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Thread: Square Format with a 4x5 View Camera

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  1. #1

    Square Format with a 4x5 View Camera

    Hello All,

    I have an Arca Swiss Field 4x5. I want to start making square exposures (4x4") using a large format view camera. I made a mask out of matte board with a 4x4" opening, and taped the matte board to the inside of my film plate (so it is taped right in front of where the negative holder slides in). I am having some issues with this.

    I made a test exposure, and the negative came out measuring 4 5/16th" wide. Why is this happening when the opening of the mask is 4"?

    And when I look through the ground glass, the borders of the mask are basically non existent, I can barely even see them on the sides of the ground glass, they definitely are not half an inch wide on each side when being viewed through the glass.

    Has anyone done this before? How would you recommend I go about doing this?

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated!!

    -Kyle

  2. #2
    Forever Beardless Ari's Avatar
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    Re: Square Format with a 4x5 View Camera

    If I shot with a view to use 4x4, I'd simply crop the extra inch when printing or scanning.

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    Re: Square Format with a 4x5 View Camera

    Take a film holder, draw out the darkslide far enough so that it will expose your square image -- then mark your darkslide so you can pull it out the same amount again when taking the photo.

    The only problem with this is that the bottom edge of the darkslide is not a straight line -- some bow inwards a little. So the other possibility is to cut a spare darkslide so that when it is put into the holder, only a square is exposed. This has the advantage of keeping your camera unmodified so that you can take full-frame or square images -- and since you push the modified darkslide all the way in, it will be aligned squarely to the holder.

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    Re: Square Format with a 4x5 View Camera

    You still have a gap between the film and the mask so the light is still hitting the film from an angle, why not just crop at print stage, or matt when framing. Or you could just leave the darkslide in a 1inch and offset your framing on the GG. Remember technical your full image size is 3 7/8 x 4 3/4

  5. #5

    Re: Square Format with a 4x5 View Camera

    Thank you all! The only reason that I don't want to just crop in the darkroom is because I would like to be able to compose in the square format. With that being said, just making a dark slide with a 3 7/8x3 7/8" opening is a great idea. But do you have any ideas on how I would be able compose in the square format while using the dark slide idea to make a square exposure.

    If I were to do the dark slide method, would I have to worry about the distance between the plastic of the slide and the film?

    Thank you all so much!

  6. #6
    Joanna Carter's Avatar
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    Re: Square Format with a 4x5 View Camera

    I make 6 x 14 proportioned shots on 4 x 5 film by having a mask that I clip into the viewing side of the GG screen; this gives me perfect framing. Then I simply crop when printing.
    Joanna Carter
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    Re: Square Format with a 4x5 View Camera

    Quote Originally Posted by KyledeC View Post
    Thank you all! The only reason that I don't want to just crop in the darkroom is because I would like to be able to compose in the square format. With that being said, just making a dark slide with a 3 7/8x3 7/8" opening is a great idea. But do you have any ideas on how I would be able compose in the square format while using the dark slide idea to make a square exposure.

    If I were to do the dark slide method, would I have to worry about the distance between the plastic of the slide and the film?

    Thank you all so much!
    Mark it out on the groundglass.
    One man's Mede is another man's Persian.

  8. #8
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    Re: Square Format with a 4x5 View Camera

    Blue painter's tape on the groundglass: easy on, easy off. No residue.

    Don't draw on the groundglass.

    When you get tired of the square, you can try all the other ratios - classical and otherwise

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    Re: Square Format with a 4x5 View Camera

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Lee View Post
    Blue painter's tape on the groundglass: easy on, easy off. No residue.

    Don't draw on the groundglass.

    When you get tired of the square, you can try all the other ratios - classical and otherwise
    Ken (or anyone else with an opinion) - slightly off-topic question: why not? I've done that with soft pencil (on the ground side) and washed it off with Windex. Also grease penciled on the smooth side. Is there potential damage that I'm not aware of?

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    Re: Square Format with a 4x5 View Camera

    I've simply found it safest to leave the groundglass alone, since it's prone to scratches, dust, and being dropped by clumsy people like me.

    Painter's tape is simple, effective, harmless and readily available. There's no need to remove the groundglass for cleaning and handling. We can apply and remove painter's tape virtually ad infinitum, leaving the rest of the camera intact. Square today, Golden Section tomorrow. No fuss, no muss.

    I also find it hard to use a simple "wire frame" for composition (another reason I sold my Mamiya 7, whose rangefinder provides a frame within a window). I prefer to have the edges completely dark, but that's my limitation.

    If a grease pencil and glass-cleaner works, then that's the answer too.

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