Which 4x5 camera/lens choose? Need advice.

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by dmtry, Apr 21, 2013.

  1. dmtry

    dmtry Member

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    Hello there, dear forum members.
    I am thinking about 4x5 large format "compact" camera for making negatives for contact printing.
    Want to shooting portraits and landscapes sometimes.
    Upcoming Travelwide looks like a good option, but it is not ready yet.
    So, i am researching about other options and budget needed for such project.
    Thank you for your attention.
     
  2. M.A.Longmore

    M.A.Longmore Member

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    Hello Dima,

    The Travelwide would be perfect for getting started, when it gets started.
    They have raised so much money for the project, that it might be possible for
    them to get it distributed sooner than expected, I'm being optimistic.

    The next option, if you are looking for a low budget entry:

    A Toyo Omega View Camera, that's on a monorail, a bit bulky, a bit heavy, but usually
    more affordable than a folding field style camera. For landscapes, a 90mm lens would be a great choice, and the 210mm lens are usually available at
    a great price if you're interested in doing portraits. A sturdy tripod, a box of film, some film holders, and a cable release will get started with the basics. and then you can get a focusing cloth, or use a light jacket. Then you can buy, or make a focusing loupe if you decide to get more involved. And you should consider getting a copy of " Using The View Camera " by Steve Simmons.


    Ron
    .
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 21, 2013
  3. dmtry

    dmtry Member

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    Thanks for reply.
    But Toyo View totally opposite to Travelwide in questions of portability and weight.
     
  4. M.A.Longmore

    M.A.Longmore Member

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    Yes !

    How much were you planning to spend on a 4X5 Package ?
    .
     
  5. dmtry

    dmtry Member

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    Not sure yet, researching about opportunities for now.
     
  6. M.A.Longmore

    M.A.Longmore Member

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    A few years ago you could put together a great LF package for $300.00 { USD }.
    The Travelwide will most likely spark an increase in price for lenses, and film holders,
    and accessories . . . And stimulate film, and photochemical sales.

    Ron
    .
     
  7. Aron

    Aron Subscriber

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    I don't wish to take away from your enthusiasm, but if you're after the experience of contact printing, you might find 4x5 a touch small and 5x7 much better instead. There are quite a few photographers also here on APUG who produce wonderful work with contact printed 4x5 (and also medium format) negatives, but to me the relatively small print size is quite restrictive: composition comes through of course beautifully, but fine detail might be too small for certain viewers.
     
  8. HTF III

    HTF III Member

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    That Travelwide looks like the front half of a Polaroid Big Swinger.
     
  9. John Koehrer

    John Koehrer Subscriber

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    Or Ilford Pinhole camera?
     
  10. LJH

    LJH Member

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    It's easy enough to make digital negatives at larger sizes for use as contact prints from 4x5" negs.
     
  11. Aron

    Aron Subscriber

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    Of course. But it's understandable if someone prefered not to use enlarged negatives, whether they were created through a hybrid or all analogue workflow.
     
  12. 250swb

    250swb Member

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    While I have a Travelwide on order I wouldn't recommend it as a first introduction to 4x5. It is limited in what it can do, and you still need to buy all the other bits of kit anyway. So it's great for people with the lens and darkslides already (and other ancillary bits), as a light, easy and quick camera, but if you added it all up you are well on the way to buying a full blown technical or field camera. I would look on Ebay for people selling up a Toyo technical camera, or similarly a Linhof or M.P.P. In the UK for instance you can typically buy an M.P.P. with a lens and some darkslides (with possibly even more accessories) for perhaps £450. But buying a Travelwide and all the bits separately and you could be up there knocking on the door of that price.

    I would also agree that 4x5 is a little bit small for contact printing. Not because it is small as such, but because at that size it doesn't show the beauty of film or any better qualities than you could get from a P&S digital camera. Go up a size to 5x7 and things change, the negative has room to breath as a contact print. If on the other hand you kept to 4x5 and scanned it, or enlarged it in a 'wet' darkroom, it will easily show the qualities of film and why it may be preferred.

    Steve
     
  13. summicron1

    summicron1 Subscriber

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    i'm surprised nobody has mentioned at 4 by 5 speed graphic/crown graphic as a good intro -- portable, easy to use, has 3 viewfinders so it works hand-held as well as tripod, almost always comes with an excellent lens and can be had for under $300, usually.

    And after you learn on that you can sell it for exactly what you paid for it and upgrade to a toyo or something.
     
  14. dmtry

    dmtry Member

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    Thank you, Steve.
    Can you suggest some 5x7 camera models?
     
  15. 250swb

    250swb Member

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    Chamonix and Shen Hao make new 5x7 field camera's, but they are expensive, so again Ebay may be the best bet. Look for an older field camera with an international standard back. Sometimes they don't have a name, but the key is to make sure the bellows are light tight.

    Steve
     
  16. dmtry

    dmtry Member

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    Great advice I think, thanks! Will search for it also.
     
  17. Doc W

    Doc W Subscriber

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    The Travelwide looks like fun, but it won't allow you to do any movements, which is the biggest benefit of a 4x5 view camera. The best portable view camera, in my opinion, is the Super Graphic. It has no back movements but you can get front tilt and swing, both of which are really useful in landscapes. It is also very sturdy and not expensive in the great scheme of things. Get the Super as opposed to the Crown or Speed, because of the front movements.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 22, 2013
  18. dmtry

    dmtry Member

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    Thank you, will read about it deeper.
     
  19. premortho

    premortho Member

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    I use a Burke & James Speed Press 45 (4X5 film), just because it has extensive front movements and a rotating back. I bought mine off of American e-bay for $125.00 plus shipping. Mine came with a Wollensak Raptar 162 mm lens mounted in a Wollensak Rapax shutter. I prefer longer focus lenses for both portraiture as well as landscapes. They have a better drawing (perspective). If you are interested in one of these, keep checking e-bay until one comes up with the lens length you prefer. I also have a Speed Graphic. I use the Graphic for handheld, and the B & J off of a tripod.
     
  20. k_jupiter

    k_jupiter Member

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    5x7 is a great format. But, it is a fair amount more expensive than 4x5. If I were going to go larger, I would jump to 8x10. More film choices, just as much a PITB as 5x7, but the contact prints!!! Amazing.

    If you are set on 5x7, I have several Burke and James cameras. One mono (Grover), one wooden field (Watson). They need work but cheap to a good home.

    tim in san jose
     
  21. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    its too bad bostick and sullivan don't still make the hobo camera.
    it would be perfect ... ( even the 8x10 ) ...
     
  22. dmtry

    dmtry Member

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    Thanks a lot.
    I'm searching for Super Graphic for now (cause it has some front movements as Doc W mentioned). All other opportunities are much more expensive.
    I am really interesting in 8x10 portraits shooting and contact printing, but I know nothing about this format, lenses and cameras.
    So will read and learn more about it.