I have a quick question...
Are lens boards and film holders universal and/or easy to find? I don't want to decide on a 50 + year old camera and then realize that one or both of these things are not really available.
I'm mostly leaning towards a folder and just one normal lens.
If it is case by case
4x5: super graphic, wista vx, horseman FA
5x7: kodak 2d, P&J/Ansco, deardorff v5
I've never bought a lens board. Always made my own. Film holders can be found. Some are leaky. Might have to work on them.
Some monorails come with a short rail and on some you can cut the rail to be shorter. Makes it more portable -IF you KNOW that you don't need the rail length for macro work.
"Far more critical than what we know or do not know is what we do not want to know." - Eric Hoffer
Having taken a Toyo 4x5 monorail into the field...I will NOT do it again.
At least not w/o a cart or wagon to carry it and the associated gear on. I was worn out well before the day was out, resulting in shooting less photos that I wanted to shoot. The monorail will stay in the home studio or near the car, no more hauling it around by foot. If I can't use a cart or wagon, I will take my 6x6 instead. A camera that I will use is better than a camera that I'm too worn out to use.
As for the rail itself. Unlike the extendable Sinar rail (very nice), the Toyo rail is a single piece. So I bought a spare rail and cut it shorter, so it would be easier to handle in the field. Unless I put a 300+mm lens on the camera I think I will just leave the shorter rail on, as it is a lot easier to use.
For some cameras you need to buy the lens board. I cannot see how I would DIY a lens board for my Toyo. Do your research on the camera you are looking at to determine the availability of parts.
I think all of those boards except the Super Graphic are very easy to find or make. Super Graphic boards are a little more difficult but certainly not impossible. It is easy to find inexpensive modern film holders for 4x5, and a little harder to find the same for 5x7. I don't think anyone is making 5x7 holders now so the most recent issue are getting a little more expensive. I just bought a bunch and that was my experience. It is easy to find older, wooden holders for both formats but I have never used wooden holders.
Originally Posted by msbarnes
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Personally I don't think 5x7 is viable any more. There was a thread on here a few months ago where somebody was trying to get a group of people together to pool resources to bribe the film company into firing up the equipment for a run of 5x7. Not a comforting thought.
Tom, right now, B&H has the following 5x7 films:
- Ilford FP4
- Ilford HP5
- Ilford Delta 100
- Kodak Portra 160
- Kodak Tri-X
- Kodak T-Max 100
- Foma 400
- Foma 100
Even if Kodak disappears completely, I can't see Ilford dropping 5x7 film. Nonetheless, I get your point. It is definitely not a rapidly expanding market. I personally would not get a 5x7 camera but I use my 5x7 back on my 8x10.
I have a Shen Hao 4x5 wooden folder; it is reasonably small, light and has more movements than a belly dancer on steroids.
Permanently attached I have a Fujinon W f/6.3 150, which is a very nice lens, small enough to be packed (reversed) with the camera folded. Mostly these are between $180 - $250 USD. I have it mounted on a home made lens board made out of 3 ply timber and lacquered, cost, zilch.
Apart from a tripod you only need a film holder and you’re in business. A light meter is handy, as is a cable release but not essential.
Shen Hao should certainly be on a list. The TZ45-II is the simpler and lighter one but still with plenty of movements. They are a joy to use and have a modern look and feel compared to older field camera's. Forty years ago I started landscape photography with a Sinar Norma monorail and would never ever go back to that type of camera. A field camera is much lighter, quick and easy to set up, packs up much smaller, and generally has as many movements as you are ever likely to need. I think however that given the price of film a light meter and a cable release are just as essential as a lens and darkslides. And for darkslides Ebay is a good source. Look for clean darkslides that haven't been bashed about, Fidelity Elite are good and easy to find, but Toyo I think are just that bit better.
Lens boards are easy to buy on Ebay, the Chinese do very cheap but well made boards, and the Shen Hao takes the standard Linhof, Wista, (etc) size board so you have those to choose from as well. Given this is new to you and you will be on a learning curve I'd suggest a box of 50 sheets of Foma 100 (despite its weird reciprocity curve) which generally works out less than half the price of FP4. It is still nice film.
Last edited by 250swb; 06-06-2013 at 03:38 AM. Click to view previous post history.
The Technika style boards used by Shen Hao and my Tachihara are available new at Badger Graphics and I'm sure other places. They are probably from China but well made and very reasonable in price.