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FredrickSummers
31-Mar-2016, 07:57
Hey everyone! I have read the main site cover to cover now. I purchased via eBay a Horseman HD just yesterday and am VERY excited to get started with LF! I have just a few questions, please don't flame me if these are "bad" questions, I am openly admitting being a newbie. I have done my research, but ask for individual advice as this board seems full of very knowledge (and sometimes smart ass from much reading of the forum :) ) individuals! I'm sure many more questions will arise over time, but I try to keep my posts low as so much information can be found via search!

1) Does anyone have any tips on buying used film holders? There are thousands on eBay, KEH has a handfull, B&H, etc. However just getting started, I'd like to have at least a few (thinking 4-5?) reliable holders. What I read is they are pretty much all identical, but I'm not real sure if there is anything that can be done to be sure you buy good ones (work smooth and don't leak light!) online.

2) Lopues. I read many threads here on different suggestions, but most all had dead links and I was able to find some of them via google. This one came up a number of times: http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/40687-REG/Peak_1301960_5x_Loupe.html Though I don't want to scrach the ground glass, so the plastic of that does concern me a bit. Is that still considered a good one (wrapped in black tape) or is there something else I should look at? The one I purchased has the back curtain option thing of Horseman, so I'm going to try to use that before getting a cloth to go over me and see how that goes first. I'm thinking I may need a longer one for that. There are a few on eBay that look decent, but are all from China and around $90 so not positive of the quality.

3) Film: Due to the prices of film and the likelihood of some failures when starting, I think I will start with B/W. I've shot and like Delta 100 on 35mm as well as Acros. My main 35mm B/W is TriX, but its quite pricey for 4x5 compared to the Ilford films. Anything I should know different then 35mm with these (other then the grain being less apparent)? This brings me to #4

4) I currently process film with a Patterson System tank (the 2 reel), so it looks like I need another tank for 4x5. I'm looking at this (http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/908261-REG/Paterson_4X5_Sheet_Film_6.html) as its very similar to what I am used to. My main developer is Rodenol, and feedback/pointers for this tank/reel setup? I haven't read much about 4x5 shooters using Rodenol, is there a reason for that? I'm looking at adding DDX to my mix too.

5) Anything I'm missing from this list: Film back(s), cable release (short and locking), loupe, tripod? That I need to look out (camera has the lens I wanted, Rodenstock 135mm -N as well)

6) How hard is it to shoot FP100C? Is it just like putting a different filmholder on (the fuji holder) or is it much more complex? I think that having quick feedback while learning may help, though I could be way off on this.

I do plan on shooting color quite often, and Velvia 50 is my favorite film, so that's a hurdle I will have to deal with soon-ish. I shoot mostly landscapes.

Thank you all for any advice and I'm glad to be part of the community!

Luis-F-S
31-Mar-2016, 09:23
1) Does anyone have any tips on buying used film holders?

2) Lopues. I read many threads here on different suggestions, but most all had dead links and I was able to find some of them via google.

3) Film: My main 35mm B/W is TriX, but its quite pricey for 4x5 compared to the Ilford films.

4) I currently process film with a Patterson System tank (the 2 reel), so it looks like I need another tank for 4x5.

5) Anything I'm missing from this list: Film back(s), cable release (short and locking), loupe, tripod? That I need to look out (camera has the lens I wanted, Rodenstock 135mm -N as well)

6) How hard is it to shoot FP100C? Is it just like putting a different filmholder on (the fuji holder) or is it much more complex? I think that having quick feedback while learning may help, though I could be way off on this.

I do plan on shooting color quite often, and Velvia 50 is my favorite film, so that's a hurdle I will have to deal with soon-ish. I shoot mostly landscapes.

Thank you all for any advice and I'm glad to be part of the community!

#1 This website or the auction site. Get 5-10 of the modern plastic Lisco, Fidelity, etc. All made by the same people. Load them with enlarging paper to make sure no leaks. Get the ones with the white tab plastic dark slides, they are the newer ones so less chance of light leaks. You should be able to get them for around 5/$35 or so on the 'bay.
#2. I use a 4x Toyo loupe. It has a rubber bottom. I also had a set of 5x reading glasses made, which is normally what I use (Fred Picker's suggestion).
#3. I'd use 4x5 Tri-X, or Ilford. Not the cheapest, but if you want cheap stick with 35 or digital.
#4. Can't help you, I develop in 1 gal tanks on hangers with HC-110. Works for me. You can tray develop and when you get tired of scratching film, you'll find a different system, but most of your first 100 or 1000 negatives you probably won't want to keep anyway. No experience with the Jobo etc. systems.
#5. If starting out, I'd get a 210 Caltar as the first lens, whatever you buy, you probably won't keep anyway and at least the Caltar is cheap. For your second lens I'd get a 120 or 121 Super Angulon. Since you already own a 135 use it instead of the 120. For field work that should be wide enough, if you find you need something wider, you can always get a 90 Caltar, SA or Grandagon. I like the Pentax Digital Spotmeter and have two of the Zone VI modified ones. Get a good spot meter and use it. Also get a copy of The Zone VI Workshop on the 'bay and read it! Best $4 you'll ever spend.
#6. Have no idea or experience with this.
Most of the LF color film I've shot was chrome for architectural & interiors work.

Have fun!

L

Ps. too much research will only confuse you. Go out and make images.

rbultman
31-Mar-2016, 09:39
4) consider getting the MOD54 for use with the Paterson 1 liter tank. This will be closer to what you are used too. Sacrifice a few sheets of film, practice in the light, then in the dark. It can be a little tricky to load. Or, consider the "taco" method.

Rodinal is fine if you are comfortable with that.

Try to make as few changes in your process. You can always try new films or developers later.

plapczynski
31-Mar-2016, 09:40
Great questions from another beginner!

fishbulb
31-Mar-2016, 09:48
1) Does anyone have any tips on buying used film holders? There are thousands on eBay, KEH has a handfull, B&H, etc. However just getting started, I'd like to have at least a few (thinking 4-5?) reliable holders. What I read is they are pretty much all identical, but I'm not real sure if there is anything that can be done to be sure you buy good ones (work smooth and don't leak light!) online.

Any of the modern Fidelity, Lisco, etc. The older designs with metal handles are good, but heavier. I like Fidelity Elite's myself - bought a big batch of them on eBay. They have a white bar on them that you can write in pencil and then erase later. So I can write down what film is in there and any notes on the shot after I take it.


2) Lopues. I read many threads here on different suggestions, but most all had dead links and I was able to find some of them via google. This one came up a number of times: http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/40687-REG/Peak_1301960_5x_Loupe.html Though I don't want to scrach the ground glass, so the plastic of that does concern me a bit. Is that still considered a good one (wrapped in black tape) or is there something else I should look at? The one I purchased has the back curtain option thing of Horseman, so I'm going to try to use that before getting a cloth to go over me and see how that goes first. I'm thinking I may need a longer one for that. There are a few on eBay that look decent, but are all from China and around $90 so not positive of the quality.

4-5x is about right. $90 is too much. I'd call Blue Moon Camera in Portland, OR (bluemooncamera.com) and see if they have any of their custom plastic loupes for large format in stock. Should be about $10-20. They are clear plastic and about 2" tall, 2" in diameter. Best loupe I've used and I have about a half dozen of them.

For a dark cloth there are many solutions. Some people just use their jacket, but then you have to take off the jacket. Some people get some fabric at a sewing store. Some people stretch a black t-shirt over the ground glass. On a Sinar camera, and some others, you can attach a bellows to the ground glass, making a nice shade. I typically use the jacket method myself. You can also buy a dark cloth online, new or used.


3) Film: Due to the prices of film and the likelihood of some failures when starting, I think I will start with B/W. I've shot and like Delta 100 on 35mm as well as Acros. My main 35mm B/W is TriX, but its quite pricey for 4x5 compared to the Ilford films. Anything I should know different then 35mm with these (other then the grain being less apparent)? This brings me to #4

Delta 100 is a great film on 4x5. Fine grain, not too spendy. Ilford FP4 is nice too. Kodak films do tend to be the most expensive these days after their price increases.

Ilford HP5+ if you want ISO 400 or more. It can be pushed to ISO 3200 if you want, with very little grain compared to 35mm HP5+ pushed that far. A very versatile film for 4x5.

I am trying out some New55 Atomic X right now, which is pretty affordable newer B&W sheet film.


4) I currently process film with a Patterson System tank (the 2 reel), so it looks like I need another tank for 4x5. I'm looking at this (http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/908261-REG/Paterson_4X5_Sheet_Film_6.html) as its very similar to what I am used to. My main developer is Rodenol, and feedback/pointers for this tank/reel setup? I haven't read much about 4x5 shooters using Rodenol, is there a reason for that? I'm looking at adding DDX to my mix too.

Lots of 4x5 shooters use Rodinal. I can't speak to it much myself.

No tank or developing system is perfect - they all have tradeoffs. I like the Nikor tank (not related to Nikon Nikkor) and the modern (I would say improved) version of the Nikor tank is the BW King tank (http://www.bw-king.com/index.htm). It is not the easiest system to learn but it is possible to get great negatives with it if you follow the instructions.

Mod 54 (http://www.mod54.com/) makes nice tanks as well, different design, but well-regarded.

Some people like the tube-style system of a Jobo tank or BTZS tubes - you get really clean negatives with the fewest edge issues this way. Probably the easiest way to get really nice negatives from my experience.

There are also the old black plastic Yankee and FR tanks etc. They are cheap and load 12 sheets, but are more challenging to get consistent results in than a Nikor-style, Mod 54-style, or tube-style developing methods, in my opinion.


5) Anything I'm missing from this list: Film back(s), cable release (short and locking), loupe, tripod? That I need to look out (camera has the lens I wanted, Rodenstock 135mm -N as well)

Do you have a light meter? There are two basic types - a spot meter and an ambient light meter. I would argue the spot meter is superior, but not necessary in a lot of situations. But when you need it, it's really great. You look through the eyepiece and can meter each section of the scene, then you know how big the exposure range is in your scene and can set up your zones quite easily.

135 is a nice focal length. A 90 and 210 are good complements, each being a 1.5x decrease/increase from 135. I don't know why you'd get a 120... pretty similar angle of view to a 135, and the Rodenstock is a good lens.


6) How hard is it to shoot FP100C? Is it just like putting a different filmholder on (the fuji holder) or is it much more complex? I think that having quick feedback while learning may help, though I could be way off on this.

I do plan on shooting color quite often, and Velvia 50 is my favorite film, so that's a hurdle I will have to deal with soon-ish. I shoot mostly landscapes.

Thank you all for any advice and I'm glad to be part of the community!

I can't speak to that one. Color is a bit more difficult to use, especially to scan. I prefer color negative over color transparencies for the dynamic range and tolerance of missed exposures. If you plan on shooting Velvia and other slide/transparency films, I would get a spot meter.

FredrickSummers
31-Mar-2016, 12:09
#1 This website or the auction site. Get 5-10 of the modern plastic Lisco, Fidelity, etc. All made by the same people. Load them with enlarging paper to make sure no leaks. Get the ones with the white tab plastic dark slides, they are the newer ones so less chance of light leaks. You should be able to get them for around 5/$35 or so on the 'bay.
#2. I use a 4x Toyo loupe. It has a rubber bottom. I also had a set of 5x reading glasses made, which is normally what I use (Fred Picker's suggestion).
#3. I'd use 4x5 Tri-X, or Ilford. Not the cheapest, but if you want cheap stick with 35 or digital.
#4. Can't help you, I develop in 1 gal tanks on hangers with HC-110. Works for me. You can tray develop and when you get tired of scratching film, you'll find a different system, but most of your first 100 or 1000 negatives you probably won't want to keep anyway. No experience with the Jobo etc. systems.
#5. If starting out, I'd get a 210 Caltar as the first lens, whatever you buy, you probably won't keep anyway and at least the Caltar is cheap. For your second lens I'd get a 120 or 121 Super Angulon. Since you already own a 135 use it instead of the 120. For field work that should be wide enough, if you find you need something wider, you can always get a 90 Caltar, SA or Grandagon. I like the Pentax Digital Spotmeter and have two of the Zone VI modified ones. Get a good spot meter and use it. Also get a copy of The Zone VI Workshop on the 'bay and read it! Best $4 you'll ever spend.
#6. Have no idea or experience with this.
Most of the LF color film I've shot was chrome for architectural & interiors work.

Have fun!

L

Ps. too much research will only confuse you. Go out and make images.

Thanks for your help Luis-F-S. I won't be able to see the section on this site for a month from what I understand, so I will just hope to find some decent ones on fleaBay.
I don't think the Toyo is still made, at least I can't find it. 4x seems to be the most common range though, thanks for the suggestions. Reading glasses wouldn't work for me though as I have glasses I have to use now and use just one eye for checking focus (otherwise my eye issues really get in my way), so looking for a decent loupe only.
I'm actually mostly a wide shooter, so looking at my 2nd lens being much wider then the 135. My #1 Focal length in 35mm is 35mm, followed very closely by 24mm, then is a range of 70-105mm for third.

Thanks, and your last comment is a great help! I have the tendency to over research everything!


4) consider getting the MOD54 for use with the Paterson 1 liter tank. This will be closer to what you are used too. Sacrifice a few sheets of film, practice in the light, then in the dark. It can be a little tricky to load. Or, consider the "taco" method.

Rodinal is fine if you are comfortable with that.

Try to make as few changes in your process. You can always try new films or developers later.

The tank I linked is the MOD54 rack thing in the Patterson tank. Thanks for your endorsement of it, I do like how familiar it is and many of the reviews said they liked it as it was easy to get even development (not something I've had to mess with much on 35mm...


Great questions from another beginner!

Thanks!

fishbulb
31-Mar-2016, 12:47
I'm actually mostly a wide shooter, so looking at my 2nd lens being much wider then the 135. My #1 Focal length in 35mm is 35mm, followed very closely by 24mm, then is a range of 70-105mm for third.


More or less, a 90 and a 135 will get you a 24mm and 35mm angle of view. Some would say a 75 and 120 are closer though.

It depends on how you convert the 3:2 aspect ratio of 35mm to the 5:4 aspect ratio, and how much space you want to leave for edge imperfections - handling, development marks, film holder scratches etc.

I have some conversion charts here that may be helpful - one (http://www.largeformatphotography.info/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=133422&d=1430845909)two (http://www.largeformatphotography.info/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=133421&d=1430845890)three (http://www.largeformatphotography.info/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=133420&d=1430845838)

Another important trade-off is coverage - if you intend to use a lot of movements, most 75mm lenses cover less than 90mm lenses, etc.

And yet another trade-off is usability. Lenses close to the extreme short end of your camera's capabilities may require a bag bellows or a recessed lens board. Most 4x5 cameras greatly benefit from a bag bellows for lenses wider than 90mm.

Conversely, lenses close to the long end of your bellows reach may give you limited ability to focus closer (which needs bellows extension) or limited ability to make movements (since the bellows are stretched out).

Really though, before you start accumulating lenses, go out and use the one you've got. 135 is a great focal length, very usable and natural feeling.

Luis-F-S
31-Mar-2016, 14:03
Get a pair of bifocal glasses made with your prescription top and 5x reading bottom. L

biedron
31-Mar-2016, 14:38
5) Anything I'm missing from this list: Film back(s), cable release (short and locking), loupe, tripod? That I need to look out (camera has the lens I wanted, Rodenstock 135mm -N as well)

A light meter was already mentioned, but if you plan on shooting Velvia 50 I would strongly recommend a spot meter. I have a Sekonic 558 that I am very happy with but there are others that no doubt do equally well.

For landscape with Velvia 50 you will probably also want a set of graduated neutral density filters, like the ones Lee makes. For 4x5 and larger you can probably stick with just the "hard" GNDs - as format size goes up, the hardness of the line seems to go down.

A tripod is pretty essential for landscapes.


I do plan on shooting color quite often, and Velvia 50 is my favorite film, so that's a hurdle I will have to deal with soon-ish. I shoot mostly landscapes.

I don't think it is that hard to deal with Velvia 50. Just learn to pick mid tones - often rocks or vegetation for the landscaper - and know that V50 only has a margin of (roughly) 2 stops above and below mid tone. With your spot meter get a reading for the mid tone, then "probe" around the scene with the meter and note the range from brightest to darkest. If more that +/- 2 stops, you can either 1) go home, 2) sacrifice the brightest tones (not usually a good idea) 3) sacrifice the darkest tones (emphasize "negative space" in your image), or 4) use your GNDs to bring the brightest tones into range.

Hope this helps.

Bob

Drew Bedo
31-Mar-2016, 15:41
The most important thing is to get out and shoot . . .learning from your mistakes. As you gain experience, you will figure out how best to work with the equipment you have, keeping in mind that there is often more than one way to get something done (shoulder bag vs backpack, dark cloth vs hood, changing bag vs tent etc)— there is no one "best" way to do most things.

B.S.Kumar
31-Mar-2016, 17:02
Get a couple of reliable film holders and some film. You already have a lens and probably a tripod and cable release. Any black cloth will do for a darkcloth. Practice loading and unloading film. FP100C is discontinued, and we don't know whether any more instant film will be available in the future.

Don't defeat yourself by thinking too much.

Kumar

Tim Meisburger
31-Mar-2016, 17:09
A lot of good advice. I like 135mm. Just buy some film holders for 5-7 bucks a pop that don't look too beat up. I've never had light leaks from holders, but if I did I would just throw it away. Tape wears out, but doesn't cause leaks, and is easy to replace.

I have a cheap peak loupe and an expensive rodenstock loupe, and they both work the same. Okay, the Rodenstock is nicer, but the peak works fine. 8 bucks, I think. (oh. I just saw your link. Thats the one I have, although its a bit more expensive here. Buy that. You can cover it with black tape if you want, but I never have felt the need.)

For film, also consider Foma (available as well from Freestyle as Arista.EDU) if you want cheaper. anyway, its a personal thing, and all of them that are available make good pictures!

I really dislike Rodinal in 4x5, but some people swear by it. I use it only for stand developing (that neat trick that allows you to develop to any speed) or for quick one offs when I'm too lazy to mix fresh chemistry. I normally use D23 and mix as needed.

135mm = sweet.

Jim Jones
31-Mar-2016, 18:39
If the Horseman ground glass is glass, not plastic, don't worry about scratching it. As Tim says, even a cheap loupe works well enough.

I've long developed 4x5 film in 4x5 trays. 5x7 trays would be more convenient, but for just a few sheets and using a minimum amount of developer and discarding it, the smaller trays are good enough.

Any nearly opaque focusing cloth works well enough. A good focusing cloth will be reflective on the outside to keep you relatively cool, and black on the inside. Sheets of black & white cloth glued together in the corners will get you started.

Cameras may come and go, but a good tripod is a lifetime investment. Well used ones often work as well as the latest design. Price is no guarantee of quality.

Unless you intend to print the edges of the film as part of the composition, consider a system of filing notches in the film holder flap so you can match each negative with the film holder it was exposed in. This is useful in recording exposure details and in identifying any film holder that might have a problem. A binary system of 5 notches lets one identify each side of up to 16 film holders.

cjdewey
31-Mar-2016, 18:57
1) Does anyone have any tips on buying used film holders? There are thousands on eBay, KEH has a handfull, B&H, etc. However just getting started, I'd like to have at least a few (thinking 4-5?)

Six holders is a good number, if you end up using a MOD54 with your Paterson tank. (You don't have to develop 6 sheets at a time.) Plan to buy a few more than that.


2) Lopues.

I can't find my loupe. I'm terribly nearsighted, and wear glasses, so I just get very, very close to the glass. A loupe made it easier to see the ridges of my fresnel, but not necessarily focus any better. But I'm still learning, so maybe I'm doing wrong. The idea of magnifying glasses is interesting, though.


3) Film: Due to the prices of film and the likelihood of some failures when starting, I think I will start with B/W.

Oh, man, so many failures. But I think starting with B&W is an excellent decision. Large format Tri-X is a bit different from the Tri-X you know; don't expect it to behave exactly the same. Acros is handy because you don't need to worry about reciprocity failure, and you *will* want to make long exposures. I've gotten excellent results with inexpensive medium speed films like Fomapan 100 and New55's Atomic-X, for my everyday use.


4) I currently process film with a Patterson System tank (the 2 reel), so it looks like I need another tank for 4x5.

Paterson (1 liter) + MOD54 works pretty well, at least with normal agitation. Choice of developers is going to be a personal thing. I use Caffenol almost exclusively.


5) Anything I'm missing from this list: Film back(s), cable release (short and locking), loupe, tripod? That I need to look out (camera has the lens I wanted, Rodenstock 135mm -N as well)

I'll just echo what I've seen recommended by others: 90mm and 210mm are useful focal lengths to accompany the 135. Do your research on the tripod; make sure it's tall enough for you to focus without stooping, or raising the center post. Light enough to hike with (if that's your thing). Today I found myself wishing I had a leveling base. Get extra cable release and tripod quick-release plate. And a good 1-degree spot meter.


6) How hard is it to shoot FP100C?
Not hard, but it's kind of a pain to compose, unless you mark on your ground glass where the film is.

FredrickSummers
1-Apr-2016, 06:36
Any of the modern Fidelity, Lisco, etc. The older designs with metal handles are good, but heavier. I like Fidelity Elite's myself - bought a big batch of them on eBay. They have a white bar on them that you can write in pencil and then erase later. So I can write down what film is in there and any notes on the shot after I take it.
Thanks, I just made an offer on eBay for 10 Fidelity Elite holders.


4-5x is about right. $90 is too much. I'd call Blue Moon Camera in Portland, OR (bluemooncamera.com) and see if they have any of their custom plastic loupes for large format in stock. Should be about $10-20. They are clear plastic and about 2" tall, 2" in diameter. Best loupe I've used and I have about a half dozen of them.
I will check them out!


For a dark cloth there are many solutions. Some people just use their jacket, but then you have to take off the jacket. Some people get some fabric at a sewing store. Some people stretch a black t-shirt over the ground glass. On a Sinar camera, and some others, you can attach a bellows to the ground glass, making a nice shade. I typically use the jacket method myself. You can also buy a dark cloth online, new or used.
I'm hoping the hood on the Horseman will be ok (also why I'm looking for a long loupe), but I generally already have a jacket on or with me on many hikes. I will stick to one of the cheaper options for now then. I first looked on BH at focusing cloth and wow, there are some over $300 for a piece of cloth?


Delta 100 is a great film on 4x5. Fine grain, not too spendy. Ilford FP4 is nice too. Kodak films do tend to be the most expensive these days after their price increases.

Ilford HP5+ if you want ISO 400 or more. It can be pushed to ISO 3200 if you want, with very little grain compared to 35mm HP5+ pushed that far. A very versatile film for 4x5.

I am going to order a box of FP4+ today to get started with. I have shot a roll of that in my 35 and love the look that came from it, I like the smoothe of Delta 100 but it just seemed so flat and dull. FP4 in 134 has a lot of sharpness, so hopefully it can carry that look over. I wish PanF+ was made in 4x5 though, I love that film in my Minolta!


I am trying out some New55 Atomic X right now, which is pretty affordable newer B&W sheet film.



Lots of 4x5 shooters use Rodinal. I can't speak to it much myself.

No tank or developing system is perfect - they all have tradeoffs. I like the Nikor tank (not related to Nikon Nikkor) and the modern (I would say improved) version of the Nikor tank is the BW King tank (http://www.bw-king.com/index.htm). It is not the easiest system to learn but it is possible to get great negatives with it if you follow the instructions.

Mod 54 (http://www.mod54.com/) makes nice tanks as well, different design, but well-regarded.

Some people like the tube-style system of a Jobo tank or BTZS tubes - you get really clean negatives with the fewest edge issues this way. Probably the easiest way to get really nice negatives from my experience.

There are also the old black plastic Yankee and FR tanks etc. They are cheap and load 12 sheets, but are more challenging to get consistent results in than a Nikor-style, Mod 54-style, or tube-style developing methods, in my opinion.

Thanks, I really like how the MOD55 loads, and it goes into a tank that is only a little larger then what I currently use, so I think I will go that route at first.


Do you have a light meter? There are two basic types - a spot meter and an ambient light meter. I would argue the spot meter is superior, but not necessary in a lot of situations. But when you need it, it's really great. You look through the eyepiece and can meter each section of the scene, then you know how big the exposure range is in your scene and can set up your zones quite easily.
Currently, I have MyLightmeterPro on my iPhone 6+ and I am hoping to "get by" with that or at least see how it will work. I do want a spot meter though as I can't see the iPhone being that great at spot metering the shadow, highlight, figure the zone (mostly for Velvia as its only +/-2, which will help determine Velvia or Ektar). I've been looking at a number and seem to have it down to the 558 or the Pentax. They are both expensive though.


135 is a nice focal length. A 90 and 210 are good complements, each being a 1.5x decrease/increase from 135. I don't know why you'd get a 120... pretty similar angle of view to a 135, and the Rodenstock is a good lens.
I chose 135 before I got the camera as I read on this site to start with your most used FL that you use now. ~25% of my favorites are shot at 35mm and many I wish it was just a touch tighter. From what I have found 135 is around 39-40mm equivalent, so it sounded just right. I am very tempted to get another lens right away to pair with it as 24mm is very close behind 35mm on my images. I'm not sure if I want the Rodenstock 75mm 4.5 or the 90mm 6.8(?) though. Both seem to run around the same price, but I do plan on doing some star trails with this set up this summer. Either a 210 or a Fujinon 300-T is also on my list for the long end.




I can't speak to that one. Color is a bit more difficult to use, especially to scan. I prefer color negative over color transparencies for the dynamic range and tolerance of missed exposures. If you plan on shooting Velvia and other slide/transparency films, I would get a spot meter.
I plan to use both Ektar and Velvia (possibly provia too) depending on the level of contrast. From 135 I've found Velvia is AMZING as long as the contrast isn't too strong (+/- around 2stops between shadows I want and hilights) whilve Ektar looks great in high contrast, I didn't like how it comes out in low contrast scenes. I want to try a bit of everything though! Including some IR this summer!

Thank you very much for your help!

FredrickSummers
1-Apr-2016, 06:52
Get a pair of bifocal glasses made with your prescription top and 5x reading bottom. L

Not possible. I don't always wear my glasses as it makes my condition worse the more I wear them, so I normally stick to just using them when I'm behind a computer (my daily job) or extensive reading. However if I try to wear something like bifocals or even use binoculars without adjustment my vision goes haywire. The main part of my prescription is a prism for each eye, which cannot be paired with anything due to the design or something. I can't even get contacts. I can generally control it away from focusing hard on single subjects and my right eye is perfect if used alone (like looking through a view finder).


A light meter was already mentioned, but if you plan on shooting Velvia 50 I would strongly recommend a spot meter. I have a Sekonic 558 that I am very happy with but there are others that no doubt do equally well.

For landscape with Velvia 50 you will probably also want a set of graduated neutral density filters, like the ones Lee makes. For 4x5 and larger you can probably stick with just the "hard" GNDs - as format size goes up, the hardness of the line seems to go down.

A tripod is pretty essential for landscapes.



I don't think it is that hard to deal with Velvia 50. Just learn to pick mid tones - often rocks or vegetation for the landscaper - and know that V50 only has a margin of (roughly) 2 stops above and below mid tone. With your spot meter get a reading for the mid tone, then "probe" around the scene with the meter and note the range from brightest to darkest. If more that +/- 2 stops, you can either 1) go home, 2) sacrifice the brightest tones (not usually a good idea) 3) sacrifice the darkest tones (emphasize "negative space" in your image), or 4) use your GNDs to bring the brightest tones into range.

Hope this helps.

Bob

The need for a good spot meter is being more and more apparent, I need to look harder then just using an iPhone app. I do have a decent LEE filter set already, including a full set of soft (.3, .6, .9) as they are what I use most of the time in the mountains. I also have a .6 hard and a .9 reverse, the lee 105 CPL (that is also a warming filter), and ordering a B/W contrast set to go with it for B/W. I will need to order another filter ring too. Not sure what size the 135-N uses.

The 558 is one of the two that are on my short list of filters based on Ben Horne (https://www.youtube.com/user/bensdmkII/featured) and others I've read here. Thank you for another +1 on this one. I just wonder if its overkill for me as I use ZERO flash and have no idea how much use I'd get out of the incident meter of it (I currently have zero experience with a real light meter). I may hold off buying it until the Buy/Sell section of this site opens up for me and try to get one off a member here, or I may find a deal on eBay.


The most important thing is to get out and shoot . . .learning from your mistakes. As you gain experience, you will figure out how best to work with the equipment you have, keeping in mind that there is often more than one way to get something done (shoulder bag vs backpack, dark cloth vs hood, changing bag vs tent etc) there is no one "best" way to do most things.

Thank you, That may be the best advice I can get! I'm very excited to get the camera and all the parts for it so I can go out and shoot! I still have a few more things I have to buy before I can really try much.


Get a couple of reliable film holders and some film. You already have a lens and probably a tripod and cable release. Any black cloth will do for a darkcloth. Practice loading and unloading film. FP100C is discontinued, and we don't know whether any more instant film will be available in the future.

Don't defeat yourself by thinking too much.

Kumar

Thanks, I do have that tendency... :(


A lot of good advice. I like 135mm. Just buy some film holders for 5-7 bucks a pop that don't look too beat up. I've never had light leaks from holders, but if I did I would just throw it away. Tape wears out, but doesn't cause leaks, and is easy to replace.

I have a cheap peak loupe and an expensive rodenstock loupe, and they both work the same. Okay, the Rodenstock is nicer, but the peak works fine. 8 bucks, I think. (oh. I just saw your link. Thats the one I have, although its a bit more expensive here. Buy that. You can cover it with black tape if you want, but I never have felt the need.)

For film, also consider Foma (available as well from Freestyle as Arista.EDU) if you want cheaper. anyway, its a personal thing, and all of them that are available make good pictures!

I really dislike Rodinal in 4x5, but some people swear by it. I use it only for stand developing (that neat trick that allows you to develop to any speed) or for quick one offs when I'm too lazy to mix fresh chemistry. I normally use D23 and mix as needed.

135mm = sweet.

Thank you! I think I will stick to Ilford for films, I'm somewhat familiar with it and like the results. I've had some issues with Forma on 135.


If the Horseman ground glass is glass, not plastic, don't worry about scratching it. As Tim says, even a cheap loupe works well enough.

I've long developed 4x5 film in 4x5 trays. 5x7 trays would be more convenient, but for just a few sheets and using a minimum amount of developer and discarding it, the smaller trays are good enough.

Any nearly opaque focusing cloth works well enough. A good focusing cloth will be reflective on the outside to keep you relatively cool, and black on the inside. Sheets of black & white cloth glued together in the corners will get you started.

Cameras may come and go, but a good tripod is a lifetime investment. Well used ones often work as well as the latest design. Price is no guarantee of quality.

Unless you intend to print the edges of the film as part of the composition, consider a system of filing notches in the film holder flap so you can match each negative with the film holder it was exposed in. This is useful in recording exposure details and in identifying any film holder that might have a problem. A binary system of 5 notches lets one identify each side of up to 16 film holders.

I invested in a good tripod about 3 months ago, Manfrotto 190 and its rock solid on all my 135/digital stuff, so I hope it will be solid with the horseman 45HD as well. I may need to get a bigger head for the LF camera, but I currently have no plans on going larger then 4x5. Thanks for your help!

John Kasaian
1-Apr-2016, 06:59
I recommend getting a copy of Steve Simmons Using The View Camera if you don't already have one. It's an excellent resource when it comes to putting together a kit.
Have fun!

angusparker
1-Apr-2016, 07:24
1) Does anyone have any tips on buying used film holders? There are thousands on eBay, KEH has a handfull, B&H, etc. However just getting started, I'd like to have at least a few (thinking 4-5?) reliable holders. What I read is they are pretty much all identical, but I'm not real sure if there is anything that can be done to be sure you buy good ones (work smooth and don't leak light!) online.

--> Toyo holders have the highest tolerances. I personally would buy just this one bit of kit brand new from B&H. They aren't too expensive and are critical to getting a flat film plane.


3) Film: Due to the prices of film and the likelihood of some failures when starting, I think I will start with B/W. I've shot and like Delta 100 on 35mm as well as Acros. My main 35mm B/W is TriX, but its quite pricey for 4x5 compared to the Ilford films. Anything I should know different then 35mm with these (other then the grain being less apparent)? This brings me to #4

--> Shoot the same film you use in 35mm. At least you know its characteristics and are more likely to get a good exposures - so you may even save money. "Modern" films like Delta 100 and Acros have smaller grain but really in 4x5 that is less important. FP4+ is very forgiving if you want to choose something else. I wouldn't use it for a smaller format but for 4x5 it's perfect.

4) I currently process film with a Patterson System tank (the 2 reel), so it looks like I need another tank for 4x5. I'm looking at this as its very similar to what I am used to. My main developer is Rodenol, and feedback/pointers for this tank/reel setup? I haven't read much about 4x5 shooters using Rodenol, is there a reason for that? I'm looking at adding DDX to my mix too.

--> Rodinal is cheap, lasts forever, and is easy to use as a one shot developer. I think it's an excellent choice for 4x5. Again use what you are already comfortable with. The only other developer I might try down the road would be a staining developer like Pyrocat-HD but only if you are thinking of doing Alt-Processes.

5) Anything I'm missing from this list: Film holder(s), cable release (short and locking), loupe, tripod? That I need to look out (camera has the lens I wanted, Rodenstock 135mm -N as well)

--> Looks good to me! Might want a tripod head for easy of set-up / levelling. For 4x5 a small ball-head is a good option. RRS make nice ones.

I do plan on shooting color quite often, and Velvia 50 is my favorite film, so that's a hurdle I will have to deal with soon-ish. I shoot mostly landscapes.

--> Only issue with Velvia 50 (and all color work) is you need a modern multi-coated lens (not a lens made for B&W 100 years ago!), with faster lenses you may need a center-filter, and watch out for reciprocity failure! See a chart here for correct exposure times for Velvia 50: http://timdesuyo.com/?p=838

Drew Bedo
1-Apr-2016, 08:42
I use a loupe in the field, but indoors often use a jeweler's "OptiVizor" headset. Wearing it allows the use of glasses and helps keep the dark cloth off the face.

FredrickSummers
1-Apr-2016, 10:15
Six holders is a good number, if you end up using a MOD54 with your Paterson tank. (You don't have to develop 6 sheets at a time.) Plan to buy a few more than that.



I can't find my loupe. I'm terribly nearsighted, and wear glasses, so I just get very, very close to the glass. A loupe made it easier to see the ridges of my fresnel, but not necessarily focus any better. But I'm still learning, so maybe I'm doing wrong. The idea of magnifying glasses is interesting, though.



Oh, man, so many failures. But I think starting with B&W is an excellent decision. Large format Tri-X is a bit different from the Tri-X you know; don't expect it to behave exactly the same. Acros is handy because you don't need to worry about reciprocity failure, and you *will* want to make long exposures. I've gotten excellent results with inexpensive medium speed films like Fomapan 100 and New55's Atomic-X, for my everyday use.



Paterson (1 liter) + MOD54 works pretty well, at least with normal agitation. Choice of developers is going to be a personal thing. I use Caffenol almost exclusively.



I'll just echo what I've seen recommended by others: 90mm and 210mm are useful focal lengths to accompany the 135. Do your research on the tripod; make sure it's tall enough for you to focus without stooping, or raising the center post. Light enough to hike with (if that's your thing). Today I found myself wishing I had a leveling base. Get extra cable release and tripod quick-release plate. And a good 1-degree spot meter.


Not hard, but it's kind of a pain to compose, unless you mark on your ground glass where the film is.

I know this is a question for a different section, but how big of a difference is there between 75mm ("24mm equilv") and 90mm (28mm equilv)? I really like the 24mm view on 35mm, but everyone reccomeneds the 90mm and I've yet to see anyone suggest the 75mm. With the Horseman, I can use the f4.5 75mm (easier to focus from what I gather and would be nice doing night sky stuff) but can only do the 6.8(?) for 90mm due to rear filter size.

I have an Oben head for my Manfroto 190 tripod that uses an ArcaSwiss style release plate. The ball may be a little small for some lenses.

Thank you for your suggestions!

FredrickSummers
1-Apr-2016, 10:23
I recommend getting a copy of Steve Simmons Using The View Camera if you don't already have one. It's an excellent resource when it comes to putting together a kit.
Have fun!

I will add that to my list of books. I've got all 3 Ansel Adams books I'm reading right now. Is that the one I have read referenced as the "Large Format Bible"?


1) Does anyone have any tips on buying used film holders? There are thousands on eBay, KEH has a handfull, B&H, etc. However just getting started, I'd like to have at least a few (thinking 4-5?) reliable holders. What I read is they are pretty much all identical, but I'm not real sure if there is anything that can be done to be sure you buy good ones (work smooth and don't leak light!) online.

--> Toyo holders have the highest tolerances. I personally would buy just this one bit of kit brand new from B&H. They aren't too expensive and are critical to getting a flat film plane.


3) Film: Due to the prices of film and the likelihood of some failures when starting, I think I will start with B/W. I've shot and like Delta 100 on 35mm as well as Acros. My main 35mm B/W is TriX, but its quite pricey for 4x5 compared to the Ilford films. Anything I should know different then 35mm with these (other then the grain being less apparent)? This brings me to #4

--> Shoot the same film you use in 35mm. At least you know its characteristics and are more likely to get a good exposures - so you may even save money. "Modern" films like Delta 100 and Acros have smaller grain but really in 4x5 that is less important. FP4+ is very forgiving if you want to choose something else. I wouldn't use it for a smaller format but for 4x5 it's perfect.

4) I currently process film with a Patterson System tank (the 2 reel), so it looks like I need another tank for 4x5. I'm looking at this as its very similar to what I am used to. My main developer is Rodenol, and feedback/pointers for this tank/reel setup? I haven't read much about 4x5 shooters using Rodenol, is there a reason for that? I'm looking at adding DDX to my mix too.

--> Rodinal is cheap, lasts forever, and is easy to use as a one shot developer. I think it's an excellent choice for 4x5. Again use what you are already comfortable with. The only other developer I might try down the road would be a staining developer like Pyrocat-HD but only if you are thinking of doing Alt-Processes.

5) Anything I'm missing from this list: Film holder(s), cable release (short and locking), loupe, tripod? That I need to look out (camera has the lens I wanted, Rodenstock 135mm -N as well)

--> Looks good to me! Might want a tripod head for easy of set-up / levelling. For 4x5 a small ball-head is a good option. RRS make nice ones.

I do plan on shooting color quite often, and Velvia 50 is my favorite film, so that's a hurdle I will have to deal with soon-ish. I shoot mostly landscapes.

--> Only issue with Velvia 50 (and all color work) is you need a modern multi-coated lens (not a lens made for B&W 100 years ago!), with faster lenses you may need a center-filter, and watch out for reciprocity failure! See a chart here for correct exposure times for Velvia 50: http://timdesuyo.com/?p=838


I'm going with HP4+ for now, which is a 135 film I am very happy with and I know how it responds to development and Rodenol.

I'm glad to see another Rodenol fan on here! The life and ease of use as well as the versatility is what has be addicted. I can normal dev, stand, and semi-stand develop with it all while using such a tiny amount for a very good price.

I forgot to note that I have an Oben ballhead on the 190 tripod. I don't remember which model, but it is a little small. I will likely get another head for use with the Horseman.

I should have been more clear about issues with Velvia 50. Its not sold in the USA, and I've not found any solid information where other 4x5 shooters are ordering from. eBay is the only plentyful source I have found, but there is no telling how that has been stored or shipped. Is there ever any group buys on here for Velvia 50? I'm just concerned spending over $100 for a box of 20 sheets that are a gamble (as I treat anything on eBay as). I'm watching for info to crop up while I adjust to the new shooting style.

Thank you!


I use a loupe in the field, but indoors often use a jeweler's "OptiVizor" headset. Wearing it allows the use of glasses and helps keep the dark cloth off the face.

I have zero plans of using my 4x5 indoors. I just rarely do any real indoor photography, and that I do is either of my daughter/wife with my Hexar or stuff to list on eBay, etc with one of my digital, thank you though.

Luis-F-S
1-Apr-2016, 12:06
I know this is a question for a different section, but how big of a difference is there between 75mm ("24mm equilv") and 90mm (28mm equilv)? I really like the 24mm view on 35mm, but everyone reccomeneds the 90mm and I've yet to see anyone suggest the 75mm. With the Horseman, I can use the f4.5 75mm (easier to focus from what I gather and would be nice doing night sky stuff) but can only do the 6.8(?) for 90mm due to rear filter size.

Stick with a 90, they're plentiful and cheap. You can always sell it and get a 75 if you REALLY need one. L

Drew Bedo
2-Apr-2016, 05:08
Don't agonize over these things.

Get the gear you can now, based on budget and availability, and do some photography.

It is a sure bet that, if you stick with LF, whatever kit you put together right now will NOT be the outfit you shoot with in just a few years. Only through experience will you be able to bring together the gear that effectively facilitates the expression of your creative vision.

Example-1: Many folks use a backpack to transport their gear and work from. I've got a good one—doesn't work for me. I now pack all my 4x5 gear into a large shoulder bag when walking around. Often this is strapped onto a set of luggage wheels due to normal age-related degenerative processes.

Example-2: Many folks here swear by the now discontinued line of PhotoBackpacker System products for storage, protection and active shooting in the field. Its reall good stuff; well designed and well made. I found that only the protective storage boxes for lenses work out well for me. The "Cascade" system for hilm holders adds too much bulk and complicates my work flow when actually out and shooting. Works wellfor many, but not for me. To paraphrase Seinfeld's George Castanza: "Its not them,, Its ME!"

The point is, there is plenty of advice to be had here on LFP. The talent pool and knowledge base here are both wide and deep, but everyone does photography in a different way that is comfortable for them. I am just saying; Get some gear together and go out and shoot. As time goes by you wll figure out what works for you. Everything is a compromise of some sort, and there is no one best way.

Recall the old Nuke ad slogan: "Just Do It!"

John Kasaian
2-Apr-2016, 07:43
I agree with Drew Bedo. Your kit will evolve into something uniquely yours over time.
There is nothing wrong with used gear in good condition.
A solid camera, 3 film holders, a sturdy tripod with a normal pan/tilt head appropriate for your larger camera, dark cloth or doubled black t-shirts, loupe (or magnifier of some sort,) a lens in shutter mounted on a lens board with it's caps, cable release, a meter, a note book and pencil, and something to carry it all in should be all you need to get started.
Consider adding a modest filter assortment next.

Each year evaluate your kit, appreciate what you've got or invest in upgrades of worn or unsatisfactory stuff.

The important thing is to get out and shoot (and have fun!)

Drew Bedo
3-Apr-2016, 15:54
Recall the old Nuke ad slogan: "Just Do It!"

OOPS! That should be NIKE.

FredrickSummers
4-Apr-2016, 06:54
Thank you all again for your help! I have a few more pieces of kit on the way this week, then going to (try) to stop for a while and "master" what I have.

I bought the viewfinder iPhone app this weekend and took it on one of my (shorter) hikes and looked at shots I've taken before and ones I'd like to do. I think I chose wisely with the 135 as the majority of the shots lined up perfectly with it. The 90 (I don't have the wide lens for my iPhone, so can't see it all) looks like it will be perfect with it too, but the 75 does look a bit wide.

John Kasaian
4-Apr-2016, 07:45
Lenses are another "dark hole." I'll suggest sticking with what you have until "it" tells "you" to make a change wider or longer (or faster, or different coverage.)

FredrickSummers
4-Apr-2016, 09:40
Lenses are another "dark hole." I'll suggest sticking with what you have until "it" tells "you" to make a change wider or longer (or faster, or different coverage.)

I've already fell in that black hole with my 35mm stuff, which isn't fun. Based on the viewfinder so far, a 90mm may be sooner then later, but we shall see. I want to really learn this camera and movements before I fal too much into that hole, haha.