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Thread: Large Format Shooters... MF as backup?

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    God's Country

    Large Format Shooters... MF as backup?


    I presently shoot 4x5, 5x7, and 8x10 and have recently been offered a Hasselblad 500cm medium format camera. Since my shooting is strictly personal, I would not have client-oriented demands (hence, no need for a digital back, etc).

    Print size rarely exceed 16x20.

    Also, I see quite a few Blads up for sale on the bay at diminishing prices of late.

    So, the question is, "if you had the chance to augment your LF gear with a Blad... would you do so?"

    If yes... why?

    If no.... why?

    Thanks in advance for your comments.

    Life in the fast lane!

  2. #2

    Re: Large Format Shooters... MF as backup?

    No, I don't like the way the Hasselblad operates, plus everything I shoot in 120 is with a normal lens so I have a Rolleiflex instead. Also, I never carry a "back-up camera" when shooting large format because, like you, I'm not shooting for someone else, but for myself. If I'm out shooting large format I'm out shooting large format and not square because I want to be out shooting large format.

    Is this something you want or are you only thinking about it because it was offered to you. I'd say save the money and spend it on a trip to take out your 8x10 and feed it with film.

  3. #3
    Resident Heretic Bruce Watson's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    USA, North Carolina

    Re: Large Format Shooters... MF as backup?

    Quote Originally Posted by Capocheny View Post
    ... the question is, "if you had the chance to augment your LF gear with a Blad... would you do so?"
    Nope. No interest at all here.

    I like shooting LF. So LF is what I shoot.

    Bruce Watson

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Massachusetts USA

    Re: Large Format Shooters... MF as backup?

    1) It's not just the camera, it's the lenses, the backs, the finders, the cases to hold them, etc. If you only plan to use a single standard-length lens, then a Rolleiflex will probably do just as well - unless you plan to shoot very close, in which case you'll want an SLR.

    2) There are probably certain kinds of photos which are easier to make with a 6x6 camera, and with a hand-holdable camera. Do you want to make them ?

    3) It can be argued that if we're going to bring a tripod, we'd might as well bring the real thing - but there are times when weight and size are at a premium, such as long distance travel (like the Apollo missions to the Moon).

    4) Usually, we choose the right tool for the job, so we select the camera based on the requirements. But sometimes we just like to play and experiment. So we get a camera just to... see what develops. You'll never find out if you like it, unless you give it a try. Who knows, you may fall in love, and ditch Large Format forever.

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Feb 2005

    Re: Large Format Shooters... MF as backup?

    I have a MF kit, Mamiya 7, for travel. But on some trips I take the 4x5 instead. I only ever bring one format with me at a time, otherwise I tend to get bogged down with logistics/weight.

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Bend, OR

    Re: Large Format Shooters... MF as backup?

    The only reason I could think to say yes is if you want to do some animal photography (or for that matter photography of things that move) with larger than 35mm gear.

  7. #7
    unexposed darr's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2005

    Re: Large Format Shooters... MF as backup?

    I just sold my Hasselblad kit because of non use. I use a Pentax 67II for medium format.


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  8. #8
    lenser's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Tim from Missouri

    Re: Large Format Shooters... MF as backup?

    Since I use everything from Nikons up to 8x10, my vote is a strong maybe to a solid yes.

    One of the biggest plusses is the range of lenses. In fact, one of my favorite prints I've made is from an image taken with my 500mm lens on a 500CM body. This is a photograph of reeds and trees, backlit on the distant far side of the Snake River at Oxbow Bend in the Tetons. It was several hundred feet away and absolutely inaccessable except by the use of a very long lens. To have shot that same image with a 4x5 would have been impossible.

    Large format is by far my favorite, but the image quality and range of lenses available for the "Blads" is a huge plus to me.

    By the way, that print is a 16x20 and I see no increase in grain or decrease in sharpness over many 16x20's I've made from 4x5 negatives.
    "One of the greatest necessities in America is to discover creative solitude." Carl Sandburg

  9. #9

    Join Date
    Dec 2001

    Re: Large Format Shooters... MF as backup?

    No. I shoot 2x3 Graphics, 6x6 is too close in size.

    No. 'blad bodies and backs and normal lenses are relatively inexpensive. Other 'blad lenses are still expensive.

    Maybe. 6x6 should print well nearly to 20" x 20". And when I've used 'blads I've liked them. But as others have pointed out, ergonomics are very personal.

    Good luck, have fun, and remember that whatever you decide to do will be a mistake,


  10. #10
    jp's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2009

    Re: Large Format Shooters... MF as backup?

    I wouldn't mind having one, but I don't lust over them. I have a Yashicamat TLR which does 6x6cm. It is a nice little camera, and the square format is pretty cool. I haven't used it in years. 120 film is kinda nice as you can develop it on reels like 35mm, the same reels in fact with the paterson and clones reels.

    You really have to have a problem with the quality of 35mm to make the move up to 120 rather than waffle between formats. I think a 35mm camera with tmax100 will probably make sharper, less grainy photos than a 6x6 with tri-x. 35mm is so much cheaper to operate and more versatile for everyday things. For special uses requiring a high level of detail, I can now just go straight to 4x5.

    If you're doing color, good digital SLRs are providing the image quality previously not available on color film for things like weddings, etc... 120 used to be the solution when 400+ speed color film wasn't up to the job with 35mm.

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