Range Finder 5x4

Discussion in 'Large Format' started by jack_lewis|3, Jul 14, 2015.

  1. Hello there,
    I'm just starting to look for a 5x4 RF, where I can shoot with the RF. I want to use it hand held with a flash. Something simple, i'll get one lens and stick with it. I wont use any movements(only focus). so the more basic the better.
    Thank you,
  2. Crown or Speed Graphic?
  3. If you can get by with a 4x5 instead, a Graflex would do just fine.
  4. Linhof Technika and Wista RF.
  5. thank you people, looking these up now.
    Henry, what do you mean by 4x5? is that not the same as 5x4?
    can you shoot just with the range finder on these things?
  6. Jack, it isn't "shooting just with the rangefinder" as on a Mamiya 6 / 7 // Leica M etc. - The LF cameras I am aware of *whatever*Graphic or Technika have a coupled range meter and a finder elsewhere. And unlike old LTM Leica with 50mm, your eye will make quite some mileage moving from the RM on the side to the VF on top.
    Next issue: the RM has to be somehow coupled to the lens. With old Technikas this means a dedicated RF cam factory custom ground for the lens wich's number is engraved into them and an individual camera that cam was made for. - I have no clue if the Graphics offer more leeway.
    Assuming you get these things together the camera should be quite shootable handheld. - Do your own teleconverter math: DOF wise a tame 150mm f4.5 standard lens is as nasty as an already challenging fast 50mm Summilux on Leica. This means: You need a lot of precision adjustment for the RM to work well wide open. Maybe the size of the LF parts make that a tad easier, but I'd suggest checking the camera's RM against ground glass on your tripod during the current owner's lunch break, since it could be nobody ever used the RM for 30+ years. My Linhof worked fine inside a warm store but the RM leverage didn't snap back to infinity in the chill not yet frozen outdoors.
    I don't know the Graflex stuff, heard it is lighter than Linhofs and assume it is what you are looking for.
    My Linhof appears shootable with rangemeter. (I did not check precission with strong enlargements). Viewfinder paralax is pretty impressive on LF though.
    Keep in mind that you'll need a whole lot of flash; 3 additional f-stops, compared to 35mm.
    All precision concerns primary mentioned for problem awareness. - If you mail order, try to nail your seller on them. Maybe read up old Graflex manuals before you buy. - Good luck!
  7. Jack, a bit of a long shot, but are you in the UK? I ask because 5x4 is typically a British designation while US usage is usually 4x5.
    If you are in the UK then as well as the above suggestions you will also find MPP 5x4 cameras are common on the secondhand market. See ebay. They are more or less Linhof III copies made in the UK in the 50's - 80's. Many come with a rangefinder coupled to a specific lens. Usually this is the 150mm standard lens which is most commonly a Schneider Symmar or Xenar. The r/f cam often has the lens serial number engraved on it so look for ones that have the r/f with the matching lens.
    If you are in the UK then an MPP Microtechnical may be a good option for you. They are found as :
    Mk VI - suggest not suitable as does not had the universal back and often rather heavily used.
    Mk VII - a fine usable camera with universal back. Watch condition, particularly the front standard which can get wobbly with long use.
    Mk VIII - the last of the line. Often found in pristine condition so may well suit your purposes.
    MPP Micropress camera may be worth a look too. Wooden bodied 5x4 press camera (so lighter than the metal Microtechnicals). The r/f is integral with the body and sits on top. They are similar to the Speed Graphic in having a focal plane shutter. Usually the focal plane shutter is shot so you would need to use the lens shutter instaed.
    However if you are not in the UK this whole answer will not apply.:)
  8. Jochen,

    Sorry but you are describing very old Linhof Technika III and IV series cameras:

    "Next issue: the RM has to be somehow coupled to the lens. With old Technikas this means a dedicated RF cam factory
    custom ground for the lens wich's number is engraved into them and an individual camera that cam was made for. - I
    have no clue if the Graphics offer more leeway."

    The V replaced the IV and the Master Technika replaced the V decades ago. With the V and Master the cams are only cut
    to match the lens and, since the V and Master have a zeroed ground glass they do not have the body number on the cam
    and that lens and cam will be interchangeable between all V and Master Technika bodies.
  9. I have a Crown Graphic and I have never had much success with the rangefinder, I guess the cam is wrong. Instead I estimate the distance and use the scale on the bed. You will need heaps of light working hand held, but it can be done. Of course the GG screen is the most accurate...
  10. Not so long ago I have been calibrating some cams in my autofocus enlarger. I was surprised to check how different two same focal length and aperture lenses but different models are, specially when focus close. The cam thing is a high precision part, not so simple at it could seem.
  11. "Henry, what do you mean by 4x5? is that not the same as 5x4?"

    Here in the U.S. our large format cameras are 4x5. But they work just fine in the UK -- you simply turn them on their side. :)

    Actually I need to learn to speak British -- my daughter is moving to London in September to start college. Or should I say she will be a fresher at uni?
  12. What about one of the Polaroid 110 conversions? The models based on the Polaroid 110-B have a coupled and parallax corrected, combined range/view finder . . .pretty much like a Leica. They come up on e-Bay pretty often.
  13. Not like a Leica at all. A Leica, except for the P&S models, all have interchangeable lenses. So do rangefinder 45
    cameras like the Technika and the Wista RF.
  14. I was comparing the rangefinders. Anyway; screw mount Leicas did not have a combined range/viewfinder, the shooter had to shift his eye after focusing.
    I have no experience with the Wista or Technika . . .do they have the cam mounted to the lens like the Leica system? Or do they need the RF cam changed separately from the lens?
  15. If you don't need a coupled rangefinder (and assuming you are not wishing to shoot sports or other quick response situations), why not consider a separate (Kalart?) rangefinder mounted on a relatively light field camera with which you use a helical focus (with distance scale) lens in a shutter with X sync? You would also need an add on VF (Voigtlander, Mamiya,...) compatible with the lens field of view and 5x4 aspect ratio. This can widen considerably your choices (Sinar Handy or Calumet equivalent?) and perhaps reduce overall weight.
  16. On a Linhof 45 and 57 Technika there are individual cams for each lens.
    On a Technika 23 or 70 and the Wista RF there is a Tri lobe cam for up to 3 lenses.
  17. BTW positive negative film is available again in small quantities

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