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Linhof Master Technika

by Philip Greenspun, 1998


Shutter on Rodenstock lens on Linhof Master Technika

The Linhof Master Technika is a $5000 folding camera that takes 4x5" sheet film negatives. I own one because I keep thinking it will let me use a view camera in all kinds of new situations and places. If you want view camera movements and flexibility, the Technika has them and they are precise (unlike folding wooden cameras). If you want to pretend that you're a 1940s press photographer, e.g., Weegee, you can stick an anatomical grip on the side, a cammed lens on the front, a big flash on the other side, and blast away.

The Short Conclusion

Flamingo 1997 The camera does not let me shoot large format negatives casually. It is true that, folded, it isn't too large: 8 x 7 x 4.5" (20 x 18 x 11cm). At 6 lbs. (2.6kg), it is heavier than some field cameras, notably the Horseman FA, but only by a couple of pounds. So why doesn't the Linhof Master Techika work as a beefy point-and-shoot? Because there is simply too much other stuff you need to carry around to expose 4x5 sheet film. The Linhof has a rangefinder that can be coupled to various lenses and an accessory zooming viewfinder that fits into a shoe on top. So in theory you can just aim, focus, and shoot. But in practice you won't get the depth of field you need unless you stop down to f/22 in which case the shutter speed will be slow enough that you'll want to use a tripod. At that point, you really should flip open the back (with its nice folding focusing hood) and check composition and focus with a loupe.

I guess the old-time press photographers had Grafmatic backs and such that let them whip off exposures quickly. But the modern-day solution for the lazy tends to be Kodak Readyload or Fuji Quickload film. These have to be handled carefully and require a holder that, though not heavy, is bulky.

So you're heading out of the car with a tripod, the camera, a Quickload holder, a box of Fuji Quickload film (the Kodak stuff is really unreliable in my experience), a loupe, a cable release, and a light meter on your belt. That Canon EOS-5 is starting to look pretty good. The Yashica T4 point-and-shoot camera is looking even better.

The bottom line is that when I take a trip with my cameras, I end up covering most subjects with my Canon EOS system, a few with my Fuji 617 camera, and hardly any with the Linhof.

Same hassle, less flexibility

OK, it might be a pain to set up, but once you get the thing on a tripod, it is ultimately flexible, no? No. It is pretty fast to level the camera on a tripod and then shift the lens up to take a perspective-correct image a building. But if you want to shift the lens down, you have to drop the front tray and then tilt the lens back to bring it parallel again with the rear standard (i.e., the film). You have to guess at whether the standards are in fact parallel. Remember that if they aren't, you will get subtle unsharpness and you might as well have used a wooden view camera or could even have gotten better results with a 35mm SLR and PC lens.

On about 1/10th of the pictures that you take, you'll long for the flexibility of a traditional studio monorail, e.g., Sinar X. What I especially miss from my old Sinar F2 are all the little calculator wheels that tell you (1) what aperture you need to get enough depth of field, (2) at what angle you need to tilt the lens and/or film plane to bring a tabletop into focus via the Scheimpflug Rule. (see B&H Photo's large format introduction if you want some diagrams and background on view camera movements; or get hold of a copy of View Camera Technique)

One thing the Linhof does better than any other field camera I've seen is long extension. You can get something like 17" (435mm) of extension for macro photography and/or telephoto lenses.

On the bright side

In a world where it is too expensive to machine anything, where cameras look as though they were popped out of a mold, it is nice to own a product that is essentially unchanged since the Linhof Technika III was introduced in 1946. A Linhof has the same machined-by-German-elves feeling that you get from a Leica.

Note that apparently quality and actual reliability are different things. My Linhof has been babied and yet after only a handful of exposures, I experienced sticking with the shutter/cable release mechanism on the Linhof/Rodenstock 150mm lens that was included with the camera.


(John Belushi's grave on Martha's Vineyard, about which you can find out more in my Cape Cod exhibit)

If you're going to buy one

I recommend the IV, the V, the Master, or the Master 2000 (takes super wide-angle lenses without additional accessories). It is tough to get certain modern lenses back into a III and also the current accessories won't fit. Each newer model adds some movements and features that are useful. Buy whichever one fits your budget.

Oh yes, prepare for pain if you want to use lenses wider than 75mm on a Technika. Rather than go into the gory details of using super wide-angle lenses on this series of cameras, I will recommend that you instead get a Master 2000 (about $6000; accepts lenses down to 45mm) or a Toyo 45AII camera (accepts lenses to 45mm with recessed boards; you don't have to monkey with the bellows; also has an "easy-load" bail at the rear for inserting film holders without disturbing the camera position).

What I want instead

For my style of photography, I think that what I want is a really nice fitted case containing a Sinar X and all the ancillary stuff. I paid nearly $27,000 for my new Toyota minivan and will use it to get within 100 meters of my subject. If it is more than 100 meters from the car, it isn't photogenic.

Gallery

Some miscellaneous pictures...

Pew 1997 Pew 1997 Joshua Tree. Joshua Tree National Park.

Readers' Comments


Add a comment



Sam Carleton , April 12, 1998; 12:15 A.M.

At present I shoot street photography with a Linhof III, in the past I hand held a Crown Graphic (CG). I do admit that I use a lot of DOF when shooting with the Linhof, but that is as much to make sure I AM in focus as it is to get a lot in focus.

When I was shooting with the CG, I never minded the lack of DOF as long as my subject was in focus. I do not completely agree with Philip when he said that you cannot aim, focus and shoot.

But then when I take into account the images on the review page, I get the impression that Philip wants more then just one point in focus. I have always gotten the impression that with landscape photography it is often desired to have a lot in focus. This would make hand holding any 4x5 unexceptable. With regards to photographing people, in the same style as the press photographers of the 30's and 40's, I believe that the modern Linhof would server VERY well.

I keep hearing people say that shooting 4x5 is very bulking, I must disagree on this point. Again I understand where they are coming from, but there are other ways of shooting... I put 6 4x5 neg carriers, and a lupe into a big fanny pack (not one designed for photography) and hand my Minolta Meter V casee (with the meter) on the belt of the fanny pack. I put my Linhof III on the tripod and the tripod on my sholder and go hit the streets. I use my shirt or coat as a dark cloth. The setup works well and is less gear, except for the tripod, then my 35mm setup:

F5, 18mm, 35mm, 60mm, 85mm, 105/2, 180mm, SB-26, and Lumidyne high voltage pack.

My shooting style is very different if I am shooting 35mm or 4x5, but they both fit (basiclly) into a fanny pack and allow me to hit the streets, ON FOOT!

Sam

Ellis Vener , June 20, 1998; 06:53 P.M.

i realize that this review is from last year, but if you are really looking for a better field camera i strongly urge you to consider the canham dlc. except for press camera attributes, it is a better, lighter, more versatile and did i mention much less expensive 4x5 field camera?

Ronald LaMarsh , June 21, 1998; 02:26 A.M.

Why in Gods name would anyone want to shift a lense down? Jsut lower the tripod! I have an ancient Super TechIII and it does any movement I've ever found a need for. Granted it may not be as versitle as a monorail in the studio but I don't do studio therefore extreme movements are not necessary. The key here is that each piece of equip has an intended purpose and linhof never intended the Technika to replace the monorail or they would have quit making thier other fine cameras. Yes the Canham is a beautiful and functional piece of equipment but at well over $2000 I can get two used technikas a couple of lenses and a D-2 enlarger. I ahve looked at the canham and love it just can't afford it.

Richard Webber , July 17, 1998; 02:02 A.M.

Just a quick comment on using "fall" as opposed to "rise". The same effect cannot be achieved by lowering the tripod a few inches any more than rise can be achieved by raising the tripod. Front fall is needed when your vantage point is "too high" - i.e. you need to point the camera down to achieve the desired framing. Doing so would create diverging verticals just as pointing the camera up would produce converging verticals. Examples might be taking a picture from the balcony of a church or theatre.

I felt compelled to respond to the previous comment please forgive my use of your disk space!

Richard

Scott Gant , August 13, 1998; 10:06 P.M.

I can't see spending this kind of money on a field camera. I mean, for the same money (less really), you can get a 8x10 Wisner Field camera with a couple of lenses.

Better yet, you can get a 4x5 monorail view camera that has even more movement than the Linhof, for around $600 or so (Toyo makes a new one in this price range). Since everything is going to be on a tripod anyway, what difference does it make how compact it folds up? Granted, a monorail doesn't fold up as nice.

Just some thoughts. One of those "why spend so much on a body when you can save your money and spend it on quality lenses". In regards of large format lenses, almost all are quality...but at least you can buy more!

Also, the bellows draw on a bottom line Wisner 4x5 is like 21"...quite a lot.

Tom La Bron , August 27, 1998; 02:31 P.M.

Hi folks, This is the first time I have ever found this page and I just thought I would add my 2 cents. I own a Master Technika 5 and I love it. Before I got married I used it all a time and it became a very useful addition to my photographic inventory which includes Leica-R camera. It has kind of set in the back ground though for about 5 years for I was very involved with the raising of my twin daughters. They are in kindergarten this year, and starting to become more independent and require a little less involvement, so I am getting back in to photography again and my Linhof is out and getting ready for use. I use my Master T on a tripod a lot, but also have used it hand held. When I was in Greece taking pictures of the Parthenon I had my Master on a tripod and was using my shifts to take out the perspective of the Doric columns, when just as I was getting read to trip my shutter a very stiff government official step in front of my camera and told me I couldn't take a picture. To make a long story shorter I spoke with residing officials on the mountain top and they told me it was policy that if I was using my big camera I was a professional and I could not use it on a tripod. I told them there were all sorts of cameras on tripods and they were doing nothing about them. It was the size of my camera my made it a professional item even though I was not a professional by profession. The only way they would allow me to continue shooting was if I left my tripod in the office. So I left the office and continued shooting without the tripod, thanks in large part to the versitility of the Linhof. Granted I could not take any more shoots with the cameras shifts, but I was able to use my lens in a stopped down mode because of time of day and with the fact, that I had accomplished the major of my shooting on the tripod before I was stopped by the official. My Master was worth its wait in gold that day.

Ellis V. - I do not agree with you about the Canhan dlc. Linhof is more versitile and for me better even if it costs more.

And, Scott Gant - Sure you may be able to get a 8X10 Wisner Field Camera for the same about or less than a Master T, but my God, I can't see you putting it on a Gitz Student C. Giant tripod and throwing up on you shoulder and hiking to the beginning of the Colorado River for shooting like I did with my Master. Talk about esoteric, where in the Sam-dickens are you getting the developing equipment, plus the enlarger. I personally have never seen an 8X10 enlargers for sale and I bet even a used one would cost a pretty penny, plus a color enlarger would be mind boggling in price.

In addition It is hard enough to get a good selection of film for 4X5 and it is even smaller for 8X10.

I will confess I also use my Master with a 6X7 back on it so I also have an intermediate format without the price of two camera systems. Since I acquired my Master T it has been everywhere with me from Iceland to Africa and the Far East. I will admit that I didn't take it on safari with me when I was in Africa. There I used my Leica-R cameras and was glad that I had a 400mmf/5.6 Telyt lens for it. It hardly was taken off the camera.

Well that is my 2 cents, and needless to say I love my Linhof Master Technika.

Tom La Bron

Aleksandar Kujucev , August 28, 1998; 08:10 P.M.

Shifting the lens down! In his review Philip wrote:"But if you want to shift the lens down, you have to drop the front tray and then tilt the lens back to bring it parallel again with the rear standard...". Well there is another way! First you have to remove accesory shoe located on top of the camera and you'll find a hidden second (third actually) tripod mount which will permit you to attach your Technika upside down to the tripod. This way you'll have no problem getting standards parallel since you're shifting the lens down the way you did shift it up!

r.l. michel , November 10, 1998; 08:58 P.M.

for those people who enjoy using their master techs on the fly, there are no better med. long to long lenses than Rodenstock's apo-ronars and nikon m-series. everything up to 300mm will fit inside a collapsed master tech (with a filter and collapsible b+w rubber shade). HOWEVER, be advised that these fine lenses (yes i know they were made for process work, but everybody from picker to wisner to sexton use them at infinity) have been discontinued. if you want to acquire one (new anyway) call B&H immediately. by the by, nikon didn't show ANY lf lenses at photokina or photoplus east. don't leave home without your tech. aloha.

Brian C. Ellis , January 24, 1999; 06:58 P.M.

I own the late version of the Technika V and I like it a lot. To me Linhof cameras (I used to own a Technikardan) are all about fine craftsmanship, extreme precision, sturdiness, and solidity. They're not the lightest cameras on the market - the latest batch of light weights from Canham, Wisner, Zone VI, at al are 2 to 3 pounds lighter than the Technikas; they don't have the longest bellows extension (16 or so inches compared to something like 24 inches or thereabouts on some of the Wisners, Zone VIs, Lotuses, Walkers, and Canhams);they don't have the most movements (no front fall, sort of odd and somewhat limited back movements) and what movements they do have aren't the most extensive; they're something of a pain to use with short lenses in the 75 mm to 90 mm range and impossible to use 65 mm or shorter without an expensive add on device (except in the case of the new 2000 model), and they certainly aren't the least expensive (in fact they're about the most expensive). So why do so many people like them? Well, for one thing while they don't have the most of this or the longest of that, they are pretty good at just about everything - a reasonably long bellows, all front movements except fall, and some of all kinds of back movements. But mostly I think it's about the pleasure of using such a well engineered, well built, precision instrument, one on which when you lock something it feels like it is really locked and that it will stay locked, where all of the movements are very precise, where the controls are well placed and easy to distinguish from one another, one for which almost every conceivable accessory is available (albeit at very high prices), and that is really just a pleasure to hold and to use. I used to own a Tachihara and I think it is a great camera for the money but like most wooden cameras it isn't real precise and the various gears and locks don't inspire the same degree of confidence as does a well designed, well built metal camera like the Technika. Not to mention the fact that they'll last a lifetime so while the initial cost is high, the long term cost can actually be low.

Laurence Cuffe , February 04, 1999; 06:57 A.M.

I've used a tecknica hand held stopped down with a big flash as a party camera and been very pleased with the results. However one thing to watch out for if using the coupled range finder on an older camera is wear on the cam. These were, I believe, individualy fited to for each lens and when the wear the range finder no longer gives an acurate reading.

Kornelius J. Fleischer , February 04, 1999; 03:40 P.M.

Precisely a quarter century ago Linhof introduced the Master Technika and replaced the Technika V with it. At that transition I was able to buy one of the Technika V4s previously used for their seminars. Over time I added a handful of lenses, some new, some second hand, and a second hand Kardan Bi monorail plus some accessories. All in all I paid 10,000 DM for my Linhof equipment. If I devide this sum by 25 years of joyful use, the fun cost me 1 DM per day. I think I can afford this. Smoking would have been more expensive and less desirable for the environment.

Scott Gant , February 21, 1999; 06:06 P.M.

Tom La Bron said: "Sure you may be able to get a 8X10 Wisner Field Camera for the same about or less than a Master T, but my God, I can't see you putting it on a Gitz Student C. Giant tripod and throwing up on you shoulder and hiking to the beginning of the Colorado River for shooting like I did with my Master."

Well, Ansel Adams didn't have any problems mountain climbing around Yosemite with his 8x10 equipment when he made images like "Monolith - The Face of Half Dome" and others.

And I didn't say anything about enlarging at all. I contact print using platinum processing.

But regardless of using an 8x10, the Linhof is just overpriced. Yes, it has high quality, but I just can't see spending that much on a 4x5 field camera. A Wisner Technical 4x5 has more movements and bellows draw and it costs a fraction of the Linhof. There are even Cambo monorail cameras that cost less than $1000 that fold down nice and compact too...and give a far greater range of movements than any field camera. But hey, if the Linhof gives you good results personally, more power to ya!

David Burke , April 14, 1999; 09:21 P.M.

I believe that the Linhof Master Technica is the way to go for several reason. 1-The price indeed is onerous, but the counterpoint to this is the argument that it will keep its value therefore will not loose its value in the used or pre owned market. This camera is easily serviceble at Marflex NJ 2-I carry this camera with all of my vacation trips and I use the New Schneider Vacuum back with the New Schneder 150 mm HM XL Aspherical lens, the results are stunning,and with some practice the whole camera can be set up in approximatively two minutes. 3-The only down side has been in the airport when passing through security and explaining to an astonished security inspector what you are howling. When walking in the field the camera/vacuum back/tripod is easily carried on one shoulder.

Juergen Schrader , December 05, 2000; 01:35 P.M.

I do not completely follow the arguements that the Technika is to complicated to use. I confess I have 10 kg in my backpack but however I can bring it up anywhere my car doesn`t go. I found that the time You need to take a photo improves it so it actually helps, so I take far less pictures now but better. And by the way, I paid for a second hand Technika IV incl. 150 Symmar 2800 DM which is around 1300$ now, so it is not much more than a 3 megapix digital camera which will be worthless in 5 years time. Anybody who can get his finger on it, buy.

Henk van Roy , March 03, 2001; 11:27 A.M.

Interesting reading the views of various contributors. I own a Technika III, have just sold a Sinar P (economic necessity) and now shoot digital (Coolpix 990) and 35mm (with PC lens because the Coolpix can't correct converging verticals). When I tried to sell / trade in my Sinar the salesman told me: "can't sell a 4x5 for any money these days; I bet in a few years it will be totally different; everyone will want one". In short, WHAT do you want your large format camera for? For my web stuff, almost ANY camera will do. For a negative you can do anything with, 4x5 (or larger) still has it. My Technika is much more compact than the Sinar, rangefinder quick (at least for the first shot (;-)) and beautifully precision made. Whilst the Sinar is great in the studio, I never ventured outside with it. I have no such reservation with the Technika. It's all about "fitness for purpose" I guess. I'd like to ask a question: why don't you see as many Technikas for sale on auction sites as monorail cameras? You know the answer.

Image Attachment: Technica3c.jpg

Ashraf Nassef , May 27, 2001; 11:07 A.M.

shifting down the lens can be achieved simply by rotating the camera on it's side then use the side shifts as an upward and downward shifts, then rotate the film holder/roll film back as you like.

Joachim Hildebrand , June 07, 2001; 02:01 P.M.

When looking for a 4x5" field camera You really should consider the LINHOF TECHNIKARDAN as an alternative to the TECHNIKA.

If You don´t want or need to shoot without tripod the TECHNIKARDAN is definitly the best choice for many reasons. It is very light and very compact in transport position. It allows all movements in an wide range especially when turned 90° (indirect shift movement) what makes it usable even in the studio. It takes lenses from 45 mm to Tele 600 mm without any problems. The only accessory You need is an wide angle bellows. The TECHNIKARDAN may not be as rugged as the Technika which is normally not a real problem. All these qualities are the reasons why a used TECHNIKARDAN is difficult to find. Get one if You can! BTW both cameras take the same small an easy to transport lensboards.

Doug Dolde , August 28, 2001; 07:44 P.M.

Yes it sounds expensive until you price a new Nikon D1X at about $5000. Which of course will be obsoleted by the next model in two years or less.

Georg Nyman , August 22, 2003; 07:46 P.M.

I am maybe an odd but proud owner of the Master Technika. Yes, I agree, it is heavy, bulky and certainly not a shapshot camera but I used it already under all weather and environment circumstances - in snow, rain, extreme heat etc. It worked - period. The lenses are excellent, the mechanics is superb and probably outlasts my lifetime easily. I like it and no digital camera, absolutely none, can compete with 4x5inch images on film - if you do not believe it, try it out - and judge the results objectively. ( I also own a Graflex, I had a Horseman, but all these cameras were and are flimsy and unstable ). I can only sing the song of praise for Linhof and its quality, performance, precision and durability - and to comment on the previous input: I of course use also the 75mm Super Angulon on the camera with the right cam, viewfinder and meter...it works very fine.

David Goldfarb , November 08, 2003; 07:17 P.M.

I have a Tech V with 4 cammed lenses, and I find the rangefinder quite useful.

I do shoot handheld often, usually with Grafmatic filmholders or a rollfilm back, and a relatively high speed film like Tri-X processed in Acufine. Short DOF just becomes part of the idiom with this setup, and it's a look that I happen to like, even when I'm using other cameras.

For studio portraits the rangefinder and universal viewfinder make it possible to check focus and framing without removing the filmholder from the back, so you can always catch a fleeting expression and don't have to ask the subject to hold still while you insert the holder and remove the darkslide. It's not as dynamic as using a TLR or SLR, but it is much less static than shooting with groundglass focusing, particularly if you use Grafmatic or the new Fuji Quickchange holders.

Even for landscapes, I'll sometimes check focus with the rangefinder in low light or with a wide lens when the corners may be hard to read with a loupe.

Robin Coutts , June 26, 2004; 08:56 A.M.

One thing about the MT, I have used one for 5years. Mine was 15years old when I bought it. In a ferocious hail storm on moorland in January, the camera and tripod, though weighted with a 20lb pack, took off and droped 10 feet onto a rock. The camera was fine but would not close properly due to the casing being bent in. I continued to use the camera throughout the day, with good results. If I had been using my Ebony I am certain it would not have survived. The cost of repair though was too high and the camera, tripod head and darkcloth were all replaced by the insurance company. It is expensive, but can eaasily be bought second hand. It is heavy, but 2lb extra weight is little to add compared with what else we carry. It is very rigid and robust and if you are an outdoor photographer, it is one of, if not the best to use, in my opinion.

I also have used a Technikarden, which is a really beautiful camera, but in the conditions on the moors in January, the MT was the best bet.

Brian Mottershead , January 04, 2006; 01:56 P.M.

Test (edited)

Bob Atkins , January 04, 2006; 01:57 P.M.

Another test, edited

Patrick Giagnocavo , February 10, 2006; 12:55 A.M.

I am wondering if anyone has experience with fitting a 6x12cm back on these? I have a Linhof III (not sure whether back is graflok or not) and using 120 or 220 rollfilm seems to be a "best of both worlds" approach... having a 6x12 or 6x9 format seems to be the most interesting choice.

Pico diGoliardi , February 23, 2006; 11:02 A.M.

Yes, it works just fine with a quality 6x12 back. It is designed to do just that.

ben conover , April 20, 2006; 05:17 P.M.

Interesting article. I bought a B&J press camera with 12inches of bellows which goes to 1:1. The camera came with a 165mm lens, film holders, and a lightmeter, with postage paid grand total of $200.

Cheers.

Mike O'Donoghue , August 24, 2006; 02:51 P.M.

I shoot handheld with the 6x9cm back on my Super IV. This is nice, The viewfinder has masks for various formats and polaroid pack film. For tripod work I have the 2-piece angled mirror attachment which lets one look at the GG without the need of a dark cloth. The 75mm lens dislikes vertical (you see the drop bed) so I tilt the whole camera. 90mm is better in this respect.

ben conover , September 12, 2006; 02:41 P.M.

Good review above, points to some shorcomings of the Linhof as well as the high points.

Yep, I ended up with a technika 70 with Schneider Xenotar 80mm 2.8 and am happy with it since it uses rollfilm.

Cheers.

Fons de Vries , February 08, 2007; 08:30 A.M.

can anybody tel my the price of a master technika body in good condition ?

DAVID BURKE , February 16, 2007; 02:40 P.M.

I am an amateur photograph and have been using the Linhoff Master technica (MT) for over 15 years. My mental approach to the hastle of seting up the camera as a philosophical experience, just like golf, everything has to go methodically and slowly. One learn to visualize the scene before setting up the gear and over time one develop an eye for taking wonderful pictures. Unlike the Sinar F1 which is a monorail the MT is a clam shell box ruggedly built and while taking landscapes with the camera movements one cannot beat the increadible depth of field one can achieve. I also use the Fuji film readyload which are very reliable. (Contrasty though)

I am from the school of thought of practicing setting the camera at home before going into the field and develop a check list (just like an airplane pilot taking off and going through the check pre flight list). So that once on the field you reduce the probability that something might go wrong especially in windy situations.

In my opinon the 4 X 5 pictures that one achieves with this camera along with a good Apochromatic lens (Schneier or Rodenstock) are breath taking.

I also purchased the Schneider vacum back that adapts with the Linhof graflock back and the pictures are even more sharper and crisp.

One cannot compare this camera with a Canon or other point an shoot becasue these camera lacks movements. View camera photography is all about movements first and sharpness second.

David

Dennis Fassett , February 26, 2007; 08:50 P.M.

No one has mentioned the good old Graphic view.

noire hierodule , March 01, 2007; 12:29 A.M.

Where can I buy a press camera from like Ben for about $ 200? Any help?

Leo Grillo , May 24, 2007; 10:10 P.M.

Peter Gowland made a reflex hood for my Master Technica about 15 years ago -- it's a right-side-up image but right-to-left is backwards, still.

For FAST set up it's great. In fact, when I've tested the focus through the back, then removed the back and checked the ground glass with a 10 power, it's spot-on.

jaco van lith , April 16, 2008; 03:10 P.M.

Large Format

Linhof Technika, the best there is. At least a 4x5. If you got the money and go for quality, do not complain about size or weight? In the States people drive big cars and in Europe we prefer great cameras. You are free to put a shift-lens on an Olympus Pen-F. Jaco van Lith (The Netherlands)

James Jacocks , September 18, 2008; 11:21 P.M.

I own a Technika V and a 6x9cm Master Tech and have owned many other film cameras of small, medium and largish (to 5x7) format. The Tech's are the best overall for my work, when it is art or architecture. Not too heavy but precise, etc, with wonderful RF focusing for handheld work. The 6x9 is an incomparable roll film camera and its output is VERY enlargeable and scan worthy. The 4x5 V is much less portable but still hand holdable (and I'm not a big man). Both easily outshoot the 6x6 roll film cams including Hassy and Rollei. Had 'em both and I know. Linhofs just go "click" at exposure and are dead still at ridiculous shutter speeds, making the tripod an option in many cases. The long tonal scale B/W Tri-X and CN400 media are superior to any digital B/W. Did I say I use digital? Yep, for my "need it now but won't need it later" jobs. Since I can read even color negatives, sorting through is very easy and the images will last longer than I will, or you will, for that matter, Now if I had a model bending over while balancing on a small stool I would probably use the 20mP digital. For sports the D1X for sure. But for image quality (sharpness and tonal scale) I use larger format and Linhof is a good choice. The wonderful Sinar (have 3 of them) and Ebony (I wish) and Canham (sold mine) all have their place and I'm sure most experienced photogs know the issues and the solutions vary with subject. The overriding value with Linhof is versatility and control, including movements, range finder and rigidity. I try not to drop mine and you should too. I don't drop even cheap cameras. I do take mine on day trips on a Honda Silver Wing (just one, not both) and climb and hike with the 6x9cm Tech. I love them almost as I love ...not going to say. Other folks have observed that while many 4x5s are hitting the auction block the Tech's are being held fast. As I said, that's a good idea.

Image Attachment: Pony Love.tif

ziyah gafic , November 19, 2008; 05:34 P.M.

hi guys, i just read your great post. i've been shooting on 6x6 all my carrier (mamiya 6, hasselblad, rolleiflex) and now i got mint condition linhof master technika V with three lenses (wide, norm and tele) and all other goodies... my question is as i'm used to focus with RF and i'm curious how accurate is the focusing with telemeter on linhof V? thanx

Malcolm Lockwood , August 12, 2009; 05:46 P.M.

The 4x5 Technika V has been a "work horse" for me for thirty five years. I lived in Alaska for over forty four years. I do not use the rangefinder at all and almost never hand held it either. It belongs on a tripod, PERIOD. You can drop the front by first dropping the bed one click and tilting the lens back and raising it some. You can use the 65mm with care. The M Nikkor 300mm f/8 is tops as are a number of other 12" lenses. The Linhof is a great field camera and let me add that for field work the 4x5 Grafmatic film holders are great - six sheets in less space than two standard 4x5 holders.


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