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Thread: Where to start? Is it too late to start? Beginner seeking advice.

  1. #11

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    Re: Where to start? Is it too late to start? Beginner seeking advice.

    Sender....If budget is a big issue... it's wise to take a look at film prices. In Canadian dollars 100 sheets of Ilford FP4+ is about $166. 100 sheets of ilford 8x10 film is $585. The world is your oyster for inexpensive used equipment. Lots of free enlargers. All you really need is one lens, a camera, and a few holders. If you settle on a budget, I'm sure you can get good suggestions for direction here. You're not going to be burning it like 35mm...but film size does make a difference.

  2. #12
    Tim Meisburger's Avatar
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    Re: Where to start? Is it too late to start? Beginner seeking advice.

    Ya, all good advice, I think. If I were you I would start with an inexpensive 4x5 to get used to the view camera work flow. It takes a while and might be prohibitively expensive in 8x10. Once you have it down, the same process (more or less) will work with any format.

    If you can find a B&J for $100 as Jim suggests, that would be a great start, but I think they might go for more like $250.

  3. #13

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    Re: Where to start? Is it too late to start? Beginner seeking advice.

    Took a quick look on ebay, a Calumet 4x5 and a lens easily for $200 US. 8x10 camera/lens really starts at about $800 if you're lucky, and 8x10 holders and film are expensive (so add another $400 plus you'll likely need a tripod and head to support them).

  4. #14
    jp's Avatar
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    Re: Where to start? Is it too late to start? Beginner seeking advice.

    Which camera to get depends on your uses. Portraits? Old barrel lenses? architecture? Landscapes? A wide variety of affordable cameras exist for different purposes. And 4x5 holds it's value quite well as it's basically bottomed out by now.

  5. #15
    Jac@stafford.net's Avatar
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    Re: Where to start? Is it too late to start? Beginner seeking advice.

    Start with simple and economical so you may experience the realities. It is better to rethink than refinance.

  6. #16
    (Shrek)
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    Re: Where to start? Is it too late to start? Beginner seeking advice.

    Quote Originally Posted by senderoaburrido View Post
    A big issue budget wise for me is that I live in Montreal, and our dollar is worth nothing (77 cents against USD) right now. This is why I'd like to be careful money wise. A $400 dollar camera is $500, a $600 dollar camera is nearly $800, etc.
    Buy locally, you will save both the currency exchange and shipping (and customs fees, on items like cameras). There's a camera show coming up in a few days: Montreal Camera Shows

    The show is not specialized in large format, but there are usually several sellers with lf items. I personally sell a few lenses each show, but I rarely bring cameras or any of the other gear you'll need. Still, if you see someone with a bunch of old lenses behind plexiglass, feel free to stop and chat, and get my opinion on any other gear you may be considering buying from other sellers. You will find most sellers helpful in terms of compatibility, helping put together everything you need, etc. Large format is a small club, we like to encourage newcomers any way we can.

    X-Ray film in Canada: I buy off eBay, I get 3 100-sheet boxes shipped in a 'Medium Flat Rate Box', usually for a total of about $130 US. That gives me 300 shots in 8x10 or 1200 shots in 4x5 if I cut the film. That's cheaper than trying to keep up with the latest digital whatever.

  7. #17

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    Re: Where to start? Is it too late to start? Beginner seeking advice.

    Sender...Tell us if you've decided on contact printing, enlarging or scanning & non-analog printing...silver gelatin or alt processes? The camera is just a box...as previously suggested...many photographers turn out great work with what some might consider junk cameras. My 5x7 Deardorff was made in 1938....I have no plans to replace it.

  8. #18

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    Re: Where to start? Is it too late to start? Beginner seeking advice.

    Lots of way to go, even on a budget.
    8x10 will be difficult and expensive to feed (especially film, film holders, big lens, a sturdy enough tripod, chemicals, but no need for an enlarger.) 4x5 will be the least costly---you can find good, old school monorails for under $200 here in the US and film will be a lot cheaper, also less chemicals but you'll have to commit to either scanning or adding an enlarger, not necessarily a prohibitive expense but I haven't heard of anyone fishing a D-2 out of a dumpster in quite awhile. They do take up room though! Maybe you have a school or community dark room available to use? The other route I'd consider is an old 5x7. Prices for these are all over the place and you may find one competitive to 4x5 cameras--just do the homework and don't get stuck with a loosey-goosey. Small, teeny tiny pinholes in corners can be easily patched. Paper or cut down x-ray film is pretty cheap. You'll use a bit more chemicals than a 4x5. You'll need better tripod and three or so film holders. With patience you can usually find deals. Older lenses that will cover are out there as well, and 5x7 makes a nice size contact print which spares you the expense of an enlarger or scanner.
    It sounds like a fun adventure you're considering. Good luck and keep us posted!
    I steal time at 1/125th of a second, so I don't consider my photography to be Fine Art as much as it is petty larceny.
    I'm not OCD. I'm CDO which is alphabetically correct.

  9. #19

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    Re: Where to start? Is it too late to start? Beginner seeking advice.

    I started with 4x5 and decided to stick with it. It satisfies every aspect of the contemplative/meditative process that is large format, with giving me an option of enlarging at a reasonable cost as well. You will know when you want or need to go larger...Even if you found a reasonable 8x10, the cost associated with making every image is quite a bit more. If you get tired of 4x5, you could sell your used kit for nearly what you buy it and get 8x10 later.

    One piece of advice, get ready to slow down either way you go...
    A single day on 6x6 may yield you all 12 exposures just because it isn't hard to get through a roll. A single day on Large Format may yield you no exposures if its not worth planting your tripod.

  10. #20
    Peter De Smidt's Avatar
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    Re: Where to start? Is it too late to start? Beginner seeking advice.

    What do you want to photograph?
    “You often feel tired, not because you've done too much, but because you've done too little of what sparks a light in you.”
    ― Alexander Den Heijer, Nothing you don't already know

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