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Thread: Information gathering for project

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    Question Information gathering for project

    Hi Guys,

    I am thinking about building my own 4x5 camera, of a somewhat onorthodox design. My initial intention is to design it around my own needs i.e. as rigid as possible for a scanning back. Unfortunately with the idea I have in mind, that brings, of course, a list of compromises; mainly a lack of movements and seriously limiting the maximum usable lens' focal length.

    I would like to ask you all: if you were using a 4x5 field camera, what maximum focal length you would not want to do without.
    I also would like to know which movements you consider a must-have feature.

    I think it would be relatively easy to build in rise and/or shift of the film holder, and with some thought possibly even tilt/swing - but doing the same to the lens mount could prove a considerable problem!

    These things are not necessarily a problem for my needs, but if most deem them essential it makes sense to try to include them at the design stage.

    Thanks!

    Graham

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    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
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    Re: Information gathering for project

    Graham:

    Save yourself a bunch of trouble. The most rigid camera out there for the scanning back is a Toyo G, the model *without* the base tilts. Add those base tilts and rigidity goes South in a hurry. So if weight is not a consideration, you can stop there. Lot's of rail extension options, so your max lens is only limited by bellows -- which you can also extend with more bellows and a basic mid standard/frame.

    The next most rigid option(s) I found for field work -- and both are a lot more convenient to carry and lighter weight than the Toyo -- were the Ebony 45SU and the Arca F-Metric. I'd give the nod for rigidity to the Ebony for lenses up to 150, then the Arca the nod for lenses over 210; they were about the same at 210. They both could easily focus a 300 in standard trim.

    Due to the slight format reduction over 4x5 film, my regular (favorite) 3 lens kit was 65, 120, 210 or 240. If I wanted to fill, I'd add a 90, 180 and 300. I cannot remember any significant image I made with the 180 or 300 with my Betterlight.

    If I were getting back into it today, I'd get the Ebony 45SU with Schneider 72SA, 120L and a 240 G-Claron (an original factory taking lens version, not a cobbled copy lens version) as my starting landscape kit. From there I might add a 180 macro and a 300, and maybe a 47 for uber-wide.
    Jack
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    "Perfection is not attainable. But if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence."

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    Re: Information gathering for project

    Hi Jack,

    The project is probably as much for interest and amusement as anything else.

    I would hope the end result would be lighter and smaller than the Toyo.

    My current lenses are much like your 'fill' options: 65, 90, 180, 300.
    It is interesting that you are obviously keen for the 240 to be in the range; I have not had the opportunity to use one.

    I'm not sure my initial concept will push to 240; if it is an important selection, I will have to think of a way to include it.

    Any thoughts on which movements are essential?

    Thanks for the input so far.

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    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
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    Re: Information gathering for project

    IMHO, the "essential" movements are front rise/fall and tilt. After that, I like rear swing and shift. Ideal is all movements at both standards as it adds flexibility. FWIW, the big advantage to the Ebony I suggested is it offers asymmetrical swings and tilts at the rear standard, conventional up front. That is a very desirable combination for really fast set-ups, and the Ebony maintains outstanding rigidity with those movements in a lightweight package.

    Here's a spec sheet for the Ebony 45 SU: http://www.ebonycamera.com/cam/main.45SU.html
    Jack
    home: www.getdpi.com

    "Perfection is not attainable. But if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence."

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