4X5. Any recommendation?

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by ultrajeeps, Dec 8, 2004.

  1. ultrajeeps

    ultrajeeps TPF Noob!

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    Hi,

    I am looking to add a 4x5 camera to my rig and would like to know which ones should I look into. Budget is limited.

    Thanks.
     
  2. voodoocat

    voodoocat ))<>(( Supporting Member

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    What are you going to be using it for?

    If budget is a concern, you can't go wrong with a Speed Graphic. It's a field camera so you wont get all the movements like you would with a monorail system. Monorail systems, for the most part, are not cheap either.
     
  3. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still

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    I would also agree that a Speed Graphic is a good, inexpensive camera to start with. More recent models have more front movements. I've been using a Super Speed Graphic (the latest model), and it has all the movements I need for landscape and portraiture. Older Speed Graphics (Anniversary Graphic and before) can go for less than $100. You can get a Crown Graphic for under $200, and Super Graphics for under $300. If they include a lens it's usually a cheaper press model. These are very decent lenses for the cost, or you can get a higher quality large format lens such as a Schneider, Nikkor, Fuji, or Ziess. Check out www.graflex.org for more info. I find the low price to be a great feature; I have no qualms about standing in the rain with my $225 aluminum Super Graphic, but I don't know if I'd feel the same about a fancier $800 to $2000 wooden field camera.

    There are cheap monorails out there, but they are heavy and bulky. I have a solid steel 4x5 monorail that only cost me $75 (no lens), and it was clean and in perfect condition. I only drag it out of the house when I know I'm staying close to the car.
     
  4. Hertz van Rental

    Hertz van Rental TPF Noob!

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    Monorails (or technical cameras) are realy designed for studio use, although they are used a lot for architectural work. There is no point in buying one unless you are going to do some serious technical studio stuff - you need to understand Scheimpflug and all the rest. There are so many different movements on a monorail - and so many opportunities to make mistakes.
    You are much better off getting a field camera - Toyo do some nice ones. But if you shop around you can find a bargain. I have an old Speed Graphic myself (it's around 60 years old!) and it is still lovely.
    The thing with 5x4's is the cost of the lens. Because field cameras have a restricted range of movements the lenses don't need so much coverage and so are a lot cheaper.
    Studio lenses can be mind bogglingly expensive - but again if you shop around....
     

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