Before you buy any equipment I suggest doing the following

read the article Getting Started in Large Format. It is free on our web page along with several other articles that might be helpful. Go to and then to the free articles section.

If you can travel to Monterey, CA April 23-25 come to the View Camera magazine trade show and conference. You will be able to see more large format cameras in one place than anywhere else on the west coast (the only way to see more might be to go to the trade show in NYC in the Fall). You can see them, fondle them,, and see which one fits your hands and eyes.

Read one of the following

User's Guide to the View Camera by Jim Stone
Using the View Camera that I wrote


Large Format Nature Photography by Jack Dykinga

you can find these on our web site or get them from

Be careful about advice such as

I have camera X and I think it is great! TBefore deciding on a camera you need to decide first on the range of lenses you want to use and the subjects you want to photograph. Advice like that above does not give you any context for knowing why someone thinks camera X is great. Ask the advice giver to give you some context for what they photograph and what lenses they use.

You can write me and ask for advice anytime.

steve simmons
publisher of View Camera