I’ve narrowed my camera choices ...

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by lilmsmaggie, Mar 23, 2009.

  1. lilmsmaggie

    lilmsmaggie Member

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    So far, based on suggestions I've received from this group, I’ve narrowed my camera choices down to the (not in any particular order):

    Shen-Hao HZX 4X5-IIA,
    Chamonix 045n-1 and
    K.B. Canham 4X5.

    I actually like the idea of a Canham 5X7 with 4X5 back that I recently saw for sale on eBay, but unfortunately, I couldn’t afford it. It was a beautiful camera.

    I'll have to be patient and wait until I can afford to purchase. :D wich gives plenty of time to review and research and hopefully learn alot about LF along the way.

    Dwain
     
  2. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

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    I guess you could add the Shen FCL-57 plus the 4x5 back. It'll be cheaper then the Canham.
     
  3. lilmsmaggie

    lilmsmaggie Member

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    Thanks - hadn't seen that one.
     
  4. Robland

    Robland Member

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    I have the Shen-Hao HZX, it's my 1st and I like it a lot. The Chamonix also looks promising. It was not available when I choose Shen-Hao, might have been a good comparison. I'm not sure where you found the Shen-Hao, but I got mine at Badger Graphics. On their site they are now carrying a new version "PTB", or new to me. Construction looks like the Chamonix, down to the lever system on the ground glass...which I would like on my HZX. Looks like a direct copy. The PTB bellows is 390, the Chamonix is 395, (still more than the HZX with 360). Oh well what's the price of 5 years with a fine camera that does what I need? Less money and shipped from USA. Things you might consider.
     
  5. lilmsmaggie

    lilmsmaggie Member

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    I must confess that I was leaning towards the Chamonix 045n-1.

    So how 'bout it ... Any photographers out there have experience with the:

    Chamonix 045n-1 camera, it's ability to keep the film exactly on the focal plane; make movements like rise/fall, swing and shift, in front and back; is smooth and reliable to use; not fall apart; not be too heavy, accepts accessories; mounts firmly on a tripod and fits other requirements you need in order to carry out your photographic pusuit, who would be willing to contribute their experiences with Chamonix?

    Sounds to me like we may need to open this up for further discussion. What say you?
     
  6. archphoto

    archphoto Member

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    Funny: the Chamonix is on my wishlist and I am offered a Shen Hao.....
    I allready have a Sinar P2.

    I like the idea that you can change the bellows on the Chamonix, I use the 75mm SA a lot and have a 58XL aswell.
    So........

    Peter
     
  7. 23mjm

    23mjm Member

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    I say just get one---they are both good cameras---obsess about shooting not the camera. I have a Shen Hao and it seam to work just fine for me. I was originally going to get a Takahara but Badger was out so I got the Shen now I am as happy as a clam.
     
  8. lilmsmaggie

    lilmsmaggie Member

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    Uh Oh ... I just discovered Lotus View Camera.

    I believe I have time before I decide. And I should use that time to learn about this format.

    I have "Using the View Camera" by Simmons. Any other reading suggestions out there?

    Confession Time: I had envisioned acquiring a full frame DSLR as primary, and keep my Canon 40D as a backup, but after realizing that even with a full frame DSLR your image resolution is still limited by the size of the sensor. That's when I decided I need to explore LF and 4X5 seems tobe the perfect fit.
     
  9. k_jupiter

    k_jupiter Member

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    I say forget the nice new camera, get an orbit, a b&j field camera, or something with a 150mm lens and learn how to shoot, develop, and print. Your skills won't be requiring an expensive camera for a couple of years.

    While it's nice having a really great ergonomic, light, classy camera, it is really just a light tight box with film holder on one end and a lens on the other.

    Every day you are not shooting is just another wasted day.

    tim in san jose
     
  10. pelerin

    pelerin Member

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    Hi,
    I have experience with some of the brands mentioned, Canham and Lotus in particular and more with brands you have not considered, Philips, Toyo, Sinar... (i.e, I have used them to make photographs). All would certainly serve as a useful camera for a learner. (I would prefer a field camera to a Sinar though) I think any of them would be fine for an expert too. You may, as you grow as a photographer, develop a set of preferences that would push you to chose one over another but it seems unlikely that you can future proof your choice.

    There is a lot of truth in what Tim is saying here. You will "learn the format" much faster burning through film than skimming through descriptive material. I don't think you need to start with an old camera, you can learn with a nice one too, but your proficiency will advance much faster through doing.

    I think this idea bears consideration too. I think he is urging you not to invest too much in a camera before you know how to use it. However the the point that a view camera is a simple device deserves some attention in its least nuanced state. Reading Simmons, Merklinger et. al., can give one the idea that using a field camera is somehow, well, complex. The reality quite different. All the camera controls (and the functions they manipulate) are exposed to view and the result of using them is immediately apparent to the user. Reading about scheimpflug and perspective control is much less transparent than simply setting up a pair objects on a long flat surface and finding out that yes, you can get the whole table in focus, and control which end of the cereal box is the narrow part of the trapezoid.

    Actually, your resolution will still be affected by your "sensor size". (and your wallet) Ignore those puny 4x5's and proceed directly to ULF. :smile: How about renting a field camera and trying out your proposed workflow, uh, oh yeah, I mean shooting, developing and enlarging some images to see if LF works for you?
    Celac
     
  11. lilmsmaggie

    lilmsmaggie Member

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    Good points! - except if I wanted to rent, there are no LF camera stores in the area where I live (at least none that I'm aware of). I live just south of Sacramento. I'd have to travel to the S.F. Bay to see what's available.

    Tim - What's available in S.J., Santa Clara, Palo Alto, etc.?
     
  12. k_jupiter

    k_jupiter Member

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    LF? Film in Palo Alto. That's it.

    Your best bet is going to the City and looking up Calumet.

    My advice is given in that I learned on a Orbit or the like in photo school, spent the next 20 years shooting nothing better than a Speed Graphic, finally bought a couple of B&J 5x7s (one studio, one field) and lastly got my good camera, an 8x10 Deardorff which I do truly love.

    Perhaps a loaner camera is possible? Ya want to learn movements? The B&J 5x7 with a 4x5 back is perfectly adaquate for that, let me know. Ya want to go traipsing around, the 5x7 Field is OK, not great, but for field work it's good.

    I have both if you wish, with a 4x5 back and a couple of holders.

    It's all the rest of the stuff that is the learning curve and the sooner you get started, the better off you are.

    And as always, spend the most money on GLASS.

    tim in san jose
     
  13. pelerin

    pelerin Member

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    Hey,
    ...not to be a homer or anything but in Palo Alto there is also rentals and, the last time I looked, some new and used equipment. I also happen to have it on good authority that at least one of the places in Palo Alto is willing to ship that kind of stuff to folks who live outside the bay area.


    Just sayin'... :smile:
    Celac
     
  14. k_jupiter

    k_jupiter Member

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    My experience is at K&S on California Street. Been there quite often but I don't recall seeing any LF equipment there, new or used in quite some time.

    You might know more.

    tim
     
  15. lilmsmaggie

    lilmsmaggie Member

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    I knew about the Calumet in the City. I assumed that S.F., perhaps E. Bay and peninsula areas would be my best bet in being able to actually see and touch some gear. I was in Menlo Park this past Saturday but didn't get a chance to stop in Palo Alto. Maybe next trip I can plan on checking out a few shops.

    Thanks for the leads ...

    And as always, spend the most money on GLASS. --Amen to that Tim
     
  16. k_jupiter

    k_jupiter Member

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    Also be aware there are a couple of traveling camera shows in the bay area. They center around Hayward and Alameda on weekends. Lots of 135 stuff, some 120 equipment and some LF. Bargains? When you are selling, all your stuff is gold. I have picked up some nice stuff though. A Bogen 3036 tripod with a Gitzo head... $150.00. These places are good for picking up things like filters for weird sizes and darkroom equipment cheap.

    tim in san jose
     
  17. pelerin

    pelerin Member

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    Hey Tim,
    Well, I am probably there more often than you... I work upstairs in darkroom / repair. You and I have talked on a number of occasions. Any LF equip (other than darkroom) is across the street at 261. The last time I talked to the used guy they had a Sinar and a Wisner kit in used. (the Sinar was on the counter today) There was also a nice little Horseman technical w/ roll back and lens. LF lenses, both new and used are at the same counter in the 261 store.
    Celac
     
  18. Jordan.K

    Jordan.K Subscriber

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    As I always say "get the best you can afford". Most likely you will have more fun learning on and using a camera you are proud of. There are reasons why some cameras are less expensive than others. Personally I would consider the Chamonix or a Toyo metal field camera. Cameras can be like pieces of art in themselves. I certainly don't just think of my cameras as merely "boxes" or a tool, although they are both of those, but they are also beautiful objects.
     
  19. lilmsmaggie

    lilmsmaggie Member

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    Ok Tim., Celac. Let's come clean. I'm Familiar wil Palo Alto.
    Could you share the name amd address, or maybe they have a web page?

    Sounds like my best chance to visit the candy store, cause there's nothing around here. I don't think.
     
  20. k_jupiter

    k_jupiter Member

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    Yep, we have talked often. I just never knew who you were on APUG.

    Counter on the right hand side as you walk in from the street at 261? Maybe I'll get by there this weekend.

    BTW all, this guy knows his stuff.

    tim in san jose
     
  21. k_jupiter

    k_jupiter Member

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    Keeble & Shuate is on California Street. Take the Oregon expressway from 101, cross Alma street, go under the bridge and take the next exit. It will say "To California Street Shopping Area". Go straight to the first stop sign, you will see parking lots left and right. Park there. Walk the last half block and K &S is on the corner. The other one is at 261 California, right there.

    tim in san jose
     
  22. pelerin

    pelerin Member

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    Hey,
    Actually, on the left. (if you enter from Cal Ave.) The tall guy in the print shirt is Fred, Major Domo of all things used.

    Don't get me wrong, it ain't heyday of LF and film. The corner where Fred hangs out used to be occupied by a fridge stocked up w/ 8x10 chrome film. On the other hand, I don't want people to develop the impression that no one there cares about LF or film. Rumors are viral and, like the real thing, can kill the body they feed off. If you come by drop up and say "hi."
    Celac
     
  23. lilmsmaggie

    lilmsmaggie Member

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    Me thinks I know the spot. When I worked at the P.A. Veterans Hospital, I use to go to a bookstore/newstand during lunch nearby on California St. I think .

    If I remember correctly, the bookstore/newstand was on the corner.

    Great! - I'll have to check out Keeble & Shuate next time I'm in the Bay Area.
     
  24. lilmsmaggie

    lilmsmaggie Member

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    I just took a peek at Keeble & Shuate's rental dept. page. Looks like they have a Toyo-Field 45AII available for rent.
     
  25. pelerin

    pelerin Member

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    Hi,
    The bookstore is gone but the cafe is still there. That building is across the street from the 290 store.
    Celac