For next year: good, affordable, lightweight 4x5 field camera

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xkaes

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Since the OP is "FOR NEXT YEAR", you should have time to find one of these. One just sold on EBAY a month ago:

toko.jpg


https://www.ebay.com/itm/224887176848
 
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ic-racer

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Horseman FA is one of the lightest out there. I see current prices are about 1/2 of what I paid 15 years ago. Looks like 4x5 film holders are still very inexpensive, especially compared to 8x10 film holders which are crazy expensive right now.
 

xkaes

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Horseman FA? Not one of the lightest at 4.5 pounds, not one of the least expensive, and not one of the most flexible.

Strike three!
 
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Donald Qualls

Donald Qualls

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Okay, adapting my Speed and GVII to take 96x99 boards shouldn't be hard -- that kind of thing is what 3D printers are for, though making an adapter that's less than a quarter inch wide looks like a potential no man's land in terms of the retention slides. I'll have to do some measuring.

A potential alternative might be to 3D print some mounting rings that are hand-operable to make switching a lens from one board to another less of a production.

Film holders I've got -- I think twenty or so, almost all Riteway plastic units (a few Graflex wood ones, maybe a couple of something else), plus three Grafmatics and the LomoGraflok, and an Adapt-A-Roll Six-20 -- I'm not new to large format, just want something with more flexibility than my Annie and more portability than my Graphic View II, with an aim to doing more large format landscape and nature photography.
 

Joe VanCleave

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I know there's a tendency to fetishise build quality with LF cameras, but I'd advise a 900 gram Intrepid and put more money into good lenses with good shutters, and film.
 

Rick A

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So, if you want more than 300mm focal length, Deardorff (or clone) Special is the ticket (though not very light). My Dorffclone can utilize as short as 90mm on a flat lensboard, and stretched out has 21 inches of bellows. I also have the luxury of switching between 4x5 and 5x7 formats. My Tachihara can mount 90mm with limited movements, but only stretches out to 12 inches (305mm).
 

grat

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Donald's certainly got the expertise to be able to make an Intrepid work, but the lack of a movable rear standard has always bugged me. The Chroma Carbon Adventurer is an interesting camera, but the bellows is limited to 275mm if I recall. Apparently Steve re-worked the focusing system. I'd still check to see what the draw on the standard bellows is.

From what I've read, the Horseman Woodman is light, but persnickety. I'd vote for a Chamonix, since I'm biased and have the 45N-1 (Classic), which used to be a sub-1k camera. Barely. :smile:
 

ic-racer

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Horseman FA? Not one of the lightest at 4.5 pounds, not one of the least expensive, and not one of the most flexible.

Strike three!

Foul 1: Horseman not made of wood, only Toyo CF is lighter
Foul 2: Horseman system perhaps the largest field-camera system out there
Foul 3: Horseman FA less expensive than Wista and Linhof, maybe Toyo too,
 
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Okay, adapting my Speed and GVII to take 96x99 boards shouldn't be hard -- that kind of thing is what 3D printers are for, though making an adapter that's less than a quarter inch wide looks like a potential no man's land in terms of the retention slides. I'll have to do some measuring...
I've made adapters for both my GVII and my Zone VI (late model) field camera to take Technika boards. Not difficult at all.

Since the Technika metal boards are a bit thinner than the 4x4-inch boards that the GVII an ZVI cameras use, you could just get away with a thin 4x4 shim that's lightproof. However, adding small ridges on either side is easy too. I used 1/8-inch Masonite, first cut to size and then with the proper size hole cut into it to fit the raised circle on the back of the Technika boards. Then, carefully with a sharp knife, you can peel away layers to get the thickness you need (if you're really careful, you can get two shims out of one 1/8-inch piece).

Then it's smooth and add small strips of Masonite or whatever on the sides to center the board. Top and bottom don't need anything; the 99mm dimension is close enough. Then simply spray paint flat black and you're good to go.

Best,

Doremus
 

4season

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I wonder if a lightweight monorail camera such as the old Bender DIY or Gowland Pocket View might be the answer.

I've owned a Toko field camera similar to the one in Post #26. Pretty nice camera with triple-extension bellows. Used it with a 210/370 mm convertible Linhof Symar, but it didn't have enough bellows draw for the latter focal length. I think 300 mm would have worked, but close focus would be limited by bellows draw. I don't recall if it was Graflock compatible. In some ways I might have preferred a camera with fewer movements, because the only one I used frequently was front rise, and occasionally, front/rear tilt (which can be combined to get even more rise). I never once used the f/r swings, yet every time I set the camera up I had to deal with them, so that feature just meant more hassle for me.
 

xkaes

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I don't know which Toko model you had, but both of mine have 360mm of extension, and I use my Fujinon C 300mm f8.5 without any problem -- and I do a lot of close-ups often with plenty of front camera movements. I also use a Fujinon T 400mm and T 600mm on them.
 
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jnamia

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keep an eye out in the classifieds here, B.S. Kumar always has things that fit your requirements. he is a wonderful resource, and as honest as they come! he might also have something a little bigger ( 5x7 or whole plate ) with a reducing back along with the native size so you can actually use longer lenses, have movements, and when you decide to upscale, do paper negatives, dry or wet plate you will already have everything you need. 5x7 and whole plate are barely bigger than 4x5 and objects of beauty Kumar sells here are more affordable than the shifty sellers you might come across at eB@y.
 

xkaes

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OP -- "For next year: good, affordable, lightweight 4x5 field camera"​


One would think this would be an easy enough question!

Good luck, buddy!
 
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Donald Qualls

Donald Qualls

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One would think this would be an easy enough question!

That one probably hasn't been here long enough to know how things really work... :wink:

B.S. Kumar always has things that fit your requirements.

In fact, he popped up in Conversation, pointing to a couple he has listed now (or did that day, haven't checked if they're gone since) -- just a little out of my price range this time, but I'll be watching the Classifieds here, of course, when I'm ready to shop. I just don't want to spend a few hundred dollars and then find out the camera doesn't do what I need. Large format is expensive enough without having to buy stuff two and three times to get it right.
 

jnamia

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Large format is expensive enough without having to buy stuff two and three times to get it right.

Good luck with that! cause according to people here and elsewhere that is nothing but a pipe-dream. From what people say / suggest your first or second or even third LF camera might not even be the one you want or "is right" for you. I don't know if it is true or not, I still have and use my first LF camera. If you are able to "get it right" you will join the great unwashed underbelly.
 

grat

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Good luck with that! cause according to people here and elsewhere that is nothing but a pipe-dream. From what people say / suggest your first or second or even third LF camera might not even be the one you want or "is right" for you.

LF photography is all about compromise-- there is no one perfect camera. Still, if you understand what you want an LF beastie for, it's not that difficult to determine which set of features is important, and which set can be mostly ignored, or at least, tolerated.

Personally, I decided it was worth it to stretch for the cost of the Chamonix, and I've had zero regrets. I've only got one real complaint, and that's that the cold shoe is slightly oddball, and some accessories don't fit. But how often does one use the cold shoe on a 4x5?
 

xkaes

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I've heard from lots of people over the years who are still looking for "THEIR" perfect large format camera. Maybe because I did my research first, I bought a rosewood Toko Nikki-II. It has been perfect for me -- lightweight, very flexible (front AND rear), 360mm of bellows, and inexpensive. I liked is so much, I bought another a few years later -- in cherrywood, so I can tell them apart.
 
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Donald Qualls

Donald Qualls

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Good luck with that! cause according to people here and elsewhere that is nothing but a pipe-dream. From what people say / suggest your first or second or even third LF camera might not even be the one you want or "is right" for you. I don't know if it is true or not, I still have and use my first LF camera. If you are able to "get it right" you will join the great unwashed underbelly.

Well, I've already got an Anniversary Speed Graphic, exactly the camera I wanted for a hand held, and a Graphic View II, a perfectly fine monorail. Now I just need a camera that weighs less than the Speed, folds as small, and has most of the movements of the GVII.

I like what I've seen of Toko cameras, but they aren't as common as to be able to find one when I'm ready to buy...
 

choiliefan

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I'm surprised no one has mentioned the venerable Burke & James Co.
Perhaps a bit heavier than you hope for but a good one can be had for a couple hundred dollars.
 

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I have Burke and James that I would like to sell, only becuase I found a ridiculous deal locally on a zone 6. As near as i can tell it weighs between 4 and 5 pounds, just a tad heavier than the zone 6. Has ample movements both front and rear, and think a 300 would work fine as it has a lot of bellows draw. It does not fold as compact as the zone six, but that is offset by the fact that you dont have to remove the lens to fold it up. Not a graphlock back, but one could probably be put on it if you really wanted to. If you want, pm me and we can talk.
 

Vaughn

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I always throw my biased vote in for the Gowland PocketView. I have a model with all front movements and the back has swing and tilt only. Some later models have more and weigh more. Mine is 2.5 pounds with a 150/5.6 lens on it. I have a 12" bellows draw, others have 16".
 

Vaughn

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The cameras were put together by Peter Gowland. My model was sold through Calumet and was the simplest. Peter sold many variations, based, it seemed like, on parts he could get.
 
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Donald Qualls

Donald Qualls

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@Vaughn I think that question concerned the models in front of the camera.
 
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Donald Qualls

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@weasel I looked at B&J View Cameras -- looks like rear folding bed style, but mostly metal. As I've noted, I'm not shopping now, I'm getting into my head what to shop for next year.
 
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