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  1. #1

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    Took the plunge.

    Well, I went and did it. I don't think it was just GAS. After 3 years of watching, I'm kind of stunned about the whole thing and wondering what I've gotten myself into. My wife thinks I'm crazy and wonders what's so damned special about it. But the first time the craigslist picture popped up, I was hooked.

    It's a Cambo Legend 4x5. I was looking more toward a Graflex View II, but this is several decades newer, a beautiful piece of engineering, precise, heavier, more sophisticated. Without the cachet for collectors, the price wasn't all that much more for a lot more functionality. Now the search starts for all the special things large format requires. Holders, heavy duty tripod and head, development tank or maybe a mod54? This will also have an influence on the darkroom plans. It's all pretty intimidating.

    First off, a lens and shutter. I'm thinking to start with an older and cheaper 150, just to learn and find direction. Any suggestions?
    “You seek escape from pain. We seek the achievement of happiness. You exist for the sake of avoiding punishment. We exist for the sake of earning rewards. Threats will not make us function; fear is not our incentive. It is not death that we wish to avoid, but life that we wish to live.” - John Galt

  2. #2

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    Congrats. The only suggestion I can give is to make sure that older/cheaper lens either has a good functioning shutter, or you have a few dollars set aside to have it overhauled. You'll be slowed down a bit by that process but you will thank yoruself later when you realize how much better it is to have properly functioning equipment.

  3. #3
    TheFlyingCamera's Avatar
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    Either a 150 or a 210 would make a good starter lens for a studio camera - the 210 will have more coverage, which is useful especially if you're going to be doing any amount of still life or other work requiring extensive movements (macro, product photography, etc). If you are staying in the studio, get a big, beefy (and therefore cheap) tripod, like a Majestic. You won't want to move it far at all, but by the same token, it won't move when you don't want it to either. If you're going out in the field with it, get a good aluminum tripod like a Gitzo 4 series or Manfrotto that will stay stable without killing you weight wise. Get a pan-tilt head to start with, rather than a ball head, as you'll want something that won't pitch forward dramatically when you loosen the tension (especially since you have a monorail which has the tendency to become unbalanced).

  4. #4

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    Now's the time to find a "quality lens" and shutter, and modern film holders. If you stick to it, you'll find out in time how critical both ends of the camera are to making a good exposure on film. If you skimp on these items now, you may be in for many disappointments down the road. I skimped in the early stages . . . and I had a ton of disappointing negatives to show for it.
    "Lo único de lo que el mundo no se cansará nunca es de exageración." Salvador Dalí

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by pbromaghin View Post
    Well, I went and did it. I don't think it was just GAS. After 3 years of watching, I'm kind of stunned about the whole thing and wondering what I've gotten myself into. My wife thinks I'm crazy and wonders what's so damned special about it. But the first time the craigslist picture popped up, I was hooked.

    It's a Cambo Legend 4x5. I was looking more toward a Graflex View II, but this is several decades newer, a beautiful piece of engineering, precise, heavier, more sophisticated. Without the cachet for collectors, the price wasn't all that much more for a lot more functionality. Now the search starts for all the special things large format requires. Holders, heavy duty tripod and head, development tank or maybe a mod54? This will also have an influence on the darkroom plans. It's all pretty intimidating.

    First off, a lens and shutter. I'm thinking to start with an older and cheaper 150, just to learn and find direction. Any suggestions?


    http://www.largeformatphotography.info/

  6. #6

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    For 4x5, you can go for years with a 90 mm (possibly on a recessed board, or use a bag bellows), 135 or 150 mm, and 210 mm lens. A nice thing about Cambo is the interchangeability of the bellows. I started with a 45SF (short monorail), then found extension monorails, a bag bellows, and an extra-long bellows.

  7. #7

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    Thanks for all the help. Lots to digest.
    “You seek escape from pain. We seek the achievement of happiness. You exist for the sake of avoiding punishment. We exist for the sake of earning rewards. Threats will not make us function; fear is not our incentive. It is not death that we wish to avoid, but life that we wish to live.” - John Galt

  8. #8

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    You can get a real nice 210mm f/5.6 lens in a modern Copal shutter for around $200.00. Schneider, Rodenstock, Nikkor, Fuji, and Caltar are all great and pretty equal in quality.

  9. #9
    ajmiller's Avatar
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    I'd agree with this. I laboured with the 'standard' 150mm for a while before realising 210 was my preferred focal length. I bought a Schneider APO-Symmar f5.6 and have been very pleased with it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Alan Gales View Post
    You can get a real nice 210mm f/5.6 lens in a modern Copal shutter for around $200.00. Schneider, Rodenstock, Nikkor, Fuji, and Caltar are all great and pretty equal in quality.
    regards,

    Tony

  10. #10
    TheFlyingCamera's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alan Gales View Post
    You can get a real nice 210mm f/5.6 lens in a modern Copal shutter for around $200.00. Schneider, Rodenstock, Nikkor, Fuji, and Caltar are all great and pretty equal in quality.
    Caltars are (or were) either Schneider or Rodenstock lenses with different labels on the outside. It just depends on the focal length and the age as to who was the OEM. So they're greatly underappreciated bargains.

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