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Roger Hicks -- Author of The Rangefinder Book

Roger Hicks is a well known photographic writer, author of The Rangefinder Book, over three dozen other photographic books, and a frequent contributor to Shutterbug and Amateur Photographer. Unusually in today's photographic world, most of his camera reviews are film cameras, especially rangefinders. See www.rogerandfrances.com for further background (Frances is his wife Frances Schultz, acknowledged darkroom addict and fellow Shutterbug contributor) .


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A Junk Linhof
Old 08-11-2017   #1
Roger Hicks
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A Junk Linhof

Yet another of the cameras from the estate of my late chum Senggye: a 6x9cm/2x3 inch "baby" Linhof Super Technika III, once staggeringly valuable, now substantially junk. What would you do?

Cheers,

R.
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Old 08-11-2017   #2
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Roger -

Do you mean "junk" in the sense that its monetary value has substantially evaporated? Or that it has deteriorated physically so its practical value has been eroded?

Sorry. Saw the link. Yikes.

I think a really dedicated Linhof person could whip that into truly useable shape with a fair amount of work. But you have a fiduciary duty to the estate. I get it. Get on with parting it out for the most $ and don't look back. (Unless that nutty Linhof person shows up soon with cash...)


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Old 08-11-2017   #3
x-ray
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Make a door stop or book end out of it.

How sad people treat equipment like that.
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Old 08-11-2017   #4
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Find someone who drools over Linhofs, has the technical skills and time to restore it, and sell it to them at a bargain price. In that case it'll go to a good home, get restored, get some use, and the former owner's family will get a little bit from the sale.

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Old 08-11-2017   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil_F_NM View Post
Find someone who drools over Linhofs, has the technical skills and time to restore it, and sell it to them at a bargain price. In that case it'll go to a good home, get restored, get some use, and the former owner's family will get a little bit from the sale.

Phil Forrest
+1

B2 (;->
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Old 08-11-2017   #6
farlymac
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There was a time when I would have taken that off your hands, Roger, but the older I get I like to use cameras more than fix them.

That said, I've seen worse brought back to life, and the fact the three lenses are with it plus the cam would make a strong argument for someone to take a go at it. Just not me.

PF
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Old 08-11-2017   #7
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Great camera in not so good condition. But I think that it can be save.
I have friend who restore vintage music instruments. He know how to deal with corrosion and Electrogalvanizing. I would buy it, and restore but I'm unable to give much for it. I have also some experience with removing rust from vintage bikes.
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Old 08-11-2017   #8
Sarcophilus Harrisii
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Hmm, I would want to save it, Roger, but because I get quite attached to really nice kit I'm not a good person to ask. I'm glad, actually, it doesn't have the three Zeiss lenses including the 53mm Biogon. If it did, I'd probably be in danger of thinking about taking it on, myself! I reckon the Baby Linhofs are luverly things.

You'd be doing the right thing by trying to keep the three lenses and cam together as a set initially. If a buyer wanted to use them on another Linhof camera, it would be a lot easier to set them up for rangefinder use if they stay together. Not a drop in affair, but nevertheless, a lot easier if the lenses and their cam are together.

As I understand it: the larger Linhofs from the Super Technika V and Master standardised their lens register (back register might be a more appropriate term for the design, possibly). So any late lens and cam should rangefinder focus on any later body. With the older models the register was not standardised. Eg my own Super Technika 4x5 is a III, and its cams are matched to both the lens and the body dimensions. I wouldn't have purchased it if the set was not intact, happily, all components were present, and original. I think the older Babys work the same way, don't they? Ie you could fit the cam and lenses from your late friend's example to another body, but the RF focus would then be out.

In theory, it should be possible to make them work again, though. First, you'd want to carefully check and install infinity stops to the tracks of the body involved. With good infinity set for the lenses, you know the cam is going to track the lenses nicely across the focus range, because it was ground to suit. What might happen (probably would) is that the new bodys rangefinder adjustment wouldn't hit infinity at the same point as the lenses (Ie ground glass). But you could probably get around that as you would with any other camera by dialling the RF in to the glass.

The above would all be unworkable if one wanted to use those lenses in addition to some existing ones. Adjusting the RF to suit the donor lenses would throw it out for the ones that are already present. But given many sellers (charlatans?) split up perfectly good, intact, working Linhof kits into disparate parts that no longer calibrate with other cameras, there is not exactly a shortage of good condition Linhof bodies out there in need of a set of lenses. Hence, if this camera body (and the condition of the tracks and lens standard is likely to be the killer) is not viable, a bare donor body could, I think, in theory, be set up to work with the lens and cams, as described above. At least that is my understanding of what would be involved.

The other, slightly more radical alternative, would be to dial the lens infinity in to another body and then get the hammers and files out and bash the cam wings out to widen them or the use the files to narrow them, and gradually work the RF calibration back to the body as you track each lens across the focus range on the ground glass. Quite tedious, and time consuming, but not especially hard, I reckon. Well, I could do it, I'm sure, but, I'm patient enough to deal with the tedium! In some ways, that might be the better of the two options, as, having matched the cam to the new body register, you should then be able to use the RF to focus with the lenses on another body, but also, continue to use any other lenses and their cam already calibrated to it, because you have not had to alter the RF adjustment to make it work with the new lenses. This is, in effect, what Linhof themselves could, and did, do originally, for owners who desired to be able to use more than three lenses with their new Baby, once upon a time, by cutting an additional cam for any additional lenses an owner purchased. They would provide this service either at the time a customer bought their new Linhof, or subsequently. In fact they will still couple additional lenses for their current model cameras (at a cost of 153 Euros per lens if they supply the lens, or 307 per lens if supplied by the owner, according to their 2016 price list). It's a bit more work, naturally, to adjust an existing focus cam in to an orphan body, but I can see no reason why it could not be done, by the right person.

Despite all the above it's quite likely those lenses might be wanted by someone desiring to use them on a camera without RF focus (Linhof or other type). But Linhof made the most beautiful large format cameras to such high standards of quality. It is sort of heart-breaking to find one in such dismal condition. Ultimately, I hope someone steps up to try and save it. Sadly, that can't be me, at present!
Cheers
Brett
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Old 08-12-2017   #9
Roger Hicks
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil_F_NM View Post
Find someone who drools over Linhofs, has the technical skills and time to restore it, and sell it to them at a bargain price. In that case it'll go to a good home, get restored, get some use, and the former owner's family will get a little bit from the sale.

Phil Forrest
Dear Phil,

That would be the ideal. But as I said in the piece, how?

Cheers,

R.
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Old 08-12-2017   #10
Roger Hicks
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MaxElmar View Post
Roger -

Do you mean "junk" in the sense that its monetary value has substantially evaporated? Or that it has deteriorated physically so its practical value has been eroded?

Sorry. Saw the link. Yikes.

I think a really dedicated Linhof person could whip that into truly useable shape with a fair amount of work. But you have a fiduciary duty to the estate. I get it. Get on with parting it out for the most $ and don't look back. (Unless that nutty Linhof person shows up soon with cash...)


Regards,
Dear Chris,

The trouble is, I just don't know how to get rid of the bloody thing! I don't really have a fiduciary duty: I was just asked for assistance in identifying the valuable stuff and getting rid of it: mostly Leica but a few other things too (Tessina, for example). If there's no significant money in something, then Aditi (the executor) doesn't want anyone wasting time in selling it, sorting it, etc.

As I've explained elsewhere, Aditi is like a daughter to Frances and me. She had three mothers and two fathers (just the one, biologically, in each case, obviously) but now her biological father is dead, her biological mother lives in another country, and her main contact with her stepmother is via her half-brothers, we're her main parents. As soon as we can (complicated international law) we're going to adopt her formally, even though she's 27.

Now, if she were the sole beneficiary, I might try a lot harder, but as the money would be split 5 ways with 3 half-brothers and a half-sister, or 6 ways with me, we agree that there's not much sense in either of us (Aditi and me) knocking ourselves out to get at most about fifty bucks each.

Cheers,

R.
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Old 08-12-2017   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by farlymac View Post
There was a time when I would have taken that off your hands, Roger, but the older I get I like to use cameras more than fix them.

That said, I've seen worse brought back to life, and the fact the three lenses are with it plus the cam would make a strong argument for someone to take a go at it. Just not me.

PF
Same here.

Cheers,

R.
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Old 08-12-2017   #12
Roger Hicks
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sarcophilus Harrisii View Post
Hmm, I would want to save it, Roger, but because I get quite attached to really nice kit I'm not a good person to ask. I'm glad, actually, it doesn't have the three Zeiss lenses including the 53mm Biogon. If it did, I'd probably be in danger of thinking about taking it on, myself! I reckon the Baby Linhofs are luverly things.

You'd be doing the right thing by trying to keep the three lenses and cam together as a set initially. If a buyer wanted to use them on another Linhof camera, it would be a lot easier to set them up for rangefinder use if they stay together. Not a drop in affair, but nevertheless, a lot easier if the lenses and their cam are together.

As I understand it: the larger Linhofs from the Super Technika V and Master standardised their lens register (back register might be a more appropriate term for the design, possibly). So any late lens and cam should rangefinder focus on any later body. With the older models the register was not standardised. Eg my own Super Technika 4x5 is a III, and its cams are matched to both the lens and the body dimensions. I wouldn't have purchased it if the set was not intact, happily, all components were present, and original. I think the older Babys work the same way, don't they? Ie you could fit the cam and lenses from your late friend's example to another body, but the RF focus would then be out.

In theory, it should be possible to make them work again, though. First, you'd want to carefully check and install infinity stops to the tracks of the body involved. With good infinity set for the lenses, you know the cam is going to track the lenses nicely across the focus range, because it was ground to suit. What might happen (probably would) is that the new bodys rangefinder adjustment wouldn't hit infinity at the same point as the lenses (Ie ground glass). But you could probably get around that as you would with any other camera by dialling the RF in to the glass.

The above would all be unworkable if one wanted to use those lenses in addition to some existing ones. Adjusting the RF to suit the donor lenses would throw it out for the ones that are already present. But given many sellers (charlatans?) split up perfectly good, intact, working Linhof kits into disparate parts that no longer calibrate with other cameras, there is not exactly a shortage of good condition Linhof bodies out there in need of a set of lenses. Hence, if this camera body (and the condition of the tracks and lens standard is likely to be the killer) is not viable, a bare donor body could, I think, in theory, be set up to work with the lens and cams, as described above. At least that is my understanding of what would be involved.

The other, slightly more radical alternative, would be to dial the lens infinity in to another body and then get the hammers and files out and bash the cam wings out to widen them or the use the files to narrow them, and gradually work the RF calibration back to the body as you track each lens across the focus range on the ground glass. Quite tedious, and time consuming, but not especially hard, I reckon. Well, I could do it, I'm sure, but, I'm patient enough to deal with the tedium! In some ways, that might be the better of the two options, as, having matched the cam to the new body register, you should then be able to use the RF to focus with the lenses on another body, but also, continue to use any other lenses and their cam already calibrated to it, because you have not had to alter the RF adjustment to make it work with the new lenses. This is, in effect, what Linhof themselves could, and did, do originally, for owners who desired to be able to use more than three lenses with their new Baby, once upon a time, by cutting an additional cam for any additional lenses an owner purchased. They would provide this service either at the time a customer bought their new Linhof, or subsequently. In fact they will still couple additional lenses for their current model cameras (at a cost of 153 Euros per lens if they supply the lens, or 307 per lens if supplied by the owner, according to their 2016 price list). It's a bit more work, naturally, to adjust an existing focus cam in to an orphan body, but I can see no reason why it could not be done, by the right person.

Despite all the above it's quite likely those lenses might be wanted by someone desiring to use them on a camera without RF focus (Linhof or other type). But Linhof made the most beautiful large format cameras to such high standards of quality. It is sort of heart-breaking to find one in such dismal condition. Ultimately, I hope someone steps up to try and save it. Sadly, that can't be me, at present!
Cheers
Brett
Dear Brett,

All points taken. I know how to do most of what you describe, even down to re-coupling, but basically I need to get rid of some of my existing kit, not acquire more!

Cheers,

R.
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Old 08-12-2017   #13
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Dear Roger,

You've touched on concerns that are also in my thoughts. None of my inheritors have shown interest in cameras, and are busy with jobs and young families. I've started selling them off, starting with those that are too rare/good/valuable to risk being thrown out with house clearance or broken up. To keep, I am perfectly happy to use a camera that is working but showing what I regard as honourable marks of age.

So I would regard the ideal solution to be sale to someone who would pay a decent price for having it to use , but alas for the reasons given above that wouldn't be me . With any luck this forum might come to the notice of the right person !

All the best,
John.
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Old 08-12-2017   #14
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The camera is an excellent candidate for a steampunk project.
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Old 08-12-2017   #15
Roger Hicks
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The camera is an excellent candidate for a steampunk project.
Dear Jack,

An interesting idea!

Cheers,

R.
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Old 08-12-2017   #16
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I would say, if nobody at RFF wants the camera, sell the lenses by themselves and throw away the camera unless a poor student with love for such cameras steps forward.
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Old 08-26-2017   #17
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I'm starting grad school (even more dirt poor) so I don't have much time on my hands. That said, I love to make things WORK. I spent months restoring 19th and early 20th century nickel plated bicycle parts. I've been restoring cameras as a hobby for years but have never taken on a Linhof. Speed Graphic, Crown Graphic, Kodak Autographic folders, Busch Pressman C, custom built cameras. It's just something I love doing but during the next year I'll not have more than a few hours a week to dedicate to a Linhof restoration.

Phil Forrest
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Old 08-26-2017   #18
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I'm starting grad school (even more dirt poor) so I don't have much time on my hands. That said, I love to make things WORK. I spent months restoring 19th and early 20th century nickel plated bicycle parts. I've been restoring cameras as a hobby for years but have never taken on a Linhof. Speed Graphic, Crown Graphic, Kodak Autographic folders, Busch Pressman C, custom built cameras. It's just something I love doing but during the next year I'll not have more than a few hours a week to dedicate to a Linhof restoration.

Phil Forrest
Dear Phil,

She's accepted 100€ for body + standard lens + cam + non-working back + two or three holders. Plus shipping: about 40€ to Poland.

Yes, Aditi and I fully take your point about wanting to see it restored/ used.

Cheers,

R.
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