Toyo View 45G - Any thoughts?

Discussion in 'Large Format' started by dave_unwin, Dec 7, 2005.

  1. Hi all

    I've tried searching and although i can find many references to this
    camera i can't find too much info or detailed reviews.

    Would it be a good camera as an introduction to LF shooting? I'm
    primarily interested in architectural work although would like to
    shoot some landscapes (short distance from the car) as well.

    If anyone has experience with the camera, or can recommend a better
    alternative it would be much appreciated.

    I'm somewhat daunted by large format but looking forward to the
    challenge. i currently shoot with a canon dslr and a hasselblad

    Thanks in advance for the responses


  2. I've used several Toyo monorails over the years. The Toyo G, although big and heavy, is a workhorse and very sturdy. As much as Sinar and Linhof are wonderful cameras, the Toyo delivers the goods. The geared movements are smooth and they can be worked on by yourself if you are the least mechanically inclined. Many who complain about the plastic knobs and tripod mount probably overtightened. I've never had this problem in over 20 years use. Many of the G and some Gll, identical except the Gll is all black and newer, cameras can be purchased used for very little. New, $2600 plus they sell for, but the old G's can be found for $500 to $900. With a good bellows and mechanicals, they could last the rest of your life.

    If you can resist the allure of the more exhotic and want a good picture making machine, the Toyo G may be for you. Many commercial studios have used this camera succesfully for years. Architecture will probably require a recessed lens board and bag bellows. Sometimes these cameras come with all these accessories as a package. The parts from the current new models fit the old G's as well. I mentioned plastic knobs. Many cameras have plastic knobs and some less usefull than the Toyo's. I had a knob on a Linhof monorail literally disintegrate in my hands in a camera store. I opted not to buy that model. Good luck in your quest.

  3. Thanks gary for the very helpful reply.

    i understand the camera is not as well machined as the sinars and the like but for experimenting i think it will do my just fine. the price is cheaper than you have quoted and its in excellent condition so i don't think i'm making a big mistake.

    if i decide to stick with 4x5, i would probably add a lighter field camera at some stage.

    thanks again

  4. By "architecture" do you mean exteriors or interiors or both? There are plenty of field cameras that are perfectly suitable for exterior architecture (and lanscape of course) and that will be much easier to carry around and set up than the Toyo 45G. For serious interior work you may need a monorail. Does the Toyo have some features compared to a comparably priced field camera that you think will be necessary for the work you plan to do? If so then buy it. If not then I'd suggest starting out with a comparably priced field camera, especially since you say you think you'll eventually buy a field camera anyhow.

    One of the principal advantages of many monorails is their extensive movements compared to inexpensive field cameras. Since many people get into LF largely because of the ability to use movements, that appeals to many first time buyers. However, you might be surprised at how unimportant some of those more unusual movements really are for many types of work. My camera has most movements that can be put on a camera but the only ones I use with any frequency for exterior architecture and landscape are front tilt, front rise, and back tilt, very very occasionally a little back swing. That's about it and those four movements are found on almost all LF cameras.
  5. Hi Dave,

    I have a Toyo 45G in chrome finish and it is a superb camera. While the finish may not be as good as the best of the Arca-Swiss, Linhof and Sinar monorail cameras, it is very good.
    I have handled all of these cameras and the Toyo is an excellent camera for the money.
    By the way, I shoot with the same equipment as you.
    I do not know what price you are are being offered for the camera and if you are so inclined, please contact me off forum and I can give you more information on what you should pay.
    You can reach me at:

    Take care,
  6. Thanks a lot Mike and Brian.

    Brian, i had planned to shoot interiors. Currently i do a lot of work for high end real estate companies shooting both interiors and exteriors with my dslr. however i'd like to take it to the next level quality wise (not for the real estate companies, but other clients and my own personal interest).

    i would like to use it for landscapes but where its possible to be near the car i'd hoped to be able to haul the monorail and where its nowhere near the car i thought even a field camera may be a bit too unwieldy and i'll probably stick with my hasselblad.

    anyway, i'm busy doing my research! i see that older toyo field cameras come up on fleabay fairly regularly if i want to try one of those out at some stage.

    mike, i'll send you an email. thanks a lot for the offer.


  7. I'd consider a used Linhof Tech V or Master Tech. Unlike earlier versions these cameras
    have a flap that lets you sink a 65mm lens into the camera housing without serious loss of
    upward shift. They are therefore well-suited for interior work. Even used, they aren't
    cheap, but they're nowhere near as expensive as a new one.

    Why a Tech? The rangefinder, for one thing. Even if you do your critical focusing on the
    groundglass, the rangefinder saves set-up time. Add the anatomical grip and you can
    shoot from any vantage point into which you can fit your limbs, with or without a tripod.
    That gives them a creative advantage.

    Most of all, the Techs are incredibly rigid and sturdy. With reasonable maintenance they
    will last forever, even if they get knocked around a bit.
  8. I use one to shoot interior and macro. It's the best large format monorail for it's price range in terms of built quality, amount of shift and tilts, as well as ease of use. If you are going to use your kit extensively for architecture, make sure you get a recessed lens board, as well as a wide angle bellow for lenses wider than 90mm. My only problem with this camera is it's portability. you can not turn the front and rare element 90 degrees so that they are parallel to the monorail. I usually carry my camera in a camera case, with the front and rare elements on top of eachother, and the monorail completely removed, and stored in another compartment.
    All in all if size and weight is not an issue for you, this is a great camera for getting into large format photography.
  9. I own 20 view cameras (as an avid collector more than an passionate photographer) mainly Linhof, Plaubel, Sinar and Cambo, as well hundreds of accessories from the best German, Dutch, Swiss and Japanese brands. I am now aiming my crave towards Japanese viwcamera gear by recently buying a Tachihara Hope 5x7 field viewcamara and now just ordered a Toyo 45 GII complete kit with the aluminum case. As, according to the pictures I saw of this camera I just bought but not yet received, and of those found on the Internet, and the quality of Toyo various quick roll sliders And rollfilm holders I own, I am sure that the 45 GII and variants are superbly built, even better than some Linhof I have played with. only Sinar can top Toyo in build quality, especially the Norma (I donโ€™t own a P or P2). 11BE0E41-8AB0-429A-8FB8-4A341DD5CD8C.jpeg 20AAC992-98E3-4E37-BFCA-AF722112F616.jpeg 8D379680-9879-4109-82CD-5EA701F84A05.jpeg 9F958A7A-D061-44AB-952C-E2DABA181BAD.jpeg
  10. If you're learning, you don't need the most sophisticated thing out there. I've been very happy with several Calumet 4x5s, so long as they're in good condition and everything moves OK. I've got an Omega View 45E, which is actually a Toyo, and it's very enjoyable to use. My only caution is if you decide most of your work is wide angle, be sure to get something that accommodates a bag bellows. Also, older cameras can develop light leaks and replacement bellows are getting hard to come by. I've had them made by Turner Bellows, but I don't know if they do bellows anymore, as they don't list the service on their site. If you're handy you can make a bellows, but it's a fair amount of work to do it right.
  11. There are tons of relatively cheap 4x5 cameras from view to press. Toyo was one of the best and, as far as I know, the prices are commensurate.

    Try a nice Graflex or such like to find out if you like working in the format, and can afford to work in LF:)
  12. I never used Toyos, but +1 on what JDMvW said: they are/were quite popular and much used. So they must have done it right.

    Working with sheet film is doable. But consider getting a roll film back as well. 6x9 or 6x12.
    You still get the advantages (movements) of using a view camera. But it makes handling and processing film a lot easier.
    You do need shorter lenses, though. Such as the excellent Schneider 47 mm XL.

    Re Sinar: the Norma is a great camera, but you should, i think, really try a P too. The change in axis position they brought to view cameras really makes a difference. No camera i know is so easy and quick to set.
    Great and extensive system too. But you know that from the Norma already.
  13. AJG


    As a long time 4x5 Toyo user I concur that "they must have done it right." I've had to replace bellows and tighten a few things but the two Toyos that I own have always been rock solid and reliable. When I bought my first one in 1982 it was a good deal for the money and did what I needed it to do. I spent as little as I could for a decent camera and spent as much as I could on lenses, which proved to be a good decision. I upgraded to a 4x5 G somewhat later for more rack and pinion controls and the ability to add more monorail and bellows extension for macro work.

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