View Full Version : Lf q&a

10-Mar-2015, 10:58
Q. I am just starting out in LF photography, but don't want to spend much on it until I know whether it's for me. I can get a Crown Graphic with 135mm lens for $250, or a Kodak Master View with a 203mm lens for $275, both in good condition. I shoot landscapes and pictures of my family. Which do you think would be a better starter for me?
A1. I think you should get the best camera/lens you can find. I would recommend an Ebony PDQ with a 110mm Schneider Super Apo-apo LAX Simonize, like I have.
A2. Since you are going to be shooting landscape and portraits, you should get a Arkus-Swsser Model Z with a Cooke quad-convertible Mark 3 lens, like I have.
A3. I agree with A2, and don't forget that you will need a Quartzo Carbon-fiber optic tripod and Arkus-Swizzer ball-head. That's what I use. If you don't buy the very best, you'll just be wasting your money in LF.
A4. Well I have an Arkus-Swizzer Model Z and Ebony PDQ, but I don't use them any more since I started shooting with my 12x20 Wisher Panoramic. They're both good cameras, but I think that you will prefer a really big negative if you're going to shoot LF.
A5. There's a 1935 Speedy Grabit on Fleabay right now for $3.95 (plus $50 S&H). I think that you should get this to start.
A5 (same poster). Of course you will need a lens for it, and I just happen to be selling my 1935 Goats Dagor on the correct lensboard for it. The shutter is stuck open and the lenses have been sandpapered, but it won't affect the results. I don't know nothing about cameras, and it is sold as is.
A6. Does anybody know where I can get a main spring for a Goats dagor shutter?
A7. Is it multicoated?
A8. I see on the Digital Camera Forum that you just bought a Canon 1DSMk3. That will give better pictures than you can get from a 4x5 camera. So forget switching to LF.
A9. Ansel Adams used a Hasselblad -- and they are very inexpensive now, and as good as 4x5.
Q2 (original poster). Thank you for your answers. Do you think that I should use Kodak TMax 100 or Fuji Velvita film? And can anyone recommend a cheap lab near HotSpot, Nevada?
A10. TMax is black and white film whereas Velvita is color. I use both of them, and send my film to Super-Duper Labs in Zurich for processing, where it is cheap but slow. I am also looking for someone in the USA to buy some photo equipment for me. I will send you a certified check. Please respond to Dr. Ngaabi@Nigeria.com.

10-Mar-2015, 11:07
Hi Bill,

Welcome to the forum!

I'd pick the Crown Graphic with the 135mm myself. More parts and accessories are available on the used market, and the name is well known so it shouldn't be too hard to resell if you don't like it.

For the film, I'd stick with TMax for now, as it is going to be less expensive to shoot and develop. It is also a negative film, whereas the Velvia is a transparency film. Negative films are typically more forgiving of under/over-exposure mistakes than transparency films, so they are a good choice for beginners.

I'm afraid I can't recommend any labs, not knowing the area. I would try an online search and call around for pricing.

10-Mar-2015, 11:14
Hey, Fishbulb:

Glad you are a fish because you now have a hook in your mouth. You done been trolled! (Look at the number of posts and read the other "answers")

10-Mar-2015, 12:14
Good job, Bill! This will live in the archive forever and will be the top hit for searches for years to come. :-)

Don't forget the Touchyhara or the Zoned X cameras. As far as film goes, I've had great results from Velveeta (goes well with chips, too) and Provialone (great on sandwiches). :-)


10-Mar-2015, 12:22
A11...Where are you located? :cool:

10-Mar-2015, 12:24
hi bill

i couldn't agree more ! ;)

10-Mar-2015, 12:34
You mean sort of like this thread:


But then I see every post as a point of departure for many unforeseen adventures -- once I see that the basic question has been answered, the divergent paths in the conversation can lead to some interesting places!

John Kasaian
10-Mar-2015, 15:17
Sticky material, most definitely sticky material LOL!

Will Frostmill
10-Mar-2015, 16:00
A13: I think you should really focus on getting a good tripod. Either a brand new wood Mies or a carbon fiber Brembo. Let me tell you about the Harmonic Vibrations that are a huge worry to anyone who uses a tripod...

10-Mar-2015, 16:48
A14: Ball Heads--You really should have a ball head for your Brembo, Gitzoid, or Manfrooto tripod. There are some good ones, such as Manfrooto, the aforementioned Gitzoid, the Captain Kirk (Mr. Spock liked pan heads), or the Orca-Swiss Cheese Cube.

I'll defer to another poster for their recommendations for pan heads.


10-Mar-2015, 20:51
You forgot

A15: You should skip the 4x5, get a Champaign 8x10, they sound french but made in china where all the good stuff is made, and are made of space aged bakelight materials, so you know it is a light camera because it has "light" in the name in the stuff used to make it! Plus I am selling all my 8x10 holders so you're in luck, I don't like them because they have light leaks so I will send them to you for only 1/4 of the new cost, you'll like them because it adds character to your images and everyone will know you're a real film shooter with all those light leaks. But get the Champaign8x10 camera new because it helps support the company that I like.