get the 5x7/ 13x18.
for some reason - everything looks nice in that format
Thanks for all the help - some very useful information.
Ole - those Hungarian cameras look very reasonably priced.
Roger - I will look out for the Kodak half plate.
Originally Posted by Matt5791
They're quite big & heavy, though not disastrously so, and may or may not come with the detachable extension rail which gives an inordinate amount of bellows extension. The grey-green finish is also remarkably ugly in some people's eyes, which may be one reason they're cheap. I have however seen complete outfits -- camera, one or more lenses, and a few holders -- for under £200 on a couple of occasions, and cameral alone often go for under £200.
Some are very worn and a bit flexible, but a half-decent one is very rigid and all have good movements. Like most people I started with 4x5 (a Dawe) and have owned and still own several more 4x5 cameras including Linhof Technikardan and Toho (good for travel). I never shoot B+W sheet film in any of them any more, though I do use them with roll-film holders or transparency film (which is prohibitive in larger formats).
Quite honestly, and at the risk of offending Speed Graphic devotees, I wouldn't touch one except for hand-held photography: far too limited, and still with that miserable little 4x5 inch format. In the UK, in any case, an MPP Micro-Technical is a far better buy (and a better camera as well). You might want to look at the MPP Users website; Google MPP and you'll find it. A want ad in their excellent journal, The Gaz (short for Gazette) will probably net you a Kodak Specialist as well.
I like Roger's suggestion if you're after a 5x4", what with you being in the UK.
I have an MPP Micro Technical camera. It's a MK VII, with coupled rangefinder and 150mm lens. It's nice to use, not too heavy, should have enough movements for landscape (it also has back movements) and can be used handheld too.
I bought it a about a year ago from the UK while I was living in NL. Now back in NZ I had a chance to try it out for the first time last weekend.
(click to enlarge)
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I finally got down to ordering my 5x7/13x18 Argentum. Results of that decision will be reported within four to eight weeks (estimated build time for the camera).
I have to say I liked my Speed Graphic, very sturdy, dependable and it folded down nicely. As has been said, the MPPs would be your equivalent in the UK. But think of these things first:
As you already have an enlarger that can take 5x7 (lucky you!), think a bit about what format you like: 4x5 is slightly squarish, while 5x7 has the same aspect ratio as 35 mm.
If you are interested in 5x7, I think it's better to do that, rather than skimping and going 4x5 and finding out it's less than you wanted.
“Do your work, then step back. The only path to serenity.” - Lao Tzu
I would also recommend a press camera such as a Speed or CrownGraphic.
For the price it will give you a good feel for a larger format and all that it entails. These cameras usually can be found on Ebay in the $150-$250 range with a very useable lens such as an Ektar 127mm or Optar 135mm. The fold up into a pretty small package and like others have said, for general subjects the movements are sufficient. If you get the LF bug and want to move up to 5x7, you will be able to sell the Graphic for what you paid for it, give or take a few pounds.
You may also need a more sturdy tripod depending on what you are using at the moment.
"Fundamentally I think we need to rediscover a non-ironic world"
This is what I like - the aspect ratio - While I like the square format of my Hasselblad, I think that 5x7 would be more appropiate for the sort of stuff I am likely to shoot - landscapes. It will just give me more negative to play with if I still want to crop.
Originally Posted by Jerevan
I got my DeVere 507 off one of the guys who works at my local pro lab recently, for £200, with three Rodenstock lenses too (50mm, 80mm, 150mm) - I rekined this was a pretty good buy? Now I have some more time on my hands (after the wedding season and the production line my darkroom is at that time) hopefully I will get time to set it up in the next few days!
Thanks again for the help.
Originally Posted by Soeren
There's one on UK fleaBay at the moment, complete with rear extension rail, 203mm Ektar and a couple of darkslides, all for a BIN of GBP130.
There's also a rather swish looking MPP mkVII finished in red (wow) which might be more suitable for our OP. No idea what it will go for though...
Not so much 'a pretty good buy' as 'a steal'.
Originally Posted by Matt5791
Of course 5x7 is not as long and thin as 35mm and is therefore a prettier shape: 1:1.3 to 1:4 strikes me as close to an 'ideal format'.