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View Full Version : Have 4x5...BUT want to go larger



77seriesiii
15-Jun-2009, 09:30
Ok so here goes. I have a 4x5 toyo field camera (well ok 2 but different story) and I have discovered this urge to go larger and I am trying to figure out how large should I go. One thought is If you are going to go big go BIG. Having never shot anything larger than 4x5 how different are the large formats? Weight right now is a partial issue but I am young(ish) and can still cart around 50+ pounds on the back (dont like and will grump but doable). There is a 14x17 still available w/in the forum (may have sold by now) there is film costs, what size lens, etc that I am starting to recognize as not knowing the answers. so what are some considerations about ULF that as a 4x5 shooter I am not aware of but really need to be.

Thanks for the help and if there are links on this in the forum let me know. I did look but I am not sure if I know what I am asking yet.

Erick

venchka
15-Jun-2009, 11:32
Welcome to the Asylum. Visiting hours are from ....

I can only speak for myself. I had an opportunity to spend a few minutes behind Clay Harmon's 7x17 camera. Habit forming for sure.

Price the film. Price the holders. Holders can cost more than lenses. Price a good contact frame. If you have the resources, go for it.

Make sure you have the room to process the film as well.

Ken Lee
15-Jun-2009, 11:50
What Wayne said, plus:

Try to hook up with someone who has a really big camera. Compensate them for their time, and go shooting with them, process the film together, and make a print together. As they say about cars... Take one for a test-drive. Otherwise, how will you know ?

In addition, try see some prints made with big cameras, and compare them to those made with smaller cameras.

John Kasaian
15-Jun-2009, 12:22
8x10 is a good step up in size. Film holders and film is considerably less that 11x14 or ULF sizes plus the gear is more manageable (heh-heh-heh!) Plenty of good cameras & lenses are available (a few 4x5 lenses cover 8x10 quite nicely so you just might have a head start after a fashion)

Paul Metcalf
15-Jun-2009, 12:31
Other than an "urge" you haven't said why you're thinking of larger. At 4x5, you're already into very high quality imagery, so other reasons might be....? Contact printing (4x5 is fun for contact printing but prints are, of course, small) maybe? Format change (which would mean you would avoid 8x10 since it's the same format)? Too much excess cash?

I stopped at 8x10 because I wanted to contact print, and after matting and framing the picture is at 16x20 which is the largest (so far) final product I'm looking for. (I've also enlarged to 11x14 with 16x20 framing, so 11x14 "might" be in my future. Might. Maybe).

Vaughn
15-Jun-2009, 12:34
8x10 is a good size, but not ULF...it is sort of a compromise between size and affordability/availability of film and equipment. 8x10 prints do not have a huge presences on a large wall, but are large enough for upfront and personal. 8x10 negs do have the possibilty of being enlarged.

My 8x10 camera pack is ~45 pounds (several lenses and 6 holders), plus another 17 lbs for the tripod. Add more weight for food and water. One could get a lightweight system and knock 10 to 15 pounds off of that without too much trouble (just $) -- and a lightweight 7x17 system, such as Ritter's might weigh no more than my present 8x10 system (assuming carrying 6 holders).

The larger the camera format, the longer the "normal" lens is. The longer the lens, the less depth of field one has (everything else being equal). Shorter lenses that cover ULF are there, but usually heavy and expensive. This is not a limitation, but just something that might affect the type of images one takes.

Just some quick thoughts...

Vaughn

Ron Marshall
15-Jun-2009, 12:39
As others have said, 8x10 is a reasonable step up. The gear is not much more than 4x5, it is possible to contact print and if it is not big enough you should then have a better idea of how much bigger you want to go.

Donald Miller
15-Jun-2009, 12:54
I have owned and used everything up to 12X20 at one time or another. Today I use 5X7 and enlarge the negatives. I am pleased with the print quality. I found that shooting big cameras and contact printing was in many ways a lot more work than using smaller cameras. A lot depends on what you want. In my experience bigger is not necessarily better.

Schlepping a 12X20 around at my age is a real pain in the ass (both figuratively and literally)...that can get in the way of making good images.

77seriesiii
15-Jun-2009, 13:44
wow, walk away for a few minutes and...

Paul the primary reason for going larger than 4x5 is print size. I do not have an enlarger but I do have room for one but getting one while living in Germany is proving a bit more difficult than I thought. I want to print from the negative and to get contact prints from a large negative will be user and display better than a 4x5. I wont be getting rid of my 4x5 as I do like shooting with it. Is this the sign of needing to check into the asylum? I had thought about the 8x10 but why only double the 4x5 go BIG!! :p is there a name for this affliction? I start shaking around cameras and desiring more. Is that bad?

I will have to re-read the responses to see what else I have missed.

Erick

Donald Miller
15-Jun-2009, 13:52
wow, walk away for a few minutes and...

Paul the primary reason for going larger than 4x5 is print size. I do not have an enlarger but I do have room for one but getting one while living in Germany is proving a bit more difficult than I thought. I want to print from the negative and to get contact prints from a large negative will be user and display better than a 4x5. I wont be getting rid of my 4x5 as I do like shooting with it. Is this the sign of needing to check into the asylum? I had thought about the 8x10 but why only double the 4x5 go BIG!! :p is there a name for this affliction? I start shaking around cameras and desiring more. Is that bad?

I will have to re-read the responses to see what else I have missed.

Erick

Erick, Qn 8X10 (80 sq inches) negative is four times as large as 4X5 (20 sq inches).

ic-racer
15-Jun-2009, 13:53
I consider 4x5 to be like high-end medium format. After dealing with 8x10 those 4x5 negatives really start to look tiny.

Yes, 8x10 is 'only' twice as big, but that gets you from an 8x10 enlargement (from 4x5) to a big 16x20 (from 8x10).

You will never know if going bigger is worthwhile for you until you try it. 8x10 and ULF equipment holds its value, so you don't have much to loose if you find it too cumbersome.

Archphoto
15-Jun-2009, 14:26
If you can aford 8x10 film-wise, it is a great format that does not much work diferent than 4x5, at least my experence with my Sinar P2 4x5/8x10 set.

If you have a 4x5 mono-rail and want a 8x10 Field than it will be a bit diferent, but the same would aply to 4x5 mono versus 4x5 Field.

See if you can rent one for a weekend or so, it will give you more and more realistic info working with one than all our talk together, not to be rude or wanting to hurt anyones feelings here.

Peter

venchka
15-Jun-2009, 14:41
Did anyone mention whole plate? Bigger than 4x5. Easier to haul around than 8x10. Contact prints are a good size.

77seriesiii
15-Jun-2009, 15:42
Wayne,

What is whole plate?

./e

Charlie Strack
15-Jun-2009, 16:54
For me, 5x7 seems the optimum size. Here's why:

1. 5x7 cameras are not much bigger nor much heavier than 4x5. 8x10 cameras are a lot bigger and a lot heavier.

2. Many 4x5 lenses will cover 5x7.

3. I can hold a single sheet of 4x5 cupped in 1 hand; I can hold a single sheet of 5x7 cupped in one hand; I cannot handle 8x10 unless I use both hands. So loading 5x7 is about the same as loading 4x5.

4. There are 5x7 enlargers available for reasonable amounts of money; some can be shipped for less than a small fortune; not the same for 8x10.

5. While a 4x5 contact print seems small to me, a 5x7 contact print seems a decent size.

6. I like the 5x7 aspect ratio.

So that's why I went for 5x7. Yes, there are limited films available, but there are enough for me, and if necessary I can cut down from 8x10.

Charlie Strack

Archphoto
15-Jun-2009, 17:53
Despite the fact that I realy like 5x7, how much do you realy gain ?

The surface for 4x5 is 20 sq inches, for 5x7 35 sq inches and for 8x10 80 sq inches, give or take one or two.

On the weight issue: it would be nice to have a 4x5 camera that you can change the back-frame and bellows only on, like the Sinar and some others.
Some 4x5 mono's are as heavy as a 8x10 Folder.

Lenses: yes, some, I have a 115 Grandagon that covers 5x7, the longer lenses will cover the format they were intended for and downwards, like a 300mm Symar will cover 8x10, 5x7 and 4x5.
The same with a 360, 480 and anything inbetween and larger.
A 210 Symar will cover 5x7 and 4x5, the 210W will cover 8x10, 5x7 and 4x5, but will not fit in the 4x5 Shen Hao and others with the same lens boards.

By the way I have one full plate tale board camera that needs to be restored and one comming up, allso for restauration, but it is as heavy as a heavy as a light 8x10 Folder.

On the enlarger side: I think you are right most of the time: a 8x10 enlarger is heavy and BIG, so you will need room for it, but let's be honest about it: a 4x5 Chromega is a little beautifull beast aswell.
Sometimes, when you are realy lucky, they can be picked-up for free, esp in the US, just keep your eye's open, I have seen some on the APUG forum in their threads.

Peter

Vaughn
15-Jun-2009, 20:33
Wayne, What is whole plate?

6.5"x8.5".

I had a 4x5 Raja wood field camera -- a copy of a Deardorf Special. I got a 5x7 Deardorf back that fit right on -- a nice way to move up one size.

Songyun
15-Jun-2009, 21:43
If larger than 810 which format would you go? 1114 or 1220? I have a friend once mentioned to me that 1220 is probably the limit for one man operation.

Donald Miller
16-Jun-2009, 01:01
If I was younger and had my heart set on contact printing...if money was not an obstacle, I would have Ritter build me a 10X16 camera and AWB build the holders. This is a size that no one has used yet it has the same aspect ratio as the 12X20 (very near the golden mean...which I find particularly attractive).

12X20 is one half the size of a 20X24. The 10X16 is one half the size of a 16X20 and also twice the size of an 8X10. This would be a camera that is manageable and would produce contact prints that would be much more noteworthy than 8X10's. Film could be cut down from 16X20...some film mfgs may be open to producing in that size. I checked with Bergger some years ago and they would produce it for me.

Back when I strongly considered doing this I thought that what I would do is convert an old NFS Deardorff I had by building a new back and having Western Bellows build the bellows. The 28 inches of bellows draw of the Deardorff would be adequate for a 355 G Claron or a 450 Nikkor M both of which would cover the format.

Just my thoughts on the matter.

venchka
16-Jun-2009, 05:03
With Mike Castles and Matt Magruder's kind permission I hope...

Mike and his Richard Ritter 8x10/7x11 in the foreground. Matt is in the river with his 12x20 Korona. Notice the darkslide Matt is holding.

http://www.apug.org/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=12269&d=1225136045

Thanks Vaughn.

Archphoto
16-Jun-2009, 05:20
Nothing wrong with that :D

Peter

hmf
16-Jun-2009, 06:26
Have you considered the number of negatives that you will be able to produce using a larger format camera, and the effect that will have on the quality of your images?

I am not talking about clarity, tone and detail, but composition, subject and interest. Many will argue that larger cameras make one slow down and really study a scene before exposing your film, which can be a plus, leading to fewer poorly seen images. However, the flip side is that big, heavy cameras, lenses and filmholders sometimes get left at home, and risky compositions are sometimes not made when film and processing costs become extreme, leading to safe (can I say boring?) pictures that have been made before.

I recently put my 4X5 and 5X7 cameras aside for a project shot with a hand-held medium format camera. My output went up dramatically, and so did the number of pictures that I enjoy making and showing, and that others seem to show genuine interest in viewing.

Just a thought. Best of luck with your decision.

Jeff Bannow
16-Jun-2009, 11:56
Here's a comparison for ya - me with my Chamonix 4x5 and John Powers with his 7x17. 7x17 is a nice format, but it is big!

raucousimages
16-Jun-2009, 13:07
Look for a Toyo 810M. Good camera and your 158mm Toyo boards will fit or if you have Toyo 110mm boards for a field camera they will fit with the use of an adaptor available from Toyo.

Dave Aharonian
16-Jun-2009, 13:31
For what its worth, here's my 2 cents worth. I was shooting 4x5 and after learning platinum printing bought a Shen Hao 8x10 to make some nice big negs. I found the camera too big to shlep around outdoors and ended up going to a Canham 5x7. Now I shoot only 5x7 and I love it. The negs are bigger, though not hugely so, and like Don I make enlarged (digital) negs for platinum printing. I really like to aspect ratio of 5x7 and all my old lenses work with 5x7. For me, I realized that I simply don't need a negative bigger than 5x7. The quality I get out of scans on a microtek 1800f are very, very good and drum scans are superb. I admit, I still dream about having a 7x17 because it would just be so cool to have, but its so impractical for me that I know it would only gather dust.

77seriesiii
16-Jun-2009, 14:28
Based on some recommendations on checking out Ritter cameras I just did. Is there much difference in quality between Ritter and KB Canham cameras? just based on pictures, never having held either, they both look impressive but one is less expensive than the other, interesting and a bit of fuel on the fire. Has anyone used both and/or have opinions on either camera manufacturer?

On how much larger than 8x10, I am not sure. I do like the panoramic format so 7x17, 8x20, etc are very interesting. The factor that the film is more expensive than 4x5 is a factor as it concerns taking shots risk/interesting vs sure thing/seen it/done it aspect. For me, it would be the journey. I know our first few shots probably would be boring of something both my wife and I know but as we become comfortable and use the camera it becomes 2nd nature to cart it around with us on trips/walks. The walks in the area were initiated to walk/tire the dog (wheaten terrier) who is active and those walks started with digital only camera, then a medium format was added and now a 4x5. the 4x5 does slow the walk a bit but we trade out, one continues occupying the dog and the other takes the shot. If we ignore the dog he will run by my wife and attempt to grab the camera strap so at that point we know we have a bored dog and almost all photography ceases and playing w/ him commences.

Dave we use the same scanner and print all work to date on an Epson 7600.

I do want to contact print and complete the photo to negative to print cycle.

Thanks for the ideas/help!

Erick

venchka
16-Jun-2009, 14:33
Mike Castles owns the new Richard Ritter 8x10. It is obscenely light and obscenely rigid. I picked it up and I would swear that it's lighter than my Zone VI 4x5. Mike has had his camera long enough to give you an honest opinion. Mike is a member here.

ic-racer
16-Jun-2009, 14:37
Here's a comparison for ya - me with my Chamonix 4x5 and John Powers with his 7x17. 7x17 is a nice format, but it is big!

That comparison reminds me of the chickens they were serving in Eraserhead :)

GPS
16-Jun-2009, 14:45
Have you considered the number of negatives that you will be able to produce using a larger format camera, and the effect that will have on the quality of your images?

I am not talking about clarity, tone and detail, but composition, subject and interest. Many will argue that larger cameras make one slow down and really study a scene before exposing your film, which can be a plus, leading to fewer poorly seen images. However, the flip side is that big, heavy cameras, lenses and filmholders sometimes get left at home, and risky compositions are sometimes not made when film and processing costs become extreme, leading to safe (can I say boring?) pictures that have been made before.

I recently put my 4X5 and 5X7 cameras aside for a project shot with a hand-held medium format camera. My output went up dramatically, and so did the number of pictures that I enjoy making and showing, and that others seem to show genuine interest in viewing.

Just a thought. Best of luck with your decision.

What you describe is the reason why photographic cameras developed as they did in the history of photography. After all, the ability to catch the moment became generally more important than the film format. The large public didn't want to fiddle with perspective controls - they wanted to catch the moment...

John Kasaian
17-Jun-2009, 02:29
Test the waters super cheap! Make yourself a 16x20 pinhole camera and shoot paper negatives (MG RC matte enlarging paper should work for you) or APHS and let us know how it goes

Archphoto
17-Jun-2009, 03:32
@ hmf and gps:

Changing a camera for a while now and then can improve the way you look and therefore your photography a lot, not technicaly but mentaly.

Peter

GPS
17-Jun-2009, 03:41
@ hmf and gps:

Changing a camera for a while now and then can improve the way you look and therefore your photography a lot, not technicaly but mentaly.

Peter

Archphoto,
is far from being just a mental aspect - quite the contrary, is first of all the technical aspect. Many pictures cannot be taken with view cameras only because of their technical constrains (the opposite is also true). To have full freedom in photography you need different types of cameras. Much could be said about the boring light so prevalent in LF amateur photography...

Archphoto
17-Jun-2009, 07:47
GPS,

You are right, that's why I have digital, RB 67, SL66 and 4x5" and 8x10".
Each camera has it's own "territory" so to speak.
Changing camera's means changing moods, changing subjects to photograph and so on.
It is what life and photography makes interesting and keeps the drive alive.

Peter

Monty McCutchen
17-Jun-2009, 08:03
You mean they make cameras smaller than 20 x 24???

Now ya'll tell me.


Monty

Don Hutton
17-Jun-2009, 08:51
Monty

Love that you're always using that beast - just awesome (and I suppose as a result, you save on your gym membership)....!

RichardRitter
17-Jun-2009, 08:59
Yes the 8 x 10 camera is lighter then the Zone VI 4 x 5. My poor old Zone VI 4 x 5 has be sitting on the shelf for the past 2 years collecting dust. I been working with 8 x 10 and bigger and I can say one thing printing is a whole lot easier with bigger negatives.

GPS
17-Jun-2009, 09:53
GPS,

You are right, that's why I have digital, RB 67, SL66 and 4x5" and 8x10".
Each camera has it's own "territory" so to speak.
Changing camera's means changing moods, changing subjects to photograph and so on.
It is what life and photography makes interesting and keeps the drive alive.

Peter

Sure, and very correctly you mentioned even the digital! I don't want to hijack the thread but it's highly interesting to see, how the construction/design of cameras followed the characteristic of the light sensitive medium and changed with it - from the very beginning up to our time. The artistic expression followed then the trend in its own way too.

Bob McCarthy
17-Jun-2009, 09:56
Yes the 8 x 10 camera is lighter then the Zone VI 4 x 5. My poor old Zone VI 4 x 5 has be sitting on the shelf for the past 2 years collecting dust. I been working with 8 x 10 and bigger and I can say one thing printing is a whole lot easier with bigger negatives.

Richard, Are you going to step down in size to 5x7 or 4x5. Not reducing back but smaller camera.

4 lb 5x7 any one!

Bob

Chris Strobel
17-Jun-2009, 11:07
I am trying to figure out how large should I go.

Erick

Hows your back?

Archphoto
17-Jun-2009, 11:37
Enough money to hire a caddy ?

Gem Singer
17-Jun-2009, 12:46
We used to have a saying at the Marina, "you don't judge the quality of a man by the size of his boat".

The same saying holds true for cameras.

77seriesiii
17-Jun-2009, 19:18
funny you should ask about the back. I used to be a helicopter pilot for the US Army and had a 'oops' that eventually sent me packing. Fast forward a few years and I am much better shape and having 50+ pounds of pack on my back actually helps, keeps me from slouching. Short version, back is good and weight of a large format camera would be welcome.

For the large format film, non-standard versions, how painful is that to order. Keeping in mind that I'll probably miss this year's Ilford order. Are the other film companies just as easy to get film?

./e

77seriesiii
17-Jun-2009, 19:20
caddy...who needs a caddy when you have a sherpa...oh wait that's me. ;-)

./e

Vaughn
17-Jun-2009, 19:39
...I am much better shape and having 50+ pounds of pack on my back actually helps, keeps me from slouching.. .

When my lower back is hurting me, the hip belt of my 45 to 50 pound 8x10 pack actually supports my lower back and it feels better with the pack on than it does off.

Vaughn

timparkin
18-Jun-2009, 08:04
When my lower back is hurting me, the hip belt of my 45 to 50 pound 8x10 pack actually supports my lower back and it feels better with the pack on than it does off.

Vaughn

I had an accident with my back 8 years ago and crushed two vertebrae and 3 discs. After having one vertebrae replaced with a cage and fused with those either side I'm understandably wary of my back.

However, I use a Pro Trekker, do the belt strap up so that the whole weight is on my hips (almost zero on my shoulders so no spinal compression) and I cope fine. The main problem is being *really* careful putting it on and taking it off.

My back is usually better for walking with my rucksack (although my Plantar fasciitis isn't!)..

Tim

wfwhitaker
18-Jun-2009, 08:41
...I have a 4x5 toyo field camera (well ok 2 but different story) and I have discovered this urge to go larger and I am trying to figure out how large should I go....

Go as big as you want to contact print. Beyond that it becomes difficult to make an argument for larger than 4x5. If you have this burning desire as many of us do to use bigger cameras, keep in mind that all the negative aspects compound nonlinearly as you move up in format size. Weight, cost, film availability, tripod size, darkroom size, negative storage issues, etc. Trails become steeper, even sometimes impassable. It's amazing.

One recommendation I'll offer is to try 8x10 before you commit to larger sizes. Much of what you deal with with ULF is there for you with 8x10. But being a more common format, you'll find the road smoother than jumping directly into something like 14x17. Availability and cost are still within reason with 8x10.

Beautiful images are possible with big negatives. But they're also possible with small negatives. It's what you put into it that counts. You can buy a lot of 4x5 film for what a 14x17 camera will cost you. And you can make a 4x5 kit as heavy as you want, too.

As for myself, I still haven't decided.

rfesk
18-Jun-2009, 10:10
I use 4X5 most often and also 5X7. Last year I purchased a Century Universal 8X10 thinking I may try that. My Universal weighs about 11 lbs and is really compact for a 8X10 but it is huge compared to the 5X7's I have had. I haven't even taken it out in the field yet even though I have filmholders, mounted lenses and film in the freezer.
I suggest that you try a 8X10 first before going larger.

As for me, I have decided I would rather have a negative that I can enlarge to at least 11X14 (if desired) than a larger negative that can only be contact printed. And, I already own a 4X5 and a 5X7 enlarger.

77seriesiii
18-Jun-2009, 16:09
I think the ability to enlarge to larger size is what has driven me to want/need a larger camera. I dont have the luxury of a 4x5 enlarger, have the space, not the kit and the kit is proving elusive in Germany. I have the room to develop the negatives and in turn the room to develop the photograph, just have to buy film/paper, trays and yep the camera. But the hardest part has been deciding on the camera.

./e

soeren
18-Jun-2009, 23:20
I think the ability to enlarge to larger size is what has driven me to want/need a larger camera. I dont have the luxury of a 4x5 enlarger, have the space, not the kit and the kit is proving elusive in Germany. I have the room to develop the negatives and in turn the room to develop the photograph, just have to buy film/paper, trays and yep the camera. But the hardest part has been deciding on the camera.

./e

and the kit is proving elusive in Germany
What???
Erick, Please have a look at the German E-bay. I just had a quick look at it and saw 2 (atleast) L1200 (4X5") a couple of L138 (13X18cm), a teufel (13x18cm) and a CLS 301 (8X10"). So to say LF enlarger are elusive in Germany is a bit far fetched. They might not be common but its not imposible to find some really good deals. In DK large format is less common but even here Enlarger can be found for little money as my D3 (4X5") that came with 3 lenses, negholders, easel, grainfocusser (a really good one) lighttable and some other stuff for 140€. Maybe not cheap but I found it to be a good price.
Best regards

Diane Maher
19-Jun-2009, 12:41
For the large format film, non-standard versions, how painful is that to order. Keeping in mind that I'll probably miss this year's Ilford order. Are the other film companies just as easy to get film?

./e

The places that order the film from either Ilford or Kodak will probably order some extra film outside of pre-orders. Keep in mind that the larger you go (above 8x10), the more likely you are to be limited in which emulsions are available.

I shoot mainly 6 x 8 (whole plate), 5x12 and 8x10. My poor 4x5 doesn't get used much anymore. I also have a folding 5x7, but found that I don't really care for that format. I didn't think the contact prints were quite big enough.

ode to veeck
20-Jun-2009, 15:34
I would go to 8x10 first and try it for a bit before going the more exotic and extreme routes (as if 8x10 isn't already lol). You will find out if you're in it or not vs the overhard and challenges (focal depth of field, pure weight of everying, availability of film printing, enlarging etc).

After a decade of a ton of 4x5 work, I spent about a year shooting with the 8x10 mosty in frustration and was about to give it up for good until I was sitting around at christmas looking at some incredible velvia landscapes with a good loupe that I had shot a few months earlier in the fall mist in the mts of Japan and then suddenly being blown away and permanently hooked to the 8x10 which I've been using for about 15 years for transparency landscapes and B+W portraiture.

When I bumped into my buddy Charlier Cramer at a show a couple of months after my "revelation", he smiled and asked "what have you been up to?". When I told him I had fallen in love with 8x10, a very serious look came over his face and he sincerely said: "I feel very sorry for you." LOL