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  1. #1

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    My first view Camera

    Hi Guys,

    I am currently using Nikon D800 and I love creating Fine Art images. I would like to try my hand on a View Camera and I would like to use an 8x10. I was searching on the internet and I think my budget fits with a new Chamonix 8x10. Do you guys have any feedback on this camera?

    Also, I am shooting landscapes since I took photography and I would like to have a wide angle lens for my 8x10. I am looking at Rodenstock Sinonar-S 210mm or the Nikkor W-210mm. Any of you who experienced using these lenses on the Chamonix? My concern is which lens board to use and if the bellows on the Chamonix would get in the way for 210mm lens.

    I am really hoping to get expert advice from you guys before I make the purchase.

    Thank you.

  2. #2
    LJH
    LJH is offline

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    Forget the new camera and get a second hand one. Put the significant $$$ difference ($3200+ compared to, say a used 'Dorff for $1200) into glass and/or film. Both of these will result in better images than any new wooden box.

    Possibly the most important thing that you can learn about LF is, unlike digital, the camera makes (relatively) very little difference...

  3. #3
    Regular Rod's Avatar
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    Recommendations from any of us can only be based on what we have personal experience of. I only have two view cameras and experience of one other I had in the past, so the value of advice from me is severely limited. Here goes anyway...

    For landscape work I'm assuming you will want to be carrying your camera and that its weight may be important to you. So, unless you can get it for a bargain price, the older cameras may be not exactly what you want...

    A more modern camera like the Shen Hao FCL810-A will be free of any problems due to age and years of use and weighs only 4.4kg.
    Your lens focal length choice of 210mm is a good one. You might consider buying a convertible lens like the Computar 210 (made by KOWA) that converts to 370mm by simply removing the front element. Two lenses in one. It is a tiny lens, taking up very little space in your bag.

    Bag! Contact Bruce info@renphototech.com and specify yourself one of his amazingly comfortable Photobackpacker rucksacks, you will never regret it. His latest rucksack the P3 takes my FCL810-A and all my other 8x10 gear with ease. You should also treat yourself to one of his Cascade systems for carrying your film holders. Being organised in the field makes an enormous difference to your productivity. http://www.photobackpacker.com/home.php

    Focusing takes a little getting used to. I bought some +5.5 "reading" glasses from eBay and find these more convenient and quick to use than a loupe when under the dark cloth (XXXL black cotton Tee Shirt). A small black folding umbrella can be very useful if working in a breeze, or a drop of rain, to shelter your camera enough to prevent camera shake during an exposure.

    Tripod? Jury is still out for me. I'm now trying a Gitzo GT2540G with Manfrotto 488MGRC3 head, but am still not sure of the best solution for stability, light weight and ease of use...

    Best of luck in your quest.

    RR
    Last edited by Regular Rod; 12-11-2013 at 04:33 AM. Click to view previous post history.

  4. #4

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    If I were going to buy a new 8x10, this would be the one;
    http://www.lg4mat.net/LFcamera.html

    2 pounds lighter than the Chamonix.

    View cameras generally don't need to be matched to a specific lens, as long as the lens board and mounting frame is large enough to accommodate the lens's diameter and weight you're good, assuming the bellows can compress or expand for the focal length.
    I agree with the earlier comment though, most of your money should go to the optics, the camera is just a light-tight box.

  5. #5
    Regular Rod's Avatar
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    eBay item number: 221333480845

    $3,400 for complete kit, with lens, film holders etc...!!!

    Looks like a good deal to me.

    RR

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by LJH View Post
    Forget the new camera and get a second hand one. Put the significant $$$ difference ($3200+ compared to, say a used 'Dorff for $1200) into glass and/or film. Both of these will result in better images than any new wooden box.

    Possibly the most important thing that you can learn about LF is, unlike digital, the camera makes (relatively) very little difference...


    I would say that really, even what digital camera you use anymore makes little difference. The camera is the least important thing about photography. I agree about buying a used one. No point in buying a new one since there is a great selection popping up on ebay as well as here.


    Kent in SD

  7. #7

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    The first things you do with a view camera are:
    (1) get confused by the elaborate workflow and spend some time sorting it out;
    (2) get the hang of developing sheet film;
    (3) stare in amazement at the results.

    You can do all those with any old camera/lens combination. As others have pointed out, the camera makes relatively little difference as long as it keeps the dark in; and you're going to end up buying a whole bunch of lenses anyway, so don't sweat the initial choices too much.

    I'm not sure if this happens to everyone, but in moving to larger formats I discovered that my preferences are *very* different than they were in smaller ones. I don't get much use out of wide lenses in 35mm or MF; in 8x10 I virtually never use anything longer than wide-normal. I compose differently in large format, pick different subjects, and so on. So I'm glad I didn't sink a bunch of money up front into the toolbox I thought I wanted.

    With all that in mind, I'd say you should get an adequate field camera that doesn't break the bank, a couple of cheap lenses of different lengths, start fooling around with them, and see what happens from there.

    -NT
    Nathan Tenny
    San Diego, CA, USA

    The lady of the house has to be a pretty swell sort of person to put up with the annoyance of a photographer.
    -The Little Technical Library, _Developing, Printing, And Enlarging_

  8. #8

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    From post #1,

    I am looking at Rodenstock Sinonar-S 210mm or the Nikkor W-210mm.
    These are 5” x 7” format lenses. They can’t fully cover the diagonal of an 8” x 10” film. You need to check the diameter of the infinity-focus image circle of any lens you might choose and verify that it is large enough to properly cover the diagonal of your film size.

  9. #9
    Regular Rod's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ian C View Post
    From post #1,



    These are 5” x 7” format lenses. They can’t fully cover the diagonal of an 8” x 10” film. You need to check the diameter of the infinity-focus image circle of any lens you might choose and verify that it is large enough to properly cover the diagonal of your film size.
    A very important point. The focal length of 210mm is very useful for landscape work but make sure that you choose a lens for 8x10...

    RR

  10. #10

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    I've got a Fujinon 250mm f/6.7 lens I paid less than $300.00 for used and the lens has an image circle of 398. It's similar to a 35mm lens on a 35mm camera. There are 240mm lenses out there with plenty of coverage too. I know Fuji did make a 210mm that covers 8x10 but it doesn't give you a whole lot of wiggle room if that's important to you.

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