Again, thank you all for your comments. I usually don't dither so much in buying cameras, but I am still deciding between a Medalist II or a 2X3 pre-Century Graphic with a 105 Ektar 4.5. I have decided against a folder, at least for now. It is definitely a fair question to ask about the kind of photography I have in mind for this camera, and it will be largely scenics, from a tripod most of the time. With only 8 frames to a roll, I will be working slowly most of the time to find the best shots. I would not mind having the capability of using the movements available with the Graphic option.
Some more questions that might be helpful to the decision. I appreciated hearing about the limitations of using longer lenses on the Graphics: what are the most common options and focal lengths for wide angle shooting? Also, do most Graphex and Kodak Supermatic shutters take standard cable releases? If your Graphic has a Graflock back with the ground glass and folding hood, will a normal loupe like the Schneider 4X work for focus-checking the ground glass, or do you need something with a longer barrel to stand out beyond the hood flaps?
Finally, can you use a standard cable release on a Medalist II: I read somewhere that you need to use a release with a shorter than normal connecting point. True??
Thanks, I will make the decision shortly. I never realized how many people are shooting in this format.
I don't disagree at all. I love working with my own "little" Graflex B (I also work with an Auto RB Graflex so the B does seem little in comparison), but it is not a real speed demon and the lens selection is very small. Not everyone wants to pack around a camera that looks like a large makeup case. But it is fun to use and it does work quite well. I love the pictures. Of course mine is pretty much the way it came when it was first built way back when.
Originally Posted by Dan Fromm
To be completely truthful, with the exception of folders, no 6x9 camera is particularly small. In fact, my Fuji G690BL is probably as small as they get for an interchangeable lens 6x9. Maybe that is why they have fallen out of favor over the years. Since 35mm took over in the 70s not that many people seem all that interested in working with the larger cameras or larger formats in the field any longer. Of course looking at a little chart on the side of the camera to figure out how to set your shutter is probably a bit of a turn off for most.
I have to be honest though. If what you intend to do is shoot landscapes from a tripod you might as well pick up an inexpensive, used, 4x5 field camera and attach a roll film adapter. Fold it up, slide it into a small backpack, throw it on your back with your tripod over your shoulder and go for a hike.
The Medalist II can use standard cable releases.
if ur going to use a tripod, a medalist may be a good choice -- rangefinder focusing is really quick and accurate, the medalist automatically cocks the shutter when you advance the film (I've seen some for sale where this did not work -- accept no alternative but working, they are not all that expensive) and, yes, any standard cable release will work, but then you have to still depress the shutter release to advance the film because of the interlock not being actuated by the cable.
Given they're in good condition / CLA'd by a proficient technician, high end 6x9 folders like Bessa RF / Bessa II are perfect for scenics; very good image quality in a very light package.
See this test image from a 1938 Bessa RF for an instance:
Small repro of the full frame,
100% crop from 1600dpi Epson flatbet scan
(Shot taken *hand-held*!)
I don't see any reason in carrying heavier stuff for the job, unless I absolutely want the luxury of interchangeable lenses...
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Originally Posted by macrorie
AGFA Record III with either the Solinar (best) or the Apotar (next best) will give you great results and fits in your jacket pocket...
Ain't no pre-Century Graphic. Ain't no 105/4.5 Ektar. You may be thinking of the 105/3.7 Ektar. Per my tests, the best Ektar normal lens for 2x3 is the 101/4.5. In 2x3, Graflex Inc and predecessors offered Miniature Speed Graphic, 2x3 Pacemaker Crown Graphic, 2x3 Crown Graphic, and Century Graphic (economy version of the 2x3 Crown, IMO just as good and I have both).
Originally Posted by macrorie
Re lenses, read my lens diary http://www.galerie-photo.com/telecha...2011-03-29.pdf . Without heroic measures, the range of focal lengths that can be used with 2x3 on a Century (= 2x3 Crown) is 35 mm (35/4.5 Apo Grandagon, very expensive, I have one) to around 200 mm non-tele, 250 mm telephoto. The range of focal lengths that can be used on 2x3 with a 2x3 Speed is ~ 60 mm (58/5.6 Grandagon, 65 /5.6 and /8 Super Angulon) to 250 mm telephoto. The Speed's advantage over the Century is that it can be used with lenses in barrel and with slightly longer non-teles. AFAIK the shortest lens that will make infinity on a 2x3 Speed is the 1.75"/2.8 Elcan, but it covers little more than 6x6.
That Graphics have usable movements is a fantasy that refuses to die.
2x3 Graphics have 19 mm front rise, no front fall. All 19 mm can be used with lenses that make infinity with the front standard on the outer bed rails. Less rise is available for shorter lenses, the wire frame finder hits the box. The wire frame finder can be removed, I did this with my Century.
No swing at all.
The cameras look like they have ~ 10 mm of shift in either directions, but with lenses that make infinity with the front standard inside the bed struts shift is impossible. The struts are in the way.
The cameras look like they have backwards tilt. No frontwards tilt. The backwards tilt is there to allow the lens board to be made parallel to the film plane when the outer bed is dropped and the front standard is on the outer bed. This is useful for a very limited range of focal lengths and focused distances.
Macrorie, if you want what a view camera can do, get a view camera or a good grade of technical camera. If you want a relatively cheap and very cheerful camera that will shoot 2x3 with a useful range of lenses, then a 2x3 Graphic might be for you. I like my Graphics but they're not view cameras.
Dan, thanks for clarifications on the Graphics. By "pre-Century" Graphics, I meant that I think that having a model with a focal plane shutter may indeed be useful, but I have only started looking at these cameras and am no doubt missing the details regarding the chronology and development of models and their features. And I also meant the Ektar 101mm 4.5 as the desired lens. Given what you have said about the movements on the Graphic, I am less interested in them for that reason. But I also still like the idea of being able to use normal and wide angle lenses and carry a couple of loaded film backs, which is not an option with the other choices other than the Mamiya 23 rangefinders.
Below is the Speed with the Pentax 6x7 1:3.5 55mm adapted, for the RH/8 rollfilm holder.
The whole thing weighs 8 pound ~4kg.
I have to make a framing viewfinder for the 55mm, it won't need a rangefinder.
Last weekend at outdoor function I took a roll of Fuji 160 using the home-built 6x7 with the Pentax 90 mm ls
Not processed yet. The home built is my favorite (of course) and I will be using it out and about tomorrow
At that function was the old friend who has given me his 1936 Nettar folder ( 6x9 and 105mm). I have Ektar in it.
I asked him to take some with it, he took one photo, folded it up and continued using his point & shoot!
I have just purchased a Century Graphic 2x3 with Graftar 103/4.5 and the RH/10, should arrive soon.
And on the way is an original flash for it.
The advantage of this camera over the above ones is that it finally gives me a rangefinder on a lens standard for 6x7.
So the first job will be checking the rangefinder on its gg and a test roll.