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  1. #1
    manjo's Avatar
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    What to look for when buying a wooden 4x5 ?

    I am looking a techihara or wista 4x5, I have not quite made up my mind yet if I should buy one, but I would like to know what I need to look for when I buy a used wood camera like a wista or techihara. Any damages, long term use problems that I should ask the seller abt? Any pointers appreciated.
    [COLOR=Red]Cartman[/COLOR]: How long till I get the pictures back?
    [COLOR=Blue]Photographe[/COLOR]r: It will be four days
    [COLOR=Red]Cartman[/COLOR]: Four days! oh my god I cant wait that long
    -- South park

  2. #2

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    First of all, will the camera do what it needs and fit your shooting style? For example I've heard the Tachi doesn't allow for bag bellows, so if you're an extreme wide angle type, that might be a minus.

    Does the camera have the movements you need? Lots of studio or architectural shooting would require a more full featured set of movements than landscape, etc..

    Then more generically, I'd check on tightness of things. Do the standards wobble? Is the gearing still smooth? Do things still zero out confidently, or is there guesswork you'll have to constantly wrestle with. How tight is the back? What shape the bellows, etc...

  3. #3
    Mark Fisher's Avatar
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    I can't speak for the Wista, but there isn't a whole lot to go wrong with the Tachihara unless it gets dropped. Look over the wood for splits and other damage. Look at the condition of the bellows. Check that everything locks down well. BTW - Poco is right that it doesn't have a bag bellows, but it easily deals with a 75mm and I've heard that it can use a 65 without movements. The biggest minuses with the Tachihara are the spring back (no roll film backs except Calumet) and a maximum of a 300mm lens. The advantage is that the camera is very light. I looked at a bunch of cameras at the View Camera Conference and still feel I made right decision in buying the Tachihara regardless of price.

  4. #4

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    What to look for ? Termites....

  5. #5

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    Sort of like checking out a used motorcycle . . . has it been dropped, how loose are the controls, does it show wear in any parts. If it looks fairly new, and well cared for, then it might be fine. Another issue might be focus or control stiffness, if it has sat a while, though easy enough to remedy that.

    I needed to go back to a 4x5 for some work, after selling my Toyo years ago. While I checked in used cameras, I personally felt better going with a new camera. Rather than tell you what I bought, my suggestion to why to buy new is to consider from whom, or what business, you are buying your camera. If you can get a return policy or agreement, then I don't see a problem getting a well cared for used camera. My buying new was my own peace of mind decision.

    Decide what you want to photograph, and which lenses you might want to use. A separate issue is what types of film you want to use, or if you would even consider a roll back, or a Polaroid pack film back. It could be nice to have the versatility, but if you don't anticipate using it, then a spring back is fine. Wide lenses can go on recessed boards, while some extension boards could allow slightly longer lenses to be used. Ideally, you don't want to outgrow your camera, though you can always buy something else in the future.

    Ciao!

    Gordon

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by manjo
    I am looking a techihara or wista 4x5, I have not quite made up my mind yet if I should buy one, but I would like to know what I need to look for when I buy a used wood camera like a wista or techihara. Any damages, long term use problems that I should ask the seller abt? Any pointers appreciated.

    I don't know anything about the cameras that you mentioned. But these are things that I find necessary in my photography.

    1. Bellows extension----the more the better I have 18 inches and this does not allow for use of lenses in the 450 mm length
    2. Bag bellows and minimum bellows extension. I use a 90 mm and it requires a bag bellows. 75 mm would be nice at times
    3. Front and rear tilt
    4. Front and rear swing
    5. Front shift
    6. Base and axix tilt on front standard
    7. Rigid construction
    8. Front rise and fall

    These are the absolute minimum of what I would consider in a camera. Good luck.
    Art is a step from what is obvious and well-known toward what is arcane and concealed.

    Visit my website at http://www.donaldmillerphotography.com

  7. #7
    rbarker's Avatar
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    I agree with the above comments, particularly Glenn's (tongue-in-cheek) termites thought. To put it differently, I think you can divide the questions into two categories:

    1. camera features, and

    2. camera condition.

    By doing research in advance, you'll know whether the camera will do the job you need. Past threads here on APUG delve into the features of various cameras and the suitability of those features for various tasks. Additionally, there are a number of articles on the Large Format Photography Home Page that may be helpful in choosing the best fit between your objectives and a specific camera. Once that choice has been made, or you've arrived at a short list of several candidate cameras, you can get serious with sellers.

    Questions for sellers might include:

    1. has it been dropped or otherwise damaged?
    2. are the standards still rigid and tight when locked down?
    3. are the bellows in good condition and tested for light leaks?
    4. is the ground glass in good condition?
    5. if the ground glass is not original, what brand is it, and has it been tested for positional accuracy?
    6. are the springs on the back still tight?
    7. is the gearing still good?
    8. what is the seller's policy on returns, should you find the camera to be unsuited to your needs, or not as advertised?
    [COLOR=SlateGray]"You can't depend on your eyes if your imagination is out of focus." -Mark Twain[/COLOR]

    Ralph Barker
    Rio Rancho, NM

  8. #8
    papagene's Avatar
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    Manjo... You have some pretty good advise from your fellow APUG'ers. Let us know what you finally end up with and maybe we can figure out a place to go photogying and you can show it off!!
    Good luck with your hunt.

    gene
    gene LaFord


    Long live Ed "Big Daddy" Roth!!
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------
    "I don't care about Milwaukee or Chicago." - Yvon LeBlanc

  9. #9
    manjo's Avatar
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    I am a proud owner of a nice Wista DX. I also got a 210mm fujinon lens with it. papagene, I would love to get together and shoot some slides and show off my new wista. :-) If we can round up a few ppl we can meet up someplace and do some shooting.
    [COLOR=Red]Cartman[/COLOR]: How long till I get the pictures back?
    [COLOR=Blue]Photographe[/COLOR]r: It will be four days
    [COLOR=Red]Cartman[/COLOR]: Four days! oh my god I cant wait that long
    -- South park



 

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