View Poll Results: Which format would you suggest?

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  • 8x10

    32 23.53%
  • 4x5

    85 62.50%
  • Other size, please specify

    19 13.97%
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Thread: Is 4x5 big enough?

  1. #101

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    Re: Is 4x5 big enough?

    Wow! 100 responses. That's a bunch of good information. 4X5 for the enlarger, 8X10 for the contact prints. Plus if you should fall off the deep end into soft focus effects and lenses, the 8X10 has the brute force to pull it off.
    He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep..to gain that which he cannot lose. Jim Elliot, 1949

  2. #102
    Eric Woodbury
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    Re: Is 4x5 big enough?

    4x5 is like training wheels. It gets you started. Gives you a taste. Depending on what you want to accomplish, it may be enough. You could get in and try it fast and cheap. If you like, then continue. If not, get out at almost no cost. It's plentiful and respectable. Lots of pros are using it (as if that matters). You can enlarge or contact print.

    I started 4x5 when someone loaned me a Speed Graphic and 6 holders. Pick a path and take pictures, then take more and more. Have fun. EW

  3. #103

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    Re: Is 4x5 big enough?

    Wow. Even more responses! Thanks. There seem to be two groups of camera suggested, inexpensive monorail cameras and slightly more expensive press cameras. My initial, ideal, thought was for something that I could carry around in a rucksack, in the hopes I would get a lot more use - I often carry around a medium format camera. But at a much higher cost per shot, and a lot more options for setting up I doubt that I'd use it much like that, especially if I didn't alway have a tripod too.

    Perhaps I overvalued portability? My main use cases would be landscapes, outdoor still life and studio portraits. But I'm not really one for hiking so if I were to do any landscapes they would be in places I have previously planned out a shoot with my dslr, as opposed to carrying it around lots of the time. In the future, I also hope to try/get into some wet-plate work, and portability is almost a non-issue then, as the whole process would have to be transported.

    If I could find an inexpensive press camera with a rotating back and enough bellows extension and movements for me to experiment with everything then that would be ideal. However, it might be more productive to jump in a buy something budget friendly so that I actually get started using one.

    A 210mm lens should give a similar fov to a 65mm in 135, and I'm more than happy with shooting head and shoulders portraits at ~70mm on my slr so I should be able to get started with just the one lens.

  4. #104
    8x10, 5x7, 4x5, et al Leigh's Avatar
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    Re: Is 4x5 big enough?

    Consider that if you carry an LF camera, you must also carry film holders, an exposure meter, and a tripod.
    It's not a minimal kit.

    - Leigh
    If you believe you can, or you believe you can't... you're right.

  5. #105
    Do or do not. There is no try.
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    Re: Is 4x5 big enough?

    Quote Originally Posted by Josh View Post
    A 210mm lens should give a similar fov to a 65mm in 135, and I'm more than happy with shooting head and shoulders portraits at ~70mm on my slr so I should be able to get started with just the one lens.
    There are different ways of estimating similar field of view. Some use the format diagonal, some use the long dimension, and some use the shorter dimension. 35mm is more rectangular than 4x5, so you'll need to think about which orientation you tend to use most to make the most useful-for-you comparison. I use the short dimension, but that's a purely personal choice.

    Using the short side, 287mm would be closest to the 70mm FOV since the short side of 4x5 film is just under 4" and the short side of 35mm is just under 1". So either a 270mm or a 300mm would be the ticket.

    Using the long side, 240mm will be very close to your 70mm.

    Using the diagonal, I get about 255mm, so again a 240mm (or a 250mm Fujinon) would be closest.

    In all this I'm assuming full-frame 35mm.

    In reality you can do excellent portrait work with a 210mm, and with the big negative the "cost" of slight cropping is small. 210mm is a sweet spot with lots of very fine lenses available in Copal 1 shutters at very reasonable cost. At 240mm you're generally (there are exceptions) looking at a much larger #3 shutter that will be heavier and more expensive.

  6. #106

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    Re: Is 4x5 big enough?

    Monorails are great to learn on because they have all the movements front and back. They are also dirt cheap so a beginner is not out that much money to start. They are not the most portable things though. Truth be told, if you did spend more money on a more expensive used 4x5 (like a field camera) and bought right then if you sold you would still recover most of your money back.

    Press cameras are popular for shooting hand held. To be honest, I can get better results shooting medium format hand held. I do admit that I have a bad back and hand holding a big 4x5 isn't great for me.

    If you buy a press camera with revolving back like a Super Graphic then you will probably be out $500 for a nice one. For $700 you can pick up a used Shen Hao wooden folding field camera which is a lot more versatile as long as you don't want to shoot hand held.

    A 210mm lens would be a great lens to start with and one that you will keep on using.

  7. #107

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    Re: Is 4x5 big enough?

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Goldstein View Post
    There are different ways of estimating similar field of view. Some use the format diagonal, some use the long dimension, and some use the shorter dimension. 35mm is more rectangular than 4x5, so you'll need to think about which orientation you tend to use most to make the most useful-for-you comparison. I use the short dimension, but that's a purely personal choice.

    Using the short side, 287mm would be closest to the 70mm FOV since the short side of 4x5 film is just under 4" and the short side of 35mm is just under 1". So either a 270mm or a 300mm would be the ticket.

    Using the long side, 240mm will be very close to your 70mm.

    Using the diagonal, I get about 255mm, so again a 240mm (or a 250mm Fujinon) would be closest.

    In all this I'm assuming full-frame 35mm.

    In reality you can do excellent portrait work with a 210mm, and with the big negative the "cost" of slight cropping is small. 210mm is a sweet spot with lots of very fine lenses available in Copal 1 shutters at very reasonable cost. At 240mm you're generally (there are exceptions) looking at a much larger #3 shutter that will be heavier and more expensive.


    Obviously cropping is more of an option too, so I could shoot a bit wide if I needed....hmm . Yes, I think the long size is probably the best size to work from as that's the determining length factor in the portrait. 210mm feels a bit short now, but I have seen a lot of choice in the market, that're within my budget. I hadn't much thought about the increased shutter size too. However, I think 210mm is probably a very good compromise for getting started with.

    Plent of time to upgrade later.

  8. #108
    Jac@stafford.net's Avatar
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    Re: Is 4x5 big enough?

    If you are not presenting your 8x10" images in a very large print, and with the very best enlarger (likely a condenser design) with a lens of adequate contrast, then it is a complete waste of effort.

    For the foreseeable future there is no digital means to show an 8x10 in all its qualities. So maybe some 8x10 photographers are making negatives for a future, however I doubt their technique will suffice.
    .

  9. #109
    Huub
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    Re: Is 4x5 big enough?

    I can second Alan's and Steve's advice. Get yourself a second hand field camera like a Shenhao, a Chamonix, a Toyo, a Wista or one of the others available. It will set you back between 500 USD and 800 USD depending on the condition. A 210mm is an excelent lens to start with. They are plentyful and cheap and most have plenty of movements on 4x5 and is very well suited for shooting portraits. Actually it was my first as well and i kept it just for exactly this purpose.

    In my experience comparisons between 35mm, medium format and 4x5 when it comes to focal lenghts are less straight forward then it seems. You can devide by 3 (or by 2) of course, but one way or the other, 4x5 lenses seem to have a different feel to me. The wide angle lenses always feel shorter, where as the longer ones seems longer. In 35mm the 28mm is probably my most favourite lens, where in 4x5 i tend to use a 105mm as my standard wide lens: the 90mm often feeling much to wide for what i shoot. The same applies to the tele-side. A 135mm lens in 35mm is about standard long one for me, where as my 360mm tele-xenar seems much longer when used on my 4x5.

    What you suits you best you can only find out by actually using it, kind of "the proof of the pudding..." And when you make a mistake: you can always sell the lens or camera for more or less the same price you bought it for. So pretty much a low risk game.

  10. #110

    Re: Is 4x5 big enough?

    Could not make this identical decision many years ago and decided to opt for simplicity in the printing process over simplicity in the camera. Went straight to 8x10 and never looked back. I actually feel it was easier to work with the larger GG in terms of focus and movements and of course the ultimate justification is the print quality. I print right to the edge of the negative in contact prints and tray develop my negatives. My first mistake after buying a Kodak Master 8x10 was thinking I needed a f5.6 lens to "learn" from. Got rid of that heavy Nikkor 300W as fast as I could. I now own four 8x10 cameras and it is unquestionably my intuitive visual extension.

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