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Thread: I don't own a large format camera...

  1. #1

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    I don't own a large format camera...

    Yet.

    Hi all, i'm new to the forum and plan on using it a lot. i have been a photographer for 4 years, but never shot 4x5 until recently (renting). I'm in my 20's and have made a few bucks off my fashion work and a couple pieces in galley shows so far.

    I am planning a move into shooting fine art exclusively and need a format that can blow up to 60in beautifully. I'm going to go look around the site and soak up as much info and experience off you guys as i can, while asking a few questions here and there. Talk to you soon

    Jesse

  2. #2

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    Re: I don't own a large format camera...

    Hi Jesse. Welcome.

  3. #3

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    Re: I don't own a large format camera...

    Welcome.

    A 60 inch long print is a 12x enlargement from the long side of a 4x5 negative, way too big a magnification factor to produce a high quality print at least for me, 4x is about my usual maximum and I think something in that range is a common maximum for others. If you're thinking in terms of beautiful prints that size from film you might want to consider 8x10.
    Last edited by Brian Ellis; 17-Aug-2011 at 20:52.
    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.

  4. #4

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    Re: I don't own a large format camera...

    A few things to consider regarding which size of LF equipment to acquire.

    If you will adopt a hybrid work flow; shooting film, then scanning into the digital realm, finishing with an ink-jet print, I would suggest nothing larger then 8 X 10, with 4 X 5 probably your better bet to start with.

    Lenses that cover 4 X 5 will be less expensive, with greater availability then those for 8 X 10, or larger.
    Greater availability of scanner options for the pro/semi-pro in the 4 X 5 size.
    A wider choice of film emulsions are available in 4 X 5, followed by 8 X 10.

    There are still two sizes of Fuji instant pack film, (and used backs for this film), available for 4 X 5 backs. The film for the smaller size is $0.80-$0.90 cents a shot.
    In LF, that is very cheap learning. Of course, there are 4 X 5 reducing backs for 5 X 7, and 8 X 10 cameras.

    5 X 7 is sort of an odd-orphan film size today; limited film choices. But, if a 5 X 7 camera comes your way, at a great price, and it comes with a 4 X 5 reducing back, that could be an option for an entry level starter.

    Since you say you want to print out to 60 inches, then you will probably be sending your printable images out for drum scans. You will want a scanner at home for previewing your images, only sending your keepers out for drum scanning.
    Drum scans can range in price from $25-$40 to start, up-wards to $100-$150, per image.
    Good 4 X 5 drum scans are cheaper then good 8 X 10 drum scans.

    Just a few quick thoughts for the moment.
    Marc

  5. #5

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    Re: I don't own a large format camera...

    Welcome to the rodeo !! Comin out of the chute with 5 foot print capability is certainly a tall order. Remember that with larger everything comes larger trials and tribulations and immensely larger cost. For years I have been happiest with smaller enlargements in the 11x14, 12x20, 16x20 range. Size in this field almost always follows the rule of large size equals cubic dollars and cubic effort. Still you are on a great journey and I hope you enjoy your travels.

  6. #6

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    Re: I don't own a large format camera...

    thanks for the welcome. i know i'm heading down an expensive road, but i have the marketing and gallery support so I at least hope i won't go broke.

    I am thinking about starting off shooting color transparency and checking my work after it's processed without scanning, probably scanning at home cause why not. Then drum scanning, digitally editing and printing the final selection.

    As far as going 8x10, those cameras are beasts and probably won't fit what i'm trying to accomplish without a team of assistants (which i won't have). Print size will ultimately end up on my eye when it comes time to print, so 60in may be pushing it, 40in would not be bad with a matte and frame, but hopefully i don't have to go smaller then that.

  7. #7

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    Re: I don't own a large format camera...

    Quote Originally Posted by Jesse-Califonia View Post
    thanks for the welcome. i know i'm heading down an expensive road, but i have the marketing and gallery support so I at least hope i won't go broke.

    I am thinking about starting off shooting color transparency and checking my work after it's processed without scanning, probably scanning at home cause why not. Then drum scanning, digitally editing and printing the final selection.

    As far as going 8x10, those cameras are beasts and probably won't fit what i'm trying to accomplish without a team of assistants (which i won't have). Print size will ultimately end up on my eye when it comes time to print, so 60in may be pushing it, 40in would not be bad with a matte and frame, but hopefully i don't have to go smaller then that.
    You can easily make 60 in.prints from 4x5 film, though you will need top notch technique and enlarging lenses or drum scan as Mark B. suggests.

    Though I will say that LF photography doesn't necessarily equate to fine art photography.


    Don Bryant

  8. #8

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    Re: I don't own a large format camera...

    +1 for everything Marc B said.

    I went from 4x5 to 8x10 a couple years back, and I can tell you that while I love it, it is another world in terms of the compromises you have to make and it is far more expensive if you shoot a lot of film. If you shoot relatively little, dev yourself and make only b&w contact prints, it can be cheaper than enlarging 4x5 to 8x10 at a lab. But then again a 4x5 enlarger can be had for very little, and then the favor for cost turns back to that format.

    Bear in mind, depending on where you live, it might be hard to find labs with an 8x10 enlarger. If you are scanning and need resolution for large prints, you will want a drum scan, and as Marc B said, those are even more expensive for 8x10.

    Take some time to do the research to find out exactly what your all in costs versus your goals are going to be.

  9. #9

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    Re: I don't own a large format camera...

    I'm a big fan of the "odd-orphan" film size 5x7. Admittedly I only shoot B&W...but I love the proportions....and 35 sq" is almost double the 20 sq" size of 4x5. I used both 4x10 and 8x10 for a while but settled on 5x7. I either contact print for the intimacy and detail or enlarge on a much-appreciated Durst 138 which found its way to me. Whatever your choice....just start somewhere, and the rest will follow.

  10. #10

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    Re: I don't own a large format camera...

    Funny, but I tend to make bigger prints from my Canon 5D than from my 5 X 7 negatives - probably because when I use the big camera I want to put more emphasis on texture and detail - I can print up to 17 X whatever which would be more like a 3X enlargement but usually stay with 11 x 14 or 8 1/2 X 11.

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