Wow, thanks for all the info and the links.
werra, I don't really care for bag bellows and changing the original bellows - I mainly do portraits and it's highly improbable that I'll be doing landscapes and other themes that require wide-angle lenses. That Linhof Kardan is really nicely-priced - the main difference from that Linhof Color is that the Linhof Color also has the monocular prism (or what's it called), which I'm not really sure if it's a must-have or not.
2F/2F, yeah I know about the rest of the stuff - I've got various holders for the Speed Graphic, I'll only need a decent lens (but I tend to be experimental, so I could easily test out my barrel lenses with the remove-cap-and-put-it-back-as-fast-as-possible method).
For me it's something like an introduction to monorail cameras - I need a nice budget camera to see how it all works out, and who knows, maybe in the future I'll check out the advanced models.
if you can get away from having tilt / swing
you might look into one of the best portrait cameras
... it ISN"T a monorail ... a graflex super D.
it can use some longish lenses and some widish lenses
and is made for portraits.
they look elegant ( chrome and black )
have a graflock back, are perfectly weighted for hand held work, might fit your cost criteria
and you will be able to use shuttered or barrel lenses without a problem.
there is less fussing around with a graflex slr, you put your film in, focus and shoot.
the super d's take all modern film holders, so you aren't shackled to old hard to find things ...
i used a gvII for years and it had a graflock back, they can still be bought inexpensively
and are worth the money. they can handle a wide variety of lenses ( bellows can't be removed so not toooo wide ) ...
sometimes you can find them in a fiber box so you can carry it around to where
you need to be when i got mine it came with a box fully loaded for 300$ ( 20 years ago ) maybe similar deals can be found today ?
nice website + blog btw !
I can't seem to find any graflex SLRs available (for a normal price and in a good condition). Moreover, I already have the speed graphic, which does wonders with the barrel lenses - I want a full-fledged monorail, with tilts, swings and everything.
Originally Posted by jnanian
I'll look into the Linhof Kardan, it seems nice (and locally - Europe - available).
The graphic views are horrible. I feel sorry for whoever had them as their first mono.
The older cambos, toyos, or linhof kardan's (not the colors) are perfectly adequate.
Go not to the elves for counsel, for they will say both yes and no.
I am glad you feel sorry for me, but there is no need. The thing worked great. I learned everything I know about using a view camera on a GV. Then I got a Speed Graphic to compliment it. I only sold it when I got my SINAR. I regret it now, as the camera was very sentimental, and still perfectly usable. I used to go hiking with it all the time in a standard school backpack. It was a lightweight and capable field camera.
"Truth and love are my law and worship. Form and conscience are my manifestation and guide. Nature and peace are my shelter and companions. Order is my attitude. Beauty and perfection are my attack."
- Rob Tyner (1944 - 1991)
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For sheer value, it is hard to beat a Calumet 400-series. On the other hand, the lensboard is only about the size of a Speed Graphic board, and that is a bit tight for many otherwise suitable portrait lenses. The Cambo lensboard, however, is 6x6 inches, and it is possible to mount an 18" Verito on one if you think the front standard will take it. (Why you might want an 18" lens on a 4x5 camera is another discussion entirely ) It wouldn't be that hard to come up with a Speed Graphic-to-Cambo board adapter (the Calumet-to-Cambo is a factory item) which would let you use your current lens inventory without remounting or buying more than a couple of boards.
For appearance, look for a Cambo Legend; IMHO, the NX series all resemble a pile of black-anodized aluminum kindling, although they work just fine.
Oh, yes---there is a Cambo Graflok back, and you can find monorail extensions, intermediate standards for multiple bellows, binocular viewers, and the like. The very best portrait setup might be a 5x7 Cambo with a 4x5 reducing back as well, but I don't know how available they are. 5x7s seem not to have ever been imported into the US.
Personally I think the oldest green version of the Cambo is the prettiest, and better built than the NX, although the Legend is the most Macho looking.
"There are a great many things I am in doubt about at the moment, and I should consider myself favoured if you would kindly enlighten me. Signed, Doubtful, off to Canada." (BJP 1914).
I've had a Calumet 400 and a Graphic View II. Both are excellent and could do anything I needed them to do.
Both cost me about $100 each.
I still have the Graphic View II
a plug here for the Sinar A1 (aka Alpina I believe) - a very decent entry level monorail - doesn't have the revolving back but it has everything else
I've a spare and if you're interested best send me a pm - if not, then good luck with your search
No revolving back? How do you change, use the head to 90 degrees?