Classic Cameras
The Linhof Kardan Color 45s
An "Economy" Monorail Classic Page 2

New users of the 45s, as well as other Linhof monorails of the era, sometimes find it difficult to get infinity focus with wide angle lenses shorter than 135mm. The trick is to mount both standards on the front side of the rail clamp allowing the bellows to fully compress to minimum extension. To allow movements with wide angles, the optional bag or combination bellows is highly recommended, as the standard bellows is very rigid when compressed.

The Kardan Color 45s weighs in at just over 7 lbs, which is typical for full-featured monorails. The camera is light enough not to be a real burden when transported for field use but still heavy enough to maintain rigidity for precision studio work or outdoors in the wind.

For storage or transport, the 45s folds flat by disconnecting one end of the bellows from its standard and then rotating both standards parallel to the monorail. In this configuration, the camera will fit in a fairly large attaché-type case and can be set up in a matter of minutes. The primary limiting factor in selecting a case is the need to accommodate the 20" width of the folded camera.

Kardan Color 45s cameras are as useful today as they were when they first hit the large format market almost 40 years ago. Unlike most of the cameras that have earned "classic" status, the utility of the 45s is enhanced by the fact that components such as lensboards and bellows continue to be available, as the fittings are the same as current Linhof models such as the Kardan M and GTi.

The Kardan Color 45s is not particularly rare and is commonly encountered on the used market today. For a 45s in excellent condition, expect to pay in the $350-$500 range for the camera without lenses. Taking into account the quality and utility of the design, the Kardan Color 45s is as good a bargain on today's market as it was in the early '60s.