Nagaoka 4x5

Discussion in 'Talk About Large Format Gear' started by Carl Hall, Sep 6, 2016.

  1. Carl Hall

    Carl Hall Member

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    Well, I may have *accidentally* just treated myself to a new (to me) field camera, a Nagaoka 4x5 :D

    I have a tatty old Arca Swiss monorail with shredded bellows that I can't use, so I don't currently have a working 4x5. Really want to shoot more LF and I've always dreamed of a wooden field camera. Happened to see one online a few days ago but it's taken me a while to convince myself that I "need" it :D Hopefully it should arrive tomorrow. Comes with a lens board too so it's good to go as soon as I put a lens on it!

    Super excited. Tomorrow is going to drag though. Nothing makes work drag more than a new toy waiting in a box at home!
     
  2. Mathieu Bauwens

    Mathieu Bauwens Active Member

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    fine little sweet camera, very lightweight.
     
  3. Ian-Barber

    Ian-Barber Administrator Staff Member

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    Very nice indeed Carl
     
  4. Carl Hall

    Carl Hall Member

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    It arrived safely yesterday and it looks great. Took it out for a test last night and it was much easier to set up than my Arca Swiss. Only thing that annoys me slightly is the notches that hold the front standard parallel to the rear. If I want to add a very slight amount of front tilt it's impossible to do so as the standard will just "pop" back into it's neutral position too easily. Given that this is the only bugbear I have I'm very happy overall :)

    IMG_20160907_030.jpg

    IMG_20160907_1351.jpg
     
  5. Ian-Barber

    Ian-Barber Administrator Staff Member

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    Looks very nice and well made Carl.
     
  6. Graham Patterson

    Graham Patterson Member

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    The zero notches on the front standard are common to many wood field cameras. My Wista has a similar issue. If it really bugs you, put in a little rear tilt and realign the back to vertical with the tripod. Then you can move the front tilt off the notch. You might need a touch of front rise to compensate for the effective drop of the lens.

    In practice I find using both hands simultaneously to loosen the screws, push against the standard struts and then tighten the screws works on the Wista most of the time.

    If you have front swing you can turn the camera on it's side. Then the swing becomes tilt.
     
  7. Carl Hall

    Carl Hall Member

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    Thanks Graham, I hadn't thought about that and it seems like a great solution. I practiced with it a bit more yesterday evening on a trip out, and if I'm careful I can move it a couple of degrees out of the notch and lock it in place, but it's not easy. I will try your solution next time and see if it helps.

    How do you manage to use both hands to tilt the front standard whilst using a loupe? Or do you just do it by eye? I have to use the loupe to find the perfect amount of tilt so I just use one hand on the standard. I've managed to tilt the front standard whilst holding onto the screw, then kind of tighten it up whilst holding it in place using one hand. It's a bit of a fiddle. Perhaps I can just get my loupe glued to the front of my glasses so I can use it hands free :D
     
  8. alexmuir

    alexmuir Member

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    Get a pair of +3.5 reading glasses instead of the loupe. They work quite well for fine focussing.
    Alex


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  9. Graham Patterson

    Graham Patterson Member

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    I use flip-down magnifiers for basic focusing. I need my regular prescription for astigmatism. This gets me close enough fairly quickly. A loupe is fine for refinement and checking, but I prefer to rough things out with the whole screen in view.

    With base tilts you are going to have to iterate tilt and focus a bit anyway, since tilt alters the lens to film distance a little. In practice you focus a little off your ideal point, then you tilt to get the plane of focus where you want it and the image comes into focus (if you judged the offset correctly). You still have to iterate between tilt and focus to refine things.

    Axis tilts avoid this problem, but have their own issues. Front swing is usually axial, so you can turn the camera on its side to get an axial tilt if you want to experiment. Bear in mind that this is based on my Wista - you may have differences on the Nagaoka.
     
  10. Alan9940

    Alan9940 Active Member

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    Carl, focusing correctly for base tilts (front or rear) is really easy, if you know the "trick." I'll use the example of a document sitting on a table to keep my explanation simple; this assumes you're pointing the camera down at about a 45 degree angle.

    Focus on the far. Then, as you tilt the front standard forward or the rear standard backward slowly refocus on the far distance, and repeat this tilt/refocus on far until the near distance is in focus. Lock everything down and you're good to go. Does that make sense?

    With something flat like a document, you don't even need to stop down any. But, most of us don't photograph documents on tables. :) In the field, you'll need to concern yourself with vertical things (like trees) in your composition. This will require the same focus skill as if shooting with a fixed plane camera.

    Hope this helps a little with your new LF adventures.
     
  11. Carl Hall

    Carl Hall Member

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    Thanks guys, that's a lot of help. I watched some YouTube videos on LF movements and one in particular showed how to tilt and focus- "Focus to the far and tilt to the near. Repeat three times" is what the chap said, and it seems to work well for me so far.

    It's surprising how little tilt I've needed so far, often just focusing and tilting once is enough

    I tried a similar thing on Sunday at the beach. I found a small piece of drift wood on top of some stones, so I practiced getting the entire frame in focus whilst looking down at about 45 degrees. I made it extra complicated for myself by looking at it from a side angle too, so I needed to use swing as well as tilt. It worked quite well though, I just think a bit of practice is needed.
     

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