To Sell or Not to Sell - That is the Question

Discussion in 'Talk About Large Format Gear' started by Chris Frear, Feb 15, 2018.

  1. Chris Frear

    Chris Frear New Member Registered User

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    Dear Fellow Forum Dwellers,

    I'm considering selling or trading in my Calumet CC-400 Monorail. Its in tip top condition but hardley ever gets used. It has sat in a packing crate for 17 months (with desiccant) during and after a house move. I got it out the other week to stretch its legs. However post house move my time is even more limited being a fulltime carer and now with a major league bad back I don't want the hassle of lumping a heavy camera around. Am I being crazy considering trading in the monorail for something more portable like an MPP? I'd like to just be able to pick up a go.

    I originally got the Calumet from a guy in Liverpool, it was a "steal", he had bought it and imported it from a dealer in Idaho via ebay. The Dealer told me that the camera was acutally a "bitsa" camera made up of the best parts from several identical cameras. Although from looking at it you'd never know. It looks almost factory fresh. If it wasn't for the weight I woudln;t even dream of selling it.

    Thoughts please, including on an affordable lightweight LF camera.

    Chris
     
  2. Stephen Batey

    Stephen Batey Well-Known Member Registered User

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    That just happened to my first 5x4 camera; I sold it on for something more portable and lighter (a Wista). Personally, I found the double extension limiting, and currently use a Walker Titan with triple extension.

    The lightest 5x4 you'll probably find is the Intrepid 5x4 at under 1kg and £250.
     
  3. YorkshireBloke

    YorkshireBloke Member Registered User

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    Hi,

    For sure the MPP Mk VII I just bought is really solid and heavy: if you know weight is the "Critical Control Point" then maybe achieve that first? (apologies if that is stating the b. obvious).

    Thing is, when faced with a difficult decision that we don't really want to make (having to acknowledge lower capacity in oneself is not easy) then just "talking out loud" as you're doing here can help.

    Oh, and the reason Jim Edge sold his great outfit to me? Too heavy these days, he has had a bit of illness. :oops:

    Robert
     
  4. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Active Member Registered User

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    Well I have an MPP MicroTechnical MkVII, I've not weighed it but it's definitely heavier than my Wista 45DX or Graflex Super Graphic.

    The Super Graphic forms the basis of my light weight kit that I use mostly in Turkey/Greece, but this is about bulk as well I'm using smaller lighter lenses like a 90mm f6.8 Angulon, a 135mm Caltar II-S (re-badged Symmar S), and a 203mm f7.7 Ektar. This all fits a small regular backpack along with 6-8 DDS and meters etc.

    I just weighed the cameras with their standard lenses:

    Wista 45DX, 150mm f5.6 Sironar N 2.27 kg
    Super graphic, 135mm f5.6 Caltar II-S 2.59 kg
    MOPP MkVI, 150mm f4.5 Xenar 3.13 kg

    There's differences worth pointing out the Super Graphic has a focus hood so despite being 300 gms heavier I don't need a dark cloth and it's usable hand-held, the Wista isn't, this is important as I often shoot where tripods aren't permitted. It also has the ire frame finder making hand held work quite easy.

    The MPP MicroTechnical MkVII is much heavier, however it's also far more rigid and has triple extension extension/bellows (18"), the Wista and Super Graphic are double extension (12"), this makes it a far better camera to use with longer lenses. A slight downside to the MicroTechnicals is the hole in the front standard wont allow the use of lenses like the 90mm f5.6 Super Angulon, an f8 version is OK as is the 90mm f6.8 Grandagon N. Again with the wire frame finder and rear sight these MPP's can be used hand-held, and have a a focus hood.

    Of the three camera the MPP is the only one I could practically use my 300mm f9 Nikon M with, on the other two you need maximum extension and that's a recipe for problems with the UK weather, also you can't focus close.

    Ian

    .
     
  5. Alan9940

    Alan9940 Active Member Registered User

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    Monorail cameras are generally heavy and difficult to move around, IMO. I've only ever owned 2, used a total of 3, and the best of the lot, based on my experience, is the Arca F-line camera I own now. It's not particularly heavy and it's very compact when both standards are rolled onto one rail. That said, if I were in your position and buying today I'd seriously look at the Intrepid 5x4, if you don't need a lot of camera movements, or something like a used Wista DX, Shen-Ho, and the like.

    Good luck!
     
  6. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Active Member Registered User

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    I went from a De Vere Whole plate/Half plate/5x4 monorail with a lot of movements to a Wista 45 DX, I'd also used Sinar, Horseman and Linhof mono-rails. I find the Wista 45DX has far more movements than I've ever needed to use, its had 30 years of heavy use, if I replace it I'll get a Shen Hoa.

    Ian
     
  7. Alan9940

    Alan9940 Active Member Registered User

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    Ian G, my very first LF camera was a modified by Zone VI Studios Wista 45 DX that I bought in 1979; I still own and use that camera to this day! So, that's like...what...darn near 40 years!! Great camera. The only reason I bought a used Arca F-line 5x4 was to allow me to use shorter (75mm) and longer (300mm) lenses easily. The Arca Universal Leather bellows makes using the 75mm a dream and the longer standard bellows easily handles 300mm of extension. I've can even use my 19" Artar, if I stretch that bellows to its limit. The main issue there is maintaining stability.
     
  8. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Active Member Registered User

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    Alan, I've been using my 65mm Super Angulon on my Wista 45DX for years, I quickly discovered the trick to overcoming the obvious issues like the front of the camera bed being in the image :D I can use it very quickly now, using front and rear tilt (both tilted backwards) as well as front rise.

    I bought a 75mm f8 Super Angulon cheap on Ebay from Italy maybe 10 years ago for my 617 camera , NIB nver been mounted on a lens board. I realised that a 75mm would be more practical than the 65mm most of the time with my Wista and eventually found a nice 75mm f5.6 Super Angulon at a good price.

    The longer lens issue was solved when I bought a 17" (420mm) un-named Military Telephoto at a Flea market, it's actually a Dallmeyer but as it has no shutter I need to use it on a Speed Graphic (I have two). I bought a 360mmm Tele-Xenar in a Compound #3 shutter more recently which does what I really wanted, it's very practical on the Wista, the downside is the slow top speed 1/100 but then my 240mm Nikon W Copal #3 isn't much faster at 1/125.

    Ian
     
  9. Alan9940

    Alan9940 Active Member Registered User

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    Ian G, never used my 75mm on the Wista mainly because I didn't own one until about a year ago. But, one of my two primary lenses for many years was a 120mm f8 Schneider Super Angulon which was pretty workable on that camera. However, just the thought of pushing that front standard back even more was not something I contemplated. But, now that you've said how you use yours I may just toss my 75 on a lens board and try it.

    Never owned or used a telephoto style LF lens. My 480mm Schneider Artar is used primarily on my 10x8. When I got the Arca and saw that the longer bellows would extend to a bit more than 50cm, I bought an Arca board for it and fashioned my own 10x8 lensboard that would accept the Arca board allowing me to use that lens on both cameras; though I rarely use it on the Arca.

    Always fun to me to learn how other photographers solve problems and/or learn to live within the limitations of their equipment.
     
  10. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Active Member Registered User

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    Alan, I think I can use the 75mm Super Angulon "straight" without resorting to tilting the whole camera forward and the standards back (on the Wista 45DX) it's the 65mm where I need to do this.

    The 65mm SA is a touch too Wide at times and it's a big gap to my 90mm lenses, it's not a fun lens to use as mine's an early one in a Compur #00 shutter - they have no preview lever and are small and fiddly. I've not used the 65mm many times in the near 30 years I've owned it but when I have it's saved the day, quite a few exhibition prints.

    The 75mm f5.6 SA is more practical, I won't stop using the 65mm but I am definitely shooting more images wider than my 90mm now I have the 75mm.

    I bought my 300mm f9 Nikon M new from Robert White a few years ago (possibly 1989/90), I think he had to order it from Japan - it wasn't a stock item, I remember there was a few weeks wait for delivery. It was at a point where the £ was at its weakest against the Yen making the lens £800, I found it or rather the Wista camera and lens combination to be only practical on a really good weather day, no wind or slight breeze, I've never made any 5x4 prints from it and just didn't bother trying after realising it wasn't a practical 5x4 lens with my cameras. However at the time I bought it I planned to move to 10x8 as well and so bought it with this in mind. It was around 13 or 14 years before I eventually moved to 10x8 and my first camera had a lens board made to take the lens - that was what the previous owner had used. However he threw in a 12" f6.8 Goerz Am Opt Dagor which was the camera's original lens from new which he'd never used, he said it was junk and had separation - it just had years of dirt pushed to the edges - just need a clean, it's a great lens.

    I contacted the original owner not long before his death and he'd bought the Agfa Ansco Commercial View camera and Dagor new around 1940, he sent the lens for coating after the war.


    We always need to learn.

    I bought my 17" (420mm) Dallmeyer military Telephoto (coated) at a Flea market, the seller knows me and used to keep things for me, it was cheap no aperture scale or shutter, but that's not an issue if you know what you are doing. I knew maximum aperture so from that it's easy, and I use with a Speed Graphic or UK made MPP (mostly Speed Graphic) MicroPress.

    I realised that using a telephoto was the answer for longer lenses with 5x4 so when a 360mm Tele Xenar was listed on another Forum at around £120 I realised it was a bargain (I'd bought from the seller before so knew I'd get a good lens).

    So yes it definitely is about knowing the limitations of your equipment, cameras and lenses, learning even after 40+ years of shooting LF.

    Ian
     
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2018
  11. Alan9940

    Alan9940 Active Member Registered User

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    Ian G, thanks for the great stories! I totally agree about the 75...mine is a Fujinon-SW f8 in a Seiko #0 shutter. The shutter is fiddly, but the glass is beautifully clean and I picked it up real cheap. It has continued to amaze me to I continue to reach for the 75, leaving the 90 in the bag, because I'm not particularly a "wide angle" guy. ;) I guess I'm partial to that view now and it is very useful when working in the canyons out here in the USA southwest.
     
  12. KenS

    KenS Active Member Registered User

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    A couple of months ago i 'donated' an old Crown Graphic with an 127mm (?Ektar lens) (that I had 'inherited' from the estate of a photographer who preceded me in my last place of employment) to a photographer in in an other town who was trying to start a large format photography group... basically to encourage the use of large format with a group of 'newbies'. I did so because I did not want to go to the trouble of posting it or for sale on Ebay in the hopes that some 'interest' and 'good' may come from my donation. Having used a hand-holdable 4x5 in my past and realised how much of a PINTA that can become for newbies due to the somewhat limited 'movement' restrictions. I have been informed it has been kept "busy".

    Ken
     
  13. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Active Member Registered User

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    I agree Ken, I have and use a Crown Graphic, I get slightly annoyed that people suggest Crowns and Speeds as a first LF camera without pointing out they have such limited movements. There's also the hype that the 127mm Ektar is a 5x4 lens it was sold with the Quarter plate Speed Graphics as the standard lens, it's usable on a 5x4 camera but edge/corner sharpness isn't brilliant it just comes sharp at f22 and of course there's zero room for movements.

    The problem is that Speed and Crown Graphic prices have been rising to unrealistic levels compared to what what else you could buy with more functionality. Of course the Speed Graphics have the big advantage over the Crowns of the Focal plane shutter useful with barrel and other shutter less lenses, or where the leaf shutter top speed is restrictive. I'm thinking here of longer lenses in Compound/Copal #3 shutters (or similar) with a top speed of 1/100 or 1/125.

    However taking into consideration the limitations Crown Graphic they are still usable camera which is why your old one has been kept busy :D I do use mine although it sits most of the time idle on a tripod in Turkey.

    Ian
     
  14. David M

    David M Well-Known Member Registered User

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    Many (most? all?) of the newer recruits to film are refugees from digital cameras. Almost any modern digital camera or phone will produce a "perfect" image and there are plenty of apps available to make it imperfect again, from gross HDR to a selection of film and printing styles.
    I believe that for many, the attraction of film is its ability to generate quirky imperfections and for them, a lens that auto-vignettes might be even more attractive than one that doesn't. With time, we must hope that some of them get their feet onto the One True Path.
    Another attraction of film and darkroom work is the hands-on experience that's not available digitally. Today, many people spend their working life in front of a screen (what are they all doing, that we didn't do before?) and don't want a busman's holiday as their creative outlet.
     
  15. KenS

    KenS Active Member Registered User

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  16. KenS

    KenS Active Member Registered User

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  17. KenS

    KenS Active Member Registered User

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    DAVID,

    The supposed' ease of use' of digital often produces images that end up over-worked by the user.... and often sold as ‘original "Fine ART" after having been manipulated far beyond slight contrast/bightness. There was a television ‘discussion’ programme from the USA shown the other evening on the tele on the 'art' of Peter Lik whose images sell well into the millions of dollars
    (see… https://lik.com/

    I believe they are suppose to be ‘originals” but a number were shown to be digital ‘composits’ rather than from original “film images”…. In other word Faked Fotographs!!! But ‘some’ people seem to have the cash to spend just to impress with the overly enlarged ‘Fake Fhotographs’ to impress their friends and visitors

    If I ever had more enough cash to spend on images made by other photographers (no matter how famous), Peter Lik would never make it to the list. I believe purchases are made by those who have a need to show off just “How Much” cash they have to spend on covering up expensive on their wall-paper's gaudy patterns

    Apparently two different images where the moon is a large part of the ‘background’ were shown to be the exact same in two different photographic ‘scenes’ It was almost enough to make an old, experienced 'real Photographer' to weep.

    Ken
     
  18. YorkshireBloke

    YorkshireBloke Member Registered User

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    Hi Ken and All,

    We are co-existing with digital and are seeing image makers move over to film (even if that involves some digital negs or final printing).

    Don't weep Ken, your "Portals" series will be viewed many years after their digital files are deleted....

    Robert
     
  19. KenS

    KenS Active Member Registered User

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    Robert,
    The greatest benefit (for me, anyway) with 'digital' AFTER exposing and developing my silver gelatin negatives has been been able to scan the original B/W negative then enlarging the scanned image and printing the resultant 'digital negative' onto the 'plastic' Pictorico film to allow me to print to paper some of my images using archaic photographic printing-out processes that require sunlight or an 'artificial' UV light source. Yes... It is a LOT slower, more 'work', but... (and I am not sure of the 'why') there seems to be a little more 'self-satisfaction' when the image is hinge-mounted/matted and 'Framed' and ready to be hung on a wall 'somewhere'.

    Ken
     

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