Getting into large format and need advice?

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by Jim17x, Aug 21, 2012.

  1. Jim17x

    Jim17x Member

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    Today im looking into buying a Cambo 4x5 SCX in good condition and it comes with bag bellows, 2 lens boards.. Is this good starter camera? I will need to purchase a lens and would appreciate advice on a decent starter lens also.. How is the Caltar lenses? I see them going for cheap on Ebay.. Thanks!
     
  2. AnselAdamsX

    AnselAdamsX Subscriber

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    My first 4x5 was a Cambo SC. I think its fine. I would also look at Sinar F. What kinds of things do you want to shoot?
     
  3. AnselAdamsX

    AnselAdamsX Subscriber

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  4. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council

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    Nothing wrong with that camera. You should be aware that 99% of the time, the first large format camera you buy is not the last, because you'll find out only after using one for some period of time that the one you're using has one or more quirks that make it less-than-ideal for what you're trying to do with it. The great upside is that used LF gear holds value pretty well, and you're likely to get most if not all of what you spent back when you sell it on to finance the next piece.

    Caltar lenses are fine- depending on which one you're looking at, they're rebranded Rodenstock or Schneider lenses if they're reasonably modern (1970s or later). Some of the older lenses (1950s & 60s) were Kodak or Wollensak designs. People get so funny about the name on the barrel - they're willing to pay a 20-30% premium for the exact same lens in the exact same shutter just because the name starts with R or S. And don't even get me started on the Linhof Select lenses.

    A good starter lens if you have no idea what you want to shoot would be a 150mm lens. If you lean more toward portraits/close-ups/details, a 210mm is a great starter. If you do mostly grand landscapes and architecture, a 90mm is a good jumping-in point.
     
  5. Jim17x

    Jim17x Member

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    Thanks for all the helpfull info! I just got back from buying the camera from a local person on Craigslist.. Im excited and cant wait to go lens shopping on Ebay this evening. Here is what i got today.. Body, 2 lens boards, bag bellows, cape?, View finder, 2 film holders and something that contains small bellows that i think might be a lens shade or something.. I paid $200 for it and it included a large black wooden case..
     

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  6. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    Great! Enjoy!!
     
  7. Jim17x

    Jim17x Member

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    Thank you Mr Glass!
     
  8. Jim17x

    Jim17x Member

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  9. John Koehrer

    John Koehrer Subscriber

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    Your ebait find has been for sale since May and he's had two offers on it. Personally I don't think its a bad price but being me, I'd offer him around $150. maybe $175. if he pays shipping.
    The good thing is there are a lot of lenses out there for good prices. Don't fall in love with these things or you're going to pay through the nose.
    Have you checked KEH? their not alway the least expensive but the have a warrantee and great customer service. Their ratings are very conservative and many people here will buy BGN rated items and find only minor defects.
     
  10. polyglot

    polyglot Member

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    Nice. Hope you like wide-angles (eg 90mm) because that's what you'll be able to use with the bag bellows. To use the camera with normal and longer focal lengths, you will need a set of normal bellows to get you sufficient extension. For example, 150mm is considered normal (it's a wider kind of normal) on 4x5, which requires 150mm extension just to focus at infinity and 300mm to reach 1:1 (e.g. headshot on a baby, picture of a hand). So definitely start looking for some normal bellows.

    That Caltar will serve you well I'm sure but you won't be able to focus it at all with the bag bellows.

    The "small bellows" you have are a compendium shade.

    Go have a read of LFPF.
     
  11. Jim17x

    Jim17x Member

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    John.. I havent checked KEh yet but i will tonight..

    Polyglot.. I forget to mention that the camera has the normal bellows on it also.
     
  12. Jim17x

    Jim17x Member

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    Im sure that i cant just put any shutter on the board (Copal 1- 2) so how can i tell what size the lens boards are?
     
  13. polyglot

    polyglot Member

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    Good, having both bellows and bag bellows is awesome. How long are the normal bellows?

    Measure the hole in the lens boards then look at this table to determine what shutter will fit.

    You can get lensboards pretty cheaply on eBay ($5-$30) in whatever size you need.
     
  14. Jim17x

    Jim17x Member

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    The recessed board is 1 3/8 inches and the flat board is 1 5/8 inches.. I stretched the bellows as far as i could and they measure 15.5 inches.. I guess that means i have a copal 0 and a copal 1?
     
  15. r-brian

    r-brian Member

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    It looks like one of the lens boards is a recessed board, use for wide angle lenses, 90mm and wider. A few more film holders, lenses and film and you are ready to go.

    Brian
     
  16. r-brian

    r-brian Member

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    Oh yeah, don't forget a good stable tripod. These things are a bear to hand hold.
     
  17. Jim17x

    Jim17x Member

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    Just put it together and I'm getting a bit over excited!!! I just put in a best offer on EBay for a Caltar II N 210mm and i have an expired box of Tri-x waiting for me!
     

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  18. Rick A

    Rick A Subscriber

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    Make sure you have a good stout tripod to support the beast. Make sure the tripod can support at least double the weight of your camera with lens.
     
  19. Leigh B

    Leigh B Member

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    There is no Copal #2 shutter, only #0, #1, and #3.
    (There is a #00, smaller than the #0, very seldom encountered.)

    Proper hole diameters for these are:
    #0 - 34.8mm
    #1 - 41.8mm
    #3 - 64.2mm

    Note that the holes are larger than the major diameter of the shutter mounting thread, and properly so.
    The retaining ring has a lip at the rear (facing the lensboard). The mounting hole must be larger enough to clear that lip.

    You may encounter shutters mounted incorrectly, in holes sized for the thread, with the ring reversed (lip on the outside).

    Note that many other hole diameters were in common usage for other shutters. Sizes were not at all standardized.


    - Leigh
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 22, 2012
  20. Jim17x

    Jim17x Member

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    As of right now i only have an old Soligor Husky tripod, it seems to hold the camera rock solid.
     
  21. Jim17x

    Jim17x Member

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  22. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    Enjoy!
     
  23. BradS

    BradS Member

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    nice kit! and you got a pretty decent price. There was a time when that focusing thingy would go for near $200 by itself.

    HAve fun...and let us see your photos now and then.

    There will be more questions....don't hesitate to ask - lots of LF users here.