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Thread: LF, VLF, ULF: What's Your Definition of Format Sizes?

  1. #1

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    LF, VLF, ULF: What's Your Definition of Format Sizes?

    We all know "LF" format means anything larger than 120 roll film (Medium Format) size.
    So far so good.
    Is 4x5 Large Format? Yep. 5x7? Yep. 8x10? Sure. 11x14? Hey, not so fast... 11x14 is a lot more than "just" LF...

    Where is the transition from LF to something bigger.
    Do you folks caressing 11x14's consider youself in the transition between LF and ULF?
    Now and then you hear the phrase VLF (Very Large Format) expressed for formats beyond the 4x5/5x7 universe.
    Is VLF a valid category for 11x14??...

    Where do the 7x17, 8x20, 12x20 folks fit into this question...?

    16x20? I sure as heck consider it to be beyond "LF" territory.
    But is 16x20 ULTRA Large Format?
    Is 16x20 the entry price of admission to the ULF party?
    20x24? Yep; ULF no questiones asked.

    And then there are those folks conjuring up 24x30, 32x40, and larger wet plates.
    What do we call that format?
    The phrase "Mammoth" has been uses to describe such unimaginable formats.

    The reason for this fuss is that I now have lenses suitable for a wide range of format sizes,
    I'd like to assign descriptors for each segment of the LF community. (LF, VLF??, ULF).

    Where do you see the lines?
    Thanks a bunch.
    Reinild

  2. #2
    Daniel Stone's Avatar
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    Re: LF, VLF, ULF: What's Your Definition of Format Sizes?

    I'd consider anything larger than 8x10 as "ULF"

    11x14 included, despite it being considered an ANSI-standard size

    Dan

  3. #3
    Tin Can's Avatar
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    Re: LF, VLF, ULF: What's Your Definition of Format Sizes?

    14x17 is also ANSI

    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel Stone View Post
    I'd consider anything larger than 8x10 as "ULF"

    11x14 included, despite it being considered an ANSI-standard size

    Dan
    sin eater

  4. #4
    8x10, 5x7, 4x5, et al Leigh's Avatar
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    Re: LF, VLF, ULF: What's Your Definition of Format Sizes?

    Why qualify or compartmentalize LF? What purpose does that serve?

    Using your definition above, everything larger than 120 is LF.

    I disagree, arguing that any format 4x5 or larger is LF; smaller than 4x5 is MF down to 6x4.5.

    - Leigh
    If you believe you can, or you believe you can't... you're right.

  5. #5
    Lachlan 717
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    Re: LF, VLF, ULF: What's Your Definition of Format Sizes?

    Quote Originally Posted by Reinhold Schable View Post
    We all know "LF" format means anything larger than 120 roll film (Medium Format) size.
    So far so good.

    Reinild
    So far, not so good. 6x24cm (on 120 film) is larger than 4x5". It requires circa 8x10 coverage. So, I for one do not agree with your definition.

    Why not just define your lenses by the largest format they'll cover? Not sure that there's a need (nor necessarily a way) to compartmentalise…
    Lachlan.

    You miss 100% of the shots you never take. -- Wayne Gretzky

  6. #6

    Re: LF, VLF, ULF: What's Your Definition of Format Sizes?

    I generally think of 6x12 and 6x17 as LF too. The approach to photography for these formats would be more similar to LF than MF, and require mainly LF equipment (and a significant portion of it is done with LF cameras). The total area of film is fairly high too, if that's how you wan't to define it.

    What about 2 1/4 x 3 1/4 sheet film?

  7. #7
    LF/ULF Carbon Printer Jim Fitzgerald's Avatar
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    Re: LF, VLF, ULF: What's Your Definition of Format Sizes?

    I shoot one LF 8x10. Three ULF sizes. 11x14, 14x17 and 8x20! Done!

  8. #8

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    Re: LF, VLF, ULF: What's Your Definition of Format Sizes?

    [QUOTE=Lachlan 717;1055564]So far, not so good. 6x24cm (on 120 film) is larger than 4x5". It requires circa 8x10 coverage. So, I for one do not agree with your definition.

    They are not my definitions, I'm referring to the defacto use of these terms in general. Try posting a 120 roll film format print anywhere other than on "Safe Haven for Tiny Formats" and see what sort of reaction ensues... The very phrase "tiny formats" is a bit demeaning. The implications on this forum seem to be 'my equipment is bigger than yours'.

    This is not an attempt to write a dictionary on formats contrary to some acerbic reacions already posted. I'm only interested in how the community uses these terms. It's as simple as that.

    Reinhold

  9. #9
    Vaughn's Avatar
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    Re: LF, VLF, ULF: What's Your Definition of Format Sizes?

    "Large Format" as it relates to this forum is defined primarily by camera type, not film size. I have posted images taken using a 120 rollback on a 4x5 field view camera, and that is acceptable.

    LF -- I can easily carry it.
    VLF -- I can carry it, but not as far I as I use to.
    ULF -- "Hey boys, help me with this!"

  10. #10
    Land-Scapegrace Heroique's Avatar
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    Re: LF, VLF, ULF: What's Your Definition of Format Sizes?

    Quote Originally Posted by Vaughn View Post
    LF -- I can easily carry it.
    VLF -- I can carry it, but not as far I as I use to.
    ULF -- "Hey boys, help me with this!"
    And 15 or 20 years from now:

    LF -- “Hey grand-kids, help me with this!”


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