New Student Camera Recs for 4x5

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by fly19382, Aug 1, 2005.

  1. fly19382

    fly19382 Member

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    My son will be a new student at the Antonelli Institute this Fall. He will need to have access to a 4x5 camera throughout the school year. I am interested in recommendations for the purchase of a used 4X5 that takes into account that we need to be budget conscious. Also, I need to know what he will need in addition to the camers e.g. lens, rail, film, tripod, etc. Your help is greatly appreciated.
     
  2. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

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    Did they give any pointers to what type of camera?

    The Calumet CC400 types are fairly cheap usually. Less then $200 and often closer to $100. Not the sort of thing to take hiking very often. But a young guy can easily handle it.

    It will need a solid tripod. Lens. Film holder. Film. Dark cloth. Light meter.
     
  3. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    A simple monorail, like the Linhof Kardan Color, should cover just about anything. The Linhof Color might be a little limited movements-wise for his purposes, unless the emphasis is on nature photography.

    One or two lenses, no need to go for high-end. My suggestion is European again, but that is what I know best: Schneider Symmar 150/5.6, the old convertible type. Single coated, but a very good performer at a very reasonable price. And it can double as a 265mm f:11 by removing the front cell - nice when the budget is tight.

    Some film holders - five should be plenty. A Polaroid back is a good idea too, I bought mine back when I only had one camera and one lens. It's worth its weight in film!

    A good tripod, lightmeter, black T-shirt (AKA "dark cloth", but a lot cheaper).
     
  4. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Right now, I think the Sinar F and Sinar F1 are the most camera for the money. You can find these on eBay for $300-400, and they are high-end professional, full featured monorail cameras that are expandable, that he will never grow out of, and that originally cost a few thousand dollars.

    I like Ole's recommendations for lenses--the old Symmar convertibles are great to start with and are highly undervalued.
     
  5. Steve Hamley

    Steve Hamley Member

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    Give Jim Andracki at Midwest Photo Exchage a call (www.mpex.com) - and keep trying, he's a busy guy. Midwest carries a lot of used gear and he can tell you what you need and then supply just about everything if not everything. Good prices and service.

    You also might try Badger Graphic, they put together a Shen Hao starter kit for about $1,500 IIRC which includes a lens, dark cloth, and film holders. You can customize it.

    Steve
     
  6. steve simmons

    steve simmons Inactive

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    The View Camera web site has an article called Getting Started in Large Format that will be helpful. (www.viewcamera.com). There are several other articles as well. Go to the section called Free Articles

    Here are three books I recommend

    User's Guide to the View Camera by Jim Stone

    Large Format Nature Photography

    or

    Using the View Camera that I wrote for AMPHOTO


    steve simmons
     
  7. Frank Petronio

    Frank Petronio Inactive

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    I'll second David's suggestion of the Sinar F series. It may not be the very best camera for one particular reason or another, but it is sturdy, widely available and easy to get accessories for, and many lens on boards are already circulating so that he can swap.

    Sometimes the schools have a deal with a camera manufactuer that offers a nice student model at an attractive price - if his peers have the same cameras they can swap parts and lensboards easily. I know Linhof has a very nice student model.

    He might as well learn how to use eBay, as most pros do.

    I have a Nikon D70 if he needs a DSLR...
     
  8. Dave Wooten

    Dave Wooten Subscriber

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    Students enrolled in college photography courses qualify for some pretty good discounts from Mamiya, Toyo, Bronica, Hassleblad and others,

    It has been a few years since I taught, but new 4 x 5 Toyo monorail with a new Rodenstock 150 was between 650 and 750 if I remember correctly....
    Your son's professor should be aware of these programs..

    I don't think however I could recommend the new above equipment over David Goldfarb's suggestion of the Sinar cameras, if you can get a good one at a good price, they are the best.

    I have Steve Simmon's Book in my library and would recommend it.

    Good luck,
    Dave in Vegas
     
  9. raucousimages

    raucousimages Member

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    Toyo rail cameras are available on Ebay at great prices.
     
  10. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

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    Jim at MPEX can be emailed to. Just use the email link on the website for LF.
     
  11. BradS

    BradS Subscriber

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    All good advice. I'll second or third the recommendation to contact (phone, email, web) Jim at MPEX. They really are that good. Badger is great too. In addition to the Shen kit, I believe they also offer a similar package built around the low end Arca Swiss monorail - which would likely be more appropriate for photo school.

    Unless you are a glutton for disappointment, I would strongly advise you to avoid going to the auction site - especially if you don't know what you're looking at.
     
  12. Dan's45

    Dan's45 Member

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    hello there,
    i happen to own a sinar f1 camera, they are a great to start with. the bellows can be a tad stiiff at first, but give em time. as far as lenses go, i just got my 2nd one a a week or so ago-90mm super angulon. i highly recommend jim @ midwest photo! he is a great guy who will help you out and also try help you save some money if you let know your situation. i've never had anything bad come from midwest, they pack their equipment really nice and secure, so when you take it out of the box it looks almost like new. i think he may even throw you a cable release for free, seeing as your son is fixing to start school here in the fall.
     
  13. John Kasaian

    John Kasaian Member

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    I'll second the Calumet 400 series and add the Graphic View 2 to the list. Great, tuff , heavy duty little cameras! See Jim at Mid West (like, am I giving you original advice or what??;-)
     
  14. steve simmons

    steve simmons Inactive

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    IMHO is is a mistake to tell people to get this or that camera without knowing

    what range of tlenses they want to use
    what they will be photographing

    A camera that works for one person's application may or may not be appropriate for someone else. If you are going to suggest a specific camera from your own experience then at least tell them what you do with the camera and what lenses you are using. This will give them some context for deciding what advice is useful and what is not relevant to their expected useage.

    steve simmons
     
  15. BradS

    BradS Subscriber

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    Steve, the original context of the question was a student, just starting out in large format, needs a LF camera for a photo class. In this context, I think it is safe to assume the standard focal length lens will be used - perhaps exclusively. It seems rational therefore to also recommend any of the usual 4x5 starter cameras....just as people have.
     
  16. steve simmons

    steve simmons Inactive

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    I still think it would be more helpful to give the questioner a context for camera recommendations. Such as I use camera X with the following lenses -XX, XX, XX, and I photograph the following subjects xxxxx,xxxxx,xxxxx, etc.
     
  17. Alexz

    Alexz Member

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    Hi Steve.
    I became thrilled by LF just recently have read most of the readily available online stuff including APUG LF forum, largeformatphtoografy.info and lots of other stuff and still, even though I'm quite experienced in 35mm and gained certain experience in MF, I felt I'm still uncertain and lost in LF. This is why I decided first to purchase some good, yet simple and not overwhelming book to gain the basics and probably more in LF theory prior to pursuading an actual LF choosing right camera and setup for my needs.
    Yesterday I ordered your book from Amazon, hope it will provide me enough understanding to allow me to indulge my LF passion rationally.

    IMHO, this is the way I would also recommend to LF novices to proceed prior to making their choices of hardware and forking out their hard-earned cash for a good stuff that just may not suit their needs...
     
  18. steve simmons

    steve simmons Inactive

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    Thanks for your note. There are several free articles on our web site

    www.viewcamera.com

    that will give someone just starting out some good info as well.

    Here are some other books I suggest

    User's Guide to the View Camera by Jim Stone

    Large Format Nature Photography by Jack Dykinga

    We should all share as much info as possible

    steve simmons
     
  19. Dave Wooten

    Dave Wooten Subscriber

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    It is hard for me to believe that the college in question will not have 4 x 5 cameras on hand.....In the program here in Vegas, HBlad, Mamiya, Toyo, equipment was on loan to the college and at semesters end the equipment was sent back to the company for a thorough check etc and then could be purchased by the students at incredibly reduced prices! In any case, cameras were available for the class, they were shared...