Looking to buy a 4x5


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Jun 8, 2010
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Got a raise at work and to celebrate, I would like to purchase a 4x5. I have looked at the press 4x5s like the Graflex and I like them because of their size but how limited are their movements? Ideally I would like to be able to emulate Polly Chandlers (met her a couple times. Super awesome soul: Polly Chandler Photography: Nashville, TN ) style. I can see the images in my head, just not sure what the right tools are.
It looks like she's using a lot of tilt movements, with some occasional swing, to create the blurring in the images. If you want to duplicate that effect, you'll need more than a press camera as those usually don't have much in terms of movement.

A field camera would probably work best, as a monorail is usually too bulky and heavy for much field work (unless you're a glutton for punishment).
use to take the schools field camera hiking all the time haha
The front lens board will do rises and some tilting, but the back doesn't move.
If I go with a monorail, what would you recommend? Not looking to spend too much, maybe in the 500 range?
Hmm, its been a while since I used one, it was a Cambo. Had to lug it around for school, and it was heavy.

... I have aways liked the Horseman 450, I think only because of the L.
500 clams is pretty thin for a complete kit. You'll need the camera, a couple film holders, a lens & board, focus loupe etc. Then it's off to buy film, and where do you get it processed? Are you going to shoot color, or b&w. If color, your best bet is to send it to a lab. Color can be done at home, but it's awfully persnickity in terms of time and temperature. B&w is far more forgiving, and can be souped at home without breaking the bank.

You might get by with a used Cambo monorail and a basic 150mm lens. But monorails aren't the handiest to lug around in the field.
The old Linhof Color is a good,sturdy monorail for field use, and it can be fitted with a pretty short rail for the 150 or 240mm lenses. It's a very unusual monorail, different in design than others. It can be compressed very tightly and made very compact for backpacking. I own one, it's in storage right now. Not the Color Kardan, which is massive and expensive, but the old, Lihof Color would be the lower-cost, portable monorail 4x5 I'd recommend, based on experience and ownership of one. I think old Kodak-made view cameras (mononrails) are even lower in price. Many student-oriented Cambos were low-cost.
Thanks for the continued info!

Ive seen Cambos and Toyos going for 150-200 on ebay or locally. The plan is to shoot B&W, E6, color and set it up for New 55's instant film. There are a couple shops here in town that process anything you bring them.
500 wasn't for everything, just the body and lens. I have an 8x10 lens and nice ground glass waiting for a body of some sort as well.
......There are a couple shops here in town that process anything you bring them...........

Dayum! Not one, but TWO?!?!?! How lucky can you get?

I think one might send the other some stuff to process but Im not sure. I just go to the closest place which is 3 blocks from my office.

There is Precision Camera and Holland Photo Imaging.
The one I had was SpeedGraphic, which was the press version. I think the crown graphic was in higher demand, but I never actually saw one in person. Both those cameras can get you started in 4x5 with a moderate investment, but as you have already presumed, they are lacking in features for the view camera genre. I practically gave mine away several years ago at my garage sale. Along with all the film stuff to go with it. I also had a 120 roll-film back.

Have you checked this site?

View Camera Store
I see KEH has some speed graphics. No lens, no lens board, no back, no film holders, no changing bag, no film tank,

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