New to LF. is this a good bargain?

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by Kim Catton, Sep 9, 2010.

  1. Kim Catton

    Kim Catton Member

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    Hi all

    I am having a bit of a problem figuring this deal out. I am able to buy the following (as described by seller):

    * Linhof Technika III for 9x12, 4x5"

    * Angulon 90mm 6,8

    * Xenar 240mm 5,5.

    * Linhof Tripod included


    The camera and lenses are in good shape. Some tear on the leather from the panorama-head of the tripod.

    Now here is my concerns, not knowing too much about LF:

    He is writing something about the 90mm not being the right "number" or "distance". I can't really figure out exactly what the seller means here. What could it be?

    Also. I want to shoot 4x5" and I know that some lenses aren't meant for that, something about coveredge etc.?

    How much should this outfit cost? And most important of all: is it, if cheap and a good bargain, my way into LF? - me being on a budget.

    I hope that someone out there can help - I have tried google and all sorts of stuff but I think this questions needs real people with real knowledge - so I once more turn my head to APUG :smile:

    Best regards,

    Kim

    Pictures of the outfit in question here
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 9, 2010
  2. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Subscriber

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  3. Venchka

    Venchka Member

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    The Linhof Technika cameras have a cam between the front standard and the rangefinder. The Model III required that the lens and cam match. Those older cams had the lens serial number engraved on it. It sounds to me like the lens that comes with this camera does not match the 90mm cam for that camera.
    Every lens has it's own image circle. That information is usually listed on the internet somewhere. A larger image circle allows you more movements of the lens to adjust composition, depth of field, etc. However, a folding field camera like the Technika doesn't have a huge range of movements like a monorail studio camera would have. So you can get by with lenses that have a smaller image circle. Be careful, you do need an image circle that covers 4x5 film at infinity. As you focus closer the image circle increases slightly.
    Great source of information.....
    http://www.largeformatphotography.info/linhof/technika.html
    http://www.largeformatphotography.info/

    Linhof cameras are probably not the best "bargain". They tend to cost more than other cameras. They are built to last a lifetime. That makes them economical in the long term.
    You might eventually want a more modern lens between 90mm and 240mm. There are many available and not very expensive. Something like a Fuji 150mm/5.6 would be a good, low cost lens between 90mm & 240mm.

    ps: I just looked at the photos of that camera. It appears to be in good shape. By comparison, my Technika V looks ugly, but it works just fine. There is a lot to be said for the quality of the Linhof cameras. Solid like an anvil and almost as heavy. Grinning.
     
  4. Kim Catton

    Kim Catton Member

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    Around 550USD is what I would have to pay for this system. How does this sound.

    Thanks for the links... I´ll have to read some more about LF but I´m exited.

    Im not quite sure, still, if this means that I can't use the optics that come along with the camera or if they can be used but with limitations?

    Best

    Kim
     
  5. Willie Jan

    Willie Jan Member

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    I had a III and found the movement of the front standard (where your lens is mounted onto) not that easy for increasing the depth of field. It can only be moved (top) towards the lens. The can be done by further tilting the base but requires more work. The IV and higher have a better way to do this.
    Mostly i shoot pics with adjusting levels where the front should be moved (top) from the lens to adjust the

    this is what i need
    [​IMG]
     
  6. outwest

    outwest Subscriber

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    Go for it. I came up with $750+ in my head. The lenses will be fine. The 90 won't have a lot of movement but should have enough. The 240 is a Tele-Xenar, a good lens. Don't worry about the cam, you'll be using the ground glass to focus. And, it has a Graflok back - a bonus! I have 2 IIIs and I would jump on this deal in a minute. Willie, why didn't you use the back movements? Same effect and much easier.
     
  7. fotch

    fotch Member

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    Sounds like a very good price if its in good condition.
     
  8. Willie Jan

    Willie Jan Member

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    back movements are very limited.
    I now use a wooden shen hao, it's 1 kilo lighter has much more movements and is new as expensive as the 2nd hand technika III. But the technika is more rigid when you want to throw with it :smile:

    I also used the angulon 90, indeed not much to move with this lens, and i did not like the quality of the image. I prefer modern lenses in copal. But that's my opinion.

    Don't buy it because it's a technika. All 4x5's have pros and cons. The most important thing is the photographer and it's creativity.

    And check out which version if the III it is. I would prefer model 5.
     
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  9. bill spears

    bill spears Member

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    I know very little about Linhoff cameras but the tripod alone would fetch good money over here in the UK.
    For the price you're quoting on the whole outfit it sounds pretty good to me.

    Bill
     
  10. Kim Catton

    Kim Catton Member

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    I will buy this not because it's a linhof but because it very rare to find LF at this price in my home time. I am also buying because I need 4x5 for a project. To me cameras are tools and depending on what Ive set my mind on doing, different tools are required.

    How do I know what version of the camera we are talking about here? Can it by any means be spotted in the pictures?

    Best,

    Kim
     
  11. FiatluX

    FiatluX Member

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    Good price, buy it!
     
  12. Steve Hamley

    Steve Hamley Member

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  13. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    I have two Tech. IIIs, and I love them.

    For most things other than studio work or other close-up work, it is probably not the movements on the camera that will limit you, but the lenses that come with it. It's a capable camera for many things, but those particular lenses limit you quite a lot. They are designed for shooting hand held straight on or with very minimal movements. To get the most of what the camera can do on a tripod, you need lenses that are designed to allow more movement.

    What the seller is saying about the numbers matching only affects you if you want to shoot hand held, and even then, it is possible that you will be "close enough" in some applications. The matching numbers ensure proper focus with the rangefinder. Hopefully the 240 is numbers matched to the cam and camera body.

    Oh yeah. Matching numbers also affect market value somewhat significantly. Buyers know that these cameras need numbers-matched parts to be usable hand held, and they will pay a premium for this.

    These cameras are compact, but they are far from light. They weigh 6 to 8 pounds, depending on what you have mounted to them lens wise and back wise. My SINAR F1 monorail with 12 inch rail, rail clamp, DB shutter, and 210 f/5.6 lens weighs about seven, and it has every movement under the sun, and is actually fairly easy to backpack with. The advantages of the Linhof are only that it is compact, and that it is quick to set up, not to mention the obvious fact that the SINAR is not hand holdable.

    There were five versions of the Tech. III, and only the last two have the dropping bed, which gives you the ability to employ front forward tilt. MAKE SURE you have this if you have this if any intentions to use front tilt, or to use a 90mm lens in vertical orientation without taking a picture of the end of the bed.

    The rear movements are 15 degrees any way you want.

    If the camera is in very good shape, I think $550 is about right or maybe a bit high, personally. Maybe I am lucky, but I got two incredibly clean, original owner kits with six lenses (three each, every single one of them number matched to the original camera, with the proper cams), tons of accessories (including a roll film back and an optical zoom finder, a custom fit case for one of the kits, four Linhof Deluxe film holder, and 13 standard film holders in like new condition) for $1650 total. These are really collector-quality cameras the way they came, and I feel that I got a lot for what I paid. Strangely enough, they both fell my way within a matter of months of each other.

    One thing to watch out for is the bellows. They are old for a flexible leather item (55 years old, at a minimum, unless they have been replaced at some point). Leaks are often a problem, and replacing them AIN'T CHEAP AT ALL!

    I think it is a great camera for most things. It is versatile, compact, and well made. I wouldn't use it to photograph most still lifes or products. You can do some architecture with its capabilities, but not that in which the most extreme of image distortion is desired. It is a great camera for shooting people, especially if it has a cammed 240 lens, and it is great for landscapes too.

    You will need some sort of viewfinder to use it hand held, and they prove to be rather expensive, even on the used market. They range from $150 to $350 depending on model and condition (which is why I was so lucky to get one in one of the kits I purchased).

    You also want to see if it has a hand grip or at least a leather strap. Some have neckstrap lugs as well, which is a great help, IMO. (Only one of mine has them.)

    Lens boards are specific to the III (and possibly the II, though I don't have any idea). They will not work on any of the later models (IVs, Vs, etc.).

    As for the specific movements, this is what you get:

    Back tilt, 15 deg. forward or rearward
    Back swing, 15 deg. clockwise or counterclockwise
    Front rise, about 4-5, maybe 6 cm
    Front fall, some, but very little
    Front lateral shift, about 1-1.5 cm either way
    Front swing, 10-15 deg. either way
    Front rearward tilt, 15 deg.
    Dropping bed (versions 4 and 5 only), 15 degrees
    *Dropping bed, front rearward tilt, and front rise can be used together to provide front forward tilt of 15 degrees
    Triple-extendable bellows
     
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  14. outwest

    outwest Subscriber

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    Looks like this is a version 4 which does have the drop bed. Of course, even without the drop bed you could turn the camera on its side and use the swing for tilt.
     
  15. 77seriesiii

    77seriesiii Member

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    Kim,

    I think that is a good price but 2F brings up a good point about the bellows. When using film, holes in bellows are the enemy and the photos that you posted do not indicate that the bellows are good or bad. Ask the sellor if the bellows are light tight. I have a camera that has bellows over a 110 years old...it is a Studio 10, built like tank and weighs as much, bellows are light tight. Another camera is 105 and shooting film through it is a bit iffy. Most of my work is wetplate so if the bellows are iffy I just drape a cloth over them.

    Anyway read the LF photo front pages, some really good info there for entry into the LF arena. I read it alot before I took the plunge and I thought I knew what i was getting into! :smile: Once it is in your hands you will learn ALOT. 4x5 is a great format to learn on. Newer cameras may be lighter but the linhof holds value, built very very well and is an excellent camera.

    have fun!

    Let us know how it fares.

    ./e
     
  16. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    Yes. I just saw the photos, and although the notches in the struts for the bed cannot be seen (indicative that the camera has a dropping bed), the lock knobs for the rear movements being on the top peg it as a version four.

    Version five also has the dropping bed, but looks like a Tech. IV, with the angled 3D bed shape that we have come to associate with all Technikas.

    They are heavy cameras, and they do not have a side tripod mount like a Graphic. You can turn the camera on its side to work around its limitations, but it is not the most stable thing in the world to do. Doing so also makes your bubble levels useless, except for the tilt level on the tripod.
     
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  17. outwest

    outwest Subscriber

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    Which brings us back to the fact that the back has more movements than probably 99.9% of photographers would ever need - and that most lenses have an I.C. for!
    (Perhaps I should explain that - using excessive front movements it is easy to outrun the capabilities of coverage of most lenses.)
     
  18. Richard Wasserman

    Richard Wasserman Member

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    I can't help with the camera, but the tripod that comes with it is a wonderful one. I use one with a Sinar head with my Norma camera and love it. It is light-weight, easy to set up, and VERY stable and solid. It's a bit bulky folded, but if that is not an issue with where I am working I much prefer it to my carbon fiber Gitzo 1325.
     
  19. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    A stable but light tripod. I have a stable but heavy one and I regret it every time I take a hike with it.

    Steve
     
  20. Kim Catton

    Kim Catton Member

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    So... I am biding last minute on this... everything is good and the camera should be mine for the price of about 580USD...then...when I am biding a stupid mistake occours - something to do with my address not being the right one (the auction was a national one in a country I have just moved to...my address not changed) and I see the camere go off... :sad: I have spent several weeks just waiting for this perfect bargain. I am really frustrated now...if anyone know of a linhof technika for sale.. please let me know.

    dammit...

    Kim
     
  21. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    The next one you find will be better. It works that way for me.

    Steve
     
  22. Kim Catton

    Kim Catton Member

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    I like that idea Sirius :smile: I think it will work for me too!
     
  23. premo

    premo Member

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    Well, if ya gotta have a linhof ya gotta have one. Otherwise, buy a speed graphic and a tiltall tripod, and start shooting. The camera is a whole lot less limiting than a photographers abilities. People who shot lots of film with these did great work with them. Buy the tecnique book by lester and morgan, because when those first negs come out of the soup---you'll fall in love!