A Challenge to the Forum

Discussion in 'Large Format' started by kevin_kemner|1, Nov 28, 2001.

  1. Hi Everyone,

    <p>

    A few posts back there was a guy announced he had just bought his first LF package and as near as I can figure this outfit cost close to $4K. When I read this it struck me that it was a lot of money to enter a format that someone may not have had any experience and that it gave the impression that LF photography is one for the well off.

    <p>

    It also struck me that at a time when products for large format photography are being discontinued by major manufacturers we as a group have an obligation to encourage people to at least try the field. If the impression is that it costs thousands of dollars to enter LF than we can only expect the number of LF photographers to either diminish or remain relatively the same. In other words we as a buying group will become weaker and the range of products available to us will continue shrink as manufacturers find more profitable markets.

    <p>

    So my challenge to the forum is this:

    <p>

    Propose a beginners complete LF package that can be purchased for under $900.

    <p>

    Why $900, for the same reason things cost $19.99. Psychologically it means a lot to be under $1000. If we get a good set of responses maybe it can be made part of the site as a buying guide.

    <p>

    Good Luck and Thanks
     
  2. If you call Calumet you can get a nice 4x5 camera with lens, holders
    & dark cloth for well under your price limit.
     
  3. Kevin:

    <p>

    Challenge taken.

    <p>


    I just bought a lightly used Graflex Super Speed Graphic with a very
    good coated German lens for $750 Cdn, including case and film
    holders. A very good used Manfrotto tripod can easily be had for less
    than 150 US so there is a first rate 4x5 outfit for less than 600 US.

    <p>


    With all due respect, a new Ebony, Sinar or Gandolfi is a waste for a
    newcomer. Learning how to load film, focus, then learn the movements
    can all be done on a used good camera. Also, a selection of lenses
    other than a single 135 mm or 210 mm or so is a needless distraction.

    <p>

    Spend a few hundred bucks on some outdated film, a daylight
    processing box and a light meter and then "Watch out Minor White/
    John Sexton/ Richard Avedon/or even Robert Mapplethorpe".

    <p>


    If I were offering it for sale, I have a fully functional Iston wood
    field camera with a Wollensak barely coated lens and I would offer it
    for $300 US, with 2 holders. It works just fine. But of cours, I
    would not offer anything for sale on this site.

    <p>


    Cheers
     
  4. Heaps and heaps of ways to do it. One way - a decent condition
    Graphic 4x5 can be had for $300 or so (a used Meridian for about
    $500, maybe even a used Tech III). A used Fuji 150 mm can be had for
    aboput $200 - 300. A 100mm wide field Ektar for about $200. A set of
    6 film holders (in 4x5, not too expensive even new). A Toyo loupe
    about $40. A cheap light meter like a Weston or even a used Gossen,
    less than $100. A tripod (pick up a wooden Bromwell for about $150 or
    troll eBay for cheaper and older wood tripods).

    <p>

    Even 8x10 can be managed on this kind of budget. I started with a
    Kodak 2D (paid about $300), a triple convertible Gundlach
    rectigraphic (about $150), six used film holders (about $100). You
    can even cough up for more recent glass like a Protar series or a
    Symmar convertible.

    <p>

    It can be done and with less quality impacts than in some other
    formats. My Gundlach rectigraphic gave me pictures that look as sharp
    in contact prints as more modern glass. Cheers, DJ.
     
  5. Kevin, at that price you're looking at used equipment, and there are
    steady offerings on both e-bay and the photo.net classifieds. I'm
    sure there are quality used kits available at some of the dealers as
    well. As to specifics, others have mentioned some popular timeless
    offerings that would serve a beginner as well as a higher priced kit.
    I'm currently looking for a lower priced kit myself ( wooden field,
    90-135 lens ) so I'll let you know how I make out. Regards,
    Mike
     
  6. I couldn't agree with you more here, Kevin....as a pro who uses LF
    gear, I'm always dumbfounded at some of the setups people write about
    getting started with....if they could see the kind of equipment and
    age of it that we use in our studio, and even at other places I've
    worked in as an assistant.....I recently upgraded my 4x5 stuff at
    home, when Calumet started discounting the 45NX....you can get one new
    for $750 now....or the cheaper model for a hundred or so less. Or any
    number of older Toyos and Omegas on the market used.....that's what we
    use here, a newer Toyo GII model, and an absolutely ancient Omega D
    that just refuses to die!

    <p>

    My bid on a new setup would be a beginner Cambo/Calumet kit or the
    Toyo entry level monorail. Any decent used monorail as well, but try
    to price accesories like lensboards, bag bellows etc. before taking
    the plunge into the more expensive brands....all the little things can
    really add up after awhile. Probably the best place to start would be
    in learning to load a holder first, then think about buying a
    camera.....
     
  7. Dear Kevin;

    <p>

    You raise some interesting thoughts. As for my own experience, I
    have had a view camera for about 10 years, but it was resting
    comfortably on a shelf in my basement. When I originally got the
    camera, I had gone out and added all those accessories I could buy
    new and some I found in the camera store in their used area. I found
    it difficult to build my system. I shot some images, but never
    delved deeply into LF at that time. Most of my work was medium
    format or 6x17 panoramic (I guess that is 'kinda' shooting large
    forat).

    <p>

    Last year, a friend induced me to look at Ebay and start tracking all
    of the camera products being offered. I ended up buying a high end
    35mm digital which re-awakened a passion for photography. Not just
    digital, but also causing me to shoot more film in my medium,
    panoramic, but especially large format cameras. Then I put two and
    two together and looked at the large format listings. All of a
    sudden, I am bidding on and winning auctions to buy those bits and
    pieces of equipment for my large format camera that I previously
    could not afford or maybe couldn't find. I have even bought stereo
    cameras via Ebay-when was the last time you thought about taking
    those kind of images. In a way, I think Ebay may be a tremendous
    asset to LF. Think of all those people who have had cameras they
    wanted to sell, but the prices offered when they went to re-sellers
    was not enough so they decided to just keep them in the box. Ebay
    gives them an outlet and the market determines the price which
    advantages both buyer and seller. I think it is easier and more
    convenient than scouring the used departments or waiting for ads in
    magazines that maybe were placed months ago. Put on top of this,
    forums like we are in where people from all over the country are
    giving advice, asking questions and mutually assisting each other. I
    felt like I was alone a decade ago and did not now where to turn for
    answers other than my local camera store-now I find friends and
    others who genuinely want to help me no matter how simple my needs.

    <p>

    Perhaps LF is being eclipsed in the commercial market-that can be a
    whole discussion by itself. Digital is certainly digging into the
    sales of film products and that trend is continuing. However, for
    people with a passion for taking pictures and for those enjoying the
    mystery and art of photography, there may be benefits in this
    revolution of technology. True, products and companies are
    disappearing at an unfortunately too quick rate, but the ranks may be
    strong as ever.

    <p>

    Thank you for helping me to think about these issues.

    <p>

    Regards,

    <p>

    John
     
  8. Kevin,
    As you have probably gathered by now prices of LF or any
    photographic gear for that matter is not a reliable indicator. It all
    depends on what the buyer is prepared to pay, what type of gear they
    are prepared to consider (some people have strange and strong
    preconceptions) and whether they know where to look. I picked up a
    good Horseman LS at a liquidation sale for just over $100, a
    Schneider 150mm / 265mm lens on eBay for $150 and a set of five film
    backs for less than $30 from the same auction site. I am sure that
    others have also bucked the shop prices and acquired decent LF gear
    at knock down prices.

    <p>

    Clive
     
  9. DK, I agree. LF equipment just doesn't wear out too often. I have
    been using a mix of old and new equipment for nearly 40 years. It's
    just tools and I use whatever I have or can afford.

    <p>

    Don't knock those who buy new and get up. They are the suppliers of
    the good, barely used, equipment that ebay is filled with. Those of
    us who actually use the stuff need these people to take the edge off
    of the new prices for us.

    <p>

    But to the point of the thread, I always recommend that beginers get
    a Graphic or Busch press camera and use it for awhile before going to
    a view camera. You can get this outfit: camera with 135mm lens, 90mm
    angulon, some used holders, and a meter = $500 or less which is about
    the price of that new digital snapshot camera that will be obsolete
    in three years. When they do get ready for the view camera, I
    recommend a Graphic view to start. It's cheap, sturdy, and small and
    they can use their existing lenses. When it is time to step up to
    the "big time" cameras you can get every penny back from your
    investment in these old cameras. Try getting a 100% return from that
    $4K wizzband deluxe outfit! Meanwhile, you have just given yourself
    thousands of dollars of education. wf
     
  10. >> Don't knock those who buy new and get up. <<

    <p>

    Sorry, I meant to say:
    Don't knock those who buy new and then get out of LF.

    <p>

    wf
     
  11. It could have been me you were referring to, since I mentioned
    the cash outlay involved in my move up to LF, in comparing the
    relative start-up costs between 35/MF, LF, and Digital gear. It was
    closer to 5 grand, and while I would be the first one to agree that
    that is a lot of money, it's nowhere near top of the scale for LF. I
    certaily agree that you can get into LF for a lot less, but my
    situation was and is different. I'm new to LF, but don't consider
    myself a biginner.

    <p>

    Even if you were not referring to me I still think you have to
    take this on an individual basis. I totally agree that folks should
    know that you can get into LF for a lot less than I did. It would not
    be a good idea to spend 5 grand on a 'tryout', but in my case I was
    past that.

    <p>

    I've done this most of my adult life, fell in love w/the idea of
    doing the alternative processes, and contact printing w/POP paper.
    After thirty years of Portrait/People/Street scene work, this is a
    logical growth step for me and I can use my LF gear for my business
    and personal work.

    <p>

    I audited this forum for a year and researched the LF equipment I
    wanted and where I could get it at the lowest price. I could have
    easily ended up getting a LF outfit for a lot less than I did.

    <p>

    I had always wanted a Toyo 810MII, and one hit the market brand
    new, for about $1500.00 less than what the dealers were willing to
    sell it to me for at the exact same time I had decided to make the
    move.
    The camera was for sale for about the same price as a used one
    and it was get it now or pass. One of my better decisions 'cause I
    love this camera. This camera will be with me for life.

    <p>

    I didn't start out with the mind set, 'I think I'll blow 5 grand
    on a LF outfit'. The camera was $3300, I got a Docter Optics 360mm
    F6.7 Tessar for $737.00 from Mr Cad, and a Wollensak Velostigmat 300mm
    F4.5 SF for $285.00. I didn't 'splurge' moneywise and everything was
    'cut to the bone', and after getting some invaluable feedback about
    the Toyo 810MII from Dave Anton, I got the camera while the 'getting
    was good'.

    <p>

    You can easily get into LF for less than $1000.00 if you're
    willing to wait, and pick your spots, and I mentioned my LF budget in
    the context of its comparison to digital gear.
     
  12. Although I get where you're coming from I have to disagree somewhat.
    My first and current LF outfit is an Ebony with a few (new) schneider
    lenses and 10 new Toyo film holders. This outfit cost me a small
    fortune!! BUT I knew that I wanted a set up that I could use and
    never have to change/upgrade. I appreciate that there are many fine
    photographers using much cheaper equipment and still turning out
    fabulous work. But I could not afford to buy an outfit only to find
    that I needed/wanted to upgrade it after a short time. Trade-in
    values here in the UK are laughable!! (And not just for LF kit). I
    spent a great deal of time and effort researching my options (and
    without the benefit of the vast pool of knowledge on this forum!!)
    before I bought my camera. But I agree that a first timer to
    photography would be better off trying a different format than LF at
    any price! However, the step to LF is a daunting enough prospect for
    even the most seasoned photographer and I wonder how many of this
    type of user would spend a few grand on an outfit if they were not
    real sure that it was the format for them.
    As for LF being a format for the well-off, well it is!! You either
    have to be wealthy or prepared to divert as much of your hard earned
    cash as you can manage to pursue your passion. Have you seen the
    price of gear? Film? Especially if you want to buy new!
    As for encouraging potential LF users. IMHO anyone considering moving
    to LF would probably be au fait with smaller formats and would be
    aware of the disciplined and expensive nature of LF photography. Its
    not like someone who is new to 35mm, starting out with a basic camera
    to see if he/she gets on with the hobby. Here in the UK you would be
    hard pushed to find a good condition used outfit for less than £600
    (not sure what $1000 converts into!!). Such an outfit would be
    described at best as a "user". I personally would consider it a waste
    of money following this route.
    When I moved to LF I KNEW that it was the format for me! At first I
    struggled with tilts etc, but the fact that I had so much money tied
    up in my gear, IT WAS GOING TO WORK!!
    Finally, my advice to potential users of LF would be this: If you are
    serious then buy the best you can afford, but be aware that as a
    format it will be mighty expensive in all departments!! But despite
    these negative vibes, LF is still the most addictive and pleasurable
    type of photography!! Regards Paul
     
  13. Kevin ...
    I'm impressed with the awesome amount of money that some posters on
    this forum have to spend on LF photo gear. I take my hat off to them.
    As a working-class stiff with a family to feed, I have to scrimp and
    save to buy, say, one lens. It's possible to get workable gear at
    bargain prices. About two years ago, I purchased a used Calumet 8x10
    C1 and an old 300mm lens, both for under $800.
     
  14. For any newcomer there is a balancing act when it comes to starting
    out in large format. Cost vs reliability. By reliability I am
    refering to a used outfit being in good enough shape to eliminate
    frustrating variables. Is the bellows light proof, is there
    excessive play in the standards on the rail, does it lock down the
    standards properly, what condition is the lens, the shutter, the film
    back etc. New you have the added expense but at least you know
    everything is new and works properly and is (supposedly) in alignment
    and calibrated. As someone who started out with used cameras
    (calumet 400c and Speed Graphic) I would have saved myself a lot of
    time buying new. I agree with Dan Smith about the the Calumet pkg.
    its new relatively robust for the price and the Caltar 150mm or 200mm
    lens are an excellent lens for the price with Calumet support and
    accesories available.
     
  15. I agree with Paul, but I also think one has to balance the available
    budget with the available equipment. As an adult who has no children
    I was able to buy the best I could possibly afford, and I think this
    was a matter of choice, like someone said "there is nothing like the
    right tool for the job". IMO I always try to buy the best that I can
    afford, on the long run I end up saving more than if I bought a
    cheaper article which I would have to replace, trade in later for
    something better. There is nothing wrong with spending $4000 in an
    outfit that will last a life time, over the years the price will seem
    negligible. On the other hand if I can get an 8x10 Deardoff in mint
    condition for $500 I am sure as hell not going to pass on the
    opportunity. My initial LF purchase was of the expensive kind, Linhof
    TK 45, but as I mentioned before, this camera still looks and works
    like it was new...minus some fading numbers from use. :))
    I certainly think that averaged over the 12 years I have owed this
    camera, the price was worth it. Having said that, I could not pass
    the offer of a speed graphic in mint condition with case and bulb
    flash :)) for 350 dollars...I had great fun with this camera, even
    taking hand held fotos on 4x5...what a great experience! But in the
    end, getting the series VI filters, etc became a hassle and decided
    to sell it to a beguinner for the same price who has had a lot of fun
    and learning experiences with the camera. in the end it all comes to
    a matter of available funds and commitment to the format, and
    yes....some status recognition..:)))

    <p>

    OTH I have to say that when I chose an 8x10 camera, I could not see
    myself paying $6000 to $9000 for an Ebony, heck for that I can buy a
    Canham 12x20 and a couple of lenses with film holders. So I went with
    the Gandolfi, I do beleive that there comes a time when the "best" is
    not necesarily the best at those prices.
     
  16. I did exactly what Paul Owen did, for the same reasons. I bought an
    Ebony, two new lenses (1 R, 1 S), and a QuickLoad holder. I knew that
    I wanted to commit to LF, and didn't want to go through "upgrade"
    cycles (which would cost more, in the long run). I researched to
    choose equipment that I would buy once and never find "lacking". Cost
    was not my primary issue - I waited to save the money I needed.

    <p>

    If you are unsure of your commitment, or can't afford to buy your
    "final" gear, then finding bargains is a worthy idea.

    <p>

    If you really don't know if LF is suitable, rent the gear.
     
  17. Don't get me wrong with my comment...I wasn't aiming it at anyone or
    anything.....it's just that to me, anyways, a view camera is a pretty
    simple machine....when you're starting out there is simply no need for
    the kind of controls and features that you get on some of the high-end
    cameras.....it reminds me of an assistant we had once who couldn't do
    scheimpflug on our toyo....he insisted that we had to have a
    Sinar....if you can't do it visually, then having a scheimpflug scale
    & indicator is no big help either....I guess my point is this: get the
    best deal you can, but beware of really old beaters if you want to
    learn & enjoy it. There's nothing more frustrating than a camera that
    won't lock down, or chasing mysterious pinholes in a worn-out
    bellows....I agree that moving into LF can be a real mystery,
    especially if there's nobody around you to help....it just seems like
    a disservice (sp??) to say you have to have a $$$$$ camera or else you
    can't do large format....same goes for lighting too...I don't know how
    many threads there've been here and on other forums as well, that all
    say you need to use broncolors or elinchroms, kinflos and
    hosemasters.....I dunno, could just be me....I work in a place with
    zero in the way of equipment budgets....we use old cameras & when they
    break down, keep using them....and yet they work just fine, I see our
    stuff printed in 4 color, murals made, going on PR releases....shot on
    what some people call budget cameras and pieces of junk.....

    <p>

    Opinions expressed in this message may not represent the policy of my
    agency
     
  18. Regardless of format, Photography for those who are serious
    about it, is not cheap. I think we're mixing up issues, you get what
    you get, with what you got, but if you're well off and buying toys
    that you use for a while and then get rid of at a considerable loss
    when you become bored, that is something else.

    <p>

    I buy cameras and camera gear for life. The bottom line
    regarding my selection of gear is will it give me trouble free
    operation after going off warranty. I try to get things where the
    initial outlay is the only 'big ticket' payment I have to make outside
    of regular maintenence and since I take care of my stuff, I rarely
    have to take my stuff to the shop.

    <p>

    The only equipment I've ever gotten rid of were my Rolleis 'cause
    they were in the shop too much. I made the switch to Mamiya and
    stopped the financial drain. There is not much to go wrong with LF,
    and I have some definite goals to attain w/LF(contact printing), so LF
    is a cinch for me.

    <p>

    Regardless of format, the cost is going to add up if you're
    serious about Photography even if you're not doing it as a business.
    There's no getting around the fact that it is expensive even as a
    serious hobby.

    <p>

    I think Leica is dynamite, but I wouldn't buy a leica 'cause I
    don't think there'll be a $1000.00 difference in the shot I take with
    a Leica versus the shot I take with the 35mm cameras I've got. I read
    up on Sinar cameras, they seem to be arguably the ultimate to some
    folks, I'm not about to pay $10,000 for one, even if I had the money.

    <p>

    I'll be the first one to suggest Robert White, Mr. Cad, and e-bay
    as a way to save money, even if you have it, because that's the way to
    be. We all know that Photography involves a lot of impulse buying
    only the rich folks can afford to be silly.

    <p>

    There are several issues at work here. Nobody is going to do any
    serious work with a 'point and shoot', so there is a bottom line and
    dollar amount that must be spent to do good work, but the stands and
    strobes and filters and so forth in addition to the camera system are
    going to add up.

    <p>

    No matter what you plan on spending on Photography, you're going
    to probably end up spending a lot more. That's an entirely different
    proposition than being a 'gearhead', which I define as being someone
    who buys more gear than they really need, essentially because they
    love to buy gear.
     
  19. 1x standard house brick $0.02

    <p>

    1x hacksaw ~ $5.00

    <p>

    1x visit to camera shop at 2:30AM - free

    <p>

    Spend the remaining $894.98 on film.

    <p>


    (only kidding)

    <p>

    More practically, if you live in or near a large city the $900 could
    be spent over a long period by renting a decent LF outfit only for
    those weekends when you're going to actually go out and use it. You
    can usually rent gear from Friday lunchtime through to monday morning
    for the price of a single day's hire. Has the added advantage that if
    you ever get enough to buy your own rig, you'll be a lot more
    familiar with the equipment and know what you want.
     
  20. This is a good discussion but it has evolved into two parts.

    <p>

    If you can afford the "good stuff" by all means do it. I shoot 4x10 a
    lot. I use a homemade camera exclusively for 4x10 even though I have
    a 4 x10 Canham in the closet. I use what I'm comfortable with. I just
    do not like to use the Canham although I know it is a fine camera ---
    for someone :)

    <p>

    But the original challenge was to put together a good outfit for
    little money. I think this is a really good exercise to put things
    into perspective. Good photography is the desired result and that can
    be accomplished just as well with an economy outfit as with a luxury
    outfit. wf
     
  21. Kevin,

    <p>

    I am African and we have a saying in Swahili that goes like "He/She
    who chooses a hoe he is not a farmer" the same applies for first
    timers like me in LF. A year ago I bought a miniature (2X3)Speed
    Graphic for $250 + D.C tax at a flea market that comprised of a 105mm
    Schneider Xenar, a 101mm Ektar and a 65mm Wollesak Raptar all in mint
    condition. The seller even threw in 6 or 8 holders and a nice case. I
    have since been learning the craft, I feel I can pretty much use a LF
    camera in the most effective and efficient manner relative to the $$
    I will commit. Let's not forget that, it is the eye and not the
    equipment that makes a good photographer although I will admit that a
    good equipment helps too.

    <p>

    Adrian
     
  22. Probably something else that I'd add...without going off on a tangent
    like I did before (sorry, must be in a bad mood today...)...is to you
    know, get a usable camera, but if you want to spend money (and can),
    get the best lens you can find.....that's all a view camera is, a box
    that you can put a lens on and stick a holder in.....

    <p>

    I'd also add, in regards to getting a good used high-end LF camera,
    hey---that's great for some people--but price out all the accesories
    you think you'll ever want before you buy the camera....lensboards,
    extension rails, short rails, bag bellows, extension bellows, fresnel
    gg attachments, viewing hoods, right angle finders, uh....let's see?
    compendium shades, roll film holders, etc. The cost & availability of
    some of that stuff can be surprising and depends alot on your location
    as well. Like I was saying...it's often the little things that add up
    the most.....I just went the opposite way, having worked with and
    around bare bones stuff my whole working life, I went with a basic
    camera and a couple of decent lenses. I figured all the fancy stuff
    would just be lost on me anyways....

    <p>

    Opinions expressed in this message may not represent the policy of my
    agency
     
  23. HEY STUART... I am a bricklayer by trade, and I would like to know
    where you are getting your standard house bricks for 2 cents. The
    last bricks I ordered were 38 cents each plus sales tax!!! ;0D
     
  24. Kevin,

    <p>

    Although I agree with some of the content in this discussion I
    cannot fully agree that a quality LF camera is not the way to go for
    a relative beginner. As for myself I was able to start on a Calumet
    C400 but quickly matured to a nice Ebony SV45U. Does my photographic
    skills warrant such an expensive camera? Would I not be able to make
    good photographs with a less expensive model? Of course the answers
    are I do not NEED an Ebony and yes I could probably accomplish the
    same results I presently get with a Crown Graphic. So why buy an
    Ebony?

    <p>

    Well just as when many folks invest in a new vehicle. You know what
    you are buying and what the car is capble of. You could have bought
    used but you might of had to settle for a different smaller or
    perhaps large car. You were not able to buy the exact model used
    that you wanted at the time you desired and wished to make the
    purchase.

    <p>

    More importantly you now have an investment in a new LF camera that
    has a specific dollar value. As long as you take care of your
    investment you can probably sell your expensive new camera and
    obtain a good portion of your money back. So this is really not such
    a big risk of "cash outlay" as some may think, especially if you are
    a relative beginner. You now have a known product and if you did
    your homework it will have a very good resale value. (should you
    change your mind about LF photography)

    <p>

    My vote goes for buying what best suits you budget and meets all
    your perceived needs. This will be different for each person, but I
    have learned my lesson through woodworking, "Always buy the best
    tools you can afford and only feel the pain once in your pocketbook.
    You will then always enjoy using these tools well into the future,
    making the job easier and more pleasurable."

    <p>

    Regards,
     
  25. Well stated, Adrian. We have a saying in the US: "That's it in a
    nutshell!"

    <p>

    >>>>Adrian said: Let's not forget that, it is the eye and not the
    equipment that makes a good photographer although I will admit that a
    good equipment helps too.<<<<
     
  26. I think more can be done for the format if the more experienced
    shooters take interested parties under their wing and instruct them.
    Show them the ropes and let them take a picture on your equipment. I
    also believe that practicing LF photography as an inexperienced
    shooter is always more interesting when sharing the experience with
    others. Granted as time goes on you'll want to strike out on your own,
    but a LF companion has it rewards. When people see me shooting my
    camera it always brings interesting comments. From now on I'm going to
    let them take a look thru the GG, and if their a shooter let them take
    a B&W. I always carry more than enough. If the experience pips their
    interest I'll help them with buying a camera.
     
  27. DK....I think you and everybody else is right talking from
    their
    individual perspective, and I understand that the choice I made might
    not work for others and I would just add this.

    <p>

    I am a woodworker
    just like Grey, I bought the best tools I could afford, which helped
    to keep the fingers that I need dearly to operate my cameras.

    <p>

    Woodworking teaches you some of the same things as LF(all
    photography for that matter), discipline, patience, and using brutal
    honesty in working out a budget for a project. That's why I KNEW I LF
    was going to work for me.

    <p>

    When I started auditing this forum, I was open to everything, any
    deal, any camera, and so for quite a long time I watched, listened,
    and waited. Finding out about Robert White(thanks to Dave Anton), Mr
    Cad, and dealing w/extreme caution on e-bay, helped me save a BIG
    CHUNK on the LF gear I finally decided on.

    <p>

    Stating what I spent on LF in this post doesn't give you the
    sense of the time that I took to research this. Quite a bit of time
    was spread out between my purchase of the camera, each lens,
    the tripod, the head and so forth. The whole process has taken close
    to a couple of years I believe.

    <p>

    Quite a bit of time was taken inquiring, negotiating, e-mailing,
    talking to folks about several cameras. I was close to getting an
    810M from a dealer you all know for $1295, and that camera was sold
    before I could close the deal. I had several promising deals fall
    through. I'm the last guy in the world to 'blow a wad' on a 'name
    brand' to 'show off' w/either the cars I drive, my woodworking tools,
    or the camera I was finally lucky to get.

    <p>

    Bottom line is that I happy with what I've got for the amount of
    money I paid for it, and the two year process it took is over.
    There's no bad taste in my mouth. This cost more than what I thought
    it would at the beginning, but there is not one single regret, since
    this is for a lifetime and it's over.
     
  28. My LF setup cost a little bit more than the $900 goal, but it was put
    together in a manner that worked well for me. I think my #1 purchase
    is something LF beginners should seriously consider.

    <p>

    1. LF class at community college $142

    <p>

    The class included access to B&W and color darkrooms, free chemistry,
    and use of 4x5 monorails (Linhof, Sinar, Calumet) and field cameras
    (Tachihara). This was one of the better investments I made. I
    learned how to load and develop sheet film, how to use the movements
    on both monorails and field cameras, and quite a few other things.
    If I decided LF wasn't for me, I would have learned that up front.
    However, after taking the class, I decided LF really fit my
    personality and that I would be better off with a field camera than a
    monorail. I looked at Speed Graphics, but had a good opportunity to
    get a Shen Hao direct from Shanghai.

    <p>

    2. Shen Hao 4x5 from Shanghai (brought over by a colleague) $525
    3. Calumet Caltar II-S 150/5.6 on eBay $200
    4. Minolta Autometer IVf from KEH $150
    5. Six used film holders from local shop $ 50
    6. Used Tiltall tripod (had already) $ 50
    7. Cable release $ 5
    8. Homemade darkcloth $ 2

    <p>

    Total with class: $1124.
    Total without class: $982

    <p>

    If I absolutely had to get under the $900 mark, I could have used my
    35mm to meter, bought a less expensive meter, and/or bought a less
    expensive lens, such as a 203/7.7 Ektar.

    <p>

    Dave
     
  29. Hey, I understand...I use Leica rangefinders, and I used to have a
    pretty nice little Hasselblad setup.....look, I know it all adds up,
    I have what amounts to a nice little setup of studio gear myself, and
    pretty decent darkroom of my own....where I work, we have probably
    about $50K worth of equipment, and we're _nothing_ compared to a
    commercial studio...this is a non-profit agency. I appreciate fine
    tools, well machined cameras & lenses just as much as you do too
    probably....I looked at Linhofs, a Horseman, and a couple of Sinars,
    all I could afford....but went with the Cambo because it too, is a
    fine camera, and can do everything I need....and the accesories won't
    put me in the poor house when I need them....before that, I was using
    a Graphic View II and a couple of Schneider lenses....and doing
    freelance work of my own...my clients didn't know the shots were done
    on this old equipment, they just knew the chromes looked how they
    wanted to....what drove me crazy was that I was "spoiled" at work
    using our Japanese cameras.....

    <p>

    Believe me, the temptation was strong to buy a nice, exquisite camera
    that was a work of art unto itself.....but I've done that before with
    the Hasselblads and found myself making money with the Graphics and
    the beat up Nikons. Someone could spend a couple of hundred bucks on
    a camera, get a polaroid back, a few cases of film, about 350 film
    holders, a case or two Fujichrome, and maybe a used Wing Lynch and
    run their own E6 for the price of some of those cameras.....

    <p>

    In the end it really _doesn't_ matter what you use, as long as it
    works for you.

    <p>

    Opinions expressed in this message may not represent the policy of my
    agency
     
  30. Oh yeah, seeing Dave's post up there reminds...my introduction to LF
    came in the way of messing around with press cameras in high school,
    getting crap jobs as an assistant (loading holders for hours on end),
    and then going to a 2 yr. technical school in photography and using
    old Calumet cameras and then Sinar Alpinas....then hurled out into the
    world of commercial studios only to find myself once again, loading
    holders all day long and sweeping studio floors....

    <p>

    His advice is the best, try to find a decent community college
    course....
    Opinions expressed in this message may not represent the policy of my
    agency
     
  31. Great post, Kevin. I'm a person who appreciates finely
    engineered cameras, watches, and motorcycles but can afford
    none of them. I'm a student on a budget and have to make do
    with what I can afford. When I sold my medium format system to
    get into LF, I debated whether to buy one of several high-end
    cameras that were beautifully made but opted to go the budget
    route. After much thought over a Tachihara for field use, I
    decided to go the route that it seems very few people go: build a
    Bender 4x5.

    <p>

    The camera is no Linhof, but it has reminded me that
    photography is more about my vision than my equipment. As
    much as I wish the camera was as silky smooth as a Linhof
    (can you tell I like Linhofs?), I enjoy the experience of using a
    camera that people consider a piece of garbage compared to
    most LF cameras. If I were to make my income from
    photography or did digital macro work, the Bender would not
    have been my first choice, but I realistically cannot see myself
    actually NEEDING another camera. It does everything I need it to
    do in the field or in my apartment.

    <p>

    I already had a Sekonic light meter and tripod, so figure a bit
    more money if you don't have either one, but this is how much it
    cost me:

    <p>

    Bender kit: $280
    misc. parts: $20
    Caltar II-N 150/5.6: $250
    bag bellows: $30
    dark cloth: $30
    long monorail for macro work: $30
    Fuji Quickload holder: $100
    TOTAL: $740

    <p>

    Not bad. I can't tell the difference between the images I've made
    with this camera and a Calumet NX that I recently acquired (a
    great camera for studio work or field work if you have a car).

    <p>

    Again, great post, Kevin.
     
  32. Well, i generally agree with the other posters in this topic.

    <p>

    I just started in LF, after tying 35mm (tiny slides) by getting a
    Crown Graphic, 90mm angulon 6.8 and 6x9 back(for about $380). I
    (think I) broke it amlost immediately. The ball bearings (can't
    figure out what those are for though) are falling out of the box.
    Still workable though.

    <p>

    Bottom line, get the cheap camera, and it doesn't matter if you break
    it. you can always get the $4k ++ new lenses and ebony, Linhof etc
    when you grow up with the camera. Doesn't make sense to spend that
    kind of cash just to start.

    <p>

    In the meantime, I'll just amble along with my (seriously crippled
    with reference to movements) Crown Graphic until I am familiar enough
    then get a calumet or linhof...

    <p>

    P.S.: Any help with the Crown Graphic would be greatly appreciated
     
  33. Let me give you all two more real life examples, and then maybe you'll
    understand a little of my attitude on this.....years ago I worked in
    the stockroom of a camera store. I didn't do too well out on the floor
    because I didn't have quite the "right" atttitude that the owner
    wanted.....one day this student pulled up in front of the store in a
    nice little sportscar and came in and said something like: "I'm taking
    a photo course next year and need a camera, I want the best that money
    can buy"....we were a Leica dealer, so the owner took her over to the
    case and by the time she left the store he had set her up with a nice
    Leica slr and a couple of lenses, PLUS a little darkroom
    outfit....after she left, I said something to him like "she would have
    been okay with a K1000 or an FE2..." and he replied "but she said she
    wanted the BEST money could buy"....ahh, the finer points....yes, a
    Leica is much better than an FE2, but will it help you take better
    photos? Hmmm....

    <p>

    My second example comes from some years later, working a short stint
    as an assistant in a large home furnishings/furniture studio....the
    guys I worked for were using 50+ yr. old deardorrfs, Wollensak and
    Ektar lenses, and shooting 4x5 through 8x10 chromes of very large
    sets. The sets were built on key walls that looked like a TV studio
    almost and lit with 25-30+ Mole Richardson hotlights...solarspots,
    nooklites, mickey-moles etc. They didn't use shutters, but instead
    just hung little cardboard film boxes off the front of the lenses and
    used stopwatches instead because the exposures were all like 15
    minutes long....they also didn't use light meters--at all---everything
    was lit & judged by an experienced eye, and a polaroid or two. In some
    cases, they'd burn a sheet of b&w as a test & run that before a sheet
    of CT....for the actual shot, they'd often just shoot one sheet only &
    run that. The final product was done on longroll contact printers and
    the prints were all color balanced against the furniture in their
    lab.....and then bound into massive volumes for the showrooms....you
    could see a hair lying on a tabletop, the images were so
    tacksharp...all on this old, beat up equipment....there are probably a
    hundred or more studios in High Point NC area that operate this way
    today, including the largest photo studio in the world....

    <p>

    so, forgive me if I come off sounding like a jerk, but also kind of
    understand, that my background in LF has taught something a little
    different than fine, exquisite tools and high-tech lighting systems,
    spot meters etc. as being the "basic" equipment needed....

    <p>

    Opinions expressed in this message may not represent the policy of my
    agency
     
  34. With all the digital hype, people are sometimes willing to let go off
    their LF stuff for throwaway prices to get into digital. <p>
    I got back into LF earlier this year when I was offered a deal I
    couldn't resist: Cambo Legend 4x5 with Rodenstock Apo-Sironar-N
    240mm, 9 Fidelity holders, Polaroid 545i holder and Bogen 3051 tripod
    with 3039 head, all in 100% mint condition, for a bit over $900..
     
  35. DK....what the owner did wasn't dishonest, but it wasn't totally
    'upfront either'. You put together a stack of reasonably well done
    images, and tell someone to pick out which one was done by the Leica,
    the Nikon, the Contax, the Canon and so forth, nobody would be able to
    do it on a consistent basis.

    <p>

    The same thing applies to LF whether the image was done by gear
    that is 1 or 50 yrs old. I'm older than that Deardorff that you
    mentioned and am at a point in life where there are certain things I
    don't want to mess with.

    <p>

    There is one headache I don't need, and that is buying other
    peoples headaches. Throughout my 35mm/MF/and now LF buying history,
    I've run into three kinds of equipment. The top used gear is
    used/mint/demo/just sat there and gathered dust, and sold by folks who
    are willing to give you a good deal.

    <p>

    Then there is stuff that has been used and used a lot with a lot
    of miles on it, but maintained and it may or may not last another 20yr
    w/out a major overhaul and it may or may not have something wrong with
    it, like a lens I almost bought a while ago that in fact need a major
    overhaul of the shutter. Folks sell this stuff for what it's worth
    SOMETIMES.

    <p>

    Then there is stuff that is shot, busted, broke, with stuff
    missing, or just recently repaired and butchered by the guy who did
    the repair, and being sold by a con man who will disappear the moment
    he takes your money.

    <p>

    I've been involved in all three situations, and what basically
    saved my butt many times from being taken was my experience. It makes
    sense to buy basic if you are starting out and not sure if you want to
    do this for a lifetime. A young kid starting out doesn't
    necessarily need what I may get. I'm not going to spend any more time
    defending what I got, I'm happy with it and that's it, but I would
    emphasize that going the other route isn't always that easy and simple
    either.

    <p>

    As per your example of your studio, there are folks who can work
    magic w/the most basic equipment, BUT it takes a lot of time, energy,
    patience, luck, and a hard head to protect yourself from some of the
    folks out there selling used gear, and 'duck and dodge' and still come
    up with decent gear. It isn't as simple as it's been thrown out in
    this forum.

    <p>

    A young student who may not necessarily know what to look for,
    what to ask, how to protect himself, might not want to be thrown 'out
    there' without the help of somebody else who's experienced in this.

    <p>

    I agree w/getting gear on a small budget, but it wouldn't do the
    beginner any good to get burned w/useless gear and no money. Having
    said that, send these folks out for these 'deals' but give them help
    if they ask for it.

    <p>

    You're not coming off like a jerk, you're expressing your
    rightful opinion w/style and insight.
     
  36. I have recently taken up LF (<6 months) and it wouldnt have happened
    if I had to spend $1000 to 'have a play'. eBay has been a real source
    of old but usable equipment that has helped with the investment. I
    bought a Super Cambo monorail, 10 DDS, 135 Symmar lens and lens panel
    for about $500. Since being hooked I have added an Omega D5X enlarger
    ($300) and a SA 65mm F8 ($350). All the equipment is built like a
    tank and feels as if it could outlast me !
    I will probably change to an ebony RSW from Robert White - mainly for
    portability but I dont need to, to get great pleasure and an escape
    from the fast pace of life.
     
  37. I've had a ton of fun reading through these. Everybody seems to end
    up with a Caltar 150 IIN which is a great choice. Bottom line is it
    is do-able in the price range Kevin suggested, and with no quality
    lost in the end result. And there's no wrong answer. I would
    recommend the used Cambo outfits common on EBAY over the Speeds and
    Crowns, but that's just me. They're nearly indestructable and you can
    wind the bellows into a knot with movements that you don't need!

    <p>

    I'll date myself but when my best friend and I were high school kids
    and getting our first car, his was a '58 Corvette, (what he could
    afford) and mine was a '56 Volkswagen with a broken crankshaft to fix,
    (what I could afford). Ultimately we both got to the same
    destinations many times over, but God that Corvette was pretty! Dark
    blue with the white insert. Yeah, we both got there but there's no
    denying he got there in STYLE.

    <p>

    The guy that spent the big bucks on the Ebony and Fuji's did just
    fine. People get so wierd on Ebay for high end stuff he'd probably
    re-sell it and MAKE money. Meanwhile, just like the Corvette, it's
    fun to dream about but I'll have to keep getting to my photographic
    destinations with the old tried and true.

    <p>

    Let's see, Folmer & Schwing 11X14 on EBAY $362.00 (about the same
    shape as the Volkswagen! I never learn) Schneider 305mm G-Claron in
    barrel $161.00 (Ebay again) Polaroid Copal shutter for the claron $55.
    2 more 1114 holders $285.00 New bellows for the 1114 $185 OOPS I'm
    $50 over budget. Contact prints: incredible.

    <p>

    Does anyone know where I can get a good used forklift to hold the damn
    thing up?

    <p>

    And DK, (can't resist, don't worry, you're preaching to the choir)
    somebody had to pay the new price for those old Deardorffs, and
    probably in 1930's depression dollars that if you compared to even the
    Ebony now would astound you. 50++ years later they're still slugging
    it out. Pays to buy the best you can afford.

    <p>

    Thanks for a good read to all! Jim Galli
     
  38. Adrian:
    Your post is going up on my darkroom wall. Thank you very much.
    Dean
     
  39. Well Jonathan, I wasn't saying the store owner was dishonest in that
    transaction...you know that's the way the camera store business
    works....we were one of the few Leica & Hasselblad dealers in our
    area, you gotta move that stuff....I could tell you some more
    depressing stories from that side of the business, but that's not the
    point of this thread and frankly, not all camera stores operate that
    way....like I was saying, my attitude was just a little more---shall I
    say--"pedestrian" in what a beginner needs who has never touched a
    35mm camera before in their lives....but then that's why I was
    stocking shelves and always getting yelled at when I worked the
    counters....

    <p>

    This other stuff is just the way I've encountered the commercial
    business as being as an assistant....see, I'm not some huge big-time
    shooter....I just have managed to earn a decent living doing something
    I enjoy....I don't take myself too seriously, I don't claim to be some
    hotshot studio shooter, or a fine artist. But I do know how to load a
    holder, and do scheimpflug, how not to blow up a strobe pack, and all
    the other little tricks of the
    trade.

    <p>

    What you're missing from my posts is that when I said I upgraded to a
    Cambo, I meant it. To me, that is not some cheapo camera that is going
    to break down and leave me in the lurch on a job....the way I
    understand some of this is that somehow a camera that costs less than
    X
    amount, is inferior and doomed....see, I could have bought a
    used Sinar or a Horseman, a Linhof or any number of fine cameras for
    LESS than the Cambo. But, then they'd be used....have you ever priced
    a replacement stock bellows for even a Toyo? We've replaced 3 bellows
    here over the past decade, and even Toyo parts are very expensive.
    Don't even get into rails, recessed lensboards, bag bellows, hoods
    etc. What I'm saying is that I make money with LF gear, I don't
    particularly enjoy using them, I never have. But, it's something I
    know how to do, and I used that experience to look at what I needed to
    get things done. You are simply not going to find commercial studios,
    or people in business in any field (or for long) who are using the
    most expensive, exquisite materials there are....it just does not
    happen in the world of photography, or at least not in the studios
    I've ever been in.

    <p>

    Oh yeah, Deardorrfs are all over the place in the furniture studios,
    as are Moles and Colortran lights etc. It's what they use, that's all
    there is to it. You think these are little, low-end businesses? Think
    again...this is and always has been a huge industry. Some of these
    places were shooting up to 16x20, even back into the 90's. Take a tour
    sometime if they still offer them at the big studios...they're using
    those cameras and all that other gear because it's all paid for. Those
    studios have been in business across many generations....and they
    really churn out the shots. It's a huge production over there during
    furniture market, and there are literally hundreds of photographers
    working in that area. But in my experience, that's the way it is in
    business....you make your purchase and just use the thing until it
    absolutely ceases to function....everyone else may be using the latest
    whiz-bang camera, but you could still be chugging along with your
    "yashica-blad"....it doesn't matter as long as you keep getting paid,
    and what I'm trying to tell you is that my experience with the less
    fancy cameras is that they will do this rather well.

    <p>

    So, yeah...I sometimes wish we used better gear, but I'm sitting here
    on the edge of a "working" studio...using at least one camera that's
    20+ yrs. old, was here when I started and will be when I leave....it's
    not some piece of junk, it's certainly not fancy, but I think it's a
    pretty good return on our money.....

    <p>

    Opinions expressed in this message may not represent the policy of my
    agency
     
  40. Let me add one more thing....then it's back to the gloomy recesses of
    the lab for me....you talk about making a wise purchase for life.
    Okay, good point. I have bailed some folks out who've made some
    mistakes buying used processors and lab equipment over the past few
    years.....if you're thinking of getting an Ilford 2150 dirt cheap,
    talk to me first....same with a Royalprint, etc. You think LF is
    mysterious, wait 'til you get into photofinishing gear! There's a ton
    of great stuff flooded onto the market now, what with labs going
    digital....but alot of folks have never experienced the hassle of
    dealing with this stuff daily.....

    <p>

    The purchase for life? Well, I'm 35....I started assisting when I was
    17. I have 2 years of newspaper stringing experience prior to that.
    I've been in the NPPA since high school. I practically grew up hanging
    out in newspaper darkrooms and sweeping the floors of photo
    studios...I've had crappy, minimum wage lab jobs, assisting jobs
    etc....but I always learned something from those jobs. I had to "sell"
    myself on getting a new camera....I didn't buy that one before long,
    serious consideration and planning the future for my little
    career....so, yeah, 50 years from now (if they still make film), I
    hope to be using my Cambo. I made that purchase using what I thought
    was the same logic some of you all are saying......I dunno, maybe I
    have an identity problem or something (haha)....?

    <p>

    That's it for me....

    <p>

    Opinions expressed in this message may not represent the policy of my
    agency
     
  41. I hope this'll make you laugh, but when you were around five, all
    this stuff was way less!
     
  42. There were alot more sheet films on the market too....when I was
    five. Actually, I'm a real pack rat when it comes to cameras and still
    have one of my firsts...a 126 Mick-o-matic.....which I probably could
    unload on eBay as a collectors item for alot more than my folks paid
    for it back then....

    <p>

    This whole thread reminds me of a camera we took in last year as an
    artifact here....it came out of an old portrait studio and had been in
    use from the late 30's all the way through the mid 80's. It was a
    Century Studio camera ...that had a split 5x7 back, and a dallyemyer
    lens with waterhouse stops and a packard shutter. The same person used
    it that entire time, and they'd set up a system to just knock out
    these studio portraits using this thing...we got something like
    25-30,000 negs or so with it as well.... The back was so used, that it
    had grooves worn it where the holders were being slid in & out...I've
    never seen anything like it. And yet here was this mom & pop studio,
    working in one little town, shooting practically every headshot for
    over 50 yrs on the same piece of equipment....you know 1980-85?
    Shooting portraits & bridals with that beast?? Like I said, it was
    paid for....

    <p>

    Opinions expressed in this message may not represent the policy of my
    agency
     
  43. Don't you know it! A camera that has touched a lot of lives.
    Maybe digital will perform a kind of 'left handed function' of pushing
    photo gear prices back to where they belong, lowering the cost of
    having fun.
     
  44. One of the first images that got me interested in Photography was
    a 'TV' series with Charles Bronson I think, called something like 'I
    am a Camera' or something along those lines or something similar I
    can't remember exactly. The show started out with I think a 'press'
    camera raised into view with the strobe firing off.

    <p>

    I've had that image in the back of my mind to this day.
     
  45. Well...now we need to start a new thread...no, I'm afraid that digital
    will eventually kill off the availablity of sheet film...or at least
    in a way that it's still affordable. I'm not one to moan & groan about
    the major manufacturers, but the writing is on the wall I'm
    afraid....you know, in the preservation community there were certain
    lab films that were unequalled for mundane things like copywork. The
    commercial labs quit using them, so now they're gone....there's still
    a need for them, there are no substitutes on the market, so what are
    you gonna do? No, there will still be some films left, and smaller
    companies may take over....but, back to when I was 5, well....super
    speed graphics were in use professionally, and films? Pack films were
    being phased out, but look at all the sheet sizes & stocks.....those
    were the days to get into LF. Not so much now.... it won't be the
    cameras that are expensive...it will be the film. Film is always the
    cheapest thing, but not when it becomes near obsolete.....

    <p>

    wow, you all really picked me up today....gee thanks.

    <p>

    Opinions expressed in this message may not represent the policy of my
    agency.
     
  46. There were some things back then that were great. You could go to
    the movies for a dime! A big juicy hamburger that would put anything
    today to shame was about 50 cents. I drove my brothers VW in high
    school and it was $3.00 to fill up! The guy who started inflation
    should've be shot!
     
  47. Talking about cost reminds me of a story. When I was in photography
    school in the 60's the owner of the school was a very "old school"
    portrait photographer. We could only shoot 4x5 and 5x7. We were
    forbidden even to bring a 35mm into the building. The owner said many
    times: "You young fellows will learn to compose in the camera because
    when you spend 13 cents for a sheet of film you will think twice
    before you trip the shutter." Let's see --- that was about $13.00 for
    a 100 sheet box of Royal Pan. Hmmm.
     
  48. Did I say film is always the cheapest??....I guess we'll have to
    adjust that .13/sheet to 2001 prices.....but, this old portrait studio
    I was talking about was shooting jobs at 2-up on a single 5x7
    sheet.....and the other places were doing one sheet only alot of
    times....maybe you all should figure in a walk-in freezer and a
    lifetime's supply of your favorite sheet film stock with the cost of a
    "basic" kit as well....heaven forbid you get into chrome films or
    polaroid...
     
  49. There is a nice Osaka 4x5 cherrywood in mint condotion with lens and
    darkcloth, a couple holders, cable release for $750US at Nelson's
    Cameras in San Diego, California, USA. Email me and I will provide you
    with a contact. There are many good values from people on this site.
    james
     
  50. Hello-

    i am a lurker. this post is two years old.

    I agree, large format is only going to get more and more expensive. I have shot with a Graflex B, which is essentially a giant 35mm SLR, but it makes me feel warm to know that I am using a camera which is as old as my grandfather. It costed me $90, the price of the "B" has declined immensely and can be had for as low as $30 on ebay! The "D" is a more modern camera, again, no movements, and can be had for well under $300.

    Though, I consider myself a newbie to large format, as i mentioned above, the B is a giant 35mm SLR, no movements. BUT IT IS AN SLR! HOW COOL IS THAT!

    Anyway, I bought a 4x5 "mystery calumet" I think it's a 540, but i am not sure, it has not arrived yet. I bought a 90mm angulon, not the best choice for 4x5, a very late model Graflex 6x7 back (very happy I can still shoot Graflex) for when I don't want to shoot 4x5 and until i get a better lens and all for about $600, and that includes shipping from various parts of the country!

    Large format does not need to cost $4,000 to start up in! If i spent another $60 i could have gotten a chrome Super Angulon (eBay)which would be more than enough coverage, and even older Normal and longer Wide Angles are plentiful and inexpensive! I could have bought MANY film holders for the price of the Graflex holder, used they run around $5-15! Even new, $10-25, since you can only get 8 6x7 frames, 4-8 film holders are really needed to get started, less if you shoot studio.

    I think that this is a good cause, and I hope that someone sees it in Unified and starts talking again. Nothing is more flexible that large, you can shoot many formats, many more than any other format. Almost every day when I am out shooting atleast two or three times, often more I keep saying "man I wish I had a view camera right now" Once you know what LF allows you to do, almost any situation can be tackled!

    It's like going from Velbon to Manfrotto. Velbon makes great tripods, and Contax, Nikon, Canon, ect make great cameras, but the Manfrotto is SO much more flexible, albeit a lot heavier. I still use my Velbon, I still use my Contax. But I am very excited to use a view camera again.
     

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