So, I've been asking a lot of rather dull questions lately regarding fresnel lenses, taking lenses etc, and I'm about to ask another rather boring question. But before I do, I thought I'd explain that I'm in the process of doing up an old Linhof Technika V.

The camera used to belong to the medical illustrations dept. at the local city hospital but hadn't been used in over fifteen years when I bought it. I got it for a great price, all things considered, although I'm ending up spending a lot of money on new parts and fancy accessories like CF tripods, loupes etc! The bellows were shot, the leatherette is ok for its age and I can live with how it looks, but the shutter of the Schneider 150mm Symmar that came with it was seized. I am very fortunate to be friends with an ex Linhof repair person. Although in this part of the world there has never been a high demand for Linhof cameras or service, he is also Olympus and Hasselblad factory trained and I'm really lucky to have him here to help me out.

My friend fixed the Symmar as good as new, the shutter is now accurate and glass is pristine, plus he did an amazing job cleaning all camera parts and making everything very smooth. I now have new bellows for him to install thought I'd give the Chinese made ones off Ebay a try and a new fresnel screen on the way from Linhof Studios in the UK. I was also going to buy a replacement groundglass screen but bulked at the last minute. I have heard the new Linhof groundglass screen has a finer grain and is brighter than the older Tech V part but have no way of knowing how true this is, and, if it is, how noticeable in real use it might be. Can anyone comment? Will the newer GG screen be worth it in terms of clarity when using a loupe?

Up until now I have been using a Horseman 45FA. I have been borrowing it from work and in 15 years I am literally the only person who has used it. It's as fresh out of the box as you can get. I must admit that I love this camera and looked hard at spending the money and buying a new one from Hong Kong over the net. It seems far lighter than the Technika but is rather restricted in terms of what lenses one can use due to maximum bellows draw and, more importantly for me, how large the back element of the lenses can be due to it's small size front standard. If I'm to be picky, the knobs are also very small and although hardly ever a problem in the climate I live it, are hard to use when it gets cold. I like the Linhof system of the ratcheted front rise in this regard. I confess I'm a bit of a perfectionist and love shiny, new things so it's going to be hard putting the 45FA back in the cupboard when my Linhof is ready for action.

At the moment, besides the Symmar, I only own a 90mm Super-Auglulon f8 MC. It has proven to be a good little lens, if not a sharp as it's faster and bigger siblings. I have purchased a recessed lensboard to go with this when I get the Linhof working. I want to sell the Symmar and buy a modern MC 150mm lens. With the Horseman, I've been using a modern Topcor 150mm f5.6 lens, which I've never read anything about but it seems to really deliver. I'm wondering if it's actually a rebranded Rodenstock. The only info I can find online regarding the Topcor branded lenses is for designs that look, cosmetically at least, a lot more vintage in design. Anyone care to weigh in on if it's worth shelling out the cash for a Schneider APO-Symmar or Rodenstock APO-Sironar over a cheaper Nikon W or Fujinon W? I intend to produce very large prints, 48x60" in size on a semi-regular basis. I'm a professional fine art photographer and I've been working towards this style of working for a long time.

Well, at the end of the day I think doing my Tech V up will cost me about what I would have paid for a very good to excellent plus condition 45FA but I've always loved Linhof engineering so I guess all things are equal in the end. I really do love using a 4x5 field camera and find the way of working invigorating.

Be cool all,