large format starter camera

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by pollux, Dec 10, 2011.

  1. pollux

    pollux Member

    Messages:
    165
    Joined:
    May 19, 2009
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    what would be a good cheap view camera with good movements? i have seen some on ebay. one is with a kodak ektar 127mm f4.5, one is with an ilex acme 3 127mm f4.5 the cameras are all graflex view. two of them have the advantage of a built in pan and tilt head. here is the 1st one: http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Graphic-View-4x5-camera-w-kodak-extar-4-7-127mm-lens-/320803803541?_trksid=p5197.m7&_trkparms=algo%3DLVI%26itu%3DUCI%26otn%3D5%26po%3DLVI%26ps%3D63%26clkid%3D4804871395725359331

    the 2nd one: http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Graphic-View-4x5-camera-w-Ilex-4-5-7-5-3-acme-parago-anastigmat-lens-/220904240397?_trksid=p5197.m7&_trkparms=algo%3DLVI%26itu%3DUCI%26otn%3D5%26po%3DLVI%26ps%3D63%26clkid%3D4804893579500020406

    the third one is complete with alot of kit like filters. it does not have the built in pan tilt, but a machined block mount.
    comments and advice would be welcomed, as would advice about the relative merits of the ilex lens versus the kodak.

    if they would not take filters, would i be able to get a machined mount made from skgrimes?
     
  2. keithwms

    keithwms Member

    Messages:
    6,073
    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2006
    Location:
    Charlottesvi
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I think I would recommend a speed graphic instead, as a starter. Depends on your purposes, of course.
     
  3. pollux

    pollux Member

    Messages:
    165
    Joined:
    May 19, 2009
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    i would like to keep cost down. are there any horror stories with the built in pan tilt head? i know i could get a filter mount machined, if the lenses do not have threads. i guess it comes down to the ilex lens vs the kodak ektar. i have also been gifted in the past with a tele megor by goerz which is 400mm.
     
  4. Wade D

    Wade D Member

    Messages:
    901
    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2006
    Location:
    Jamul, CA
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    If you need the camera movements the Graphic View's are not bad. The prices are way to high for a starting bid or buy it now though. The 127mm lenses will not allow much if any movements. Better to buy one with a lower starting bid and at least a 150mm lens. Or buy the camera and lens separately. I saw the one with the machined block. If you have a tripod with a 2 axis head then the ones on the 1st 2 cameras are redundant.
    I'm using a stripped down Crown Graphic as a field camera with a 135mm Optar lens. Since the movements are very limited on the Crown the 135mm does nicely.
     
  5. pollux

    pollux Member

    Messages:
    165
    Joined:
    May 19, 2009
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    if i am getting a new heavier tripod for these, could i save on the head and use the one on the camera? also would the tele megor be pretty decent to use?, as its the correct lens board.
     
  6. keithwms

    keithwms Member

    Messages:
    6,073
    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2006
    Location:
    Charlottesvi
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Almost all the LF lenses are "pretty decent to use." You can use a pinhole in LF and get a damn nice print...

    Don't sweat the lens. Just get a camera that can teach you what you want to learn. Look, you're going to wind up buying a newish wooden object sooner than you'd hoped anyway, it's an addiction and there is no cure :wink:
     
  7. chase

    chase Member

    Messages:
    9
    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2006
    Location:
    Hollywood, F
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I'm going to jump in, I asked myself the same question and familiarized myself with the basic, popular and not so popular LF cameras before buying my first one.

    I would have to agree whole heartedly with Wade D. Those prices are too high.

    The best starter camera LF is the most camera for the least price, and this highly possible to get a tremendously pro LF for very little.

    The hardest question with out having had one is, what you're going to shoot with it. Which once answered, will let you know what type to look for.

    Field cameras for the most part have less movment, but are generally more portable.

    View cameras the opposite generally speaking.

    This doesn't mean you can't do both with both. Views were carried for the longest time and Field's have been used for studio work.

    For a couple hundred bucks you can pick up a good camera of either type with a good and appropriate lens.

    I personally went with a 250mm (approx) lens for my first View and a 135-150mm for my first Field camera.

    Brands, their are a lot of good brands that are well made.

    Be patient, look for the deal, there are plenty of deals out there. And for $200 or so bucks, you can get familiar with actually shooting an LF of either type, descide if you like it, if that type suits your shooting. And if it doesn't, get the other. You'll also find out what features you like or need, again, based on what you want to shoot, or find yourself shooting most.

    Hope that helps a little. Just make sure no matter which type or camera brand you decide on, everything works. There's also a lot of junk out there. In second hand, alot of times it's buyer beware. So check it over thoroughly.
     
  8. Wade D

    Wade D Member

    Messages:
    901
    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2006
    Location:
    Jamul, CA
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    The pan and tilt head on the camera can be used in place of one on the tripod. Just make sure the tripod has the same sized mounting thread as the camera ( e.g. 1/4" or 3/8"). The 400mm lens will work if you have a long enough bellows. It will also be considered a telephoto lens with a 4x5. You will get a very small angle of view.
    What keithwms said is true. It wont be long before you want a new camera.:wink: So don't spend a bundle of cash till you know for sure what you want/need. I know what I want but can't afford it.:laugh:

    I was typing as chase was posting. I agree with what he said. " For a couple hundred bucks you can pick up a good camera of either type with a good and appropriate lens".
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 10, 2011
  9. Fotoguy20d

    Fotoguy20d Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,234
    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2008
    Location:
    NJ
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    As has been said before, those prices are double what you should expect to pay for a GV-II with a press camera lens such as the 127mm Ektar. A GV-II was my first LF camera. I still own it but haven't used it in a couple of years (I'd be happy to sell it to you if you were in the States - it's not worth the cost of shipping it). They're nice cameras with lots of movements but I wanted something I could hike with so I now have a wooden field camera. As others have said, the Speed and Crown Graphics are good, cheap LF cameras if you don't need the movements. The Speed is particularly nice if you want to use barrel lenses.

    For the GV-II, the Kodak Ektar 203mm f7.7 is a small, sharp lens which allows a good bit of movement. If you want a wide lens, you will need a recessed board with that camera. The 90mm f6.8 Optar is okay. One of the modern 90mm f8s (I have the Nikkor-SW) is nicer but you won't be able to get much movement since the bellows will be in the way.

    Dan
     
  10. chase

    chase Member

    Messages:
    9
    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2006
    Location:
    Hollywood, F
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Lol - I was just thinking back on when I was going for m my first LF... How excited I was, I was hoping someone would point to an LF and say "Buy that one."

    But, what no one mentioned to me was - It's easy to get into LF, the camera is the easy and cheapest part. Staying in LF is the true challenge!

    I highly recommend a box of Depends to go with that first LF. For you'll find yourself dropping a load every time you find out, you forgot you need this and that. And saying "You want how much for a box of film? Processing costs what!? You're scanning the negs at only 72 for that much? 300 dpi scans are... fracking WHAT? Uuhmm... Could you excuse me a minute, I have to change my diaper..."

    But we do love it so.... and if you can "stay in" you'll love it.
     
  11. paul ewins

    paul ewins Member

    Messages:
    423
    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    Melbourne, A
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    The trouble with a Graphic View (or the other evergreen, the Kodak/Orbit/Calumet CC400 series) is that there is no upgrade path from there. If you want to try 5x7 or 8x10 you need another camera. Same deal if you want something for ultra-wide angles. Examine your budget carefully because just a little bit extra should get you a Cambo monorail and a little bit more again would get a Sinar F. Both of those have a huge array of accessories and can be updated to 5x7 or 8x10 with additional parts. With the Sinar F you can replace the front and rear standard with the much more precise Sinar P geared standards while still using the same bellows and rail and other accessories.
     
  12. snederhiser

    snederhiser Member

    Messages:
    164
    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2010
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Hello;
    Look for a Graflex Super Graphic. Nice field camera with rotating back. The bed will drop on these, also the front standard tilts fore and aft, shifts side to side, up and down, and swings. These also have a good resale value and you can retrive your investment if needed. Cost for a good one is about $450.00 or cheaper. Steven.
     
  13. ntenny

    ntenny Member

    Messages:
    2,283
    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2008
    Location:
    San Diego, C
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I dunno---I haven't found it to be *that* bad. Once or twice I've managed to go out without a cable release, I admit, but the only moments that have really made me run for a change of trousers have involved high winds and tripods[1] rather than price tags or forgotten items. (But I process my own b&w and do my own scanning, which helps with the sticker shock.)

    The bottom line seems to be that monorails are cheaper, field cameras are more portable, and it's easier to adapt a field camera to the studio than to adapt a monorail to the field. You can get a used basic monorail for practically nothing, but the real costs aren't in the camera body, they're in the film, processing, and lenses---so within reason, get the body that matches your needs rather than the body that's cheap.

    -NT

    [1] Since the camera involved was a Kodak 2-D, I was afraid that if it fell over it might break the ground.
     
  14. Sponsored Ad
  15. Rick A

    Rick A Subscriber

    Messages:
    7,420
    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2009
    Location:
    northern Pa.
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I have used field cameras, press cameras, and monorail studio beasts, and currently own two monos. The Calumet cc-4xx series hold resale value quite well, have enough movements for beginner thru pro, and can be used in the field relatively easily. You need to spend on quality lenses, tripod, light meter, and filmholders. All other accessories can be assembled on the cheap.
     
  16. pollux

    pollux Member

    Messages:
    165
    Joined:
    May 19, 2009
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    how would i make a cambo compatible with an ilex 127mm f4.5 or a tele megor 400, as they use different lens boards (i think)?
     
  17. keithwms

    keithwms Member

    Messages:
    6,073
    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2006
    Location:
    Charlottesvi
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    You can make your own lens boards.
     
  18. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

    Messages:
    18,040
    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2004
    Location:
    West Midland
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Pollux, where abouts are you ? I assume in the UK.

    I'd suggest you have a look at a few LF cameras first before making a decision, let someone show you the pro's and con's of different types, Press, Field, Monorail etc. If you're near me you could come play with a wide variety of 5x4 cameras.

    Remember that you'd almost certainly pay Import Duty and VAT on a camera and the postage from the US whic will add over 25% to the costs.

    Ian
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 11, 2011
  19. pollux

    pollux Member

    Messages:
    165
    Joined:
    May 19, 2009
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    my tele megor 40cm is already on a lens board. would this fit into a cambo front element in 4x5, if i decided on a 2nd hand cambo? would it simply lock by the top mounts? the tele megor fits a graflex.

    off hand is the lens board too small for a cambo?
     
  20. pollux

    pollux Member

    Messages:
    165
    Joined:
    May 19, 2009
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    i only want a view camera, as i equate large format to be on a tripod anyway. for real handheld i use 35mm. i would be happy to sacifice some portability for movements.
     
  21. chase

    chase Member

    Messages:
    9
    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2006
    Location:
    Hollywood, F
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Great piece of advice there pullen, and a nice offer.

    The only thing I would dare to add is keep in mind LF is about patients. Including buying your camera.

    I think you'll find the right camera will seek you out and find you if you show patients looking for one. It's not going to come knocking on your door... you have to seek it out. But when you find it and it finds you, you'll know. It'll feel right, like you belong together when you pick it up.

    Every one here will attest owning an LF camera is pretty much a personal experience. There are decisions about your camera only you can make based on personal preferences.

    Even with your first LF camera you'll know it's the right choice, but only if you curb the excitement of just owning an LF.

    Take his advice and if you can his offer. Go look at as many as you can, pick them up, get the feel of it in your hands, the movements, etc.

    Everyone here that shoots and owns an LF all went through what you're going through in buying our first LF.

    Just relax into it and you'll make a better choice when you actually do buy your LF.

    It may not be what you want to hear and it may take a couple months to find the right camera and it to find you, but you'll find each other. You can trust in that.
     
  22. pollux

    pollux Member

    Messages:
    165
    Joined:
    May 19, 2009
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    if i went with the cambo i would need this for older lenses: http://www.calumetphoto.co.uk/eng/product/cambo_flat_lensboard_drilled_for_copal_3/386-652a

    i have seen an offer with a cambo sc and lens and 6 film holders, 2 lens boards, polaroid back and case. therefore it would all fit into a case, and i could put several prepared holders in a backpack.

    it comes down to the weight of a cambo vs a graphic view, and the fact i don't get as much extras with the graphic view. i do get a nice ilex lens though which seems capable of great stuff, looking at the photos.
     
  23. Hikari

    Hikari Member

    Messages:
    188
    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2010
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    here is a list of manufacturers, some still in business, some not, but do some searches and see what you find:

    Wista
    Linhof
    Horseman
    Arca Swiss
    Sinar
    Cambo
    Deardorf
    Weisner
    Canham
    Toyo
    Tachihara
    And I am sure there are others

    Most of them at one time or another made low cost models. Some have been business for a very long time and so the older models can be cheap. I would start by narrowing down to whether you want a monorail or a flatbed and the go from there.
     
  24. Wolfeye

    Wolfeye Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,149
    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2007
    Location:
    Iowa
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Yeah, every time I've looked at LF I look at a box of 8x10 film goimg for over a hundred bucks for TEN shots... and I'm glad the 8x10 cameras are out of my price budget too!
     
  25. Jim Jones

    Jim Jones Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,393
    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2006
    Location:
    Rural NW MO
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I agree with Wade and Chase. The first two cameras would be greatly overpriced in the USA. They are the early Graphic View, not the GV II which has a longer bellows and better front tilts. Be leery of buy-it-now prices. With patience, actual auctions usually provide better bargains. The Ektar lens is fine for much press camera use, but inadequate for view camera movements. Dan is right about the Kodak Ektar f/7.7 203mm, a fine old lens with a cult status that boosts the price. I use one more than any of many others. Similar lenses from other makers might be less expensive. The The GV tilt-pan heads are good. The GV, like many Burke & James or Calumet view cameras, use 4" square lens boards that are easy to fabricate. Don't worry about getting the perfect camera on your first purchase. If you shop carefully, you can recoup most or all of your money if you sell it to upgrade.
     
  26. pollux

    pollux Member

    Messages:
    165
    Joined:
    May 19, 2009
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    i definately want a monorail, and a portable one which packs into a case. i will just be using it on a tripod.

    thankyou all, and jim for the words of advice. the ilex lens seems capable of great tonality, but i'm not sure it covers 4x5. it is sold with the GV on ebay.