Originally Posted by david b
I have two mini speeds that I use for landscape. Good camera for basic landscape. Not so much in movements but... Can't go wrong here because you have a lot of lens choices. Even if you have a barrel lens without a shutter you can still use the back shutter on the mini speed. Just make sure you get one with a graflok back so you can use a roll film holder or you can get a graflok back and put it on later if you get a camera with a spring back.
These cameras are fun to use and you will for sure attract a few people when you use it. I always do..
Cheaper 6x9 folder with CRF: Telka III (model a or b), 95mm lens, so a little wider than the 'standard' 105mm - good quality French folder, IMO an undervalued 6x9 CRF. I think the lens is coated.
Other cheaper 6x9 CRF folders: Clarovid with nice Rodenstock lens, Welta Weltur aka Welta Solida. Jürgen Kreckel knows them too, and knows their weak points: the rangefinder mechanism is fragile. Balda Superpontura, very rarely seen, though, I'd say it should be put on the red list. Another obscure one: Teleroy by the French company Royer - comparable to the Super Ikontas.
Affordable sixties 6x9 SLR, which you can use handheld or on a tripod: Optika IIa aka Rittreck SP or plain Rittreck. Has tiny lensboards so you can use several lenses. The standard 105 mm luminon is very good, in my opinion. The 210 and other sized are hard to find. Disadvantage: camera can't take shorter lens lengths because of the mirror. But then, so can't a folder. $200 should get you a basic outfit, but most of the time you need to work on the focal plain shutter. Another advantage - camera takes film backs that allows shooting in formats between 6x4.5 to 6x9.
Less affordable sixties 6x9 SLR: Makiflex. Normally quite expensive,although last week one went on eBay for roughly 250 EUR, so can be had at bargain prices. Sort of the same thing as the Rittreck, but made by Plaubel. Possibly heavier.
I suppose the Graflex 1A with its near 6x12 negs is a little too old for your needs. Also, this camera needs to be slightly modified, as it was built for 620 film size. Came with several lenses, we have one with a Ross Xpress, which we fancy.
Personally, I also like the Linhof 220 for its sharp lens & easy of use - providing the light meter still works - but it's not a landscape type camera. And it's not 6x9... so maybe we should count this one out. I use mine handheld for landscapes and it is a bit awkward to use this camera tilted sideways, so I end up shooting landscapes in portrait fashion...
Last note: one of the most beautiful old 6x9 folders I ever touched was a Voigtländer Prominent I - great rangefinder construction and never before have I seen such a surprisingly bright and clear image through such a small window. Allover design is absolutely gorgeous. Of course, in my league this is not an 'affordable' 6x9 folder with a starting price of $1000 for a working model.
Hope this helps,
As of the last couple months, my favorite 6x9 folder is my Voigtlander Rollfilmkamera. This one has a 10.5 cm f/4.5 Skopar, waist level and wire frame finders, and a pull-out, rather than self-erecting front standard. I've been tweaking it along, and it now routinely produces the best images of any camera I own, including my Spotmatic and Moskva-5 -- the only real competition is my Tessar-equipped Zeiss-Ikon Ideal plate camera, with twice the negative area (9x12 cm).
The Rollfilmkamera is fairly hard to find, but the Inos I is essentially the same camera with the addition of 6x4.5 dual format capability (though I'd be amazed to find one with the format mask, given they were made from 1931-1933). The Inos II is also very similar -- the focusing mechanism is changed, IIRC, but the rest is essentially like a Bessa I without the rangefinder. No "right handed" vs. "left handed" here -- the only shutter release on the Rollfilmkamera is on the shutter, but that lends itself well to use of the waist level finder, which in turn lets me cradle the camera and routinely get steady hand holds down to 1/25 (I have trouble hand holding my Moskva-5 at 1/100).
I'm attaching a scan of about a 24x36 mm section of a negative from my Rollfilmkamera -- focused near minimum, about 4 feet, hand held at f/8 and 1/25. Very, very hard to argue with that kind of performance from a camera that should sell, in "needs CLA" condition, for under $50.
Photography has always fascinated me -- as a child, simply for the magic of capturing an image onto glossy paper with a little box, but as an adult because of the unique juxtaposition of science and art -- the physics of optics, the mechanics of the camera, the chemistry of film and developer, alongside the art in seeing, composing, exposing, processing and printing.
Unless camera size is an issue I would go the 2x3 Graphic route. Or setup to a Horseman or Linhof. Lot's of lens choices and various backs. Ground glass or RF focus. Can do close-up work. Problem is you soon put together a kit that is getting as heavy as a 4x5. I've used Tessar type folders for landscape off a tripod. Right now I'm using a Fuji GA645Zi for when I want to just keep it at camera and tripod. IMHO even at 645 it outperforms older 6x9 folders. Plus you have the limited zoom lens. That gets nice to have real fast. It comes real close to my Century Graphic with modern APO-Sironar even at about half the size. But if you're looking for a certain look the older lenses may have it.
Not being sure if 6x9 is for you i.e. it makes all others seem boxy an inexpensive folder would be a good way of testing the water. You can get pretty good deals on the Russian folders and their lenses are quite good. I have used a fuji 690 and they are a great camera but if I were serious about landscape work and dearly loved the 6x9 format(as I do) I'd go al the way with a baby speed graphic, horseman or linhof setup. All can be handheld quite well and the linhof or horseman are also great for the tripod. Personally I have a 4x5 linhof TechIII with a 6x9 rollfilm back, sports finder and grip.
No escaping it!
I must step on fallen leaves
to take this path
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I don't have any real experience with this, so please let me know if this impression is accurate--will a 4x5 body reduce your ability to use wide angle lenses? You will be limited in your lens/film distance, limiting your choice of WA lenses.
Originally Posted by ronlamarsh
In the graphic arena, the speed graphics have a thicker body than the crown graphics, again limiting the WA lens choices. I have a 65mm angulon for my speed, and it just works. I can't put it on the focus rails, but have to put it on the rails inside the body. This makes focusing a bit more challenging, but with a wide angle and a small aperture, I can get away with it. I do have a hack in mind to let me use the focusing rails, but I have never put it to use.
I picked up a Horseman VH-R with case, lens, and Luna Pro meter for $750 on eBay. The meter itself retails for over $300. The set was hardly used, being police crime lab equipment. If you check carefully, you could possibly find something like this again. The camera itself was not well described by an eBay seller who specialized in surplus police equipment, including autos. Especially with the CSI programs being so popular nowadays, I expect many labs are upgrading to digital and/or automatic cameras. And they dump their old equipment with an eBay seller that they normally use for the full range of police gear.
That is surprising with the high crime rates we're told to have these day -- one would expect heavily battered stuff..
Originally Posted by Mike Richards
Back to the topic: David B. never told us what he is photographing landscape style and whether he needs lots of movements or not and whether he wants to use WA lenses or not, etc. etc.. Perhaps a specification of his needs and desires will help to give him some sound advice. I just notice that questions like this trigger a strange kind of reaction amongst us forum members (myself included) to start rattling of camera types without knowing exactly what this person needs in specific . Whilst this is very nice to read about cameras and why we love them (endless topic), I always wonder what good it does for the thread starter.
OTOH when you start out in this field, what eventually happens is that you want to try all different types of cameras for their merit and some of us here (like me) end up having (at least) one camera of each type - folder, viewing, rangefinder, SLR. I think if I would have to do it all over again, I would have started out renting some equipment first before falling for it head over heels and buying it. The proof of the pudding still lies in the eating - and not in reading and pondering about it endlessly.
So perhaps, David, you should look around for a company in your region that rents out medium/large format gear - they're quite common here as not everyone has the money for a full set of equipment?
Hope this helps,
It depends. It's often the case that it's easier to use wide lenses with a 4x5" camera and a 6x9cm back than with a 6x9 cm camera, because the bellows is larger and more flexible when compressed, and because there's more room for modern wide lenses with large rear cells without running into physical obstructions. A 4x5" Technika can use lenses as short as 55mm with the wideange focusing device, and as short as 35mm with helical focus mounts. The Tech 2000 can do that without any additional accessories.
Originally Posted by MattCarey
I think most of the options have been covered now.
I have a couple of 6x9 folders, a Franka and Moskva 5, plus a Century Graphic. The Moskva is probably the hardest to handhold, but on a tripod it is very sharp; for the $20 or so that it cost, I certainly can't complain. The only other thing to count against it is lack of filter thread - I still need to find which size slip-ons it might take. It is a leftie's camera too.
The CG is bigger, but not any heavier and is certainly more flexible. The Franka is the easiest to use, the lightest and smallest, has a threaded filter mount, but it is guess focus. Unfortunately, you can't leave the filter attached and still close the camera.
For under $100, you should be able to get somehting quite reasonable to have a play with, and still get most of your money back should you decide to sell it.