What 4x5 camera do you use/recommend with your Schneider 58mm f5.6 XL, or similar lens?

Discussion in 'Large Format' started by john crowe, Feb 18, 2011.

  1. I have been using a Schneider 65mm f8 Super Angulon on a Speed Graphic 4x5 for several years now. I have other lenses, that I seldom use, including a 90mm f8 that I still have not used. 4x5 Ultrawide is obviously my passion.
    I have the original Speed Graphic with dropping front rail, and although lens specs show that it will allow infinity focus with the 58, focusing is a pain in the neck. With the 58 or 65 the lens remains inside the camera box and must be focused by manual placement of the front standard on the box rail. It is also an extremely dark image at f8.
    I know that I would like to take advantage of 4x5 movements, allowed by these lenses, to correct verticals when shooting landscapes or architecture when wanting to place the horizon closer to the top or bottom of the frame.
    Now that used Schneider 58/5.6 XL and even 47/5.6 XL lenses are becoming more common and more affordable I am researching used 4x5 bodies, that are also affordable, that can be used with them primarily in the great outdoors. Not too much hiking but primarily out of the trunk and walking short distances.
    Finding a camera body that allows infinity focus for the above lenses is the trick. Obviously a field camera would be ideal but I would need one that would allow enough movement considering how close the lens will be to the film holder. A monorail with short rail and bag bellows is the other option. I would appreciate ease of movements even geared movements.
    I have done some research on Cambo, Calumet Cadet (fixed bag bellows), Horseman LE, Linhof Technika III/IV ( I know these are heavy from my first camera search ), Toyo field and monorails, Tachihara, and a couple of other wooden field cameras as well.
    What do you use with your 58 f5.6 XL or similar lens, that works well? Thank-you, John.
  2. For a 55 or 58mm or longer, on a flat board, an Ebony 45S. For a 47mm on a flat board, an Ebony 45SU.
  3. I would custom build something just for this lens and 5x4 film. I intend to do that for my 65mm SA which is currently on a home made 6x12 camera.
  4. I used a Canham DLC45 with the 58XL for years. It works beautifully, and you can even use a flat board and the standard bellows very effectively.
  5. I have the 58mm and use it on three 4x5 bodies. My Cambo SCX is less portable and more of a studio camera, but I do use the lens on it on occasion with both bag bellows and recessed lens board. Both My Calumet CC-400 wide angle version with recessed board and my Zone VI with bag bellows work beautifully with the lens with full movements. While I use it with a flat board on the Zone VI, the recessed board for the Calumet will fit the Zone VI if I wanted to have more flexibility with the focus bed position. Other movements are more than sufficient with just the bag bellows.
    The one thing to remember with any 4x5 camera with this lens and especially on a flat bed like the Zone VI is that you have to set the front standard all the way forward and then focus only with the back standard in order to avoid getting the rails into the image. With the Zone VI, I also drop the bed forward, then raise the lens on the front standard and tilt both front and rear standards back to ninety degrees in order to completely clear the lens from showing the bed.
  6. Linhof TK will use lenses down to 35mm with no problem.
  7. My preference with very short focal lengths and the need for precision image plane placement is always the Sinar.
  8. Well I would add the toyo vx125 to that list as well. Great precise view/monorail that collapses to a field like size. My two cents :)
  9. All quality cameras, Linhof, Wista, Sinar, etc. are equally precise in image placement. The precision of the lens board and the proper millingh of the hole and the film holder or roll back or digital back are the only causes of imprecise image plane problems. What sets cameras like Linhof quality ones apart from others is how well the front and rear standards maintain there relationship to each other. Especially as the distance between the standards change as well as how precisely the movements on each standard are done and this is especially important on cameras where a single lock controls more then one movement at a time. Without seperate locks for each movement precision always suffers.
  10. I use the 55mm Rodenstock Grandagon on an Arca-Swiss F-Metric. Works fine.
  11. The Linhof Technikardan seems designed for your needs. It folds into a compact package and is very precise. Since it operates like a monorail, you'll have no problem focusing even the widest lenses. I was using a Wista VX which was a great camera, but even with a 90mm movements were quite limited.
    The TK will give you all the movements you could ever want. The normal bellows is very roomy and you'll have less problems with bellows interference or bellows flare than you may with traditional field cameras.
    You'll want to get a bag bellows, but that applies to most cameras if you want to use movements with wide lenses. The TK45 bag bellows is the best I've ever used.
    The Technikardan can be found at pretty affordable prices if you buy second-hand. Sometimes you can even get a deal with a bag bellows, which is pricey if you buy it new. Sometimes they come up for very high prices, but if you are patient you can probably find a good deal.
    The older TK45 has been replaced by the newer TK45S. The newer model has center detents on the tilts and swings and has beefier L-brackets (which hold the front and rear standards. The newer model may be more rigid and faster to set up. But if you're on a budget the old model is still a great camera.
    My second choice would be an Arca Swiss F-line camera, but they're not as easy to find on the used market and they're quite pricey.
    I don't think that a flatbed camera would be a good choice. If you don't mind the size and weight and are thinking about a larger monorail, might as well go all the way and get a Sinar. They're readily available used since they were very common pro workhorse cameras.
    The TK combines the movements of a monorail with the portability of a field camera.
  12. I just had a closer look at the TK on the internet. Wow, very efficient! Price seems to be medium high, with the best Toyo, Arca-Swiss, and Ebony being the most expensive. The Cambo and Sinar F are the most affordable with the Sinar P being next.
    I can buy a Cambo anytime, but I will be patient and keep an eye out for a good deal on the TK or one of the Sinars. The P does look much more robust than the F.
    Thank-you everyone for the help. I do have two well respected books on 4x5 that I got quite a few years ago. I will dig them out and further my research.
    Keep the ideas coming.
  13. John,
    I have owned the TK and a TKS and would never want another one. Also had a Technika 2000 and would never want another of those either.
    I also had a Toyo 45AII L which was okay but for me Sinar is in a class of its own. It is a chore to get it to the picture site, being bulky and heavy, but once you set it up everything else is a dream run.
  14. Walter, which Sinar camera do you recommend, or are all similar. Sinar F, Sinar P, Sinar P2 etc. ?
  15. Walter--what didn't you like about the Technikardan? Just curious. It seemed a little fiddly to me at first, and I resisted getting one for quite a while. But the more I use it, the more I like it. It's kind of ideal for what I do, which is mostly urban documentary work. Of course I also travel a lot, so portability is important.
    I agree--there's nothing quite like a Sinar and it may indeed be John's best option if he doesn't care about size and weight. They were professional workhorses for a reason.
  16. Walter, which Sinar camera do you recommend, or are all similar. Sinar F, Sinar P, Sinar P2 etc. ? — John Crowe
    I own and use two extremes in the Snar range at present - An A-1, which is like an F-1 but on an extruded profile rail, and a P2.
    For regular commercial architectural work I used to use the F-2 a lot for its portability.
    The two-point focus system of the Sinars and the precision alignment of their bits that matter mean that from my library of colour and black & white images I can always pick the Sinar shots apart from all others.
    Walter--what didn't you like about the Technikardan? Just curious. It seemed a little fiddly to me at first, and I resisted getting one for quite a while. But the more I use it, the more I like it. It's kind of ideal for what I do, which is mostly urban documentary work. Of course I also travel a lot, so portability is important.
    I find that Linhofs are the biggest disappointment to me on many levels although I have spent thousands of dollars over the years in the hope that they might be better than I have ever found.
    I don't like the 'L' bracket system of the TK series even though the 'S' models was beefed up (and zero-clicks added - strewth??). A lot of my commercial work was shot on 120 using 6x12 roll film holders - both Sinar Zoom and the Linhof version. The back of the TK cameras did not like such heavy RFH use.
    I also have an issue with the ground glass positioning system of Linhofs with 4 grub screws and shims keeping the crucial alignment of ground glass to film plane intact.
    Others love 'em. Good for them. Find what you are happy with leave kit discussion alone then press on with the core business of our craft which is making pictures.
    PS: Sorry for the delay in responding - been away making a buck.
  17. I use the 58mm on a Sinar F2 and P2 - no problems. A Toho - the best backpacking camera - will also just focus a 58mm if you are into cameras for backpacking.

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