My Gear

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Zone VI.jpg
Zone IV Mahogany 4x5

My Zone IV is a wonderful camera. The quality of which I doubt this world will ever see again. Back in 1998 I actually ordered a brand new walnut one of these, SN:4554, and I seriously wish I had never sold it. The camera is a pleasure to use in the filed with one exception: the weight. It's 6 solid pounds of gold plated (literally) brass and mahogany. Unfortunately the lens boards are not compatible with the Intrepid and vice versa, so switching between the two cameras requires a complete lens swap over which takes a bit of time. 

Intrepid 4x5

The Intrepid is a very serviceable camera. At 2.5 pounds it's also pack-able to a much greater extent than the Zone IV.

It's not as smooth and refined, but it gets the job done and is fast and easy to set up. The price is great too, but if you want one, the wait for production is measured in weeks/months so be prepared to wait for it. And pay the little bit extra and order it with a Fresnel focusing screen, your going to want it.

Intrepid has just come out with a Gen 5 and I ordered one. I will use my Gen 4 for enlarger duty and will probably buy a Walnut Hardwood Intrepid when/if they are ever in production again, just 'cause... Yes, they are that good.

Rodenstock (Caltar-II) 90mm f6.8 - A great lens that's about equal to a 30mm in 35mm format terms. (But it feels wider somehow.) I get limited movements on the Zone IV with the standard bellows (full movements with the bag bellows) and interestingly a bit more movement is available with the Intrepid's only fixed standard bellows.

Nikkor 135mm f5.6 - Equal to about a 45mm in 35mm format terms, so a great normal lens for 4x5. The Nikkor is sharp and (relatively) fast.

Rodenstock (Caltar-II) 210mm f6.8 - A lens I use A LOT. It's a great focal length for 4x5, being about a 70mm in 35mm terms. These Caltar's are re-badged Rodenstock lenses which Calumet photographic sold as their house brand and are identical to the Rodenstock models and a terrific value. 

Nikkor 300mm M f8.0 - The Nikkor 300mm M is a great value as well. It's sharp and small and covers 8x10, or so I've been told. Again, divide the focal length by 3 to get the 35mm format approximation: 100mm

Intrepid 4x5.jpg
Sony A74.jpg

So I finally have given in (up?) After using Fuji's for the past few years and dabbling with Nikon and fighting with 7 year old Pentax's I just have to throw in the towel and use Sonys. There is a chain of reasoning that got me to this point. My old eyes require glasses to see fine detail close up which makes using a DSLR cumbersome. Add to that that there are many things the Pentax K1 just doesn't do. The AF is pretty useless by modern standards, the video is a joke and the company doesn't even bother to translate the menus into English anymore...


So Fuji has an EVF which makes it easier to use the viewfinder for all the info I need, and the AF is decent and all of the English menus are in English. But the image quality of the APS-c sensors always leave be wondering if I could have more... That and the video is manual only. The AF, Auto WB, and Auto Exposure are unusable most of the time for video. (The XH2 might be better and probably is, but I got the Sonys now and they just work. Too late.)


So I took a HARD LOOK at the Fuji GFX system and concluded that cropped to a 4x5 aspect ratio the Sony A7Riv still has 52 MP's and is cheaper, lighter, faster, smaller, and with many more lenses to choose from. Add to that usable video capabilities and the ability to add a back up A7iv (not R) to my kit and have a decent stills redundancy and an amazing video capability and the system just all gelled together in my mind. 

Sony A7riv(a)    The Sony A7riv(a) is my main stills camera and can be used for decent video as well or B roll. The 61 MP's rival medium format output, and the camera is small and light. I'm still not a fan of Sony's swiss cheese approach to the programming but it's better than Nikon's. The (a) stands for the new model with the improved rear LCD screen. After 2 months and getting to know the system better, the A7Riv is a pleasure to shoot with.

Sony A7iv   My main video camera and a great stills back up if need be. This camera has made my Youtube life much easier. The video is point and shoot easy with cinematic quality. The stills are great too. One of the best digital cameras I've ever used.

Sony ZV-1   Super lightweight and compact 4K vlogging camera. The tripod socket covers up the battery door when a quick release is attached and the battery lasts about 20 minutes when used for video. The camera is lightweight, but you really have to want/need to use it. It's actually a pain in the ass to be honest.

Sony 20mm f1.8 G     This lens has great reviews. There's a bit of focus breathing, but other than that it's an impeccable performer. My main wide angle. superb lens.

Sony Zeiss 24-70mm F4       I love the size and weight of this lens it makes FF manageable. It's my main stills landscape and all around lens. There I use it and see what it does, the more I love it.

Tamron 70-300mm    The size and weight and price are not bad for a 300mm on a FF. The IQ is great too if you get a decent copy. It's an OK lens. I want to replace it or at least supplement it with the Sony 100-400 that EVERYONE uses.