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  1. #11
    VaryaV's Avatar
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    Hi Xia - I recently did the same and took the plunge into LF. My first attempts at it with a Crown Graphic 4x5. I have yet to turn out a negative that is even in focus, grrr - but I do love the camera and the slower process of working. Good Luck to you in your pursuits.

  2. #12
    OldBikerPete's Avatar
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    I started with a Crown Graphic becuase I couldn't get a speed graphic at the time. Since then I have read on this forum that the speed graphics are inherently less sharp than the Crowns becuse of the vibration associated with movement of the huge focal plane shutter.
    If ultimate sharpness isn't an issue and you want to play with soft-focus barrel lenses then go the Speed. If you want very sharp landscapes then you would probably prefer the Crown.
    I have traded up to a Wista metal field because it has film plane movements for my landscapes.

  3. #13
    Xia_Ke's Avatar
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    VaryaV, any idea what the sharpness issues are due to?

    Pete, if I go the speed route, the only time I would be using the focal plain shutter would be for older portrait lenses. I've been looking at some of the Wista and Toyo field camera but they just are a little out of reach at this time
    flickr

    "A good photograph is one that makes the viewer so aware of the subject that they are unaware of the print."- Kodak
    "...if you find afterwards that you made a mistake, the price of the film and chemicals was...tuition!" - greybeard
    "The hard part isnít the decisive moment or anything like that Ė itís getting the film on the reel!" - John Szarkowski

  4. #14
    Anscojohn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Xia_Ke View Post
    VaryaV, any idea what the sharpness issues are due to?

    Pete, if I go the speed route, the only time I would be using the focal plain shutter would be for older portrait lenses. I've been looking at some of the Wista and Toyo field camera but they just are a little out of reach at this time
    ******
    You should always be able to get your $ out of whatever you start with. With a speed you probably would not be using the focal plane shutter much anyway--rather the leaf shutter in your lens. Don't be scared off by any "unsharpness" issues using the FP. With a proper tripod all things are possible. The SG is a bit heavier than the Crown. I have both and love them both. And I can pop the lenses off the boards and mount them on my Ansco View Camera if needed. Since you are interested in landscapes to start, try to find a longer lens than often "normal" (127mm) on the 4x5 graphics. A 203 Ektar would be perfect; and it is a smallish lens and would fit your back packing needs better than some.
    John, Mount Vernon, Virginia USA

  5. #15

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    Aaron,

    Here's the kicker. I looked at your published work on Flickr. Not much different than mine. http://www.flickr.com/photos/7482381@N03/

    Here is what I offer. I 5x7 Burke and James Field Camera (Watson) and a 5x7 Studio (Grover) Camera. 5x7 Back, 4x5 back. A couple of lens boards. Backs and lens boards are interchangeable. This way you get the portability of a field camera, and the flexibility of a studio camera.

    275.00 including shipping to Maine. Need cleaning up, bellows are light tight. Not a Deardorff, but then again, not $1000 plus.
    Pmail me if interested.

    tim in san jose
    Last edited by k_jupiter; 01-21-2009 at 11:50 PM. Click to view previous post history.
    Where ever you are, there you be.

  6. #16
    Mark Fisher's Avatar
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    My 2 cents....get a Century or Super Graphic and a modern 135 or 150mm lens. The cameraquest.com web site has some nice info on these and the Linhofs.

  7. #17
    Ian Grant's Avatar
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    The key is the modern lens. Many older lenses just don't have the same edge/corner sharpness unless stopped well down. I discovered this using a 1931 135mm f4.5 Tessar. Also coating makes a huge difference in many lighting situations.

    Tessar type designs don't reach their peak performance until f16 - f22, Doctor Optic, the company who took over Carl Zeiss Jena's LF optics manufacture Kerry stated this clearly in their Tessar data-sheets, KerryThalman/Chris Perez did a series of lens tests that confirm this.

    Some later Tessar designs like Xenar's perform a lot better, but the slower versions perform better than the faster versions. The 150mm Xenar was made as an f3.5, f4.5, f4.7 and the last production run were f5.6.

    More modern designs like Symmar's, Sironar's, Planar's and various Japanese equivalents all perform well at most apertures. I should add that a lens that performs well at all apertures is far more important with hand-held work where it's often not possible to stop the lens down sufficiently.

    Ian
    Last edited by Ian Grant; 01-22-2009 at 05:59 AM. Click to view previous post history. Reason: add

  8. #18
    VaryaV's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Xia_Ke View Post
    VaryaV, any idea what the sharpness issues are due to?
    Xia - some bloke by the name of Weegee used to use his body to focus - I tried that and failed miserably, or maybe I just needed a better cigar....
    In all seriousness...... the sharpness issues are simply "user error." I am used to MF very quick and dirty style of shooting and I need to slow waaaaay down and start using a tripod, like suggested by Christopher. Sooner or later, it will all come together. My number one fault is patience.

    Good luck and let us know how it turns out for you.... I appreciate the tips myself, everyone.

  9. #19
    Xia_Ke's Avatar
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    Thanks again guys

    Thank you Tim and thank you to the others who have pm'd me with set-ups to get me started. I have a line on a Nagaoka field camera which I think will work great for me to start off with.

    Ian, thanks for the info on the lenses. What are your thoughts on the Symmars? I've seen a couple good deals lately and have started shopping around a bit for those. Also, stupid question, can a modern field camera fold up, with lens attached, like you can with the old press cameras?
    flickr

    "A good photograph is one that makes the viewer so aware of the subject that they are unaware of the print."- Kodak
    "...if you find afterwards that you made a mistake, the price of the film and chemicals was...tuition!" - greybeard
    "The hard part isnít the decisive moment or anything like that Ė itís getting the film on the reel!" - John Szarkowski

  10. #20

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    You can find a Tachihara or Wista fairly cheap. I'm picking one up for 265 with a lens and film holders. Join the forums at largeformatphotography.info. The classifieds there always have great stuff. Look into a Busch Pressman as well. More movements and a bit nicer than any of the Graflex's. They have revolving backs and some real nice features for a press camera.

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