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Thread: Very new to LF! (not even started yet)

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Apr 2007
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    Very new to LF! (not even started yet)

    Hi,

    My name is Ben Rubinstein, I'm a full time pro wedding photographer working in the UK though I shoot landscape for relaxation. (www.bphotography.co.uk/fineart/fineart.htm)

    I'm going to be moving back to Israel in December and although I'll still be 'commuting' to shoot weddings back in blighty, I will be working hard on achieving some major projects documenting Jerusalem with a couple of books and some major exhibitions to go with them in the future.

    My idea is to show the contrast between the modern and the very ancient in what is the most central ancient city possibly of all time. Walking down streets that have seen so much pivotal and world shattering events that shaped history is mindblowing and I want to find a way to transalate that feeling through the medium of my photography.

    I will be doing a major amount of street shooting but the exhibitions of architectural features I want to be of huge prints, 50" wide at a minimum, the idea being that you can almost 'walk' into the print. However much I love my 5D I certainly know its limitations and from my MF experience in the past I think I would be stretching even 6X7 to go that large.

    So that brings me to LF. I've been researching it until the point that my eyeballs have long crossed over, read all the articles on this site, and trying my best to soak in the maximum amount of information before making the dive so as to ensure that I can maximise the potential of LF to achieve the print sizes that I'm looking for.

    Please be patient with me, I'll try not to be too stupid!

    Many thanks and looking forward to getting to know you all,

    Ben

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Jul 1998
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    Lund, Sweden
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    Re: Very new to LF! (not even started yet)

    Welcome Ben.

    My advice would be to get something, anything, and start taking photos. Halfway between now and December you will have a much better idea of what you need for your job than any of us. You can sell on whatever you first bought for little loss.

    Can a city be ancient for all time? It must have been new once. :-)

  3. #3
    Moderator Ralph Barker's Avatar
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    Sep 1998
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    Rio Rancho, NM
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    4,719

    Re: Very new to LF! (not even started yet)

    Welcome, Ben.

    And, don't worry about appearing "stupid" as a result of asking questions.

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Jul 2006
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    2,639

    Re: Very new to LF! (not even started yet)

    Hey Ben,

    As you hopefully have the funds available, call up Robert White (or similar) and get their opinion on an affordable and fully featured field camera. It's gonna cost, but you will do well to have the warranty and customer service behind a new purchase.

    I'm not doing anything special with my own LF work, so I cheaped-out. I spent the minimum I could on a Calumet 4x5 monorail, and some barrel lenses and a packard shutter. The setup is too heavy to move outside of a studio/home etc. You'd need a car to carry it long distances. Before buying that one for the capabilities (movements, etc) I bought a cheap old field camera. Half plate - so not even a modern film type! I've modified that as well. It takes modern film holders, and currently works as a 4x5 with a single barrel lens and a shutter behind it. It's also large enough that I can use it as a 5x7 camera if I so wish.

    Of course that all works fine for me, but with a project (and no doubt larger budget) like yours, go for a nice sturdy, but compact modern 4x5 field camera, and a couple modern lenses in shutters. You could look into a 5x7 field camera, with a 4x5 reducing back. It all depends on whether you're happy shooting at the smaller 4x5 or working with the larger 5x7 negatives.


    Also remember you need to have a strong tripod to support the camera, unless you get something handheld like the Razzle 4x5 rangefinders.

    As people have said - get a kit and take some photo's!

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Mar 2005
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    Baton Rouge, LA
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    2,420

    Re: Very new to LF! (not even started yet)

    Black and white or color? Digital or wet darkroom prints? How big is your budget, i.e., can you afford drum scanning? If you really want 50" prints as a mimimum, and want the best detail, and you are doing digital prints, you will need to drum scan. At $100+ per shot, this mounts up. It makes 8x10 scanned on a consumer scanner a reasonable alternative, esp. for black and white. More cost up front, but you would save $100+ a shot for keepers, and 1000 shots later that is real money. You could then drum scan the best and make billboards.:-)

  6. #6

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    Apr 2007
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    Re: Very new to LF! (not even started yet)

    I'm on the point of putting my money down on a Tachihara with it seeming to be the best deal in a decent feild camera. Mono rails are just not an option as I will be puttering along from location to location on a little scooter!

  7. #7
    Ted Harris's Avatar
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    Aug 2000
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    New Hampshire
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    Re: Very new to LF! (not even started yet)

    Ben, hold your nose, grab your Tachihara and jump in the water ... only thing to do. If it does waht you want great, if not it is still a great learner camera and you won't lose much when you sell it. Take pictures, don't agonize over equipment.

  8. #8

    Join Date
    Jan 2001
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    4,585

    Re: Very new to LF! (not even started yet)

    Are you sure that your 5D images can't be coaxed into doing the job? Steven Katzman gets 40x50 prints from his 1DsII (16 MP) which are stunningly sharp and detailed.
    http://www.colorbytesoftware.com/Steven%20Katzman.htm
    Wilhelm (Sarasota)

  9. #9

    Join Date
    Apr 2007
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    Re: Very new to LF! (not even started yet)

    His work is not the type that needs huge amounts of resolution, I can print portraiture up to that size with ease from my 5D. It's the landscape type image which is looked at from up close where the fine detail just becomes mush after uprezzing a digital file.

  10. #10

    Join Date
    Sep 2005
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    Germany, Aalen
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    850

    Re: Very new to LF! (not even started yet)

    Hello Ben,

    I had a look at your work and apprecite it a lot. The Tachihara will do for you nearly everything in landscape, but if you are going to shoot more cityscape or architectuer you MAY (my own experience is rather limited) find yourself to be a bit limited on the movements side. Otherwise you will enjoy its light weight, bright groundglass and ability to to easily handle lenses from 75 - 300 (and with a bit of care 400mm telephoto).

    More important is the choice of lenses. I got an impression that you tend to use rather long lenses in your landscape photos. If this is the case you may consider camera that is more stable with longer focal lengths. Tachihara focuses 300mm lens down to ~ 3 - 5 meters at full extension and at this point it is not as stable as it could be (though fully usable with a bit of care).

    You may consider to rent SOME lF camera to get the first impression.

    Matus

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