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View Full Version : How practical is colour 5x7 these days?



Acheron Photography
25-Jun-2009, 00:56
I have been shooting 5x4 for a little while, and it's great. But... I really like the 5x7 aspect ratio.

The good news - my lenses cover 5x7 with some movements, and I can get a 5x7 conversion kit for my 5x4. So in principle I could step up fairly easily.

The bad news - 5x7 colour film is hard to find (although not impossible), or you can cut 10x8. 5x7 double darks are really hard to find. 5x7 processing isn't that easy either - I'm in the UK, and my favourite labs don't offer it (although I believe there are others that do).

My question to the wiser and more experienced folk is: do the difficulties make 5x7 colour impractical, or can one get over the issues with a reasonable amount of effort? (I know 5x7 B&W is easier, but that isn't my bag.)

Many thanks.

Jiri Vasina
25-Jun-2009, 02:05
Acheron,

if you want to shoot color in 57", it's not exactly easy to get the film. One possible way is my way: a 58" Chamonix camera :D (though I understand the aspect ratio of 57" and 58" is slightly different...).

As you have noted yourself, color 810" film is more easily obtainable - and if you can cut the film yourself for 5x8", it's not more expensive per frame than 5x7", usually slightly less. But you would have to process the film yourself.

In the Chamonix I use these formats (with one back and a simple DIY addition): 5x8" for color and BW, 5x7"/13x18cm/46" for BW. I think you can not find more universal camera (with only one back. Obviously not considering having different reduction backs) ;) - you can read a bit about the camera here (http://www.vasina.net/?p=94).

Joanna Carter
25-Jun-2009, 02:25
Acheron, have you also considered using the UKLFPG forums www.lf-photo.org.uk/forum? We are an amiable bunch of LF photographers, based in the UK and organising get-togethers and workshops (mainly for free), and where you will get a more UK-centric view of the LF world :D

Carsten Wolff
25-Jun-2009, 02:28
AP, thee who looks, finds.... :)
Film: Japanexposures.com (formerly, "Megaperls"), a bit pricey, but they have more than one type. Otherwise: B&H (Color neg only), Badgergraphic.com (Provia100f only)....
Processing: If you don't have any luck in the UK, Repro35, Merrion Sq. Dublin does it beautifully.
Holders: Aplenty on the used market (I recently bought about 20, cheap). If you want new, e.g. Badgergraphic comes to mind.
Best,
Carsten

Patrick Dixon
25-Jun-2009, 03:05
Maybe the labs can process 5x7 but just don't publicise it because there's so little demand? It's probably worth asking them.

Joanna Carter
25-Jun-2009, 03:18
Maybe the labs can process 5x7 but just don't publicise it because there's so little demand? It's probably worth asking them.
Any lab that uses those clip racks for 4x5 should also be able to do 5x7, you just put the film in sideways, since each frame takes two 4x5 in "portrait".

Jimi
25-Jun-2009, 03:43
Also check out 13x18 cm film and holders, which probably are easier to get in Europe.

poco
25-Jun-2009, 04:48
I was surprised to see 5x7 160 NC listed at B&H. Last I heard, they'd discontinued the stuff. Did they change their minds?

wfwhitaker
25-Jun-2009, 07:01
I have been shooting 5x4 for a little while, and it's great. But... I really like the 5x7 aspect ratio...

While 5x7 is a nice aspect ratio, for color work my inclination would be to continue to shoot 4x5, but compose and crop for the longer aspect ratio, which would be about 3.6x5. It's true it's smaller than 5x7, but unless you're contact printing, the quality difference may well be negligible. And look at all the hassles you avoid! Film is much more readily available, as are film holders. Negative storage remains the same and you can use the equipment you already have. You'd just need to mark your ground glass with crop lines for your new "format".

Or did I miss your point?

percepts
25-Jun-2009, 07:58
there was a thread about this some time back and it seems some people are happy to cut 10x8 to 5x7. Obviously there is some film wasted and you have to pay the 10x8 premium, but if you want 5x7 quality without going to 10x8, then it is an option.

Gudmundur Ingolfsson
25-Jun-2009, 10:27
Kodak Portra 160 N is a very nice film and is avilible as a stock item at B&H. Three years ago it was discontinued by Kodak, but then a lab in Needham, MA www.colorservicesinc.com collected "subscribers" and made a special order from Kodak. B&H somehow got the smell of this and has kep it in stock since (probably by special ordering it). Color Services and Praus www.4photolab.com do a fine job of processing it. This is definatly the best way if you want to shoot color 5x7". A good lab in Europe is www.hsldigital.de

D. Bryant
25-Jun-2009, 12:30
It's true it's smaller than 5x7, but unless you're contact printing, the quality difference may well be negligible.



Sorry Will but I have to disagree with you here. There is a big difference between 4x5 and 5x7 wheteher scanning, enlarging or contact printing at least in my experience.

Don Bryant

wfwhitaker
25-Jun-2009, 14:41
OK, I'll buy that. I was looking at the overall picture of cost, availability, frustration vs. results. But I've never tried it, so it was speculation on my part.

Drew Wiley
25-Jun-2009, 16:14
It's hard to find labs with the correct dip-and-dunk hangers for 5x7. You could
process yourself in a Jobo setup however. The color film can be easily cut from 8x10
sheets if you have a precision trimmer set up. Otherwise you are going to pay a premium or face a limited selection of domestic supply. Badger sometimes carries 5x7
Velvia.

Ben Syverson
26-Jun-2009, 18:38
I say just move to 8x10. Why would you spend the money on 8x10 film just to cut it down to 5x7? What a waste. If you want a lightweight camera, look at the Gowland. My 8x10 weighs less than my Super Graphic 4x5.

tim o'brien
26-Jun-2009, 20:14
I say just move to 8x10. Why would you spend the money on 8x10 film just to cut it down to 5x7? What a waste. If you want a lightweight camera, look at the Gowland. My 8x10 weighs less than my Super Graphic 4x5.

And where is the waste?

I like my 8x10 but ya know, sometimes 5x7 is what is called for. Contact portraits for example. Take your time setting up a 5x7 portrait and you'll be amazed what you can pull out of that print. I like 8x10 for city landscapes myself.

tim in san jose

Acheron Photography
27-Jun-2009, 00:58
Thanks to all for your helpful comments and in particular to Joanna - I will definitely check out the UK LF board. Based on the above I'm not entirely persuaded that colour 5x7 is practical without DIY processing though...