Horseman 980

Released 1968

This Horseman is my first foray into the world of camera movements. As much as I love my Mamiya RB67 (which is another professional grade medium format camera), it wasn’t always the right tool for every job, and sometimes I needed perspective correction or detailed control of the plane of focus.

The Horseman is heavy, slow, cumbersome and requires me to duck under a dark-cloth if I’m out and about. But it offers extraordinary levels of control over every aspect of picture-making and will allow me to take my photography to a new level.

Horseman 980
Horseman 980

At a glance

Lens 80mm lens board, Copal #0 or #1 shutter
Film 120 6×9cm
Focus Focal plane ground glass or rangefinder
Meter None

23 thoughts on “Horseman 980

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  2. Hi!
    As a long-time user (since the ’80s) of the Horseman VHR I’d like to add a few comments.
    I quickly got hold of lens boards and acquired a set of lenses that suited my needs. A NIKKOR 65mm, 105mm and a Schneider Kreuznach 150mm, and a Fuji 180mm apochromat that converts into a 360mm.
    All the lenses work on the 5 by 4″ adapter back.
    I have used the camera with a flash bulb flash and a wire frame sports finder, as a hand-held range finder camera, as a field camera with movements and as a 5*4″ studio view camera with Gossen film plane TTL flash metering.
    It performs well in all these scenarios. It has as survived heavy use and abuse and still has its original bellows intact. Though the movements are limited, they are enough for anything but extreme effects. The picture quality is of course set by the lenses.
    I have even had a florescent back made so it can be used as an enlarger when on the road.
    All in all, the coolest camera I’ve ever owned. And I’ve had everything from 10*8 Sinars to Minoxes.
    I see some users are struggling to adapt to the ergonomics when hand holding the camera, but rest assured that with the right hand operating the lens and focus controls and the left tucked in the leather strap, it’s quick and easy to use with a bit of practice.


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