PDA

View Full Version : Who is using LF commercially?



Photojeep
18-Feb-2010, 20:19
Hello,
I am trying to gather some info about how many people are using a view camera in their commercial photography business. The format doesn't matter. I'm trying to get a feel for how many commercial photographers are using view cameras.

Thank you,
Randy

Kirk Gittings
18-Feb-2010, 20:20
I am using a view camera solely for my personal work these days. All commercial work is done digitally.

B.S.Kumar
18-Feb-2010, 20:26
I use a view camera with film (mostly 120 color negative), a Betterlight scan back or a 22MP back for everything.

Kumar

darr
18-Feb-2010, 20:36
I am now using an Arca M-Line 2 with a P45 back.

r.e.
18-Feb-2010, 20:37
As part of this question, and with the permission of Photojeep, could I ask whether anyone has run into magazines lately that want negatives or chromes or an assurance that digital files are based on negatives or chromes. I ask because a friend who is a young architect in New York tells me that his impression, and he stresses that it is an impression, is that some publications want this for reasons relating to image integrity.

Walter Calahan
18-Feb-2010, 20:52
Unfortunately the last assignment shooting LF was 3 years ago. The client called saying "I am so bored with how digital looks. Can you shoot this assignment on your 8x10?"

Oh the joy in my heart that day.

Gordon Moat
18-Feb-2010, 21:06
I mostly use a 4x5, though sometimes rollfilm, and more rarely now 35mm. I own one digital set-up, though I have rented digital backs a few times. What I feels helps with the 4x5 is the movements, and the view on the ground glass. It is less about using film cameras, and more about the ergonomics of the gear I use, because none of my gear gets in the way of my creative vision. I have never delivered film to a client, only post processed (usually ready to print/publish) digital files. I also have over fifteen (15) years PhotoShop experience. I am relatively new to commercial photography, and graduated with a BFA (painting actually) in 1998, so I had no long term experience with view cameras to compel me into using them.

Rather than what I use, I though you might find it interesting to look at the work of a few large format using commercial advertising photographers:

http://www.matscordt.com/ - who also uses Medium Format film cameras

http://www.olafveltman.com/

http://www.dananeibert.com/ - old Crown Graphic, to Linhof, and more recently a digital back set-up

http://www.chrisgordaneer.com/ - bit more DSLR lately

http://www.andric.biz/ - mostly 4x5

Anyway, that's enough for now. Most of these guys are high end shooters, and rarely ever talk gear, nor mention gear. It is only from meeting a few of them, or reading interviews, that I have found out what they use. All of them deliver digital files, which means scanning. Add in the cost of scanning, or running a scanner, to your equipment expenses, and your starting set-up could cost as much as a digital only set-up. However, when you figure the fees some of these guys command, and that they are not all old guys, you might wonder why these use gear some consider obsolete. The answer is in the results, because that is what matters. Any camera is between you and the results, so if you find gear that works with you, use it.

Ciao!

Gordon Moat Photography (http://www.gordonmoat.com)

cjbroadbent
19-Feb-2010, 00:28
I am, this week. Eight boxes of 4x5 Ektachrome 64T.
Because:
Long exposures.
Perspective control without interpolation.
Drum scan quality.
Thats what I'm telling my client.
In fact my digital back is away having the scratched filter replaced.
There are no polaroids and the lab now takes all night to process E6 so no lunchtime tests. I'm having to break the sets without seeing results.
Maybe this is going to cost me reshooting Satuday.

Greg Blank
19-Feb-2010, 05:31
Why don't you proof with the digital back? At least to check light positions and general color balance.


I am, this week. Eight boxes of 4x5 Ektachrome 64T.
Because:
Long exposures.
Perspective control without interpolation.
Drum scan quality.
Thats what I'm telling my client.
In fact my digital back is away having the scratched filter replaced.
There are no polaroids and the lab now takes all night to process E6 so no lunchtime tests. I'm having to break the sets without seeing results.
Maybe this is going to cost me reshooting Satuday.

BetterSense
19-Feb-2010, 07:07
You are shooting 4x5 color so why not use FP100C45?

Kirk Gittings
19-Feb-2010, 09:26
As part of this question, and with the permission of Photojeep, could I ask whether anyone has run into magazines lately that want negatives or chromes or an assurance that digital files are based on negatives or chromes. I ask because a friend who is a young architect in New York tells me that his impression, and he stresses that it is an impression, is that some publications want this for reasons relating to image integrity.

This is nonsense in my experience. I do assignments for or sell stock to architecture magazines, architecture book publishers and architects from all over the world and no one has mentioned anything like that, ever. Heck, if they wanted that kind of assurance with digital they could simply demand the raw file (and strip it of the xmp sidecar file) instead of the processed file. No one ever has.

Every time I hear one of these statements about the so called integrity of film, I wonder, don't people realize that we retouched and composited film and prints before digital? It was slow and expensive, but commonly done. Hell, Hedrich-Blessing (the world famous architectural photographers in Chicago) had a staff of transparency retouchers.

Gene McCluney
19-Feb-2010, 10:43
I continue to use large format color transparencies as my main capture medium for my main client...that is what they prefer, and I keep an E-6 processing line going. I use on average about 100 sheets of 4x5 a month....I have to mail order all my supplies, and have for over 20 years.

BetterSense
19-Feb-2010, 10:52
I have to ask, because I have no contact with the commercial photography market. What kind of clients are we talking about? I don't want names. I'm just wondering what kind of industries it is that pays for photography that could justify the use of a LF camera? I guess there is fashion photographers. People that need pictures for menus and food catalogs and stuff. But every professional photographer I have seen in the last, well, ever has been digital. All the wedding, highschool yearbook, lowend portrature market just doesn't pay well enough to ever use LF. I just don't know who it is that buys this photography, but it's fascinating to me. My conception of photography for money is dime-a-dozen digitography, fine art photography, and I don't have any grasp of the middle market for skilled photography. All my photography books I have reflect the photographic market in the '70s or '80s.

vinny
19-Feb-2010, 11:09
You are shooting 4x5 color so why not use FP100C45?

useless for long exposures.

Don Dudenbostel
19-Feb-2010, 11:28
I use LF film from time to time for some of my architectural clients. When extreme coverage and movements are required that's when I use it. The 72 SA XL on 4x5 is a hard combo to match with digital and shift lenses. Fortunate for me some of my clients take the approach that I'm the expert and I know the best way to achieve the best end product.

Kirk Gittings
19-Feb-2010, 11:46
I use LF film from time to time for some of my architectural clients. When extreme coverage and movements are required that's when I use it. The 72 SA XL on 4x5 is a hard combo to match with digital and shift lenses. Fortunate for me some of my clients take the approach that I'm the expert and I know the best way to achieve the best end product.

Don,

I don't own one yet, and haven't tested it either (I have little use for superwide lenses-I don't see that way), but the new Canon 17 T/S by the accounts of all the professional architectural photographers I have seen is an extraordinary lens.

See this by Rainer Viertlblock, one of the top APs in Europe.


http://luminous-landscape.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=39838&hl=canon+17+tilt+shift

Gordon Moat
19-Feb-2010, 13:00
I have to ask, because I have no contact with the commercial photography market. What kind of clients are we talking about? I don't want names. I'm just wondering what kind of industries it is that pays for photography that could justify the use of a LF camera? I guess there is fashion photographers. People that need pictures for menus and food catalogs and stuff. But every professional photographer I have seen in the last, well, ever has been digital. All the wedding, highschool yearbook, lowend portrature market just doesn't pay well enough to ever use LF. I just don't know who it is that buys this photography, but it's fascinating to me. My conception of photography for money is dime-a-dozen digitography, fine art photography, and I don't have any grasp of the middle market for skilled photography. All my photography books I have reflect the photographic market in the '70s or '80s.

Check some of the links in my post earlier:

http://www.largeformatphotography.info/forum/showpost.php?p=560697&postcount=7

I suppose most people in the public think wedding photographer, or high school portraits, when the term commercial photographer is mentioned. While that, and photojournalist, are likely heavily populated segments, there are more genre of photography professionals. Fashion photography is an obvious one, though only a handful seem to be using large format, or capturing on film. Advertising is one of the overall highest paying segments.

I think the middle ground is disappearing, due to companies getting their own people to produce images, crowd-sourcing, stock images, and beginning photographers who don't know to charge enough to create a sustainable business. It takes more to be a photographer than having an index finger. Unfortunately the marketing of software and cameras has convinced many that they have no need to hire a professional.

I think one approach is to target niche markets, or become more narrow in focus and specialized, obvious examples being food photographers and architecture specialists. Some of my biggest clients are oil services and shipping companies. I've also shot underfunded musicians, adventure and travel companies, product development, education services, restaurants, marketing companies, and investment and venture capital companies. Every segment of business that thinks compelling images will improve their clients views of their products or services, understands the value to them of getting great images. I would like to do more agency work in advertising, though my work is now more corporate direct. Anyway, hope that provides a little insight.

Ciao!

Gordon Moat Photography (http://www.gordonmoat.com)

Gene McCluney
19-Feb-2010, 13:15
I have to ask, because I have no contact with the commercial photography market. What kind of clients are we talking about? I don't want names. I'm just wondering what kind of industries it is that pays for photography that could justify the use of a LF camera? I guess there is fashion photographers. People that need pictures for menus and food catalogs and stuff. But every professional photographer I have seen in the last, well, ever has been digital. All the wedding, highschool yearbook, lowend portrature market just doesn't pay well enough to ever use LF. I just don't know who it is that buys this photography, but it's fascinating to me. My conception of photography for money is dime-a-dozen digitography, fine art photography, and I don't have any grasp of the middle market for skilled photography. All my photography books I have reflect the photographic market in the '70s or '80s.

I am shooting catalog and brochure photos of industrial equipment for a major manufacturer of such equipment. They have a library of 4x5 transparencies of all their products which I continue to add to as they design new products. Because they have multi-uses for the images, from catalog illustration to trade show images to posters, they want the high quality a 4x5 Transparency gives, and since their products are "durable" and not updated with new models every year, the transparencies have a long service life providing the basis for illustrations in their literature for many years in some cases. I also shoot a digital capture of each shot, and provide digital as well as film images, or I scan the transparency to provide my digital product.

bvstaples
19-Feb-2010, 13:18
OK, here's a perspective from a Print Production Manager:

A majority of the work I do is catalog and direct mail. Lots and lots of product shots. But I also produce occasional coffee table books, reference books, and fine art prints. All of these require images, and whether itís a series of toilet seats Iím selling, or a coffee table book on the history of a certain horse breeding society, they all require the images to be digital for efficient and cost effective reproduction. So, I'm rarely concerned with the camera that's being used, but I am concerned with the format the image is delivered in. From a print production perspective, files must be digital. I don't really care if you shoot film (35mm, MF or LF) and scan and process, or shoot raw digital and process. What I do care about is getting the images I need [i.e., product images] in the format I need [color-correct CMYK TIFFs], within the budget [$$$] and schedule [tick-tock, tick-tock] I need.

In todayís budget tight, time crunched world, getting film is not an option for me. The resources to scan, process, and provide files for me are becoming scarcer, and hence more costly, and donít generally fit any production schedule I work with. And photogs that shoot film usually cannot meet the schedules I need, because they encounter the same issues I do. Even my fine art print work is done digitally, though I do have a resource that utilizes a 4x5 Cambo and digital back (for those really really large pieces of art).

So this is not to say that LF doesnít have a place in commercial work, but for a majority of the commercial work being done, LF isnít the best choice.

My dos centavosÖ


Brian

r.e.
19-Feb-2010, 14:54
This is nonsense in my experience. I do assignments for or sell stock to architecture magazines, architecture book publishers and architects from all over the world and no one has mentioned anything like that, ever. Heck, if they wanted that kind of assurance with digital they could simply demand the raw file (and strip it of the xmp sidecar file) instead of the processed file. No one ever has.

Every time I hear one of these statements about the so called integrity of film, I wonder, don't people realize that we retouched and composited film and prints before digital? It was slow and expensive, but commonly done. Hell, Hedrich-Blessing (the world famous architectural photographers in Chicago) had a staff of transparency retouchers.

The architect to whom I referred wants to photographically record a fairly high end project that he's just completed and raised this issue with me. I'm not qualified to advise him, and your response, which I will pass on, is greatly appreciated.

B.S.Kumar
19-Feb-2010, 15:22
My commercial work, and a lot of my personal work is architectural photography. No one has ever raised the topic of the "integrity of film". They do not tell me what medium I must use. As long as it fits their schedule, and meets their quality requirements, they are happy to go along with my choice - which I make according to the project.

Kumar

Jrewt
19-Feb-2010, 15:49
I shoot mostly medium format film, but if I get enough time and don't have to do the shoot over email- I'll shoot 4x5. We almost never get a preference, just a 'deadline'. So, if I have a little time, it's MF tranny- if I get no time, it's MF digital- and if I get lots of time, it's 4x5.

Jeremy Moore
19-Feb-2010, 17:01
Large format art reproduction using a Betterlight scan back. Just received 24 maps dating back to the 16th century today to scan.

Kirk Gittings
19-Feb-2010, 17:32
My commercial work, and a lot of my personal work is architectural photography. No one has ever raised the topic of the "integrity of film". They do not tell me what medium I must use. As long as it fits their schedule, and meets their quality requirements, they are happy to go along with my choice - which I make according to the project.

Kumar

Nice work on your site there Kumar.

B.S.Kumar
19-Feb-2010, 17:51
Nice work on your site there Kumar.

Thank you, Kirk. At the risk of sounding like a mutual admiration society, I like your work, too.

Kumar

Greg Blank
19-Feb-2010, 17:56
Which is the way it should be. I have heard though that film photography is much more enthusiastically pursued in Japan and for that matter europe. So therefore, there is a stronger market supporting analog equipment. Enlargers, processors etc. What are your perceptions with this regard? It seems ironic to me primarily, since Canon and Nikon are headquartered in Japan.



My commercial work, and a lot of my personal work is architectural photography. No one has ever raised the topic of the "integrity of film". They do not tell me what medium I must use. As long as it fits their schedule, and meets their quality requirements, they are happy to go along with my choice - which I make according to the project.

Kumar

B.S.Kumar
19-Feb-2010, 19:11
Which is the way it should be. I have heard though that film photography is much more enthusiastically pursued in Japan and for that matter europe. So therefore, there is a stronger market supporting analog equipment. Enlargers, processors etc. What are your perceptions with this regard? It seems ironic to me primarily, since Canon and Nikon are headquartered in Japan.

Craftsmanship is highly regarded in Japan, and I think in Europe as well. Therefore the process of accomplishing something is also appreciated, in addition to the accomplishment itself. That's perhaps the reason film photography still flourishes here. Very high quality processing is easy to find, as is film, and Yodobashi has a large section devoted to analog darkroom stuff. In India, from where I come, digital photography has all but eliminated film. In Mumbai, there are only a couple of labs still offering professional quality processing. On a recent visit, I found that 120 film was difficult to find.

In Japan there are lots of ironies! The latest technology co-exists with ancient ways, much like in India.

Kumar

jnantz
19-Feb-2010, 22:06
i am for personal and habs work ..

prado333
20-Feb-2010, 03:40
people who work with large format comercial
Thomas Broening
Frank Ockenfels
Albert Watson
Paolo Roversi
Steven Meisel
Joshua Lutz
Dan Winters
Kwaku alston

Daniele Minetto
20-Feb-2010, 04:28
I continue to use large format color transparencies as my main capture medium for my main client...that is what they prefer, and I keep an E-6 processing line going. I use on average about 100 sheets of 4x5 a month....I have to mail order all my supplies, and have for over 20 years.

How lucky you are.....

Daniele Miinetto

Daniele Minetto
20-Feb-2010, 04:53
OK, here's a perspective from a Print Production Manager:

A majority of the work I do is catalog and direct mail. Lots and lots of product shots. But I also produce occasional coffee table books, reference books, and fine art prints. All of these require images, and whether itís a series of toilet seats Iím selling, or a coffee table book on the history of a certain horse breeding society, they all require the images to be digital for efficient and cost effective reproduction. So, I'm rarely concerned with the camera that's being used, but I am concerned with the format the image is delivered in. From a print production perspective, files must be digital. I don't really care if you shoot film (35mm, MF or LF) and scan and process, or shoot raw digital and process. What I do care about is getting the images I need [i.e., product images] in the format I need [color-correct CMYK TIFFs], within the budget [$$$] and schedule [tick-tock, tick-tock] I need.

In todayís budget tight, time crunched world, getting film is not an option for me. The resources to scan, process, and provide files for me are becoming scarcer, and hence more costly, and donít generally fit any production schedule I work with. And photogs that shoot film usually cannot meet the schedules I need, because they encounter the same issues I do. Even my fine art print work is done digitally, though I do have a resource that utilizes a 4x5 Cambo and digital back (for those really really large pieces of art).

So this is not to say that LF doesnít have a place in commercial work, but for a majority of the commercial work being done, LF isnít the best choice.

My dos centavosÖ


Brian

Dear Brian,
I clearly understand you're interested in images ( that's what you need ) but I'm first interested in photography.... no tick-tock tick-tock, but I must admit I'm not a commercial photographer ( unfortunately? )

Daniele Minetto

Henry Ambrose
20-Feb-2010, 07:55
Its been three years for me since I shot any film for money. I do not know of anyone who wants film to scan rather than digital files. I miss using my 4x5 but the medium of choice is a file (as bvstaples wrote). For commercial work, producing anything else is pointless and a huge disadvantage.

David E. Rose
20-Feb-2010, 11:04
I have shot three projects over the last two years with 4x5 film and scanned the results. The work was done for two architect clients that still believed that 4x5 was the way to go. It was enjoyable for me, but a reminder of the challenges of mixed light sources when working with film. I have shot digital for both architects since, and both seem satisfied. I wonder if I will ever shoot 4x5 for an architect again?

Kirk Gittings
20-Feb-2010, 13:47
In the last maybe 2 years, I've had two architects suggest I shoot 4x5 film, one from Boston and one from San Francisco. In both bases I talked them out of it, shot a DSLR, and they were thrilled with the results. I would find film very limiting at this point.

lecarp
20-Feb-2010, 16:13
Here is one, with video. Apparently John is doing some commercial work again.http://www.miracleworkeronbroadway.com/dugdale.php

Rick Tardiff
20-Feb-2010, 17:55
Here is one, with video. Apparently John is doing some commercial work again.http://www.miracleworkeronbroadway.com/dugdale.php

thanks for sharing this, its wonderful. What an inspiration..

Frank Petronio
20-Feb-2010, 20:19
Back in the day, I once had a S@atchi and Sa@tchi art director insist that digital files delivered on SyQuest rendered "smoother" than files from CD-Rs. Probably something to do with thinking a big SyQuest platter (the old 44/88 mb size) was like a vinyl record?

(He's now a CD!)

Honestly I don't get that much work but what I do is because of my work, not because of the camera I use. If somebody crawls up my butt interrogating my equipment choices then it turns me off and I know they're the hacks.

Dirk RŲsler
21-Feb-2010, 07:37
In the old days LF meant high res images and perspectively well-controlled images. LF also meant using film. The old days are gone though and the client or editor doesn't really care as long she receives that high quality image. You'd be a fool to disagree, at least commercially.

The challenge to the LF photographer is to show that there is more to LF than the classical properties. I believe so, but perhaps these aspects are not valued commercially.

r.e.
21-Feb-2010, 08:43
Here is one, with video. Apparently John is doing some commercial work again.http://www.miracleworkeronbroadway.com/dugdale.php

That is remarkable, just plain inspirational.

His web site: http://www.johndugdale.net/

mdd99
22-Feb-2010, 18:33
That is remarkable, just plain inspirational.

His web site: http://www.johndugdale.net/

Put another way, this whole topic goes from hopeless to hopeful.

Ivan J. Eberle
23-Feb-2010, 07:31
I've sometimes wondered whether folks realize that Q.T.'s description on the Large Format Photography.info home page states that this is a:

"Non-commercial community of large format photographers, includes a repository of primers, how-to articles, user's reviews of equipment, and an active discussion forum."

or whether it generally still applies.

But since it did--at its founding, as it still stands described on the home page-- drawing definitive conclusions from this thread seems rather dubious (e.g. commercial photographers largely being excluded).

Thom Bennett
23-Feb-2010, 08:38
I would say I am but not in the traditional sense of delivering film. I am a staff photographer and use a view camera with a MF digital back to photograph products. I use swings, tilts, rise, fall; all the "traditional" aspects of the view camera to photograph the product in front of me. I use Live View (Leaf) to compose, focus, swing, tilt, etc. much like I used to use a ground glass. I consider myself a large format photographer because of the view camera controls I use, not the end product.

Personally, I shoot film (8x10, 4x5) and do a few commissioned portraits throughout the year.

r.e.
23-Feb-2010, 08:45
I've sometimes wondered whether folks realize that Q.T.'s description on the Large Format Photography.info home page states that this is a:

"Non-commercial community of large format photographers, includes a repository of primers, how-to articles, user's reviews of equipment, and an active discussion forum."

or whether it generally still applies.

But since it did--at its founding, as it still stands described on the home page-- drawing definitive conclusions from this thread seems rather dubious (e.g. commercial photographers largely being excluded).

Ivan, your interpretation of that sentence is at odds with the history of this forum, which I've been following for about eight years, and would also seem to be on very thin ground as a matter of grammar. It does not say "community of non-commercial large format photographers", to the benefit of all of us. As I understand it, "non-commercial" means that the site is not for profit. I have not seen a single post on this forum, ever, suggesting that participation by commercial photographers or discussion of commercial photography is, to use your word, "excluded".

Kirk Gittings
23-Feb-2010, 08:48
I've sometimes wondered whether folks realize that Q.T.'s description on the Large Format Photography.info home page states that this is a:

"Non-commercial community of large format photographers, includes a repository of primers, how-to articles, user's reviews of equipment, and an active discussion forum."

or whether it generally still applies.

But since it did--at its founding, as it still stands described on the home page-- drawing definitive conclusions from this thread seems rather dubious (e.g. commercial photographers largely being excluded).

Nothing has changed. That was not QTs intent at all. The site is "non-commercial" in that we accept no advertising etc. It was never about not allowing members who were commercial photographers or not allowing discussions of commercial photography.

Ivan J. Eberle
23-Feb-2010, 10:58
Hey, I didn't write it, not here to debate it or enforce it-- just pointing out that a reasonable interpretation of this site's mission statement would have commercial photographers flocking elsewhere.

Kirk Gittings
23-Feb-2010, 11:18
Hey, I didn't write it, not here to debate it or enforce it-- just pointing out that a reasonable interpretation of this site's mission statement would have commercial photographers flocking elsewhere.

Ivan, In all the years I have been here, that is the first time I have ever heard that interpretation and it is wrong. Qt himself, as a professional stock photographer, is a commercial photographer.

Sal Santamaura
23-Feb-2010, 12:53
...just pointing out that a reasonable interpretation of this site's mission statement would have commercial photographers flocking elsewhere.Any such flocking could only result from an unreasonable interpretation.

David de Gruyl
23-Feb-2010, 13:13
Any such flocking could only result from an unreasonable interpretation.

I have to agree, not based on prior knowledge, but on the english language. Non-commercial tightly binds with community. I can't see another way to read it without the introduction of punctuation and semantic acrobatics.

Had it said (which it does not) "A community of non-commercial ...", I would have to agree.

photodoc
24-Feb-2010, 02:31
I'm new here, but my lab has processed large format film for pros for the last 34 years. As far as I know, we are now New Jersey's only custom lab still capable of running large format films and there is only one professional shooting it for commercial work, yet it's rare that I even see him because he only has one customer who insists on it.

We still have many serious photographers who shoot sheet film, but the commercial business stopped years ago and there is no sign of a resurgence.

Cinema remains the last bastion of commercial film use, which is noteworthy when you consider the money that's on the line there. I totally agree that the look of film is unique and better for story telling while being cheaper and easier to use and store for a Hollywood production.

Bosaiya
24-Feb-2010, 07:26
I haven't done very much commercial work lately but when I have it's usually been LF (and if not then MF).

Larry McNeil
28-Mar-2010, 16:11
This is kind of a slippery question, because some of us get our income via the sales of our photography as art at museums and galleries in addition to regular commercial venues. I shot an annual report recently completely with a Canon 5D MKII and various L lenses. In days of old, I've shot similar subjects for the same client with 35mm and 120 Kodachrome with a Canon F1-N and a Hasselblad system, and a 4x5 studio camera with an array of lenses from 75mm for architectural stuff, to a 210mm for product shots.

The Canon 5D MKII shot all of the product shots extremely well. My client was able to see the images the evening of the shoots, where with film they'd have to wait a number of days. I'm sure this story is being told all over the world and I'm but one manifestation of this shift.

However, there are times when film is the only way to go. For an example, I recently needed some 4'x5' prints for an exhibition and they needed to be loaded with subtle detail. The 5D did not have the resolution for prints that large and out came the 4x5 camera. The negatives were scanned on a high resolution flatbed scanner.

I have an upcoming project that needs lots of detail again. I bought ten boxes of Polaroid Type 55 PN film when Polaroid went out of business and am going to use it all this summer. That film is sublime with its detail and tonal range, especially when coupled with impeccably sharp Schneider optics. The 5D can't come near to what this film can render with intricate detail in large prints.

Anyone up for popping some champagne when the last box of Type 55 is used? That's got to be worth a party.

Thanks,
Larry

Kirk Gittings
28-Mar-2010, 16:31
The Canon 5D MKII shot all of the product shots extremely well. My client was able to see the images the evening of the shoots, where with film they'd have to wait a number of days. I'm sure this story is being told all over the world and I'm but one manifestation of this shift.


In my town as there are no E-6 labs left, sending the film out of town leaves an absolutely untenable wait, especially since no one wants film anymore-we need to then scan the film and tweak the files before the client gets them.

Larry McNeil
29-Mar-2010, 11:09
In my town as there are no E-6 labs left, sending the film out of town leaves an absolutely untenable wait, especially since no one wants film anymore-we need to then scan the film and tweak the files before the client gets them.

Hello Kirk,

We have NM & UNM in common in addition to photography; I graduated from there in 1999 with an MFA in photography. You have a really excellent portfolio, thank you so much for sharing it.

I bet we know a lot of the same people, especially the NM photo scene. I feel so fortunate to have lived in NM for almost a decade back in the 90's since it has such a rich history of powerful photography. Reid Callanan is a good friend, as is Adrienne Salinger over at UNM.

Nice to have met you here,

Larry McNeil

Kirk Gittings
29-Mar-2010, 12:09
Larry, we appear to have more than that in common. I have some ancestors that are Sac and Fox (or Sauk and Fox as my grandfather spelled it) and our photographic journeys, though very different in history and appearance, share some common questions. I loved your site and the images. Where are you located these days?

Larry McNeil
1-Apr-2010, 03:17
Larry, we appear to have more than that in common. I have some ancestors that are Sac and Fox (or Sauk and Fox as my grandfather spelled it) and our photographic journeys, though very different in history and appearance, share some common questions. I loved your site and the images. Where are you located these days?

Pretty cool Kirk. I'm in Idaho and the world, wandering around a lot. I really liked your images too, they definitely remind me of special places in the southwest.

arca andy
25-Apr-2010, 13:01
Whos using LF commerical?? Me...well sometimes, mainly for my architectural clients. I still find it hard to bet for price verus quality. I can't afford the digital equivalent to the quality of 5x4 trannie. The vaguaries of the British weather also helps, you have make sure that you allow enough time to get the building shot between the rainy and dull days, and this usually means that you have enough time to process and scan... and still meet the deadline.
Everying else is shot on DSLR and the medium format kit that I loving built up is going on ebay any day now..long live LF
andy

ethics_gradient
27-Apr-2010, 14:04
In days of old, I've shot similar subjects for the same client with 35mm and 120 Kodachrome with a Canon F1-N and a Hasselblad system, and a 4x5 studio camera with an array of lenses from 75mm for architectural stuff, to a 210mm for product shots.


Out of curiosity, when was Kodachrome in 120 discontinued? I was really impressed with the WW2 images shot on 4x5 Kodachrome, and sad to learn it had been discontinued before I was born. Heck, I think it was discontinued before my father was born. Really depressing I'll never get a chance to shoot with it. Just sent off two rolls of 35mm to Dwayne's, still have two more to get through by December.

MaraShylaStewart
29-Apr-2010, 04:53
i am going to use this thanks for the information

Armin Seeholzer
29-Apr-2010, 09:32
120 Kodachrome was for a short time availabel again at around 1990-93 I used some at the time here in Switzerland!

Cheers Armin

Photojeep
30-Apr-2010, 19:51
Thank you to all who have contributed their information and insights in answering my question. I am a photography professor at the College of Southern Nevada and while 95% of our curriculum is now digital, we still list Introduction to Large Format as a required class in our Associates of Applied Science degree. Our mission is to teach the science, craft and skills of commercial photography.

Recently there has been talk of removing this class from the required list of classes. It had been suggested that virtually no one uses large format cameras commercially any more.

While the vast majority of photographers kind enough to answer my question no longer use or rarely use large format in their businesses, I found a thread that seems to say that if it is necessary for the completion of a given assignment, it is used. To paraphrase some, "...the client doesn't care how the image is made, just that it is the required quality."

My personal contention is that the class should remain on our required list because, while large format is no longer used as regularly as in the past, it is still a viable skill set and, perhaps more important, it is a tremendously effective means of teaching shooting discipline and care with regards to exposure and composition.

Once again, I thank you for responding.

Sincerely,
Randy
aka Photojeep

Nicholas Whitman
2-May-2010, 07:38
Randy-

There several reasons for teaching LF even though you students won't be making a living from it.

LF is a skill set honed by experience combined with a photographer's working kit. One doesn't just pick up a LF camera and fore-fill an assignment with the knowledge gained in school a few years earlier.

However for an insightful appreciation of historic photography and of LF done to date some time under the focusing cloth is essential.

LF breaks down the components of photography, lens focal length, aperture, focus, film plane, exposure time, etc. into their most basic forms in a way that is easy to see. It is a great demonstrator tool for the educator.

And as you state discipline, a cornerstone of LF, is really very helpful for the digital photographer too.

Nicholas Whitman
www.nwphoto.com

GPS
2-May-2010, 08:02
Randy-

...
And as you state discipline, a cornerstone of LF, is really very helpful for the digital photographer too.

Nicholas Whitman
www.nwphoto.com

Well, chess playing is also good for discipline... Today's curriculum in a college is done, unfortunately or not, in a more straightforward manner. The reasoning with witch Randy tries to save the LF education there is probably not enough to persuade the local decision makers, I'm afraid.

Kimberly Anderson
2-May-2010, 10:44
Recently there has been talk of removing this class from the required list of classes. It had been suggested that virtually no one uses large format cameras commercially any more.

Randy,

I am teaching at Waterford in Sandy, Utah, which is a K-12 prep. school. I have 9 4x5's that I incorporate fully into my JR AP photo curriculum starting in December. We start them easy with paper negatives move into film and a simplified/modified Zone System. We contact print initially and end up utilizing full camera movements and printing in pt/pd. We have two 8x10's and an 8x10 enlarger that the students also use.

While the commercial use of large format has dropped off tremendously, I find that as a teaching tool for both the spoken (and unspoken) curriculum, LF is perfect. The lessons learned from shooting LF transcend the medium and are applicable to a wide variety of real-life lessons.

Right now they are between Cyanotypes and VDB's, and two of my students have already taken out the 8x10. When they are ready they can go out with me and shoot the 4x10, the 8x20 and the 11x14 cameras.

The students are quite receptive to the lessons learned from the large and ultra-large cameras. They rise to the occasion and are very excited to put up with the struggles when they see the results are mind-blowing.

Will they use these cameras ever in their life again? Personally it does not matter to me. The lessons they learned while in my program are enough to justify it year after year. Yes, I do have pressure from above to eliminate any large format from my curriculum. I will leave the program if they forced me to eliminate LF and film from my teaching.

Good luck with your decision!

Kirk Gittings
2-May-2010, 11:23
FWIW........This year where I teach part-time, The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, is offering for the first time in ages an 8x10 film class. SAIC does not teach any commercial classes perse (except maybe my architectural photography class), only art classes. Having sold their 8x10's a few years ago, they made arrangement with a sister school in New York to borrow theirs. Also people in the photo dept tell me that the film cameras are checked out now 2-1 over digital despite the fact that they have quantities of the latest and greatest DSLRs and MFDCs

chris_4622
2-May-2010, 13:21
Kirk,

A few years ago we went to the SAIC artist sale and saw this: http://www.hyounsangyoo.com/1.html
Talking to him he told us he used an 8x10 and for this one image he used around 100 hundred exposures.

Nice to see they are bringing the 8x10's back.

chris

Thom Bennett
3-May-2010, 06:55
I can imagine the pressure to discontinue view camera/large format classes. To the outsider it seems antiquated and useless. But learning to use a view camera goes much further than just a bigger negative/image. It goes to composition, lens selection, field of view, angle of view, where to position the camera in relation to the subject, and, generally, how to see the world photographically. Do painting students jump right into painting without taking drawing classes first? Do journalism students start writing for the paper before they know how to construct a sentence? It's a sad fact that this world we live in is more interested in speed of delivery than with the quality of what is being delivered.

Last year we were looking for a part-time photographer and 80% of the applicants had never even heard of a view camera let alone know how to work with one. It was very disconcerting to me.

ozphoto
3-May-2010, 22:37
Interesting information regarding schools and LF.

The college I graduated from has also gone totally digital - no more wet processing at all!! They have some LF kits that are presently being debated to be taken in a major move or not.

I am hoping I can get my hands on one of the kits - but also would like to see the remainders go on to the new premises.

I learned an awful lot using LF - it taught me how to slow down and take time, not to mention have some *fun* with lighting my studio product images.

Will have to see what transpires. . . . .

Photojeep
4-May-2010, 19:15
Thank you again to all who are participating in this discussion.

I do need to stress that no decision has yet been made. In fact, it has pretty much dropped off the radar. When the discussion was initiated, the professor making the proposal went out of his way to make it very clear to me that he was not talking about dropping the class from the curriculum but rather removing it from the list of classes required for graduation.

Thank you again for counsel and words of encouragement. I will keep you all posted.

Randy

emo supremo
5-May-2010, 07:28
Having recently completed a go in the undergraduate photography class (as a member of the class) it was fun to let my classmates play with my gear/processes because it was clear they were NEVER going to see these objects of nascent art-making again. I often wonder if the people who make such decisions/cuts would advocate for keeping film in the currciulm if they could be led into the darkroom and watch the experssion on the faces as images appears in the Dektol.
Also, may I go off on a tangent and share with you a phrase lifted from Claude Harrison's The Portrait Painters Handbook page 8: "Yet I have sometimes heard painters, with ample private means, attempt to justify likenesses that pander to some mythical public taste, with the excuse thet they need the extra money. I find this attitude as greedy as it is misguided."
Cuts like a knife.
I work at a University too and they are, after all, businessess. Some (not all) who run them are often quick to focus on bottom line to the point where the heart and soul of a program can be macerated out of existence. Progress?
Regrettably, thanks to them we can continue in our teaching positions in this poor economic climate. A tough debate to be sure.

D. Bryant
5-May-2010, 08:48
I can imagine the pressure to discontinue view camera/large format classes. To the outsider it seems antiquated and useless. [QUOTE]But learning to use a view camera goes much further than just a bigger negative/image. It goes to composition, lens selection, field of view, angle of view, where to position the camera in relation to the subject, and, generally, how to see the world photographically.

All of that can be done with a DSLR, with a lot less expense. Think of the digital camera as electronic Polaroid.

Learning to develop film and print negatives really has nothing to do with photography any longer.

It's time for a wake up call about LF photography in photography curriculums, it's time has past.

BetterSense
5-May-2010, 11:43
Learning to develop film and print negatives really has nothing to do with photography any longer.

You should instead say "commercial imaging really has nothing to do with photography anymore".

Kimberly Anderson
5-May-2010, 13:21
It's time for a wake up call about LF photography in photography curriculums, it's time has past.

I could not disagree more.

Photojeep
5-May-2010, 16:15
[QUOTE=Thom Bennett;585798]I can imagine the pressure to discontinue view camera/large format classes. To the outsider it seems antiquated and useless.

All of that can be done with a DSLR, with a lot less expense. Think of the digital camera as electronic Polaroid.

Learning to develop film and print negatives really has nothing to do with photography any longer.

It's time for a wake up call about LF photography in photography curriculums, it's time has past.

If using a large format camera were only about developing film and printing negatives I could see your point but as I tell my students, the fact that our cameras capture on film rather than a silicon chip is irrelevant. It's not about the capture medium but about what the camera itself can do. There simply is no other type of camera that can accomplish what the large format camera is designed for. Film has nothing to do with it.

Randy

Mel
8-Aug-2010, 08:25
Don,

I don't own one yet, and haven't tested it either (I have little use for superwide lenses-I don't see that way), but the new Canon 17 T/S by the accounts of all the professional architectural photographers I have seen is an extraordinary lens.

See this by Rainer Viertlblock, one of the top APs in Europe.


http://luminous-landscape.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=39838&hl=canon+17+tilt+shift

Great read. But if you tarry through posters' websites to admire their work and smell the roses along the way, grab some popcorn.

Mel
8-Aug-2010, 08:36
Craftsmanship is highly regarded in Japan, and I think in Europe as well. Therefore the process of accomplishing something is also appreciated, in addition to the accomplishment itself. That's perhaps the reason film photography still flourishes here. Kumar

The antithesis of the U.S. McDigitial world.

Mel
8-Aug-2010, 11:12
people who work with large format comercial
Thomas Broening
Frank Ockenfels
Albert Watson
Paolo Roversi
Steven Meisel
Joshua Lutz
Dan Winters
Kwaku alston

Thanks for posting the names of these artists.

Mel
8-Aug-2010, 11:15
Regardless of the equipment commercial photographers use to make images, it's clear that large format is the tool of the artist because it slows them down. Creation is a slow and evolutionary process. Name one artist who placed a premium on speed. It's an oxymoron.

Tobias Key
8-Aug-2010, 15:20
I took a teaching course a few years ago and one of the things that stuck in my head was that the job of the teacher is not fill a students head with facts, it is teach him how to learn. If you teach a student how to learn and apply knowledge it is a skill that they can use whatever they do in later life.

It is perhaps significant to point out that the top private schools in the English speaking world all teach Latin and ancient Greek, and those same schools produce presidents and prime ministers despite the fact there is no obvious commercial or linguistic use for these long dead languages.

I would put forward the idea that large format photography is the Latin of the photographic world and the skills that it teaches you, can be applied to almost any artistic or commercial endeavor.

Richard Mahoney
9-Aug-2010, 02:55
I took a teaching course a few years ago and one of the things that stuck in my head was that the job of the teacher is not fill a students head with facts, it is teach him how to learn. If you teach a student how to learn and apply knowledge it is a skill that they can use whatever they do in later life.

Agreed ... I can recall one of my history teachers saying that if she met us again in twenty years time and we'd forgotten everything she'd taught, she wouldn't mind overly, but that what would bother her was if we'd forgotten how to think.


It is perhaps significant to point out that the top private schools in the English speaking world all teach Latin and ancient Greek, and those same schools produce presidents and prime ministers despite the fact there is no obvious commercial or linguistic use for these long dead languages.

Greek and Sanskrit &c. are useful in teaching one how to concentrate, and especially how to deal with and move through, overwhelming frustration. Yes, this is definitely helpful in life, no matter what one does ... but it is also very, very helpful if one has set oneself the goal of becoming a half-way decent large-format photographer. There are definitely easier, less painful ways of making the occaisional image ;)

Mark Sampson
21-Aug-2010, 07:23
I haven't read through this whole thread... but I'd recommend the work of Simon Norfolk, whose recent work in the NY Times, on Yemen, is truly spectacular and, I believe, LF.

prado333
8-Sep-2010, 12:13
David Burnett
Mark Power
Alec Soth

Liam:
8-Sep-2010, 13:15
Randy,

I am teaching at Waterford in Sandy, Utah, which is a K-12 prep. school. I have 9 4x5's that I incorporate fully into my JR AP photo curriculum starting in December. We start them easy with paper negatives move into film and a simplified/modified Zone System. We contact print initially and end up utilizing full camera movements and printing in pt/pd. We have two 8x10's and an 8x10 enlarger that the students also use.

While the commercial use of large format has dropped off tremendously, I find that as a teaching tool for both the spoken (and unspoken) curriculum, LF is perfect. The lessons learned from shooting LF transcend the medium and are applicable to a wide variety of real-life lessons.

Right now they are between Cyanotypes and VDB's, and two of my students have already taken out the 8x10. When they are ready they can go out with me and shoot the 4x10, the 8x20 and the 11x14 cameras.

The students are quite receptive to the lessons learned from the large and ultra-large cameras. They rise to the occasion and are very excited to put up with the struggles when they see the results are mind-blowing.

Will they use these cameras ever in their life again? Personally it does not matter to me. The lessons they learned while in my program are enough to justify it year after year. Yes, I do have pressure from above to eliminate any large format from my curriculum. I will leave the program if they forced me to eliminate LF and film from my teaching.

Good luck with your decision!

Can I come to your school please? I would love to have had that opportunity so keep up the good work!