Linhof Master Technika 45 Large Format

Master Technika 45

It is the world’s most well-known 4x5 technical camera for candid work as well as studio and location photography. With this instrument, a fast handheld shot with rangefinder focusing is as feasible as a deliberately composed studio or location photography requiring the triple extension, multiple swings, tilts and other displacements normally associated with an optical bench studio camera.

User Reviews (5)

Showing 1-5 of 5  
SPG   Expert [Dec 18, 2005]
Strength:

Superlative qualityof engineering, design and build. Technical capabilities and range of movements possible; precision and positive action of all movements. Flexibility and total dependability in use.

Weakness:

Weight - not a weakness but a characteristic. This is deliberately constructed as a "bullet proof" piece of equipment made from very strong metals with every component built to last. If you need light weight, there are specially designed wooden cameras available for such a purpose. So weight is not so much a weakness of the Linhof, but moreover a feature, or at worst a limitation. Some will say the price new is a weakness. IMHO, not so. Superlative quality - the engineering development required; precision manufacturing and quality finish all come at a cost - fact of life. Given its useable life, this camera is great value for money.

This was my first LF camera to which I have added a mix of Schneider and rodenstock lenses - 90mm, 150mm, 210mm. Large format is the ultimate quality image maker with this camera being and outstanding field camera enabling an array of lens-board and back movements. It is quality "all the way" - superlative German design, engineering and manufacturing with precision attention to detail. It's all-metal construction helps to ensure accurate precision of movements and rugged long life construction. The overall finish is superb and something any owner will be justly proud of for many decades. A great feature is that it enables the fitting of "universal" mount roll film backs, such as those made by Horseman - 6x7, 6x9, 6x12, should you wish to use that more convenient film type and enable large medium format frames and even some focal length "extension" from the smaller than 4x5 frame sizes - an extremely adaptable / flexible camera. It's a well thought out item from a user perspective as well enabling more complex use (adjustment of the focus plane and geometric corrections) or quite simple use for straight up large film shooting with your selection of a wide variety of focal lengths from a variety of quality large format lens makers such as Fuji, Nikon, Schneider and Rodenstock (to name a few) - all of which come in larger, faster (ease of focusing and bigger image circles enabling more use of movements) or smaller, lighter and slower lens versions (often more convenient in the field when weight and bulk is an important consideration). The camera is like a big metal safe or clam shell in the way it folds closed and opens up revealing a plethora of clever engineering. Every component is solid and precise from the ratchet style lens rise mechanism to the super smooth back rotation and adjustment mechanisms. At first the camera is deceiving - seems simple enough; but, on close inspection one discovers many well engineered features. If you want it "simple" you can use it simple" It's an ideal "in-the-field" technical camera enabling every type of adjustment to a relatively high degree of movement - lens rise and fall; lens tilt and shift and lens angle. It has substantial lens board extension enabling the use of up to about a 400mm non-telephoto lens and wide angle to about a 72mm (65mm with some work-around and limitations) wide angle lens with nearly a full quota of adjustment (subject to image circle coverage). In use it's a dream - the camera can be mounted to a tripod conventionally on its base or on its side or even on its head should movements and bellows extension require. The operation of the bellows extension and lens board adjustments are via positive and precise controls, which make you marvel at the overall quality. Controls are clever enough to enable "blind" operation while working under a dark cloth. The anotomical grip is exactly that - fantastically solid with an equally solid and secure mount mechanism; gives you something rock solid to hang onto while working with the camera (IMHO hand-held operation is impractical due to its overall weight, although possible especially with the coupled rangefinder, which I do not bother with). The accessory telescopic viewfinder is a treat should you have the substantial money to buy one with or have the luck to get with the camera. It enables one to wander about "viewing" different focal lengths before selecting and fitting a lens to the camera. But, like all large format cameras, using the Technika is a slow and very considered process - one you love or hate! I love it. Other accessories are available such as the rather huge and expensive prism finder should you have an aversion to working with images upside-down and reversed. The standard groundglass for focusing before fillting a film holder, Polaroid or roll film back, is excellent - clear, fine grained and with some gridlines. Although many add on fresnels etc in the quest for the perfect and brightest groundglass focusing aid, it is really unnecessary. With good eyesight it is possible to focus sharply unaided but at a pinch only. BUT, all very fine detail focusing or complex plane of focus adjustments should be checked with a good loupe - at least 5x maginfication but no more than about 7x magnification (produces too much glass grain that impedes accurate focusing). Bellows extension adjustments are firm, smooth and positive - typical German and very reassuring. The ability to insert "stops" in the focus rails is a nice feature - attention to minute detail! Bellows material quality is excellent and it should have a life of many decades if treated well. The lens base/tracks benefit from their all-metal construction - firm and prevent any structural "wobble" factor that may un-sharpen your images - nice and rigid. I love the mechanics of the back and how precisely each component is machined - absolutely smooth as silk operation and precise locking features. Rotation to vertical position is simple and convenient. Fitting and releasing of film backs are easy, positive and secure. The removable focus ground glass hood, while a bit tight to look into, is a neat feature. Every time I use this magnificent piece of equipment I am thrilled by the quality of design, engineering and build - a life-time acquisition that is 100% redundancy proof. Image quality is perfect - sounds funny when it has no shutter nor lens. But, here I mean that the ability to fix movements and rely upon a perfect image which accurately delivers the adjustments made and seen on the groundglass is an important feature. Nothing "slips" out of place during exposure! I was a novice to LF photography and the first time I set up my Technika and began back and lens board movements with it, was a joy to behold - as big a thrill as I got when seeing my first B&W image develop in a tray! I recommend the Linhof Technika 4x5 camera to anyone seeking a robust and precision flexible LF field camera that will suite a "newbie" user through to a very experienced or professional user, without any reservation whatsoever. Clearly the latest iteration is the best; but each earlier version is also an excellent technical view camera - let your budget determine which iteration you buy in the best possible condition. Linhof's reputation is very very wel deserved!

Customer Service

Outstanding. I live in Australia. While I bought mine privately, the local distributor is fantastic and very knowledgable/helpful. I even emailed Linhof in Germany and got overnight detailed responses from a senior manager every time. A great comapny that really understands what customers are and what service means. I would never hesitate to buy a Linhof product again - in fact it would be my preference if I was faced with alternatives.

Similar Products Used: Earlier versions of the Linhof Technika, which are of a similar standard overall but have more "technical" movement limitations the further back one goes. Otherwise in terms of mechanical cameras I have and use - Hasselblads and Leicas - this is the equivalent of them in the LF type of equipment.
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
45images   Professional [Mar 15, 2004]
Strength:

oozes precision and quality. Rigid. Exceptionally bright and clear viewing screen with the Linhof fresnel accessory. I'm totally satisfied with this precision instrument.

Weakness:

Lacks some movements like back rise and fall and front fall.

After trying several 4x5 cameras, I settled on the Master Technika 2000. The Arca Swiss F line is excellent but had more movements than I needed for landscape photography and was slighty bulky to transport. After hearing so many rave reviews about Ebony cameras, I bought one. Personally I didn't like it as much as the Arca Swiss. The focusing and movements are much coarser than I had expected, and I had been spoiled by the Arca Swiss clear and bright ground glass/fresnel. I found the Ebony's viewing screen to be a bit murky and dark. So when a mint MT2000 came up I traded my Ebony 45SU in. I knew the minute I opened the box I'd made the right choice. And when I took it out in the field my initial perceptions were confirmed. Ultra smooth all around. Highly recommended !

Customer Service

Not needed.

Similar Products Used: Arca Swiss F Metric, Ebony 45SU
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
alan-smithi   Professional [Oct 09, 2002]
Strength:

perfectly, solidly build, great movements, with good care it will never need repair.

Weakness:

none so far, probably never

I do not own the Master Technika, but the TECHNIKA V, the former model, which is build quite the same way. Only difference I know is the lid on the MASTER, which can be opened for super-wideangle lenses. If You consider buying a large format camera to last a lifetime AND to give you great pleasure working with it, go for a TECHNIKA!, Either a V or a MASTER, depending on your wallet, as the MASTER will cost you on the secondhand market about the double price (just for the little lid, that u don t need for lenses down to 90 mm) The TECHNIKA IV instead has some flaws: less movements and a revolving back, that cannot be fixed in it s position. Also, Linhof does not repair that model any more. The TECHNIKA is the camera, one likes to take to that famous island. although I don t use it too often for jobs, it s the one, I couldn ´t imagine to sell. and it does craete dfferent pictures than smaller cameras. Why? Not just because the finer grain and better tonal range of the bigger film, no: it´s the slow process of photography, that forces u to check and consider and check again. and to wait, as each exposure costs you. And if u do portraits with it, people have a different look in their eyes...

Customer Service

not so far

Similar Products Used: had a zone VI once, but cannot compared
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Wilwong   Expert [Jul 22, 2002]
Strength:

Extremely well made, very compact and durable. Ability to handle all my lenses, 65, 90, 135, 210 and 300mm. With a 300, this focuses to 3 1/2 feet, with a 210 the bellows gets the image to 1 to 1 ratio! Linhof claims this will focus a 45 or 47, probably does but I can't imagine much movement. It certainly gives me all the movement I use with my 65mm superwide.

Weakness:

As typical of all metal field cameras, this one doesn't offer any back rise-fall nor front fall. Front rise it does have. This is probably inherent in this style view camera.

The Master Technika 2000 is by far the most versatile of the several metal field (technical) cameras on the market today. It has the longest bellows, yet can focus very short lenses. My greatest concern before receiving it was how well it would work with my 65 mm Super Wide Nikkor. At this short focal length the lens is parked inside the box body and can be focused using the lever which Linhof has provided. Linhof, recommends their special lensboard which has a projecting spacer on it for lenses in this focal length range. I decided to try it without and I am happy with that decision. The rise of the lens standard is extremely limited when it is on the internal focusing track, and there is no fall at all available in this position. I am able to obtain about 10 mm of indirect rise and fall by using the front tilt, combined with back tilt, but this would not be possible if I had purchased and used the Linhof special lens board. Just put your lens on a standard flat board!

Similar Products Used: I have used a Sinar F Plus for 25 years, so I thoroughly spoiled with(compared to this camera) total freedom of rise/fall, tilt/swings that are so easy to use on a monorail style camera. I got this ca
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
David Kernaghan   Professional [Nov 22, 2000]
Strength:

Compact size, reasonable weight, easy to carry, super build quality. When everything is tightened, camera is very rigid, and accurately aligned.

Weakness:

Can be awfully cold in winter, wood cameras have a definate advantage in cold weather.

I looked at all the field cameras available, there is no "perfect" camera. They all have their strengths and weeknesses. I decided on the Master Technika because it has the most movements, in the most rigid structure, with the least amount of windage. - It gives you the best chance to fully explore the image quality of large format photography.
The build quality is almost in a class of its own. I cannot think of any currently produced camera in any format, that is so superbly built. - You don't need to buy a new one, any decently maintained used Technika will outlast you anyway!
When the camera controls are locked to expose film, the rigidity of the camera is awesome.
Buy a Technika, it is a lifetime purchase

Customer Service

This is a camera that is almost unbreakable, if needed, service can be performed by any mechanically inclined individual.

Similar Products Used: Graphlex press.
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
4
Showing 1-5 of 5  

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