Question or Opinion?
Greetings, as I have said so many times before, "it doesn't take much to confuse me". I have several 4x5 view/camera/boxes that simply do not have the movements to really give me the control I feel I need. I am familiar with Deardorff, Ansco, Kodak, B&J, Korona etc. 8x10 movements,
swings, tilts, shifts etc. Nothing I own in wooden cameras smaller than 5x7 satisfy my feeling of need for more movement. I have Arca Swiss, Wista,
and Graphic View cameras that do everything I ask for in the movement department. However my personality and the monorail wonders don't seem to get on so well. I am much happier playing with wooden antiques and ancient optics than their modern counterparts.
Now here is the point of my post: I see daily 4x5 boxes, Wisner, Zone VI,
Ebony and Japanese units, going for $500.00 to well over a grand. A 4x5/5x7
Deardorff in pretty used condition commands $500.00 up. My question is a well used Deardorff worth what they are asking/getting, or would it be a better decision to go with a newer Zone VI or perhaps a ShenHo or what ever? Are their movements limited, or can they be considered full on these cameras?
I frankly love Deardorff, but do not own one at the present and would really
like to fill that void. But the nagging thoughts of restoring yet another old box that has been ridden hard and put away wet, kind of turns me off.
Truly, the last thing in the World I need is another sheet film box, I am on a limited budget/income so I really don't have gobs of disposable income to spend a grand on an item that I will have to "mother".
Any one want to share some thoughts or opinions, they most likely will confuse me more, but do others feel the way I do on the going rates
and value of some of these fine old (at times, beat up) names. Will a used
5x Deardorff have equal movements with the monorails? Questions, Questions.................................
Charles, I don't know if it will help to eliminate one camer: the Century One 8x10. I find it has limited movements but the worst characteristics are its fragility, the small front lens board and it is too light for field work. For me, anyway.
This is the Century 1: http://babyurl.com/yuAFy1
(That one is not in tiptop shape)
I would certainly consider the Shen Hao - I have a Shen Hao 4x5, and you can out-move the image circle of just about any lens available. You can twist the thing into a pretzel - front/rear rise,fall,tilt, and swing, and rear shift. They're amazingly versatile, and inexpensive. When I go to China (someday), I'll swing by the Shen Hao factory and look into one of their 8x10s, or perhaps one of the odd-size cameras, like a 5x12 or an 8x20. If you want something that will give you that "old-time" feel, but be sturdy, reliable and full-featured, they're worth looking into.
Of course, I strongly recommend getting your hands on whatever you THINK you want and try it out in advance. You might hate the Shen Hao after using it, but love a Deardorff, or find that you prefer a Canham.
The Deardorff 5x7 isn't really much larger than the 4x5s you mention. I can't imagine needing all the movements it has and presume it is close to the monorails I've used, but then again, I'm not you. What sort of extreme movements are you looking for? What are you shooting that would require them?
Personally, I'd go with the 'dorff. Oh wait. I already did.
Are you aware that Deardorffs are back in production? Check mpex.com
I don't know what your requirments are, but I have a 5X7 Shen-Hao and I have never found a need for greater movments that it offers. It has:
Originally Posted by Charles Webb
1. Very extensive shift, swing, tilt, and rise and fall on the front, and
2. Very extensive tilt and rise on the back, and more than adequate shift.
And about 600mm of bellows draw.
Heavy but very sturdy.
If you need more movements better try a monorail.
Sponsored Ad. (Subscribers to APUG have the option to remove this ad.)
It's hard to go wrong with a Deardorff. I have a friend who has two Deardorff Specials, which are really 5x7" cameras set up for 4x5".
The Shen-Hao is probably the most camera you can find for the money in a wooden field camera. There are a few folks here who have them. It would be hard to find another camera with as much flexibility in terms of movements, interchangeable bellows, and Graflok back for twice the cost of a Shen-Hao.
The things to watch for on an old Deardorff are:
1. Worn hardware. Are the tracks worn out? If so, they need to be replaced.
2. Has somebody tried to fix it ? The camera is made with 1920 technology, and so assembly is critical. Like a Leica. But too many folks see wood, think they can fix it, and they kill it. If the screws are not set, it needs to be fixed. The worst thing in the world is to buy a camera whose previous owner had a slow day and took it apart.
3. The camera is going cheap. Why isn't it going for $1500 or more ? If it is in good working order, it should. The exception is the earlier versions without front swings. This would be a great value.
As for movements, unless you are using really long lenses, A Deardorff will do all you need to do. Instead of asking whether a Deardorff has all the movements of a monorail camera, ask if it has all the movements you need. Probably, yes. Surely for knocking around Colorado, a Deardorff is a great choice. You can use it with gloves on, for one thing. With an extension of 2 1/2 inches to 24", you can do a lot with it.
The tricky part of buying a Deardorff today is that they are hard to find.
IMHO, Canhams are great, Zone VI are very good, Wisners can be great.
Wista is good, but much more limited. Will you be using a 90 Angulon and a 10" Ektar ? A Wista could work fine, but they are expensive for what you get. And compared to a Deardorff, fragile.
A good Agfa/Ansco/Kodak 5x7 with 4x5 back could do very well for you.
Good luck, and happy hunting.
"This suspense is terrible. I hope it will last."
Charles-I own a 5x7 Deardorf and paid dearly for it about 10 years ago (pre ebay) I also own the ZoneVI wista and a 4x5 rail camera. I can do almost everything I want with short bellows(12 inches) of the wista and it has never let me down. Deardorf 's are-well they are Deardorfs-mine is probably over 50 years old and with the new bellows I put on it does it all. They are the energizer bunny of view camera world. My wista was bought new in the late 70's from Fred Picker and it too has only required a bellows replacement. Now if I was starting out a Shen-hao IS a buy-but is it THE one to buy?. have you ever seen the Walker camera-I understand one can run it through the dishwasher! We will all have to come back here in another 20 years to compare notes and see which camera has held up. The dorf and the wista have already earned their stripes. I still own my original 5x7 camera-a Kodak 33 that I paid $100 for. Took many fine pictures but eventually became too limiting in movements.
As long as you don't keep switching formats buy the best you can afford. Buy one or two quality lenses with good shutters or a quality convertible for convenience. You will always get your money back for the good stuff too.
They are all a box in the end-now which one do you want INVEST in?
Regards, Peter Schrager
Charles-you could do what I tried last year. Simply dumped all/any of the excess cameras and lenses that weren't being used. Started to clarify all the decisions on which camera and lens to use. Two cameras-three lenses each. Get back to making honest images. Less equals more. EW had one $5 lens.
I'll put im a vote for eliminating everything and going with a shen Hao. My only complaint is even though there is plenty of movements the movements are kind of more work than nessasary. I don't know anything about any of the other cameras you specified but there is a horseman non wooden series that one knob per geared movement. Very nice but heavy. A little expensive also but with open eyes I'm sure there is a deal somewhere out there. Both cameras work really well.
Stop trying to get into my mind, There is nothing there!