Worth Buying Linhofs?

Discussion in 'Large Format' started by eric_m|4, Jan 11, 2021.

  1. Hello,
    There's all types of view cameras for sale online and usually it's a pretty simple purchase because it's such a simple piece of equipment. But when it comes to buying a Linhof I keep hearing all kinds of horror stories about how much you'll have to invest in it after the purchase. If you buy a new Linhof its very pricey and if you get an older Tech III, IV, or V I often hear you have to invest in replacing parts, CLA, etc... (or else it will self destruct), which can really add up $$$.... Most LF cameras may need some tweaking but for the most part it always seems easier to get up an go. I know it's a precision instrument but Linhofs always seem to need a major overhaul. I don't need a Linhof at this very moment but sometimes I see them for sale and they look tempting but it's scary to think you're going to spend a whole lot more beyond the original price. There's not too many places that I know of where you can try out Linhofs hands on. So is it worth buying older Linhofs or are these mostly exaggerations?
  2. Scare stories. Unless very old or abused they require less care then most.
    jose_angel likes this.
  3. MPP Mk8s are pretty bomb-proof and cheaper than a Linhof.

    You can always fit a Linhof 'cherry-picked' lens (reputedly) to any other technical camera.

    FWIW. The likes of Linhofs and MPPs are technical cameras; view cameras are usually lighter in weight and offer fewer/less movements. A technical camera is probably overkill for landscape use.
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2021
  4. Um, er, ah, Cowboy, I fear you have it backwards.
  5. Those of us who used "Graphics" in one form or another are not in this conversation, except to note that decent Graflexes. etc. are both cheaper and work well if you are not doing elaborate view camera adjustments.
    The artiste at work with his Marine combat graphic​
  6. In what way?
    Why would Linhof call their technical camera a 'Super Technica' if it was just a view camera?
  7. Because a Super Technika has a rangefinder. In the old days they used just Technika for the bodies without a rangefinder.
    Over time users just referred to all models as just a Technika through the V series. When that was replaced by the current series it became the Master Technika, Master Technika Classic, Master Technika 2000 and the Master Technika 3000 and the Super designation ended with the 23, 45 and 57 Super Technika 5 cameras.
  8. View cameras have more movements, in particular nearly all monorails have full rear movements. For landscape, where minimal movements are usually the case, a proper view camera is overkill. It is true that some technical cameras have backs that can be pulled away from the body and wiggled around, this feature isn't a real substitute for independent decentering movements, tilt and swing. I'll say it again. You had a lapse and typed what you probably didn't mean.
  9. I'm mostly clueless.
    Mine came with #bad bellows. - Huge Linhof issue?
    The Tech had sticky grease in the rangemeter mechanism, which refused to work below room temperature. Getting that CLAed by an independent shop was quite cheap.
    What else could fail?
    Make up your mind if you really want an older Tech. Will Linhof grind you RM cams for your current lenses? - I believe they dropped support for a lot of models? Or will you be content with a kit you 'll buy? (Schneider don't seem overly proud of their elderly glass...)
    If you are planning to ground glass focus everything: Why not get some wooden cutie instead?
    If you apparently read Linhof horror stories, it might make a lot of sense to ask your online seller a whole lot of related questions.
    Spotting something online doesn't exclude checking & buying in person. Or (if the current pandemic is an obstacle), buy somewhere with reasonable return & refund options.

    Figure out what draws you to Linhof and ask around if there might be alternatives suiting you better.
    My stuff was, what I stumbled across; I haven't used it enough to desire something else.
  10. In the days when all cameras were large-format plate cameras, they were broadly divided into fixed-bed stand-mounted studio monsters and lighter, smaller and more portable view cameras. 'View' being synonymous with 'vista', 'landscape' or 'field'.

    Now, when the term view-camera became twisted into meaning any large format camera I have no idea. Probably about the same time the front-crawl swimming stroke became crazily renamed as 'freestyle' I suspect. But common-sense and a knowledge of the English language - rather than some moronic babble on Wikipedia - should tell us that 'view camera' refers to a lightweight landscape camera.

    Monorail cameras are monorail cameras.
    Technical cameras are technical cameras.
    While both of the above generally offer more movements than a field or view camera.
  11. I now see that you're a member in good standing of the Humpty Dumpty school of lexicography.
    q.g._de_bakker likes this.
  12. Technika were camreras wituoutbfprangefinders, super Technika were cameras with rangefinderders
  13. They are worth buying if in good shape. Time goes and old ones were manufactured long ago, same with everything. Second hand items use to get worst with hand changes, too. Some people like to repair their cameras without having a clue. Abused second-hand equipment is growing every day.
    I have a IV and never felt the need of upgrading it... the bellows were broken and replaced (same as with another more modern camera I have), grease has been cleaned and replaced. That's all, after decades of use. The leatherette got unstuck in certain parts, too.
    If the used one has been crashed, or fried, or submerged, or "serviced" by a monkey, well, it will need at least a CLA for sure... Better a good shaped one, even if it's not a Linhof.
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2021
  14. When it comes to film cameras, the lens and what type of film you use is more important than the camera. Of course if you want to go PRO then a better camera with more features might be the way to go,..
  15. Not so. The parallelism of your camera is as important as everything else. If you canโ€™t rely on it then you are wasting your time and money.
    Granted your large format may be used with movements but then it is also important that your movements are accurate and dependable.
  16. Depends on who had it and how it was treated.
    My 1937-ish Technika, while needing a new set of bellows, is mechanically excellent (except where some monkey tried to turn the rise knob the wrong way by force and stripped its gear). I suspect that camera likely spent most, if not all of its existence in Germany as a personal possession.
    Otoh, my 1953-ish Technika III has definitely had a working life and even though it shows some signs of use, it's still mechanically very good. It came from a commercial background and doubtless was earning its keep for years before finally being retired to the back of a cupboard somewhere.
    I could say the same about my MPP MkIII - most definitely had a long and hard working life, and proudly bears a lot of battle scars on its outer shell, but inside the contents are virtually unscathed. A fiddle and a tweak here and there and it's good for another 60 years.
    You can hardly buy quality like that any more, and when you do it will cost an arm and a leg.
  17. Who would not want a Linhof? Just remember, photography cheaper than yachting.

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