Hey everybody. I've posted just a little bit here and replied to some posts, but I just saw this intro section and figured I'd post.
I'm 26, nearly out of college, and I have a second major in photography but my degree will be in music. I started somewhere around 2004 when I used my summer's first paycheck to buy a Canon Rebel GII 35mm camera and shot quite a few rolls of color negative generic Kodak film. Next, I got into 35mm slides with a non-major class and used a large supply of Fuji Velvia 100 and 50, might have been 100F, I'm not sure how it works now that I think about it. I got into a darkroom/fundamental class and used up a large brick of Tmax100 over the time of the class. It was a ton of fun and I always enjoyed working in the darkroom for hours on end with NPR on the radio, one of only two stations the radio would pick up in that room. Then yay! I got into medium format for my intermediate darkroom class and we began printing on fiber paper. After that I tried to get enrolled into a 4x5 class but there weren't enough spots in the class (not enough cameras).
So I ended up getting a Canon 20D in there somewhere and did a little shooting for my school's daily newspaper. It was a ton of fun, but I got turned off by a pro who came to talk too us and was a little too "in your face" for me. I took a darkroom class and did alright, but then ended up transferring to another university where the only classes offered were a very basic darkroom class, and then a ton of digital classes having less to do with art and making good images, and more about selling yourself and running a business.
Finally I got around to working on darkroom stuff where I am now since I have access to the school's darkroom, even though it's not as stocked as my previous university's. I came across a Tower Press Camera in the second darkroom, which had mostly been turned into storage, and got my hands on it to take it out and shoot with it once I got film. I stocked back up on my own chemistry and developed the film, eventually stitching together two scans of the negative to at least view the images on my computer. I had bought a Beseler 45MCRX from somebody nearby, but I didn't really feel like I had a good place to use it. (Turns out recently, my bathroom actually makes a decent darkroom)
A few weeks ago I got a Cambo SCX from KEH.com and I still have yet to get it outside due to the weather, but I'm really looking forward to it and all it's bulkiness. Hey, I needed to work out more anyways, right? Oh, my lens is a Fujinon 90mm f/8. Hopefully I don't need to shoot inside at all, because that sucker is dim. I've got some film holders from the school's old press camera, but I'll eventually need to get some of my own...but I don't want to pay the new prices for them, and I feel the used prices at the larger used stores are still too high for my likes. Any suggestions?
So that's where I am right now. I've got 10 sheets of Fuji Acros left, and then I'll get into my Tmax 100 and see how that goes. I feel I'll want to buy a longer lens to separate elements from a scene like I really like to do, but for now, I'll use my wide angle Fuji.
And welcome to the group! Where the therapy will drive you stark raving mad. Which is good for an artist, but bad for everything else.
My bathroom is also my darkroom. I put a sheet of white fiber board across the window to block out the light. I have a little bit of tape around the edges for a fully light-tight seal, and that's it. Fortunately I have a tub and the sink has a little bit of counter space, which is enough to put a Jobo CPE2 processor on it. Cramped, but it all works. I also fit my 8x10 trays there.
If in doubt, remember to have fun!
Welcome to group therapy, Andrew! I use a Cambo outside regularly for architectural work and it does just fine (and I'm a spry 63 years old); I will admit, with the type of work I do, I can usually drive pretty close to where I want to set up. For film holders, etc., eBay is your friend! (Yeah, I know alot of folks around here hate eBay, but I've had pretty good luck there...read carefully and look closely at the pictures!) The 90mm is a good lens, but you might want to look for a normal lens of 135mm to 165mm or so for use when you really don't need wide; though I use wide angle lenses in a lot of my architectural work, I still shoot with a 165mm lens a whole lot (whenever I can...better modeling); normal lenses can be found for very reasonable prices.
I have that lens. It is a bit dim, but fits my personality perfectly....
My first large format camera was a 4x5 Cambo. Still have it.
Bathrooms can make a great darkroom, as long as you are the only one using it. I started in a kitchen corner when I lived in Japan, then took over a small bedroom. Was a pain having no plumbing, but you make do.
Tmax 100 is a nice film but I never got into it like I did with TMY400. It's quite nice in xtol 1+1, by the way.
Be sure to stick with one black and white film and developer combination until you know it inside and out. Good luck have fun and welcome to large format photography!
Hi there. There are a few of us Hoosiers (and adopted Hoosiers like me) here on this forum. You might want to look into the activities of the Midwest Large Format Asylum.
I too have Cambo equipment, (both 4x5 & 5x7 cameras.) I also keep a Busch Pressman (same as the Tower) as a "car camera", and until I finally bought a nice 5x7 field camera, the Busch got more use than my Cambos. The Cambo is a great system with all sorts accessories available, now frequently at bargain prices. It will allow you to accomplish anything, but hopefully not too far from the car.
Good Luck with all of your studies - Alan
Hoosiers?? Could get confused up here with "ya hoser".