If you could find a Graflex Crown View in good condition it is much more portable than the Graphic View. It's the older brother to the Graphic View. All wood and no monorail so it folds up into a nice compact size. I've had mine since 1979 and have taken it on many extended treks through the woods. I don't know how many are still around but it would be a cheap alternative to more modern field cameras.
Just say NO NO NO to the graphic view. you will be much better off with just about anything else.
I'm in Saskatchewan and I'll be selling a Pacemaker Speed Graphic and a Calumet CC404 soon, once my Shen Hao arrives. If either of those tickles your fancy, let me know and I can get you more details.
(My wife told me she was okay with me buying a new 4x5 if I sold the other two, and I thought that was a pretty fair deal.)
I have an Optar I can include with the Graphic (125-130 mm-ish, I'd have to look it up) and spare lens boards. The Calumet will be the naked camera, plus at least one lens board (not sure if I have a second or not).
I have a Graphic View II and IMHO it is a superb camera! It is quite portable in it's suitcase---but it isn't a tiny suitcase. It has more movements than you would probably ever need, plus they aren't ridiculously expensive. I think Graphic Views and Calument 400 series are excellent cameras to test out the LF waters.
Yes, you could get a nice Tachihara or Shen, which are excellent clamshell woodys which you could easily stash in a day pack (and if you want to do the Ansel Adams thing, that indeed might be a worthy consideration) but be prepared to spend over $500 more.
That $500 could easily buy you a lens, a bunch of film holders, a tripod, an Omega D-2 enlarger and a large stock of sheet film.
You could be off making photographs with your Graphic View.
Or you could be still surfing the on line auctions looking for all the parts you'll need to get you're wooden camera up and running.
I'd go with the Graphic View.
I feel like I just have to throw in a plug for the good old Pacemaker speed graphic... You can easily take it backpacking, and they are built like tanks. Plus you have the option of shooting hand-held.
And you're right. A Speed or a Crown Graphic makes a very nice field camera if you don't need very short or very long lenses. It's lightweight and rugged. The Speed's advantage lies in it's focal plane shutter allowing the use of shutter-less barrel lenses. Using lenses shorter than 90 mm is problematic because of the extra depth of the body to accomodate the shutter mechanism. The Crown's advantages come in the form of a smaller and lighter package, and the ability to use short focus, wide angle lenses. Barrel lenses are not a practical option. Models with user adjustable, side mounted rangefinders are nice to have because you can calibrate the rangefinder for almost any lens you mount onto the camera. But if you need anything more than the bare minimum of movements, you're pretty much out of luck. You can get rise and some back tilt from the front standard and not much else.
Originally Posted by EASmithV
Well, thanks folks for the input. (I've been out of the country for the last couple of weeks... well, out of the hemisphere, to be more precise, but I've been following the respones here.) Nonetheless, I am now the proud owner of a cc400. (Thanks, Jeff :) )
The learning curve not too daunting at this stage, but then again, I haven't actually loaded it with film. (I've got some coming in next week) Still, I've been composing and focusing and learning the movements. I think this camera will be at the least a very stable learning tool. I think my only lens is a little on the short side, at 105mm, (a Staebel Magnogon process lens) but I'm certain it will be joined by other more suitable lenses in the fullness of time.
Thanks again, I will probably revive this thread if I can't plunder necessary information from elsewhere in the forums. Any hints and suggestions are always appreciated.