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PhotoWebb
25-Feb-2007, 13:21
Hi everyone, I'm a new member coming from a digital background and considering buying a large format camera.

I'm currently using a Canon 1Ds with all L series lenses but find myself wanting for really large prints.

If you had a budget of £2000 and you were buying into large format what would you spend the money on? Used equipment will clearly be the way to go I would have thought.

I don't carry my gear for long distances so this purchase would be based on quality and quality alone. I don't care about the weight or anything else, just quality.

Sorry guys I shoot landscape almost exclusively but mostly out of the boot of the car which is why weight doesn't bother me too much.

I look forward to your replies.

roteague
25-Feb-2007, 13:39
Welcome Daniel. Well, £2000 really won't buy much in the way of equipment if you are solely concerned with quality. You are going to pay that much, just for the camera, never mind the lens, lens board, film holders, meter, etc.

bartf
25-Feb-2007, 13:42
What sort of subjects did you want to shoot with LF?

What quality are you talking about? Construction quality? Number of options and movements?

Image quality is only lens and a properly zeroed and adequately stiff camera in LF.

The closest you'll come to being comfortable shooting similar subjects as your Canon would probably be a press camera like a Graphic or Linhof.

**Didn't realize you shot landscape and architecture until viewing you gallery. Sinar F?

Gordon Moat
25-Feb-2007, 13:46
If you don't mind buying used, then there are many excellent lens choices on the market. It would help if you mentioned what you want to photograph with a large format camera. You mentioned weight is not an issue, so does that mean you only want a studio camera?

Ciao!

Gordon Moat
A G Studio (http://www.allgstudio.com)

Ole Tjugen
25-Feb-2007, 14:08
£2000 is a lot of money on the second-hand market!

I paid about half that for my camera, a Carbon Infinity. Most others are far less, especially monorails. That leaves £1000 for a dozen holders and a couple of lenses, which should be no problem at all.

roteague
25-Feb-2007, 14:11
2000 is a lot of money on the second-hand market!

I paid about half that for my camera, a Carbon Infinity. Most others are far less, especially monorails. That leaves 1000 for a dozen holders and a couple of lenses, which should be no problem at all.

That's true Ole. I didn't notice his comment about used equipment right away; you could probably do quite well on that amount in the used market. Personally, I rarely buy used equipment, so I didn't automatically think of it.

PhotoWebb
25-Feb-2007, 16:15
So what would you buy and why?

naturephoto1
25-Feb-2007, 16:23
Hi Daniel,

You should have no problem getting a used Camera, Fuji Quickload or Kodak Readyload Holder along with a dark cloth, and probably at least 3 or 4 (depending upon which ones) used Large Format lenses for about $3900. You may already have a tripod and head and even camera bags that can be used for the "new" purchases.

Try to be more specific we can give you some asistance.

Rich

Colin Robertson
25-Feb-2007, 16:48
Daniel, nice site. LF might just suit your style. £2000 won't go far new, but second hand it's a bundle. Use the search box above and look for a recent thread "UK camera dealers" All the best names get a mention. I use a Shen Hao (much discussed here) and have 90, 150, and 360mm schneider lenses. All lenses bought used, and very comfortably within your budget. In LF a lot of the kit is simple and pretty sturdy. One of my lenses is 40 years old and just super sharp.
BUT- how do you plan to 'output' your images? Will you also need a new enlarger, or bigger scanner? Don't forget other costs like film holders which aren't obvious if you've never used LF (sorry to be presumptuous if you have). Since it looks like you know your stuff in smaller formats, have you got any mates in the trade who shoot LF? Might help steer you towards the right kit. Best of luck.

roteague
25-Feb-2007, 17:23
I have a 45AII, which is a great camera. New at Robert White it is £1,095. A Schneider 110mm XL lens - which I don't YET own - is another £1,000 or so, new. That would be my basic system.

Gordon Moat
25-Feb-2007, 20:13
So what would you buy and why?

Hello Daniel Webb,

I spent less than your budget to get into a new Shen-Hao HZX45A-II, used Schneider 135mm f5.6 lens, Fuji Quickload holder, Kodak Readyload holder, old Polaroid 405 houlder, Linhof Super Rollex 6x7 back, TOYO 3.6x loupe, new tube dark cloth, new LowePro CompuTrekker AW with two extra Slip-lock 60AW bags, and various adapters for an existing set of filters I already owned. I also already owned a Manfrotto 3021N tripod with 3047 pan/tilt head. All the other odds and ends are easy to source (cable release, level, et al), and I even made my own ground glass protector out of rare tropical wood scraps. So most of the things I got were found used, except I really wanted a brand new camera, and after much investigation decided on the Shen-Hao I got about one year ago.

Given the chance to do it all over again, I might consider some variations. It would be tempting to get an even less expensive Crown Graphic, though I might miss all the range of movements I now enjoy. The other somewhat tempting camera is the Argentum (http://www.argentumcamera.com), which you might want to investigate.

Other than the choice of camera body, I would not second guess my choice of 135mm. Maybe a Rodenstock, Nikon, or Fuji would work as well, though I find I like the 135mm focal length. Through the generosity of others, I have tried several other focal length lenses, but I am still undecided on what to use next. I did manage to get a very old Zeiss barrel lens (without shutter) onto a Linhof board to work on my 4x5, and the results are very much to my liking, though I am unsure if I want to do much at 210mm. My suggestion is to start with one lens, use it a while through the range of movements of your camera, then figure out what you want to try next.

On the Readyload/Quickload holder choices, I like the somewhat limited choice of films in these, so I don't feel restricted. I would almost hate to use anything else. That used Linhof Super Rollex allows me to use other film types (like Ilford HP5+ or Kodak E200, both in 120 rollfilm sizes) and give a tighter cropped final result.

I might be tempted to rethink my choice of Polaroid 405 holder, only because I might want a Polaroid 550 holder for a slightly larger image. However, given that I only test lights or exposures with this, the smaller pack films work fine.

The other choices fit into my desire to do urban images, and lifestyle and fashion shoots. The choice of a Shen-Hao allows me to do lots of architecture shots, though obvioulsy there are other cameras on the market that allow even more range of movements.

All these choices I made are very personal, so I do not suggest copying what I choose. If you find a generous individual, try to have them show you what they use, or even better borrow or rent a 4x5 and give it a test run. You might find you like what you are using, or you might discover what you would like to be different.

Ciao!

Gordon Moat
A G Studio (http://www.allgstudio.com)

PhotoWebb
27-Feb-2007, 02:02
Thanks to everyone so far for their responses, I might hire a few pieces of equipment to see what I like. We have a Calumet here in Edinburgh and I'm pretty sure they have a decent range of equipment.

Chris Strobel
27-Feb-2007, 09:46
Why not just use your 1ds and stitch several frames together if your only after larger output?Just a thought :)


Hi everyone, I'm a new member coming from a digital background and considering buying a large format camera.

I'm currently using a Canon 1Ds with all L series lenses but find myself wanting for really large prints.

If you had a budget of 2000 and you were buying into large format what would you spend the money on? Used equipment will clearly be the way to go I would have thought.

I don't carry my gear for long distances so this purchase would be based on quality and quality alone. I don't care about the weight or anything else, just quality.

Sorry guys I shoot landscape almost exclusively but mostly out of the boot of the car which is why weight doesn't bother me too much.

I look forward to your replies.

PhotoWebb
3-Mar-2007, 06:29
Yes that is probably a good idea although I do work quite a bit with long exposures and find these difficult to stitch if there's cloud movement to contend with.

Having said that, the Canon 1Ds mark 3 is coming soon (this year at least) and is rumoured to have a 22MP sensor. Might be worth me holding onto my cash and just buying one of those.

Ted Harris
3-Mar-2007, 07:14
Daniel,

Hiring some equipment for a test run is a good idea .... you need to decide if you want a rail camera or a folding camera ... if you want wood or metal if a folding camera. There are pluses and minuses to those decisions and most of them, as they relate to landscape shooting, are completely subjective and relate to what you feel best using. Having said that Calumet used to have a good range of LF equipment and may still but they are shifting towward a consumer/digital orientation ... nonetheless they may be your best bet for rental gear. Beyond that your best selection of new gear is likely to be Ro bert White and of used gear Mr. Cad. Finally, if you get a handle on what you want you will likely do bettr with a telephone chat with Jim at Midwest in th States and ordering from him.

Example fo wht you can get for £2000 from Midwest (all used in near new condition): Toyo AX ~ $700-800 (or less), 90 Grandagon 6.8 lens ~ 600, 150 Caltar II N or Apo Symmar ~ 400, 240 Fuji A (new) $750 ... still leaving you nearly another £1000 for a sturdy tripod, spotmeter, film holders, loupe, shipping, customs fees, etc. Another way to go would be a used Arca Swiss or Toyo 125VX field monorail for around $1200 - 1500 from Midwest and some lenses .... the choices are really excellent with your budget and the relative wweakness of the $$ right now v. the pound.

Ted Harris
3-Mar-2007, 07:18
One more thought ... you might also want to ontact Mike Walker direct at www.walkercameras.com .. his cameras are super and h is also a Schneider dealer. The Walker Titan 4x5 may be exactly what you want and it will cost you around £900 direct from Mike.

steve simmons
3-Mar-2007, 07:43
When selecting a large format camera it is all about features, featues, featares. By features I mean length of bellows, how hort a lens you will want to use, etc., etc. You should not, IMHO, select a camera without considering what features you need. The required movementsfor me are swing and tilt front and rear. You an create shift and rise and fall with these movements.

Getting Started in Large Format is an article in the Free Articles section of the View Camera web site that might be helpful. There are several other articles there as well that might be helpful.

Regarding lenses unless you are prefer an older look I would suggest stayng with a mutlicoated lens made in the last 20 years. People will argue about Schneider vs. Rodenstock, vs X vs Y but unless you are giving chromes to a client pick the focal length, image circle, and lens size that fits your needs and don't worry about brand names

steve simmons
www.viewcamera.com

John Kasaian
3-Mar-2007, 08:30
If size & wieght aren't an issue, I'd opt for a 5x7 camera with a 4x5 back---something along the lines of an Agfa Ansco or Burk & James. It would give the option of affordable color (in 4x5) B&W, Polaroids, and good size contact prints (5x7) to explore alternative processes plus a longer bellows which would be useful with longer lenses and table-top macro in 4x5. Either wood or monorail---it dosen't make much difference since you'll be working from the car. For lenses, any of the G-Clarons would work nicely (150-210-240-270-305-355) All these are available used and should be well within your budget.

If you were limiting yourself to 4x5, I'd recommend a Linhof Technikca---a darned versitile camera with a good 210mm lens---Nikkor, Rodenstock, Schneider---you pick

Brian C. Miller
3-Mar-2007, 23:17
Number one, don't let your money burn a hole in your pocket. There's much to be had for cheap. I don't think that I've spent the sum of your budget on all of my equipment combined. You should be able to put together an excellent rig for 1/4 of your budget, probably less.

I started with a Graflex Super Graphic, and I'm still using it. A monorail camera will be less, and the common LF lenses on the used market are also cheap. Get a good tripod and head, and some film holders. A dark cloth is good, but I've seen lots of guys just using their jackets. A Polaroid film holder is fantastic for learning, because you get fast feedback with Polaroid film. You can use the Polaroid holder for Kodak ReadyLoad and Fuji QuickLoad films.

But most imporantly, do what brings you joy.

bartf
4-Mar-2007, 00:26
For 2000UKP you could buy an 8x10 Sinar (used) and a good 300mm lens and all the accessories you need.

Enlarge all you want without worries and better dynamic range than any near future digital...

John Cahill
4-Mar-2007, 00:30
Brian,
I would try to find a good used Speed Graphic, then try to find a 5x4 digital back for it.

Brian C. Miller
4-Mar-2007, 09:37
John, you've seen the April 1st Graphlex Auto Focus (http://www.graflex.org/articles/auto-focus.html), right? They've come out with a digital back the size of a Grafmatic which uses two lasers with voice-coil actuated mirrors to scan the entire 4x5 image area and feed the stream to a digital sensor. Effective shutter speeds are up to 1/200th, it has bluetooth, FireWire, USB, and you can connect through your cell phone to upload directly to a net server.

I'm not up on photon interferometry (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interference), but it looks like it should have interesting applications for photographers.

Ash
4-Mar-2007, 09:45
April 1st?

What a fool :)