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  1. #1

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    WTB: Folding 4x5 kit

    Looking to buy a reasonably priced Field 4x5 kit. Will be my first venture into LF. Will be for landscapes exclusively, so normal to wide angle is preferred.

    Since this is my first venture, would prefer to get a kit to get me started. I'm a hands-on type person, so to really gain an understanding of what I want and need, I have to look at it and play with it. Me, at this point, trying to piece a kit together, may end up a disaster.

    What do folks have sitting around that they aren't using?

  2. #2
    photobizzz's Avatar
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    You sound like you want a camera to take out backpacking, which means either an older wooden field camera or...well reasonably priced is kind of hard to quantify. Relative to your idea of reasonable. I got really lucky and picked up a Toyo 45A and with the new bellows from Mamiya I have $595 invested in it. You are going to have a hard time finding a metal field camera in good working condition for less. A wooden field camera in good working condition would go for less.

    Wista

    This Wista is about the best deal I could find on eBay in a short search, like I said. Reasonable is relative, and dont forget the lens, film holders, cable release, tripod, dark cloth, loupe, light meter, and more I am sure I am forgetting late at night. I have about $1800 invested right now in my 4X5 setup and that is actually pretty low compared to most. Hope you find a good deal!
    "A picture is a poem without words"
    ~Horace~

  3. #3

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    Lyle,

    If you're interested in a wood folding Wista, I've got one I'd be willing to sell since it's not being used. It also has the optional wood 5x7 back and I've got minty holders to boot. Right now I'm in The Netherlands but will be back in the U.S. in a week, so I could send you photos if you'd like.

    Greetings,
    Dan

  4. #4

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    Have you looked at an old press camera? They're by far the cheapest way to get into LF and offer most of what a field camera does.

  5. #5
    RalphLambrecht's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LyleB View Post
    ...What do folks have sitting around that they aren't using?
    Too much, but I just can't part with it.
    Regards

    Ralph W. Lambrecht
    www.darkroomagic.comrorrlambrec@ymail.com[/URL]
    www.waybeyondmonochrome.com

  6. #6

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    Yes I am a backpacker who would like the option of taking this camera once I learn to use it.

    Since making my original post I found a great online explanation of LF lens/shutter installation onto the lens boards. This was an area I was not grasping well until now. Still need plenty of hands-on, but I have some concept of how they work now. Very different from 35mm and MF.

    I stopped bidding on a very decent sounding Crown Graphic last night. It had reached $355 when I stopped bidding based on a thread here on APUG that said $369 was way overpriced for a Crown Graphic. The bidding on ebay eventually went to $425. What should a Crown Graphic with Schneider-Kreuznach Xenar 135mm f/4.7, good condition bellows, and a Graflok back go for. They seen to be asking around $500 on the "Buy it Now" offers.

    I would be interested in a wooden folder. Please send some photos when you have a chance.

    Thanks everyone.

  7. #7

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    Those prices for a Crown Graphic seem high. "Buy it now" prices on ebay are weird. Some are unrealistically low and other realistically high.

    It's hard to find a decent wood field camera for less than $400-500; not impossible but difficult. Better ones would cost more. Then add for a lens. So much depends on your budget. And level of urgency - if you're patient you can find a good deal. But you have to be knowledgeable enough to "pounce" on it. It sounds like you're seeking out that knowledge.

    A Crown Graphic with Graflock back would be a good starting point. A Super Graphic would be better, but more expensive. As to lenses, I would start with the ubiquitous 127mm Ektar or 135mm Optar. They are a good starter lens: slightly wide on a 4x5, decent, though not exceptional performance (but no room for movements), inexpensive. If you can affort to start with a 135mm Rodenstock or Fuji or Schneider, all the better.

    Keep in mind that the Graflex cameras are very old. Unless it's one that's been recently used, recognize that pinholes in the bellows, missing fittings, and a shutter in need of a CLA are all very real possibilities.

    One last point. Monorail 4x5s are out of vogue and can be very cheap. IF that works for you, consider that as an alternative.
    "Far more critical than what we know or do not know is what we do not want to know." - Eric Hoffer

  8. #8
    Ian Grant's Avatar
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    $200 is a good price for a Crown Graphic and half decent lens, a 135mm Xenar is OK at f22 but edge sharpness is poor wider open. any more is over the top.

    For some reason people are paying way over the odds for Speed & Crown Graphics, while I have 3 they aren't the most versatile of 5x4 cameras but they are excellent for hand held work where movements are les practicl anyway.

    Ian

  9. #9
    Willie Jan's Avatar
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    i use a wooden shen hao. weight is important when walking a lot.
    yes i prefer a ebony, but can't afford one until i will sell pictures

  10. #10
    photobizzz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mgb74 View Post
    One last point. Monorail 4x5s are out of vogue and can be very cheap. IF that works for you, consider that as an alternative.
    This is a good point, maybe pick up a 4X5 Monorail for around $100 until you learn how to use it and also may give you a better idea of what you want to buy

    I posted a WTB ad in the classifieds asking for a "cheap 4X5 monorail" as I wanted a camera for home use with more bellows draw than my Toyo has. I had 3 or 4 nice APUG members offer me cameras at or below my $100 price point. I ended up getting a 1920s Gundlach, a wooden flatbed camera that I am currently restoring (hobby of mine) that will also be used when I am done but several people had nice Calumet and Cambo monorails for about $100 I am sure they would sell to you.

    Just an idea, good luck!
    "A picture is a poem without words"
    ~Horace~

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