I want to buy a field monorail

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by game, Jun 25, 2006.

  1. game

    game Member

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    Hi guys,

    I know I want to photograph large format, 4x5. I do a lot of my photography in the field, though no hiking like you americans do a lot.
    I want a monorail for that purpose for several reasons, which I won't dive into now. That will keep this thread simpler.

    I have seen there are quite some monorails for the field. I will list them in this post, and hope for comments and comparions from you so I can make a better decision. Suggestion for field monorails I forgot and should check out are welkom too off course. I have a budget and can only spend 600 total for my 4x5 outfit. Second hand seems the way to go.

    these are the ones I spotted:

    linhof color
    [​IMG]

    linhof technikardan

    [​IMG]

    toyo vx125R

    [​IMG]

    arca swiss F
    [​IMG]

    sinar F2
    [​IMG]

    Toho 45[​IMG]

    hope to hear as much as possible. THANKS!!!!

    Game


    [edit] I added the toho view
     
  2. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Member

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    Toho (not the same as Toyo). Ultra-light, wonderful cameras, though Horseman roll-film backs do need to have the second ridge milled off in order to fit. I've been using them for years.

    Technikardans are excellent too, with superb movements and interchangeable bellows, but heavier and slower to set up. I have one of these too!

    I've also tried the VX125R (reviewing it for magazines) and it's very nice but expensive.

    The Linhof Color is pretty basic, with limited movements, and the locking knobs tend to break. I have had a couple in the past but not for years.

    Cheers,

    Roger (www.rogerandfrances.com)
     
  3. Markok765

    Markok765 Member

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    I like the sinar
     
  4. Claire Senft

    Claire Senft Member

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    My vote, which includes consideration for systems flexibility and costs, are for the Arca Swiss F.
     
  5. game

    game Member

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    helpfull to know too, is ho easy they set up and pack....

    thanks so far, game
     
  6. medform-norm

    medform-norm Member

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    Hmm, seems to me if you want one of these (except for the Color) you might have to up your budget. When lucky, you might be able to get just the camera for that amount of money, no neat extras like lensboards, lenses, compendiums etc. etc.

    We use a Graphic View II in the field, as well as Peco Junior and a Pecoflex (which is mad as it is so heavy). Of course, these are all obsolete cameras, but that's why they can be had cheap. The Junior cost me only 125 EUR or so. Lots of cash left over for lenses, film backs etc. Being in Europe, you have good access as well to the used Cambo and Plaubel market, but then, they can be heavy (except for the Peco Junior).

    You could also try to find a nice Sinar Norma kit, saw one go with 4 lenses + accessories last year for a mere 450 euros. Nearly indestructable, or so I've been told.
     
  7. jp80874

    jp80874 Subscriber

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    Are you sure you can buy each of the cameras listed for the target price? Is that Euros? I saw a Technikardan S sell second hand at the Large Format View Camera Conference a couple of weeks ago for $1900 US. I paid $2200 several years ago and got two good lenses and several accessories, but 600 $ or Euros is way below this. By the way I like the camera very much, but prefer larger formats now.

    John Powers
     
  8. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I used a Linhof Color for years, and can only recommend it. I never had anything break, either? I packed camera, six lenses from 90mm Super-Angulon to 360mm Tele-Xenar, ten holders, light meter, extra film, changing bag etcetera in a small Lowepro S&F Rovr Lite backpack.

    I sold it about a month ago after buying a Carbon Infinity - the "ultimate field Monorail", but waaay out of your budget. :smile:

    http://perso.orange.fr/christophe.metairie.photographie/grand format.html
     
  9. game

    game Member

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    maybe I am a little off budget with the listed camera :smile:
    But maybe each one has older versions which are more affordable?

    the sinar f2 sells for 500 dollar incl. lens quitte a lot. The arca is nicer I think but also more expensive. The f2 is not really a field monorail I thought.
    But as I said, if you have better suggestions for 4x5 field monorails ... I am more than happy to hear so.
    the suggested cambo is not field I think.

    thanks Sam
     
  10. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    game

    what kind of lenses were you thinking of using ?

    there is a graphic view 1 in the classifieds right now ( lens, film holders and fiber box included ). looks like a good deal


    i had a graphic view 2 and it was a great camera ( i still miss it )
    took it on location all the time ( documented a quarry with it -- close to 200 negatives delivered ). the only reason i sold mine was because i needed to be able to use a 65mm lens, and while i was able to use a 90mm with a recessed lens board without a problem ( full movements ) i knew the 65 was going to be a tough customer.


    sometimes expensive / exquisite isn't always the best :smile:

    good luck

    --john
     
  11. Dave Parker

    Dave Parker Inactive

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    I use my Omega/Toyo 45e in the field quite a bit and like it, not all that heavy and I can fit it in a pelican case with no problems at all, if I remember right, they are around $200.00 US right now.

    R.
     
  12. Campbell

    Campbell Member

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    I owned a Technikardan for a year or so. I didn't like it much. You can find out why by reading my review of it on my web site www.ellisgalleries.com.
     
  13. bart Nadeau

    bart Nadeau Member

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    Not sure what kind of field photography you are going to do but I second the suggestion of a Graphic View 1 or 2 with a f7.7 203 Ektar or Optar for a starter, inexpensive outfit. You can get either version of the GV with or w/o a Graphlok back, reducing the cost of the GV further if you can live without roll holders etc.
    bart
     
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  15. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    You're from the Netherlands... and you never mention Cambo as one of your options????

    My parents (and most parents I assume) have an expression for situations like this: "champane taste and a beer budget". You might get lucky and find one of your options within your price range, but the more affordable options (Cambo, Graphic View) are well worth considering because they'll get the job done for you and are sure to be within budget. Have you considered a press camera, like SuperGraphic or Crown Graphic?

    I use a Cambo and have been rather happy with it in the field... so long as I'm not shooting too far from the car. I can drag it over unimproved trails using a two-wheeled luggage trolley, but climbing steep inclines is out of the question. But that shouldn't be an issue in Holland, should it??
     
  16. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    For the field, but no backpacking, I don't think you're going to be able to put together a system with a Toho, Arca-Swiss F-line, Sinar F2, or Technikardan for under $600 (USD).

    I'd look for a Sinar F or F1. These are a great bargain right now if you want a precision monorail (there are very few functional differences between the F, F1, and F2), there are lots of parts and accessories available for them second hand, and it's easy to rent lenses on Sinar boards in major cities.
     
  17. game

    game Member

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    I used a cambo 4x5 at school, and cambo is just not a field monorail. I really do need it to be designed for field use.

    For now, I really like to hear if any of the monorails I listed are good for the field. Is the sinar the big winner since it is cheaper than the others? Is the linhof color workable, or will it leave me wanting something else quick?
    Lenses I plan on using will be a 150mm and a large angle, maybe a 90mm or 120mm. that's it. I hardly use tele lenses right now.

    the Toyo 45e is a folding camera right?

    So hope for some more!! :smile: thanks
     
  18. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    I guess I'm confused... then what exactly is a "field monorail"?
     
  19. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    The Sinar F-series cameras are more workable in the field than most people realize. You can pack them in three different ways, depending on how compact or how quick you need to be. Detentes, levels and scales make them very quick and easy to set up, even if you need to disassemble for packing. The weight is comparable to a Linhof Technika.
     
  20. Shmoo

    Shmoo Member

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    You might want to check *!@#$-Bay. Sinar Bron in the US sometimes sells its inventory of demo units for a good price. I got a notice that they put a couple of Sinar F2's on sale with lenses for $600.

    S
     
  21. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Member

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    Dear Ole,

    The plastic locking knobs on the monorail BOTH broke on the last one I owned (Araldite solved that) and I have seen others with the same problem. Maybe it requires poor storage (UV or heat, maybe) but the problem is unlikely to have diminished over the decades.

    Cheers,

    Roger
     
  22. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Well, I liked the Linhof Color. Admittedly it's somewhat limited as to movements, but even with my Norwegian (vertical) landscapes which are sometimes more like shooting architecture, I rarely had a problem with that. It's also relatively lightweight, has 42cm rail, so it can take lenses from 90mm to 400mm. When fully collapsed the bellows is very well protected, useful for transport in the aforementioned vertical landscapes. I would leave the bench mount attached to the tripod, and just pack the camera with rail in the pack. That also made it very quick and easy to set up, even quicker than most field cameras I've seen.

    The only reason I sold it is that I got a chance to buy a Carbon Infinity which is to other field monorails what a helicopter is to a city bus.
     
  23. resummerfield

    resummerfield Subscriber

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    The Arca-Swiss F will pack down to the space of most wooden field cameras, is a very flexible and interchangeable system camera, and is light weight and strong. I take mine in the field all the time.
     
  24. game

    game Member

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    hmmm, the linhof color, and the sinar seem most interesting, also regarding there prices. Is the F in Sincar F2/F/F1 for Field?

    The arca is maybe nicer, but also more expensive.
    How do these camera's hold up against toho?

    edit
    And how does the sinar pack exactly? in three ways??




    Game
     
  25. Dave Parker

    Dave Parker Inactive

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    No, the 45E is a monorail camera that is quite easy to take the rail off of to pack up, I just pull the rail and compress the camera body and put in my pelican, it has all the movements I require and have used it with a 90mm with no problems and has enough extension to use with up to about 370mm, the lens boards are cheap, and like I said, I have found the movements offered with it to be as much as I need for field shooting. I have shot with both the Graphic View I and the View II and I like my Toyo/Omega much better.

    R.
     
  26. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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