You can have a new Chamonix 4X5 for that amount of money and as RR points out there are plenty of cheaper options out there.
Originally Posted by Raffay
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I think it's a very expensive camera that doesn't do a lot, and that you would be mostly paying for the brandname not functionality. That is mostly a collectors' item not a camera for making photos with.
Originally Posted by Raffay
If you want a portable field camera then I would recommend looking at the following features/options:
- it absolutely must have a Graflok back for compatibility with accessories.
- Chamonix 045N2: mostly-wooden field camera, $960 new, $700ish secondhand
- Toyo 45A: folding metal field camera, slightly heavy, very rugged and reliable, about $500 to $700
- Shen Hao HZX45-IIA: wooden folding field camera, $900 new, $600ish secondhand
- Wista 45: wooden. lots of variants $400-$800ish.
- a press camera, like a Speed Graphic. Very cheap ($100 to $300) but quite limited movements. If it's a Speed, it has a rolling shutter and can be used with barrel lenses that have no shutter built-in.
All of the above will be more functional (except the Graphic), easier to use and probably more reliable than the Deardorff. I use a Toyo 45A myself; I can fit the camera, 3 lenses, 6 holders, dark cloth and accessories (spot meter, loupe, etc) in a backpack that's light enough (10kg?) to carry around all day.
More things to consider:
- most important: is it rigid? how good are the locks on it?
- what kind of damage are you likely to inflict? metal cameras dent and jam, wooden ones crack or smash. they are each repairable (or not) from different kinds of damage
- wood is lighter than metal, but do you care? carbon fibre (Toyo 45CF) is even lighter
- metal is often tougher and more rigid than wood - do you care?
- can the camera fold up with a small lens inside it? saves space in the bag
- what is the max bellows extension? This will limit the longest lens you can use and what magnification you can reach with any given lens
- what is the min bellows extension? This will limit the widest lens you can use
- is the bellows interchangeable?
- do you want rear-standard movements?
- maybe you want to buy a rollfilm back to practise with? smaller image area but very cheap to operate.
- do you want a rangefinder?
- is the lensboard a standard size? Toyo and Linhof boards seem to be the most common. Is the lensboard big enough to hold the lenses you want to use?
Sorry, choosing an LF camera is a really hard, and personal decision. There's lots you need to know about how you intend to use it, and there are lots of tradeoffs (complexity, functionality, toughness, weight, price) to make.
You should also read the LFPF roundup of 4x5 field cameras to get an idea of what else is available. And just in case you missed it, the rest of the LFPF front page information is very valuable.
Last edited by polyglot; 12-11-2013 at 06:47 AM. Click to view previous post history.
How about getting a Sinar P for 500 dollars?
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if you are going to use camera for portraits only you don't really need a view camera
with movements like a sinar p.
while a sinar might be a good value ( years ago the same camera sold for much more )
why buy something you don't need ?
you can get away with portraits and landscape ( if that is what you like ) some architectural / site work as well
with something like the mpp, or a different brand press camera. some have a in camera shutter ( speed graphics, besslers )
which allows for barrel, brass, enlarger non-shuttered lenses as well.
i've had a speed graphic for decades, it was my first lf camera, purchased just out of school .. and have used it for everything mentioned above even product-stuff.
in my no so humble opinion, the press cameras are the most useful cameras for non-specialized photography.
if you were doing table-top product photography, or perspective distorted portraits &c i might say go for the sinar, but
the portraits you have posted of your family lean me towards the press cameras.
good luck !
John is giving you very good advice here.
Local to you I should imagine it would be possible to find usable MPP cameras due to the historic connection between Pakistan and the UK. Has your local police station got one in a cupboard that is no longer used thanks to digital? Could it be bought for a reasonable price. A police or military MPP kit is usually very well equipped with all sorts of useful items as well as the camera. Probably there are several of these languishing in cupboards and drawers waiting for the day someone comes along to appreciate them again and put them to work...
Last edited by Regular Rod; 12-11-2013 at 08:12 AM. Click to view previous post history.
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when you say in camera shutter, is it the same thing as focal plane shutter? Which MPP or press camera would you recommend if they are one and the same thing. On an another note, I understand that currently with my limited photography experience I might not be posting pictures that even require a LF camera but don't you think it is better to have a camera with ability to manage different scenarios then to have some limitations. I am no expert, but what I have read about the Sinar is that it presents a lot of nice features like geared movements, fine focus and something like yaw-free movements. All these if I understand correctly, makes it a lot more easy to manage the whole LF process. Having said all that, I have to say that my knowledge is limited (i think limited is a very generous word) and would take into account all the experience you guys are sharing before making a purchase - which is not in sight at the moment, but hopefully soon
one more thing to all the people who have participated in this thread, in one of longer posts above I wanted to know if anyone could tell me if setting up a Sinar P an easy exercise or would it make my family members kill me. I tried to search for youtube videos but did not get anything except for a couple of chinese (not because they were chinese) movies which were not very good. If any of you have a sonar and put up a video, I guess it would be great for all who want to know Sinar better. Or if you can provide any good links.
Some excellent points here but why do you think X-ray film is 3-4 stops slower than HP5? Most people seem to shoot HP5 at 200 (I do, after testing) and most people seem to get about 100 out of Fuji HR-T (which I have only shot a couple exposures at 100, but not actually tested yet).
Originally Posted by polyglot
yep the in camera shutter is a focal plane shutter. i am not as familiar with the mpp cameras as folks from the UK so i can't really comment on that particular brand
but the graflex speed graphic is the one with a focal plane shutter ( crown graphic does not have one ). some of the pre-anniversary models also have focal plane shutters
( also graflex ). i wouldn't worry about the quality of the photographs you have posted most people use a large format camera photograph rocks and trees,
anything lends itself to largeformat, its just getting to the basics
i haven't used a sinar set up, although a sales guy tried to sell someone i worked for one back in the day. yaw free, geared movements &c were all selling points he used, kind of like TOYO cameras ( toyos are similar, modular professional cameras for less $$ ) .
all that extra "stuff" is great if you are doing things you need to control perspective but if you don't need all those extra doo-dads its is just fluff, and something that will eventually get in your way .. and using a monorail camera to make portraits can sometimes be a pain, much easier learning the whole dance with a simpler camera
... its like using a ferrari when you are learning how to drive, sometimes all that flash and elegance and speed gets lost when the driver is learning how to drive a standard transmission bucking his / her way to the corner market.
i hope i didn't dissuade you too much, that sinar is a nice camera probably worth what they are asking ...
don't forget no matter which one you settle on, you will need
to get a sturdy tripod, light meter, film holders, and a dark cloth ( cheap i use felt ) ... and a way to process all your exposures
have fun !
Raffay you might enjoy watching this video of a young man using the same camera that I mentioned earlier, the MPP Mk VIII, to make hand-held photographs of an event... Unfortunately the video does not feature the finished results!
Last edited by Regular Rod; 12-11-2013 at 12:05 PM. Click to view previous post history.