View Full Version : Dreams are free, aren't they?

20-Nov-2006, 15:39
Greetings LF crew,

New member here, and want to get this off my chest.

For the last 5 years my Sinars have been sitting in their cases while I made a living shooting with Canon 1Ds cameras. I really, really miss working my 4x5 or 8x10 on a set, and have looked at looked at various LF digital solutions but haven't found any that can do what sheet film and a drum scan can do, at a price that is less than a car.

There are benefits to capturing digitally but, to me, shine best in the world of commercial work.

Last December my local lab closed down. Any sheet film I expose must be sent to a lab at least 130 miles away and it hinders my desire to pull out my LF gear and go hunting.

Last October I brought in the three best selling digital backs for a week-long demo/rental -- Sinar, Leaf & Phase One. Each one cost at least $30,000 with no extras. What a kludge. The sensor is small enough to make focusing on ground glass difficult, and swings and tilts nearly become guesswork. Then there's the issue with the shutter. Mechanical shutters don't communicate with a digital back without a pricey accessory. Lastly, moiré. For the price they're asking for those backs I expect a perfect capture, not one laced with moiré patterns, requiring time spent blurring the stuff. Heck, for that price I want the thing to make a margarita for me. A stiff one, too.

Anyway, I'm still hanging onto my Sinars. At the very least I go out with Polaroid Type 55 or Type 809 and hack around, dreaming of the day that technology will bend to my needs, and not I to it.

John Kasaian
20-Nov-2006, 15:48
Ahhh, the slavery of the modern age!

"The market was made for man, not the man for the market."

Welcome, Chris. I hope you're comfortable with souping your own film.

Henry Ambrose
20-Nov-2006, 18:22
How about what SHEET FILM, a FLATBED SCANNER and a JOBO can do? (or some tanks and hangers)

I pick color negative - the processing is easier, faster and cheaper. Somewhere under $1000 and you're shooting sheet film again and it never has to leave your hands.

My lab is still running so I don't have to do this yet but I have in the past and I'm willing to do so again if that's what makes it work for me.

Seriously, its not that hard.

20-Nov-2006, 18:40
How about what SHEET FILM, a FLATBED SCANNER and a JOBO can do? (or some tanks and hangers)
Been there, done that, and believe me, I've thought long and hard about it. In the 80's I used a Jobo for about five years. Ran E-6 and c-prints through it without a hitch. The ATL was very tempting, too.

My conundrum is that film processing keeps me from other duties of running a studio. Now that my workflow is digital, my assistant & I are either working on production or working on post production.

I'll be truthful: I've taken a bite of the forbidden fruit and my work is better, faster, more accurate and more profitable.

What's not to like? The lack of precision and control of a view camera.

Thanks for the suggestion, though.

Jorge Gasteazoro
20-Nov-2006, 20:13
Seems you are happy they way you are working with digital, why change? Use the LF for personal stuff and keep earning your living with digital.

20-Nov-2006, 21:06
Seems you are happy they way you are working with digital, why change? Use the LF for personal stuff and keep earning your living with digital.
Thanks, Jorge. That's about where I'm at, and why I've joined this motley crew. ;)

Donald Qualls
21-Nov-2006, 17:22
I'd have to say, buy the equipment and process your own film. I spent less than $70 on equipment when I started, could have done better but I wasn't too patient (and bought the good stuff, mostly). I do mine in my bathroom, including printing (the latter requires some careful scheduling, since I like to spend 4-6 hours in there and the wife, quite unreasonably, usually wants to use the facilities within that kind of time frame). I made a cover for the window, weather stripped the door and stuff a towel in the crack underneath, and it's dark enough to tray develop ISO 400 (as long as I remember not to turn on the fluorescent light over the mirror for at least twenty minutes before I start).

Next week, I'll be doing my own C-41 negatives for the first time, and already have a top quality flatbed scanner with glassless negative carriers -- which I bought, used, a couple years ago for $135 shipped (big, heavy, slowish, but the scans are as good as anything I could get for under $5/sheet and it'll do 4x5 glassless, or 8x10 on the glass, as well as 6x9, 6x7, 6x6, and 35 mm or 2x2 mounted slides, all glassless -- and with homemade adapters, handles 9x12 cm and 16 mm as well). The chemicals to start cost less than $50 plus shipping (around $65 shipped from New York City to North Carolina).

Time can be an issue, but compared to no large format film at all??

21-Nov-2006, 18:51
uh, Don? Caffenol? Are you serious? Have I been out of the darkroom that long?

Donald Qualls
22-Nov-2006, 20:38
Caffenol. The origin goes back to 1986, an article by Roger Bunting. I found out about it on Photo.net about three years ago, tried it, and have since tried some variations. I kid you not; coffee will develop film once alkalized (though it works better with a little vitamin C added). I also make a Rodinal substitute from acetaminophen tablets and drain cleaner (and some sodium sulfite); Parodinal may be the all time winner for cheap developer, costing a bit less than a nickel for the chemical to develop a roll of film. Parodinal is based on a report and subsequently a formula I ran across on the Usenet group rec.photo.darkroom, also about three years ago.

Oh, should I mention I used battery acid, from NAPA, in my reversal bleach for making B&W diapositives? ;)

Andrew O'Neill
26-Nov-2006, 17:26
stick with instant coffee..it's cheaper. I sometimes develop my prints in it. Give a really nice tone with Forte PG V.