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Beginner view camera with digital back


New member

I'm looking to build a View camera setup for shooting product photography in a studio setting, and I'm having trouble building out a camera.

A few photographers I follow on instagram have told me they use a sinar p2/p3 with Leaf backs and Sinaron Digtal lenses, but I've also been curious about the Linhof 2x3 M 679.

I was wondering if anyone has any suggestions for a build that I could setup for under $3000. I mostly shoot on a 100mm macro lens when using full frame so I would love to stay in that area when switching to a larger digital back.

Any recommendations or places to find more information on the subject would be appreciated!


Well-known member
If the moderator wants to close a thread, I'd close the one in the Large Format Forum (but move @anyone's great suggestion here). The Large Format forum is not very busy, and mostly film.

I built an outfit using a Toyo VX23D and a Fuji GFX 50R as the back. If you want to mostly shoot at 100mm plus or minus, there are lots of great lens choices that are very economical. An outstanding one would be a Schneider Kreuznach Apo-Digitar 90/4.5, which you can also find in its enlarger and industrial variant (usually for a lot less); they're the same basic optics. The Apo-Digitar 80/4 is also a really nice lens, and much cheaper; its the exact same optics as the Componon-S 80/4, which goes for a song (relatively speaking).

However... if you're doing a lot of studio and table top, I have trouble recommending my VX23D. On one hand the focus, shift and rise movements are geared and work very well. Swing is not geared, but it works well as a manual movement. Tilt is the Achilles Heel of this thing. I use tilt a lot -- as in "nearly every shot". I've learned to suffer through the awkwardness of Toyo's tilt design (base tilt, manual, klunky) because all the other strengths of the setup work for me, but were I doing this in a commercial setting where time is money, I'd switch to something with a really robust geared tilt setup.

If you can afford a bit of frustration with the tilt mechanism (and like I said, I use it on nearly every shot so it's clearly not a deal breaker), then the VX23D easily fits within your budget. It was designed for medium format backs. Adapter boards are a bit scarce, but they're out there. It's also not especially difficult to make one if you have access to a decent machinist.

Pics and notes here:


Well-known member
You could look at a Cambo Actus with Pentax 645 lenses. If wanting 100mm, the Pentax 645 A 120 mm macro is a really sharp lens. The Pentax A series is manual focus. You could also mount large-format lenses with that camera. It also gives choices among digital backs, medium-format cameras like the Fuji GFX series, and 35mm mirrorless cameras.

I have used the Linhof M679 with a Phase ONe p25 digital back and 55mm and 90mm lenses. It is also a solid platform. With a p25 back, the camera also needs a sliding back to shift from the back to the ground glass. Ground glass viewing is a bit small and dim with digital backs--the 4x5 film camera just gave an easier view because of the size.


You could also look at an Arca-Swiss Universalis 6x9. Geared movements and MicroOrbix tilt.

Modular so can change formats as well.