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Thread: Fresh start, thinking about going large format.

  1. #1

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    Fresh start, thinking about going large format.

    Hi,

    After becoming serious about landscape photography in May 2007 and buying a Canon 5D with various wide angle lenses, I have come to the conclusion that my gear wasn't quite up to the task. I have therefore sold all of my digital equipment and have set a budget of 6k to 8k for a new large format system. I prefer shooting from 14mm to 200mm (35mm) and seriously thinking about the Ebony 45SU. The image below of Leigh Perry is the rig I'm after and also noticed Joe Cornish (a photographer who's work I'm particularly fond of) also used this rig. Can someone please tell me what focusing hood Leigh is using in the the image below?



    I would also be grateful to hear people comments regarding excellent wide angle lenses lenses for the sort of landscape shooting I do, see http://photo.net/photos/johnrobinson I have heard great things about the Nikkor-SW 90mm f/4.5

    Any tips and pointers that would save any frustration before purchasing my new equipment would be greatly appreciated.

  2. #2
    Confidently Agnostic!
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    Re: Fresh start, thinking about going large format.

    The Rodenstock Grandagon-N 90mm is a good wide angle lens. You can get the f/4.5 or the f/6.8 versions (the latter has slightly less coverage, but I find I get more than enough image circle for most things with my f/6.8 one). You might consider the Schneider Super-Angulon XL series if you want to go wider (up to 47mm or 52mm - somewhere in that range) or larger image circle for more extreme movements (in landscapes you don't always see such tight control of perspective, but it is nice to have). The downside is some of the Super-Angulon XL lenses can be pretty big (and expensive! And they also require expensive large-diameter filters (>100mm filter size)).

    A rough conversion factor for 4x5 to 35mm is about 3.6, so a 90mm lens would be about like a 25mm lens on your 5D. The SA XL series (and a few others) can get you wider, but they can be pretty costly. The exceptions might be the f8 65mm Super Angulon (not XL), the Grandagon-N 75mm, and I'm probably missing a couple of others.

  3. #3
    Octogenarian
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    Re: Fresh start, thinking about going large format.

    Focusing hood is a binocular reflex, probably a Horseman.

    The Nikkor f4.5 90SW is an excellent choice, although the Nikkor f9 90SW has the same size image circle and is smaller, lighter weight, and less expensive.

  4. #4
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    Re: Fresh start, thinking about going large format.

    Sorry for the typo. Thats f8, not f9.

  5. #5

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    Re: Fresh start, thinking about going large format.

    Thanks,

    I'm not entirely sure what accessories I will need either, such as shutter release cables (although this should be easy to work out) what about equipment needed to use quick load film? Also what accessories should I buy spares of?

    I am guessing 6k to 8k is only going to buy the following

    1) Ebony 45SU
    2) 2 lenses
    3) Shutter release cable/s
    4) Other accessories that I'm probably not aware of needing (lens boards, focus hood, spare film holders? etc)
    5) Colour correction filters (with digital I never needed them)

    Kindly advise if you have the time, thanks.

  6. #6

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    Re: Fresh start, thinking about going large format.

    Quote Originally Posted by FearZeus View Post
    Thanks,

    I'm not entirely sure what accessories I will need either, such as shutter release cables (although this should be easy to work out) what about equipment needed to use quick load film? Also what accessories should I buy spares of?

    I am guessing 6k to 8k is only going to buy the following

    1) Ebony 45SU
    2) 2 lenses
    3) Shutter release cable/s
    4) Other accessories that I'm probably not aware of needing (lens boards, focus hood, spare film holders? etc)
    5) Colour correction filters (with digital I never needed them)

    Kindly advise if you have the time, thanks.
    Hi John,

    4) You'll need a light meter (a good option would be a Sekonic L-508, L-558, L-608 or L-758), a Quickload holder, maybe a ground glass loupe, a dark cloth (if you don't use the binocular viewer). Generic lens boards can be had from Robert White (www.robertwhite.co.uk) for approx. 20.
    5) As you probably have kept your ND grad filters, you may just need one or two 81 series warming filters and a polarizer. A good option is the Lee Filters system.

    One last thing: Do consider buying used equipment. There are many excellent deals to be found here or elsewhere and you can save quite some money.

    Most of all: Do enjoy your new challenge.

  7. #7
    Still Developing
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    Re: Fresh start, thinking about going large format.

    Quote Originally Posted by FearZeus View Post
    Hi,

    I would also be grateful to hear people comments regarding excellent wide angle lenses lenses for the sort of landscape shooting I do, see http://photo.net/photos/johnrobinson I have heard great things about the Nikkor-SW 90mm f/4.5

    Any tips and pointers that would save any frustration before purchasing my new equipment would be greatly appreciated.
    Hi John,

    Joe uses a the Mahogany version of the Ebony 45SU without rear swing and shift movements. This reduces the weight of the camera substantially. I personally bought the default 45SU as I wasn't sure how much I'd use compound movements. As it turns out I do so quite a bit. Joe does climb a few mountains with his gear so every bit of weight reduction counts. I'd also budget in for a sturdy tripod!

    I don't know many UK photographers that use the reflex viewer as it's difficult to acheive critical focus using one - especially when it's dark (which judging by your pictures you like the twighlight hours).

    I'd recommend either the Pextax Digital Spot or the Kenko 2100 (which Joe has started using).

    Joe also uses a linhof viewer and/or a Richoh 100 to frame his shots - however, if you're like me you'll take your digital out as well and can use that to frame your shots..

    Joe uses the Paramo Dark Cloth but I've found the black jacket more 'light tight' .

    As for lenses, a fast 90 and a good 150 will do you in the short term for the sorts of photographs your are taking (I've only seen two or three photographs taken by Joe with lenses wider than 90 - although one was his pentire head which is one of my favourites.. )

    I've written quite a lot on large format at my blog and feel free to ask me any questions directly if you wish..

    Tim

    p.s. I think the photographs where you aren't paying direct homage to Joe are pretty good.. I'd definitely try to find some views that say more about you than Joe as when you do so the results are much more enjoyable.. (for instance "stormy sky")

  8. #8
    Joanna Carter's Avatar
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    Re: Fresh start, thinking about going large format.

    You say that you are used to using focal lengths between 14 and 200mm. Unfortunately, you are going to be slightly more restricted in LF terms as they haven't yet invented the zoom LF lens

    When calculating lens lengths, your quick guide is to divide the 35mm lengths by 3.6. If you want to get, what might be called, a starter lens set, then you should think about a 90mm and either a 150 or 210mm; these equate to 25mm and either 42 or 58mm.

    But don't forget that there is a different "feel" to the images you will see on the 4" x 5" ground glass screen when compared to peering through a small 24mm x 36mm viewfinder.

    If you envisage using longer focal lengths then this will affect your choice of camera. The 45SU is limited in the focal lengths it can work with, topping out at around 300mm, unless you get "telephoto" lenses, when it can cope with up to 500mm; this is the equivalent of either 83 or 139mm.

    Now, if you want to save money on a non-foldong camera, you can always go for the 45S, the difference being that doesn't have asymmetric movements on the rear standard which, although some people find them useful, are not strictly necessary. The 45S is also a little more restricted on the maximum focal length it can use; 240mm standard or 400mm telephoto.

    If you want the ultimate in flexibility for focal lengths, it has to be one of the SV45 series; I use the SV45Te as it is a cheaper than the others but with a full set of movements and a massive focal length capability; the bellows will cope with up to 400mm standard and 800mm tele lenses.

    Your picture shows a binocular focusing viewer which is not strictly necessary. you could more than likely get a focusing loupe and a darkcloth for less money; also, I believe the Ebony would have to be customised to take the binocular viewer. Light and Land do an excellent cloth, designed by Joe Cornish et al.

    The lens hood is more than likely one of the Lee system.

    The Nikkor 90mm lens is truly excellent if you can find one.

    As for cable releases, Hama do a 20" "professional" http://www.amazon.co.uk/Hama-0000530...0741207&sr=8-8 which I can highly recommend from personal use. The Ebony releases are also nice but do not have a lock for long exposures.

    Buying an Ebony camera, don't forget that you can get matching lens boards although any standard Linhof size boards will do; although you need to note that the front rise/fall is meant to be centred with an off-centre hole in the lens board, something the cheaper boards don't always have.

    You have a choice of film holders; you can either get standard double dark slides or, provided you don't mind the extra film costs, the Fuji Quickload system. Quickloads have the advantage of only needing one holder as the film is in individual light-tight envelopes, and also of less dust getting on the film, as you don't have to load the films in a dark place before using it.

    You don't "need" colour correction filters for tungsten or daylight as you just get the correct film for the light. However, if you want to adjust the colour temperature, then you will need a filter system. I use the Lee holders but with the (much cheaper but good) Formatt Hitech filters. You will also find a Colour meter to be of great benefit, especially if you are used to your digital getting the numbers for you . I would recommend the Kenko KCM 3100.

    Finally, the best advice, since you are in the UK, is to join the UKLFPG discussion forums, where you can find out about our get-togethers with a view to seeing the kind of equipment you are thinking about before making any expensive mistakes We're also a nice bunch of people who enjoy helping each other. Oh, and we have "sponsors" who very kindly give us discount on film, filters and, even, some equipment.

  9. #9

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    Re: Fresh start, thinking about going large format.

    Think about the set of lenses you eventually want to end up with. In my personal experience this can otherwise lead to buying things your not happy with.
    For landscape a set will have to be portable, include your personal preferences, offer as wide as possible range.

    My error was beginning with a 150 mm. I never liked a "normal" angle of view in any format, so why in 4 x 5 ? I prefer a slight roomier view as "normal". Now my set is arranged from a 120mm as starting point. Many say there super symar 110 is the most used lens. But for me a bit to expensive. Going wider from here a 80 mm will be a more logical choice instead of a 90mm. Besides a nice compact 90mm are very hard to find.

  10. #10

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    Re: Fresh start, thinking about going large format.

    I know that Ebonys are the rage right now, but you also might want to look at the Canham DLC. I use mine with lenses from 65mm (Grandagon N) to 450mm (Fujinon C)with standard lensboards and bellows. Some reviews have described it as lacking rigidity at extension, but carefully locked down, my results have been excellent. I just photographed a farm from perhaps 1/4 mile (using the 450c) in 30mph gusts and can easily read signs posted on the barn wall.

    The money you will save in its purchase over an Ebony folder will give you a nice start on film and lenses. And Keith Canham's customer service can't be beat.

    Good luck on your transition.

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