Page 1 of 4 123 ... LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 35

Thread: Appropriate equipment for LF

  1. #1

    Appropriate equipment for LF

    I'm about to plunge into 4x5 phtography as cheaply as possible but without compromising the final print. This is driven partly by professional need to be able to take good clear transparencies of watercolour paintings either in the studio or outside under whitish sky conditions. I guess that a monorail studio view camera would be sensible but I fancy taking the thing out for landscape photos too. Because I'll need to take good colour transparencies I'm guessing that a modern, double coated lens is probably required? But could I get away with a good single-coated lens and does anyone have recommendations for affordable second-hand lenses? I'm guessing that I would need 150mm , 180mm or above? The smallest paintings I'll neeed to shoot would be about 25cm square.

    Ought I to be considering only modern equipment or can something like a MPP Micro Technical camera with an International Back be used effectively (I know it would be good for B&W field work). I'm so new to this game. Do I use Dark Slides?

    Any information would be useful...Thanks

  2. #2

    Join Date
    May 2000
    Location
    Tamworth, Staffordshire. U.K.
    Posts
    1,164

    Re: Appropriate equipment for LF

    Jonathan,
    I would go for a light monorail camera. I have an M.P.P. Micropress camera and I'm not very impressed with the build quality. In don't know about the other M.P.P.'s but I would steer away from them. Lenses, G-Clarons are reasonably cheap and very sharp at f22-f32, for copying Tominons (from Polaroid cameras) in Copal Press shutters are really nice. When photographing the paintings tungsten lights and tungsten balanced film is worth considering. I'm sure that I'm gonna be shot down about some of my opinions but thats life!
    Pete.

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Dec 1999
    Posts
    1,904

    Re: Appropriate equipment for LF

    There are several articles in the Free Articles section of the View Camera web site that will be ehlpful

    www.viewcamera.com

    I would not copy paintings outside under 'whitish' light and expect to get accurate color. Copywork is exacting and the lighting must be carefully controlled.

    steve simmons

  4. #4
    Moderator Ralph Barker's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 1998
    Location
    Rio Rancho, NM
    Posts
    4,784

    Re: Appropriate equipment for LF

    Welcome to the LF world, Jonathan. You'll find a number of helpful articles regarding camera and lens choices on the home page of this site. Just click on the "LF Home Page" link in the blue navigation bar above. There's more than enough information to get you completely confused.

    For copying artwork, almost any LF camera will do the trick for you - assuming that it has sufficient bellows draw for the lens being used and the working distance. If you set things up correctly, you won't need any movements. Other uses for the camera, however, may mandate other features. To maintain even lighting and controlled color temperature, however, you may find that getting a couple of electronic flash units advantageous.

    As to lens choices, modern multi-coated APO lenses are a safe bet. But, you could easily get by with older lenses that are highly color-corrected (APO or near-APO), too. Note that a major function of multi-coating is to reduce flare - a situation that will be under your control when copying artwork. Multi-coating will, however, provide greater flexibility for other uses.

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Harbor City, California
    Posts
    1,748

    Re: Appropriate equipment for LF

    You are going to get some recommendations that you buy a book before buying a lot of (comparatively) expensive equipment. That's very good advice.

    There are many earlier lens and camera combinations which would well accomplish what you have in mind. The MPP is neither the lightest, nor the most convenient, but is a fine tool that would do all you have in mind. A good compromise, I think.

    Multicoating has to do with avoiding flare and reduced contrast. It isn't a necessity for good color rendition. Single coating with careful lens shading will do fine.

    Unless your lens works at a rather wide angle, you need a minimum of 150mm to cover 4" X 5" at infinity focus. with hopefully some extra coverage to allow use of movements.

    One of the many affordable lenses is the 203mm Ektar. It would do your copying work well. Some people would prefer a shorter length for landscapes, but this is a very personal matter.

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Harbor City, California
    Posts
    1,748

    Re: Appropriate equipment for LF

    I see no one has yet chimed in with specific book recommendations, so here they are:

    Shaman "The View Camera"

    Simmons "Using the View Camera"

    Stone "A user's Guide to the View Camera"

    Stroebel "View Camera Technique"

    Try a library first.

    All of these are very worthwhile. The last is a little controversial. It is the most thorough, and gthe mos t expensive, but meny complain it is less readable than the others.

  7. #7

    Join Date
    Dec 1997
    Location
    Baraboo, Wisconsin
    Posts
    7,695

    Re: Appropriate equipment for LF

    If you're going to be doing primarily field work I'd suggest that you get a camera designed for that purpose, i.e. a field camera that is relatively light (6lbs or less), that sets up easily and quickly (most field cameras), and that is reasonably compact. A Tachihara or a Shen Hao makes a nice starter camera for landscape, exteriror architecture, and most kinds of general purpose photography. They both sell new for about $600. Or you can find them or another similar camera used for less. There are quite a few older used cameras on ebay all the time (e.g. Burke and James, Korona, used Wistas, etc.) that typically sell in the $500 - $700 price range. I'm not a big fan of the Speed Graphic/Graflex/Crown Graphic line of cameras for LF photography because of their limited movements but they are inexpensive and some people like them.

    I'd suggest that you read some of the camera reviews on this web site to get an idea of what features might be important to you. There are many, many different LF cameras that probably would be suitable, it's mostly a matter of finding one that fits your initial needs. But don't worry too much about it, if you stick with LF photography it's unlikely that your first camera will be your last. The most important thing is to get started making photographs.

    Coatings primarily affect flare. I don't use slide film but I've never noticed any major difference between the single coated and a multi-coated lenses I've owned. To the extent that a single coated lens might be more prone to flare you can deal with that by using a lens shade in high-flare potential situations. The main problem with older lenses is often the shutter, not the glass. You'll generally be safer with a modern Copal shutter than with the older Compurs, Betaxes, etc. If you buy a used lens make sure the seller can give you some assurance that the shutter works as it should, that the times are accurate (especially 1/30 and less since those are the times you'll most often use), that nothing is sticking, that it opens and closes properly on "B" and "T" settings (if it has both), that kind of thing.
    Brian Ellis
    Before you criticize someone, walk a mile in their shoes. That way when you do criticize them you'll be
    a mile away and you'll have their shoes.

  8. #8

    Join Date
    Aug 2000
    Location
    California
    Posts
    2,590

    Re: Appropriate equipment for LF

    AN extremely lightweight monorail with a rail long enough to do the work you need is a Sinar Alpina. Except for the rail shape, it is a SInar F and they are often available in the $225 - 275 range. They tak all Sinar bellows, lensboards, etc and has all corrective movements.

  9. #9

    Join Date
    Dec 1999
    Posts
    1,904

    Re: Appropriate equipment for LF

    Do I use Dark Slides?


    This indicates to me that you know very little about large format. I would strongly suggest picking up one of the recommended books before buying anything. Also, if you are serious about copying paintings I would stay with a new multi-coated lens, something in the 210-240mm focal length for 4x5.

    Lenses for landscape can be all over the place depending on your preferences. Again, there is a lot of information on the View Camera web site about lenses, cameras , etc.

    steve simmons

  10. #10
    All metric sizes to 24x30 Ole Tjugen's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Location
    Norway
    Posts
    3,377

    Re: Appropriate equipment for LF

    Quote Originally Posted by Ernest Purdum View Post
    Simmons "Using the View Camera"
    Steve Simmons is too modest to suggest it again, so I will. This is without a doubt the best investment for anyone about to enter LF. Read the book first, then decide on what equipment you want and need.

Similar Threads

  1. Hiking with LF equipment
    By Mike Delaney in forum Style & Technique
    Replies: 24
    Last Post: 19-Feb-2014, 16:43
  2. Hawaii.....Equipment & locations
    By Gary Smith in forum Location & Travel
    Replies: 11
    Last Post: 16-Mar-2006, 05:08
  3. TSA and photogrpahic equipment
    By tim atherton in forum Announcements
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 21-Nov-2003, 15:03
  4. LF equipment for sale..... perhaps
    By James Phillips in forum Feedback
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: 5-Jan-2002, 23:11

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
  •