projects to work on. So would that put you off as a buyer? I'm thinking about product support. What if something needs to be replaced? New bellows? A new lensboard at some point? With the Toyo, you can get all sorts of nifty accessories, extension backs etc. It's obviously more of a "system" than the Walker cameras. For example, it would be nice to use a compendium lens shade but I don't think there is such a thing for the Walker. Same story for viewing hoods, spare parts etc.

    It's a tough call.

    Thoughts?
     
  2. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    its a tough call michael -
    it really depends on what you think you might need as a camera.
    do you need the extra ability to do perspective control the walker offers?
    do you need the accessories the toyo offers ?

    will the abs be rigid/sturdy enough in cold climates you might travel to or will cold harm it and make it brittle?
    will it be hard to find 110square lens boards for your lenses and the toyo ( same with the walker ) ?
    can the lenses you might already have be used on the toyo? the walker? ( if you have a ex wide lens like a 65mm can you mount it on either camera,
    and if you have a 210 or larger is there enough bellows extension )

    i have never seen or used a walker, but have only heard great things about them,
    i have seen and always wanted a toyoAII and know they are equally great ..

    i guess it all boils down to what you might be able to find, and afford ...
     
  3. wildbill

    wildbill Member

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    there have been toyo aII's listed on the lf forum lately for less than $900. That's a steal.
     
  4. michael_r

    michael_r Subscriber

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    I PM'd both those people but never heard back! I guess other buyers beat me to it both times. :sad:

    John, indeed a tough call. The Walker is probably better out of the box for my work. For example, it's got quite a bit more front rise without having to resort to indirect movements. The Walker also takes wide lenses a bit easier, in addition to having more bellows extension for my 300mm. But with Toyo, there are accessories which can make the camera more flexible. So it might be a toss-up. What I'm thinking about though, is product support. What if a bellows needs to be replaced, for example? Toyo is a bigger company, still in fairly regular production, while Walker is a one-man operation - and I'm told after 2012 he won't be building these cameras anymore. So I'm a little stumped. The Walker really is a great camera.
     
  5. ChuckP

    ChuckP Subscriber

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    Last year I picked up a well used Toyo 45A. Had the Toyo repair in NJ replace the bellows and do a tuneup. They did a very good job and very fast turnaround. And I've never received anything as well packed as the camera on the return trip. The camera is a little on the heavy side compared to a wooden field but sturdy with a quick setup. Easy to get lens boards. Even the Linhof board adapter I use. I use an extension board for a 355 lens. No problems as the camera is rigid even extended out. Nice bright focusing screen. Most of the time I use a balloon focusing hood instead of a dark cloth. Swings take some getting used to. Bail back is nice when inserting holders. Nice camera and a lot of used ones out there.
     
  6. michael_r

    michael_r Subscriber

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    Thanks Chuck. Have you used the Toyo with wide angle lenses? I'm thinking 90mm and 72mm. Enough movements with a recessed lens board?

    Also have you have to use significant front rise? The camera doesn't have much front rise without resorting to indirect movements (tilting the back forward etc) so I'm a bit worried about that.
     
  7. RalphLambrecht

    RalphLambrecht Subscriber

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    my toyo45 has more movemnts than my lf lenses can take!