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Chris Richards
21-Dec-2011, 08:24
Hi Everyone,
I'm an experienced photographer, but I've never used large format. Next year I want to make a family album for my wife's family, especially her parents, who are in their mid eighties. I would like to make black and white portraits, and to try out large format for the purpose.
I don't know whether I'll continue with large format afterwards, so I don't want to invest too much. I do have access to a 5 x 4 enlarger, and have the skills to use it.
I would be grateful for your advice as to the most appropriate equipment, and where I can find it.

By the way, I live in France.

Thanks!

Chris

Jim Noel
21-Dec-2011, 08:33
Since you are looking for a 5x4 I suspect you are in Britain.
For family portraits you don't really need an expensive camera. A good old flat bed, wooden camera serves the purpose very well. I have far too many cameras, but I use an old un-named flat bed 5x7 for such things. I am not familiar with brands or sources in other parts of the world, but I am sure someone will kick in with those suggestions. Lenses are similar. For portraits I do not like newer sharp cutoff lenses, but prefer older ones which produce more modeling of features, and are considerably less expensive.
Jim

E. von Hoegh
21-Dec-2011, 08:34
An inexpensive Cambo monorail, a 210mm Plasmat - type lens, tripod, trays to develop,filmholders and you're good to go. Others will chime in with more detailed reccomendations, but that's about the size of it. With any luck at all, you'll be able to sell the equipment for what you paid for it. Good luck. :)

Steven Tribe
21-Dec-2011, 13:01
Interesting project!
I would go to a tailback french chambre de voyage or a german reisekamera. Choose either a 13x18 or 18x24 size. The camera doesn't have to have many movements.
Easy with dozens of contacts prints for multiple family members . This would be a type of camera they remember their parents/grandparents owning. Perhaps with an appropriate Goerz Dagor lens?
You might be able to loan a set (minus tripod) from someone here (with suitable security deposit!)?

unixrevolution
21-Dec-2011, 13:30
An inexpensive Cambo monorail, a 210mm Plasmat - type lens, tripod, trays to develop,filmholders and you're good to go. Others will chime in with more detailed reccomendations, but that's about the size of it. With any luck at all, you'll be able to sell the equipment for what you paid for it. Good luck. :)

This is truth.

Cambo, Calumet, and Toyo monorails on the used market are the screaming, jumping-up-and-down bargain of the 4x5 world nowadays. Not far behind are the Graflex Speed/Super/Super Speed/Century/Anniversary/Top-Handle Speed/Anniversary/Pacemaker Graphic cameras. I should know, I have one of each.

Steve Smith
21-Dec-2011, 14:59
Since you are looking for a 5x4 I suspect you are in Britain

Close.


By the way, I live in France.


Steve.

Ron (Netherlands)
21-Dec-2011, 15:13
I do have access to a 5 x 4 enlarger, and have the skills to use it.
By the way, I live in France.


Since you are on the continent you might get lucky in acquiring a 9 x 12 cm camera which is very close to 4" x 5". There are quite some older French and certainly German cameras to choose from in the 9 x 12 format, and as I just recently discovered, there is still b&w and color film for that format you can acquire in Europe. If lucky the camera comes with a nice set of double film holders. Because you are mainly interested in using this camera for portraits, you don't need one of the more advanced technical cameras mentioned above since you don't need all possible adjustments they can provide.

Paul Fitzgerald
21-Dec-2011, 17:34
"I don't know whether I'll continue with large format afterwards, so I don't want to invest too much."

Not to worry, if you keep it clean you can resell it at the same price.

Caution: 4x5 IS a gateway drug, you can get addicted. :eek:

the 'Mod Photo" insert from England for a Paterson 3 reel tank is the easiest way to develope 4X5, just google or check eBay. :D

Chris Richards
22-Dec-2011, 05:53
Thanks for all the replies and useful info. My local dealer has an MPP Mk 8 for sale, in nice condition. Would this be appropriate to my project ?

The camera is body only, and he tells me the lens board is copal 0. If I wanted to fit, say a 210mm lens, would this fit ? If not, would it be possible to find the lens board necessary?

Cheers

Chris

ghe67
22-Dec-2011, 06:02
HI Chris, the MPP MKVIII is a beautiful camera, just a step under the Linhof in my opinion..and it would be a great camera to shoot portraits.
Yes, the lens board for the MPP are available from specialist and on ebay, just for curiosity, how much is the request for the camera?
Ciao
Giorgio

rdenney
22-Dec-2011, 06:28
MPP was Britain's answer to both Graflex and Linhof, and would be completely appropriate for your project.

Even a good price for a MKVIII might be significantly higher than a quality monorail, though. If it is equipped with an old tessar-derived press lens, the glass itself might be completely appropriate to your task. But check on the flash synchronization if you will use studio flash. The synchronizers in old shutters sometimes fail even when the shutter still works.

Here in the U.S., a Graflex in good, usable condition (i.e., working as intended rather than just barely functioning) typically costs more than a quality monorail like a Super Cambo (AKA Cambo SCII). The MPP's I've seen in similar condition were priced quite a bit higher than Graflexes. Cambos (and other similar monorail view cameras) are a bit more bulky, and they don't fold up as conveniently. But they are much more flexible, too, allowing reasonable use with roll-film formats that might allow you to find use for it even after the project is done. Also, ebay often has hundreds of items available that will work on a 4x5 Cambo, ranging from bellows to lens boards to compendium shades and on and on.

On these shores, it would not be too difficult to find a decent Cambo for $200, and a 210mm plasmat (e.g. Symmar, Sironar, Sinaron, etc.) for another $200.

Rick "noting that many camera types will work well for portraiture" Denney

Chris Richards
22-Dec-2011, 06:50
Hello Giorgio,
he wants 500. Do you have a link for the lensboards ?

Thanks

Chris.

Rick,
thanks for the tip on Cambo, I'll do some searching


Chris

ghe67
22-Dec-2011, 07:28
HI Chris,
I have not any link at the moment other than ebay, there are a lot, anyway even if in good conditions 500 Euro is a bit overpriced, you can find the same camera with a 150mm lens with a little patience for less than the price.
Take a look a Rockycameras in UK, I've seen MPP parts and lensboards for a very cheap prices in the past.
Ciao
Giorgio

ashlee52
28-Dec-2011, 13:15
Try to find a seller who is selling a complete outfit... camera, lens, and a few film holders... maybe even a dark cloth and light meter. These outfits are nearly always cheaper than buying the pieces separately, and the lens is already fit to a proper lens board. Typically a graflex can be had for $350, and a monoral camera kit at just over that. The Cambo/Calumet cameras are fine quality... the slightly more expensive Sinar F cameras are of exceptional quality.

anglophone1
28-Dec-2011, 16:27
Chris
Where in France are you?
I may be able to lend you a camera/lens for this project.