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  1. #1
    TheFlyingCamera's Avatar
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    Good 4x5 for an instructor

    I'm going to be offering a class on shooting with large format cameras and for obvious reasons, 4x5 will be the preferred camera size for the class. I'm on the horns of a dilemma - I don't shoot 4x5 any more for myself, mostly working with bigger (sometimes MUCH bigger) cameras (5x7, 5x12, 6.5x8.5, and 14x17). I no longer have a 4x5 camera of either field or monorail variety, and so I'm thinking about getting one I can use for teaching with. I think for instructional purposes, a monorail would make sense especially if I want to demonstrate movements in a tabletop situation. My question is, do I go for something classic, like a Sinar Norma or an F/F2, or do I go with something a bit more high-spec like a Cambo Master or Horseman that has yaw-free axis tilts? What about a Cambo SF45? Anyone ever use one of those? I'm trying to keep this on a budget (under $500) or I'd just resolve my issue and get a Sinar P2. I know what I'd like for personal use, but I want something that will be easy to use for students (mostly adult learners, so nobody will be abusing the camera) and flexible enough to support most student interests. Any feedback is welcome, and cameras not on this list will be received with an open mind.
    Last edited by TheFlyingCamera; 01-28-2013 at 04:08 PM. Click to view previous post history.

  2. #2

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    I think a good choice for under $500 would be the Calumet CC-400 monorail. They're common, and for that price you should be able to find one complete with lens & shutter.The CC-400, the standard model, has a 20-in. bellows; there is a long-bellows model, the CC-401, and a short-bellows model, the CC-402. These cameras were made between circa the mid-'60s and mid-'80s especially for beginners. They have all the movements (axis tilts) except for back rise & fall.
    The CC-400 was my first large-format camera. It allowed me to learn all about movements. They're sturdy, no-frills cameras. There's a previous thread on APUG about the 400 series:
    http://www.apug.org/forums/forum44/5...-beginner.html
    Lots of info about these cameras on the internet. They're probably the most common 4x5 monorails to be found secondhand.

  3. #3
    ParkerSmithPhoto's Avatar
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    Cambo SC. Nice and sturdy. Dirt cheap.
    Parker Smith Photography, Inc.
    Atlanta, GA

    Commercial & Fine Art Photography
    Portrait Photography

  4. #4
    Whiteymorange's Avatar
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    I'd second the idea of the CC-400, if only because it is a camera that many of your students will be able to find and afford. They are plentiful on the ground (along with their brethren, the Grover and the Graflex monorail, etc.) and they are basic... and cheap.

  5. #5
    Mark Fisher's Avatar
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    Actually, I think you'd be better off with one off with a larger camera to do demos with. The screen is much larger and it is easier to show what you are trying to demonstrate. A smaller camera is useful since it is more important and harder to focus especially into the corners, but the whole plate or 5x7 will be alot easier to show the students what you are doing.....the 14x17 is maybe a little too much like a big screen TV...(:
    Your first 10,000 pictures are the worst - HCB

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  6. #6
    ColdEye's Avatar
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    Omega 45d is a nice and cheap monorail too.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Fisher View Post
    Actually, I think you'd be better off with one off with a larger camera to do demos with. The screen is much larger and it is easier to show what you are trying to demonstrate. A smaller camera is useful since it is more important and harder to focus especially into the corners, but the whole plate or 5x7 will be alot easier to show the students what you are doing.....the 14x17 is maybe a little too much like a big screen TV...(:
    +1

    I shoot 8x10 for b&w and 4x5 for color. I much prefer looking at the ground glass of my 8x10. I just wish 8x10 color film was cheaper!

  8. #8

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    I agree that for purposes of demonstration, an 8x10 is easier to see the affects of tilts, but I think it would be more valuable to keep it in the context of what your students will be likely to be using. For that, I agree with eveyone else, it's hard to beat the Calumet, and even if you do, it will still work afterward ().

    Stuff like yaw-free tilts and all the numbers on cameras like the Sinars will just confuse noob's, IMHO.

  9. #9
    TheFlyingCamera's Avatar
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    My concern about the old Calumet/Kodak/B&J is that after the class is over, I'M stuck with it taking up space around the house and it's not a camera I would want to use between classes. I'll definitely be trotting out the Canham 5x7 when it comes time to demo the differences between various camera types (monorail vs field, larger formats, etc) but I don't want to use it too much because I don't think the school where I teach has any enlargers that can handle bigger than 4x5 negs. The whole plate will make a showing on the camera types day as it's sort of a hybrid between studio and field cameras (an old Seneca "black beauty" with the screw-on bed extension) but I won't use it for class as it has very limited movements and I don't have the budget to go burning whole plate sheet film for students to learn on. The goal is for students to get a feel for an affordable way in to the medium. I might end up with getting two cameras so students can buddy up and work together in small groups.

  10. #10

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    How about a reduction back for your 5X7?
    If the students are going to have their own cameras and yours will be for demonstration only then why get a 4X5? just go with your 5X7 and make contacts if prints are required.
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