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uwlf
18-Nov-2012, 12:45
Aloha everyone!!!

I've been thinking about taking the plunge into LF (can't wait!!!) but I have several questions which will help me make a decision on which camera to pick up. First off, let's talk about my reasons I want to shoot LF. Print size, print size, print size. Not to mention, I really enjoy taking my time on finding a good location, getting the right composition, and really thinking through a photograph. I'm mostly interested in shooting landscapes, (away from car) so I'd like to keep the weight down if it's possible but it's not my number one issue. I'd like a camera that wont limit me in movements so I have the option of shooting architectural and wider lenses, (granted I'll probably have to pick up a different bellows for that at some point). I'm also a big fan of 6x17 format, which has steered me in the direction of 5x7, so I can pick up a pano back and use the same lenses. HOWEVER, reading through all the information on this awesome site has made me wary about the availability of 5x7 film... I really enjoy color, which supposedly is hard to find and difficult to find a good lab to process it? So what's the truth on 5x7 film availability? What is your favorite 5x7 b&w and color film? Where do you order it from?

Some cameras I've been looking at are the Sinar F2 (looks like some good deals on them used, however 4x5...) the canham mqc, and the shen hao 617. From a budget standpoint, the Sinar F2 makes the most sense as I can pick up a used one with a lens and all the accessories but I'm really torn on trying to move up to a 5x7. I think if the film is too hard to find and way more expensive then I'll just stick with 4x5.

Anyways, I'd appreciate your thoughts on the matter, especially regarding film scarcity!!!!

Ari
18-Nov-2012, 12:55
I don't shoot 5x7, but I think only one colour emulsion remains, Portra, and it is special order (someone please correct me if I'm wrong).

As for choice of camera, the best thing is to find a cheap monorail or field camera, use it for a while, and decide what features it has/lacks that you'd want on your next camera.
Then trade up.
I went through about 4-5 cameras, some of them I really liked, before I settled on the one that works best with me (and vice-versa).

So take the plunge, the point is to shoot and learn.

Gem Singer
18-Nov-2012, 13:04
There's a Canham DLC45 for sale on this forum at the present time. Look in the classifies section.

I suggest USA made Canham cameras, and I recommend the 4x5 format (unless you want to make larger contact prints).

5x7 and 8x10 sheet film is expensive, and will be even more expensive as it becomes scarce.

Even if LF sheet film becomes scarce, you could add a roll film back to that 4x5 and use 120 roll film, which will be around for a while at an affordable price.

Brian C. Miller
18-Nov-2012, 13:06
Freestyle B&W film (http://www.freestylephoto.biz/c404-Black-and-White-Film-Sheet-Film-ULF-Ultra-Large-Format)
B&H sheet film (http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/buy/Sheet-Film/ci/335/N/4289268778)

Freestyle has the largest selection of 5x7 sheet film. There's a lot for B&W, but if you want color then it's special order. Fact is, all Kodak film over 4x5 is special order these days.

If you really want to shoot color, then you should either buy a 4x5 camera or else a 5x7 with a 4x5 reducing back. There is also the Shen-Hao 6x17 back for 4x5 cameras (https://www.badgergraphic.com/store/cart.php?m=product_detail&p=123). Graflock backs are fairly standard on cameras, but you'll have to check first that the camera you buy does have one.

Oh, and welcome to the forum!

uwlf
18-Nov-2012, 14:51
Thanks for the quick replies! Looking up film, and especially because I'm interested in color, I think 4x5 is the way to go. The 617 shen back for the 4x5 looks like that means I wont have to go to 5x7 just for the advantage of shooting pano. However, what do you suspect the limit for shooting 617 on a 4x5 will be as far as lenses go?

Also, I can't check out the classifieds because I haven't been a member for 30 days yet... But thanks for the tip! I'm currently considering this f2 on ebay

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Sinar-F-2-4x5-mint-with-Nikkor-210mm-F-5-6-lens-excellent-/290811192465?pt=Film_Cameras&hash=item43b5b2a491

Ivan J. Eberle
18-Nov-2012, 15:10
Monorails are great for architecture and for use with wide angle lenses and bag bellows, but not so great for packing into the mountains. If architecture were the main thing you wanted to do I'd suggest a monorail first. But since you mention landscapes, my experience is that the extreme moves aren't as necessary as you might think. A bomb-proof 4x5 folding metal box camera with a rangefinder (one that can be set up in fast changing light, ready to shoot in as little as 30 seconds) is what I've held onto for this, having all the moves I need for landscape.

You may end up using two cameras, each for different things. No harm in that. The used marketplace is awash in bargains the past few years. Bigger expense is likely to be film and processing over the course of a year or two's time.

Jim Andrada
18-Nov-2012, 17:33
BH lists Portra in both 5 x 7 and 11 x 14 in addition to 8 x 10. Looks like the 5 x 7 and 8 x 10 are in stock but 8 to 10 week wait for 11 x 14. Some of the Japanese camera stores are still showing Velvia and Provia in 8 x 10 (and Acros in 5 x 7 and 8 x 10 for that matter)

I think 5 x 7 is a great format - big enough to compose easily on the ground glass without the weight and bulk of an 8 x 10.

I have 4 x 5, 5 x 7, and 8 x 10 and use them all but I like 5 x 7 best.

Ed Richards
18-Nov-2012, 19:31
For color? D800E. I gave up LF color a long time ago. Black and white, wonderful. Color, not worth the time and trouble and MONEY. I was just reminded by looking at Galen Rowell's work, and that huge book, Himalayas, of the wonderful work done on 35mm film. If you live in a really big international city, you might be able to get LF color film processed for a few more years. If you have a lot of money to burn, then go to it. Figure you will need to shoot about 1000 sheets to get good at it, multiple that by cost of the film and processing, and make sure you are comfortable with the number. Then think about how you are going to get it printed. Optical by someone else? Take that number you just calculated and double it to cover making prints to learn what is going on. Optical yourself - you need a big, expensive darkroom for big color, and lots of time. Or go digital for printing. You will need at least a 24" wide printer to begin to make prints big enough to show the advantage of LF over a D800E. You can have someone else make your prints instead. Then figure drums scans at $100+ per negative and that same big additional number for printing. If you are rich, none of this matters. If not, think hard. Why are you going to make those huge prints? Are you a successful photographer who is already selling huge prints? Then ignore me, because you have already figured out the game and I would love to know your secret.:-) If not, and you are not rich, are you sure this makes sense?

Brian C. Miller
18-Nov-2012, 20:09
For color? D800E.

Is it, really? D800E: $3,300. The OP is looking for a used LF camera, so I'm guessing $300-$500, plus another $200-$300 for a decent lens, so good to go for $500, plus a few accessories like film holders. But since he's interested in 6x17, then it's roll film all the way for that, which is of course significantly cheaper than sheet film. Then flatbed scanning for some decent pics, and maybe he'll pop for a drum scan for something significant.

Now, what would that 6x17 equivalent panoramic crop be like on a D800? That would be 7360 x 1733, so 12,754,880 pixels. I'm sure that even a cheesy roll film scan can coax out a higher resultion than that, let alone what Lenny can do. Sure, he can do a panoramic multiple capture. Personally, I like to get the whole thing in one go, which eliminates a lot of problems. (And if he does panoramic with a digital camera, why spring for a D800?)

Jim Andrada
18-Nov-2012, 21:42
I'd be interested to know where you came up with the 1000 sheet requirement to get familiar. I've been at this for 50 years and I haven't even come close to 1000 sheets in any format. I figure that if it takes more than a couple of dozen sheets to figure it all out there must be something seriously wrong. And a reducing back to let you learn on 4 x 5 is not a bad idea (or a used Graphic)

Processing can be done by mail - and there are still quite a few labs doing C-41 and E-6. I have one 10 minutes from my house and I live in TUCSON . Not many peoples" idea of a big international city!

Tim k
18-Nov-2012, 21:55
Hey, we have an international airport and IHOP. Plus my wife tells me darned near every day there is too many people here.

RichardSperry
18-Nov-2012, 22:34
Brian,

I would get the D800e and one of those sliding back things. And stitch them.

In fact, I am, now that they are available. The Nikon is not in lieu of LF, but my Rollei 6008.

(Ps, add 6,000 for 3 2.8 lenses too to your cost when used LF lenses are a fraction of that).

Frank Petronio
18-Nov-2012, 23:00
You guys go keep on writing, he's just going to do what he's going to do... All this info is on the frontend of this website, let him read it first.

RichardSperry
18-Nov-2012, 23:51
Frank,

What is the rationale for shooting 5x7?

I don't see any advantage to it. Oddball size and aspect ratio. Hard to find accessories. I don't think I've even seen a 5x7 enlarger. Rare film availability.

Frank Petronio
19-Nov-2012, 00:02
It's a pretty ratio. The cameras aren't twice as large even though the film area is nearly so. But the disadvantages are significant too.

The good advice here for the newcomer is just to experiment, as inexpensively as possible. Just try a camera and makes some pictures, then you'll have an idea of what to try next. But coming up with charts of pros and cons, then assigning points to various factors will just prevent you from doing anything. Use a $300 Sinar and a $300 Crown Graphic and you'll understand the range of possibilities.

Lots of people have made great pictures with garbage equipment - lots of MFAs have made garbage pictures with great equipment.

speedfreak
19-Nov-2012, 00:18
My two cents... LF is awesome for many reasons and I think it fits certain personalities better than others. You sound like the type that would enjoy it! I would think that investing in a light weight 5x7 (chamonix, cahnam) with a 4x5 reducing back and 6x17 roll film back would be the way to go. Sure, you can get a 6x17 back for the 4x5 but you are then somewhat limited with lens selections. This way you can shoot: 6x6, 6x7, 6x9, 4x5 b+w and color, 5x7 b+w (color if you can find it), 6x10, 6x12, 6x17 with the roll film back. That is a shit load of options! Almost too many come to think of it. Plus, those options are gonna cost ya!

Screw it! Get a solid metal 4x5 camera. Maybe a Toyo 45a (a2), or a Linhof Tech iv (v). Plenty rigid and more than enough movements for 95% of what is shot. The camera and a couple lenses will set you back no more than ~$1500. If you find your shooting ALOT of wides and NEEDING tons of rise, buy the Sinar F, bag bellows, and adapter lens board and now your prepared for anything.
If your scanning, shoot two frames, stitch and crop for 6x17. Easy peasy!

welly
19-Nov-2012, 01:56
For color? D800E. I gave up LF color a long time ago. Black and white, wonderful. Color, not worth the time and trouble and MONEY. I was just reminded by looking at Galen Rowell's work, and that huge book, Himalayas, of the wonderful work done on 35mm film. If you live in a really big international city, you might be able to get LF color film processed for a few more years. If you have a lot of money to burn, then go to it. Figure you will need to shoot about 1000 sheets to get good at it, multiple that by cost of the film and processing, and make sure you are comfortable with the number. Then think about how you are going to get it printed. Optical by someone else? Take that number you just calculated and double it to cover making prints to learn what is going on. Optical yourself - you need a big, expensive darkroom for big color, and lots of time. Or go digital for printing. You will need at least a 24" wide printer to begin to make prints big enough to show the advantage of LF over a D800E. You can have someone else make your prints instead. Then figure drums scans at $100+ per negative and that same big additional number for printing. If you are rich, none of this matters. If not, think hard. Why are you going to make those huge prints? Are you a successful photographer who is already selling huge prints? Then ignore me, because you have already figured out the game and I would love to know your secret.:-) If not, and you are not rich, are you sure this makes sense?

A DSLR? Boring! (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i8LOLswfTkQ)

Shooting with large format is infinitely more interesting and fun than shooting with a DSLR. Photography doesn't always need to be so pragmatic! Unless he's a pro, of course, but if he isn't, bring him into the fold!

Where's the romance in shooting a D800E? Large format photography makes me happy, it makes my girlfriend happy (she thinks I'm a genius for shooting with that thing) and it makes people in the street who watch me lump that big old camera around and sneak under the dark cloth happy. I don't make large prints (although for me 13x19" is large-ish and I'll have some A2 paper on order soon) but I could in the future!

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/0/05/Ansel_Adams_and_camera.jpg/607px-Ansel_Adams_and_camera.jpg

Cool as a cucumber

http://www.thaidphoto.com/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=81097&stc=1&d=1118337610

They look like they're having no fun and their job sucks.

RichardSperry
19-Nov-2012, 03:49
They look like they're having no fun and their job sucks.

They are shooting Canons...

welly
19-Nov-2012, 03:55
They are shooting Canons...

Good call.

Pawlowski6132
19-Nov-2012, 04:12
OP, how are you going to get these large prints? Also, you don't need Lf to take your time in photography.

rdenney
19-Nov-2012, 06:37
Print size alone is not the only reason to shoot large format. And I'm not sure it's enough of a reason to carry many folks past the hurdles.

For one thing, making that big print requires some fairly significant provendar. When I ran my own darkroom, the biggest print I could make there was 16x20, and even that was an order of magnitude more troublesome than 11x14, which was my standard size print.

And if you are scanning and making prints digitally, 16x20 is a useful working limit. The Epson 3880 is fairly inexpensive, and much less expensive than printers with a 24" bed or larger. And an Epson flatbed scanner, which most folks have a hope of affording for home use, is good for about a 4x enlargement, or 16x20 from 4x5 film.

Pushing past those boundaries requires a very big step in investment.

And it's true that modern digital cameras, when used with absolutely impeccable technique and lenses in the four-figure price range, can make really excellent 16x24 prints.

If you already have a larger printing capability and your are looking to take advantage of it with large-format film, then that's another thing. But that's not usually the starting point for people whose first post sounds like yours.

But I'm not at all discouraging you from giving it a try. Just don't justify it on print size. Yes, a 4x enlargement from film, even scanned in a consumer flatbed, will always have a nicer look, for a lot of reasons, than a 17x enlargement from a 24x36 digital sensor, even if it isn't any sharper. The camera itself will, for remarkably little money, provide you with image-control possibilities not possible with small cameras unless you invest in seriously expensive tilt-shift lenses, and even those are a compromise on image-management breadth. There's just nothing like the ability provided by a really flexible view camera. But it's a low-production working model. It makes sense when you only make a relatively small number of photos, but really invest a lot of consideration into each one. For me, a good day of photography with the 4x5 camera is four or five exposures, and I'll expect three of them to make me happy. With my digital camera, I might make 50 or 100 exposures in that same sort of a day, and still expect three of them to make me happy. I might burn a whole roll of film in my Pentax 6x7, and still get three. That's sort of how it ends up with me.

I would suggest that light weight is a commonly expressed requirement, but one not usually based on the experience of actually using a large-format camera. Yes, there are many who backpack with their cameras. But there are many more who put their big cameras in a baby jogger and still manage to make it pretty far afield. Consider this: A well-made budget brand field camera will cost three times (on the used market) what a high-end monorail view camera costs. And people will ooh and ahh over the pretty wood. My view camera looks more like a machine than a piece of furniture, but it is a joy to use, even if the box that holds it is too bulky for wearing on my back.

But even more important is what makes a reasonable first investment on a format that imposes a lot of demands on the photographer, without the photographer really knowing whether he's up for those demands. Even Ansel Adams made many of his later photos using a Hasselblad. You could spend thousands on a large-format setup and have the best of everything, and still find that the format defeats you.

Forget 5x7, despite the enthusiasm of those who are adherents to that format. 4x5 and 8x10 each present many more options for film and supplies. (I thought once that I might be interested in 6x17, and I have explored 6x12. But seeing in that panoramic format requires special insight, I have found. I don't usually have it, and I just feel more comfortable with 4x5 most of the time.) 4x5 is preferred if color is your thing--8x10 color is four times as expensive. The cameras are more expensive, the lenses are more expensive and there are fewer options, and the lack of depth of field can be a daunting challenge. In return for living up to those challenges, one gets an acre of ground glass for focusing and composing, and that's quite an experience to use. But start with 4x5. As they say in amateur telescope circles, if you want to grind a 12" mirror, grind a 6" mirror first. What you learn from the smaller project will save you more time and effort than it costs when attempting the larger project.

Taking all these things into consideration, my usual recommendation is to start with a decent but inexpensive monorail view camera, put a couple of decent lenses on it, and then go make photos. See if the process appeals to you in practice rather than just in theory. See if you are happy with the results. If not, sell it and no longer wonder if you are missing something. If it grabs you, then you'll have real experience on which to make your next buying decisions.

Don't forget the cost of the accoutrements. The tripod, for example, can't be the lightweight off-brand on sale at the local camera store. It really needs to be beefy for 4x5, and positively massive for 8x10. You'll spend as much on a good tripod as what a high-end used monorail camera costs these days. You'll also need a meter, though you can use a digital camera for a while. And you'll need to fit lenses to lens boards (really easy if you have any handiness at all). Cable releases, case, focusing cloth, loupe, film holders--these things add up even if you start with makeshift stuff. Then there's whatever you need to realize prints.

For those of us who worked up from crappy old cameras, folks just starting now have a real advantage in being able to start with a camera like a Sinar F for just a few hundred dollars. An F2 is now my main camera, and in real dollars it's the cheapest view camera I've ever bought. It's also the best by far--such is the nature of the used market these days. So, one starting out with a modest expenditure as a test of interest is not constrained to buy low-end stuff, unless you want pretty wood and polished brass.

If you want to use short lenses, then a monorail camera like the Sinar will serve you best. With the correct bag bellows, I can focus a 47mm lens on my Sinar using a flat lens board. That's too short for most folks, but 65mm lenses are a piece of cake. 65 is a challenge for many folding cameras, though. (There are folding-camera options that do have that flexibility, such as a Linhof Technika, but those options are expensive.)

One more thing about 4x5's advantages over 8x10: If you really do end up using short lenses, recognize that really short lenses for 8x10 are rare and expensive. Short lenses need a wide angle (two separate concepts for large-format photographers) to provide enough coverage for at least some movements, and wide-angle designs (such as the Super Angulon) have mostly been made for 4x5 applications. Thus, one can get a used 65mm or 90mm f/5.6 Super Angulon for several hundred dollars--these are respectively somewhat less than half and a little over half the diagonal of the 4x5 film. In focal lengths of similar relationship to the format diagonal for 8x10, 210mm Super Angulons are extremely rare, and 165mm Super Angulons are still uncommon and quite expensive. And even these are not really as short with respect to the format. Lenses in those focal lengths that are more common and affordable won't have the same coverage.

Rick "noting that much of the discussion in the home-page articles is from a different film-availability perspective" Denney

Ed Bray
19-Nov-2012, 07:14
I have tried all three formats 4x5, 5x7, and 8x10 and my preference of the three is currently 5x7. My Canham MQC 5x7 camera is lighter and more mobile than my 4x5 Horseman LX and considerably so more than my Plaubel 8x10 monorail.

The biggest issue I have found with 8x10 (aside from the cost) is the processing, I can process four 5x7 negtives in a Jobo 8x10 drum or two 8x10s. Yes, I could slurge out 300+ for a master drum but would then need the 1000+ for the CPA/P.

I like 5x7 format as I prefer the slightly elongated rectangle (I can always crop it a tad if I want the 4x5 format), large enough to be impressive in the hand, scans with the high resolution lens on an Epson V750 and can process four at a time in the Jobo or two at a time if I want to use semi-stand in the Paterson Orbital.

That said, If I could find an affordable 8x10 Canham JMC I would have one.

Mark Barendt
19-Nov-2012, 07:28
One camera that would be fun to have is a Rittreck 5x7 view with 4x5 and 8x10 backs.

Truly flexible in practice, folds up nice, if you can't find 5x7 color you could substitute 4x5 or 8x10.

Eric Biggerstaff
19-Nov-2012, 08:02
Get a 5X7 with a 4X5 back. I primarily use 5X7 and it is great not only for enlargments but for contact printing as well. If you want color, you can switch over to 4X5. Also, most of the lenses that cover 4X5 will also cover 5X7 so you won't have to have a large lens set to use both formats. There is plenty of options for B&W film in both sizes, color is more limited as you would expect but it is still available in both sizes as well.

If you are just starting out, the main thing is to begin with a format that will allow you to put lots of film through the camera so you can learn. The 4X5 would be the most affordable and you can start with film like the Arista products from Freestyle, nice film at an affordable price. The larger formats are great, but the film is much more expensive which will likely limit the amount you put into the camera. You have to be willing to burn through a lot of film to learn so 8X10 would not be a good place to start. Large format photography has a steep learning curve so you need to stick with it a while and get over the initial mistakes, if you do the process will bring you years of enjoyment!

Good luck and have fun.

marfa boomboom tx
19-Nov-2012, 09:36
film is all over the place... (IAR is scarce)

using the view camera is like learning to dance one foot at a time; in slow motion.

gone is the way I learned VC -- my first day I shot and souped about a dozen sheets.... that pace increased for the following 6 months. At that time I had a 12 shot book that could be used to qualify for harder coursework.

boomboom comes with feedback

ROL
19-Nov-2012, 09:47
Where's the romance in shooting a D800E?

F#$% that! ;)

Jim Andrada
19-Nov-2012, 10:25
@RichardSperry

If you haven't seen a 5 x 7 enlarger its because you haven't looked - I had one but donated it when I decided to go to hybrid process - as someone else pointed out 5 x 7 can be scanned at the higher resolutions in an Epson 750.

ROL
19-Nov-2012, 10:33
I was just reminded by looking at Galen Rowell's work, and that huge book, Himalayas, of the wonderful work done on 35mm film.

Not really piling on here, but Shirakawa's Himalaya, was shot with both MF (Pentax 6x7) and 35mm. The large ivory clasped portfolio version was perhaps my first photographic "art book" acquisition. Looking back through it recently, I was disappointed at both the printing quality and much of the grainy photography, which I now view from a more practiced, if arguable, fine art perspective. This is not so much to diminish Shirakawa's skills (or adventure), but more of a criticism of the nature of the book itself. If the goal of one's photography is color in either a printed book or via the web, where the end result will be digital representation, I believe the weight of rational argument comes down evermore on the side of digital capture.


As for the OP, 4x5 does seem a more logical place to be, at this moment in time. But that was also the case when I invested in 5x7, some years ago. I rationalized the choice based on my particular (peculiar?) shooting needs and enlarging goals, for B/W fine art applications. Back then, the demise of 5x7 (film) seemed imminent, yet it's availability has barely diminished (color excluded, and unimportant from my perspective). Just last week I calculated the per square inch cost of TXP in 4x5, 5x7, and 8x10. 5x7 was the winner in low cost at $.0683, followed by 8x10 ($.0686) and finally, the loser (:p) 4x5 ($.0795). To be fair, the results for HP5+, were graduated more expectedly, with the 8x10 as the lowest. Go figure.

Ed Bray
19-Nov-2012, 11:01
http://www.photocritique.net/digest/1999-12.html

Eric's suggestion is a good one. 5x7 gives you flexibility.

If I were buying new I would buy a Canham with the 5x7 and 4x5 back so you have the best of both formats.

The trouble is that Canham MQC 57 to 45 backs are like rocking horse poo. I have an ebay window constantly open with a search for Canham worldwide to try to get hold of one. I refresh it at least 3 times a day.

My main reason for wanting one is that it will allow me to use both my Polaroid Back and Toyo 6x9 Roll Film Back.

Joseph Dickerson
19-Nov-2012, 11:04
I don't think anyone pointed out that the Sinar F2 can easily be converted to 5x7 (or 8x10) by changing the bellows and back.

It's also a very portable camera that offers a lot of versatility.

Also, what Frank said was good advice, albeit a bit grumpy. The info on the home page will answer a lot of your questions. That's why it's there.

JD

ROL
19-Nov-2012, 12:12
I met a guy shooting on the coast a few years ago who was using a Canham MQC 57 with a 45 reducing back for all his shooting. Seemed like some version of penis envy to me. :D

Ed Bray
19-Nov-2012, 12:15
I met a guy shooting on the coast a few years ago who was using a Canham MQC 57 with a 45 reducing back for all his shooting. Seemed like some version of penis envy to me. :D

That may also be so, but it would just make the system more versatile with me, and if it enhances my little man, all well and good!

ROL
19-Nov-2012, 12:18
:D.

...and BTW, whatever Frank said (not that I read it).

RichardSperry
19-Nov-2012, 12:39
5x7 contact size just seems so small with negative returns to the investment. That's snapshot 1hour photo size.

Seems a lot of work for such a diminutive result.

Are there any buyers who buy art prints in that size? I personally have not run into anyone who has stated they wanted a print smaller, and many who ask for larger(which I'm working on).

Going to the 40"x50" range requires a notable investment, even doing it on the cheap. I found 4'x4' trays at the local hydroponic store for like $80 each.

Ed Richards
19-Nov-2012, 13:51
> I'd be interested to know where you came up with the 1000 sheet requirement to get familiar.

I said to get good, not familiar. My basic view is that cameras are for taking pictures, and that you get better at taking pictures only by taking pictures. I try to shoot 500 sheets a year. I am about 3000 sheets in since I got back to LF in 2005, and I know I still have a lot to learn about making better pictures. But I make better ones now that I did on the first 1000 sheets.

Eric Biggerstaff
19-Nov-2012, 14:49
Richard,

Paul Kozal is one artist who comes to mind who only prints to 5X7, and they are gems. I have purchased small prints often but I tend to but the image and not the size. Great images are great images, it is not size dependent.

uwlf
19-Nov-2012, 16:56
Thank you for all of the great replies everyone! A few things I would like to clarify and comment upon...

I have read all of the front page articles... Many of them several times, as I like to digest them, read some more, and then go back to them to help squeeze out every ounce of understanding I can. With that being said, nothing can compare to good conversation between several people. I really value the opinions and ideas you guys have, I apply them to my own needs, and try to make an educated decision!

As far as my shooting qualifications go, I do pay the bills with my photography... Although, in a vastly different field then landscapes (surf photographer & underwater stock, editorial, and ad work) I've always loved landscape photography but it just hasn't been the bread winner for me. I'm at a place in my life where I'd like to have a LF camera to capture some of the scenic places I get to travel to and see if I can generate interest in art prints. I know several real estate agents who deal with high end homes 1mill+, and they frequently have a need for art pieces when staging a home. I don't expect to pay the bills with my LF shooting, but I will try to monetize it anyway I can obviously. And if nothing else, it gives me a break from my normal daily shooting (digital).

One comment was geared towards how I'm going to have my prints printed... I do have a lab in LA that has done some printing for me that I'm happy with. Yes, its extremely expensive, but I don't have the space for my own printing/scanning, and the time involved in doing so can be better spent out shooting in my opinion. After all, I'm a professional photographer, not a professional printer.

Thank you everyone for your input!!! Keep it coming! I really enjoy reading them.

ROL
19-Nov-2012, 17:46
I know several real estate agents who deal with high end homes 1mill+, and they frequently have a need for art pieces when staging a home.

I was approached by spec house builders a few years ago for that purpose. They wanted me to give them framed work to show off their homes, essentially lease free. Everyone seems to think that as a "fine artist", I have no interest in eating. :mad:

RichardSperry
19-Nov-2012, 18:05
I'm a professional photographer, not a professional printer

Photograph means a light drawing or a drawing of light.

Until its printed, there is no photograph. How can you be a photographer without the photograph? And how can you be a photographer when someone else makes your photograph for you?

I sort of understand, I have no interest in matting or framing...that really is tertiary work.

But until its a photograph, a print, all you have is a piece of plastic no one wants to see(a negative may be a light drawing but who wants to just look at your negatives). A photographer who is not intimately involved with the printing of his or her photos, is really just a camera clicker to me. To each his own, I guess.

uwlf
19-Nov-2012, 18:09
I was approached by spec house builders a few years ago for that purpose. They wanted me to give them framed work to show off their homes, essentially lease free. Everyone seems to think that as a "fine artist", I have no interest in eating. :mad:

Yeah I'm sure everyone in the photography line of work can recount hundreds of "work for free" stories. And it's getting more and more common these days when the new guys try to get business by undercutting the market. Eventually no one gets to eat when that happens. When I'm approached to do free work I usually go out of my way to explain my expenses to them and they usually catch on...Not the case for everyone though. It's a good way to weed out people you don't want to work for ;)

rdenney
19-Nov-2012, 18:51
If you are a pro, especially in the technical ends of photography you described, I suspect even more than ever you'll appreciate a precision camera--all metal, designed for precise, repeatable work. The Sinar with both a 5x7 and 4x5 rear standard (plus appropriate bellows) sounds like the best option, especially given your willingness to have the film scanned and printed by others. The F2 is the lightest of these, but you may struggle to find an F2 5x7 rear standard--I think the F series was only made in 4x5 and 8x10. The Norma is only a bit heavier and is better made, but a little less up to date. And a 5x7 rear standard of Norma vintage will be easier to find, too. Of course, there is absolutely nothing preventing you from putting a 5x7 Norma-era back on a much newer 4x5 F2--such is the interchangeability of Sinar components. The P series is the most precise, but it really is heavy stuff.

Richard means well but don't listen to him. A photograph is a picture made using a camera. If you hire a printer, and you come to trust that printer to realize your intentions, that's what it's all about. We have several custom printers on this forum who make their living doing just that, and their clients are photographers. Sometimes I wish I could afford to be one of them.

Rick "good luck and have fun" Denney

ROL
19-Nov-2012, 19:09
Photograph means a light drawing or a drawing of light.

Until its printed, there is no photograph. How can you be a photographer without the photograph? And how can you be a photographer when someone else makes your photograph for you?

I sort of understand, I have no interest in matting or framing...that really is tertiary work.

But until its a photograph, a print, all you have is a piece of plastic no one wants to see(a negative may be a light drawing but who wants to just look at your negatives). A photographer who is not intimately involved with the printing of his or her photos, is really just a camera clicker to me. To each his own, I guess.

That's harsh. While I believe we're on the same page, I also wouldn't necessarily agree that print presentation (http://www.rangeoflightphotography.com/pages/Fine%20Art%20Print%20Presentation) is to be left to others. So you see, there are many pages to the book – a book which is being continually rewritten by new techniques and viewpoints.

Frank Petronio
19-Nov-2012, 19:16
I may have a 57 Norma outfit to sell in a couple weeks....

Greg Miller
19-Nov-2012, 19:36
Photograph means a light drawing or a drawing of light.

Until its printed, there is no photograph. How can you be a photographer without the photograph? And how can you be a photographer when someone else makes your photograph for you?

I sort of understand, I have no interest in matting or framing...that really is tertiary work.

But until its a photograph, a print, all you have is a piece of plastic no one wants to see(a negative may be a light drawing but who wants to just look at your negatives). A photographer who is not intimately involved with the printing of his or her photos, is really just a camera clicker to me. To each his own, I guess.

There are plenty of highly regarded photographers who had other people do their printing.

Jim Andrada
19-Nov-2012, 22:57
I was back in Cambridge ( the US one that is) for a college reunion last Spring and there was a great Andreas Feininger exhibition at one of the museums. They had quite a few of his photographs on display and I was surprised at how many of them were less than 5 x 7 inches in size - many around 3 or 4 inches square. And very effective at that size. I think the photograph itself should dictate the scale at which it's printed and I've seen quite few fine photos that were contact printed from 6 x 6 cm negs.

I seem to remember that St Ansel once said something to the effect that one significant photo a month was quite good indeed.

Roger Cole
20-Nov-2012, 00:10
For color? D800E. I gave up LF color a long time ago. Black and white, wonderful. Color, not worth the time and trouble and MONEY. I was just reminded by looking at Galen Rowell's work, and that huge book, Himalayas, of the wonderful work done on 35mm film. If you live in a really big international city, you might be able to get LF color film processed for a few more years. If you have a lot of money to burn, then go to it. Figure you will need to shoot about 1000 sheets to get good at it, multiple that by cost of the film and processing, and make sure you are comfortable with the number. Then think about how you are going to get it printed. Optical by someone else? Take that number you just calculated and double it to cover making prints to learn what is going on. Optical yourself - you need a big, expensive darkroom for big color, and lots of time. Or go digital for printing. You will need at least a 24" wide printer to begin to make prints big enough to show the advantage of LF over a D800E. You can have someone else make your prints instead. Then figure drums scans at $100+ per negative and that same big additional number for printing. If you are rich, none of this matters. If not, think hard. Why are you going to make those huge prints? Are you a successful photographer who is already selling huge prints? Then ignore me, because you have already figured out the game and I would love to know your secret.:-) If not, and you are not rich, are you sure this makes sense?


Is it, really? D800E: $3,300. The OP is looking for a used LF camera, so I'm guessing $300-$500, plus another $200-$300 for a decent lens, so good to go for $500, plus a few accessories like film holders. But since he's interested in 6x17, then it's roll film all the way for that, which is of course significantly cheaper than sheet film. Then flatbed scanning for some decent pics, and maybe he'll pop for a drum scan for something significant.

Now, what would that 6x17 equivalent panoramic crop be like on a D800? That would be 7360 x 1733, so 12,754,880 pixels. I'm sure that even a cheesy roll film scan can coax out a higher resultion than that, let alone what Lenny can do. Sure, he can do a panoramic multiple capture. Personally, I like to get the whole thing in one go, which eliminates a lot of problems. (And if he does panoramic with a digital camera, why spring for a D800?)

Before I would suggest a D800E I would suggest an RB67. You lose movements either way.

I have some 4x5 color film I am slowing using up, but when it's gone I don't plan to buy any more. It's too expensive (I can afford it, but it's not worth it for the slight improvement over 6x7 in my roll film back) and too much hassle. I shoot color in 120 and 35mm now.

But I'm not the OP. I agree that if you want to shoot color in LF, 4x5 is the way to go for both availability and, compared to larger formats at least, affordability. Note that you CAN also cut down 8x10 film to 5x7 if you must, and Shen Hao makes a 5x8 camera for shooting 8x10 you just whack down the middle. Still, 4x5 would be my choice if I were going to shoot color in LF regularly.

Roger Cole
20-Nov-2012, 00:31
My two cents... LF is awesome for many reasons and I think it fits certain personalities better than others. You sound like the type that would enjoy it! I would think that investing in a light weight 5x7 (chamonix, cahnam) with a 4x5 reducing back and 6x17 roll film back would be the way to go. Sure, you can get a 6x17 back for the 4x5 but you are then somewhat limited with lens selections. This way you can shoot: 6x6, 6x7, 6x9, 4x5 b+w and color, 5x7 b+w (color if you can find it), 6x10, 6x12, 6x17 with the roll film back. That is a shit load of options! Almost too many come to think of it. Plus, those options are gonna cost ya!

Screw it! Get a solid metal 4x5 camera. Maybe a Toyo 45a (a2), or a Linhof Tech iv (v). Plenty rigid and more than enough movements for 95% of what is shot. The camera and a couple lenses will set you back no more than ~$1500. If you find your shooting ALOT of wides and NEEDING tons of rise, buy the Sinar F, bag bellows, and adapter lens board and now your prepared for anything.
If your scanning, shoot two frames, stitch and crop for 6x17. Easy peasy!

While the idea of a 5x7 with reducing back makes a certain sense, the Tech IV is not going to do what this list seems to imply. It doesn't really handle short lenses that well (I have a Tech III and wish it did better in this regard, it's one of the things I want my next camera to do) and is going to be limited in terms of lens selection for the roll film formats 6x6-6x9. It handles a 90mm ok, and that's fairly wide on 4x5 (about like 28 or a bit shorter on 35mm but with a different aspect ratio so it doesn't translate directly) but only a normal on 6x7, maybe very slightly wide on 6x9.

RichardSperry
20-Nov-2012, 00:58
There are plenty of highly regarded photographers who had other people do their printing.
I know.
Like I said, to each his own.

People are free to place value on whatever they wish to. Humans are strange and funny creatures that way.
There is a documentary, Herb and Dorothy Vogel, the Portrait of the Collector. They had a 6 inch piece of rope screwed to the wall, and it's regarded as art; it has value because they valued it.

https://s3.amazonaws.com/ksr/assets/000/001/858/f9f5f507279d489e8b7976b2e530d7c9_large.jpg?1337891563

ROL
31-Dec-2012, 16:08
...Shirakawa's Himalaya, was shot with both MF (Pentax 6x7) and 35mm. The large ivory clasped portfolio version was perhaps my first photographic "art book" acquisition.

Keeping to my policy of only quoting from the "best" (:o), while delving into my XMAS gift book, Andrea Stillman's, Looking at Ansel Adams, its pages brightened by direct sunlight streaming in through a nearby window... on page 63, a photo of the Adams' standing in their Carmel living room... to the right a bookcase, flanking the large stone fireplace... between the bust and the lamp... not at first conspicuously discernible... there it was. Himalayas.

Great minds... ;)