Linhof Technikardan S 23 (6×9)

The Linhof Technikardan S 23 is the smaller of the two Technikardan models. While the Technikardan S 45 is suitable for images up to 9 x 12 cm or 4 x 5 inches, the S 23 can handle only up to 6,5 x 9 cm or  2 1/4 x 3 1/4 inches. The  Technikardan S 23 still listed in Linhof’s product list.

Construction

The Technikardan S 23 is constructed very similar to the Technikardan S 45. Therefore, my description of the larger model is largely valid also for the smaller camera. Accordingly, I describe here only the differences of the construction.

The Technikardan S 23 is somewhat smaller and lighter than the Technikardan S 45. However, despite the similarity the cameras are not modular. Accordingly, it is not possible to upgrade the smaller version to the larger one. In fact, both models share only the lenses and the cold shoe, which serves to hold the compendium. Everything else is specific for the respective model.

Accessories for the S 23 correspond to those of the S 45. This includes standard and wide angle bellows, a stabilizing bracket for large extensions, reflex- and loupe finders as well as roll film backs. Most of these have the same properties as those which I described for S 45. Only the compendium is the same.

Movements

The movements and the maximum extension are adapted to the smaller format.

Technikardan
S 23
Technikardan
S 45
Extension
(screen-lens board, short extensions require wide angle bellows)
60 – 350 63-425
Front shift
horizontal -32 … +25 -53 … +25
vertical +50 -22 … +50
Rear shift
horizontal -31 … +26 -52 … +56
vertical +50 +50
Combined shift
(maximum opposite shifts front and rear)
horizontal -58 … +56 -109 … +77
vertical -50 … +50 -72 … +50
Size
Transport position, no lens, W x H x D

16,5 x 23 x 12 cm
6.5 x 9 x 4.7 “

22 x 26 x 12 cm
8.7 x 10.2 x 4.7 “
Weight
with wide angle bellows
2850 g
6.3 lbs
3130 g
6.9 lbs
 

These were measured with my cameras.

“-“are movements to the left or down, “+” to the right or up, respectively. With opposite movements, the bellows may limit the movement with short extensions

All swings and tilts are limited only by the bellows.

The maximum extenstion is more than adequate even for a 400 mm tele lens. However, the center of gravity is far away from the tripod mount, and the telescopic rail may be stressed accordingly – although to a lower degree than with the longer rail of the S 45. A stabilizing rail may improve this, but since it has te be mounted between camera and tripod socket handling is a bit cumbersome. A 270 mm tele lens may be used without this rail, provided the shutter release does not cause shake.

Back and Roll Film Cassettes

The back is attached with a circular mount, which is also found on the Super Technika 6 x 9 and on the earlier Technika 70. However, because the L standard protrudes on the side, it can not be rotated but has to be detached and re-attached after rotation.

Super Rollex roll film cassettes for 6×7 and 6×9 can be attached to the back. Seen from above, they are not easily differentiated from the corresponding cassettes for 4×5 cameras. Those who intend to purchase a cassette should make sure that the rear has the required circular mount. I can not show this here, because the cassette is actually made for 4×5 and fits only to cameras with a 4×5 graflok back – for example, the Technikardan S 45.

Slide-in Rapid Rollex cassettes are an alternative for 6×7. This is more practical than exchanging the back for a Super Rollex cassette. The Rapid Rollex cassettes are also smaller and lighter. Opposite to the Rapid Rollex for 4×5, the image area is centered. To my opinion, these cassettes are preferrable to the Super Rollex 6×7.

Who should own a Technikardan S 23?

I like precision gear and technical solutions which do not follow conventional routes. The Technikardan offers this. The camera is solid, precision engineered and innovative. The handling of the transport position is not for those whose fingers are all thumbs, but I am impressed by this unconventional and innovative solution. Too bad Linhof does not make digital cameras – they might not be Oskar Barnacks relicts as most others are.

Both Technikardan models are similar, but only the larger model allows to work with 4×5 sheet film or Polaroids. Well, there is a Polaroid back for pack film, but it does not expose the full image area. I use these materials frequently, and accordingly I prefer the Technikardan S 45 or the Technika on the move. As evident from the comparison of the camera backs, the format difference is larger than the camera sizes might suggest. However, 6×7, 6×9 or 2 1/4 x 3 1/4 are also capable to provide excellent results.

Unfortunately, sheet film for the Technikardan S 23 is hardly available these days, but I found some panchromatic black and white films. Without guarantee for completeness or future availability, these are:

For 6,5 x 9

  • Adox CHSII at 100 ASA
  • Fomapan 100 at 100 ASA
  • Ilford FP4+ at 125 ASA

Für 2 1/4 x 3 1/4 Inch

  • Adox CHSII at 100 ASA
  • Aristo EDU Utra (Fomapan) at 100 oder 400 ASA
  • Ilford FP4+ at 125 ASA
  • Ilford HP5+ at 400 ASA
  • Shanghai GP3 at 100 ASA

Obviously, some films are still being made, but they are hardely offered. I do not add links here becaus this would be rather short-lived.

The internet has some negative comments about the Shanhai film, as well as about Fomapan. I do not know the Shanghai film and can not comment on it, but to my opninion the critique about the Fomapan films is incorrect. I use these films for years without any issue. I am glad these are avaiable, not only because of the favourable prices at good quality but also because Foma manufactures formats others do not care about – as seen above.

The corresponding double dark slide cassettes are also rare and can be found only used at comparably high prices.

Accordingly, the camera is better suited for roll film up to 6×9 or for digital backs. Since 6×9 is only slightly smaller than 6,5 x 9 / 2 1/4 x 3 1/4, this is not a substantial disadvantage.

Images on roll film are noticeably cheaper than those on 4×5 sheet film. This holds particularly for colour, which is rather expensive even in smaller sheet film formats. A take on Portra 4×5 colour negative film is currently about 6 to 7 €, plus development in a commercial lab. A roll of Portra 120 costs only slighly more, yet it delivers 8-10 images with only one development. Thus, the more compact S 23 is the better choice for photographers working only with roll film. Those who do not want to be limited to roll film and prefer the noticeably larger 4×5 inch sheet film or a 9×12 panaroma back are better off with the larger model which costs only slightly more.

Not to be overlooked is the option to use the Technikardan S 23 for digital backs. Other cameras which can do less are often much more expensive and require expensive lenses too.

This image was taken with the Technikardan S 23. It was taken with a Super Angulon 5,6/38 XL with perspective correction on Ilford Pan F, 6×7 Rapid Rollex. Composing the image is not as easy as with 4×5 inch, but obviously it can be done.

Disclaimer

I provide this information because it may be useful and because I like to photograph. I have no commercial links to any manufacturer mentioned in the post or to any of their sellers. The camera and all accessories are my personal property.