View Full Version : First Large Format Setup

17-Oct-2010, 20:00
Hello, first post here. Was hoping someone here could help me out. I have never used large format before, obviously. I've read through Ansel's books and have an ok idea of what I need/want. I was wondering if these items work together.

I was looking at a Cambo SCII for my first large format camera. Since I will be doing mostly landscapes I figured a wide angle would be good first.


Lens board:
Calumet 4x5 Wide-Angle Recessed Lensboard(4x4)
Used for Calumet 4x5 Camera System
designed for a Wide Angle Optic
35mm hole

Will everything here work perfectly? A bag bellows isn't needed with the recessed board is it? Movements may be limited is my best guess but should work ok? Unfortunately I cannot see the classifieds here yet so that is not an option for gear. The lens is also a bit more than I want to spend at $399.

Thanks for any help.

Jack Dahlgren
17-Oct-2010, 20:06
That is pretty wide for a first lens. You will have an easier time of focusing, operating the camera and learning camera movements if you pick something in the 120-180mm range.

Those should work without a recessed lensboard and bag bellows.

When you get the hang of it, then pop for a wide angle.

17-Oct-2010, 20:15
I highly suggest you do some further reading and research before buying anything. You could start with Large Format Nature Photography by Jack Dykinga. I agree that a 75mm lens isn't the best choice for your first lens. Starting with a longer lens that allows movements will be better for learning how to effectively use a view camera.

17-Oct-2010, 22:42
The 4x4 Calumet boards are for the original Calumet (round rail) cameras, not the Cambo SCII. Cambo cameras use a 6 3/8 inch (162mm) square lens board.

Even for landscapes, I also would suggest a longer lens. 135 - 210mm lenses can now be had for a relative song, as low as $135. Plasmats such as the Symmars, Sironars, and Nikon or Fuji W's will provide sufficient coverage on the 4x5 format for almost all landscape uses even at the 135mm focal length.

Good Luck!

Kirk Fry
17-Oct-2010, 23:05
What are you planning to do with the negatives? (or positives)

17-Oct-2010, 23:31
Thanks for the comments and help. By what do I plan on doing with them do you mean printing large, scanning,...etc? I would probably put most online but the ones that I like I would want printed large. I may get my own dark room setup as I have had one in the past.

18-Oct-2010, 07:09
I'm agreeing with all of the prior posts, especially the recommendations to seek a longer lens. You'll likely become frustrated because of the difficulty working with such a short lens, plus the fact that landscape with such a short lens may prove to be less than satisfactory.

Would like to add that the SCII with a 90 requires either a bag bellows or recessed board, but is best with both. The bellows are so tight otherwise that movements are nearly impossible. I suspect the situation with a shorter lens is even more challenging.