Linhof 2x3's...what are they like?
I'm interested in a Linhof 2x3 (Tech III/IV) but they seem not too popular.
1. How is the viewfinder/rangefinder? With brightlines? Is it clear or is it very dim?
2. What is the close-focus limit for the rangefinder? If it matters on which lens, then I am thinking of the normal lens?
3. I assume that the backs are fixed and do not rotate?
I guess that is about it. They seem like sweet cameras to me but not too popular, I guess most view camera useser prefer to stick with 4x5 for compact settups with movements or a MF RF (like a Mamiya or Makina).
Oh and another thing. I guess, this is technically a large format camera? But I put this in the MF forum because I view this as more of as a MF camera of sorts. (But how you classify it doesn't really matter)
Last edited by puketronic; 06-11-2013 at 03:37 PM. Click to view previous post history.
I have a Linhof 2x3 Vb, the last production model of this wonderful camera with 55, 100, and 180mm cammed lenses (Grandagon and Sironar S).
It is basically a 2/3 scaled down version of the 4x5 Master Technika with a rotating roll film back (6x9 in my case) with the option of both rangefinder and ground-glass focusing. Composing and focusing are in different windows (as in the MT), but one quickly gets used to this when shooting hand-held.
My main camera is a 4x5 Linhof Master Technika, but I never travel with it. The 2x3 is more portable and compact, and requires a smaller and lighter tripod (and bag!). I am very pleased with the results from 6x9 negatives. The quality of 16x20" prints come relatively close to 4x5 quality.
As to why this 2x3 camera does not appear to be popular, it is a simple matter that it was always very expensive new, and priced the same as a 4x5 MT. It was never a mass-produced camera, but a specialized niche product, and priced accordingly.
The 2x3 Linhof Technika is a wonderfully designed and engineered camera from the pinnacle of the glory days of high-end analog photography.
These little beauties seem like a lot of fun, but still not cheap. Maybe $1000 for the camera, lens, and roll back.
My setup is similar to Henry's, above (55/4.5 Apo-Grandagon, 105/2.8 Xenotar, 180/5.6 Caltar II-N all cammed, plus various uncammed lenses I could use, if I wanted, with groundglass focusing). I got it when we had a child, because as travel got more complicated, I still wanted a camera that functioned like my 4x5" Technika V, but in a smaller package, and the Tech V 23b kit with the same number of lenses and accessories fits in about half the space as my 4x5" version, as well as being lighter in weight. I can shoot either with filmholders for individual development control or rollfilm backs when that is more suited to the subject.
Compared to other MF rangefinders or most TLRs, it's a heavy camera, but very versatile in that you can use it either press-camera style with the rangefinder or view-camera style with the groundglass and camera movements, and the grip is fairly ergonomic. The rollfilm backs are kind of bulky and add a fair amount to the weight compared to regular filmholders or Grafmatics. Of course a bag of filmholders is heavier and bulkier than a few pro-packs of rollfilm, but filmholders let you put the weight in your bag instead of having to support it with your wrist. I recently learned that my uncle, who was a professional photographer, once bought a 2x3" Technika to shoot weddings, and eventually he decided it was just too heavy for such long events (he must have been using a flash as well), and I think he ended up switching to a Rolleiflex.
The side-mounted rangefinder is separate from the viewfinder on the 23 IV and V models, so focusing and composing are separate operations just like on the 4x5" rangefinder Technikas. The viewfinder slides into the accessory shoe on top of the camera, and you can set the focal length and distance on it, as well as changing masks for different formats. It's not coupled to the rangefinder in any way.
As with most any rangefinder camera of any format, the close focus distance is around 3 feet for a normal lens with the rangefinder, maybe 2 feet with a wide lens, and around 4-5 feet with a long lens.
Last edited by David A. Goldfarb; 06-13-2013 at 02:17 PM. Click to view previous post history.
For what you are getting, $1000 is a bargain.New, they'd probably be priced at about $10k for the body only.
Originally Posted by Hatchetman
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The last ones were selling for a bit more than $7K a few years ago.
And US$7k was for the body alone! Once you added a grip, optical viewfinder, and roll film back you were over 10k, and after adding 3 cammed lenses you were likely well over 12k or more. A wonderful system, but very expensive. This was a niche product for the lucky few.
Older versions of this MF system were more widely used (for example as press cameras) in the 50's and 60's, and so 50 or 60 year old MF Technikas can be found for a reasonable cost today.
Here is a detailed article about the Linhof Super Technika IV 6x9 camera:
When the boss lets the designers loose!
I must agree with what the above gentlemen have said about "baby" Technikas. I own a Technika 70 three lens outfit from the early sixties, and it performs like a teenager. We know that you trade one thing for another in camera purchases. These wonders are not for everyone. Some will not be comfortable with them. That's how it goes, sometimes. I love the messucher finder; combination viewfinder/rangefinder. I love the outstanding level of quality that is poured into the production of these cameras. And if you have an eye for industrial design, it will be a master class of visual delight. I have never seen so much depth of understanding,( in artistic design), lavished onto any production model as the T-70. There is not a careless line or curve in all its design ,(in my opinion). I understand that this has nothing to do with producing photos. But I do believe that whoever the designer(s) was/were, they deserve a rousing shout out for what they were allowed to produce. Every line, every curve is made with the intention of keeping your eye moving; no dead ends. Astonishing depth of creative sense. And if that were not enough, built to outlast their owners. Very few companies allow such freedom of excellence, even unto production! Cost, being a major factor. Perfect? Not in this world, brother. "But I wouldn't want to live on the difference." All the best!
Too small and fiddly. I'd buy a Mamiya 7 kit or a 4x5 instead.