First large format camera purchase - advise needed please.

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by Pawel Kwiecien, Dec 10, 2012.

  1. Pawel Kwiecien

    Pawel Kwiecien Member

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    hello.

    It's my first post on that large format forum so first of all greetings to all of you ! :smile:

    Secondary , I need your help. I'm considering purchase of my first Large Format camera and I need your advice about model I,m going to buy, lenses etc . as well as price I was offered for a lot .

    So I was offered :

    camera :

    ~ HORSEMAN 970 , condition 7/10 due to very minor damage on the back (not affecting mechanical performance of the camera and generally not really visible), full mechanical working order .

    two lenses :

    ~ HORSEMAN TOKYO KOGAKU PS 1:3.5 F = 10.5 cm condition : 8/10 (due to some dust - nothing serious , just my aesthetic feeling :smile: )

    ~ HORSEMAN TOKYO KOGAKU PW 1:5.6 F = 6.5 cm condition : 9/10 if not 10/10 ( mint ? hidden in the closet , never used ? :smile: )

    also :

    ~ HORSEMAN 970 120 film back condition 7/10 ( mechanically fine , just some minor cosmetic damage not affecting anything )

    and some extras : Horseman's carrying case and Horseman's timer.

    Price asked is 320 British pounds (or 514 US Dollars if u wish to convert )

    I have no Idea is it a fair price and I don't want to make a mistake and pay more than it;s worth , therefore i need your help and advise on that one please...

    regards,

    P.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 10, 2012
  2. LJH

    LJH Member

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    Technically, this is not a large format camera, as it is a 6x9cm roll film camera. However, you can get a 4x5" adaptor for it (although it's a chunky, clunky piece of kit).

    The lenses are okay; nothing great, but probably good enough for most of us. Used as a 4x5, the 10.5cm lens is moderate wide, while the 6.5cm is verging on ultra wide.

    IMO, there are much better ways of entering LF than this camera. If you like the LF experience, I have no doubt that this camera will be replaced with a "better" one. If you don't like it, I think you might have some trouble reselling it for this price. As I wrote, just my opinion.

    Good luck, regardless, and I hope you do fall for the format!!
     
  3. Pawel Kwiecien

    Pawel Kwiecien Member

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    Many thanks for a prompt reply. I forgot to add that there is a 4x5 inch adapter in that set . So what I should try to get then ? My budget is around those 320 £ ( 514 $) and I want to make a good start in that format , by buying kit to "keep and develop" as a system and not to "resale".

    regards,

    p
     
  4. Len Middleton

    Len Middleton Member

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    Pawel,

    One of the early lessons you will need to understand in LF photography is the importance of lens coverage.

    I do not know either of the lenses being offered, so thus do not know if they will cover the diagonal for the 4x5 format (or 5x4 as you would know it in the UK). The diagonal for 4x5 is around 165mm (163mm actually).

    If you think of the image coming out of the back of the lens as a cone with a circular image circle, then the image circle will be smallest when the lens is focused at infinity. To focus closer, we move it away from the film / back. This is how we can use shorter focal length enlarging lenses for macro work, as although they have small image circles at infinity that do not cover the format, when we focus closer the image circle gets bigger.

    Now to increase the constraint on our lenses, we also change the camera through "movement" where we might shift the front or back of the camera parallel relative to the other end for composition, or change the angle to change the plane of focus.

    Bottom line is that lens coverage may become extremely important depending upon the type of photography you do.

    Might want to do a little reading before reaching fo the wallet. Another god source is the LF Photography forum. Have a look at the articles and reviews on the LF home page there.

    Good luck in your efforts,

    Len
     
  5. polyglot

    polyglot Member

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    I would suggest strongly that you go for a 4x5 camera instead of 6x9. You get the benefit of more film, plus it's a standard size. The only benefit to 6x9 I can see is that the film (in 120) is quite cheap... but that's because it's really a medium format camera. And if you like, you can put 6x7, 6x9 and 6x12 rollfilm holders on a 4x5 camera, just make sure it has a graflok back.

    Have you had a read of the LFPF front page? If not, go do that now; it will take a couple of days.
     
  6. George Collier

    George Collier Member

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    You seem to be moving away from the Horseman, but I'll add that Fred Picker once reviewed a 4x5 Horseman and considered the lenses substandard.
     
  7. Rafal Lukawiecki

    Rafal Lukawiecki Subscriber

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  8. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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  9. Alan Gales

    Alan Gales Subscriber

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    Welcome to the forum!

    The three most used types of 4x5 cameras are monorails, press cameras, and field cameras and here are some basic differences:

    Monorails: The cheapest way into large format, these cameras are the most precise and offer the most movements. The downside is they tend to be bulky and sometimes heavy.

    Press: The next cheapest alternative, these cameras are fast to set up, hand holdable, usually lightweight, back packable, but have limited movements.

    Field: Usually more expensive than monorails and press cameras, these cameras are light weight, back packable, and usually have enough movements for most people.

    As you can see, everything has it's advantages and disadvantages.

    For a lens just about everyone (including me) will recommend a "normal" lens as your first lens. Normal focal length lenses for 4x5 run from 135mm to 210mm. The 210mm is actually a long normal but was very popular on monorails because of focal length and lens coverage. I would recommend a lens from any of the big four (Fujinon, Nikkor, Rodenstock, Schneider) or a Caltar which is a rebadged Rodenstock, Schneider, Topcon or other quality lens. Get one in a Copal shutter because they are quality shutters and the latest shutters made.

    Do your research and then come back asking questions. Otherwise you are going to get everyone recommending everything. :smile:

    I'm also a member of Large Format Photography Forum. I recommend joining that forum along with Apug. I also recommend and own the Steve Simmons book that Rafal suggested.

    Just a warning, large format is a lot of fun and highly addictive!
     
  10. Pawel Kwiecien

    Pawel Kwiecien Member

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    thanks for warning , I already got myself a shrink just in case , and I joined Large Format anonymous support group as I can see first symptoms of addiction :smile:

    I'll do my reading and I shall come back with more specific questions.
    Thanks everybody for your help.

    pk