45 view camera selection and ToKo users.
I mostly use a 57 Deardorff, but sometimes I like a smaller/lighter view camera. For this I have 2 different 4x5s, a metal Canham and a wooden Toko (yes, Toko with a K, about 15 years old, never a popular brand). I've been thinking of getting rid of one or both of the 45s. I don't need two. The Canham is okay, but it is a bit of a puzzle to open and set up. It is really more camera than I need. The Toko is pretty close to what I want, but it too has a few features I don't need and it suffers flimziness for these.
I like rise, fall, tilt, and swing in the front, and tilt, swing in the back. I like the front as well as the back to focus so that close up work is easier. I like to be able to use lenses from 58mm to 300mm and maybe some day I'll get that 47xl. I like the light weight of the Toko. It is probably 3 pounds. If I wanted a 6 pound camera I'd use the Deardorff (7 lbs?). It has 14" of bellows and focuses front and rear.
So the question is should I sell one, both, or none of these cameras and buy what? I looked over the View Camera Mag list of view cameras and I didn't see anything better than what I have. My most recent thought would be to modify the Toko to firm it up a bit, removing the rear shift, etc.
Am I asking too much? Is anybody else using this camera? Have you modified it?
When you say you've looked over VC's list and haven't found anything better than what you have, I think you just answered your own question.
My favorite 4x5's:
1) Wista XP technical camera - well made and extremely rigid metal camera. I imagine the Linhoff would be superior, but the Wista really gives you a lot for well under half the price. I think the Wista had a drop bed for wide-angle.
2) Canham WOODEN 4x5 (really a 5x7) - great movements and very rigid for a wooden field camera. I love using this camera. The rear slides way forward for wide-angle lenses.
You might be right. That's kinda how I felt as I typed that out. It's good to check and I wondered if other ToKo users had some miracle fix or even if there were other ToKo users. I like the Canham, but as you mention it is a heavy duty 45 (57). It might be better than the Deardorff I have, but I cherish my Dear Dorff for sentimental reasons and it is a very good camera.
I have a Toko that has served me well. The Toko pedigree is somewhat obscure, and while Wista does not claim it as one of theirs (I called them), it strongly resembles the Wista DX. I also do not use all of the movements, and there are plenty, but that fact shouldn't disturb you except that the rear movements on the camera are responsible for the "flimsiness" you mention. One movement it lacks which the Canham should have is front axis tilt. I certainly do not like re-focusing after front tilt adjustment.
I've used extra care with mine, and it's held up well except for the thin bellows. I became quite frustrated with my exposures until I realized I had pinhole leaks in the bellows corners. Other than that I've been quite pleased.
By the way, I've looked at the Canhams online and I'd love to have one.