Linhof – The Rangefinder 4×5

Linhof Technika – The Cadillac of Rangefinder 4×5 Cameras

The Linhof Technika is a classical tool of lasting value for the creative as well as the technical photographer who needs a reliable large format film system that masters any assignment with professional efficiency. And quite expensive. (relatively) Especially for a film camera. I know, I know,….esoteric at best. But the images! Holy cow!

The highly versatile drop bed design in the format 4×5 in. offers full adjustment capabilities. Its unique combination of compact dimensions and extraordinary versatility makes it equally suitable for hand-held focused action shots and carefully composed studio subjects.


linhof technika
The Linhof Classic


A coupled rangefinder 4×5. Linhof invented it, and although many “art” photographers would frown on not focusing on the ground glass, even they would admit this camera is a German mechanical wonder. And you can still buy a new one! (B&H) At over $9000, it seems a lot. And it is. But the occasional Linhof Technika does show up on Ebay. Thanks to the digital revolution, about a 1/3 of the price!

I’m told it’s the choice of John Sexton and Samuel Zuder. Too bad all of us don’t have their talent.


© Zuijderwijk / Vergouwe


Still Holding Strong

Actually most modern Technika’s have built in rangefinders for fast, quick focusing. While Rangefinder focusing for large format was very popular in the 50’s, today most 4×5, (8×10), users are fine art photographers who prefer ground glass focusing for careful composition. While this certainly has its place, so does RF focusing.

linhof technika


If the light or subject is quickly changing, practically the only way to get the image on film is with Rangefinder focusing. With practice it’s quite practical to spot shots and take them hand held within 30 seconds from start to finish using the Technika’s rangefinder focusing.

I am not suggesting that ground glass focusing should be forgotten, just that RF focusing often is–and it shouldn’t be!!! It’s an important function of your camera. If you don’t learn to use it and add it to your bag of tricks, you will be short changing yourself and your work.


Samuel Zuder
© Samuel Zuder Mount Kailash, Tibet


It is a technical baseboard rangefinder focusing capable camera of the highest German quality, (think Mercedes, Leica, etc.) with a sturdy die-cast body that closes to compact dimensions. The ideal large format system for handheld rangefinder-focused action shots, and for deliberately composed studio or location subjects.

Movements Galore!

Built-in couple-able precision long-base dichroic rangefinder, triple extension drop bed, ratcheting lift lever for front standard rise, International Graflock spring back with revolving swing frame. Lift-up flap on top of camera housing for increased wide-angle efficiency. Removable top finder shoe with additional tripod socket underneath for positioning the camera upside down, facilitating lens drop.

  • The rangefinder can be coupled by the Linhof service center to focal lengths 75mm-360mm.

  • Built-in triple extension allows 15.7″ of extension.

  • Extra tripod socket(hidden beneath top shoe) allows mounting of camera upside down, simplifying lens-drop.

  • Optional optical Multifocus(75-360mm) Finder allows for quick composition and handheld shooting.

  • Omni-directional swing back for extension of swing/tilt movements and perspective corrections.

  • Revolving back with locks for horizontal/vertical images.

Front rise can be used as drop when camera in mounted upside-down, and some drop can be had with the camera in the normal position by dropping the bed and bringing the front standard back to vertical.

For Fine Art Landscape work, this field camera is the very best! It is compact, has all features for perspective control and a great selection of lenses.






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