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Thread: Selecting a view camera

  1. #1
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    Selecting a view camera

    I am using a Hasselblad 50 back (soon to be 60) on both an H3 and Alpa Max, doing photodocumentation of large objects (usually aircraft). The Max is doing very well for me in stitching with HR90 and 40 lenses. Typically I will just stitch 3 x 1 or up to 3 x 3, but sometimes I combine stitch with tilt.

    I am finding that there are perspectives I just can't manage and that I am missing some interesting shots. Guess that means a view camera with full adjustments on both standards. Camera size is not too much of a problem as the H3 and Max will remain my portable tools.

    I am digital-only, and leaning towards a 4 x 5 system with adapter so as to be ready for any future increase in detector area. I would continue to shoot tethered as small GGs are difficult for me. Means I am not too concerned with sliding backs, though rotation would be nice. Movement and mounting precision are probably the main cirteria.

    Any guidance as to which system is the most user-friendly among the monorails? Should I buy new or is there a "classic" used system that I should look for?

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    Re: Selecting a view camera

    Hi Peter,

    I would avoid the 5x4 school of thought.

    Firstly because it is hard to get good enough tolerance in distance between the two standards and secondly, if sensors ever increase above 645, then I will personally buy you a whole 5x4 camera outfit myself!

    Joking aside, I don't think this is something you should bring into consideration.

    I quite like the Linhof M679 so worth checking that one. Arca no doubt has a few offerings and the geared movements are very good. Hopefully you can view one in Canada?

    http://www.linhof.de/download/BA-M679cs_d.pdf

    Harder to give you a link for Arca as they don't have a website.

    David

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    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
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    Re: Selecting a view camera

    Jeff at Badger and Rod at Photomark carry Arca:

    https://www.badgergraphic.com/store/..._detail&p=3150
    Jack
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    Re: Selecting a view camera

    Thanks for these suggestions. At this point, I am unsure as to which movements I will need. I have not found anyone who has used movements with aircraft (other than cockpit shots), and I lack the experience to figure it out in advance. Would love to hear from anyone who has done this.

    I am hoping to experiment with all movements on both ends. The topic is not so much which camera I need, but which view camera is both flexible and works well with MFDBs. I suppose the older systems lack the precision, especially the larger ones. I also suspect that the more movements the less precise the alignments. Sigh.

    The Linhof and the AS M line are interesting and I will do my homework on these. Any others out there?

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    Re: Selecting a view camera

    Precision is an issue with MFDB's. The first thing is focus -- when you lock it down, it can't move, as even the slightest change can throw focus off significantly. This issue is going to be most pronounced with shorter lenses and longer shooting distances. second thing is parallelism between standards at zeros -- here again, there is no room for errors, it basically needs to be perfect. Third but related issue is rigidity: the camera needs to be rigid enough at both ends so the the weight of back or lens do not alter parallelism per above.

    Right now, I think there are only 4 view cameras designed with digital back capture in mind, and the associated adequate precision, and I'll go out on a limb and say that most older 4x5's -- even from these same manufacturers -- will not have the precision you need for top-quality MFDB captures. They are, Linhof 679, Arca M-2, Plaubel and the Sinar P3.

    Now you get into the issue of which will accept short enough lenses for your needs --- this may eliminate most of them, so be sure to check that out carefully. Note the the latest Rodenstock Digaron HR series use longer than normal flange focal lengths to help with this, but again, you need to research this point carefully...

    As to use, having movements on both ends is more a convenience than a necessity. Generally speaking you want to keep your rear standard perfectly parallel to the subject, then make any tilt or swing up front. However it's often easier to make them at the rear where you are looking and working, so a typical workflow is to do that, then transfer the settings to the front and re-zero the rear. Having rise/fall and shift at the rear makes it easy to adjust framing to ideal without altering any of your other focus or scheimpflug adjustments up front. Also, having the rear rise/fall/shift makes parallel stitching to the limits of the IC a breeze, adding to capture convenience.

    Hope this helps!
    Jack
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    "Perfection is not attainable. But if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence."

  6. #6
    DougDolde
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    Re: Selecting a view camera

    And Linhof Techno !

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    Re: Selecting a view camera

    Quote Originally Posted by DougDolde View Post
    And Linhof Techno !
    Looks nice, but it's not a full "movements at both ends" view camera though...
    Jack
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    Re: Selecting a view camera

    Euh... how about Rollei X-act2. I have a really nice one for sale. Very complete and for a very sharp price

    Designed for use with digital backs. I use it with digital backs, Hasselblad CF with H-mount to be more precise. The Linhof M679 is sturdier and better according a friend that have used both but also a lot more expensive. Having said that the X-Act2 with the stitching sliding back works very well!
    Last edited by Dustbak; 15th March 2010 at 14:33.

  9. #9
    tetsrfun
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    Re: Selecting a view camera

    If you haven't already done so, you might also check through the Large Format Forum. It is heavily weight toward film but digital backs are also discussed.

    http://www.largeformatphotography.info/forum/index.php

    Steve

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    Re: Selecting a view camera

    i will go with the arca M2...

  11. #11
    DougDolde
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    Re: Selecting a view camera

    M-Two is cheaper than the Techno by about three grand, no small consideration. Both let you use lenses on lensboards, no expensive helical mounts. Probably would be my choice considering I'm an Arca Swiss fan anyway.

    Chris Barrett's blog has considerable info on the M-Two.

    http://christopherbarrett.net/blog/?p=800

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    Re: Selecting a view camera

    Quote Originally Posted by Dustbak View Post
    Euh... how about Rollei X-act2.
    Duh! Of course, the X-act is another very fine, dedicated digital view cam.
    Jack
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    Re: Selecting a view camera

    Thanks for the comments. I have located a Linhof 679cs to have a look at, and am tracking down AS and Sinar. Interesting question occurs to me, actually based on a hint from Arca. Rear nonparallel movements may not work.

    The reason for needing tilt and swing on the rear is that I have some issues with looming perspective. However, I do not know that the MFDB can do what the larger film formats do. Plates have more room for geometry to work and are more tolerant of focal plane deviation. Is there room on a fussy 6 micron MF sensor for rear tilts/swings to do do their thing, or will I just succeed in going wildly out of focus? Can anyone summarize what happens with the MFdetector and nonparallel rear movements?

    If this won't work, I will have to find another way to deal with looming. Guess that means using a more complex imaging procedure with a less complex view camera. I would prefer to do this in hardware but, if not possible, the AS M2 becomes interesting. From your comments and others that looks to be a fine choice for what it does.

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    Re: Selecting a view camera

    rear mvts with a DB ? to be honest, i will go with an arca RM3D and Helicon focus software !

  15. #15
    DougDolde
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    Re: Selecting a view camera

    I had a Linhof 679 once. Didn't like it. Very heavy and cumbersome.

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    Re: Selecting a view camera

    Quote Originally Posted by David Grover / Hasselblad View Post
    Hi Peter,
    Firstly because it is hard to get good enough tolerance in distance between the two standards and secondly, if sensors ever increase above 645, then I will personally buy you a whole 5x4 camera outfit myself!
    I'm quoting this so David can't get out of saying he said it :-).

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    Re: Selecting a view camera

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Flesher View Post
    Right now, I think there are only 4 view cameras designed with digital back capture in mind [...] Linhof 679, Arca M-2, Plaubel and the Sinar P3.
    What about the (Cambo Ultima 23)?

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    Re: Selecting a view camera

    Quote Originally Posted by dougpetersonci View Post
    I'm quoting this so David can't get out of saying he said it :-).
    Smart move bro...

    Cambo 23D is great. Had it for 4 years. Although not the top "D" graded Diamond but does the job well!

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    Re: Selecting a view camera

    Doug:

    No offense, but I tried a Cambo Ultima 23 for about a week, and it was the biggest POS for digital I ever used -- and why I didn't mention it. It's worst problem was the simple fact you could not lock the standard down without moving focus -- drove me nuts. The other issue was weight -- that cam is a tank. This was a version from about 4 years ago, so maybe they've fixed all that...
    Jack
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    Re: Selecting a view camera

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Flesher View Post
    Doug:

    No offense, but I tried a Cambo Ultima 23 for about a week, and it was the biggest POS for digital I ever used -- and why I didn't mention it. It's worst problem was the simple fact you could not lock the standard down without moving focus -- drove me nuts. The other issue was weight -- that cam is a tank. This was a version from about 4 years ago, so maybe they've fixed all that...
    No offensive - go for it... all for good intent. Correct a wise person and s/he becomes wiser!

    A Germany Tiger tank that's for sure! I total agree with you! VERY heavy... that's why it was on my studio cambo stand and went no way.

    I'm not sure about the "lock" part because everything seems to have locks before I had to untighten those locks before I can make any repsective movements!?

    I sold mine 2 years ago and shipping was a joke - weight! Got it when it first came out yes... because I sold my old Toyo film that I had from my early days back home in Canada for the said Cambo 23D. Perhaps I learnt to work around faults/design flaws - unlike certain "digital gear" that I just cannot seem to work around it. I certainly couldn't afford the Sinar nor the Rollei per Dustbak above trying to sell.

    I certainly would recommend highly the Rollei - speak to Dustbak to secure his Rollei!

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