Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 23

Thread: getting started in LF

  1. #1

    getting started in LF

    is a 4x5 negative to small to make a contact print from? I would like to get started in LF in this format-I would also like to do my own film developing & printing. I have an enlarger, but it's not a large format one so I need to start out making contact prints. I would appreciate any advice.

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    Posts
    4,585

    getting started in LF

    Unless you are satisfied with making 4x5s with your present enlarger, you won't be happy making contact prints from LF negatives.
    Wilhelm (Sarasota)

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Dec 1999
    Posts
    1,904

    getting started in LF

    We have an article called Getting Started in Large Format on our web page in the Free Articles section

    www.viewcamera.com

    steve simmons

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Posts
    9,476

    getting started in LF

    4x5 contacts can be nice, but most people think they are too small - unless you photograph a lot of smaller, simple subjects in detail. Get a 5x7 or 8x10 to start with - they don't have to cost a lot of money. Post another question about how to start in 5x7 or 8x10 inexpensively and you'll get dozens of good ideas...

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    Location
    San Joaquin Valley, California
    Posts
    8,211

    getting started in LF

    gary,

    You can get an Omega D2 enlarger that will handle 4x5s on a budget if you look hard enough.

    If what you want is to make 8x10 contacts though, you might as well get an 8x10 camera. For studio use, a metal Calumet would be hard to beat for features and economy. If you want to take it into the field, look at B&Js, Agfa -Anscos, etc... If you actually want to hike with it(in moderation) unless your built like "The Governator" take a look at Deardorffs, Kodak Masterviews and Century Universals. Of course if you've got deep pockets, there are all sorts of new and professional type used cameras available.

    Some alternative processes are costly ventures and the cost is usually in direct proportion to the format size. In that case a 4x5 or even smaller will provide you with a more economical format to learn on.

    An attractive possibility might be to get an older flat bed type camera like an Agfa Ansco or B&J that will accept both 4x5 and 5x7 backs, giving you a 4x5 format to practice with and a 5x7 format capable of (IMHO) intimate contacts with more of a "presence" than many 4x5s.

    Good Luck!
    I steal time at 1/125th of a second, so I don't consider my photography to be Fine Art as much as it is petty larceny.
    I'm not OCD. I'm CDO which is alphabetically correct.

  6. #6
    Moderator Ralph Barker's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 1998
    Location
    Rio Rancho, NM
    Posts
    4,718

    getting started in LF

    You're likely to get opinions all over the map on this one, Gary. FWIW, here are my 2.

    Among the various LF formats, 4x5 is the most common, and the least expensive in terms of typical equipment, supplies, and enlarging. You can get used 4x5 enlargers for anywhere from $250-$400 or so, and about the same for a used 135mm lens (you can use your existing lenses for smaller formats). An Omega D2V condensor enlarger in good condition will serve nicely, and should be fairly easy to find in that price range. With 4x5 contact prints, however, you run the risk of them being thought of as drugstore prints.

    In contrast, 5x7 is a great format, and the contact prints a bit more impressive. That format, however, is not well-supported by the film manufacturers (film choices are quite limited, compared to 4x5), and 5x7 enlargers are more difficult to find, and usually more expensive. 8x10 is great for contacts, but supplies are expensive and enlargers for 8x10 are really tough to find - particularly on a budget.

    Another alternative with 4x5 is to scan and print digitally. Different than silver prints, of course, and a good scanner that is 4x5 capable (e.g. an Epson 3200) and a good printer (e.g. an Epson 2200) will end up being more expensive than the 4x5 enlarger.

  7. #7

    getting started in LF

    Contact printing and enlarging are two different things. I myself only did and still do contacts prints only. The reason is simplicity and quality. Some of my 4x5 contact prints are just truly amazing, but most of the are a little too small. Nowadays I use an 8x10 camera. It is the workhorse for contacts. Some have metioned 5x7 as a viable alternative and I agree, I always wanted to have one. I would say, take it easy and read lots about it. Remeber that all negatives unless tremendoulsy huge, can be scanned and printed on transparency material and then contact printed. Check out the forum michaelandpaula@michealandpaula.com You will find tons of information for contact printing only.

  8. #8

    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Posts
    115

    getting started in LF

    is a 4x5 negative to small to make a contact print from?

    You'll have to answer that for yourself. I made 4x5 contact for a number of years. I like small prints. I use 5x7 now. It's just as good if not better. 8x10 is a little too much for me. But I own a few beautiful 8x10 prints made by very good photographers.

  9. #9
    Format Omnivore Brian C. Miller's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 1999
    Location
    Everett, WA
    Posts
    2,961

    getting started in LF

    You've taken 35mm film and gone to the store and got prints, right? Was 4x6" too small? You can get an enlarger when you've decided to make larger prints. In the mean time, you'll have lots of fun.
    "It's the way to educate your eyes. Stare. Pry, listen, eavesdrop. Die knowing something. You are not here long." - Walker Evans

  10. #10

    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Seattle, Washington
    Posts
    3,022

    getting started in LF

    In my experience, 4x5 is a great format for learning LF, view camera movements, sheet film handling, contact printing, and alternative processes. I made a lot of exposures in 4x5 before I got any that I wished were larger than 4x5, and then I made enlargements. Of the 4x5 negatives that I enlarged, only a few looked better enlarged than they did contact printed. How much my printing abilities and subject matter contributed to my assessment of the prints is an open question. My subjects are mostly portraits, which tolerate small printing better than grand vistas, I think. 4X5 enlargers are dirt cheap on the used market, so I don't see that as much of a factor, and the ability to economically enlarge 4x5 negatives makes the format the most practical in LF. 4x5 is the most common large format, and the used market is loaded with accessories, which will end up costing as much or more than the camera when you are fully outfitted. Even if at some point in the future you decide that 4x5 is too small for contact printing and you move up to a larger format, a 4x5 reducing back will ensure that your 4x5 kit survives the transition, even if you sell the camera itself off to finance the upgrade. I've moved up from 35mm through all of the medium and large formats up to 10x12, and I'm still going, but I've never abandoned a format completely. I've found that each has its place, even if it is only in my heart. Good luck.

Similar Threads

  1. Getting started with a Packard Shutter
    By Frank Petronio in forum Lenses & Lens Accessories
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: 12-Apr-2006, 14:38
  2. How did YOU get started in photography?
    By Kevin M Bourque in forum On Photography
    Replies: 25
    Last Post: 26-Sep-2004, 12:59
  3. Getting started in LF
    By Andy_1233 in forum Cameras & Camera Accessories
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: 31-May-2000, 08:25
  4. Getting started (again) in B&W processing
    By Ellis Vener in forum Darkroom: Film, Processing & Printing
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: 2-Apr-1999, 22:07

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •