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jarris
15-Dec-2010, 16:05
Hi all,

I posted a similar discussion over at photography-on-the.net and was prompted to post here.

I've currently got a Canon 7D (with the view to getting a Mark III) when it comes out, but I'd really like to have more flexibility over the focus areas.

I understand the pros use view cameras (have heard some use them with a digital MF back???). But I'm also aware of the Horseman and Cambo DLSR options or even the Canon tilt-shift lenses.

I don't want to spend a huge amount of money, but I am willing to explore the pros and cons of the various options and perhaps wait a while.

Personally I like the flexibility of digital, but understand that using my DSLR as a digital back will make focusing difficult. Can this be fixed adequately by hooking the camera up to monitor?

Advice much appreciated!

Chris Strobel
15-Dec-2010, 19:58
Welcome Jarris.Hopefully those in the know here will chime in.

brian mcweeney
15-Dec-2010, 20:34
Your options vary wildly by price.
1. Just get a tilt shift Canon lens.
2. Buy a 4x5 view camera, lens, holders, and shoot film.
3. Buy a medium format view camera and use a digital back like Phase One or Leaf.

The TS lens will give you some focus control, the 4x5 will give you the most focus options, and the digital MF view camera will give you focus control too but at a very large price point.

mdm
15-Dec-2010, 21:18
There is lots of good food photography in the monthly still life threads and in the Lounge/Safe Haven for Tiny Formats thread, with details on camera, film, lens, lighting etc. Perhaps the experts will visit your thread if they are around.

DuncanD
15-Dec-2010, 21:18
Or buy a 4x5 camera plus a back adapter for any major camera mount and attach your DSLR to the 4x5 with full movements. I bought a Canon mount from China on theBay. It worked perfectly with my 5DII. While you get all the movements offered by the camera (with NO risk of running off the image surface) your actual image is still 36mmx24mm or smaller, per the DSLR.

I am not recommending this choice - merely mentioning it for consideration of the options.

jarris
15-Dec-2010, 23:10
Duncan D, which 4x5 camera do you recommend and which back adapter?

Sounds like a good option to me, but do you have any issues with focusing? How do you do it, on your monitor screen?

If I go this route, I'd be after a camera which isn't overly complicated and a has good reputation for quality (build and image).

ki6mf
16-Dec-2010, 04:57
A good option for a view camera with digital body mount that is not to expensive, I am ignoring the argument that anything "photographic" is overpriced;-), is a Shen Hao. The camera body sells for $650-700 new, they don't come up used very much, and their digital adapter for either Canon or Nikon for $200. In the USA Badger Graphics and Midwest Photo sell the gear. You will need a lens too and those can be had used from www.keh.com

ki6mf
16-Dec-2010, 05:05
you also may want to repeat this post in the Digital Hardware section of LF Photography. There may be more users shooting digital with Large Format cameras in that section.

Martin Miksch
16-Dec-2010, 09:14
For food and product work you dont need to get a field camera like Shen Hao, instead look for an old Cambo/Calumet studio camera, price maybee 100 or 200 bucks. For the adapter, buy an broken lens and use the mount to make your own adapter from some plywood.

aluncrockford
16-Dec-2010, 09:39
The best solution is a monorail camera and digital back I use a P2 with a sliding back and P45,obviously this is not a cheap option but you can pick up a cambo and P20 for not very much money, you could go down the rout of a shift lens on an Digital SLR but it has endless drawbacks , the other solution is to stick to the equipment you have and use capture One V6 to adjust the image in the software.

Tobias Key
16-Dec-2010, 10:05
I managed to pick up a Toyo45c kit which included a sliding back and lens (plus other stuff for 350. The sliding back has a graflok fitting which can take roll film or be adapted to take a MF digital back. You can actually rent digital backs pretty cheaply. So you could prctice with roll film then rent a back if a job came in.

edtog
16-Dec-2010, 10:21
Depends on your or clients needs but the books I've done on food have been done using a 1ds and 24-70mm or 90mm TSE.

Matus Kalisky
16-Dec-2010, 10:32
I have some limited experience with 4x5 and table-top photography with a field 4x5 camera (Tachihara) and I would definitely get a monorail camera if I were more serious about it - the lack of rear standard focusing makes life very complicated, the non-geared movements get very imprecise if the camera is tilted up or down too much. Geared focus and tilts is the way to go IMO. And you want more than 300 mm of bellows to get some reasonable working distance from the subject. I would guess that camera like P or P2 would be fine, but there are probably many others that will do the job as well.

Thom Bennett
16-Dec-2010, 12:38
We do a lot of product (jewelry, glassware, furniture, etc.) with Leaf Digital backs mounted on Sinar P2's. Affordable? The backs are $18K and the cameras and lenses are another $10K per setup. But we do have Live View for composing and lighting and all the movements we can possibly use. This is for an in-house studio. If it were me by my lonesome and I had a client willing to pay for it I would simply rent a digital back and slap it on my Deardorff (or whatever camera you may have). The sensor area is comparable to a 645 but that crop factor on 4x5 comes in handy when you are doing table top work. I compare Live View to composing on the ground glass except you have the benefit of using a large computer screen.

DuncanD
16-Dec-2010, 13:09
My setup is Toyo 45GII (<$200 complete) + Chinese $120 Graflock back adapter (just a metal plate with a hole in it with Canon mount attached in a secure and light-tight manner) from theBay. I have used LF lenses from 180mm to 300mm with normal movements. Since focus is through the DSLR, what you see (in the DSLR) is what you get. Any working view camera with a Graflock back is appropriate for this approach. Of course I already had my $3,500 Canon 5DII, so there was no additional cost for a digital back.

cjbroadbent
16-Dec-2010, 13:23
There's good advice above about needing rear-focus.

Digital on a 4x5 is a bit like mowing the lawn with a farm tractor. An 80mm lens is already beyond the upper limit and the rails and bellows will be getting in the way.
You might end up shooting with a 150 or 210mm lens on a 58mm sensor - putting the product way out of the viewer's reach. Taste-appeal means making the viewer feel she's able to touch the stuff (even a cabbage has perspective).

My humble advice is: use sheet film OR stick with a dslr and a shortish pc-nikkor-like (http://picasaweb.google.com/cjbroadbent/Food?feat=directlink) lens. It is definitely more fun to make the most of limited gear.

jarris
16-Dec-2010, 14:44
Christopher, what lens are you recommending here? I'm Canon, so that's the Nikon tilt-shift equivalent, yes?

Very nice food... Can you tell the difference between small (with a and TS/PC lens) and large format from an image the same size?

drew.saunders
16-Dec-2010, 14:54
You could rent some Canon TS-E lenses, they make 17mm, 24mm, 45mm and 90mm versions. I've not used any of the online lens rental places, so I can't recommend one, but taking a quick peek, expect about $70-100 for a "weekly" rental, give or take, and a lot more for the 17mm lens. Depending on where you live, there may be stores where you can rent lenses as well, often just for a night or two to see how you like them.

cjbroadbent
16-Dec-2010, 15:27
... what lens are you recommending here?...
Ssshush - this is not the place to talk about these things (anyway, vanilla shift).

jarris
16-Dec-2010, 15:35
You could rent some Canon TS-E lenses, they make 17mm, 24mm, 45mm and 90mm versions. I've not used any of the online lens rental places, so I can't recommend one, but taking a quick peek, expect about $70-100 for a "weekly" rental, give or take, and a lot more for the 17mm lens. Depending on where you live, there may be stores where you can rent lenses as well, often just for a night or two to see how you like them.

Australia. Min $70/day.

jarris
16-Dec-2010, 16:03
So the consensus is that either I get a monorail camera and use sheet film (does the Graflock adaptor work on these?) or get a tilt shift lens. And which Cambo/Calumet are you suggesting? Can't find any prices on the P20 (Phaseone, correct?)

Re: focus, can I use live view remote shooting as a focus aid if using it as a digital back? Seems a little pixelated to me, but I'll have to check the settings.

And, excuse the ignorance... I have really no clue about large format gear.

brian mcweeney
16-Dec-2010, 16:20
Keep in mind with a 35mm digital camera on a 4x5 camera, you are going to have to "control" focus on a very very small area. The camera and lens chosen will have to give you precise control in order to affect this properly.

jarris
16-Dec-2010, 17:10
Brian, do you have suggestions re: camera & lens for precise focusing with digital (keeping in mind I can use Live View mode on my computer)?

B.S.Kumar
16-Dec-2010, 21:11
For food and product photography with digital, the only cameras that come close are the ones that have all geared movements - Sinar X and P series, Arca Monolith, Cambo Ultima are the ones that come to mind. Sinar now has a p-slr to allow attaching a digital SLR camera to the rear standard. Also look at the Horseman LD Pro. The Ultima also has a system for attaching SLRs to the rear standard. You could probably get an X for $1200-1500. A good used digital lens is ~$800-1000.

Kumar

aluncrockford
17-Dec-2010, 01:47
Digital on a 4x5 is a bit like mowing the lawn with a farm tractor. An 80mm lens is already beyond the upper limit and the rails and bellows will be getting in the way.
You might end up shooting with a 150 or 210mm lens on a 58mm sensor - putting the product way out of the viewer's reach. Taste-appeal means making the viewer feel she's able to touch the stuff (even a cabbage has perspective).

Whilst trying to avoid any contention I have to say that the statement above is not strictly correct .

I use digital 65mm and 75mm lenses without any problem whatsoever with a P2, I also use a adaptor to use hasselblad lenses with a sinar shutter also with the greatest of ease. to check it out have a quick look at

http://aluncrockford.com/

The first set of images taken on the still life section are taken with a Sinar P2, P45 back and a 75mm large format lenses , there is even a cabbage hopefully with touch appeal

sergiob
17-Dec-2010, 04:33
Get yourself a used lens bayonet, take it to the machine shop and have it fixed with a separator to a lensboard you can mount to a 4x5 such as a Cambo, that have identical fits on either end. All this to allow a DSLR to be hooked to it. If you have liveview, then it is pretty easy to operate. Very easy and cheap. That said, my food and product shooting friends, make the majority of their stuff with a DSLR and a TS. If you have Canon, the 180 3.5 macro lens is very good and can go to 1:1 at 46 cms.

cjbroadbent
17-Dec-2010, 13:39
.... there is even a cabbage hopefully with touch appeal
Alun, Great cabbage! Your lawn is nicely mown. I stand corrected once again.

Don Dudenbostel
17-Dec-2010, 19:52
Jaris I was the head of a photo, film and TV department for a large ad agency for nine years and did a tremendous amount of food photography and still do. During the ad agency days everything was film and I and my staff did all of our food and product work on 4x5 to 11x14 film. I still do a great deal of food and products and shoot digital now. I shoot Canon 1DSII cameras and use a variety of lenses. I foten use the 90 TSE and once in a while a 24 TSE and often use a 70-200 2.5 L. I've even used the 200 1.8L. I use a variety of lighting from hot lights to Speedotron and Alien Bee lights for very low power. I use grids and diffusors and shoot the concentrated light into the diffusors so as to have greater directional controll vs soft boxes. I also often shoot in a totally dark room using only the modeling lights and long exposures at wide apertures.

The steak was the 70-200 shot with modeling lights only. The guy eating the durger was the 24 TSE if I remember correctly and the sesert was the 90 TSE. Finally the bread was for a milling company about thirty years ago and was shot on 8x10 Ektachrome and most likely my 19" Red Dot Artar.

mdm
17-Dec-2010, 19:55
And that is precisely why you should be using film, its better.

Don Dudenbostel
17-Dec-2010, 20:16
I don't look at film as better or digital as being inferior. I see them as to complementary tools. Each have their strengths. I will also say that few clients are willing to spring for the cost of film and scans plus the time factor. Virtually all my work is reproduced in ads which degrades even the best image (cmyk printing). By the time the ink hits the paper there's little to no difference.

mdm
17-Dec-2010, 20:18
Thats OK. I am just stirring the pot.

jarris
20-Dec-2010, 14:21
Jaris I was the head of a photo, film and TV department for a large ad agency for nine years and did a tremendous amount of food photography and still do. During the ad agency days everything was film and I and my staff did all of our food and product work on 4x5 to 11x14 film. I still do a great deal of food and products and shoot digital now. I shoot Canon 1DSII cameras and use a variety of lenses. I foten use the 90 TSE and once in a while a 24 TSE and often use a 70-200 2.5 L. I've even used the 200 1.8L. I use a variety of lighting from hot lights to Speedotron and Alien Bee lights for very low power. I use grids and diffusors and shoot the concentrated light into the diffusors so as to have greater directional controll vs soft boxes. I also often shoot in a totally dark room using only the modeling lights and long exposures at wide apertures.

Sorry to for the delay in my response. So you'd recommend a 90mm TS over 45mm?

Re: light, would you suggest something like this? http://www.elinchrom.com/products.php?p_id=74

Someone's even suggested this (http://www.elinchrom.com/products.php?p_id=99#content) sort of thing, but I'd like to try the grid first. Still I'm curious about how afternoon light is replicated.

jarris
20-Dec-2010, 17:17
http://aluncrockford.com/

The first set of images taken on the still life section are taken with a Sinar P2, P45 back and a 75mm large format lenses , there is even a cabbage hopefully with touch appeal

Alun, what does your lighting setup generally look like for still life? And what background material, do you use for shots such as this: http://aluncrockford.com/stilllife3.html

I love the one of the telephone.

I'm thinking the Zoerk MFS might be a better way to go. Apparently you need an enlarger lens - would 90mm be appropriate for food, or should I look for something wider?

Don Dudenbostel
20-Dec-2010, 18:47
Jarris there's no single formula for lighting. Sure you can do an ok job with a grid and put it over head and flat light it like was popular in the 90's but you're not going to get that brilliance that sets you work aside from the average shooter. When I shoot products whether food, shoes, a TV or a car I light each surface one at a time. I use a variety of sizes of wescott diffusers and shoot lights through them using grids or spot lights whether strobes or hot lights. I use Wescott reflectors, white foamcore, foamcore covered with foil, small mirrors and large diffuese lights like soft boxes up to home made ones at 20ft in size. I rarely use just soft boxes by themselves. I like the ability to controll the pool of light and the direction plus the ration between the lights. On the food shot of the steak I think I used 6 or 7 lights each with grids and shot through diffusers. One as a Speedotron 24" (?) beauty light with a grid shooting direct from the back and side.

Every type product takes something different in light and treatment.

I'll find a few more examples and post.

I don't own a 45mm TSE, just a 24 and 90. I find pr my personal style these are the lenses I gravitate to plus the the 70-200 2.8. It really depends on what you shoot but this is what I reach for.

Don Dudenbostel
20-Dec-2010, 18:57
I light people just like any other product. I also shoot and light trying to use no retouching in photoshop. I like doing everything up front when possible.

The chopper was lit entirely with soft lights. The car awas a mix of reflected, diffuese and some direct lights with grids. the people were a combination of soft box, and direct with grids.

The car looks like a toy but it's a full size car.

Don Dudenbostel
20-Dec-2010, 19:06
A couple of more examples. I need to pull some tabletop products and post some tomorrow.

See if you know what type of lighting was used in each of these and where they were.

Ramiro Elena
21-Dec-2010, 05:39
I am a big fan of this lady. The best I've seen in food photography so far. All natural lighting.
http://www.katiequinndavies.com.au/

Frank Petronio
21-Dec-2010, 05:51
The problem with using "any old view camera" to mount a small sensor (APS or FF 24x36mm) is that to use any movements to an advantage requires a much finer and subtler touch than one needs with relatively larger sensors or films. Even a quality geared camera like the Sinar P2 can be too coarse for this kind of work, which is why there are rigs dedicated to using a DSLR with movements -- see Horseman and Cambo for those. There are also smaller, finer view cameras designed for the medium format digital backs from many of the manufacturers.

Of course you can mount your Canon on the back of your old Graflex and play the game, but it's crude and pretty much pointless when a tilt-shift lens will do it so much better.

Even a Lensbaby can work ;-)

Personally, I think there might be room for some untraditional food photography technique if you can make it look good. Working faster and more spontaneously seems to be the trend, driven by time and budgets but good creatives (like Broadbrent for example) can shoot it well.

jarris
21-Dec-2010, 15:26
Frank, what's your pick Horseman, Cambo, Canon TS or Zoerk MFS? I do have an older lensbaby, but not too much patience for it :)

Who is Broadbrent?

ramiroelena, thanks for that. Do you know what camera she uses? Natural light is nice, but very time restrictive.

jarris
21-Dec-2010, 15:44
Don, not sure where the grids may or may not have been used.
1. Direct & reflected, maybe some soft; 2. Soft, reflected; 3. Soft & direct; 4. Soft & direct

How do you differentiate between diffuser and softbox light? And what about using artificial fill as opposed to reflected?

Ramiro Elena
22-Dec-2010, 02:30
Who is Broadbrent?

ramiroelena, thanks for that. Do you know what camera she uses? Natural light is nice, but very time restrictive.

You can see some of Broadbent's work here, check his Picasa for more mind blowing images:
http://www.largeformatphotography.info/forum/showthread.php?t=68518

I have no idea what camera she uses but I would bet my left testicle it's digital SLR with nice lenses wide open.

Frank Petronio
22-Dec-2010, 05:41
Frank, what's your pick Horseman, Cambo, Canon TS or Zoerk MFS?

None, I wouldn't bother and haven't shopped. Frankly I would either use a DSLR wide-open or I would use a 4x5 film camera so I could actually see the adjustments I make on the ground glass (and use the DSLR for tests).

Not to speak for Christopher Broadbent but I notice he has done a lot of still-life photos using a Leica M9, which I think is hilarious and brilliant.

cjbroadbent
22-Dec-2010, 06:16
Frank, ... not so brilliant - basically to prove that any camera will do the job. If you stitch, you don't even need to set it level.

jarris
22-Dec-2010, 17:57
You can see some of Broadbent's work here, check his Picasa for more mind blowing images:
http://www.largeformatphotography.info/forum/showthread.php?t=68518

I have no idea what camera she uses but I would bet my left testicle it's digital SLR with nice lenses wide open.

Dear me. Sorry, my mind was elsewhere Christopher!