First 4x5 LF camera...
Ok I decided to get a 4x5 LF camera.
After a ton of reading. I narrowed down to the speed graphics with aero ektar 7" lens or the Toyo 45a/45aii. what do you think? are these good as a first LF camera?
I mostly shoot portraits (fashion and fine art) and landscapes.
I'm just posting because I want to hear what you guys have to say. I'm open to any other suggestions as well.
Both cameras are fine--I have used a Speed Graphic and a Toyo 45a. Personally, I would opt for the Toyo. It will be far more flexible than a Speed Graphic. I would also not bother with an Aero Ektar, especially if you are doing color. But even in B&W, it is not a great lens. (It is also radioactive.) I would go with the Speed G if I were going to hand hold the camera--the Toyo is bigger and heavier.
Cameras are such a personal choice and how you work with them are important. If you have no large format experience, then it is a coin toss. Maybe start with the cheaper of the two and work with it. And there are plenty of other great LF cameras out there--I ended up with a Wista VX Technical camera.
I should mention that I will be doing more BW than color because I can develop it myself at home.
Aero ektar is like the fastest LF lens isn't it? It takes wonderful pictures, why not?
The Burnett combo is great if you want a lot of people to be surprised and ask you (annoying) questions.. I have one and it certainly gets noticed when I (rarely) drag it out. The photos have been unremarkable but with great bokeh in some cases.
A more traditional setup makes more sense in terms of weight, and I would have to agree photo quality would be better with a Toyo, Wista, or maybe even just the Speed with a decent modern lens.
But if you gotta, you gotta. I understand. It's a love thing, more than a logic thing...
if the focal plane shutter works on the speed
get the speed instead of the toyo/s ..
the main difference between the two
is an internal ( focal plane ) shutter in the graphic
that allows you to use barrel/enlarger/non shuttered/brass lenses
meniscus lenses harvested off of folders+box cameras, magnifying glasses,
telescope lenses and just about anything you can project an image through ..
granted the toyo/s are 40-50 years newer they aren't built like a tank or as easy to use handheld.
maybe i am bias, i have a speedgraphic and use it with all sorts of lenses ( old and new, 58mm-15" )
and while i have often times thought a toyo with it's limited movements might be useful, i never bought into it ...
have fun !
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The Aero Ektar is a WWII aerial camera lens. It is fast because speed was important. All modern LF lenses are optically better. If you want a lens with "character," then the Aero Ektar is fine (and it is a monster). If you want a good lens, then get something else.
Originally Posted by Rinthe
LF lenses are slow. They will vignette at maximum aperture with the corresponding reduction on the corners. Some wide-angle lenses will not cover the film area at maximum aperture. When you enter LF photography, some things you take for granted with lenses on smaller formats do not apply.
Since many people are dissing the AE option (LOL) I'll put in a word for it. With other, modern, "better" lenses, you will get "better" images, as in better distortion correction, less flaring, etc. They will be just like the images that all the other LF shooters are taking.
With the AE, you will get images that stand out. You will get images that can't be replicated on a digital system. You won't have MF digital shooters chiding your choice to lug around huge gear to take images that can't compete with their PhaseOnes or 645D in terms of resolution and edge-to-edge sharpness (not to mention lack of versatility). Because you can say to them "Let's see your tiny sensor out resolve this DoF, sucka!" and show them images that, when converted to 135 format terms, have DoF/FoV equivalent of a 50mm f0.7 lens. :-D
Images like these.
With that said, I don't know if the camera/lens combo is good as your "first" 4x5. I got and use it pretty much as my "first" AND "last" 4x5. I don't need anything else (except, perhaps, the Xenotar 150mm f2.8). If you are thinking of getting something and growing your 4x5 gear, then it's probably not what you should get :-)
thanks all for the input. It's a hard decision
Rawhead, good points! love your photos on flickr btw.
I'm looking at shen hao again...
both are within my budget. thoughts on these two?
Last edited by Rinthe; 12-23-2010 at 01:18 AM. Click to view previous post history.
I'm really impressed by those images. Wow!
Originally Posted by rawhead
1) You can't close a speeder with the aero ektar in situ. Its too large.
2) Nearly everyone I've seen is yellowed from radio activity, so they aren't so fast anymore(factor in a filter factor, depending upon how yellow the glass has gotten.
3) A Xenar is plenty fast for a 4x5 and has great optics if you need the speed.
4) I experimented with a 178 aero ektar, and IMHO thats what they are good for: experimenting. If you want to enjoy your 4x5 get a more conventional lens too.
5) Oh yeah, the 178 aero ektar is a pain in the @$$ to mount on a speeder.