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ibuprofen
26-Feb-2015, 09:49
I've tried to figure out how to make this less of a loaded question but I don't think that's possible.

What is the best large format in terms of brand new equipment availability? I was thinking about 5x7, but it looks like the only newly manufactured film holders are $120/ea., and you could wait weeks for delivery.

So, what are thoughts on 4x5 and 8x10?

Jmarmck
26-Feb-2015, 09:55
Yes, you will find an infinite number of answers here.
From my perspective it would be 4x5. More available film, cheaper equipment, better availability of gear.
From a quality perspective, that is one I will not get into. But larger is always better?
From an artsy perspective perhaps some of the wet plate stuff but I do not know much about it. But it seems to be more susceptible to interpretation that the film work.

Kirk Gittings
26-Feb-2015, 10:03
From my perspective it would be 4x5. More available film, cheaper equipment, better availability of gear.

plus lighter weight, more development options etc. I have also owned 6x9 and 8x10 but always come back to 4x5. For a cost/benefit/portability POV I think probably 5x7 is very good too, but I would worry about film costs down the line as the volume sold is significantly smaller than 4x5. As far as off-the-shelf availability vs. custom ordering for film 4x5 and 8x10 are the most common and will be readily available the longest.

John Kasaian
26-Feb-2015, 10:08
For economics, selection and portability, it's got to be 4x5, but "best" is a sterile, cold blooded term when used like that.
What is "best" is what you find you can do your "best" with. For me it's 8x10

Alan Gales
26-Feb-2015, 10:12
Why do you need new film holders? There are plenty of perfectly good used ones out there for a lot less money. I own 10 8x10 holders and 10 4x5 holders. All were purchased used.

Robert Oliver
26-Feb-2015, 10:23
The best format is the one you are shooting.... (And are equipped to shoot)

I prefer 4x5 in the field and 8x10 in the studio...

William Whitaker
26-Feb-2015, 10:39
What are your goals? Color or B&W? What is your desired workflow? Contact print, enlarge, scan? There are a lot of considerations...

vinny
26-Feb-2015, 10:42
Why new you ask?
Because some folks just want new stuff. Some like a brand new car and some like brand new camera equipment. Why pay $5/holder for old ones when you can pay $100+ for a new one. Plus, this keeps companies who support us in business.

gregmo
26-Feb-2015, 10:44
I own both 4x5 & 8x10, but prefer the more rectangular aspect ratio of 5x7..so it gets used the most.

Greg Y
26-Feb-2015, 10:53
I agree, in some respects 4x5 is king, but I sold my 8x10 when I got a Durst 138 and an '38 Deardorff 5x7. 5x7 is a lovely rectangle, results in really nice small contact prints (yes...the love of Azo & Amidol) & the 35sq inches makes for very smooth enlargements. I do have a 4x5 reducing back, & with the price of 5x7 TMY2 over $200/box....I've been using it lately. The 4x5 back with a 450 makes for nice telephotos of distant mountains (say the Tetons from the road by the Snake River).

neil poulsen
26-Feb-2015, 11:52
There's really no reason to buy new equipment for large format film. It can limit your options, and it can cost a heck of a lot of mula.

Like new is nice. But no need for new.

Oren Grad
26-Feb-2015, 12:26
4x5 is easily the most readily available new off the shelf, but availability for even 4x5 is a pale shadow of what it used to be.

Most 4x5 camera models that can be purchased new have to be special ordered, with some delay in delivery. If you restrict yourself to those few models usually available from stock, you're just placing a substantial handicap on yourself.

If it's film holders, how often do you anticipate being in the sort of emergency where you need to buy more new holders RIGHT NOW?

Sure, 4x5 B&W film is still fairly widely available off the shelf, especially if you like FP4 Plus and HP5 Plus (which are fine films, so no slight intended there - HP5 Plus is my standard for sheet film). That helps, since it's something one buys repeatedly.

But in general, these days LF is likely to be most rewarding if you don't mind planning ahead and waiting a bit to get what you really want.

Heroique
26-Feb-2015, 12:45
I agree with the plain consensus – the best for "new" is 4x5.

But setting aside practical considerations, the best for my eye would be 11x14.

I could make contact prints from this format/aspect ratio for the rest of my days and be happy.

I wouldn’t even feel the burden of getting the gear up-and-down my local mountains, not even as I entered my golden years with failing hips, knees, and back.

LF photography isn't always a rational pursuit...

ibuprofen
26-Feb-2015, 13:15
Looks like 4x5 and 8x10 are getting more votes.

More information on my situation would include: these will be contact prints and the equipment is for a business. Therefore, used equipment is not desirable for depreciation purposes. I need to have a solid book value of the assets and used stuff isn't very good for that.

Thanks to everyone who replied.

Gem Singer
26-Feb-2015, 13:17
Although the OP is a fellow Dallas resident, I don't believe we have met.

As far as which format to choose, been there , done that.

Here is my conclusion: if you are used to shooting the 35mm aspect ratio, you will probably find the long rectangular 5x7 aspect ratio more comfortable to use.

If you are coming from a square format camera, such as a Hasseblad, the 4x5 aspect ratio will feel more familiar.

To answer your question; after facing the same problem, I settled on a 5x7 camera with a 4x5 reducing back.

Longer bellows, not much additional weight. That way, I can enjoy the benefits of both formats.

Film is slowly disappearing. Prices are increasing. However, used LF equipment is increasing, and prices are dropping.

So, collect good used equipment, and stock up on film at the best price you can manage. That goes for all formats.

Jmarmck
26-Feb-2015, 14:14
LF photography isn't always a rational pursuit...

Quote of the day! :cool:

Kirk Gittings
26-Feb-2015, 14:16
Quote of the day! :cool:
+1

Alan Gales
26-Feb-2015, 14:24
Looks like 4x5 and 8x10 are getting more votes.

More information on my situation would include: these will be contact prints and the equipment is for a business. Therefore, used equipment is not desirable for depreciation purposes. I need to have a solid book value of the assets and used stuff isn't very good for that.

Thanks to everyone who replied.

Why go to all that trouble to contact print 4x5?

Even with my little digital Fujifilm X100s I have my prints made at 8x10 unless someone in the family requests 4x6 or 5x7 prints.

The older I get the more I like larger prints. I guess it's my weakening eyesight. :)

Kirk Gittings
26-Feb-2015, 14:27
Looks like 4x5 and 8x10 are getting more votes.

More information on my situation would include: these will be contact prints and the equipment is for a business. Therefore, used equipment is not desirable for depreciation purposes. I need to have a solid book value of the assets and used stuff isn't very good for that.

Thanks to everyone who replied.

You might still come out ahead financially with used equipment. I let my accountant handle this kind of stuff but this is my understanding.

depreciation for tax purposes is based on your cost of the asset. So it doesn't matter whether the asset was bought new or used. You still use the same time period to depreciate it. Determining the class life and recovery period for different types of assets is discussed in IRS Publication 946, How to Depreciate Property.

If you purchase used equipment, the previous owner's "placed in service date" does not apply to you, that is, it has no bearing on how long you may depreciate the asset. What matters is when you purchased it and placed into service. That is your placed in service date for depreciation purposes.

Robert Langham
26-Feb-2015, 14:28
5X7 can be contacted or enlarged. Or scanned. Used lenses are relatively cheap and plentiful. Holders easily available and so is film. You can always put a 4X5 back on the camera, or roll film. I'd use 5X7. But I wouldn't give up my Hasselblad or Fuji 6X9 or my 8X10.

129944

Alan Gales
26-Feb-2015, 14:31
5X7 can be contacted or enlarged. Or scanned. Used lenses are relatively cheap and plentiful. Holders easily available and so is film. You can always put a 4X5 back on the camera, or roll film. I'd use 5X7. But I wouldn't give up my Hasselblad or Fuji 6X9 or my 8X10.

129944

Robert, you look tired in that photograph! ;)

lfpf
26-Feb-2015, 14:42
I've tried to figure out how to make this less of a loaded question but I don't think that's possible.

What is the best large format in terms of brand new equipment availability? I was thinking about 5x7, but it looks like the only newly manufactured film holders are $120/ea., and you could wait weeks for delivery.

So, what are thoughts on 4x5 and 8x10?

Only you have your answer. Ask yourself, "Which format and hardware will suit my projects best?" The wide range of opinions are based on the wide range of projects and preferences.

New 5/7? Do it and fire it up.

Do it for your own reasons and it can either be your last or yet another might grab your interest in a few months or next decade, or so. No sweat.

By the way, my 4/5 and 8/10 are tools of the trade and have been mulling-over a 5/7 to try. Wise? Insane? Adventures in formats . . .

Peter Gomena
26-Feb-2015, 14:59
For considerations of cost, weight, availability of gear (new and used), versatility, film availability, printing or scanning, I'd go with 4x5. I've owned 4x5, 5x7 and 8x10 cameras, and have kept the 4x5. I added a 6.5x8.5 antique a few years ago, and I use it on occasion, but 4x5 is my go-to gear for LF work. I can put a 90mm, 150mm, and 210mm in my bag with holders and accessories and go all day. If you buy lenses carefully, you can accumulate focal lengths with coverage for larger formats if you want to step up. Or, as others have suggested, go ahead and buy the 5x7 and get a 4x5 reducing back. The 5x7 is not a whole lot bigger, and it gives you extra unimpeded bellows flexibility when using 4x5.

Drew Bedo
26-Feb-2015, 15:12
Looking for "The Best" of anything is chasing a chimera. Is a Rolls better than a Tesla or a F-150? It all depends. I have a Leica M-3 in the closet. It was a cutting edge camera when introduced and is now a classic collectable. Yet even when new, there werecredible arguments to be made for similar offerings from Contax. Rolliflex and Hassleblad were also high-end cameras of that era; were either of them better? The answer is both yes ND NO.

tHE 5X7 film holders for $120 each a little too high? Film photography is no longerA viableCAPTURE MEDIUM for most professional photographers and is perceived as a quaint nich by the general imaging public. The consumer pool for Large Format equipment and materials is shrinking relative to the general pool of monied consumers, and may be shrinking in real numbers. Reading other threads here, it seems that the number of films available has shrunk, while the cost of name-brand 4x5 film has doubled (tripled?). I have read here that only Rodenstock still producesnew LF lenses. Does that make Rodenstock the best lens maker now?

Get the gear you want now while it is still available. Shop carefully of course, but do not figure in relative cost of one format over another. There is no inexpensive path.

Looking for the "Best Camera Format" is as futile as chasing unicorns in the mist.

StoneNYC
26-Feb-2015, 15:18
10x10 then you crop how you want... DUH! ;)

Drew Bedo
26-Feb-2015, 15:21
Oops . . .that sounds a little strident and bitter as I read it back just now; sorry.

John Layton
26-Feb-2015, 16:06
I guess its all about compromises and sweet spots. 5x7 pretty much does it for me these days...although I must admit that gazing through an 8x10 is so satisfying that I hardly even need to bring film (like when I used to go fishing, and rarely cared if I didn't catch anything). And 11x14 contacts can be sweet - but a bitch to carry with my 60 year old frame. Then again...when the wind is blowing surf spray directly into my lens, I can hardly keep my 8x10 still enough but the 5x7 still works. Thus the aspect of diminishing returns of 8x10 sometimes. Like that little bit of extra vibration - or just a bit too risky to do that down-angle closeup with the 8x10 because film this large tends to sag (gotta work in the "sag factor!" to kick out the focus, but sometimes I forget) when the 5x7 still works. 4x5? I'm starting to get addicted to printing large (actually, I'm an epiphany junkie but big prints will do just fine) - and am noticing that for a 20x30 or 30x40 a 4x5 neg just doesn't quite do it for me. Ironic that an 8x10 neg might not either - unless conditions are ideal (no wind, enough light, etc.) which for me they (conditions) never are it seems. So maybe I'm frustrated by 8x10? Thus the "sweet spot" factor of 5x7. Plus an aspect ratio that truly rocks! (although sometimes a bit too much for verticals). One thing is for sure...that in feeding this addiction, it became, long ago, essential for me to connect with Bill Maxwell, and then to cough up whatever dough was and is necessary to allow me to contemplate my epiphanies using one of his fresnel/focussing screen combos. Yeah you can go cheaper - but never better, and you only live once! Right now I've gotta put another log on the fire (damn cold this winter in VT) and pour myself another Laphroig...cheers!

Moopheus
26-Feb-2015, 16:06
You might still come out ahead financially with used equipment. I let my accountant handle this kind of stuff but this is my understanding.

Also, used film gear is so much cheaper than new that your up-front cash savings might still be more than any later tax benefit. On the other hand, for a business, reliability has to be considered as well, and servicing costs.

Used film tends to be not such a bargain, though.

Kirk Gittings
26-Feb-2015, 16:24
Used film tends to be not such a bargain, though.

:)

fishbulb
26-Feb-2015, 16:33
More information on my situation would include: these will be contact prints

Then you should buy the size of camera that matches up with the size of the contact print you intend to make. 4x5 is kind of small for contact prints, in my opinion. 8x10 would probably be a better choice.


and the equipment is for a business. Therefore, used equipment is not desirable for depreciation purposes. I need to have a solid book value of the assets and used stuff isn't very good for that.

I think you may want to ask a business person and/or accountant about that. Are you sure you understand how depreciation works?

Depreciation is an expense that can lower your taxable income. But it's not that big of a deal compared to the money you'd save buying used instead of new. Example, using simple linear depreciation over 10 years (in practice, more complex accelerated depreciation schedules may be used, but it doesn't change the conclusions).

New 8x10 camera: $5000 - Depreciation to zero value on a 10 year linear schedule: $500 per year
Used 8x10 camera: $1000 - Depreciation to zero value 10 year linear schedule: $100 per year

Obviously, you save $4000 right away by buying used gear.

If you buy new gear, you spend $5000 right away but you get to reduce your taxable income by $500 per year. Let's say your total tax rate (U.S. state + federal) is 40%. So, your tax bill will be $200 lower each year (40% x $500 = $200) than it would have been without any depreciation. Over ten years, that's a $2000 total tax savings. So your net cost is $5000 - $2000 = $3000.

If you buy used gear, you spend $1000 right away, but can only reduce your taxable income by $100 per year. This would be a $40 per year tax bill savings, or $400 over the ten years. So your net cost of the used gear is $1000 - $400 = $600.

See how it works? At the end of the depreciation period, your net cost of the asset is just the price you paid for the asset multiplied by (1-(tax rate)).

Although the depreciation on the new camera is a higher dollar amount, it still makes much more sense to buy used equipment. Even if the price difference between new and used is lower, (say $5000 vs. 4000) you're still always better off spending less. Buy the cheapest things that will still work for your business. Keep some dry powder in your bank account for a rainy day.

William Whitaker
26-Feb-2015, 17:36
It scares me to think what a new 5x7 enlarger would cost... assuming such exists.

William Whitaker
26-Feb-2015, 17:54
...Right now I've gotta put another log on the fire (damn cold this winter in VT) and pour myself another Laphroig...cheers!

Sounds like a plan, although I'm fresh out. My bottle of Quarter Cask has nothing left but an echo. But thanks for the reminder... Payday is this weekend! Cheers!

Sal Santamaura
26-Feb-2015, 17:59
It scares me to think what a new 5x7 enlarger would cost... assuming such exists.It exists


http://www.kienzle-phototechnik.de/Vergroesserer/pdf/E/T1318_prospekt_E_internet_290404.pdf

but I don't know (or want to know) the cost. :)

William Whitaker
26-Feb-2015, 18:02
That's the name I expected to pop up, although it does nothing to allay my fears.

Oren Grad
26-Feb-2015, 18:55
It exists


http://www.kienzle-phototechnik.de/Vergroesserer/pdf/E/T1318_prospekt_E_internet_290404.pdf

but I don't know (or want to know) the cost. :)

http://www.odyssey-sales.co.uk/products/enlargers/devere-507.htm

Ditto... :)

ibuprofen
26-Feb-2015, 20:31
I know depreciation is based on cost, but I'm talking about post-purchase valuation of capital assets. Buying something new is the most accurate way to do that. Used equipment is too subjective unless I have perfect information about the product's history (i.e. car mileage but even then it's a risk). If it's a year old but has been used twice as much as something three years old, any valuation based on that isn't accurate. Your financial ratios (Return on Assets being one) wouldn't be truly reflective of business health. I need to have a clear depreciation schedule so I know exactly when I can safely consider the asset disposed. If it were just me, I wouldn't care. But, I'll be answering to investors who know what they're talking about. I can guarantee they would raise a stink about valuing a business on used equipment. If I buy used one year but can't find another identical used item the next year, the aforementioned ROA will wildly fluctuate providing prevent an accurate picture for a 3rd party trying to analyze the financial statements. If you have ever worked at a large corporation, rarely do they purchase used assets for this very reason.

Jmarmck
26-Feb-2015, 20:42
The idea that depreciation is more important than the actual photography turns me off right away.
I suggest you run away.

ibuprofen
26-Feb-2015, 20:46
LOL, depreciation isn't important to photography, just accounting. :)

Jmarmck
26-Feb-2015, 20:50
It is important when you let it control what equipment you use.

mdarnton
26-Feb-2015, 21:02
And how will your investors react when they discover that you spent four times what's necessary to satisfy some bean counters' need to be obsessive? If your investors put up with this, I have some money that needs to be transferred from Africa, and I believe they may be able to help.

Will Frostmill
27-Feb-2015, 05:14
I'll point out that the vast majority of what you will ever spend on a film photography business will be on consumables, which you will buy new. But you can't depreciate those. Expenditures on equipment will be a rounding error. You aren't going to need to go back a year later and buy another camera, so year-to-year comparisons are meaningless. Film holders, sure, you always may need more. Write them off as a consumable. Ditto ground glass backs (they break), bellows (they get holes), shutters go bad and need to be swapped out, and so on. The vast majority of LF equipment can be broken down into parts, most of which are either incredibly durable, new manufacturer (e.g. tripods), or potentially consumable. Get a annual lump sum for consumables, and buy your used film holders, etc out of that. But the math doesn't work on depreciation.

Greg Y
27-Feb-2015, 06:42
Ibuprofen, we seemed to have gotten sidetracked on the subject of depreciation. Tell us a little more about your project. There can't be too many modern businesses with investors lined up to buy a brand new 8x10.... You didn't say much about the photographic environment or subject...as it might better relate to which format might be the best...

fishbulb
27-Feb-2015, 10:06
I know depreciation is based on cost, but I'm talking about post-purchase valuation of capital assets. Buying something new is the most accurate way to do that. Used equipment is too subjective unless I have perfect information about the product's history (i.e. car mileage but even then it's a risk). If it's a year old but has been used twice as much as something three years old, any valuation based on that isn't accurate.

I think you are missing something here. Under US GAAP and IFRS accounting rules, physical assets are valued on the balance sheet at their purchase price, less any accrued depreciation. They aren't re-valued each year ("marked-to-market") unless they are financial instruments (e.g. if the company owns stocks and bonds of other companies) or they are intangible assets [e.g. trademarks and patents (as an aside, intangibles can only be devalued ("tested for impairment") and can't be marked up to a higher value like financial assets)]. So it doesn't matter if it's new or used equipment that you buy. The price you pay for it is the value on the balance sheet (less accumulated depreciation) and you wouldn't normal do any "post-purchase valuation of capital assets". They are "automatically valued" (if you will) post-purchase by the depreciation schedule that you use (usually linear).


Your financial ratios (Return on Assets being one) wouldn't be truly reflective of business health. I need to have a clear depreciation schedule so I know exactly when I can safely consider the asset disposed. If it were just me, I wouldn't care. But, I'll be answering to investors who know what they're talking about.

I'm not so sure about that. Return on Assets is only really useful for measuring the health of a business in terms of seeing how efficient the management team is at deploying their assets, and is typically only used to compare to the company's own history, or other peer companies. As an investor, I would rather look at the company's Return on Invested Capital. ROIC = Net operating profit after tax (NOPAT) divided by total capital invested in the business, e.g. debt + equity investments. If I am only an equity investor, Return on Equity (NOPAT (or more typically Net Income) divided by equity investments is another good choice, especially if there is not a lot of debt in the capital structure. However, for public companies (stock valuation) I prefer ROIC because ROE can end up being skewed upward if the company uses debt financing to buy back publicly traded shares (which is very popular these days due to the low interest rates). That scenario aside, ROE is very useful in that it can be used for DuPont Analysis, which is useful in seeing what is driving ROE changes - leverage, net margin, or asset utilization.

Let's look at an example. With ROA, investors are measuring how well the company is using the assets it owns to generate income. However, different businesses have different amounts of required assets. For example, a shipping company might be very "asset heavy" with offices, warehouses, and trucks, but an software company might be very "asset light" with just the offices. Using ROA, you might think the software company is doing much better than the shipping company because of the lower assets = higher ROA. Let's say you invested $1000 in the stock (equity) of both businesses, and wholly owned both. The software company makes $200 net income on $1000 of assets. The shipping company makes $300 of net income on $2000 of assets, getting the extra $1000 for the assets from a bank loan. The software company's ROA = 200/1000 = 20% vs. 300/2000 = 15% for the shipping company. So the software company was a better investment? Nope. The actual return to the investor is $200/1000 = 20% vs. $300/1000 = 30%. So the shipping company was a better investment, even though it has a lower ROA.

Besides ROE or ROIC, I'd also want to know your EBITDA margin percentage (Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization divided by total sales). This tells me how profitable your core business is, excluding the things that you don't have control over, and it can be monitored for changes over time. It is a key metric for evaluating the success of management in their operating of the company. Finally, free cash flow, or in a pinch, operating cash flow metrics can tell me how well the company is doing at actually generating cash that can be returned to shareholders (investors).


I can guarantee they would raise a stink about valuing a business on used equipment. If I buy used one year but can't find another identical used item the next year, the aforementioned ROA will wildly fluctuate providing prevent an accurate picture for a 3rd party trying to analyze the financial statements. If you have ever worked at a large corporation, rarely do they purchase used assets for this very reason.

I'm not sure that is correct. Large companies actually purchase used assets quite often, especially manufacturing, shipping, and other industries where assets are long-lived and very expensive new (similar to large format cameras, ahem ahem). It just depends on the company and what they are doing. The financial decision to buy used or new mainly comes down to practical questions like estimated lifespan of the equipment, warranties, serviceability, and price. Often the decision of what to buy is based on a return on investment calculation.

For example, if I can buy an industrial drill press for my machine shop for $100,000 new with an estimated lifespan of 10 years and a one year warranty, but I can buy a five year old model for $25,000 with no warranty, the five year old model is half the cost per year, which is likely more than enough to overcome the estimated value of the one year warranty.

fishbulb
27-Feb-2015, 12:05
Some additional thoughts. Several times you mention "valuing a business". I'm assuming that this is because your investors want to know their return on investment, or at least, have some idea of how their investment is doing each year.

As I said above, ROA isn't the best metric for monitoring an investment in a business. It's more for measuring how effective the company is at using the assets they have, versus the past, or versus other similar companies.

But if you are valuing the whole business, the value of the assets on the balance sheet isn't usually even a factor.

If I'm buying a business, all I really care about is the cash flow that the business is generating. This is what goes into my pocket in the form of shareholder dividends (distributions of the businesses income). Assets come and go - as old ones are depleted, new ones are purchased, and the business keeps chugging along.

In practice, this means that most businesses are valued using a discounted cash flow (DCF) methodology. This is done by estimating the future cash flows (free cash flow, which is generally your bottom line net income minus any investments you have to make in the business, any non-cash items etc.). The estimated future cash flows are then "discounted" at a required rate of return. For a small business, this might be a rate of 20%, and for a high-quality blue-chip (say PepsiCo or Johnson & Johnson) it might be more like 10%. Risk is commensurate with return, so higher risk businesses have a higher required rate of return (aka discount rate). The value of the firm is this year's cash flow + next year's cash flow discounted at 20%, plus year two's cash flow discounted for two years at 20% (since it won't be here for two years), and so forth. You can look up the details of DCF calculation anywhere online.

There are other ways to value a business of course, especially if the business doesn't have reliable free cash flow. A multiple of EBITDA, a multiple of sales, a multiple of earnings, a dividend discount model (if the company pays reliable dividends). A third party company might be hired to perform the valuation and base the multiple on similar businesses they have looked at or other assumptions. But assets almost never factor into it UNLESS the business is in bankruptcy and the ONLY value of buying the business is to shut it down and sell off the assets. Otherwise, the free cash flow that an investor receives is what really matters.

That said, it is also important to evaluate the quality of the company's assets - are they tangible and/or saleable (higher quality) or intangible and/or impossible to sell (lower quality). But even then, this isn't a part of assigning a value to the company, it's a qualitative component like evaluating the company's strategy or competitive advantages.

Let's revisit the software company and the shipping company. Let's say I want to sell my shares of those companies after five years. The software company started at $200/yr, and has been growing earnings at a rate of 5% per year. The shipping company has been producing $300/yr, and has been growing at a rate of 2% per year. Since both companies are operating successfully, the value of the assets doesn't matter since I'm not going to sell them. This is the concept known as a "going concern" if you want to read about it.

So, I do a DCF analysis. The cash flows are equally stable, and the businesses are similar in size, so both companies get a discount rate of say 15%. The software company is valued at $2342 and the shipping company is worth $2435, using a very simplified DCF calculator here: http://www.gurufocus.com/fair_value_dcf.php

Now let's imagine that instead, after five years both companies are almost bankrupt. Well, then the value of the assets matters, since the businesses are done and there are no cash flows. Both companies were doing linear depreciation, and I find that the depreciated value of the assets accurately reflects market value. The software company has assets worth $500 so I sell those, and lose half my investment. The shipping company has assets of $1000, but still owes the bank $500 on the loan. Debt holders get first payment ahead of stock (equity) holders, so they take their $500. I get the remaining $500, and lost half my investment.

Peter Lewin
27-Feb-2015, 15:26
Most of what I would post has already been said; my primary thought had to do with the much more readily available 4x5 enlargers, versus a 5x7 enlarger. But I'm curious about the OP's comment in the middle of the thread that he wants to contact print the 5x7s (which eliminates concerns about the enlarger). But at that size print, aren't you better off with a digital camera (heresy, I know)? With a shift lens and photoshop you can pretty much do anything you could with a view camera. Now don't take me wrong, I personally love working with a view camera, but for a business use and such small prints, it doesn't really sound like the tool for the job.

Maris Rusis
27-Feb-2015, 15:51
A friend prompted me to think about why I chose the 8x10 camera and with it the black and white contact photograph as the best format. This is what I wrote:

The 8x10 contact is a canonical form with a deep history in photography.
Grievous error aside all 8x10 contacts are technically equivalent; mine, yours, Ed Weston's, Ansel Adams'.
No upgrade is possible or necessary.
No grain ever. Infinite looking sharpness and gradation are available with no particular effort.
Cheap materials. From go to whoa for less than $5 if one is reasonably frugal.
Enough possibilities for a lifetime of work.
The 8x10 size is big enough to offer an impression of presence but not so big that carrying the camera will eventually break you and curtail your productivity.
Thousands of 8x10s can be stored, they can be mailed, displayed conveniently, scanned on a cheap flat-bed A4, and they won't become a archiving nightmare like a huge pile of big pictures.
No elaborate darkroom is required, no enlarger; just a safelighted work space, a lightbulb, contact frame or sheet of glass, and a few trays.
The 8x10 is still small enough so I can do everything from film exposure to mounting, matting, and framing. No need to buy expensive services from back-room people.
No competition within its own aesthetic. Why would I strive against 50 million hard working talented digital shooters climbing over each other's backs trying to get noticed?
Anything well photographed on 8x10 seems to acquire a nobility that invites attention.
The 8x10 photographer is pretty well guaranteed to be taken more seriously than someone plinking away with a cell-phone.
Ultimate conceptual integrity. The 8x10, like all contact formats, is seen, exposed, processed, finished, mounted, and displayed without changing its original size or its original vision.
There is no cropping. The photographer takes full responsibility for the content right to the edges and corners. The viewer knows they are not short-changed.
No digital technology is used or required. No files need reformating into new media. Everything is eye readable. The medium guarantees it.

What do you think? Did I miss something?

John Kasaian
27-Feb-2015, 18:32
A friend prompted me to think about why I chose the 8x10 camera and with it the black and white contact photograph as the best format. This is what I wrote:

The 8x10 contact is a canonical form with a deep history in photography.
Grievous error aside all 8x10 contacts are technically equivalent; mine, yours, Ed Weston's, Ansel Adams'.
No upgrade is possible or necessary.
No grain ever. Infinite looking sharpness and gradation are available with no particular effort.
Cheap materials. From go to whoa for less than $5 if one is reasonably frugal.
Enough possibilities for a lifetime of work.
The 8x10 size is big enough to offer an impression of presence but not so big that carrying the camera will eventually break you and curtail your productivity.
Thousands of 8x10s can be stored, they can be mailed, displayed conveniently, scanned on a cheap flat-bed A4, and they won't become a archiving nightmare like a huge pile of big pictures.
No elaborate darkroom is required, no enlarger; just a safelighted work space, a lightbulb, contact frame or sheet of glass, and a few trays.
The 8x10 is still small enough so I can do everything from film exposure to mounting, matting, and framing. No need to buy expensive services from back-room people.
No competition within its own aesthetic. Why would I strive against 50 million hard working talented digital shooters climbing over each other's backs trying to get noticed?
Anything well photographed on 8x10 seems to acquire a nobility that invites attention.
The 8x10 photographer is pretty well guaranteed to be taken more seriously than someone plinking away with a cell-phone.
Ultimate conceptual integrity. The 8x10, like all contact formats, is seen, exposed, processed, finished, mounted, and displayed without changing its original size or its original vision.
There is no cropping. The photographer takes full responsibility for the content right to the edges and corners. The viewer knows they are not short-changed.
No digital technology is used or required. No files need reformating into new media. Everything is eye readable. The medium guarantees it.

What do you think? Did I miss something?

Dagnabbit! Now you're making me want to go sell my 4x5 kit again;)

Kirk Gittings
27-Feb-2015, 18:35
Dagnabbit! Now you're making me want to go sell my 4x5 kit again;)

not

jnantz
27-Feb-2015, 18:57
5/7 is the best format for a lot of things ...
used holders for less than 20$ each ...

Heespharm
27-Feb-2015, 19:01
A friend prompted me to think about why I chose the 8x10 camera and with it the black and white contact photograph as the best format. This is what I wrote:

The 8x10 contact is a canonical form with a deep history in photography.
Grievous error aside all 8x10 contacts are technically equivalent; mine, yours, Ed Weston's, Ansel Adams'.
No upgrade is possible or necessary.
No grain ever. Infinite looking sharpness and gradation are available with no particular effort.
Cheap materials. From go to whoa for less than $5 if one is reasonably frugal.
Enough possibilities for a lifetime of work.
The 8x10 size is big enough to offer an impression of presence but not so big that carrying the camera will eventually break you and curtail your productivity.
Thousands of 8x10s can be stored, they can be mailed, displayed conveniently, scanned on a cheap flat-bed A4, and they won't become a archiving nightmare like a huge pile of big pictures.
No elaborate darkroom is required, no enlarger; just a safelighted work space, a lightbulb, contact frame or sheet of glass, and a few trays.
The 8x10 is still small enough so I can do everything from film exposure to mounting, matting, and framing. No need to buy expensive services from back-room people.
No competition within its own aesthetic. Why would I strive against 50 million hard working talented digital shooters climbing over each other's backs trying to get noticed?
Anything well photographed on 8x10 seems to acquire a nobility that invites attention.
The 8x10 photographer is pretty well guaranteed to be taken more seriously than someone plinking away with a cell-phone.
Ultimate conceptual integrity. The 8x10, like all contact formats, is seen, exposed, processed, finished, mounted, and displayed without changing its original size or its original vision.
There is no cropping. The photographer takes full responsibility for the content right to the edges and corners. The viewer knows they are not short-changed.
No digital technology is used or required. No files need reformating into new media. Everything is eye readable. The medium guarantees it.

What do you think? Did I miss something?

All the same things for 4x5... If your making post cards hahaha... Makes me wanna do 8x10 again... I used to have FOUR 8x10 cameras... Now nothing..

Ginette
27-Feb-2015, 23:12
I've tried to figure out how to make this less of a loaded question but I don't think that's possible.

What is the best large format in terms of brand new equipment availability? I was thinking about 5x7, but it looks like the only newly manufactured film holders are $120/ea., and you could wait weeks for delivery.

So, what are thoughts on 4x5 and 8x10?

If you wish to make contact only, goes with 8x10, maybe 5x7 depending of your photography.
Why new? f you look actually in the For Sale section, you have a very nice choice of 5x7 and 8x10 cameras, high quality and some look like new.

ibuprofen
28-Feb-2015, 03:02
Thanks for the 1500 word reply, hope you’re not too disappointed if I don’t do the same.

The problem I have with used equipment is the lack of information about it’s past. Indeed businesses buy used equipment all the time, but you said yourself these are especially big-ticket items. However, those usually come with much more information about their past use. Once I oversaw a deal where several million dollars in printing presses were purchased. Each press had a run count, maintenance record, trained expert operators, original bill of sale, operational environment quality confirmation, etc. The point is we knew enough to make an extremely accurate estimation on the accrued depreciation. With used camera equipment, that’s not usually a reality. The reliability of a particular piece of equipment to produce a future stream of revenue is also important for many reasons and used camera equipment doesn’t instill the most confidence. I have a couple more reasons but I’ll save those for another time.

I only mentioned ROA (and carefully stated it was only one thing to consider) as a tongue-and-cheek way to make a point. I didn’t mean to kickoff a long discussion on proper business valuation. I too would look at many additional things depending on the type of business under consideration. Besides, if I ask nine other investors their opinion I’ll get nine different replies, but thanks anyway! Your fingers must be hurting. :)

Jim Jones
28-Feb-2015, 05:53
. . . More information on my situation would include: these will be contact prints and the equipment is for a business. . . . This settles the question of film size, unless those contact prints are to be enlarged or reduced. Contact prints which are never to be enlarged free the photographer from the need of the absolute best in lenses: good enough is good enough.

As for the reliability of used equipment, buy what you can examine, and test it thoroughly. Testing a lens and shutter in all environments in which it will be used is important for anyone concerned with reliability. I trust equipment that I have used more than new gear. Complete backup of all essential equipment is better insurance than spending perhaps even more on a new, but relatively untried, outfit. New is not necessarily better. There are many reasons why some of us like some older cameras, lenses, and tripods. Some of it has been proven over many years to be more reliable than modern equipment that is engineered or styled to be different, not better.

djdister
28-Feb-2015, 07:52
Given the context of this thread, all the talk about new vs used equipment is a bit silly. New LF gear isn't really that big of an expense, especially compared to capital expenditures for things like buildings or major equipment. I can recall the price tags on things like 4color offset presses, or even motion picture cameras with price tags over $100,000. So go buy new stuff, if you can find it...

Heespharm
28-Feb-2015, 08:30
Given the context of this thread, all the talk about new vs used equipment is a bit silly. New LF gear isn't really that big of an expense, especially compared to capital expenditures for things like buildings or major equipment. I can recall the price tags on things like 4color offset presses, or even motion picture cameras with price tags over $100,000. So go buy new stuff, if you can find it...

I think if this is a full time job yes... Buy it new and write it off as a business expense... If this is a hobby... Buy what you can afford... No reason going into debt bc of a hobby...

Old-N-Feeble
28-Feb-2015, 12:10
I have a lightweight 4x5 wooden field camera and a heavy 8x10 metal monorail. I can't carry the 8x10 into the field due to mobility issues. I would have to purchase a lightweight 8x10 to shoot in the field. I recently considered selling both cameras and buying a Chamonix 5x8 but I've 'nearly' decided against that because the lens kit I would choose for a 5x8 field camera is essentially identical to what I would choose for 8x10. The only weight savings would be approximately three pounds so I might as well get a lightweight 8x10 camera. I really like the 5x8 format and the fact that it's only one cut from 8x10 film but since I can't shoot much anyway the cost savings on film is basically moot. This leaves me with both 4x5 and 8x10 kits. It also leaves me with two separate lens kits with only two shared lenses between the formats. The upside is I'll have a reasonably lightweight 4x5 for when I can't carry the 8x10 kit. I haven't 'absolutely' decided against 5x8 just yet because I could raise more than enough funds to buy the 5x8 Chamonix and the two additional lenses I'd want for it plus I'd pair down to just one camera kit. That stated, since the 5x8 kit will be nearly as bulky and heavy as a lightweight 8x10 kit then why not just piece together a very nice 8x10 kit?

Decisions... decisions... and yes, I'm aware that I'm rambling.

Fr. Mark
23-Mar-2015, 21:45
No one mentioned whole plate yet. Amazing.

I like the size/shape. I don't own such a camera, but I have some Xray film fogged at the bottom or short edge (didn't close the bag all the way before turning the lights on, dumb, I know). I drew whole plate frame lines on my home built 8x10 camera's ground glass to make better use of its unfogged area so now I've got a "reducing back" in a manner of speaking for WP.

And if you happen to have a WP camera, supposedly Ilford will cut film for it if you use a special order program.

You can crop 8x10 even as contact prints. No law against it.

I'm setting up to take a Sinar P w/ 4x5 and 5x7 into the field and use it at home, too. I think mostly it'll be 5x7 as contact prints or scans and diginegs for cyanotypes.

I tried 5x8 with a pinhole camera to see if I like it. Not the shape I'm looking for.

Depending on how you slice 8x10 film to make it 5x7 film, you could have 1x8" strip of which'd make interesting panoramas with pinhole cameras or jammed into 35mm cameras...no waste.

Fr. Mark
23-Mar-2015, 22:01
Thinking about formats and accounting made me think about my wife's piano studio and piano replacement quandry. It's surprisingly analogous to LF "best" format question:

She doesn't want digital pianos to teach on, though some are pretty amazing and they do stay in tune.

She doesn't want tiny format or medium format pianos (no spinets, no studio uprights).

She prefers the large format equivalent of a 5x7 camera: 6 foot grand pianos, which are too big for many people who prefer 5x4 pianos, excuse me 5'4" pianos to get a LF (grand) piano in a small space but have issues with sound quality (ability to enlarge really big) and we can't imagine ever having space (physical or acoustical) for 8x10 or ULF pianos (i.e. 7 and 9 foot concert grands), though some, some are truly astonishing musical instruments in the right hands (hands of the piano technician and pianist).

And even though we are in awe of UULF pianos we've seen (played) in galleries (stores) having extra bass strings/notes to bring the usual notes into a sweeter spot in the sound board (Bosendorfer imperial grand) perhaps analogous to those who shoot 20x24, that is not something our art requires. Though we are very comforted and blessed to know it exists, it says something about mankind's quest for perfection or some such.

We also saw once, a 7 foot grand with what was, in its day, the very best automatic player piano mechanism, fully restored. Cost more than the house we were living in 25 years ago. Stunning musically. Not sure what that's analogous to. Maybe the ?mythical? Sinar E?

As to the accounting, in my way of looking at it, sure buy new if that works for you and your accountant and wallet, but cash (in hand) is king. Allows the ultimate in flexibility. Promises of tax gains, your mileage may vary. or put another way "Danger, Will Robinson, Danger."

Randy Moe
23-Mar-2015, 22:21
Thinking about formats and accounting made me think about my wife's piano studio and piano replacement quandry. It's surprisingly analogous to LF "best" format question:

She doesn't want digital pianos to teach on, though some are pretty amazing and they do stay in tune.

She doesn't want tiny format or medium format pianos (no spinets, no studio uprights).

She prefers the large format equivalent of a 5x7 camera: 6 foot grand pianos, which are too big for many people who prefer 5x4 pianos, excuse me 5'4" pianos to get a LF (grand) piano in a small space but have issues with sound quality (ability to enlarge really big) and we can't imagine ever having space (physical or acoustical) for 8x10 or ULF pianos (i.e. 7 and 9 foot concert grands), though some, some are truly astonishing musical instruments in the right hands (hands of the piano technician and pianist).

And even though we are in awe of UULF pianos we've seen (played) in galleries (stores) having extra bass strings/notes to bring the usual notes into a sweeter spot in the sound board (Bosendorfer imperial grand) perhaps analogous to those who shoot 20x24, that is not something our art requires. Though we are very comforted and blessed to know it exists, it says something about mankind's quest for perfection or some such.

We also saw once, a 7 foot grand with what was, in its day, the very best automatic player piano mechanism, fully restored. Cost more than the house we were living in 25 years ago. Stunning musically. Not sure what that's analogous to. Maybe the ?mythical? Sinar E?

As to the accounting, in my way of looking at it, sure buy new if that works for you and your accountant and wallet, but cash (in hand) is king. Allows the ultimate in flexibility. Promises of tax gains, your mileage may vary. or put another way "Danger, Will Robinson, Danger."

I really like church organs, the bigger the better, only complaint I have is they work best with many people in the church. So I try to go to organ practice. Kinda like ULF, I need solitude and it's fun to do in a new expansive location or city. I seek churches when travelling for this listening purpose. Maybe I should try to shoot ULF while listening to organ music, but

John Kasaian
24-Mar-2015, 19:25
Best in which ways? Even if you limit yourself to new equipment, there is a lot of different bests.
My off the cuff answer is which ever rattles your creative muses, but if you haven't begun the adventure, that wouldn't make any sense, so
maybe the best format to learn on?
I'd say 4x5 if you want to get an enlarger (that's only because I'm not a hybrid kind of guy) or either 8x10 or 5x7 if you don't want an enlarger.
Come to think of it, new enlargers and enlarging lenses are very expensive, so maybe scratch the 4x5 and go straight to 5x7 and 8x10.