View Full Version : Wanting to get into LF Photography

21-Jan-2008, 13:06
I'm wanting to get into LF photography, but I do not know where to start.
The type of photography work I am interested in doing is Landscape and botanicals.

I would love to know what type of camera (4x5) to use to start off with. I've heard and read about Toyo, Horseman and others, but have not found any sources for the Camera in the DFW area.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

21-Jan-2008, 13:29
About twelve years ago, KEH (out of Atlanta) still had a store in Dallas. I haven't been back since then so I don't know if they are still there. If not, the Atlanta store will be great help. KEH.com will get you to their site, then click on camera store in their tool bar and scroll down to large format. When you enter that, you will have choices of camera bodies, folding cameras, tons of accessories, lenses, etc.

They handle a great rotating stock of used gear in all formats. I've bought several things over the years and always been quite pleased. The one return that I had to make was handled extremely well, so I have no complaints.

In my experience, their items that are listed as bargain are far better in appearance and performance than this rating would indicate.

21-Jan-2008, 13:39
Midwest Photo Exchange is another good outfit, they've got pretty good selection.


steve simmons
21-Jan-2008, 14:28
Here is some reading that might be helpful

Using the View Camera that I wrote
User's Guide to the View Camera by Jim Stone
Large Format Nature Photography by Jack Dykinga

check your local library

The Free Articles Section on the View Camera web site


Before buyng a camera it is helpful to decide what range of lenses you will be using, what subjects you will be photographing, and what features will be important to you. Don't worry about brand names, it's features, features, features.

good luck

steve simmons

Ron Marshall
21-Jan-2008, 14:44
The front page of LF photo has reviews of many 4x5 cameras:


Richard M. Coda
21-Jan-2008, 14:57
Give Rod Klukas a call at Photomark in Phoenix, AZ. He is a tremendous source of knowledge and can get you almost anything you need. He is also an Arca-Swiss dealer. If you can afford one... they are really nice!

Photomark - 2202 E. McDowell Road, Phoenix, Arizona 85006
(800) 777-6627 or (602) 244-1133

or email: retail@photomark.com

Tell him Rich Coda sent you.

John Kasaian
21-Jan-2008, 16:43
All the above and Jim at Mid West Photo. And don't rule out Craig's List.

Scott Knowles
21-Jan-2008, 20:07
I can't add much more from what Steve said, just read a lot about the cameras, lenses, process, work, etc., before you buy anything and if you can get your hands on some just to try them out in stores or wherever, great. I would only add one more book, Stoebel's View Camera Technique. To the laughter of some, ok many, I keep a thinking out loud dialog about my first year in 4x5 photography (http://www.wsrphoto.com/lfbloglist.html). I've found it's good writing thoughts to go back and discover you're repeating yourself or learning something new.

Oh, one final thought. Money. Set yourself a total budget, write a checklist, and parse the budget out to the items. You'll be surprised how quickly the budget gets lost or busted. And I actually bought my first camera (Horseman HD) from a member here.

Good luck. Once you start, you won't look back and see the world and your photography differently.

21-Jan-2008, 22:18
The most important part of Large Format Photography is not the equipment, but the attitude.

Kirk Fry
21-Jan-2008, 23:10
All above good advice, especially the reading part. An old CC401 gray or black Calumet can be had for ~100. They are great learning cameras. They will do about everything and are built like tanks. They are metal monorails. Buy one nomalish lens 135-210 mm and play. After you shoot 200 sheets of film you will known if you really want to splash serious money into more gear. You also need film holders, dark cloth, tripod, loupe, and light meter. I still have my CC-401 and use it after 30 years. K