Thinking about an upgrade

Simon Hendy

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I've got a Mk1 Intrepid 5x4 and it's ok - doesn't seem massively solid, and I'm not 100% sure everything is fully aligned. But it works and has got me into l/f.
I'm getting more pleased with my results (even with direct positive paper, post to come when I've scanned), and have idly contemplated an upgrade - so what should I consider?
I would want a field camera that will fold up into a rucksack for portability (so no monorails, no large heavyweights), something with some movements, and which will take the standard double dark slides I've got. I have 90mm and 180mm lenses which I'd like to keep - a d I'm not looking to spend loads on it - a few hundred quid, not several hundred or more.
Any thoughts?

Thanks
Simon
 

Asha

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Tachihar 45 ?? ( see pics below) although I suspect it would be difficult to find a decent one within your preferred budget

Tbh I think you will struggle to get much beyond the intrepid for a few hundred quid.

The new Mk4 with its aluminium base looks interesting ( I have the Mk3 and rather like it tbh), however it sounds that you would like to upgrade beyond that.

Maybe hold back for a little while and continue with the kit you have with a view of trying to save to give yourself more scope ( financially)?

1552

1553
 

Ian Grant

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Your Tachihara is essentially a poor man's version of the Wista 45DX. I've had my Wista over well 30 yeras and it's had very heavy use.

A bit of realism I paid about £120 for my Graflex Super Graphic, I spent another £40 on parts to get it fully functional, I use it a lot - while it has less movements than my Wista 45DX that's never once been a problem in a decade of use.

Don't forget the MPP MicroTechnical cameras essentially British Linhofs, based on the late WWII Linhof Technika, I bought most of two MKIII's for £70 2 or 3 years ago, one was complete the other's still in parts. I've since bought a MkVII

The MPP micro Technical aren't light though and I much prefer the Super Graphic, you need to actually hold and try these cameras.

Ian
 

JimW

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The MPP micro Technical aren't light though
Mine aint. It's no deal breaker though. What it was was affordable, 150mm lens, 90mm lens, several darkslides and a bag to carry it all, and the camera for about half the price of an intrepid. Keep looking, and if you find something worth a second look, ask on this forum. someone will know something, even if it's only a pointer to a website.
https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/MPP-Mk-VI-4x5-Technical-Camera-Graded-EXC-8610/333142977889?hash=item4d90de6d61:g:WpUAAOSw8NNcpFiS
Just for example.
 

Asha

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no large heavyweights
What weight are we talking about here?

Moving from an Intrepid at 1kg with quite extensive movements to something possibly more limiting ( movements) and heavier will perhaps prove to be a reverse move.

Before obtaining the Tachi ( then an intrepid) I was using an old metal Wista45 which I still have but it sees little use simply due to weighing twice or three times the weight ( 3kg.)

We all have budgets, some very limiting but struggling around with a large weight on your back is no fun! ( Been there, done that!)

you need to actually hold and try these cameras.
and how do you know that I haven't already??
 

Ian Grant

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Note that the same seller has the focus screen hood listed separately for £44.95 and also done the same with the lens board !

A MkIII MicroTechnical with lens and focus hood weights 3.070 kg, my Super Graphic is 2.610 kg, a MkVI or VII is about 3.165 kg. That's MPP's without their range-finders.

What you get for the weight with the MPP is excellent rigidity compared to a wooden field camera, however not so easy to use with lenses wider than 90mm and can't accept the 90mm f5.6 SA or f4.5 Granagon as the rear cells wont pass through the front standard.

Ian
 
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Ian Grant

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Mine aint. It's no deal breaker though. What it was was affordable, 150mm lens, 90mm lens, several darkslides and a bag to carry it all, and the camera for about half the price of an intrepid. Keep looking, and if you find something worth a second look, ask on this forum. someone will know something, even if it's only a pointer to a website.
https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/MPP-Mk-VI-4x5-Technical-Camera-Graded-EXC-8610/333142977889?hash=item4d90de6d61:g:WpUAAOSw8NNcpFiS
Just for example.
Described as excellent that camera is in quite poor condition, there's a piece broken off where the front standard tilt is controlled and the lever has been switched to the other side as a consequence, there's also corrosion. Those don't look like original MPP bellows either.

Some say this is a seller to avoid !

Ian
 

Alan9940

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If you're looking for something that folds up into a box that could probably be dropped off a cliff without worry, I'd suggest the Crown/Speed Graphic, Busch Pressman 4x5, or as others have already suggested an MPP Technical. Part of your decision will come down to camera movements; a Crown Graphic doesn't have many movement, while the Busch Pressman or MPP will provide just about all the movements you'd probably ever need.

If you're interested in folding wood field cameras--not as tough as those mentioned above, but beautiful to look at and use--I'd look for a used Wista DX or similar. Like Ian, I've used my Wista DX for nearly 40 years and it still performs as well today as when I bought it new. The issue here will be cost; probably couldn't find a decent used example for a few hundred quid.
 

Asha

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Described as excellent that camera is in quite poor condition,
Agreed!, I personally wouldn't show any interest in it going on its condition.

To be fair to JimW, he did post the link purely as an " example"
 

Asha

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If you're looking for something that folds up into a box that could probably be dropped off a cliff without worry, I'd suggest the Crown/Speed Graphic, Busch Pressman 4x5, or as others have already suggested an MPP Technical. Part of your decision will come down to camera movements; a Crown Graphic doesn't have many movement, while the Busch Pressman or MPP will provide just about all the movements you'd probably ever need.

If you're interested in folding wood field cameras--not as tough as those mentioned above, but beautiful to look at and use--I'd look for a used Wista DX or similar. Like Ian, I've used my Wista DX for nearly 40 years and it still performs as well today as when I bought it new. The issue here will be cost; probably couldn't find a decent used example for a few hundred quid.
I doubt there are many LF togs who actually possess an outfit that fulfils exactly all their wishes ( Material construction, Movements, Weight and Cost)
It's pretty much a compromise in many cases.
 

Simon Hendy

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Thanks for the comments everyone, perhaps I should just consider an upgrade a more recent Intrepid. Weight is a factor - it's the reason I dumped my Nikon DSLR & f2.8 lenses for a Fuji - and my Benbo Trekker tripod is reasonably hefty!
 

Ian Grant

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Registered User
If you're looking for something that folds up into a box that could probably be dropped off a cliff without worry, I'd suggest the Crown/Speed Graphic, Busch Pressman 4x5, or as others have already suggested an MPP Technical. Part of your decision will come down to camera movements; a Crown Graphic doesn't have many movement, while the Busch Pressman or MPP will provide just about all the movements you'd probably ever need.

If you're interested in folding wood field cameras--not as tough as those mentioned above, but beautiful to look at and use--I'd look for a used Wista DX or similar. Like Ian, I've used my Wista DX for nearly 40 years and it still performs as well today as when I bought it new. The issue here will be cost; probably couldn't find a decent used example for a few hundred quid.
I have a Crown Graphic and three Speeds (one a eunuch) movements are so poor that they aren't a feasible or rather practical LF camera for all purpose use. Great however with barrel/shutterless lenses.

Busch Pressman camera were never sold new in the UK so are very rare here, also you need the right model as some have poor inter-changeability in terms of lens boards (I have a 6x9 Pressman).

In the past few years there's been a big switch to LF here in the UK, when I bought my first LF camera (and enlargers) mid 1970's it was a100% professional format, A decade late just a handful o amateurs had beun shooting LF, that all changed when prices plummeted late 90's when many professionals first went digital and there was a glut of LF equipment on Ebay.

I remember wanting to upgrade/replace my late 40's early 50's Johnsons V45 enlarger, at that time an ebay search would bring up maybe 40-50+ De Vere 504 enlargers and one or two 5108 (10x8) and they were cheap. LF cameras were the same.

Those days have largely gone and prices are back to realism, There are still bargains around but you need to know what to look for, and be able to spot issues, and know if they can be sorted out as well :D

I'm a bottom feeder I do buy cheap but then I fix, usually with original parts :D

Ian
 

David M

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If we are talking about weight, then the first thing to go has to be the Benbo. That should be the first consideration, unless the current camera lacks some function that you really, really need. Sadly, carbon-fibre tripods are not budget friendly.

The great thing about the MPP is that it is astonishingly robust. I dropped mine off a breakwater onto rocks while photographing St Mary's Lighthouse. Despite a little bending, it continued to work and a Manchester Screwdriver, wielded with care, soon put it back to rights. Not good with anything shorter than 90mm. Mine had a huge bellows extension.
 

Ian Grant

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I doubt there are many LF togs who actually possess an outfit that fulfils exactly all their wishes ( Material construction, Movements, Weight and Cost)
It's pretty much a compromise in many cases.
My Wista 45DX and lenses fulfilled all my requirements for over 20 years, I had a couple of monorail cameras one bought 1977 but never used the first after buying the Wista which is/was used for personal and commercial work. The second smaller and lighter Cambo monorail got used on a trip to Cornwall when I'd left the Wista in Turkey where Iwe were living at the time. So I sold both monorail cameras and don't miss them..

I've never had a shot I couldn't make with the Wista, however it's not practical for hand-held use so I bought a Crown Graphic but after 18 months found a bargain priced Super Graphic for just over £100. I found that the Super Graphic has enough movements for my landscape work so I don't feel I'm compromising by using it and it's great hand held or on a tripod and very quick and easy to use.

Ian
 

Paul Kay

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Depending on your flexibility/ability to improvise and adjust there are some interesting and cheap LF cameras out there (take a look at: http://www.wetplatesupplies.com/cameras-and-spares/cameras/linhof-technika-standard-8x10-5.html) but you may need to do a bit of adjusting in terms of exactly what you want it to do and its format, etc. Good MPPs (I used to use one professionally many years ago - built like a tank but not lightweight) are not as cheap as they used to be from the prices I'm seeing.
 

Ian Grant

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That's a 6.5x9 Linhof I think, the MPP Micro Technical is based on the 5x4 version. All LF camera prices have risen quite significantly in the past 2 or 3 years and MPP's in particular.

It's a couple of years since I bought my MkIII Micro Technical for £70 with most of a second body in bits, it looks a bit rough because the coving material perishes but it's mechanically sound and fully functional, it'll be easy to re-cover it. I picked up a back at a camera fair so at some point will re-assemble the other.

The MkVII I bought on another Forum, the selle r said pay after it arrives in case you want to return it, while clean and in nice condition there were issue, however there'd been a few extra spare parts with the MkIII's and I had it completely fixed within a few minutes. The MkVII came with a very nice 150mm f4.5 Xenar and taking the lens value into account the camera was well under £100.

I weighed my Wista 45DX and that weighs 2.310 kg so rought 800g less than the MPP MkVII.

Ian
 
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JimW

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To be fair to JimW, he did post the link purely as an " example"
Thanks, appreciate you noticed. I suggest that now, as opposed to a few years ago, cheap is going to mean 'a bit of a project'.
Keep looking, but as with all things, you put up with what you can.
 

Ian Grant

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Registered User
Thanks, appreciate you noticed. I suggest that now, as opposed to a few years ago, cheap is going to mean 'a bit of a project'.
Keep looking, but as with all things, you put up with what you can.
My experience is definitely that cheap can mean there's issues sometimes quite serious. I thought your example quite apt Jim as the listing makes no mention of the broken part which will affect use and it shows how carefully you have to look at photos etc.

In my case I am prepared to buy knowing there's issues or possible issues because I can afford the time looking and waiting to find the spares to restore completely. My Super Graphic came with a broken Graflok back but I was able to use my Cambo's back until I found the parts, luckily it was the right fit.

About 12 years ago I bought 2 Speed Graphic from the US for $70 sold as enough parts to restore one, unfortunately one as a Pacemaker Speed and the other a pre-Anniversary with no parts at all in common, however the older camera was easy to restore and eventually I found the parts to restore the Pacemaker without a shutter.

Ian
 

Alan9940

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Thanks for the comments everyone, perhaps I should just consider an upgrade a more recent Intrepid. Weight is a factor - it's the reason I dumped my Nikon DSLR & f2.8 lenses for a Fuji - and my Benbo Trekker tripod is reasonably hefty!
The primary benefit, IMO, to the Intrepid is its budget friendly price. However, build quality, precise movements, etc, are just simply not present with this camera. I own an 8x10 MK1 and use it only for extended hikes where every ounce of weight is considered. It takes some time to setup because each standard has to be squared up--I use a triangle--and any movements made are not smooth. Perhaps the latest 4x5 is better built? Again, cameras like the Wista DX, Tachihara, etc, are not heavy cameras and certainly more precise than the Intrepid.

As already mentioned, I doubt that any single camera will fulfill all needs; it all comes down to compromise. For example, I love my Arca Swiss F-line 4x5 for the flexibility it allows in lens choice; I can change out the bellows, as needed, for short or long lenses. The image on the groundglass is a joy to look at due to the built-in fresnel lens. Movements are smooth as glass and very precise. However, this kit is relatively heavy! I can grab my Toho FC-45X bag with 4 lenses, a few Grafmatics, and a carbon fiber tripod and hike for days. Again, compromises...
 

Ian Grant

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Something maybe we are over-looking is the OP has Linhof/Wista fit lens board(s), it's useful to be able to use the same lens boards if he wants to still use the Intrepid.

I mada a simple adaptor that allows me to use Linhof/Wista style boards on my MPP MkVII, it's abit crude but was just a test and it work perfectly, I intend to make a few soon. Where I can I've made adapters for other cameras like my Half plate (7x5) Kodak Specialist 2 and 10x8 Agfa Ansco's to allow the use of the same lens boards.

Ian
 
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