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Thread: Wading into large format

  1. #1
    rajmohan-fotograf's Avatar
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    Wading into large format

    Hello Large Format Photographers,

    I'm about to embark on my first LF adventure, and members here were very helpful with my first question about a tripod head, and so I thought I'd do the right thing and introduce myself.

    I've been photographing for ~4 1/2 years, first with a small DSLR and subsequently with DSLR/mirrorless digicams with old manual lenses (1930s-1980s). I started shooting film 3 years ago, first with 135, and then with 120 (on 6x6, 6x45 and 6x9 cameras). I was stunned by the depth and tonal detail in the MF negatives when compared to the 135 negatives. My shooting currently is probably 70:30 film:digital.

    Recently a very good friend offered to donate his Sinar Norma 4x5 (with 90mm and 180mm lenses) to me. As I tend to shoot predominantly handheld, I was not sure about accepting his very generous offer. But then I decided that I would like to try shooting with a view camera - the slowness, precision, camera movements and large negative were factors that swayed me to accept. I'm scheduled to get my hands on the camera and shoot with it (under the guidance of my friend) this weekend, and I'm rather excited about it.

    Thank you for reading this blurb (if you managed to get this far), and thanks in advance for answering any (probably basic and sometimes silly) questions I may come up with as I continue on my new large format adventure. Please feel free to say hello via this thread, email, or my website.

    Thanks again, and all the best,
    Raj
    http://rajmohan-fotograf.com/

  2. #2

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    Re: Wading into large format

    Welcome to the world of LF photography. IMO, no question is silly when starting out because we all were beginners at one point...ask away. I predict that once you get used to working with a 4x5 camera and see the quality this size offers, you'll be very pleased! Trouble is...it's a slippery slope! I made the same progression many years ago, then thought "Hmm, what would 8x10 be like?" I bought one and for over a decade during the 1980's it was my primary camera. To this day, I still enjoy shooting with it; and, contact prints? Whoa!!

    Good luck and have fun!

  3. #3
    rajmohan-fotograf's Avatar
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    Re: Wading into large format

    Thank you very much, Alan!
    I hope, for the sake of my prolapsed intervertebral discs, that I don't go any larger than 4x5!! Even the Norma may prove a challenge in terms of weight, but I won't know until I use it for a while.

  4. #4

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    Re: Wading into large format

    Quote Originally Posted by rajmohan-fotograf View Post
    Thank you very much, Alan!
    I hope, for the sake of my prolapsed intervertebral discs, that I don't go any larger than 4x5!! Even the Norma may prove a challenge in terms of weight, but I won't know until I use it for a while.
    If weight becomes an issue for you, there are many lightweight alternatives out there; the Intrepid, for example, weighs in at something like 2 lbs!

  5. #5
    rajmohan-fotograf's Avatar
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    Re: Wading into large format

    Quote Originally Posted by Alan9940 View Post
    If weight becomes an issue for you, there are many lightweight alternatives out there; the Intrepid, for example, weighs in at something like 2 lbs!
    Absolutely! Since the Norma is a gift, I'll give it a shot to see how I fare with it, and then make a decision on the next step. I might end up loving it

  6. #6

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    Re: Wading into large format

    Welcome to the forum, Raj, from another Alan.

    There are plenty of Photographers on here like you and I who shoot various film formats and digital too. Plus some shoot alternative processes like wet plate which is very interesting. You can learn a lot on here. I know I have.

  7. #7
    rajmohan-fotograf's Avatar
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    Re: Wading into large format

    Quote Originally Posted by Alan Gales View Post
    Welcome to the forum, Raj, from another Alan.

    There are plenty of Photographers on here like you and I who shoot various film formats and digital too. Plus some shoot alternative processes like wet plate which is very interesting. You can learn a lot on here. I know I have.
    Alan - thank you very much. This is good to know

  8. #8

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    Re: Wading into large format

    Good work on your site!

    Kumar

  9. #9

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    Re: Wading into large format

    Welcome! I looked at your website, you have quite a few images that lend themselves to view camera work, for example your abstracts and architectural work. View cameras love subjects that stay still! Of course the main virtue of this site is that you have quite a few members who have been doing this for a long time (I am shocked to realize that I got my first 4x5 some 50 years ago!) and enjoy being able to pass along some of what we have learned. Which is another way of saying, as someone else posted, that there are no foolish questions (just occasionally, foolish answers).

  10. #10
    David Schaller
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    Re: Wading into large format

    I just had back surgery, and am prohibited from lifting more than ten pounds. But I found a 4x5 kit can be broken down into a number of smaller packages, with a few extra trips to and from your car, with satisfying results.
    Welcome,
    Dave

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