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  1. #1
    thicktheo's Avatar
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    Which (cheap) 4x5 monorail to get? (portrait use)

    Hello all,

    I don't like to create new threads for subjects that have been discussed extensively, but I am really confused about the monorail 4x5 cameras - there are many different manufacturers, a lot of models around, new stuff that's great but also older cameras that are still highly usable - it's disorienting - I look at Cambos, then Calumets, then Linhofs, then View Graphics, then Toyos, the list is endless.

    What I want is a monorail camera for portrait use. I don't think I'll be using it in the field a lot, so I don't really care about its weight. Here's what I want:

    a) I want a graflok (international) back, rotating, if possible.
    b) I want tilt and swing, I don't really care about rise, fall and shift.
    c) I want it cheap (less than 200$/200€).
    d) I want it pretty.
    e) I want it available - better buy it soon than spend months looking for it.

    Currently I own an Anniversary Speed Graphic - it would be nice to be able to use the Graphic's lenses on the monorail but it's not really an issue since I mostly own barrel lenses (and obviously the monorail won't have a FP shutter).

    I am looking into a Linhof Color 4x5 which looks pretty but I don't know about its size/weight/graflok/ease of usability.

    So, do you have any recommendations?

  2. #2
    Rick A's Avatar
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    I have a Calumet CC-400 that I acquired for very cheap. These are decent quality, and nearly indestructable, and have almost all the movements of more modern monorails. They have rotating backs, and take almost all modern accessories. There are a couple of them for sale on LFPF, for under $200, and usually can be found on evilbay for around a hundred bucks.
    Rick A
    Argentum aevum

  3. #3
    Jesper's Avatar
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    Cambos are cheap and plentiful. I paid $150 for for one including a Symmar 150/5,6 and four holders.
    Rotating back etc.

  4. #4
    thicktheo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ralnphot View Post
    I have a Calumet CC-400 that I acquired for very cheap. These are decent quality, and nearly indestructable, and have almost all the movements of more modern monorails. They have rotating backs, and take almost all modern accessories. There are a couple of them for sale on LFPF, for under $200, and usually can be found on evilbay for around a hundred bucks.
    Does the CC-400 have a graflok back?



    Quote Originally Posted by Jesper View Post
    Cambos are cheap and plentiful. I paid $150 for for one including a Symmar 150/5,6 and four holders.
    Rotating back etc.
    Yeah, but which model?

  5. #5
    2F/2F's Avatar
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    Well, the "pretty" specification () really narrows it down to an older Linhof, Norma, or Graphic View, IMHO. I see beauty in most cameras (I do really like the no-nonsense-looking clean styling of SINAR Fs and Ps.), but no monorail approaches a Linhof in that department for me, except for the Norma and GV.

    While you may luck out and find a lower-end Linhof for 200 Euros, I don't think you'd have much of a shootable kit until you spent probably twice as much on a lens, holders, etc.

    If getting a GV, make sure it has a Graflok. Version Is did not come with them, and neither did early version IIs (though either may have been retrofitted with one after manufacture). Also, make sure it has the combined rail clamp/tripod head, or it is unusable without fabricating a rail clamp of some sort.

    I think that the GV II with a Graflok is your best bet to match all of your criteria.

    Linhof:

    http://www.magnachrom.com/images/LinhofBiKardan.300.jpg

    SINAR Norma:

    http://sinarp2.at.infoseek.co.jp/ima...rma-4x5-2.jpeg

    GV I and II:

    http://graflex.org/articles/graphic-...aphicView.html
    Last edited by 2F/2F; 08-23-2010 at 07:57 AM. Click to view previous post history.
    2F/2F

    "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."

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  6. #6
    thicktheo's Avatar
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    So... you would say this Linhof Color 4x5 is a good deal (performance-wise)? Because looks are nice but I need the performance too.

  7. #7

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    http://cgi.ebay.de/Linhof-Kardan-Standard-/370423416251 for example. A little nice basic Linhof. Looks elegant, has all the movements and is lightweight. The only serious downpoint would be bellows, which are glued to the standards, so changing involves a bit work.

  8. #8
    2F/2F's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by thicktheo View Post
    So... you would say this Linhof Color 4x5 is a good deal (performance-wise)? Because looks are nice but I need the performance too.
    Maybe...but that really is one of the VERY UGLY ones!

    ...but seriously, those Technika-style rear movements are not the most smooth or precise to use. I am also not sure if that camera has front swing. If you can get it cheaper, though, it may be a good buy and be something that will suit your purposes just fine. Remember that you need to get a lens, board, and holders on top of the camera.
    Last edited by 2F/2F; 08-23-2010 at 08:10 AM. Click to view previous post history.
    2F/2F

    "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)

  9. #9
    Jesper's Avatar
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    Which model you asked.

    One of these but an older model with aluminiun surface instead of black.
    http://cgi.ebay.de/Cambo-4x5-Fachkam...ubeh%C3%B6r_PM
    I might have been lucky, and I was buying a Focomat V from the seller when he asked if I would be interested in this camera also.
    They are however quite common and not very expensive. You can find bag bellows etc without too much effort.

    If you don't want to spend too much they can be an alternative.
    Last edited by Jesper; 08-23-2010 at 08:06 AM. Click to view previous post history. Reason: forgot the link

  10. #10
    M.A.Longmore's Avatar
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    The Omega (Toyo) 45F !
    Has everything you want, except that it's,
    Not the prettiest of cameras visually, but the price is attractive.
    And the bellows, can be replaced by a bag for wide work


    Ron

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