Thank you for all of the replies. I am still doing quite a bit of research. I have been reading The Camera by Ansel Adams. I still have to decide how I will process the film. I also plan on buying a scanner since I don't have access to a darkroom.
Hello hazardsg and welcome to APUG. You don't need a darkroom to develop film. Its nice to have but don't let that hold you back.
Ive been looking at different daylight tanks. I will be developing my own negatives. The comment about not having access to a darkroom was more geared to how I plan on doing prints. I would like to get an epson v700 to scan the negatives.
true, quite a few kitchens and bathroomms turn into darkrooms every evening. just go for it and welcome to APUG
Originally Posted by fotch
You will have to search a LOT.
$400 for body, lens and a few backs seems pretty tight.
If you shop, you should be able to find something.
I think you could find a Speed Graphic with lens for your price.
I really doubt that you will find a Sinar + lens for that price. Consider a Toyo as a more affordable starter 4x5 camera. There are several other brands that are good starters, but I can't remember the names. Spend some time browsing through eBay, to get a feel of the brands and prices. That is what I did before I got my Toyo (on Craigslist).
As the guys suggested, think about what kind of view camera you want; press, field or rail. You can take rail camera into the field, but is NOT as convenient to do as a press or field camera.
Be patient and watch eBay and Craigslist, and maybe you might get lucky. I have seen great deals come up every once in a while, but you have to move FAST when you see a deal. I've seen "buy it now" deals scooped up soon after they were listed.
Also consider long term. If you get a GOOD lens, you can move that to a better camera (like a Sinar) later. So I would put more of the budget to the lens. On the other hand, you could consider getting a learning camera and get a complete camera (body+lens) in the form of a Speed Graphic. Not the best lens, but plenty adequate to learn on.
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Well, i wonder i didn't post my answer in this thread. I too ascended from RB67 to 4x5 recently. My first choice was a MPP Micro Technical, at first i chose it over the other press cameras due to the movements it offers. It's not huge amounts, but its way more portable than a monorail. I then later decided i didn't need that as much as a focal plane shutter, so i bought a Speed Graphic. I just got it in the mail two days ago and haven't had time to have any experience with it yet. All i can say is, the Micro Technical is very portable and has decent movements.
Revolving backs are nice, but they make the camera much bigger and heavier (and in most cases more expensive). Best to stick to one that is reversible (you unlock it, rotate it 90 degrees, and re-attach it). I'll just re-iterate what's been said so far about pricing - you are unlikely to find a Sinar (even an F or A1) in useable condition with a lens for that price. Most of what you'll find complete with a lens and a few film holders will be press cameras and OLD monorails like the Calumet CC-4xx models (they made three, one normal - 16"-18" rail, one wide - 6"-8" rail with short bellows, and one long -24" rail IIRC) or the Graphic Views. Nothing at all wrong with them but they will be bulky because the rails neither extend nor collapse and they'll have few to no accessories beyond lensboards and maybe lens hoods. No matter what, your first camera will not be your last one because as others have said, you'll use it and find out some things work well for you and others you can't live with. But no big deal - there's plenty of other cameras out there. I don't know if there's a camera club in your area where someone else might already have a large format camera, but I'd try to find one and see if someone will let you borrow or at least handle theirs so you can get a feel for using a real one instead of reading a bunch of opinionated web posts.
hazardsg, welcome to the forum and good luck on your research. My first LF camera was/is a Graflex Super Graphic with a 135mm Wollensak Optar. It's a great starting platform, and many people use them for landscapes and whatever else. The camera is too limited for architectural photography, but it's more than enough for landscapes and such. The Wollensak lens is sharp, but it doesn't have a lot of sharp image circle for movements. However, the camera folds up with that lens into a nice compact bundle.
Another choice is the Toyo 45AX, which is currently in production, and you can find them used for reasonable prices. Toyo bought the Graflex camera line, and initially produced a Toyo Super Graphic. I have a 45AX, and it has the same amount of front movement as the Super Graphic. It adds some rear swing, though, and the bed can be locked into elevated positions to give you a tremendous amount of rise.
As for developing at home, I develop in my bathroom. I blacked out the windows, and I can develop on the sink counter. I usually use a Jobo, but for just one sheet I use a tray.
Well I just purchased a Speed Graphic on ebay for $350. Here is what was included:
1. Graflex Speed Graphic 4x5 Large Format Camera
2. Kodak Ektar 127mm f/4.7 Graphic Supermatic (X) Lens
3. Kodak Wollensak Rapax "Raptar Wide Angle" 90mm f/6.8 Lens
4. Original Kodak lens cap
5. FIVE Film Holders (Graphic Riteway Fidelity Elite)
6. Kodak Professional Tri-X 320 TXP film (50) Expires 12/2013 [40 frames left in box]
7. Large Film Changing Bag (double layered with dual sleeves and double zipper)
8. THREE Kodak Darkroom Tanks and ELEVEN Film Guides
9. Delsey GoPix Carrying Case Backpack[/COLOR][/SIZE][/FONT]
From the pictures and description everything appears to be in great working order. The seller said he used the camera around Christmas time. There was also a polaroid back that I believe is included as well shown in the pictures. I look forward to getting the opportunity to start shooting film again as the weather warms up a bit. I think having both lenses will be nice to figure out what I like best.
Last edited by hazardsg; 02-01-2013 at 02:20 PM. Click to view previous post history.
Sounds like a nice package of gear, and it's a great starter camera at a very reasonable price for the set.