View Full Version : Starting Large Format on a 5x7

5-Aug-2016, 07:49
I have been a professional photographer in various forms for about 20 years. I am making the leap to large format and it seems like 5x7 would be a good fit for me. I know there have been numerous posts in the past about a lack of color film for 5x7. I am wondering if this still a serious problem and am I crazy to start with 5x7 (or even 8x10) rather than a 4x5 (the biggest reason I would do 5x7 is I like the 5x7 aspect ratio better for landscapes). Thanks in advance

5-Aug-2016, 08:40
I started on 5x7 and am still there. It is best if you want to do contact prints and enlargement.

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5-Aug-2016, 08:44
I think that there is still a lack of colour film in 5x7. I looked for some a while back, to no avail. I have heard of people cutting 8x10 sheets to 5x7 but I think that that would be a very expensive route to take.

The best place to start LF is 4x5, of course, simply because the mistakes cost less. While learning, you can even contact print your negs until you get an enlarger, which are not hard to find.

I shoot 4x5, 5x7 and 8x10, but I do not have a 5x7 camera., I use a Kodak Master 8x10 with a 5x7 back. I contact print both formats for now, although I should have a 5x7 enlarger soon. 5x7 enlargers are kind of between the devil and the deep blue sea (and not that common) and many people go straight to an 8x10 enlarger, which are usually very expensive. I will likely never get an 8x10 enlarger. I will contact print 8x10 and 5x7, and also enlarge 5x7. Like you, I love the aspect ratio.

If you don't plan to get involved at all with 8x10 negatives then consider getting a 5x7 camera with a 4x5 back. This will allow you to learn on the least expensive format and to make enlargements, as well as contact print 5x7.

Kevin Crisp
5-Aug-2016, 08:52
It is a great format and what I use most often. No reason not to start there. I haven't found cutting film that hard to do.

Oren Grad
5-Aug-2016, 09:03
No color transparency film is commercially available in 5x7. You would need to buy 8x10 and cut it down.

5x7 color negative film is special-order only - Keith Canham periodically aggregates smaller orders to meet the minimum for Kodak, which appears to be around $15,000. Very occasionally some other retailer will put together a special order for Kodak 5x7 color neg as well.

5-Aug-2016, 09:48
I find expired black and white 5x7 sometimes, and it's cheaper than 8x10 will ever be. Just buy B&W and you'll be fine, I shoot a lot of 5x7. If I wanted color....I'd go digital. But I have found some color before too.

5-Aug-2016, 11:24
Thanks for the responses. Sounds like a 4x5 with a 5x7 back may the way to go. Any thoughts for someone who shoots wide angle landscape/architecture?

5-Aug-2016, 11:30
Personally, I would get a 5x7 with a 4x5 reducing back. I started with 4x5 and added a 5x7 back later on. I found it cumbersome and the extension back greatly limited movements. I eventually bit the bullet and bought 5x7.

5-Aug-2016, 13:20
I have both 4x5 and 5x7. The 4x5 is a lot more versatile and easier to scan. Love my Chamonix 045n.

Kent in SD

Jim Andrada
5-Aug-2016, 17:03
A zillion years ago I rented a sort of clapped out 4 x 5 Technika for a couple of weeks. Loved the way it worked, but felt the GG was a bit small. So I bought a 5 x 7 with a 4 x 5 back. I think the only thing I ever used the 4 x 5 back for was Polaroid type 55. (At the time my office was in the same complex as Polaroid's HQ and their factory was in my home town.)

Fast forward nearly 5 decades and I just bought a 4 x 5 Technika. I still think the GG is a bit small, but it's easier to carry when I travel for business. I still think 5 x 7 is a great format and I bought 5 x 7 Ektar 100 when Keith had his special order opportunity. I still have quite a bit of 5 x 7 Fuji Provia in the freezer.

After all, with the right filters you can always do color with B&W film and Photoshop.

Eric Leppanen
5-Aug-2016, 22:18
Keith Canham might still have some 5x7 color neg film available for sale left over from special orders. I believe within recent months he has received delivery of 5x7 Ektar 100 and Portra 160 and 400.

John Kasaian
6-Aug-2016, 07:04
Get a 4x5 reducing back and you'll have your choice of all 4x5 color emulsions as well as 5x7

Alan Gales
6-Aug-2016, 08:43
Or get an 8x10 with both 5x7 and 4x5 reduction backs. :)

6-Aug-2016, 17:24
Or get an 8x10 with both 5x7 and 4x5 reduction backs. :)

My experience with 4x5 reduction backs on 8x10s is that the bellows gets really cramped with 4x5 lenses. I suppose you could swap bellows, and I could be wrong (let's hear from others), but I think it is difficult to go down more than one "size."