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Thread: 120 film for 4x5 camera

  1. #1

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    Question 120 film for 4x5 camera

    Hi all,
    I shoot mainly (if not only) urban landscape and am about to go on a trip to Lofoten islands in Norway where I'll shoot also nature (landscape).
    I have been shooting 4x5 black and white sheets in the last year because of the costs of colour sheets.
    I have often wondered which 120 film best suits the use of a 6x7cm back on my 4x5 camera.
    My lenses are:
    47mm 5.6 schneider super angulon xl
    75mm 5.6 Schneider Super Angulon MC
    150mm 5.6 Rodenstock Sironar N
    210mm 5.6 Rodenstock Sironar N
    300mm 5.6 Schneider Symmar

    Most used with 6x7 back would be 47mm and 75mm

    I have tried with Portra 160 and 400 but it doesn't look to have enough detail. I think it is due to the fact that LF lenses resolution is not enough for 120 film size.
    But perhaps film plays its part as well. Maybe Ektar 100 and Velvia 50 could be better?
    Any thoughts? Any other 120 films with enough resolution?

  2. #2

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    Re: 120 film for 4x5 camera

    How well do these lenses work with 4x5 film? Shooting 6x7 is really just shooting a chunk out of the larger frame.
    How well do these lenses shoot 6x7 in black and white?

  3. #3

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    Re: 120 film for 4x5 camera

    Quote Originally Posted by jbenedict View Post
    How well do these lenses work with 4x5 film? Shooting 6x7 is really just shooting a chunk out of the larger frame.
    How well do these lenses shoot 6x7 in black and white?
    I'm ok with using these lenses with 4x5 film.
    Not really enthusiastic to use these lenses with the 6x7cm rollfilm back but my experience is only related to portra film. I guess someone would say to try but I wanted suggestions from users who already tried.

  4. #4
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: 120 film for 4x5 camera

    Ektar will give you more detail and saturation, but you need to be more careful in exposure and especially in color temp correction. More look shooting chromes in
    that respect. Everything with a roll film back is more fussy. You need to have an accurate film plane and a high quality back that isn't so heavy that it tugs things
    out of precise focus, which is itself more difficult because you're looking at something smaller to begin with. I'd also personally prefer somewhat higher resolution
    lenses than you've listed, at least if you contemplate enlarging these things and getting the most out of Ektar. Your 150 and 210 might be OK - you can try; but
    I'd be skeptical of the extremes. A 300 Symmar is a tank anyway. For a roll film back at that focal length, I personally use a Nikon 300 M. It is difficult to find suitable short focal lengths (less than 100mm) without resorting to less than ideal wide angles or older lenses of questionable precision. You can choose from certain modern "digital" view lenses if they're in shutter, but they're expensive and will have more limited coverage angles. Bob S. on this forum would know about those. My experience shooting roll film in a view camera is that everything has to be as precise as possible if you want results approximating what you might ordinarily get with larger sheet film. The nice thing is that you still have a sheet film camera, and can go back and forth as needed.

  5. #5
    ic-racer's Avatar
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    Re: 120 film for 4x5 camera

    Quote Originally Posted by sergiofigliolia View Post
    Hi all,
    I have tried with Portra 160 and 400 but it doesn't look to have enough detail.?
    I'd waste a few exposures to ensure that the film is lying flat on the pressure plate. What type of rollfilm back are you using.

  6. #6

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    Re: 120 film for 4x5 camera

    I used to have a job where I shot archival records, B&W with an RB67 and macro lens, and the same material in color on 4x5. I took a couple of trips, rounds of Europe, where I could only take one camera, and so I took the 4x5 with a 210 Sironar-N for 4x5 color, and a 150 Sironar-N and a Calumet roll back for 6x7 B&W. Though it was a bit more work that way, the results didn't suffer at all. The 6x7 isn't 4x5, of course, but the 6x7 from that trip definitely held up next to the RB67 work done at home. Some folks like to trash the Calumet roll back, which looks like it was designed in 1955, but I never had a bit of problem with it, and it was much handier than a back that needs to have the ground glass back taken off to use.
    Thanks, but I'd rather just watch:
    Large format: http://flickr.com/michaeldarnton
    Mostly 35mm: http://flickr.com/mdarnton
    You want digital, color, etc?: http://www.flickr.com/photos/stradofear

  7. #7
    Daniel Stone's Avatar
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    Re: 120 film for 4x5 camera

    I've used "large format" lenses quite a bit in the past for shooting onto roll film. I haven't had any issues whatsoever in terms of clarity, loss of detail, etc. And I'm quite particular about fine detail

    Anyhow, if you're looking for a great film, I heartily recommend Kodak Ektar 100. It's extremely fine-grained, and the extra bit of color saturation, in MY opinion, actually adds a bit of "realism" into the more northern light you'll experience in Norway vs the warmer light in Italy.

    Portra 160 is quite flat in comparison contrast and color-wise, both the P160 and P400 are terrific films, but they're different from Ektar all together.

    -Dan

  8. #8
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: 120 film for 4x5 camera

    If you have a properly calibrated system and know how to use it, you should be able to get better results with a roll film back than with the equivalent film on any
    conventional medium format system. The reason is simple - movements. That means that you have more options to controlling depth of field than just stopping way down. If you're movements are conservative, then you'll be using just the center of a particular optic, and it might do fine. But otherwise, older 4x5 wide angle lenses aren't ideal. I lean more toward longer focal lengths, so my various Fuji A's and Nikkor M's work superbly. But I also use Fuji C's and relatively short normal plastmats
    like a Fuji 125W with excellent results on 6x9 film. The nice thing is that all these lenses are tiny and work on 4x5 film too.

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    Re: 120 film for 4x5 camera

    Quote Originally Posted by ic-racer View Post
    I'd waste a few exposures to ensure that the film is lying flat on the pressure plate. What type of rollfilm back are you using.
    I'm using a Calumet 6x7 roll film back

  10. #10

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    Re: 120 film for 4x5 camera

    Thanks everyone. I think I'll get some Ektars then...

    Quote Originally Posted by Drew Wiley View Post
    Your 150 and 210 might be OK - you can try; but
    I'd be skeptical of the extremes. A 300 Symmar is a tank anyway. For a roll film back at that focal length, I personally use a Nikon 300 M. It is difficult to find suitable short focal lengths (less than 100mm) without resorting to less than ideal wide angles or older lenses of questionable precision. You can choose from certain modern "digital" view lenses if they're in shutter, but they're expensive and will have more limited coverage angles.
    As to lenses I guess my 47XL should be ok?
    Maybe my weak lens is the 75 Super Angulon MC.
    With Roll films that focal length is also the most used for me. So maybe I should look into a 72 SA XL or a 80 XL, isn't it?

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