I own an Arca-Swiss 4x5 field system. Great Camera.
I own a KB Canham 8x10 lightweight wood field system. Great Camera.
Also look the Ebony line of cameras.
Jeff at Badger Graphics (http://www.badgergraphic.com/) can be very helpful. He takes the personal time for his customers.
Art, I was thinking about your question as I drove to work. Since it was not all that long ago when I asked a similar question about 8x10 I have a few reflections on the process of choosing a LF camera.
I think one of the biggest changes when moving to LF was that of mind-set. As a 35mm user I was used to paying close attention to many details of camera construction and operation that just don't apply to LF, or at least not in the same way. Begin the most basic issue; in 35mm what lenses are available for your brand of camera is probably the most important issue. In LF any LF lens that will cover your format is yours to use. Think of how that frees you! The more you think about it the more 35mm details you will find that don't impact LF. Metering, shutter, film advance etc. just don't depend on what LF camera you have.
Outside of movements and any portability issues you might have a LF camera is basicly an expanding and contracting box.
So the best advice I received was to spend my money where it most matters, on lenses.
[SIZE=1]I want everything Galli has!
[SIZE=1]I want to make images like Gandolfi!
Thanks! His website so far is the best one to do a quick comparative analysis.
Originally Posted by Pinholemaster
Originally Posted by laz
This is sage advice! I agree. I haven't forgotten about lenses, and for those that know me, I will NOT scrimp there.
Yeah, you know it's like when I bought my first medium format - my yellow Hassey - I mean it's a metal box! A very expensive one at that! Completely different than 35 SLRs with all the fancy gizmos attached to it.
So I guess what I am looking for is a LF camera that is:
1. Portable first, but can be used in studio. This means small and compact when 'collapsed' and relatively light.
2. Durable. So I think metal will be the material of choice here.
3. Has all the movements I could want. I know there are specific names for each of them. I'll try to list them in my novice terms:
4. Easy to switch from 4x5 to 5x4.
- Front tilt (face swivels around centre line parallel to bottom edge)
- Front lift (up and down)
- Front lateral (side to side)
- Front swivel (face swivels around centre parallel to side edge)
- Front linear (forward and backwards)
- Rear tilt
- Rear lift
- Rear lateral
- Rear swivel
- Rear linear
5. I assume all cameras will accept all the shutters and lenses designed for them by Schneider, Rodenstock, Nikon, etc....
6. I think I'll pass up on the roll film capability for now. If the camera can accept the 'standard' backs like the Kodak Ready loaders and also my Polaroid 545i back.
7. Has to look appealing to me <--Let me worry about this one!
Last edited by gr82bart; 10-24-2005 at 04:28 PM. Click to view previous post history.
Translation from "gr82bart-speak" to English:
lift=rise and fall
For most purposes, any LF camera will accept any lens, as long as it is physically not too large for the lensboard or the front standard, and as long as it covers the format. With ultrawide lenses, a recessed lensboard or bag bellows may be necessary to focus to infinity, and at the long end you'll be limited by the maximum bellows extension of the camera (plus any extension lensboards, etc., that you may use).
Most modern cameras have a Graflok/international back that can take rollfilm holders (probably all the ones in the price range your looking at should have one), and there are rollfilm holders that can slip under the groundglass as well.
A reversible back that unlocks and remounts to go from horizontal to vertical is usually lighter in weight than a revolving back like the Linhof Technika has. Most cameras have one or the other, with a few exceptions like the ultralight Gowland.
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Oh, and "looks appealing to me"--Do a google search for "Carbon Infinity." You know you want one.
Instead of trying to find the perfect compromise why not go with two cameras. Something for the studio and something for hauling around. With some planning you'll be able to use the same lenses on both. A used big studio camera won't cost much today.
Also why not consider the Canham 5x7 with the 4x5 back. A little more money but I think that's the only drawback.
I have the Canham DLC (the metal one). I have never found it limiting for anything that I have wanted to do. I usually run out of lens coverage before I run out of movements.
I have never had a problem with it so I don't know how the service is, but I have heard that it is very good.
The camera itself is quick to set up and pretty light weight so you don't need to have a massive heavy tripod to use it.
Overall it is a great camera.
Art, If you seriously want to go mountaineering with the thing, I guess you're talking about the Canham DLC 4X5 or, a wood field camera (which you seem to have ruled out). The Arca and the Sinar are portable and can be easily carried that proverbial 100 feet from the car (in a small suitcase) but, of the three serious contenders mentioned so far, only the Canham DLC is likely to be considered packable.
Well, that said, I have to say that if I were in your position, I'd buy the MPP technical field camera offered in the APUG classifieds by one of our members....but, don't do that because, I'm trying desperately to scrounge together the $295 to buy it myself.
Not to jinx Brad, but that MPP for $295 is a really good deal