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View Full Version : 4x5" to 5x7"... is it worth changing?



Alberto Bregani
15-Apr-2012, 08:42
Hi All
I'm fine with my 4x5" shen hao
fresnel lens, red bellow, i everything i need ... Great camera

As a mountain photographer i think it is the right size for me: light, little, very functional, no big backpacks and so on
I already know 8x10" is not for me: Too much.. "everything"
But everytime i look at a 5x7" i think about a change

It is not so big, not so heavy it is functional too
I mean... i think ( I suppose) they are just little differences with my 4x5"...
The truth of the matter is that I think ( i suppose) it could be easier to compose thanks to a bigger ( and maybe brighter) GG
Yes i could have a bigger negativer, and this i think is one important point; itcould be a good think to consider

So,
Would you please give me almost 3 good reasons to change ( ...or to stay? )
also because a 5x7" isn't a cheap expense ...

Thank you very much
A

Joseph Dickerson
15-Apr-2012, 08:55
Hi Alberto,

To me the advantage of 5x7 over 4x5 seems slight. But the disadvantages are great. Need for a bigger enlarger, assuming you do your own printing, and possibly a different film processing set up. You'll also need to replace or at least supplement some of your lenses, acquire new holders etc. Of course, everything is going to weigh a bit more.

While 5x7 has a nice aspect ratio, 4x5 can be cropped if you desire.

I'm not sure at what enlargement size 5x7 starts to show improved quality, but I've printed pretty big with 4x5 without feeling that I needed a bigger negative.

I guess it all comes down to what you think you need. You could try renting/borrowing a 5x7 for a long weekend and see if it feels better to you than the 4x5. Or perhaps you could also add a 6x9 roll film back to your existing kit and see if you like the aspect ratio, 6x9 is about the same as 5x7. But you'd be hard pressed to find anything better than the Shen Hao!

JD

Greg Y
15-Apr-2012, 09:04
5x7 is my format. Besides the aspect ration, the film size is almost double.... 20"sq for 4x5 vs 35"sq for 5x7.
5x7 make lovely contact prints on silver chloride paper as well. JD, I do agree with you on enlargements, though...I've seen wonderful 30x40" prints from 4x5.
Alberto, I would not change just for the sake of changing.
I happened upon my Deardorff 5x7 just by chance & we just bonded, in a way I never did with 4x5. :)

Gem Singer
15-Apr-2012, 09:26
Cons:

1 - 5x7 film holders are heavier, bulkier, and more expensive than 4x5 holders.

2 - The selection of color films in the 5x7 format is very limited.

3 - Developing equipment (tanks, film hangers, etc.) for 5x7 is larger and more expensive (unless you are already using 4x5 B&W film and developing it in 8x10 trays).

Pros:

1- A 5x7 cameras is smaller and lighter weight than an 8x10 camera, but only slightly larger and heavier than a 4x5 camera.

2 - Many lenses for the 4x5 format will also cover the 5x7 format.

3 - You can use a 4x5 reducing back on a 5x7 camera, as well as a roll film back, enabling a larger choice of color films.

Having owned several 4x5, 5x7, and 8x10 cameras, I find that the 5x7 Canham MQC57 with a 4x5 back and a roll film back is the ideal camera for my needs.

tim loose
15-Apr-2012, 09:26
I'm very happy with 5x7. I find that the format is perfect for my vision and the subjects I am working on right now which are small, Nova Scotia churches which need the long aspect 5x7 allows as they tend to have tall steeples and narrow fronts. I do interiors with 8x10 because that seems to fit better with that subject matter (but 4x5 would do the same). I also like to contact print in various alternative media and the 5x7 makes a much better image than the relatively small 4x5. So to sum up I would say think about how the aspect ratio fits your vision and how you intend to make the final presentation. If you are in fact enlarging then I don't see that cropping is a big deal as there are good films out there which will be capable of handling the size you wish.

Frank Petronio
15-Apr-2012, 09:35
It is a lovely format, about twice as expensive, and soon color will be impossible.

Bill_1856
15-Apr-2012, 09:45
$$$!

Ramiro Elena
15-Apr-2012, 09:57
I had one. Sold it. I don't like the ratio. I've always loved the 6x7, 4x5, 8x10 ratio and that's what I have. Being a mountain photographer you might find it suits you though. If you get one make it a field one. Monorails are a pain to carry.

Ivan J. Eberle
15-Apr-2012, 10:01
I shoot nature in color exclusively and have pretty much dismissed the 5x7 format out of hand, but for two things:
1) when/if sheet film becomes unavailable, 6x17 backs for 120 roll film fit within the format, and
2) The smaller enlargement factor of 5h7hits a sweet spot with the modest resolving power of cheap flatbed scanners like the Epson V750 (which really is an even better argument for 8x10).

gliderbee
15-Apr-2012, 10:03
I had a Shen-Hao 4x5 (not with red bellows though, where did you get these ??), and I changed to a Shen-Hao 5x7 with both the 5x7 and 4x5 back, and never regretted it.

You can make nice contact prints, and contrary to what has been said, a Durst 138 enlarger is not that expensive; mine at least was cheaper then my Durst 1200; I guess it depends on where you are.
I use the same lenses as the ones I used on 4x5; most cover the format nicely.

evan clarke
15-Apr-2012, 10:07
I make contact prints from in-camera 11x14 negatives and one of my favorite jokes is to show them with 4x5 enlargements and make people pick them out..it's hard to determine. 5x7 makes gorgeous little contact prints..

Alberto Bregani
15-Apr-2012, 11:13
Thank you all for your interesting comments
very, very useful for me
Thank you

As i wrote, I already knew it about negatives and enlager and durst and... expensive issues :-)
But they are not (so) important issues for me in comparison with the shooting session;
I use only B/W and my cousin is a professional printmaker; so "darkroom" it is not a problem

I would rather know about your "feeling" with 5x7"
when your under that dark cloth..
when you look into that ground glass..
how do you feel: more confortable than 4x5"? much confortable?
it's easier to compose than the 4x5"? much easier?
You can really feel the difference?

And is that "really" worth spending 2.000 $ or so... just to start with the 5x7 format?
:)

tks
A

@Gliderbee: I ordered the red bellow + directly to ShenHao Shanghai ( Mr Zhang)
80$ + shipment: fast , easy, ;-)

Me and my "Red Bellow" 4x5 Shen :)
http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5347/6934138120_5c8a7935d2_b.jpg

Old-N-Feeble
15-Apr-2012, 11:54
I just bought a Canham Traditional 4x5/5x7 with both backs. The Canham has seven inches of rear slide so I can shoot 4x8 or 4x10 stitched. Since I'll only be shooting color negative film and don't want to cut 8x10 down to 5x7... I probably would for 5x8 because it's only one cut and it's wider but the 5x8 camera is very pricey. The 5x7 back is of little use to me because there's just not enough difference in image quality to bother with cutting sheet film so I'll be selling the 5x7 back soon. Going from 4x5 to 8x10 makes a substantial difference... but you'll probably be spending more than $2000 for that jump. FWIW...

Frank Petronio
15-Apr-2012, 12:06
I don't think any of this is worth the effort if you have to justify the prices. It looks like you have a nice tiny, easy to carry outfit with your 4x5, note that the 5x7 is going to be heavier and bulkier, especially the holders.

You could always get an inexpensive 5x7 camera, like an older studio camera, to see if you like the format enough to invest into a more expensive light field camera. Most 210mm lenses for 4x5 will cover 5x7, so look for an old 5x7 Toyo or Sinar or Plaubel for under $500.

Ed Richards
15-Apr-2012, 12:07
I bought most of my 4x5 lenses with 5x7 in mind. I then had a chance to buy a stack of 5x7 holders. Grabbed them, figuring I would keep an eye out for a camera. But once I saw what a stack of six holders looked like, compared to 4x5, I realized the increased volume and weight of the holders was a much bigger problem than the camera and tripod size increase.

Alberto Bregani
15-Apr-2012, 12:27
Ok
tks again
Think i've got the point

it seems to me there are more cons that pros
i always have to consider my way of photographing: i'm not taking the car, drive for miles, get the location, take my heavy camera, heavy tripod out of the car and so on.. without any effort
I always have to put my camera into a backpack in which i have already put climbing equipment, clothes to stay outside maybe 1 or two nights, sometimes crampons and ice pick.., since i go climbing and trekking a lot to photograph
So size and weight they are important issues for me ( consirering film holders too...s o thanks Ed for your comment;-)

That's why it has to be a real difference to go for a 5x7

So thank to all of you.. and to Frank Petronio who have exactly pinpointed the issue : "It looks like you have a nice tiny, easy to carry outfit with your 4x5,"
yes you're right Frank. I think a 5x7 format would not make such a big difference for me and my kind of photography
i think i'll remain with my tiny and perfect 4x5 ShenHao
If i have to go for a bigger format i I'll go directly for a 8x10
when it will be the day i stop climbing

Am I right?
;-)

muihlinn
15-Apr-2012, 12:56
Am I right?
;-)

Probably not, this is like climbing, if it's not pushing you it becomes boring.

Vaughn
15-Apr-2012, 13:00
I found the transition from 45 to 5x7 was very smooth and easy for me -- and very worth while. I was beginning to make carbon prints (contact printing only) and it is a fine size form wonderful little prints. I think this would be the most convincing reason to jump from 4x5 to 5x7.

The 5x7 GG is a joy to look at -- significantly bigger than 4x5, but still easy to see the entire image without backing away from the GG. After learning with a 6cmx6cm camera and then a 4x5, the sweep of the 5x7 in either horizontal or vertical was fun to work with.

Old-N-Feeble
15-Apr-2012, 13:04
What are "crampons" and what is your need for them, Alberto?? :confused::rolleyes:

Alberto Bregani
15-Apr-2012, 13:16
Thank you Vaughn
another interesting point of view


@Old-N-Feeble
Crampons
"Whether you’re strolling on glacier, groveling up an icy chimney or redpointing a sketchy mixed route, crampons are an essential connection between you and the frozen medium. Crampons need to be both high performance for solid, confidence-inspiring purchase on ice, snow and rock, and durable to withstand years of rough treatment."

I mean... ;-)
http://albertobregani.files.wordpress.com/2012/04/lisaverticalpic.jpg

Frank Petronio
15-Apr-2012, 13:39
The founder of this site, QT Luong, shoots 5x7 and was a serious climber. I am not sure at what level his climbing was when he carried a view camera, but I suspect he did some challenging terrain.

But all things considered, 4x5 is a nice size threshold for going large - any smaller and you don't see a large enough difference over good digital or medium format film.

Alberto Bregani
15-Apr-2012, 13:49
Thank you Frank,
happy to hear this (I mean QT Luong)

All things considered ... i think that 4x5 could be the right option for me when i'm out trekking etcetera..
I could have a 5x7 just to have a brighter(maybe) and bigger view ...but i think it isn't worth it.

I'm quite happy with my Shen with fresnel...
i think i'll stay for a while..
:)

mdm
15-Apr-2012, 13:50
5x7 is my native format, just right. 4x5 or 8x10 is too boxy for my taste so I cropped most of them anyway. A 5x7 Nagaoka will be lighter than a 4x5 Shen Hao, put a 4x5 reducing back on it and it is a Shen anyway. 20 5x7 holders are heavy, but 4 or 5 is no problem. I can fit my 5x7, a 210 and a 300, meter, blower, black shirt darkcloth filmholders and raingear food etc in a 28l day pack. A 5x7 wet scanned on a betterscanning holder in a v700 makes a spectacular print, and gives you the option of scanning it professionally and almost making a Gursky sized monster as good as anything out of an 8x10, because there are some spectacular lenses available for 5x7. a 5x7 makes a nice contact, but so does a 4x5, just the detail can live a little freer in the slightly bigger print. 4x5 is fun too. I would really like to take my 5x7 into the big mountains, if I had a choice it would not be 4x5 because it suffers from too much sky or too much forground.

Alberto Bregani
15-Apr-2012, 14:02
thanks mdm
for confusing me again
:-)

just a question
do you have a 5x7 horizontal only or convertible too?

mdm
15-Apr-2012, 14:09
No, a Nagaoka or a Canham can do portrait or landscape. On a practical level, print size is the major determinant. http://www.largeformatphotography.info/5x7.html

Alberto Bregani
15-Apr-2012, 14:27
http://www.photocritique.net/digest/1999-12.html

Yes, it is worth the change.

great analysis
thank you Dakota!
i will read it again carefully

it says "5x7 The perfect move up from 35mm"
ok good consideration...
but i'm arriving from squared medium format..
i suppose it makes no differences...

Vaughn
15-Apr-2012, 14:34
great analysis
thank you Dakota!
i will read it again carefully

it says "5x7 The perfect move up from 35mm"
ok good consideration...
but i'm arriving from squared medium format..
i suppose it makes no differences...

At the same time, a change in format is a good excuse to change the way one sees! :cool:

Renato Tonelli
15-Apr-2012, 14:44
Please allow me to add to the confusion.

I am moving to 5x7 because I like the aspect ratio; all of my lenses with the exception of the Schneider 120 L cover the format. I am adding a couple in the longer range. When I'm looking at a 5x7 ground glass I feel like I'm in... Photography Heaven! I don't do any climbing, only hiking on the Appenines (Tosco-Emiliano) and parts of New York State. I have only started in 5x7 and haven't even shot a box of film yet. I don't plan to abandon 4x5 but I expect to do most of my future work in the larger format. The only things that are truly considerably heavier and bulkier are the holders.

Ed Richards
15-Apr-2012, 14:47
A little perspective: http://www.mountainlight.com/gallery.html

It is not about the equipment or the format. Galen used the smallest lightest lenses (which in 35mm in this day also meant simple and cheap). His view was the important thing was being there, and the more gear he carried, the less often he would be there.

You are not even going to see any difference between 4x5 and 5x7 unless you make huge prints - do you? Even then, my bet is that in difficult field shooting the problems with DOF, shutter speed, and camera stability in the wind is going to wash out the difference.

So, we shoot LF for personal satisfaction. There is no advantage in selling prints to the public - they like Peter Link and Thomas Kinkade - and rich people like whatever gallery owners convince them is the flavor of the day.

If you think doubling the weight of your gear on those climbs will be worth the joy of having slightly larger negatives, then go for it. If it were me, as I get older and stiffer, I would be thinking about whether I could well enough with a Leica or a digital camera with a PC lens.

Alberto Bregani
15-Apr-2012, 15:19
A little perspective: http://www.mountainlight.com/gallery.html

It is not about the equipment or the format. Galen used the smallest lightest lenses (which in 35mm in this day also meant simple and cheap). His view was the important thing was being there, and the more gear he carried, the less often he would be there. ...

Ed you're right
It's not about the format or equipment
even if everyone of us has its format that fit his vision
I love 6x6 and i usually shoot that way
but now i'm trying to find my way in LF too..

your comments means much to me

Alberto Bregani
15-Apr-2012, 15:19
.. none is if it does not fit your vision.
true ;)

Alberto Bregani
15-Apr-2012, 15:31
nice thread
thanks again ;)
A

John Kasaian
15-Apr-2012, 15:34
This forums owner, Q.T. Luong (I do hope I've spelled his name correctly!) works in 5x7 format, You might want to take a look at his very impressive portfolio as an example.
I think something like a 5x7 Nagaoka would be a near ideal camera---probably lighter than your current Shen! The only significant difference would be the larger film holders. BUT if you're getting satisfaction with your 4x5, really why move up? If you're planning on making huge enlargements, maybe?

Alan Gales
15-Apr-2012, 16:32
You are getting a lot of great advice but ultimately it's a decision that only you can make.

I recommend borrowing a 5x7 and trying it out if that is at all possible. If not then maybe you could buy one used at a fair price and then sell it and get most of your money back if it doesn't suit you.

There is nothing like first hand experience.

Ken Lee
15-Apr-2012, 17:20
5x7 should not be considered as a replacement for 4x5: it's a different instrument, with a different personality - in the same way that a trombone is different from a trumpet, a viola is different from a violin, etc.

Some people find it helpful to stay with only 1 lens, one camera, one one one. Other people find it helpful to use a variety of cameras, lenses, and... formats.

austin granger
15-Apr-2012, 20:22
I saw this thread this morning as I was on my way out the door and couldn't respond, and now I find that there are so many good opinions that I'm not sure if I have much to add. But for what it's worth...

About a year ago, I bought a camera that had both 4x5 and 5x7 backs and decided to try my hand at 5x7. I had worked some with an 8x10 and a lot with a 4x5 but never 5x7 and I wanted to attempt something new. I also thought it would be good to challenge myself a little by composing with a different shape. So, after a year, and over two hundred negatives, I would answer your original question by saying... probably not. Or maybe I would say that it comes down what is important to you-the end result or the process. I believe that both are important, but what I mean is, does one outweigh the other? Composing on 5x7 glass is truly a joy, and there is something very satisfying in simply handling those larger negatives (after working with 5x7's for a time, 4x5's seems miniature). And at least for me, a 5x7 holder feels perfect in the hands. However, as others have said, unless you're making gigantic prints, or contact prints, I'm not sure you'd see a difference in the quality of the pictures. And (as has also been said) there is a cost to 5x7, both financial and physical. To say nothing of dwindling film choices. But hey, if you're driven to do it, I don't think anything will stop you, nor should it.

As for me, lately I've been thinking of masking off my glass to shoot 5x5 squares. I am a mystery even to myself. :)

Alberto Bregani
16-Apr-2012, 02:38
Thank you again friend
you all really gave me a lot of great advice

I'd like to answer you one by one

so
@ John Kasaian: -->"BUT if you're getting satisfaction with your 4x5, really why move up? If you're planning on making huge enlargements, maybe? " -
good question John. I'm completely satisfied with my shen; she has everything i need considering what i have to do ( going around mountains with a good quality , lightweight, handy and nice - why not? - LF camera). When i print for myself i print (square format - hasselblad and rolleiflex) 30x30cm; when i exhibit i print 50x50 ( i still have to exhibit with large format) and considering the ratio with large format negatives i should print rectangular, so 30x40 for myself and 50x60 for exhibitions ( plus passe-partout and frame.) . So I don't need larger prints. I suppose 4x5 negatives are good enough for those sizes and i won't move up just for negatives size: i hope you agree.

My point to move to 5x7 is COMPOSITION: i mean as I wrote previously a 4x5 camera is quite "little" for me. When i'm under that dark cloth i'd like to have a bigger GG to compose in a better way, to have a brighter vision of the scene. if 8x10 is too big for me (too heavy considering film holders, tripod and so on ) and 4x5" is too little, i suppose 5x7 could fit my needs in a better way: it is not too heavy than the 4x5 so i can carry with my backpack and i could use it with the same tripod i use for 4x5"

I've read many of you writing ( Austin, just to mention one of you) "Composing on 5x7 glass is truly a joy," - Yes, so true and this is very important for me: composing the best way you can ( i mean in terms of "feeling good when you compose so you can focus on the scene and nothning else" ) is the first step (to try) to make a great image

So, is it worth to move to 5x7 JUST for composing in a better way since i don't need to change for negatives, i don't need to change to use longer lenses?
That's my first question to answer. Obviously i know that gonig for the 5x7 format all the process will earn in terms of quality ( negatives, scanning them, contact prints and so on), but i'd just like to talk about composition

@Ken, thanks a lot: we are completely lined up :)
if you just take a a look at my "vision" or "statement" ( i don't know the right expresisoni in english) on my "Starting Page (http://about.me/albertobregani)" you can read this : "Mountains and photography involve walking, letting your eyes guide you, improvising, discovering, moving from place to place, and seeing familiar ones in a new light. Just one camera, one lens, a tripod and handful of black-and-white rolls your only companions." I don't use many lenses: when i go out shooting with rolleiflex it means just one lens, with hasselblad for me it means just two lenses ( 80 and 150) and with large format two lenses too.. dependind where i'm going to shoot. Anyway no more than two at a time: less is more it's my philosophy.

@ Alan said --> I recommend borrowing a 5x7 and trying it out if that is at all possible." ..heheh here in Italy large format camera are not so "popular". There is not a huge community as you have in Usa. Yes, maybe you can ask someone for a 5x7 to lend you, but maybe he is 500km far away from you... and to test a camera for me it means to use it for one/two months at least..
So i think could be better to buy one and "then sell it and get most of your money back if it doesn't suit you"

Ok think i've talk too much :-)
hope i have clearly explained my point of view
Looking forward to read your comments
Tks!
A

ps anyway i'm going to convince myself i could have them both... maybe could be the right way to follow once i've tested one
When i go climb i take the 4x5
when i don't climb and i just go for mountain landscapes i could take the 5x7 one..
Simple. ;-)

Sal Santamaura
16-Apr-2012, 08:27
...Me and my "Red Bellow" 4x5 Shen :)
http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5347/6934138120_5c8a7935d2_b.jpgAre you simply posing in that image or really adjusting the shutter speed? How good is your distant and closeup vision? Have you experienced any of the issues yet that arise when one's "arms become too short?"

You're dealing with a complete system that you are part of. When presbyopia sets in, you'll appreciate the much easier viewing and focusing available with a 5x7. Should your distance vision require negative diopter correction and you either wear eyeglasses or a different contact lens in each eye, 5x7 enables working without a loupe. Also worth knowing is that one can get a Maxwell Hi-Lux integral screen/fresnel for 5x7. Larger formats are stuck with actual ground glass and a separate fresnel, a less bright combination.

Another thing to consider is how many lenses of what focal lengths you carry. This can impact the weight/bulk differences between 4x5 and 5x7 kits almost as much as camera and holders will.

Using black and white film exclusively in large format, my approach has been to stick with 5x7 on the longest hikes for as long as I can carry it.

Vaughn
16-Apr-2012, 09:06
For day hikes (okay, strolling a few miles under the redwoods), the 5x7 (an Eastman View #2) is on the tripod and over my shoulder, and the film holders and meter in a shoulder bag. A waterproof stuff sack goes over the camera and lens to protect it from branches and rain. The Computar 210/6.3 lives on the camera...a very fine lens in a Copol 1 shutter...but soon to be joined by a 159mm.

I put it in a pack for longer hikes in rougher terrain where I need both hands, but compared to my non-lightweight 8x10 gear, the 5x7 feels like a point-and-shoot!

It would be great, Alberto, if you could find someone semi-local to see their 5x7.

Vaughn

Roger Cole
16-Apr-2012, 10:43
I dunno Sal, I am badly nearsighted and became presybyopic a few years ago - been wearing progressives lenses for seven years now. But the only affect on my large format photography has been that I really need to remember to bring my dedicated reading glasses with me to work under the dark cloth. Otherwise, it's so hard to get into the very close up bottom range of the progressives I just take them off, typically dangling them from my teeth, which I'm sure looks weird - a guy with his head under a BTZS hood with a pair of glasses hanging out. For shutter speeds and f/stop settings and such I typically just prop them on my forehead and get within 6" or so of the object.

I've thought about larger than 4x5 formats but I have two 4x5 enlargers and nothing for larger. I don't think any size would be appreciably easier to work with from the point of view of my close up vision. My computer monitor is larger than an 11x14 ground glass and I need to use the middle of my progressives or wearing my reading glasses for it.

ROL
16-Apr-2012, 11:05
I use 5X7 and might be considered (at least by me) some kind of mountain photographer. All other plusses and minuses aside, the format gives me a bigger negative to work with both in terms of enlarging and cropping (http://www.rangeoflightphotography.com/pages/cropping-a-negative). The fact is, when size and weight considerations are important considerations, and shooting positions are frequently restrictive, cropping may be another very necessary option.

My only caveat, based on ultimate availability, is that if color is a consideration at all, you might as well stick with 4X5. I personally don't use a 5X7 for color work at all. I consider it to be a tool for producing fine art monochrome enlargements.

Sal Santamaura
16-Apr-2012, 17:31
...I am badly nearsighted and became presybyopic a few years ago - been wearing progressives lenses for seven years now. But the only affect on my large format photography has been that I really need to remember to bring my dedicated reading glasses with me to work under the dark cloth. Otherwise, it's so hard to get into the very close up bottom range of the progressives I just take them off...I don't think any size would be appreciably easier to work with from the point of view of my close up vision...I'm -6 diopters nearsighted in both eyes and have been presbyopic for more than a few years. :) As the myopia increased, even before needing progressives, I went to somewhat smaller frames in order that my nose wouldn't suffer so much weight, despite having already worked through a number of lens materials. I'd settled on Hi-index 1.6 plastic as a best compromise between lightness and cone-of-clarity size.

With 5x7, a BTZS hood is long enough that I can take in the entire screen using my progressive's maximum add (1.75 diopters). For fine focusing, the somewhat smaller frames enable peering right over their tops with no need to remove and hold them in my mouth or elsewhere.

This doesn't work for 4x5; the screen is just too small. Ancillary magnification is mandatory for critical focus with the "smallest" large format. 5x7 provides just enough edge so the loupe can stay home, waiting for a day when the 5x7 eventually exceeds my pack-carrying weight limit.

domaz
16-Apr-2012, 17:36
I use 5X7 and might be considered (at least by me) some kind of mountain photographer. All other plusses and minuses aside, the format gives me a bigger negative to work with both in terms of enlarging and cropping (http://www.rangeoflightphotography.com/pages/cropping-a-negative)

+1 on cropping. Especially in the field, it seems like your chances of getting the perfect full-frame photo are basically nil. There is always some tree branch you didn't see getting in the way disturbing your composition. It's a big advantage to LF that no one really talks about much.

Vaughn
16-Apr-2012, 18:54
+1 on cropping. Especially in the field, it seems like your chances of getting the perfect full-frame photo are basically nil. There is always some tree branch you didn't see getting in the way disturbing your composition. It's a big advantage to LF that no one really talks about much.

And yet what I appreciate about LF is doing the opposite...always full frame, including the rebate (always in the field, often with one lens). To each their own!

dupont07
16-Apr-2012, 19:02
I got a shenhao 4x5 too but without red bellows. I think I will order 1 like yours. I also got a 5x7 Mahogany antique camera but it's not as solid as the Shenhao. If I got enough money I will buy a new 5x7 Shenhao.

Roger Cole
16-Apr-2012, 19:38
I'm -6 diopters nearsighted in both eyes and have been presbyopic for more than a few years. :) As the myopia increased, even before needing progressives, I went to somewhat smaller frames in order that my nose wouldn't suffer so much weight, despite having already worked through a number of lens materials. I'd settled on Hi-index 1.6 plastic as a best compromise between lightness and cone-of-clarity size.

With 5x7, a BTZS hood is long enough that I can take in the entire screen using my progressive's maximum add (1.75 diopters). For fine focusing, the somewhat smaller frames enable peering right over their tops with no need to remove and hold them in my mouth or elsewhere.

This doesn't work for 4x5; the screen is just too small. Ancillary magnification is mandatory for critical focus with the "smallest" large format. 5x7 provides just enough edge so the loupe can stay home, waiting for a day when the 5x7 eventually exceeds my pack-carrying weight limit.

Well that makes sense for you. I'm -6 in my left eye but much better in my right eye. I can see a 4x5 gg ok with the closest vision portion of my progressives but it's just too narrow and too near the bottom. My dedicated reading glasses work best, really, I just keep forgetting them. Considering I can order them online for very little money I'm thinking about just getting an extra pair to go in the 4x5 kit.

John Kasaian
16-Apr-2012, 21:57
The large glass to compose on is a joy to work with! I keep a 5x7 for when the 8x10 is too large to take along. A lightwieght 5x7 like a Nagaoka is lighter than many 4x5 cameras and the same tripod you have for your 4x5 will handle a Nagaoka or similar. FWIW I must say that I prefer the 5x7 ground glass to the 4x5 (now if I could only find a 5x7 Nagaoka! They rarely come up for sale.)

Roger Cole
16-Apr-2012, 22:16
I might have an interest in 5x7 IF I could enlarge it. But I have two 4x5 enlargers (couldn't pass up the deal on the second) but nothing bigger. 5x7 enlargers are either old, huge, and hard enough to move you need to find them locally (Durst, Elwood) or quite expensive (Zone VI, maybe some others.) 8x10 is almost more practical because, even though it's even harder to enlarge, contact prints are large enough for display. So are 5x7s to some extent, but I don't really think 4x5 comes into its own in sizes under 11x14 (that is, anything smaller and you might as well use medium format) so why use a bigger negative to make a smaller print?

If a suitable enlarger drops out of the sky into my yard I might get into 5x7. Otherwise I doubt it.

Alberto Bregani
17-Apr-2012, 05:15
Are you simply posing in that image or really adjusting the shutter speed? How good is your distant and closeup vision? Have you experienced any of the issues yet that arise when one's "arms become too short?"

You're dealing with a complete system that you are part of. When presbyopia sets in, you'll appreciate the much easier viewing and focusing available with a 5x7. Should your distance vision require negative diopter correction and you either wear eyeglasses or a different contact lens in each eye, 5x7 enables working without a loupe. Also worth knowing is that one can get a Maxwell Hi-Lux integral screen/fresnel for 5x7. Larger formats are stuck with actual ground glass and a separate fresnel, a less bright combination.

Another thing to consider is how many lenses of what focal lengths you carry. This can impact the weight/bulk differences between 4x5 and 5x7 kits almost as much as camera and holders will.

Using black and white film exclusively in large format, my approach has been to stick with 5x7 on the longest hikes for as long as I can carry it.

Nice thread again
thank you all for your precious comments

Since Sal introduced the sight/eyesight issue and most of your following comments were around this argument i start with this

@Sal
you exactly hit the centre :-)
I was not posing, i was really adjusting the shutter speed... :-(
When i talked about "composing the scene" i was saying that the 4x5 Gg maybe is too little for me and the loupe i usually use ..Hasselblad 6x loupe (i feel very confortable looking into it ) is too big for a 4x5 GG - Without it I just see nothing. Fog :)

I have a standard +4.5 hypermetropia so i daily use contact lenses BUT when i have to read something ( books, documents, ...shutter speed..) i have to wear the red glasses you see in the picture since I have a little presbyopia too ( +1.5) . So when i look into the GG i have to use glasses, when i have to see into the loope i have to take them off... then i have to use them again to see aperture and speed.. UFF just tiring :-))

Maybe with a 5x7" i could have less problems ; i could work withoup a loupe ( or now and again ) and feel much confortable in terms of composing the scene
I say it again: to go for 5x7 format is not a bigger negative issue for me. Just a more confortable way to take photographs

Could it be the right choice for me?

ps well i know 8x10 and more could it be better. but as i said when i climb or i go around mountains i have no possibility to have sherpas :)))
So lighweight is vital.

@Vaughn: thanks for your remarks and experience ;)

@Rol Domaz Roger dupont and others thanks again

Greg Y
17-Apr-2012, 06:30
Roger, 5x7 enlargers are out there. I had a Durst 138 w/ a colorhead fall into my lap about 5 years ago, & got a beautiful 70s 210 Rodagon off ebay for $40. Love those modest 16x20' enlargements. Alberto I was wondering how you have dificulties with the screen on a 4x5 coming from a Rolleiflex? The Rollei & the 5x7 Deardorff are my standards & I love them both. Good luck with your decision. Your mountain work is very beautiful. I'm a professional mountain & ski guide from Canada & have always appreciated the opportunity to climb on either side of the Swiss/Italian border. I hope you are able to resolve your focusing issues.

Alberto Bregani
17-Apr-2012, 06:41
Roger, 5x7 enlargers are out there. I had a Durst 138 w/ a colorhead fall into my lap about 5 years ago, & got a beautiful 70s 210 Rodagon off ebay for $40. Love those modest 16x20' enlargements. Alberto I was wondering how you have dificulties with the screen on a 4x5 coming from a Rolleiflex? The Rollei & the 5x7 Deardorff are my standards & I love them both. Good luck with your decision. Your mountain work is very beautiful. I'm a professional mountain & ski guide from Canada & have always appreciated the opportunity to climb on either side of the Swiss/Italian border. I hope you are able to resolve your focusing issues.

Greg, cool:) I'm a ski teacher too: maybe one day we'll go skiing together in Alberta ( if i come to) or here in the Dolomites ( if you come to) ;-)
due to my difficulties, with Rolleiflex i usually use the prism. No eyeglasses, just contact lenses and i'm happy with it. With the hasselblad i use a metered prism too

Thanks for remarks :-)
ciao!
A:-)

jose angel
17-Apr-2012, 06:41
I use to shoot 4x5"; I have a very good 5x7" lightweight camera, and a 8x10" as well. Almost exclusively b&w.

I don`t use to shoot 5x7" for several reasons... I like to develop with the small Jobo tank... only accept 4x5" sheets (4509?). My 5x7" enlarger head is not as good as my 4x5" one, and there isn`t a huge difference in the sizes I like to print.
Other "secondary" reasons are my preference for the 4x5" compactness, my current lens setup (optimal for 4x5"), price and camera quality (Canham, Sinar, Linhof).

If you give me a few expensive lenses, a top 5x7" modern enlarger, and some Jobo 3000 series drums (processor included), I`d shoot 5x7" more often. Maybe. I`d probably need a larger darkroom, too.

Right now, when I need more, I prefer to shoot 8x10", instead of 5x7". The processing pain is the same, but the difference with 4x5" is bigger.

Sal Santamaura
17-Apr-2012, 09:17
...the loupe i usually use ..Hasselblad 6x loupe (i feel very confortable looking into it ) is too big for a 4x5 GG - Without it I just see nothing. Fog :)

I have a standard +4.5 hypermetropia so i daily use contact lenses BUT when i have to read something ( books, documents, ...shutter speed..) i have to wear the red glasses you see in the picture since I have a little presbyopia too ( +1.5) . So when i look into the GG i have to use glasses, when i have to see into the loope i have to take them off... then i have to use them again to see aperture and speed.. UFF just tiring :-))

Maybe with a 5x7" i could have less problems ; i could work withoup a loupe ( or now and again ) and feel much confortable in terms of composing the scene
I say it again: to go for 5x7 format is not a bigger negative issue for me. Just a more confortable way to take photographs

Could it be the right choice for me?...Your +4.5 diopter distance prescription puts you in the opposite situation from me. There's probably no way for you to avoid using a loupe. However, 5x7 still seems like a good idea to increase your comfort when photographing.

Here's what I suggest. Have a pair of eyeglasses made that you will wear continuously (over your contact lenses) when hiking/climbing/photographing. There should be bifocal lenses in these frames; the top clear (0 diopters) and the bottom your +1.5 -- or more as presbyopia increases over the years -- reading prescription. A 5x7 screen is large enough that you'll be able to comfortably compose under the dark cloth by tilting your head back a bit to look through the +1.5 area; bring camera and tripod to your optometrist's office so an optimum height can be found for the bifocal line. To fine focus, simply level your head and use that Hasselblad loupe through the clear eyeglass area.

The only thing you'll have to do that I don't is use the loupe, since their -6 diopter distance prescription means looking over the top of my eyeglass lenses is equivalent to using a +6 diopter loupe. We'll both wear eyeglasses continuously and give our neck muscles as much exercise as our legs and arms get. :)

Frank Petronio
17-Apr-2012, 09:26
For what it is worth and not wanting to upset anyone, no insults implied or anything, but the 5x7 Tachihara ultralight camera I owned for a week was so flimsy compared to what I am used to - metal cameras - that I am surprised anyone can enjoy using it, much less shoot successfully. It's dainty and I am clumsy.

Gem Singer
17-Apr-2012, 09:37
I didn't keep my 57 Tachihara for very long, either. It was not up to my standards.

Replaced it with a 5x7 Canham Traditional (wood) camera, and there was a huge improvement.

Moral of the story: don't judge all 5x7 wooden cameras by the 5x7 Tachihara.

Sal Santamaura
17-Apr-2012, 09:56
...the 5x7 Tachihara ultralight camera I owned for a week was so flimsy compared to what I am used to - metal cameras - that I am surprised anyone can enjoy using it, much less shoot successfully...


I didn't keep my 57 Tachihara for very long, either. It was not up to my standards.

Replaced it with a 5x7 Canham Traditional (wood) camera, and there was a huge improvement...I've never seen any size Tachihara, so can't comment on it, but did once make a 130-mile round trip to Samy's in LA for some hands-on experience with the 5x7 Canham Traditional. Although it is, in my opinion, the most beautiful wood camera made, and Keith Canham's reputation is sterling, I found opening/closing it to be fiddly and rigidity lacking.

Eventually I acquired and still use an Ebony SV57. While lacking the extreme precision of a metal 5x7 Arca F-line, it's only 10 oz. heavier than the Canham, but 2 lb. 10 oz. lighter than the Arca. Ebony's SV57 has been the best overall compromise for me.

Frank Petronio
17-Apr-2012, 10:11
I wouldn't expect a quality Canham, Ebony, Chamonix or even a Shen-Hao to be as loose. I wouldn't expect anything to be as rigid as a studio camera but for most work the better wooden cameras will do great.

Vaughn
17-Apr-2012, 11:00
For what it is worth and not wanting to upset anyone, no insults implied or anything, but the 5x7 Tachihara ultralight camera I owned for a week was so flimsy compared to what I am used to - metal cameras - that I am surprised anyone can enjoy using it, much less shoot successfully. It's dainty and I am clumsy.

I lent my 4x5 Gowland PocketView to a friend and he quickly returned it -- he could not put up with its lightweight squirreliness and lack of zeroing indents. But I used the camera for years (5-month bike trip in NZ, in Costa Rica, backpacking in the Grand Canyon, years in the redwoods, etc) and love it. Can't recall ever losing a negative to camera shake.

Gem Singer
17-Apr-2012, 11:26
J B Harlin, a fellow Texan from the the DFW area, who designs and builds large format cameras (as large as 11x14), once told me that

the only time a camera needs to remain extremely rigid is while the shutter is open during an exposure.


The best advice I can offer someone who is contemplating the purchase of a 5x7 camera: purchase a

4x5 reducing back for the camera. If possible, one that is equipped with Graflok-type sliders.

Sal Santamaura
17-Apr-2012, 11:36
...the only time a camera needs to remain extremely rigid is while the shutter is open during an exposure...If strong, gusty winds are blowing (and I suspect they do quite often where Alberto photographs), only a rigid camera will remain stable during that brief period of time. It's a matter of what conditions the instrument will be used in...

evan clarke
17-Apr-2012, 12:19
One interesting thing keeps popping up in this thread, composing on the GG. Years ago I bought a Linhof zoom viewfinder for a Technila whci I carry in my pocket at all times. I have masks for various formats and have my composition completely set and the corners determined before I get the camera out. From there on it really makes no difference which format I am using, I hit my corners, focus and go..completely automatic..EC

Alberto Bregani
18-Apr-2012, 13:47
If strong, gusty winds are blowing (and I suspect they do quite often where Alberto photographs), only a rigid camera will remain stable during that brief period of time. It's a matter of what conditions the instrument will be used in...


You suspect correctly Sal :)))

Thanks again for these last remarks, friends
Interesting tip Sal, an eyeglasses 0 /+1,5 ...i could try

I think i'll gonna buy.. I'd like could be a shen or a chamonix since I love that design, they both lightweight, compact, acceptably affordable
OR..a good second hand camera
have to post something into Sale/Wanted section ;)

I will bring you up to date :)
Ciao!
A

AnselAdamsX
18-Apr-2012, 16:41
I'm going from a Sinar P 8x10 to a Chaminox 5x7 since lenses are much more affordable, it's light, small and more rectangular. It is my first wooden camera. I am surprised at how rigid it is.

Nana Sousa Dias
4-May-2012, 18:43
Alberto, I think you already have the most adequate equipment to shoot in the mountain, regarding large format. The Shen Hao PTB 45 is an incredible lightweight camera, but a solid one.

I've been shotting with 4x5 and 8x10 (and 5x7, with a reducing back), for some years, here is what I think about these 3 formats...

4x5 - too small for contact prints but it fits in 8x10", 9 1/2x12" and 16x20" photographic paper without croping. Good for horizontal and vertical photos.

5x7 - the smallest contact printable size. Good for horizontal photos but, imo, to stretchy for vertical ones. For enlargements, there isn't any photographic paper thats fits this format without croping.

8x10 - Porportions like the 4x5, with same advantages. Contact prints with a nice size.

I have two 5x7" enlargers (Durst 138s and 139G) I've been enlarging 4x5 and 5x7 and contact printing 5x7 and 8x10 negatives, for a few years, here is what I think about this...

You CAN notice very well the diference beetween a 4x5 and a 5x7 negative enlarged to 16x20". Although, if you don't have any 5x7 negative 16x20 photo nearby to compare, the 16x20" enlargement from a 4x5" negative is incredibly sharp!!!! The other will be simply MORE incredible! It's like a Porsche and a Ferrari!!! ;-)

I have all I need to shoot and develop 4x5, 5x7 and 8x10, Jobo Expert tanks for the 3 formats, Jobo ATL 2 processor, etc.

I can tell you that I have thousands of 4x5 negatives, about 100 8x10s and about 20 5x7s...

Colin Graham
4-May-2012, 18:55
I started picking formats more for ease of composing than sheer negative size. For some reason I could not ever find what I was looking for with 4x5, the reason I set up the tripod to being with would get lost on the smaller GG. But the extra space of 5x7 really helped me settle down and not have to struggle to pick up that thread again. Some formats just seem to live in that sweet spot, a combination of GG size and ratio that suits a particular field of view.