Horseman VH-R or Linhof Technika IV or probably others ?
I used to work in 35mm intensively, about a year ago ventured into MF (6x7) which was quite an exciting experience by itself.
Recently I was pointed to the availability of folding cameras that capable of MF
(6x7, 6x9 and 6x12) as well as 4x5, two of which I've got recommended are Horseman VH-R and Linhof Technika IV both of this are also capable of rangefinder focusing. I realize these cameras are quite within reasonable price range, perhaps except top of the line lenses though.
Since I don't do my own home-based film processing and printing, I'll stick with rollfilm formats such as from 6x7 to 6x12 (if this cameras can handle such), though mostly 6x9 (because 6x7 is pretty much covered by my MF SLR) or sometimes 6x7 where will benefit from movements.
So far I have no a clue about LF specialities, such as to estimate what kind of movements do I need and what ranges of these are necessary for most common work. I'll mostly do landscapes, occasionally environmental portraiture, but some specific fields such as Macro, studio are out of my interest.
I've read somewhere about certain limitation in movements imposed by some lenses attached to these cameras, but didn't quite understood how serious these are. Also, I'm still uncertain how to estimate focal lengthes of LF lenses to cover 6x9 and 6x12 relatively to 35mm or MF 6x7 format.
(I.e. what is "normal" focal length in LF to cover 6x9 ? (in 6x7 it would be around 100mm, for instce)), what would be an equivalent in LF to cover a viewing angle of 28mm in 35mm format ? What focal length in LF I need to obtain 100mm equivalent in 35mm format ?
People are talking about different shutter types, lens boards (regular and recessed) etc...where can I read about these ?
Which kind of movements and in which ranges do I need for perspective control (archiecture) and for DOF control ? When front movements are applicable and when back movements are preferrable ?
Perhaps someone could direct me to a good readings that will provide me with an initial understanding of the things in LF and LF folding cameras applications for, say, 6x9 rollfilm format ?
Thanks in advance, Alex
Get "View camera technique" by Stroebel - readily available at amazon.com - it seems to be a very good book that will answer most of your questions.
To give you one answer for starters: 105mm is generally used as a standard lens for 6x9 negs, although they don't all give you the movements you'd need. Some LF lens specs can be found
here at f32. If they cover 9x12 cm with movements, you can probably shoot 6x9 and 6x12 with them safely - but mind you, this is a crude thumb rule!
But be careful, before you know it you'll have caught the LF virus, creating an inexplicable craving for even larger negatives, even though you rationally can explain why you can't possibly do/afford that.
Stroebel is a good book that covers many LF topics in depth. If you find it too technical, you might look at Steve Simmons' _View Camera Technique_, which is mainly aimed at people starting out in LF. Also, look at lfphoto.info, for many useful articles on starting out in LF.
The Stroebel book is good, also the Kodak large-format guide. Camera movements are a big subject BUT as a quick guide, for landscape you will need (ideally) tilt back so that you can position the camera back exactly vertically for correct rendition of vertical objects like fence posts, avenues of trees, etc., plus front tilt (forward tilt) to maximise available depth of field. With front tilt you can get front-to-back sharpness at full aperture and then stop down to your lens's best performance aperture (usually f16), without tilt you might have to go to f32 or f45.
Originally Posted by Alexz
The classic movement for architecture is rising front so that you can set the camera level and raise the lens to include the top of a building in your picture and exclude excess foreground. Since you will almost always be using wide-angle lenses for architecture, rising front is often the only movement you will need, accordingly there are cameras like Silvestri which have only shift movements. Front and back tilt and swing movements have largely the same effect, front tilt/swing does not distort the image but too much of it will go beyond the coverage of your lens. Rear tilt/swing will never take you out of lens coverage but will distort (stretch) the image.
The big question with landscape photography is how much weight you are willing to carry - this will have a major influence on your choice of camera, more than technical performance.
I'll offer a conservative view - while there will always be someone who claims "more movements the better", for what I'll call 'hiking photography', landscapes, you rarely need a lot of movements. What is important out there is a sturdy platform so that it doesn't blow around in the breeze, but reasonably light at the same time.
The Linhof Technka is no lightweight - all that steel - but it is robust, and has adequate movements for landscape work. If you stick to one lens that fits when it is folded, it makes a very nice package. Highly recommended.
If you desire to use a LF rangefinder and a rollfilm back, I would recommend a 6x12 back, otherwise the virtues of that large camera are lost; you may as well use a MF 6x* and travel even lighter.
Finally, if you want a rangefinder LF, do not need any movements, and will shoot sheet film (get a folding changing bag and leave some holders home), then you can get something stone simple like this camera shown below (shown without rangefinder). It is just a 4x5 box with focus, made of alloy and weights next to nothing. Toss it in a plastic bag and hang it on your daypack and be happy.
(FWIW I am in the process of recreating the manual with new illustrations on how to tune the Kalart range finder for any lens. A sample picture of the guts of the finder are here: http://elearning.winona.edu/jjs/rf/rf2.jpg and http://elearning.winona.edu/jjs/rf/rf1.jpg)
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A good way to get started without getting over your head is to find a nice 4x5 Pacemaker Crown Graphic with a top mounted rangefinder with a 127-135 standard "press" lens. Add a Graflex lever wind 6x9 120 roll fim back. Look for a nice clean set from a real photographer - someone who has used the camera and promises to have the rangefinder properly set up. Even if you find a near mint one, you won't pay more than $3-400.
This camera will teach you everything you need to know, and it is bulletproof and capable of just as good results as the more expensive cameras. See www.graflex.org for more detail.
The Horseman is a nice system but it may be hard to find all the parts you need unless you buy a complete system. The Linhof is the top of the line, even the older models are excellent, but it may be overkill. Better to cut your teeth on a Graphic and then approach your ultimate system with some experience.
For that matter, there are many people here who put modern lenses on their Graphics and get results that are exactly as good as any megabuck system out there. They made good stuff in Rochester!
Thank you all, guys. Have yet to swallow LF basics prior to realizing what I want exactly, what I need to achieve that and whether I'm realistic enough when it comes to processing the results.
In fact, I do not do B&W, has never done manual B&W processing (shame on me, I know), hence the processing will be headed to the lab. I used to process my originals by high res. scanning and photoshopping preparing for print, very rarely do direct printing from the originals. I learnt by hard way how expensive can be high-end scanning of 6x7 originals, or 6x9, let alone 4x5 and larger. I just wander how you guys proceed with that (I assume many of APUG LF fellows shoot color stuff/transparancies which are hardly home processed). I doubt many of us can afford to own something like Imacon scanners to allow at least 4x5 high-end scanning (to obtain ample material for high-grade pronting), so what is the most common approach of experienced LF shooters who do color stuff ?
This is the reason I think I would have to restrain from going larger then 6x9 (probably ocasionally getting interest in 6x12 panoramics) just to stay within rollfilm area.
The reason I'm getting "infected" by LF virus is rather obtain movements while kepping 6x7 format would be fine for me just like I used to with my MF. In fact, ideally I would be dreaming to have an 6x7 MF featured by LF-like movements. Since there is no such thing (or at least not taht I'm aware about), I guess the only way is to approach 4x5 LF and use rollfilm backs. This is the reason I asked about Linhof Technika 23 or Horseman VH-R.
Lately I even looked at Chen-Hao 4x5 field camera that reproteadly can be used with rollfilm back for 6x9 (perhaps even 6x7 ?), still didn't realize how handfull it is in reality for hiking (at reasonable distances, nothing extreem though).
What are other hand-lugging manageable field cameras out there that allow rollfilm backs for 6x7, 6x9 (and occasionally 6x12) formats ?
If you want to stay with roll film, Linhof makes a 6x9 version of their Technika that would probably be perfect for you. It's smaller & lighter than their 4x5 model which can get fairly heavy!
Also, are you planning on using the rangefinder to focus the camera? If you're not planning on using the rf, (and when using movements, you really can't use the rf) and plan more on using the camera tripod mounted, and composing/focusing via the ground glass, Linhof makes a small view camera (I forget the model number off hand, possibly their 679?) that's designed for use with medium format digital backs, but also works with 6x7 and I believe 6x9 film backs as well.
Now that I've said that, there is really no reason to assume that home processing of color film is something out of reach. Many members here do their own color at home (both E-6 & C-41) and it's not any harder to do 4x5 sheet film than it is to do roll film. So while you can look at the smaller 6x9 cameras, you might be better off looking at the larger 4x5 models, as with them you can still get and use roll film backs to start with, and when the bug to go larger hits you, you'll already have the camera!
As for scanning film, there are many scanners out there that can easily handle 4x5 sheet film, and many of them are not too expensive. Depending on if you want to get a used scanner or new, you will see a wide variety of scanners available that are not expensive. Epson makes a few models that can handle 4x5 (and smaller of course) that I believe new are under $500.00 complete with the scanning attachments (if they're separate). Most of them can do higher than 1000dpi. Here I have an Acer (now BenQ) scanner that can scan transparencies (either positive or negatives) up to 8x10" that I bought factory refurbished from a seller on eBay, and I paid less than $100.00 for it! The scanner I have can do up to 9600dpi scans, but I believe it's true optical limit is closer to either 1200 or 2400dpi.
I guess the bottom line of what I'm trying to say is that there are lots of options, and you shouldn't discount something until you explore all your options. If you live somewhere that has a large camera shop, where you can rent equipment, you might want try and rent a Linhof Technika, both in 4x5" size, and in 6x9cm size to see which one you prefer. Nothing is worse than spending lots of money on new gear, then finding out afterward that you would have preferred a different model!
I am very interested in your Kalart range finder project. Let me know how it goes.
Originally Posted by jjstafford
Everything is analog - even digital :D
You are pretty much confused. A Technica 23 is exactly what the numbers say: a 2x3'' (that is 6x9cm or 6x7cm depending on the rollfilm holder you use) camera, not a 4x5''. It may actually be the thing you're looking for: it is a MEDIUM FORMAT technical camera with a built-in rangefinder facility (which you will never use, otherwise you would have brought your MF SLR with you). You'll not have it smaller and lighter than that.
Originally Posted by Alexz
I suggest NOT to purchase a 4x5'' format camera if you plan to use it constantly reduced at 6x7cm. I do have a Technika IV, by the way. Personally, I repute debates on movements up to 6x7cm useless, as all movements go more far than lenses' coverage.
Whoever told you that Linhof cameras are on a fair price range, however, is not exactly a master of the matter.
I know a chap who does excellent portraits. The chap is a camera.
(Tristan Tzara, 1922)