View Full Version : getting small

10-Aug-2005, 10:10
I've been using a medium format camera. and .... i like it.

Go ahead. throw stones and vegetables. Loot my house.

I never thought I would cheat on my field camera. Things were fine at home. But I wanted do a project in color, and times were tough. I looked up the prices of sheet film and processing, and realized it would be close to $5 every time I clicked the shutter. I thought of creative ways to afford it, but my parole officer kept wagging his finger at me.

And then the phone rang. It was my friend Anne, asking, "hey, do you have any use for a Hasselblad? i have one and i don't know how to use it. you can borrow it, and if you figure it out, just promise to show me." I looked up the price of c41 film: $2.39 a roll. Processing: $5. I picked up the camera the next day, and stayed up trying to figure out how to use it from Anne's notes, made while a friend from the Czech Republic explained things to her. Notes like, "film goes on spindle that does not have the hat" and "you must see black or camera will break." In spite of these, I figured it out sometime before dawn.

A couple of rolls into it I was hooked. It's really the perfect way to try soemthing new (a new project, color, an experiment) because it's so fast and the film is so cheap. There's no deterrent from experimenting. I make 12 exposures in the time it would normally take me to make just a couple. Total freedom to play. Now if I decide to start using the the big camera for color, I'll be able to hit the ground running.

One of the nicest things was working with a tool where everything is different--color (new to me), square format, waist level finder, weird 40 year-old swedish design. It forces me out of any old habits, so everything is fresh. Doing the same old thing isn't an option anymore. At the very least, it's been a fun and interesting exercise. And I love the speed. I have a body of work taking sheep just a few rolls into it. My last body of work took 10 years.

Steve Hamley
10-Aug-2005, 10:22

No argument here. I've been thinking about picking one up myself - I like the square format.

My "scouting", snapshot, and ultra light outfit is a Mamiya 7II. It isn't as versatile as the 4x5 or the 'blad, but with careful use it can yield results very near or equal to the quality of my 4x5 outfit.

It isn't a s much fun as 4x5 though, except shooting handheld. A friend who's been a pro all his life (he's now 83 and still works part time) said that if he could only have 1 camera it would be the Hasselblad. And he's shot everything from 8x10 to digital and started out when people were still using flash powder.


Paul Butzi
10-Aug-2005, 10:23
[i]And I love the speed. I have a body of work taking sheep just a few rolls into it. My last body of work took 10 years. [i]

Well, if your last body of work hadn't had to take all those hippos, it might not have taken ten years.

That's the advantage of a smaller format - you can focus on taking smaller animals, like sheep.

If you pick up a Leica M6, you can produce a body of work in about 15 minutes if you're in the barn where all the mice are.

10-Aug-2005, 10:31

I have to get out my loupe. I must have missed those.

Lloyd Lim
10-Aug-2005, 10:32
If it is film costs that you are worried about, get a roll film back, there are 6x6, 6x7, 6x9, 6x12 and even 6x17 backs available. The film does not cost any more than using a hassleblad, except that the 4x5 camera is not as fast (usually!)

Brian Vuillemenot
10-Aug-2005, 11:01
Enjoy the affair, because when the newness and exotic novelty wear off, you'll feel cheap and dirty all over. Make sure you store the Hassie in a different closet from your field camera, and be careful of your movements. On the plus side, when people ask you, "Is that a Hasselblad?", you can answer, "Yes!" (or perhaps, since it is indeed a Hassie, they'll say "Is that a Deardorff?")

10-Aug-2005, 11:12

Actually, the questions I get in my neighborhood are more like "Is that a camera?" and "why are you taking pictures--are they going to tear down our house?"

The thing that's disturbing is that I immediately grew to like the square format. Which means it won't be easy to give the thing back when she asks for it.

10-Aug-2005, 11:17
actually, one question i got was from a kid that i photographed posing in front of his grafiti. he asked what kind of camera it was, and i just said "it's an old one."

He said, "tell me what kind it is and I'll steal you a new one."

I might take him up on it.

Bruce Watson
10-Aug-2005, 11:38

I have to get out my loupe. I must have missed those.

Try your loupe here: "I have a body of work taking sheep..."

Now, where did you find "work taking sheep" if I might ask? I could use some assistants. Think they can be trained to carry LF gear up the mountain? I'd be sad if they can only carry Hassy gear.

10-Aug-2005, 11:50
Hahahah .... i completely missed that.
taking shape, i meant.
sheep will be the next project.

Ron Marshall
10-Aug-2005, 12:22
Long ago I had a Mamiya 6 and three lenses. Pretty good field camera for color.

10-Aug-2005, 12:31
Paul. after the hassy - try a rollei tlr... makes a hassy feel like an 8x10!

10-Aug-2005, 12:42
"makes a hassy feel like an 8x10!"

in a good way, or a clunky way?

Steve J Murray
10-Aug-2005, 13:19
"It forces me out of any old habits, so everything is fresh."

I hate to say it, but I'm having the same reaction you are to that Hasselblad with my DSLR, except there's no film. 8x10 prints are quite good too. I still use the 4x5 when I know what I want and its not a moving target.

Mark Sampson
10-Aug-2005, 13:28
I think the real point of this thread is that someone offered you the use of a Hasselblad for free. If that happened to me I'd want to crow too. Of course I've used Hassies owned by my employers for many years- but have never used one for any personal work. They are a fine complement to view camera work, (as would be any good MF camera); in fact I rarely use LF on the job anymore. Have a good time with it!

Ralph Barker
10-Aug-2005, 13:29
I still like to use my Hassy for certain types of work, although it's the Leica M6ttl that tags along on LF adventures. It's fun to take the Hassy out in public, so people can ask, "Wow! Is that a Deardorff?" ;-)

10-Aug-2005, 13:30
Although it's collecting dust I still have the old 1956 Rollei. Just can't seem to part with it . I cut my teeth on it

Ben Calwell
10-Aug-2005, 13:54
I still kick myself and cry for getting rid of my Rollei TLR 2.8E a few years back. That camera was magic.

Brian Vuillemenot
10-Aug-2005, 14:09
I recently unloaded my Pentax 67 on E-Bay. I hadn't used it in years. I'm so addicted to the 4X5 inch trannies that anything smaller would be inadequate. Kind of like driving a Mustang GT after having a Festiva for a few years...

10-Aug-2005, 14:26
"I think the real point of this thread is that someone offered you the use of a Hasselblad for free. If that happened to me I'd want to crow too."

Of course, I have to give it back when she asks for it.

But that's been part of the advantage ... I know I won't have the camera forever, so I can't get complacent. Have to get out there and use it every day while it's still around.

" hate to say it, but I'm having the same reaction you are to that Hasselblad with my DSLR, except there's no film."

I'm sure I'd be doing the same thing with a DSLR if I had one. Experimenting like crazy to see what happens. It would be like being Winogrand, without all the expense ;-)

Brian C. Miller
10-Aug-2005, 14:31
Uh-oh, he's gonna get himself a 35mm kit next. But maybe you should try a different sort of 35mm.

I have a camera called a Pen-F, by Olympus. Its format is called "half-frame," 18x24mm, and its the same format that's used by 35mm movie cameras. Its a wonderful little champ with its 24mm lens, and I love it dearly. Whip it out, 72 frames on a 35mm roll, and wonderful grain with 400 speed film.

Or you could go even smaller and get a Minox. If the film you want isn't available for it, you can slice up a 35mm roll into two Minox rolls.

10-Aug-2005, 15:04
Now you're just trying to get me gang banged by all the ULF guys.

Brian C. Miller
10-Aug-2005, 15:09
Public flogging with dark slides and tripod-hauled! :-)

10-Aug-2005, 15:13
>>in a good way, or a clunky way?

the rollei is cool, very instinctive. I'm going the other way though. I'm working on some large prints from my last landscape series, and working 'at pixels' I keep thinking -'I wish I'd shot these on LF to draw more detail'...

Lars Åke Vinberg
10-Aug-2005, 15:49
So I found this job in San Francisco, a startup making photography software, they want to hire me as product manager. The CEO got me a Nikon D2X "to play with" over the summer. Great, I thought. Boy, was I wrong. Imagine me trying to set up for shooting one or two sheets of Velvia 8x10 at sunrise, while at the same time running around with the DSLR experimenting, shooting a few hundred frames. Very confusing, in the field and in the lab. Results are impressive though. I hate to admit it, but I think my 35mm cameras just turned into a private museum collection.

10-Aug-2005, 16:11
it seems like being playful and shooting from the hip is completely different mindset from 8x10, so it would be very confusing to try to do them at the same time. might work better to alternate weekends. or alternate projects.

Jorge Gasteazoro
10-Aug-2005, 16:13
While I am going bigger, I had to get rid of some equipment since it is starting to accumulate and gather dust. My choice was between the Hassleblad and the 4x5 equipment. The 4x5 went. I love the square format! I wish LF manufacutrers made lenses like Carl zeiss! I dont know what is it about these lenses that the contrast is always absolutely perfect. I can understand why you like the MF, I take mine out for a spin every so often....is good to get away from the big toys once in a while.

QT Luong
10-Aug-2005, 16:13
Lars, that's what I've been doing for years. Instead of trying to get a few good trannies, I aim in the same timeframe for one, or maybe two good trannies and one or two dozens of acceptable (ie stock grade) 35mm frames (my current 35mm is a 1Ds2). After all these years, I still find the process confusing. Also, quite often, one of the 35mm frames also turns out to be a better image than the LF frames, which is frustrating (why didn't I shoot the best composition with the LF ?). There is two such different mindsets at play that it's like being two different photographers.

Patricia Langer
10-Aug-2005, 16:21
Paul, I have a Hassie and a Mamiya 67 that I use when I feel like I need to shake loose. I've been working a lot lately with the 8x10 -- it's new to me since May. My 4x5 is my regular camera and although she is usually my first choice, there are times...

I'm going to Greece in September, taking students, and I will be taking the Hassie and Mamiya because I couldn't possible use the 4x5 and be fully with my students. The large formats seem to take me into a world of my own, the smaller formats are looser. For me anyway. So have fun!


Frank Petronio
10-Aug-2005, 19:43
Hassy stuff is so cheap nowadays that I almost want to buy a set simply because it is so ridiculous. But I won't ;-)

I have been working with a Nikon D2X for the past few weeks and I am blown away by its quality and speed. I have to force myself to slow down with it though, because it is too easy to shoot first and edit later. My 500 gb drive is already looking too small. For almost all commerical photography applications, it delivers more than enough information. I can't see shooting a "job" with 4x5 anymore, at least the kinds of jobs I do.

My take is that the practical applications for medium format and 35mm film are over for but large format will carry on for the "artists" market. I may ultimately jump up to ULF precisely because it is almost the opposite of digital ... but for right now I am shooting like crazy and love the 69 mb 16-bit files... which are the same size that I used to scan from 4x5 on my Epson - except the DSLR files have less noise.

Antonio Corcuera
11-Aug-2005, 02:27
People think Hassies are Deardorffs and vice-versa. But some 5 years ago I remember shooting with my Rollei TLR at dusk using a park bench as an improvised tripod. While taking the shot, a kid on a nearby bench asked his mother: "what's he doing, mum?" "he's filming, son" was the answer.

11-Aug-2005, 08:00
Hey frank, You either have a funny idea of cheap or a hell of a lot of money.