Versatility of any camera depends on needs. I'm not going to do architectural photography nor portraits... mostly just landscapes. A Chamonix 45N will do just fine for a lot of what I intend to do. If I want rear shift to stitch two or three 4x5 sheets then I'll carry a Canham Traditional. If I get the urge to shoot some still life pics then I'll repair an old 45G I bought on the cheap.
Can it use a 1000mm lens? Does it have identical movements on the front and back? Can it be converted to 5x7 & 8x10? Can it use a second tripod to help support that 1000mm lens? Did it cost you less than $300? Does the replacement $2 bubble level cost $42? Oh? Wait, I am just upset about that last bit there.
Originally Posted by LJH
Thanks for all this great info... Some of it is over my head, but that's OK.
I did find this one for 600.00 and it's 2 hours from me. I'm kind of nervous buying something like this over Ebay to be honest.
Looks pretty clean from this image as well. I did talk with them this a.m. about it as well.
I'm pretty sure I don't want to hand hold it. I hate hand holding my RB67, and slap it on a tripod as well.
Take you're time and do the research on these. Read others' opinions in other threads here and on Large Format Forum.
There are always monorails for sale here, on other forums and on eBay.
However, as I wrote in my first post, the lenses are far more important than the box they're strapped to. They're not electric, they don't have motor drives, they don't have meters etc.
Pardon the pun, but focus on lenses, not the camera.
Thanks everyone. Been quite helpful.
I completely agree about the lens concept... I give classes from time, to time, and I'll shoot with some of their cameras, and yep, a cheap glass can really be a problem, at least in portraiture, from what I've seen. Good metering techniques, composition, etc... is one thing. Poor glass get's you no where.
I'll try my best to do my homework. The lens and lens boards are a bit over my head on this subject of 4x5's...
More movement, front and rear, including compound movements, in the (admittedly unlikely) event that you need that much movement, e.g. with a 121/8 Super Angulon.
Originally Posted by LJH
I have several 4x5 inch cameras (2x Gandolfi, Linhof, 2x Toyo, reducing backs on bigger Linhofs and MPP) , but I've pretty much given up using small formats, and as you say, I don't miss the movement on my bigger, non-monorail 5x7 inch cameras. Or in my 12x15 inch Gandolfi Universal, where movements are minimal.
All the movements in the world and the finest lens aren't much use unless the camera movements can be locked down so they're immovable and the shutter works reliably.
It also helps if the tripod socket threads aren't stripped:whistling:
What is the OP's intended use? How much moolah does he want to spend? I think I'd need to know that first before I can give a good answer.
That said, remember Deardorffs are chick magnets:)
Looking to spend around 300 to 500 if I need to. Intentions? Landscapes if I get lucky enough. Maybe some cityscapes. Of course, Portraits which I really enjoy shooting.
Its not likely you'll find a clamshell style woody for under $600 these days but a monorail or a Speeder for sure! You can take monorails and Speeders afield and most will behave well on a heavy MF sized tripod. Speeders will also permit handheld photography and are also fine for portraits (john nanian, who posts here, does incredibly beautiful portraits with a Speeder) A monorail OTOH will give you all the movements you could ever want and I think would be a great tool for learning.