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  1. #1

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    College student in search of 4x5 field

    I'm a college student in middle tennessee studying photography. I'm in a historic processes class and have fallen in love with the 4x5 negitive. (thank goodness we don't have a 8x10 system) I've been checking out and lugging around the one of the cambo view camera's that belongs to the school, but I would really like to move into ownership since it's a 45 minute drive one way and we are only allowed to the camera's for half a day. Not to mention the 20+ pounds of case, knowing I could backpack a flatbed.

    I've read lots of info on the speed graphics, but something about the wood field cameras keeps drawing my attention. I really like the shen-hao 4x5 but I can't find an online store that sells them. It seems to be the most bang for the buck. But that's just from reading reviews, I've never actually used one.

    Ebay is scarce on affordable field 4x5's. Sure, I'd love to buy a wista with three lenses and 50 film holders, but the extra stuff pushes it out of my college budget.

    Does anyone have a used 4x5 field camera for sale or know of a reliable store that sells them online?

  2. #2

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    www.mpex.com

    http://www.badgergraphic.com/search.asp?x=largeformat

    While the Shen Hao might be the best bang for a new camera plenty of older cameras out there. Move up to 5x7 and the Ansco 5x7 isn't very expensive. I think they even made a 4x5 back for it. Won't be that great for wide angle lenses.

    Unless the prices on Speeds have dropped they're expensive IMHO. You can get a B&J press camera that will have more movenments and a fraction of the price. But no graflok back. Still a B&J can often be had for less then $100 including a lens.

  3. #3

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    Also Midwest Photo Exchange, www.mpex.com

    Talk to Jim Andracki, he's the LF guy.

    Steve

  4. #4

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    Hi, I know of an older Linhof Tech 3 that is for sale localy, these are not bad, well built metal cameras. If interested I can find out what the seller wants for it.
    David Boyce

    When bankers get together for dinner, they discuss art. When artists get together for dinner, they discuss money. Oscar Wilde Blog fp4.blogspot.com

  5. #5
    Digidurst's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Hamley
    Also Midwest Photo Exchange, www.mpex.com

    Talk to Jim Andracki, he's the LF guy.

    Steve
    At the risk of great alienation, I would advise you NOT to buy a Shen-Hao from Midwest. I had lots of problems with two of the 4x5's Jim sent me. One of them wasn't a Shen-Hao at all, but something called a Sun Photo. Now to Jim's credit, he did go above and beyond to make me happy. I wound up buying a Shen-Hao from Badger and the difference was like night and day. I finally got a Shen that lived up to all the great things people say about them.

  6. #6
    Will S's Avatar
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    Be sure and check out largeformatphotography.info

    I think you would be happy with a speed graphic and an older lightweight lens. I know I am. See: www.graflex.org and http://www.hevanet.com/cperez/kit.html for examples.

    I wound up with a Meridian 45B, but I was looking at a camera with a focal plane shutter (that worked) so that I could use barrel lenses since they are cheap (but work well).

    Get a polaroid #500 back (cheap and works - see http://www.rwhirled.com/landlist/landfaq.htm#6.1 The type 55 film is expensive, but will teach you a lot. Or use the kind without the negative (type 57 I think, but it's stil expensive.)

    The B&J 4x5 is also a nice inexpensive way to go.

    Monorails can be had for a lot less than field cameras right now. Probably because everyone wants a field camera. For lightweight, the Gowland is not that expensive.

    Best of luck,

    Will
    "I am an anarchist." - HCB
    "I wanna be anarchist." - JR

  7. #7

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    Sep 2004
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    I would not recommend that you get a Speed Graphic as your only 4x5. Sure its a good price and all, but it is very different then a normal 4x5. First off... you have barly ANY camera movements, and when you start learning more about LF, those movements are very important. Second, you are limiting yourself on the size lens you can use.

    I see wooden 4x5 cameras on Ebay ALL THE TIME! If you dont have enought money for a decent camera, you should save for a few weeks and invest in abit better camera. There is also LOTS of 4x5 lens on Ebay, so surly get a lens there.

    Here is a cheep 4x5, quite heavy and bulky thought
    http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...526039397&rd=1

    http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...526738024&rd=1

    http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...526004419&rd=1

    Have you looked into building a Bender possible? They are not too expensive...but you have to be a handy man to get a nice camera out of it. I built one, and it came out quite nice.

  8. #8
    MattCarey's Avatar
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    There is a Bender kit-camera on sale on craigslist.org for $50. Hard to beat that (if it is still available).

    Matt

  9. #9

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    Remember that the camera is nothing more than a light tight box with movements. Yep a wood field camera is nice but mine weighs in at a larger amount than my Sinar monorail. If your college budget is like mine it is way small. I suggest a speed or a busch Pressman D (if you are stuck on a foldable) or Check into the Sinar F line (they are real cheap these days). Spend the money on some glass and film.

    You did not mention your price range.
    Technological society has succeeded in multiplying the opportunities for pleasure, but it has great difficulty in generating joy. Pope Paul VI

    So, I think the "greats" were true to their visions, once their visions no longer sucked. Ralph Barker 12/2004

  10. #10

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    what kind of $$ do you have to spend on your camera + lenses &C ?
    as you can see from the responses you are getting, there are lots of different options out there ...

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