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Thread: 4x5" to 5x7"... is it worth changing?

  1. #1
    Alberto Bregani's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2012

    4x5" to 5x7"... is it worth changing?

    Hi All
    I'm fine with my 4x5" shen hao
    fresnel lens, red bellow, i everything i need ... Great camera

    As a mountain photographer i think it is the right size for me: light, little, very functional, no big backpacks and so on
    I already know 8x10" is not for me: Too much.. "everything"
    But everytime i look at a 5x7" i think about a change

    It is not so big, not so heavy it is functional too
    I mean... i think ( I suppose) they are just little differences with my 4x5"...
    The truth of the matter is that I think ( i suppose) it could be easier to compose thanks to a bigger ( and maybe brighter) GG
    Yes i could have a bigger negativer, and this i think is one important point; itcould be a good think to consider

    Would you please give me almost 3 good reasons to change ( ...or to stay? )
    also because a 5x7" isn't a cheap expense ...

    Thank you very much
    Alberto Bregani | Mountain Photographer
    My starting page

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2000
    Solvang, California

    Re: 4x5" to 5x7"... is it worth changing?

    Hi Alberto,

    To me the advantage of 5x7 over 4x5 seems slight. But the disadvantages are great. Need for a bigger enlarger, assuming you do your own printing, and possibly a different film processing set up. You'll also need to replace or at least supplement some of your lenses, acquire new holders etc. Of course, everything is going to weigh a bit more.

    While 5x7 has a nice aspect ratio, 4x5 can be cropped if you desire.

    I'm not sure at what enlargement size 5x7 starts to show improved quality, but I've printed pretty big with 4x5 without feeling that I needed a bigger negative.

    I guess it all comes down to what you think you need. You could try renting/borrowing a 5x7 for a long weekend and see if it feels better to you than the 4x5. Or perhaps you could also add a 6x9 roll film back to your existing kit and see if you like the aspect ratio, 6x9 is about the same as 5x7. But you'd be hard pressed to find anything better than the Shen Hao!


  3. #3

    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Canmore Alberta

    Re: 4x5" to 5x7"... is it worth changing?

    5x7 is my format. Besides the aspect ration, the film size is almost double.... 20"sq for 4x5 vs 35"sq for 5x7.
    5x7 make lovely contact prints on silver chloride paper as well. JD, I do agree with you on enlargements, though...I've seen wonderful 30x40" prints from 4x5.
    Alberto, I would not change just for the sake of changing.
    I happened upon my Deardorff 5x7 just by chance & we just bonded, in a way I never did with 4x5.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Frisco, Texas

    Re: 4x5" to 5x7"... is it worth changing?


    1 - 5x7 film holders are heavier, bulkier, and more expensive than 4x5 holders.

    2 - The selection of color films in the 5x7 format is very limited.

    3 - Developing equipment (tanks, film hangers, etc.) for 5x7 is larger and more expensive (unless you are already using 4x5 B&W film and developing it in 8x10 trays).


    1- A 5x7 cameras is smaller and lighter weight than an 8x10 camera, but only slightly larger and heavier than a 4x5 camera.

    2 - Many lenses for the 4x5 format will also cover the 5x7 format.

    3 - You can use a 4x5 reducing back on a 5x7 camera, as well as a roll film back, enabling a larger choice of color films.

    Having owned several 4x5, 5x7, and 8x10 cameras, I find that the 5x7 Canham MQC57 with a 4x5 back and a roll film back is the ideal camera for my needs.

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Topsham, Maine

    Re: 4x5" to 5x7"... is it worth changing?

    I'm very happy with 5x7. I find that the format is perfect for my vision and the subjects I am working on right now which are small, Nova Scotia churches which need the long aspect 5x7 allows as they tend to have tall steeples and narrow fronts. I do interiors with 8x10 because that seems to fit better with that subject matter (but 4x5 would do the same). I also like to contact print in various alternative media and the 5x7 makes a much better image than the relatively small 4x5. So to sum up I would say think about how the aspect ratio fits your vision and how you intend to make the final presentation. If you are in fact enlarging then I don't see that cropping is a big deal as there are good films out there which will be capable of handling the size you wish.

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Jun 2002

    Re: 4x5" to 5x7"... is it worth changing?

    It is a lovely format, about twice as expensive, and soon color will be impossible.

  7. #7

    Join Date
    Jan 2001

    Re: 4x5" to 5x7"... is it worth changing?

    Wilhelm (Sarasota)

  8. #8

    Join Date
    Jan 2010

    Re: 4x5" to 5x7"... is it worth changing?

    I had one. Sold it. I don't like the ratio. I've always loved the 6x7, 4x5, 8x10 ratio and that's what I have. Being a mountain photographer you might find it suits you though. If you get one make it a field one. Monorails are a pain to carry.

  9. #9

    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Carmel Valley, CA

    Re: 4x5" to 5x7"... is it worth changing?

    I shoot nature in color exclusively and have pretty much dismissed the 5x7 format out of hand, but for two things:
    1) when/if sheet film becomes unavailable, 6x17 backs for 120 roll film fit within the format, and
    2) The smaller enlargement factor of 5h7hits a sweet spot with the modest resolving power of cheap flatbed scanners like the Epson V750 (which really is an even better argument for 8x10).

  10. #10

    Join Date
    Jan 2010

    Re: 4x5" to 5x7"... is it worth changing?

    I had a Shen-Hao 4x5 (not with red bellows though, where did you get these ??), and I changed to a Shen-Hao 5x7 with both the 5x7 and 4x5 back, and never regretted it.

    You can make nice contact prints, and contrary to what has been said, a Durst 138 enlarger is not that expensive; mine at least was cheaper then my Durst 1200; I guess it depends on where you are.
    I use the same lenses as the ones I used on 4x5; most cover the format nicely.

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