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

  1. #21

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

    If you buy a camera and a lens used and later decide to sell you should get most of your money back if you bought at a fair price. This goes for 4x5 or 8x10.

    If you want to shoot 8x10 you can pick up a battleship grey wooden Burke and James camera pretty cheap like a few hundred dollars. A 300mm f/5.6 lens in shutter can be had for about $300.00. Film holders in usable shape will run you $60.00 or more a piece for the later plastic versions. Wooden ones can be found cheaper. You can find a wooden Berlebach or metal Majestic tripod for less than $200 that will support an 8x10 camera.

    What is going to get you is film costs. B&W isn't bad but color is expensive. You are going to burn through some film learning the process.

    I shoot 8x10 b&w and 4x5 color. I own a 4x5 reducing back for my 8x10 camera.

    If you really want to shoot 8x10 and can afford it then go for it. If you are unsure then start with 4x5.

  2. #22

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

    Quote Originally Posted by senderoaburrido View Post
    ...

    Took a few books out of the university library. Over the past two months a pile of notes has accumulated from my readings on view cameras.

    ...
    Stop being academic. LOL!

    Get a 4x5" camera (a Crown/Speed Graphic is a good start), a couple lenses and start taking pictures.

    Then if you like the process you can always look for an 8x10" setup.

  3. #23

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

    I'll second what others are saying that starting with 4x5 is the way to go. The film costs are much lower and there are plenty of darkrooms around where you can print a 4x5 negative but finding somewhere to print an 8x10 negative is more difficult. Unless you just want to contact print those. I have printed my 4x5 negs up to 30x40 and had lightjet prints made up to 40x50 and they look great. I've been shooting 4x5 for 8 years now and though I've had an interest in 8x10 I haven't gotten there yet. Mainly because I don't have the space for a darkroom. I do have the space for a lightbulb and silver chloride paper contact printing.....small trays....

    The other thing is that I've run all over the country with a small backpack and a 4x5 and even have put together a mini-pack using a Crumpler million dollar shoulder bag. With 8x10 your load, tripod etc are going to be more difficult to handle.

    My first 4x5 camera was a Tachihara which is super lightweight though it's bellows doesn't go that long and it doesn't support the most robust movements. After I became more proficient and really need more movements I got an Ebony SV45U and have been happy as a clam with that for 5 years now. But I think think it's a fact of life that one starts with one thing and ends up with another. I'm glad I started simple and then upgraded as my skills improved. It also allowed me time to think about whether I wanted to try out a monorail and I did and decided against it. I find it easier myself to work with the Ebony. I have a friend who loves his Arca Swiss monorail so that's a matter of preference but he also started out with a Tachi.

  4. #24

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

    I'll go on record saying a Crown or Speed Graphic is a bad place to start. There are hundreds of old monorails for same or less $$ that let you get your feet wet with movements while you read and try to figure it out. I started with a Cambo and 210mm Symmar. A very forgiving place to begin. Tons of movements and a sharp sharp lens that never runs out of image circle in a modern reliable shutter. You need those good first fruits. Later on you can make fuzzy horrible pictures if that's where the journey takes you.
    He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep..to gain that which he cannot lose. Jim Elliot, 1949

  5. #25

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Galli View Post
    I'll go on record saying a Crown or Speed Graphic is a bad place to start. There are hundreds of old monorails for same or less $$ that let you get your feet wet with movements while you read and try to figure it out. I started with a Cambo and 210mm Symmar. A very forgiving place to begin. Tons of movements and a sharp sharp lens that never runs out of image circle in a modern reliable shutter. You need those good first fruits. Later on you can make fuzzy horrible pictures if that's where the journey takes you.
    Jim,

    Are you saying using a Crown/Speed Graphic will result in fuzzy horrible pictures??

    I beg to disagree. One can make bad pictures with a Cambo, Sinar or any expensive camera.

    I created these character portraits of actors with a Crown Graphic on the set of the forthcoming feature film "Doin' Time":
    Click image for larger version. 

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  6. #26

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

    I think what Jim is saying is that Speed and Crown Graphics lack any back movements and have limited front movements. They are great cameras for what they were designed to do but there are better options for learning camera movements on. A monorail is the easiest camera to learn with because you have all the movements and everything is straight forward.

  7. #27

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

    Quote Originally Posted by AtlantaTerry View Post
    Jim,

    Are you saying using a Crown/Speed Graphic will result in fuzzy horrible pictures??
    NO. Saying later on you can do those by choice. And spend a ton of money doing it. Check out my web site. Saying Crown and Speed are not good learning platforms.
    He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep..to gain that which he cannot lose. Jim Elliot, 1949

  8. #28

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Galli View Post
    NO. Saying later on you can do those by choice. And spend a ton of money doing it. Check out my web site. Saying Crown and Speed are not good learning platforms.
    But it depends on one's goals and the type of photographs they intend to make, doesn't it? Many folks have done quite well with learning on a press camera, and for some that camera type fully satisfies their needs. So far the OP has only indicated a desire for bigger negs... not movements or any of the other benefits that come with LF.

    p.s. I, too started with a Cambo and 210... and still use it. Later I acquired a couple of press cameras... and use those more than I use a real view camera. Different strokes...

  9. #29

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

    Quote Originally Posted by AtlantaTerry View Post
    Jim,

    Are you saying using a Crown/Speed Graphic will result in fuzzy horrible pictures??

    I beg to disagree. One can make bad pictures with a Cambo, Sinar or any expensive camera.

    I created these character portraits of actors with a Crown Graphic on the set of the forthcoming feature film "Doin' Time":
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Doin' Time - cotton picker.jpg 
Views:	59 
Size:	70.4 KB 
ID:	141043 Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Doin' Time - famer's daughter.jpg 
Views:	63 
Size:	102.7 KB 
ID:	141044 Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Doin' Time - Joyce as a cook.jpg 
Views:	61 
Size:	49.9 KB 
ID:	141045
    What view camera movements did you use when you took these pictures? To me it looks like there was nothing done on the camera that would have prevented these to have been taken with any fixed lens camera, even a Minox!

  10. #30

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Salomon View Post
    What view camera movements did you use when you took these pictures? To me it looks like there was nothing done on the camera that would have prevented these to have been taken with any fixed lens camera, even a Minox!
    Not speaking for AtlantaTerry... but what does it matter, Bob? I take similar pics almost always without movements. But I mostly want a bigger neg to print with alt processes. That alone is just as good a reason to use a view (or any other kind of LF) camera as any.

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