View Full Version : 1st LF owner-GraphicView questions
Coming from 35mm film (years ago) and about a year with a Nikon D60, I have grown interested in 4X5 LF. I have now aquired an old Graphic View kit from a friend which seems to be in nice condition with about a dozen film holders, a Schneider-Kreuznach Symmar-S lens, 5.6/150mm w/multicoating, an old Wollensak 38cm (15") Graflex Tele-Optar, f/5.6 that weights a ton and has some lens seperations, a Soligor 67, 1A filter, a Tiffen 8 85B filter, a Polaroid 545 holder, bellows lens shade (original) and a few other items.
So... I now need a bit of help. Having never used a view camera before, I imagine it would be good to start by shooting some polaroid's but I'm not sure what to order. I think I've read here that Fuji makes an instamatic film that will work in the 545, and thinking I would like to play around with both color and b&w, which packs would be good to order? I'll probably just get 10 packs for now till I find out if I really want to get more serious with LF. I just need some recommended film to get started.
I could also use any help that you folks are willing to pass along to an old timer with a new/old toy. I've been reading up on Adams' "The Camera" a bit and can't wait till warm weather as it's been in the teens at night here in Tennessee. I guess I'll set the camera up in the living room and experment with it looking out the storm door :-)
Let me know what you think... I already know I'm too old to get good at this, but I'd like to get to the point that I could make some decent family shots some day.
Why not just use the regular holders? Instant film is fast, but LF isn't neccesarily about speed. Get yourself a box of Arista.eduUltra (or any other film) and go out and play. 4x5 film is quite easy to load into holders.
The Graphic View is a super camera and Schneider Symmars are excellent, IMHO. And of course you can good at it!:)
It would be good to shoot Polaroids if Polaroid were still in the film bussiness. Do what John said: Load your holders and go take pictures. Visit your library and see if they have books on using view cameras. Try inter-library loan too. If that doesn't work, Amazon has books.
Do you have a light meter and suitable triopod+head combination? Darkcloth? That would make a good winter project while you wait for good weather.
Yep. Polaroid is a dead dog as of right now, and the 4x5 film you'd use for that 545 holder is getting more and more expensive as people try to get their hands on the little stock that is left out there.
Load up the holders and start playing with things. Remember when loading the holders that the emulsion is facing you when the notch in the corner of the film is in the upper right. If you don't understand now, you will once you're in the dark with only your hands to guide you.
And as a final note, keep in mind that LF is like using the manual mode on your 35mm cameras/D60, except nothing is coupled, there's no meter, and you've got more possible manipulations that you can (but don't have to) make in-camera. Luckily for you, Crown Graphics boil all this down into about the simplest, most straightforward package ever invented.
My first 4x5 in 1953 was a brand new Graphic View II, which I foolishly traded several years later toward a Linhof. Then about 4 years ago I "stole" a later model GV at ebay (for the lens which came on it) and couldn't be happier. You may never need another 4x5.
I agree that Polaroid would have been a good way to start learning, but unfortunately it's no longer a valid choice. However, if you can afford a Polaroid #405 holder, there are Fuji films, both B&W and color packs, that you can use. The final print size is only 3.25x4.25 (instead of 4x5), but the cost per print is about 25% of what a 4x5 Polaroid would have cost you.
Have fun, (and feel free to contact me directly should you have any specific questions about the GV).
I too am an 'old' timer new to LF (about a year now), whose using a Graphic View II with a 162mm Wollensak. My 1st real camera was a basic Pentax SLR back in the early '70s. For family stuff I use a Nikon D40. But for me and my own photographic pursuits...it's that old, heavy metal 4x5 Graphic View.
My recommendation is that if you really want to do LF photography you should consider jumping straight-away to developing your own exposures. Pick a decent B&W film and developer; buy some a used JOBO 2840 tube and a motor base ($50??); and spend a bit of time scouring this site -- there's an enormous trove of good info here. I chose ILFORD FP4+ and Kodak D76 developer. After 25 exposures I'm getting the hang of making consistent negatives. I'm now at the point of making my first contact prints.
Like others have said, Polaroid instant film is a dead-end (and increasingly expensive) route to making your own photographs.
If you're looking for a meaningful hobby that takes you into the heart and soul of making photographs your GV will get you started and serve you well For snapping pictures, the D60 is good camera.
Don't forget to read Adams' [I]The Negative[I] and [I]The Print[I] You'll want his advice about all three photographic components.
I hope you have as much fun as I am in this new pursuit.
I set the camera up today as I mentioned, living room looking out the storm door, and played. Was an enjoyable event. I noticed the ground glass has a lot of small scratches to it on the back side.
I noticed it doesn't take very much tilt in the front to bring close and medium distance objects to come in focus. I was expecting more tilt to do this. The big wollensak lens was nice in bringing things closer. Even with some visible lens seperation, the image was pretty good.
John: Could you give me a few pointers about the Arista.eduUltra film? I'll try doing landscapes first since they don't move very much :-)
There's not a lot of color in Tennessee except in the fall. It's not like what I've saw of photographs of the west with all the colors. Distances are not extreme either. Most things of interest are of a close proximity until the fall colors arive. After some test shots, I'll try some portraits in natural settings and lightings (interior and exterior).
Venchka: The outfit my friend had has a dark cloth (I like that term). I had a decent tripod for my D60 (a slik) but it's really too light weight for this heavy camera. I have another friend that has heavier tripods and can borrow one of those. As for light meter, I don't have one but understand the "sunny 16" rule fairly well. If I come across a good used light meter for a song, I'll pick one up. I've been reading up on them a little so as to know what to look for.
Bill: I'm still concidering the Fuji version of the Polaroid holder. Am I correct in that if I purchase a Fuji quickload holder that I can use it for fuji instant photos and preloaded film both? I figure I can always sell it later if it doesn't work out.
I think I'll try cleaning the ground glass and see if it makes any difference. I can still see the image well, just that the scratches distract me somewhat. I had concidered a new Shen Hao that are around 750 or so, but this way I can test the waters of LF much cheaper. If I had, or still do, buy the Shen Hao, I would still probably use the fuji quickload holder. As it is, I can go slowly at this and spread out the cost as my interest grows.
I like the iso 100 .eduUltra, which is repackaged Fomapan 100. I shoot it at the rated 100 but most people like to rate it slower---your choice is up to you of course. For simplicity I suggest shooting some at 100 and see if it works for you before attempting a zone test.
It is very inexpensive in it's Arista.edu Ultra "disguise" and IMHO perfect for learning. It also does nicely with standard developers such as D-76. Another really great film is Ilford FP-4+ a bit more expensive but a great film (again IMHO) especially for reciprocity. Kodak TMY even more so and it still might be available in 50 or 25 sheet boxes (the 10 sheet boxes are almost too cruel for me to consider---this stuff is like potato chips---once you get going, you won't want to stop and open more boxes!)
Whatever film you decide on, remove a sacrificial sheet (in total darkeness) and practice loading a holder in day light. Do it until you can do it with your eyes closed and then you're ready to try it "for reals."
If you don't have Steve Simmons book Using The View Camera, try and get a copy. It covers all the details and is an excellent resource (I still consult my copy even after twelve years!)
I suggest sticking with one film/developer combination for awhile, and one lens until you get the hang of the way these cameras work. After tha, the possibilities are limitless :)
Sorry, Connor. The Fuji Quickload holder and Fuji instant film holder are different. The Polaroid 405 holder works with the small Fuji material. The Polaroid 550 holder works with the Fuji 4x5 material. The Quickload holder only works with Fuji Quickloads-single sheets of conventional 4x5 film.
Well, I ordered some B&W and color film today from Freestylephoto, so we'll see how it goes. I'll use the dark slides and try loading myself for now. This should be an adventure! I have the Arista.edu Ultra in b&w with some fujicolor Pro 160S on order. I figure I'll shoot some and send it off to have it developed and scanned. I'm a bit afraid of trying to develope this stuff myself. I know absolutely nothing about doing so, and don't really have the room without moving something out on the back porch :-)
I was going to order "" but Freestylephoto didn't have it. I'll try to pick it up somewhere else because I've heard good things about it. I'll probably pass for now on Adams' "The Negative" and "The Print" since I won't be trying to develope for now.
As the saying goes... "I'll be back"
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