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Thread: New guy, no camera :(

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Jan 2012
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    New guy, no camera :(

    Just joined the forum as I'm interested in getting started in LF photography. I don't have a camera yet (and probably won't for some time), but I'm researching here and there and keeping my eyes peeled for deals. Still don't know what exactly I'm looking for, so that's kind of hard to do, I guess.

    I learned the basics of photography on my dad's Olympus OM-1 when I was a kid, and borrowed that every now and then. I took a photography class in college about ten years ago using a Pentax K1000 I "borrowed" from my aunt, which I still have. I mostly shoot digital on my 40D, which I'm surprised I even have since I resisted the switch so much.

    I do like the convenience of digital, especially when it comes to, say, shooting hockey from time to time, or anything where I might want to make a lot of exposures. It has certainly hampered my creativity, though, and I don't always think about my shots as much anymore. Full control over my shot, as well as a slowed-down process and a relatively huge negative are appealing to me.

    I enjoy hiking and backpacking, so I'd definitely want something that has a decent movement capability as well as reasonably low weight and bulk, to permit taking it along on day hikes and short backpacking trips. I'm sure this limits my options severely ...

    I'm also currently a mechanical engineering student, so time and money are certainly big factors here. Maybe I'm barking up the wrong tree? On the other hand, I have a perfectly good excuse to design and build my own. It'll be an invaluable learning experience, and probably a bit cheaper, plus I could get exactly what I want.

    Anyway, I suppose that's enough rambling for now ...

  2. #2

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    Re: New guy, no camera :(

    Welcome to the group, Andy. Hang around here for a while and you'll learn a lot. Don't be too analystical about your decision to start shooting LF. Its much better to start using something like a humble press camera than to wait for "the ultimate" and never get started!

  3. #3

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    Re: New guy, no camera :(

    You should be able to get started for not too much money. I would use a few cameras before designing your own. Read through the old threads here and see what cameras you find appealing. I think the Chamonix is a great hiking camera because of the weight and movement capabilities. The nice thing about used large format cameras and lenses is you can usually sell them for what you paid for them, so it's very cost effective to try them out for a few months.

  4. #4
    Large Format Rocks ImSoNegative's Avatar
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    Re: New guy, no camera :(

    Quote Originally Posted by BrianShaw View Post
    Welcome to the group, Andy. Hang around here for a while and you'll learn a lot. Don't be too analystical about your decision to start shooting LF. Its much better to start using something like a humble press camera than to wait for "the ultimate" and never get started!
    I agree, and yes you can learn alot from this forum, some of the greatest photographers in the world belong to this forum and you can and will learn alot from them. i have been shooting LF for around 5 years, started with a press camera, now im shooting a C1. its hard to beat large format. good luck on your new adventure.
    "WOW! Now thats a big camera. By the way, how many megapixels is that thing?"

  5. #5
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    Re: New guy, no camera :(

    Welcome to the asylum.

    Bit of advice: You can only choose two of the three following attributes: Cheap, light/compact, and supporting significant movements. (I'm assuming that "cheap" means less than $500 rather than more, but everyone has to make that assessment for themselves).

    There are lots of cheap, flexible cameras that are a little heavier and bulkier (monorail cameras dominate this category). There are a few compact cameras that are cheap but don't have much flexibility (press cameras come to mind). But the compact and lightweight foldable field cameras that are also flexible tend to cost more. Proper technical cameras (as defined by the Linhof Technika) cost much more. Lightweight and compact rail cameras, which are fiddly and wobbly in use, are still not that cheap.

    So, you might just want something good to learn on that is cheap and flexible, and then add to that or sell it for something more suited to where you end up. Lots of people say they will backpack with a large-format camera and then rarely or never do, after having spent a lot to optimize for that activity. Lots of (in some cases, different) people say they want lots of movements and then mostly take pictures of distant landscapes or portraits of their friends for which extensive movements are not needed. You may not really know which way you'll go just yet.

    If you spend several hundred for a press-camera kit or for a monorail view camera kit, they will still be worth that if you decide you really do want one of those pricey compact foldable field or technical cameras. But most folks end up with both. Cameras are so cheap these days that spending a lot for one that does everything well is maybe not optimal.

    I would suggest just buy something cheap and get some experience. Learn if you really want to do large format before you spend grocery money.

    Rick "been there, done that" Denney

  6. #6

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    Re: New guy, no camera :(

    Welcome! Don't be too concerned about what lots of people say (mostly they say "Is that a Hasselblad?)
    I steal time at 1/125th of a second, so I don't consider my photography to be Fine Art as much as it is petty larceny.

  7. #7
    Lachlan 717
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    Re: New guy, no camera :(

    Welcome to the forum, Andy.

    Might be worth letting us know where you're based. You never know - you might have a LF shooter just around the corner who can let you get your hands on his/her camera!
    Lachlan.

    You miss 100% of the shots you never take. -- Wayne Gretzky

  8. #8

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    Re: New guy, no camera :(

    Before committing yourself to the self-flaggelation of large format potography you need to actually try it out. There are many less reasons for doing it than there used to be.
    Wilhelm (Sarasota)

  9. #9

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    Re: New guy, no camera :(

    The minute that Leica comes out with a digital camera that copes better than the M9 does with higher ISO, I plan to sell my film cameras except maybe the Mamiya 7II.
    Cheers!

  10. #10

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    Re: New guy, no camera :(

    Quote Originally Posted by r.e. View Post
    The minute that Leica comes out with a digital camera that copes better than the M9 does with higher ISO, I plan to sell my film cameras except maybe the Mamiya 7II.
    Any Leica better than an M9 will be proportionally that much more expensive. I can barely afford glass for my M2, much less a digital body to use the few lenses I already have. I'll continue to have fun with it and with my Graflex and my Speeds.
    Michael Cienfuegos


    Non Illegetami Carborundum

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