LF field camera with graflok back and more than 12"/300mm bellows

Discussion in 'Large Format' started by eric_m|4, Oct 20, 2020.

  1. Hey guys,
    I'd like to know what field cameras with above mentioned features the forum would suggest for still life, landscape/nature work (including some non-extreme macro), which preferably cost around $1000 (used). Thanks.
  2. AJG


    The 4x5 Linhof Technikardan and the last Zone VI cameras come to mind as far asfield cameras with that amount of bellows extension come to mind but I don't know if they have graflok backs. You probably won't find them for your price with lenses, but you might get lucky.
  3. There are MPP technical cameras with triple-extension bellows that you can pick up for well under $1000.

    The two variants that definitely have an international 'Graflok' back are the Mk7 and Mk8 models. The Mk8 was completely re-designed and has superior ergonomics to earlier versions. Earlier models may have been converted to a Graflok back, which was an optional factory modification.

    The MPP is sometimes called the 'poor man's Linhof', but they're very serviceable cameras in their own right.

    Having said that. Any 5x4 camera that advertises itself as having a triple-extension bellows should offer more than 300mm of bellows extension.

    Macro with large format?
    If you haven't done that before, it's not easy, since getting a precise magnification requires moving the whole camera back and forth. Plus the increased film area and shallow depth of field doesn't help in the slightest. Smaller formats are actually better for macro work.
  4. A Sinar F.
    Part of a system that allows just about anything you want or need, except folding away in a compact box shape.
  5. All 45 LInhof Technikardan cameras have an International back which is called a Graflock back on other cameras.
  6. Hi guys,
    Thanks for your suggestions. I'm leaning towards a Wista 45 SP. Not very long on bellows extension but I can add an extension board (aka "Top Hat") for the times I would shoot close ups. I referred to this as "non-extreme" macro. Not a good description, a better one would be table top/product photography - which requires some close up techniques. I don't plan on photographing super close ups of insect's eyes or anything that extreme.
  7. You can also add an extension bed and a longer bellows.
  8. OK, but remember you need to focus to 1:1 (lifesize) just to cover a subject area of 5"x4", and that requires double the bellows extension from infinity focus.

    Filling the frame with a match-box needs about 4:1 mag. That's a 5x focal length bellows extension! Not really practical unless you fit a much shorter lens than standard.

    I see the new price of a Wista 45SP is now over $5000. Is a used one, plus a decent 180 or 210mm lens (needed for a flat perspective on table-top subjects), plus extension rail and bellows or an additional 80 or 100mm lens, within your budget?

    And do you really need to go to large format at all for the required end purpose of your images?

    Remember, the cost of nearly everything in the chain scales with the film area, and scans especially get horrendously expensive or time-consuming.
  9. Hi Guys,
    I've seen extension rails but they are expensive and hard to find (used), but that would really be more than I need. The extension board I mentioned adds another 4 inches which turns a 12 inch bellows into a 16 inch. That's a significant addition. Rodeo, you're right about cost but I don't see the point in getting new LF cameras. A new Technikardan is about $9k - about $10k after sales tax. But used they're less than $2k - which is still more than I want to spend. They seem to drop like a rock price-wise once they hit the used market. The average price for a used Wista 45 SP is about $600-700. And if you get the 45D that's around $400 (but it has no swing movement). As far as magnification, I'll work with what I got. I'm not doing professional work with high end clients and tight deadlines. A match-box sized item is pretty small compared to what I would normally shoot close up - but your point is well taken. As far as "need" goes, you got me there Rodeo. But most of us (non-professionals) don't "really need to" do most of what we do with photography - it's just fun. I don't really "need" a Ferrari but it sure would be fun. After spending the last 20 or so years on digital, I enjoy going back to older, more mechanical film cameras, processing film (mostly B&W) and I love printing in the darkroom. I'm not a great printer but just working at getting better is a blast. I'm still open to other suggestions but I guess that's why those cameras (Wistas, Toyos, Horsemans, etc...) are so popular.
  10. AJG


    You might also think about two cameras--a monorail for still life/studio work and a wooden field camera with more limited extension for landscapes. Monorail cameras go for very little these days and adapter lens boards could allow you to easily mount the same lens on two different cameras without having to dismount a lens. That way you could have the greater rigidity of a monorail for close ups (where you really need it) and the light weight of a field camera when you have to walk a ways to get to your destination.
  11. They are??

    This LF forum used to be extremely lively, with several posts a day. Now it's one post a week, on a good week.

    So where are all those users of supposedly 'popular' LF cameras?

    No. Most film 'enthusiasts' (lazy fashion victims more like) would much rather piddle about with easy-to-use and crappy 35mm film, getting results that wouldn't be acceptable to an iPhone user.
  12. Didn't get your morning coffee today R_J?
    I get the feeling you are insulting my iPhone - or my fashion sense - or both perhaps.
  13. Those people newly persuaded to try film by peer-pressure and social-media influencers know who they are, and can take my remarks however they like.

    Those interested in making great images by whatever medium they find suitable probably also know who they are, and can take my comments likewise.
  14. but I guess that's why those cameras (Wistas, Toyos, Horsemans, etc...) are so popular...

    ...They are??

    Sure they are, Rodeo. Haven't you heard? Film is making a comeback!

    I meant popular among LF users. C'mon Rodeo, you knew that.
    Jokes aside, from all the youtube videos I see, shooting expired film with medium format cameras seems to be the "in" thing today. So large format should be just around the corner. Pretty soon cave drawings will be the latest. Who needs pixels?
  15. Anyhow, if you haven't already got an edition of this, consider getting one:
    Stroebel - View Camera Technique.jpg

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