Field vs. Monorail

Discussion in 'Medium Format & Large Format' started by Mitica100, Mar 5, 2007.

  1. Mitica100

    Mitica100 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

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    OK, so I was enthusiastic enough to get more seriously into the LF, more than a year ago, by getting a Toyo 4x5 monorail camera. Movements galore and lots of flexibility. However... I like to travel/hike and carrying a beast like that on my back ain't pretty. Now I'm thinking that a good field LF camera might be just what I need, they're a lot more compact and easier to transport. I looked at the Shen Hao cameras, they are purrrrdy! Can't touch one anytime soon though, maybe after I get a tax return this April.

    I'm in love at home with the Toyo but feel stuck with the monorail monster. I do have an old Speed Graphic with good bellows but it's not as flex as the Toyo when it comes to movements. I realize I don't need much out in the fields but I would still love to have more flex than the SG offers. I love shooting in ghost-towns, so there is some minimal architectural use.

    Should I look at something different than the SG or should I just carry that baby? :scratch:
     
  2. JC1220

    JC1220 TPF Noob!

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    Many years ago starting out I had an old Kodak 8x10 with no rear movements, drove me nuts not having those movements for added flexability and limited perspective control.

    If you are looking for a field camrea be sure it has at a minimum, rear tilt and swing, this is all you should need for a field as long as the front has all movements available, tilt, swing, shift and rise/fall.

    I believe the Shen Hao will do what you want at a reasonable price, Tachihara also makes a 4x5 with slightly less flexability, for under $600 new. Calumet use to make a wood field, that looks just like (was) the Tachihara that can be found used, which use to be the Zone VI camera which is a better made product. Used, plan to spend close to $500 for these camreas.

    While somewhat of a pain to travel with, you can still use your monorail in the field, just don't put on super long extension rails, and you can put your tripod on your shoulder and move around with relative comfort.
     
  3. ksmattfish

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

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    I use a Super Speed Graphic when I don't want to haul my monorail. It has the most front movements of any Speed Graphic (rise, tilt, shift, and swing), and suits most of my needs. There are several websites out there that show how people have modified them to add even more movements, including rear standard movements. If I'm going to need the more extensive options of the monorail I usually know that ahead of time.
     
  4. JamesD

    JamesD Between darkrooms

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    "Anything more than 500 yards from the car just isn't photogenic." --Brett Weston

    :biggrin:

    If I had a monorail view camera, I'd lug it. I might (read: probably would) change my mind after a while. After all, it's the 35mm I tote around these days, not the 645.
     

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