Sunday, March 28, 2010

Rental Cameras: Toyo 45AII

Toyo 45AII
Toyo 45AII; Canon 30D, Canon 200mm f/2.8L, Canon 430EX, LumoPro LP120

For my final camera rental, I moved up a format size and tried a 4x5 field camera. As I mentioned earlier, I skipped the Mamiya 7 as the Fuji rangefinders gave me a good idea of how a medium format rangefinder would handle; the Mamiya would be slightly easier to use, with an integrated meter, but in all other respects much the same. Instead, I rented the Toyo 45AII, a 4x5 metal field camera. Since there's not much point extensively comparing ergonomics between a 4x5 camera designed to be used on a tripod, and handheld medium format cameras, I've condensed the usual two part post into one part for this camera. Also, there are no size comparison photos; while the Toyo is a fairly compact field camera, it still requires a tripod.

Rodenstock Lens Detail 1 Rodenstock Lens Detail 2
Rodenstock Lens Details; Canon 30D, Canon 200mm f/2.8L, Canon 430EX, LumoPro LP120

When using it on a tripod, the Toyo is very easy to use; all movements are easy to find, lock and unlock, and use. The back rotates, making vertical shots easy. Typically for most field cameras, the bellows extension tops out at about 300mm, which is fine for the intended applications, and enough for 1:1 magnification with a 150mm lens.

A California Beach
A California Beach; Toyo 45AII, Rodenstock Apo-Sironar-S 135mm f/5.6, Kodak Tmax 400

The lens I rented with it was a Rodenstock Apo-Sironar-S 135mm f/5.6, about which I have nothing bad to say. Small, light, and sharp. The 135mm focal length was nice, but I suspect if I were to go into 4x5 I would prefer a 90mm and a 210mm pair instead; the 135mm was slightly wide, but still close enough to a normal 150mm that I'm not quite comfortable with it.

Coastal Rocks And Surf
Coastal Rocks And Surf; Toyo 45AII, Rodenstock Apo-Sironar-S 135mm f/5.6, Kodak Tmax 400

The really interesting part of this camera though is the 4x5 negative. Sadly, the store I rented from didn't have any boxes of Ilford emulsions in stock in 4x5 size, so I had to use Kodak Tmax 400 (nothing against Kodak, I just prefer to support Ilford). Since I hadn't been having much luck with digital negatives, a 4x5 sized negative for contact printing appealed to me greatly. Scans of cyanotypes made from one of these negatives are coming shortly, but I was certainly not disappointed with them. Scanning the negatives was also very satisfying, due to all the detail in them and the incredible tonality.

Kelp
Kelp; Toyo 45AII, Rodenstock Apo-Sironar-S 135mm f/5.6, Kodak Tmax 400

To test the camera, I took it down the coast on Highway 1, down to the Point Montara lighthouse and back, stopping along the way at one of the beachs, and the Pacifica pier. The camera performed very well as a landscape camera, easy to setup and take down, and quick to use. Amazingly, I also managed to load all the film holders correctly, so all the shots came out very well.

Pacifica Pier
Pacifica Pier; Toyo 45AII, Rodenstock Apo-Sironar-S 135mm f/5.6, Kodak Tmax 400

The other test, as with the medium format cameras, was a studio style test. Due to time restrictions on returning the camera, I couldn't take any food shots, so I did a shot of one of my other cameras. Using it with the strobes was much like using the Mamiya RZ67; set the strobes for an exposure higher than what you need, due to the need to compensate for the bellows extension. The result, seen below, was excellent, showing incredible detail on the camera.

Olympus 35RC
Olympus 35RC; Toyo 45AII, Rodenstock Apo-Sironar-S 135mm f/5.6, Kodak Tmax 400

The final piece of this experience that I want to mention was the tripod the rental shop gave me with the camera; a Manfrotto/Bogen 190XDB with 804RC3 3-way head. This was an excellent combo for a lightweight 4x5 camera or any medium format camera, and I reinforced what I already knew, which is that I much prefer 3-way heads to ballheads. No matter what camera I end up with, I hope to acquire one of these tripods (probably a 190XPROB for the better center column).

Cable Release
Cable Release; Canon 30D, Canon 200mm f/2.8L, Canon 430EX, LumoPro LP120

28 comments:

  1. 喜樂的心是健康良藥,憂傷的靈使骨枯乾。........................................

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  2. 向著星球長驅直進的人,反比踟躕在峽路上的人,更容易達到目的。............................................................

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  3. 如果成為一支火柴,也要點亮一個短暫的宇宙;如果是一隻烏鴉,也要叫疼閉塞的耳膜。.................................................................

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  4. 一時的錯誤不算什麼,錯而不改才是一生中永遠且最大的錯誤............................................................

    ReplyDelete
  5. 我只知道,假如我去愛人生,那人生一定也會回愛我................................................

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  6. how could you skip the Mamiya 7 system?? everybody says it's the best medium format rangefinder you can get! =P

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  7. Waiting for some more posts. I'm really hoping you haven't stopped blogging!

    ReplyDelete