View Full Version : Hello from South Carolina!

7-Sep-2012, 09:18
I have worked in Large Format before years ago. I worked for a studio that did Copy Work.

I'm a professional that makes a large part of my income from my photography.

I would like to expand my work into large format.

I am clueless as to the expense associated with just basic equipment.

I also need to know what companies do a good job developing and scanning the film. I can do B/W. But will need the pros for color.

Any "points" in the right direction are very appreciated.

Glad to be here!


Bob Salomon
7-Sep-2012, 09:20
Was stationed at Shaw. Bought our first monkey in Columbia.

Keith Fleming
7-Sep-2012, 20:12
As a native of the SC Upcountry, I can tell that image was not made in the Abbeville area. Nice image.


Brian Ellis
8-Sep-2012, 06:15
Can't help you with labs and scans. But I unfortunately know a lot about costs.

The cost of LF photography can be almost as little or as much as you want to make it. For the least expensive initial outfit you might buy a used 4x5 metal rail camera such as one of the old Calumets that you could buy on ebay for as little as maybe $200. If you buy one used 150mm lens you probably can get a good one for maybe $250. Tripod you hopefully already have. Use a black tee shirt for your dark-cloth. Adapt one of your existing camera bags or backpacks so you don't need to buy a new one. Use one of your existing cameras as your light meter (or rely on the Sunny 16 rule and use no meter) so you don't need to buy a meter. You'll need a few film holders, buy used ones at maybe $10 each (the old wood ones often work surprisingly well and are usually less expensive than the newer plastic ones). Say 3 holders (six sheets of film) for $30. Use your hand or a dark slide as a film shade so you don't need to buy hoods or shades. Don't buy the other things that are good to have but aren't absolute necessities (e.g. cable releases, filters, etc.) and you're in business for $500 or so.

That's about as bare-bones as it gets. If you want to buy your dream system and have everything new you could easily spend $20,000 and up.

Anything in between those two extremes is up to you. Personally I wouldn't start with a system as bare-bones as I've outlined here but it can be done.

You can find the cost of film from any retailer on the internet.

Labs I don't know about, I've always done my own processing, scanning, and printing.

Good luck. No matter how much you decide to spend, try to remember that your first camera is almost certainly not going to be your last if you stick with LF photography. So there's no need to spend months agonizing over spec sheets, books, the internet, etc. trying to buy the perfect camera the first time around. If you buy used and pay reasonable prices for the camera and lens you should be able to sell them for what you paid once you have a better idea of exactly what you really want.

8-Sep-2012, 07:41
Thanks so much for the info!

That image is actually in Odessa, Ukraine. So... no. Not all that near Abbeville. But Abbeville has a better high school football team than Odessa!

Brian C. Miller
8-Sep-2012, 12:37
Welcome, Ben! Pretty much +1 on what Brian said.

My first LF camera was (is) a Graphlex Super Graphic I bought for $500. I still have it, and I still use it. The price on most Super Graphics has dropped by maybe half, though pristine examples will still set you back a bit. There is a For Sale section on the forum, where you'll find cameras and lenses. You can also post a WTB (want to buy) and maybe somebody will have something in their closet.

As for color, Praust in NY is good, and there's a number of other labs doing LF color mail order development.

So welcome, and I look forward to your posts!