New to 4x5

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by Jenni, Aug 29, 2012.

  1. Jenni

    Jenni Member

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    Hi! I have started using a Sinar P3 but wonder if a Crown Graphic would be better to use? I have no comparison I would love some advice befor I buy a system. I don't like that the Sinar can not sit on a flat surface allowing lower angels, or maybe I just need a better tripod?
     
  2. Mark Fisher

    Mark Fisher Subscriber

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    The Sinar should allow you to do pretty much anything you'd want to do except carry it easily. Not sure what you mean not sitting flat to allow lower angles, though. What sort of photography do you want to do? The Crown has pretty minimal movements...maybe OK if you are doing mostly landscapes at a distance, but I find that I use more movements than that. Personally, I wouldn't choose either camera and would go for a field camera (Tachihara, Chaminoix, Shen Hao and others) just to get reasonable portability with reasonable movements. I shoot almost entirely landscape and architecture. If you are doing mostly studio and still life, I'd go with a monorail like a Sinar. If you shoot mostly handheld, the Crown is a great choice.
     
  3. M.A.Longmore

    M.A.Longmore Subscriber

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    I've been thinking about attaching a tripod head to a large piece of plywood.
    It would certainly help to get closer to the ground, and save a few dollars also.
    I learned about LF photography on a Sinar P2, now I have an Omega monorail.
    I've never used a Crown Graphic, but I'm assuming it's doesn't allow for much movement.
    You might want to consider that possibility, and save the money for film.
    And monorail cameras seem to be extremely affordable these days.

    Ron
    .
     
  4. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    A Crown Graphic has very limited movements so ma be rather impractical. I have been using one but now prefer to use a Super Graphic.

    Some tripods allow a camera to be mounted on the underside of their center column but your best option is to find a tripod that'll open right up allowing the head to sit as low as couple of inches off the ground.

    Ian
     
  5. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    Yeah, every camera has a "personality". I started with a rail camera also, glad I did. Yes, it could be a bit unwieldy at times but it allowed me to see, learn, and play with all the various movements and to really "get" the "hows & whys" involved in LF. That education allowed me to gather up all the other stuff needed for doing 4x5 and to make much better decisions when I bought my second camera body.
     
  6. Rick A

    Rick A Subscriber

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    How low did you want to get? I use an Induro AT213 leg set with PHT2 head for my 4x5. The legs can be splayed out for really low shots, to the point that the center column limits how low I can get. A shorter center column would get me even lower, or I can mount the pan head on the bottom of the column and get to ground level, this is 24 inches to center of lens.

    BTW, this Calumet is for sale for $125 including shipping in the USA.
     

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  7. scheimfluger_77

    scheimfluger_77 Subscriber

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  8. Jim Jones

    Jim Jones Subscriber

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    I carry a field camera outfit in an overnight case with a tripod head mounted on its top. This lets me get really low without the inconvenience of inverting the center column of the Tiltall tripod.
     
  9. fotch

    fotch Member

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    With the Crown you give up some movements of the camera however, you gain in the ability to move the camera or with the camera. Having both would be nice. Good Luck.
     
  10. BradS

    BradS Subscriber

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    The problem with the Sinar P and F series is that the bit that attaches the camera rail to the tripod adds a few inches of elevation. I think the best solution (if you want to continue to use the Sinar) would be to find a tripod that lets one...eh, how do I say this...on some tripods, you can remove the center column and re-insert it up-side-down. This allows the camera to be very close to the ground...and takes care of that nasty "image on the ground glass is up-side-down" issue :smile:

    Really, getting low is mostly a tripod issue..


    As a final note, I personally think that everybody who uses a largeformat camera owes it to themselves to get a Crown or Speed Graphic in addition to what ever field or monorail camera they choose....they're just wonderfully useful cameras.

    Welcome.
     
  11. Jenni

    Jenni Member

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    Awesome advice guys. I'll continue to use this camera. But I do see a press camera in my future. I am a portrait photographer so sometimes I want to be down low with my subject should they be on the ground or what have you. I can't wait to do more with it!
     
  12. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    I'd recommend a Super Graphic, or a Toyo 45A, even a Linhof Technika (much more expensive), as they have reasonably good movements and the firstb two aren't much more than a Crown Graphic. They can all be used handheld.

    Ian
     
  13. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    The Toyo 45A is the camera I ended up with, it is truly a joy to use.
     
  14. Jenni

    Jenni Member

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    I was looking at the Toyo, so many options!
     
  15. Dan Quan

    Dan Quan Subscriber

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    Master Technika or Horseman VH-R?
     
  16. Alan Gales

    Alan Gales Subscriber

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    The Toyo 45A and All have really come down in price on the used market lately. A good friend of mine has the 45A. It's a great camera. Toyo 45A and All's are made of metal and are sturdy.

    I own a Sinar P. It's a joy to use for portraiture. It's big and heavy and doesn't move if you are clumsy like me and bump it. Just make sure that you mount it on a heavy, sturdy tripod.
     
  17. Jenni

    Jenni Member

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    I was looking at both.
     
  18. Jenni

    Jenni Member

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    I have a very sturdy camera stand and a tripod. I'm just in love with the negatives!
     
  19. PanaDP

    PanaDP Member

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    If you want to get really low, you can make a version of something we call a "high hat" in film production. For us it's the crown that a head mounts to bolted to a plank of plywood. Since the head for a still camera mounts so simply, you can simply bolt your head to a piece of plywood and you're done. If you drill holds in the center as well as a couple inches from a corner, you'll preserve the ability to be low while still being able to tilt sharply down without seeing the plank.

    Here's a film camera on a high-hat:

    [​IMG]
     
  20. Jenni

    Jenni Member

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    Brilliant!
     
  21. Dan Fromm

    Dan Fromm Member

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    Nice suggestion, PanaDP, but it doesn't get really low, as in put the optical axis at ground level. Looking at a ground glass to focus and compose when it is as low as a high hat plus conventional tripod head will put it is painful. Lower, as can be obtained with a tripod that can put the platform on the ground, e.g., a Benbo, is even more painful. I have a Benbo, have felt the pain.

    My solution for shooting at ground level -- and I mean ground level. Doing it it makes no sense but I can put the optical axis underground -- is to mount the camera vertically (facing down, naturally) with a 45 degree front surface mirror in front of the lens. Many are the ways of mounting a view camera vertically. Putting the optical axis underground requires digging, though. About the mirror, Spiratone that used to be made a device called a Mirrotach that does what's needed. I have a couple of them. And with this approach viewing the GG is painless.