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Information and suggestions for the best studio cameras and lighting equipment based on 30 years of traditional landscape, nature, art, archaeology, and architectural photography but yet by someone already at the high-end of digital photography, as beta-tester for Better Light 4x5 format seamless panorama and turntable rollout modes.

Good solid hardworking equipment, cost effective Top equipment but price conscious If money is no object for the best-of-class equipment
4x5 or 5x7, we have a Linhof (Technikardan) but it wobbles due to L-frame; new model is improved, but L-frame not adequate for heavy digital backs Toyo is the personal choice of Mike Collette, developer of the entire line of Better Light digital backs for 4x5 format. At Photokina 98 we checked out every 4x5 camera around. We must admit that for precision workmanship which means you get a rock solid camera, we prefer the Arca-Swiss and also the Cambo Ultima. Sinar X and Sinar P is nonetheless the Rolls Royce of studio cameras, mainly because it has an optional extra or add-on for every single need you could ever imagine.
 Portable 4x5  Wisner  Arca-Swiss

Cambo Wide (comes in various models with different Schneider wide angle lenses, we have the 90mm version)

Sinar, it is not exactly portable but if you have this much money you can hire a photography student who will gladly carry it for the experience using it.
Studio tripods, since the rollout system requires two tripods, we recommend several different brands In addition to the quality of Linhof equipment I will comment on the informative and pleasant people I have met the two times I have visited the Linhof factory in Munich
If you have a permanent studio you may prefer a camera stand; I am a mobile sort of person so no camera stands  under review
Portable tripods  Ries and Gitzo  Ries and Gitzo  Ries and Gitzo
Tripod head for large format  Manfrotto  Manfrotto  Manfrotto
Tripod head for 35mm and medium format  Kirk head with Kirk attachments Arca-Swiss with Kirk attachments  Arca-Swiss
Repro stand, copy stand  initiating reviews Kaiser Phototechnik  Cruse
Light stands (we use and recommend Bogen and Smith Victor)  Bogen  Bogen  Bogen
 HMI Coming up for review
Tungsten, portable  Lowel  Lowel  Lowel
Tungsten, studio Coming up for review  Hedler (for Europe 220)
Strobe In progress
Fluorescent (for digital)  Videssence are great lights Coming up for review (Grigull) Coming up for review (Balcar)
Additional lighting Reviews planned for the future
Specialty lights, for details Dedolights, Hedler Profi-Spot Coming up for review
Lamps (the bulbs)  BulbMan, Reno and Miami The largest distributor in the Country, has everything.
Power stabilization for lighting  Sola heavy-duty constant voltage Line conditioners Sola heavy-duty
Filters for studio lighting  ROSCO  ROSCO ROSCO
Light meter  Minolta flash meter  Minolta flash meter Minolta flash meter
Flash equipment  Metz  Metz Metz (yes, we do like them)
Color meter  Minolta color meter  Minolta color meter  Minolta color meter
Backdrop material  Nenil, Teufel, Stuttgart,  Nenil, Teufel, Stuttgart,  Nenil, Teufel, Stuttgart,
White backdrop material Superior, but sold only in Japan, we could not find this Via Superior Specialties in the USA even when we sent An actual sample of the plastic-like material from Osaka.
Carrying carts  Kart-a-bag  Kartmaster by Kart-a-bag Kartmaster by Kart-a-bag
Carrying cases, camera bags Coming up for review
Gray cards and color checkers  MacBeth (GretagMacBeth)  MacBeth (GretagMacBeth)  MacBeth (GretagMacBeth)
Gyroscopic stabilizer for aerial photography  Ken-Lab

Yes, many of these products come from our corporate benefactors and corporate sponsors yet we wholeheartedly recommend equipment from any other company when their model is best-of-class (such as Sinar). We recommend places to buy (such as Calumet) even though we have no relationship with them, and do not even get a discount (nor have we even asked)

Where can you buy all the above equipment, we suggest Calumet, nationwide via toll-free telephone. Stores in Chicago and New York (international partners throughout Europe as well).

Where to buy used large format equipment, we recommend Photo Gizzmo in New York. Ask for Louis Shu.

"Coming up for review" may mean we are planning to replace recommendations elsewhere in the horizontal category, or will add a different brand for the higher level studio.

A blank space means we are still mulling over a variety of potential choices.

We rarely recommend low bid equipment. We prefer name brand and do not tend to be impressed by aftermarket substitutes. We have bad luck with Tamron and Sigma lenses, for example.

accessories for digital imaging

directory of midrange and high-end flatbed scanners

where and how to store your digital images? RAID, DVD, or CD-R ?

scanning from above, scanning from a repro stand

 

 
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