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Thread: Beginners first Thread 4x5 film

  1. #1

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    Beginners first Thread 4x5 film

    Greetings to all Large Format Photographers,

    I would like to introduce myself

    My name is Luke , I am 33 Years old and starting to explore Large Format Photography,

    I come from the Digital World and like to shoot Portraits, but i fell in love with the beatuiful black and white images Large Format Portrait Photography
    Thats what i would like to do in future, especially the petzval, perscheid , Ektars ,Tessars fast old large format lenses with their beautiful Bokeh and special Rendering.
    My first 4x5 Camera will be a speed graphic, i think perhaps a good starting camera to explore all the new stuff,

    My main concern is the film , i know i can buy efke, Kodak , ilphord, Fuji 4x5 film sheets, but i do not own a special darkroom and therefore am afraid of damaging the film with my first tries, all the videos on the net i saw so far are telling me that i need to change film holders in total darkness, thats what im so afraid of, seems kinda silly but for me i dont want to hurt nobody :-) , can i have a redlight darkroom, so that i see what i am doing?, what would be the best way to practice this?

    after the film is exposed , i would really like to develop it by myself, is there a chemical starter set or something like it to get me started in develeoping 4x5 film sheets?

    Or does someone of you have a tipp for building a small darkroom for my purpose

    Thank you so far, sorry for my english my main language is german so there could be some mistakes

    best wishes to all and this was my first post :-)

    Luke

  2. #2

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    Re: Beginners first Thread 4x5 film

    Welcome aboard, Luke. If you wanna get over your fear of the high dive, you gotta make that first jump. First of all, no...you cannot use a red safe light while loading film. There are some dark green lights that can be used for very short periods, but even those can fog the film with excessive exposure. Learn to work in the dark. Here is a quick tutorial on learning how to load film. Make sure you clean the holders thoroughly and put them in zip lock bags when transporting them. Dust is your worst enemy.

    I'll let some of the other members tackle your other questions. I like HC-110 and Rodinal for developers, depending on the film I shot and the subject matter. Freestyle Photo Sales has several options for developers and fixers. Oh and one other rule....you have to post your first photograph here on the forum!
    Michael W. Graves
    Michael's Pub

    If it ain't broke....don't fix it!

  3. #3
    unexposed darr's Avatar
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    Re: Beginners first Thread 4x5 film

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Graves View Post
    Oh and one other rule....you have to post your first photograph here on the forum!

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    Re: Beginners first Thread 4x5 film

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Graves View Post
    Welcome aboard, Luke. If you wanna get over your fear of the high dive, you gotta make that first jump. First of all, no...you cannot use a red safe light while loading film. There are some dark green lights that can be used for very short periods, but even those can fog the film with excessive exposure. Learn to work in the dark. Here is a quick tutorial on learning how to load film. Make sure you clean the holders thoroughly and put them in zip lock bags when transporting them. Dust is your worst enemy.

    Oh and one other rule....you have to post your first photograph here on the forum!
    Thank you very much Michael, so my worst case scenario has happened no red light , ok so my fingers do have to do the work, ill take a look at your link
    michael one question, after i have exposed the film and back home, do i still need totall darkness to get the film out of the holder? sorry for these questions but i am really new to this whole stuff

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    Re: Beginners first Thread 4x5 film

    Quote Originally Posted by darr View Post
    I will, maybe it will take some time but i will the first 4x5 , im excited , we will see !

  6. #6

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    Re: Beginners first Thread 4x5 film

    Yes. Until it is developed, it must have total darkness. If you develop in trays, your trays must be in total darkness. There are a few daylight developing tanks, such as the HP Combi and the Jobo, but they are relatively expensive and hard to find these days, since they are no longer made. Start with developing no more than a couple of sheets at a time. After that, try four and so on and so forth. Beyond the Zone System has a very nice little setup that consists of tubes that you put the sheet film into in the dark, and then float the tanks full of developer in tempered water baths. I've never tried them personally, but people who have seem to think very highly of them. Perhaps someone else will offer a review of these tanks someday.
    Michael W. Graves
    Michael's Pub

    If it ain't broke....don't fix it!

  7. #7

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    Re: Beginners first Thread 4x5 film

    Don't worry, the Jobo drums are still produced for sure and they are excellent. I use the 2521 on a CPE-2 processor but you can also roll the tank by hand. It needs a bit of practice to load the 2509n reel in total darkness but once the films are in the closed tank, you can do the rest in daylight. I think that the HP combi plan is also still made, at least you can still buy it new from B&H. I bet it's cheaper than the Jobo tanks, not as cheap as trays though.

    You might want to get a cheap pack of film and play with it for the beginning. As already said, the film must be handled in total darkness until developed. That's particularly important when loading your holders. Otherwise you may ruin an entire pack of film. Make sure the emulsion side is face up when loading the film holders. Take two shots right where you are, your back yard, your street, your dog, it really shouldn't matter because it's quite probable that the first try fails anyway. Develop with your prefered method and see what you get. Then you have two films for practicing. You can use them in daylight and figure out how to load film holders, development reels or other tank holders. You can practice till you feel safe to try it in the dark with undeveloped film. Don't worry, it's easier than it sounds.

    Good luck,
    Peter

    P.s.: you even can sacrify an undeveloped film to figure out the loading procedures.

  8. #8

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    Re: Beginners first Thread 4x5 film

    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Yeti View Post
    Don't worry, the Jobo drums are still produced for sure and they are excellent. I use the 2521 on a CPE-2 processor but you can also roll the tank by hand. It needs a bit of practice to load the 2509n reel in total darkness but once the films are in the closed tank, you can do the rest in daylight. I think that the HP combi plan is also still made, at least you can still buy it new from B&H. I bet it's cheaper than the Jobo tanks, not as cheap as trays though.

    You might want to get a cheap pack of film and play with it for the beginning. As already said, the film must be handled in total darkness until developed. That's particularly important when loading your holders. Otherwise you may ruin an entire pack of film. Make sure the emulsion side is face up when loading the film holders. Take two shots right where you are, your back yard, your street, your dog, it really shouldn't matter because it's quite probable that the first try fails anyway. Develop with your prefered method and see what you get. Then you have two films for practicing. You can use them in daylight and figure out how to load film holders, development reels or other tank holders. You can practice till you feel safe to try it in the dark with undeveloped film. Don't worry, it's easier than it sounds.

    Good luck,
    Peter

    P.s.: you even can sacrify an undeveloped film to figure out the loading procedures.

    Thanks a lot Micheal and Peter for the tips, that would be the best to try the whole procedure on a test film, in order to get comfortable with it, first thing i had in mind was to try instant fuji packs in order to get into the function of a speed graphic , ill take a look at the hp combo and jobo tanks

    great stuff so far, thank you guys!

  9. #9
    Forever Beardless Ari's Avatar
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    Re: Beginners first Thread 4x5 film

    Welcome to the dark side, Luke.
    Sorry, I had to say it.
    You're starting with an excellent camera for a first-timer, my suggestion would be to shoot film first, and spend some money on having a lab process your film.
    The learning curve is steep, and figuring out two major components of LF and the attendant gear, is a headache.
    Shoot for pleasure and experimentation, see if you like the LF shooting process first, then invest in some darkroom gear.
    Good luck!

  10. #10

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    Re: Beginners first Thread 4x5 film

    Welcome, Luke!

    I too love LF portraiture (and all other kinds of portraiture). Getting started is the hardest part-- there are so many bits and pieces of special equipment to collect, and a workflow to establish. You will make mistakes, but the good people at this forum can help you to avoid many and explain the ones that are not avoided so that you don't continue making the same mistakes.

    You'll have to get used to working in the dark, but it's not as much of a problem as it might seem. With practice it becomes second nature.

    Try to avoid the temptation to take shortcuts. If you learn to see the time lavished on your process as an indulgence, you won't be tempted to cheat yourself, and you'll feel less anxiety about the time you spend on every step of your process.

    If you learn something from every mistake, they won't seem like failures, just points along the path to mastery.

    Keep good notes. By thoroughly documenting your successes and errors, you'll be more likely to repeat your successes, and less likely to repeat your errors.

    You don't need expensive equipment or materials to make beautiful images, but choosing either based on cost alone can be false economy.

    Beware enthusiasts. You might find persons with experience recommending their favorite equipment or materials with zeal and fervor, and you should regard their recommendations with healthy skepticism. The enormous surface area of a LF image means that almost anything we use will be capable of excellent results, but nothing we use will guarantee them.

    Have fun! If you find yourself becoming anxious over some detail or expectation, take a deep breath and remind yourself this is about joy and beauty, and not about measurements or numbers, but.....

    There are a lot of numbers, but most relate to something intuitive, and it's not necessary to understand them all in great detail to do fine work. Don't fall into the trap of thinking you need to learn before you can work. You can learn everything you need to know in the process of working, and this learning continues as long as you continue to work.

    Welcome, and enjoy!

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