View Full Version : The one thing . . .

christopher walrath
4-Jun-2008, 21:27
Hi all. A little introduction in order. My name is Chris. I live in Delaware. I have been shooting 6x4.5 and black and white only for a couple of years. Startd processing my own negs this spring. Decided to step it up a notch. So here I am. I received my first LF camera from a fellow photographer today, homemade 4x5. Film holder fits (Polaroid 545). Will be shooting with P/N55 4x5 sheets. Bellows a bit worn on the mounting corners. Attached with hook and loop (velcro) strips. Have an 8x viewing loupe. I have a shutter cable (12"), lens/shutter ass'y is on the way (135mm Ani).

My question is what is that one thing that I should have NO MATTER WAT that I am bound to overlook?

4-Jun-2008, 22:09
Patience, Patience, Patience...Grasshopper :)

Welcome, Chris! Enjoy yourself!


4-Jun-2008, 22:27
A time machine that'll take you back to when polaroid made instant film.
A fat bank account, this type of photography is more costly than those gateway formats.

Aender Brepsom
5-Jun-2008, 02:50
Passion, patience and time.

Peter Mounier
5-Jun-2008, 08:25
"My question is, what is that one thing that I should have NO MATTER WHAT, that I am bound to overlook?"

You should have an expectation that the bellows will leak light.
I'm mostly kidding, but I can't imagine a velcro attachment being lightproof. Is this an acceptable way to attach a bellows? I've never heard of that.


christopher walrath
5-Jun-2008, 10:24
I'm starting on a budget here but I checked it in a dark room after a couple of minutes and covered the end of the bellows and my head with a dark cloth, well, bigger than a mere cloth, and had my wife shine te light around the camera from different angles and I didn't notice any light leaks. I know that's not foolproof, but until I, hopefully not, ruin a test shot or two after I get a lens I'm not gonna stress it too awful much.

As to finances, this is not a high cost operation yet. I only have 20 sheets of film until my rich uncle cashes in so this is pretty much just satiating of the curiosity for now.

I really appreciate any and all advice and help I will get from you guys. Thank you.

John Powers
5-Jun-2008, 11:53
A tolerant and loving spouse or significant other, who has some hobby that you can encourage, no matter what, as long as it is not as expensive as yours.


5-Jun-2008, 12:03
P/N55 4x5???

5-Jun-2008, 15:33
If you can develop your own film then you may as well go all out and buy some proper 4x5 sheet film. Ilford or Fuji, or even chinese "Era" or "Shanghai". I'm sure people will give you other options.

You'll find a variety of your favourite smaller format films are available in large format.

christopher walrath
5-Jun-2008, 17:40
Thanks for all the wonderful advice. However NONE of it fits my situation. Or my question. That's OK. And yes, I'm serious. But I must admit I expected more. Sorry to disappoint.

5-Jun-2008, 18:40
Thanks for all the wonderful advice. However NONE of it fits my situation. Or my question. That's OK. And yes, I'm serious. But I must admit I expected more. Sorry to disappoint.

Well, like we're trying to explain, the one thing you should have no matter what, and that you're overlooking, is that T-55 PN film has been discontinued (http://www.polaroid.com/ifilm/en/index.html). That could be a BIG obstacle!

christopher walrath
5-Jun-2008, 20:26
Didn't say 'Will be getting'. Will be SHOOTING. Already did the getting.

Kirk Fry
5-Jun-2008, 21:08
"what is that one thing that I should have NO MATTER WAT that I am bound to overlook?" Is this a guessing game? OK, I will bite. But it is at least two things. Tripod? Light meter? Filters? Dark cloth? 9mm?


John Kasaian
5-Jun-2008, 22:02
To add to what Kirk Fry wrote---you'll need a tripod suitable for whatever size/wieght camera you have and something to help you focus---dark cloth, blanket, black sweatshirt--anything like that. Light meter?--well you can use "sunny 16" for the time being.
To add to what Cyrus wrote---if you really are doing this on a tight budget get a couple or three film holders and a box of Freestyle Arista.eduUltra. Type 55p/n is a very expensive film and as stocks dwindle it will likely become extremely expensive before disappearing entirely from the shelves.

20 bucks should get you 3 good used film holders and another $20 would buy enough Arista to learn on. Together that is still quite a bit cheaper than a box of Polaroid 55. Sell your Polaroid holder while you can still get some $$ for it and it'll probably pay the bill.

Oh yeah the most important 'must have' is a copy of Steve Simmons Using the View Camera!

Good luck! :)

Ron Marshall
5-Jun-2008, 22:28
The Art of Photography, by Bruce Barnbaum. Not gear, but seems like you have that fairly well covered.

Duane Polcou
6-Jun-2008, 00:33
A 4x5 viewing card. This is a black card with an opening approximating the dimensions of the format you are shooting. It's just a variation of making a square with your fingers to imagine framing a scene. Since composition is as much about exclusion as it is inclusion, a viewing card lets you get a visual feel for what you may wish to compose on the groundglass before you actually set up; sort of a pre-composition if you will. This is a great tool for a beginner as well, as the "upside down and backwards" groundglass view takes some getting used to. Been shooting LF since 1989 and I still find a viewing card immensely helpful.

6-Jun-2008, 16:01
Gotta say the responses by the forum were welcoming, and the responses from christopher were downright rude. Good luck with that!

christopher walrath
6-Jun-2008, 16:16
Got some good ideas there. Viewing card. Wll move to neg film soon or eventually. Got a Weston Master IV for now. Had someone PM me suggesting a book. I forgot the dark cloth. I know you all aren't clairvoyent (?) and didn't expect you to guess 'the one thing'. Just wanting suggestion on little things I, as a total LF newb, would overlook. And the responses helped.

Sorry Ash, was getting frustrated at the 'polaroid, you serious?' responses and the 'get neg film sheets'. Maybe I should have been a little more specific about what I was asking. But it seems to me that most of the others got it. Didn't mean to be rude.

Need to be more patient. Especially with this camera. Not exactly a SLR now is it?

Still welcoming suggestions. Keep 'em coming.
Thanks all.

6-Jun-2008, 16:56
When I started out with LF, the one thing I always seemed to forget was to close the shutter before pulling the dark slide. :)