You may be more successful if you are more specific....ie. wooden field or metal field?
A budget might help too.
Hi David I’ve no hang ups between wood or metal as long as the camera accepts my 65mm,90mm, and 150mm lenses on wista type lens boards.If you could describe the project a little more, perhaps...
hi IanI've never seen a metal field camera, there are metal press and technical cameras. Press cameras like the Graflex/Toyo Super Graphics have less movements than modern wooden field cameras. Technical cameras such as the Linhof Technika, MPP Micro technical and Japanese equivalents are usually a bit heavier than wooden field camera and have triple rather than double extension, they are also much more rigid.
I've always used the definitions given by people like Michael Langford and used in various Focal Press books over the years. But he classified some cameras incorrectly as well.hi Ian
what is the definition of a field camera ?
I used to borrow a toyoview which seemed the same
good answer IanI've always used the definitions given by people like Michael Langford and used in various Focal Press books over the years. But he classified some cameras incorrectly as well.
He starts by defining a Technical camera, which we would typically think of as a Linhof Technika III, IV, and later models, or MPP MicroTechnical. and then the Japanese copies from Wista, Horseman, Toyo etc. These are the most flexible of all the baseboard cameras and typically have triple extension bellows (around 18"/45cm on a 5x4 model), plenty of movements etc.
Langford mentions the Press style Technical cameras and this encompasses the Speed and Crown Graphics, Super Graphic, MicroPress etc which are lighter weight with fewer features, shorter bellows etc.
He then defines the monorail cameras, before going on to the Field camera which he states as obsolete.
Now Langford was writing in the mid 1960's early 70's while Head of Birmingham School of Photography. He describes the Field camera as being used as a more limited term for the typical Mahogany and Brass folding cameras after the introduction of the metal bodied Technical cameras. His examples are Gandolfi, Watson, Thornton Pickard, etc, and usually these cameras have less precision and movements than the newer meta bodied cameras, are only double extension bellows.
Some British style Field cameras were made early on in the US, model names like Albion come to mind, but only Deardorff continued making them after WWI only stopping recently. Langford incorrectly lists the Deardorff as a Technical camera.
However British style cameras were still being made in India and Japan after WWII and there was a revival in Field cameras in the 1970's which really hit the British market in the mid to late 1980's first with the Wista 45DX, Nagoka, etc. There were also the Wisners etc in the US. These cameras refined the Field camera style using more metal parts to achieve a greater range of movements,
Dick Phillips and others came up with "new" styles in the US and these were copied by Ebony and then Chines manufacturers.
Another older term used was "Hand camera" and these are really early forerunners of the Technical cameras and Press style technical cameras most were wooden bodied others metal, these were made by Sanderson (Houghtons), Sinclair, Lizars (most manufacturers). These camera all slide the front standard back into a box then fold up, they are heavier than a field camera, sturdier and more importantly designed for hand held as well as tripod use. Field cameras must be used on a tripod.
The term "Field camera" though has been used in the same way for well over a century to describe the typical light weight British style wood and brass folding cameras. It's come to be synonymous with the quite typical British style wood/brass camera where the Front standard is tilted into the focus bed before the camera is folded up. In some cases the front standard is removed from the focus track. Generally they are a lot lighter and smaller (thickness when folded) than a similar format Hand camera.
That's a very good mini-article on the subject, Ian. Thank you.
I've seen the term "English cameras" used on US sites, to describe folding wooden cameras, rather than specifically English-made ones.
Once you start looking, there's a gigantic reservoir of ingenuity and inventiveness in these things.
I remember that display it had quite a large Leica based component, The Octagon Gallery was one of the best in the country and I saw many exhibitions there ranging from Bob Carlos Clarke's Dark Summer to a large retrospective iof Don McCullin's work.The RPS used to display their very fine collection in Bath. No idea where it's displayed now.
Well having used a Wista 45DX for over 30 years as well as much older British field cameras I've always thought that the Wista took the best from early British field cameras and added modern design to give additional movements. I've never had a problem with the Wista's rigidity even in quite windy conditions, but I was shown a very simple technique to improve stability of any wooden or metal view cameraIan, I understand what you are saying but what I was getting at was that it seems odd that modern manufacturers, like Wista and Shen Hao seem content to stick largely with a 100 year old design with all its drawbacks, instead of coming up with something lighter, and more rigid, at the expense of less compactness.