In my normal photography, I shoot color but when testing 4×5 cameras I prefer black and white because the colors can get in the way of what I’m looking for.

While I love my Schneider Xenar 135mm f/4.7, it doesn’t allow for extreme camera movements as the image circle is small (although stopped down past f/11, it is better). This has only been an issue with rise movements and, not swing and tilt, plus as long as you check your corners you’re good – I even check my corners when I’m using the Fujinon W 135mm f/5.6 with its 200mm image circle.

For these frames, I used a Cameradactyl 4×5 (thanks Ethan!) and that very same Fujinon W 135mm f/5.6. The camera works great in its normal configuration for landscape/portraiture but can be adjusted for close-up/macro work. The focus via the geared knobs on the focusing bed seems to click into place as you turn the knob, but when I was trying to get fine focus it even stops midway between clicks / geared stopping points.

I took my Cameradactyl to the park (where I conduct all my camera tests) and regardless of the distance to the subject or the composition in question the Cameradactyl did a very good job. The only thing missing was a portraiture frame, so I tried that the following day and I’m super pleased there as well.

For something that looks like a toy, these buddies can definitely get some serious work done.

I used Kodak Portra for these frames, which was converted to black and white in post.

~ Azikiwe

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About the author

Avatar - Azikiwe Mohammed

Azikiwe Mohammed

Azikiwe Mohammed graduated from Bard College in 2005 where he studied photography and fine arts. Since then he has shown these things in galleries both nationally and internationally. In 2015 he received the Art Matters Grant, and in 2016 was the recipient...

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