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  1. #21
    brian steinberger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sal Santamaura View Post
    I don't, but can't recall anyone posting that their Shen Hao cameras were flimsy. The TFC-69A appears to be a well-made Ebony copy. Talk to Jeff about it, including what his return policy might be if you were to order one.

    Being limited to enlarging from medium format in my darkroom too (for now), I've been concentrating more on contact prints, mostly from 5x7 and whole plate negatives. You might wish to consider that approach. While you'd once again have to load/unload holders, I view the smaller number of available exposures as a good thing that encourages better seeing rather than a limitation.
    Sal, that's funny you mention 5x7 and contact printing. I was actually considering this over the last few months as well. I never liked the 4x5 (or 8x10) ratio. Almost square. 5x7 is closer to the 6x4.5 format I'm used to shooting. And it is a large enough negative to contact print. I just think I would miss being able to enlarge. Of course there is always scanning and inkjet for larger, but not the same as tradition prints.

  2. #22
    brian steinberger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dlin View Post
    Brian,
    If you intend to shoot in a style similar to your current rangefinder camera, your options are somewhat limited. You cannot make use of shift/rise, perspective, or focus plane adjustments through the rangefinder. A technical camera like the Horseman VH-R gives you an option of using the rangefinder to focus and compose quickly with the rollfilm back in place (i.e. you don't have to remove groundglass back and replace with the rollfilm back). For instances when you need critical composition and want to make use movements, you can use the groundglass. The range of movements available on the VH-R are really quite extensive, are would be limited in only extreme situations (extensive rise/shift). As you and others have noted, good technique is required to get optimal results, but when isn't this true?

    I haven't used Horseman lenses with the VH-R, although they are supposed to be decent. I've used Nikkor, Rodenstock and Schneider LF lenses with excellent results. You just need to make sure that the image circle for each lens covers the negative area with sufficient room for movements when you need to use them.

    Let me know if you have questions specific to the Horseman.

    Best,
    Daniel
    Thanks Daniel. I think I've given up on the RF idea as a selling point for a view camera for me. It seemed cool at first, almost like an added bonus but I don't think I'd ever actually use the camera like that. That's why I have my MF rangefinders! What I'm missing in my photography is perspective control. I'm been photographing more and more rustic arcitechture over the last few years and my Mamiya 6's only cut it when everything is perfectly level. Sometimes I can use my 50mm level and crop just the top horizontal portion of the negative. This is the same as a front rise. But for smoke stacks and tall buildings I have to resort to getting creative with distortion and convergance. It's getting old.

    I really like the idea of a MF view camera but also understand the limitations of lenses. Do you feel the Horseman is well enough for architecture? Generous front rise? Obviously if you used a lens for 4x5 on it then you would have plenty of image circle, but is there enough offered by the camera? Do you have an photos in your gallery taken with the VH-R?

  3. #23
    dlin's Avatar
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    Brian,

    The movements on the Horseman VH-R work best with slightly longer lenses, e.g. 90mm and above, due to the clamshell design of the camera. Monorail cameras with dedicated wide-angle bellows are more suitable for wide-angle lenses when you need lots of rise, assuming the lens has adequate coverage. Given that you're experienced with LF camera operations, your choice of camera will depend partly on what types of lenses you're most likely to use. I used lenses ranging from 65mm to 210mm on my Horseman, and had a dedicated RF cam for my 150mm. All had sufficiently large image circles to make full use of movements available.

    The series of photographs from Pleasant Hill, Kentucky (e.g. Ceiling Light and Drawers, Dormer Abstraction, etc.) were taken with the VH-R handheld, due to their restriction on tripod use indoors. I was able to brace the camera against various surfaces to keep the images sharp. Also a number of photographs from along Eagle Creek. Sharpness has never been an issue with the camera/lenses, although I'm not an ultimate sharpness junkie.

    Best,
    Daniel

  4. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by brian steinberger View Post
    I just think I would miss being able to enlarge.
    What about 5x7 makes you think you can't enlarge? People are giving away 8x10 enlargers these days.

  5. #25
    Ian Grant's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PanaDP View Post
    What about 5x7 makes you think you can't enlarge? People are giving away 8x10 enlargers these days.
    Perhaps he doesn't have an enlarger for the 7x5 format

    I went through the dilemna of whether to move to a 6x7/6x9 view/field camera back in the mid 1980's. I was shooting 645 and happy with the quality but frustrated by the lack of movements for certain images. I had been using 5x4 for about 10 years but my monorail cmaers was too heavy and impractical outside a studio.

    In the end after weighing up the various possibilities I went for a 5x4 field camera knowing I had the option to use a 6x9/6x7 back. I don't have a preference for format and happily work with 6x6, 6x9, 6x17 as well as 5x4/10x8.

    Ian

  6. #26

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    Quote Originally Posted by brian steinberger View Post
    This is something I've been discovering the more I research medium format view cameras and it's rather interesting to me. So the designs of most LF lenses just aren't good enough to produce tact sharp results with roll film? Makes sense to me. Are certain lenses better than others? I do love sharp results. I'm a MF RF shooter now so I'm pretty much spoiled by sharp lenses. I remember when I used to use my 4x5 with a 6x9 film back the results were always un-impressive. Somewhat soft and it seemed disappointing to me. But I just assumed it was my lens which was a 135mm fujinon. Shouldn't the dedicated lenses made for the horseman VH-R perform well enough with that camera? I mean they were designed for 6x9.
    Sorry - I may have given the wrong impression. Modern lenses from the likes of Schneider, Rodenstock etc. are all fine on MF, but older LF lenses can be a problem. Even the new ones are designed to be used stopped down, though. You may not, however, get the same punchy contrast as with Mamiya 6 or 7 lenses (these are exceptional anyway), although actual resolving power will probably be very good. Rodenstock Sironar S and Grandagons are usually excellent, for instance.

    I would expect most Fuji lenses such as your 135 to be really pretty good (although it may depend on its age). The weakness here is more likely to be imprecision in the camera - lack of accuracy in ground glass/film registration; slight movement in the camera as you tighten up lock knobs; slightly out-of parallel standards; inaccuracy of focusing on ground glass (which is more difficult on MF) etc. MF is much less tolerant of these issues than LF. That's all.

    Re: Horseman VH-R - check how wide you can go with a design like this, as it might not be able to properly use the wide angle lenses you need for architecture - there may be restrictions from both the body and the bellows. I don't think Horesman make their own lenses - they may be rebadged Fujis anyway (nothing wrong with that, though).
    HTH
    Last edited by IanBb; 09-16-2012 at 07:38 AM. Click to view previous post history.

  7. #27
    ic-racer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by IanBb View Post
    I don't think Horesman make their own lenses - they may be rebadged Fujis anyway.
    Why would make you think an optical company does use their own lenses on their own cameras?

  8. #28

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    Right, ic. To name names, Tokyo Optical, who make Topcon and Horseman lenses, own Horseman. Good lenses, too.

  9. #29
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    Have you considered a Fuji GX680? They seem to be remarkably cheap and functional, though not the most portable.

  10. #30
    brian steinberger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by polyglot View Post
    Have you considered a Fuji GX680? They seem to be remarkably cheap and functional, though not the most portable.
    Yes, I remember looking at one of those a while back. Read up on it. While it was a great camera, most users found it bulky and had problems with certain backs with electronics. It is a focal plane shutter camera too which I'm not thrilled about.

    At this point I'm really leaning toward the Shen Hao 6x9 from Badger Graphics. Seems like a great little camera with tons of movements, lightweight, and not too bulky. The GG also flips out of the way when the back is attached. So there is no need to remove the GG for every shot. Now I just gotta sell my Hasselblad 500cm body I have sitting around to help fund this..

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