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Author Topic: Looking at Fotoman Dmini or Fotoman 69, would like advice.  (Read 2035 times)
JohnCox123
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« on: November 18, 2012, 01:23:19 AM »
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I'm considering either Fotoman Dmini or a Fotoman 69. My business is street photography but I find myself doing architectural work from time to time and I feel a Fotoman product would be great in this capacity.

My question is, what exactly do I need to get up and running?  From what I can tell I need a Cone, a Helical, a Lens, a Body, a Back, a Viewfinder, a Release, a Handle, and a Viewfinder Mask. Am I missing anything?

I would also like to know if I could use Kiev 120 backs on the Fotoman Dmini (last I heard they're like $60 new), as well as opinions of Hasselblad wind knobs on the A12 backs? I know the Horseman knobs are fairly straightforward, are the Hasselblad knobs finicky at all?  Will I have to turn them some fraction to advance a full frame?

Does anyone know much about the quality of the Fotoman products these days? Or has had any experience with them that could give an opinion?

Thanks in advance,
John
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JohnBrew
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« Reply #1 on: November 18, 2012, 07:51:27 AM »
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Hi John, I had a couple of Fotoman products about three years ago. I started with a 612 but had problems with the film advance binding so I traded it for a 69 w/Horseman back. No problems with the quality - they are nicely made. The problem I had was focusing. I even returned it for calibration but it still wouldn't focus to spec. IMO, you need a ground glass to check focus at all distances. Once you are certain how the camera will respond in regard to lens settings then you are good to go.
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Jason Denning
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« Reply #2 on: November 18, 2012, 12:40:00 PM »
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I have the Fotoman 617 and it's a great camera for the money, it's easy to calibrate the focus of all the lenses yourself and then be confident using the distance markings for focussing. I never use a groundglass to check focus, only for some framing but you can be quite accurate with just the viewfinder once you get used to it.You don't need anything else other than what you listed, except maybe an adapter plate to adapt whatever back you want to use to it.

I bought a backup 617 body from fotoman china and they are great to deal with, quality is good.

Jason
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Fotoman 617 with Rodenstock 55mm, 90mm and 180mm lenses
Mamiya 645 Pro TL, and every lens mamiya made.
Sony A7 with 35mm and 55mm Primes
Anders_HK
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« Reply #3 on: November 18, 2012, 02:49:24 PM »
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I'm considering either Fotoman Dmini or a Fotoman 69. My business is street photography but I find myself doing architectural work from time to time and I feel a Fotoman product would be great in this capacity.

Fotomans work ok for film, but far from Alpa quality. I prior had the 617 mk II. It was like a heavy brick. It had the better viewfinder with changeable masks and I found it very poor for framing.

Since appear you do not need movements, I believe you would be better off with a Mamiya 7II. I prior had that also. Lenses are super sharp and along with the in camera metering and rangefinder makes it is superior to a Fotoman. That Mamiya is a very lovely camera to use, and is arguably one of best medium format cameras for film ever made.

http://www.mamiyaleaf.com/legacy_mamiya7_ii.asp + Google  Wink

Suggest you to also read posts of my "inside story" of Fotoman http://www.luminous-landscape.com/forum/index.php?topic=60261.msg486070#msg486070

... or in other words I have no faith at all in their products for digital use.

Best regards,
Anders

« Last Edit: November 18, 2012, 03:08:54 PM by Anders_HK » Logged
JohnCox123
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« Reply #4 on: November 18, 2012, 03:32:23 PM »
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I do intend to use this for digital at some point. Either by getting the Dmini now, or getting one later. I can get a 16mp Kodak back for a little under $1k or an aptus 22 for around 4k, that would be the type of back that would go on this. I've looked at the Mamiya 6 and 7 and they aren't what I'm after, I actually really like the Fuji gw690 but I would like the digital back option. I would use an Alpa but have nowhere near the money for one.

I assume I'll need ground glass to calibrate my lenses, so if I'm buying bare bones I should tack that on too. Are there any other hidden items? How complicated is it to calibrate a lens? Will I need a lens calibration chart of some kind? Is that something I can print out or will I have to buy it?

Thanks for the replies.
« Last Edit: November 18, 2012, 04:00:23 PM by JohnCox123 » Logged
heinrichvoelkel
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« Reply #5 on: November 18, 2012, 03:57:23 PM »
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You will need a lens. If you decide on the lens, you will know which cone to buy.
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JohnCox123
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« Reply #6 on: November 18, 2012, 04:23:13 PM »
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You will need a lens. If you decide on the lens, you will know which cone to buy.
I'm planing on getting a 65mm super angulon. From what I can tell the focus calibration is done by adjusting the helical (also lens specific). I've never calibrated a lens (not even on a digital SLR) so I have no idea how the process works though.
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heinrichvoelkel
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« Reply #7 on: November 18, 2012, 04:32:50 PM »
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it's not that complicated. tons of step by step guides on the interweb.
« Last Edit: November 19, 2012, 04:32:30 AM by heinrichvoelkel » Logged
JohnCox123
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« Reply #8 on: November 19, 2012, 05:00:41 PM »
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Hey, Just want to bump this. I saw a 90mm Linhoff (Schneider I think) lens today at my local camera store/lab today. The sales person told me it was made for a 6x9 Linhof Technika. He was letting it go for a good price and willing to take trades (there's very little large format business there). I was planing on getting a 65mm Super Angulon but 90mm is a focal length I like too. Can I use this on a Fotoman 69? Is this worth my while to get, or is it more worth my while to get a Garadon or Angulon 90mm if I'm going the 90mm route?

I am very much a large format newb so I don't know the correct terminology, but the lens didn't look like it had the rear "cone" that I associate with rear elements although the sales person assured me it had the rear elements.

One of the things I like about the Fotoman system is that I can use the sweet spot of sharp 4x5 lenses. If this lens can barely cover 6x9 it's not going to be for me, does anyone know anything about the coverage of this type of lens?

Thanks,
John

Edit:
The lens looks much like this one.
« Last Edit: November 19, 2012, 06:48:32 PM by JohnCox123 » Logged
Kumar
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« Reply #9 on: November 19, 2012, 08:08:05 PM »
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John,

This lens will actually just about cover 4x5. It's ideal when size and cost are important. Newer lenses will be sharper and better corrected. Head out to the large format photography forum for more information.

Kumar
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