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Thread: First LF Camera

  1. #1

    Post First LF Camera

    Hi, very nice to meet you all. So glad to have found a community that is exactly what I am looking for.

    I have been using film since my childhood, and I have used LF cameras once. Mostly close-guided by my mentor. I recently ordered an Intrepid 4x5 to get me started (still in the mail, they are slow to ship). I have also ordered a Fujinon 150mm 5.6 to get me started with Toyo film holders. I do feel like this is going to be quite a journey, I am still working to understand movements. Seeing that the Intrepid only is capable of front standard movements makes it a bit easy for my entry. I would love to upgrade sometime in the middle of next year, I am just unfamiliar with what gear would be good.

  2. #2

    Join Date
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    Re: First LF Camera

    Welcome aboard!
    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.

  3. #3
    Foamer
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    Re: First LF Camera

    Learn to use what you have, paying attention to the times there's a shot you want to take but can't. Go from there. My Chamonix has rear movements but I rarely use them.



    Kent in SD
    In contento ed allegria
    Notte ed di vogliam passar!

  4. #4
    Light Guru's Avatar
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    Re: First LF Camera

    I also rarely use rear movements. There are lots of helpful videos on YouTube.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Zak Baker
    zakbaker.photo

    "Sometimes I do get to places just when God's ready to have somebody click the shutter."
    Ansel Adams

  5. #5

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    Re: First LF Camera

    Fred Newman has a very good beginner's guide to large format camera movements here: https://issuu.com/frednewmanphotogra...ics1/1?ff=true
    Fred also has several YouTube videos in which he demonstrates these principles, so you may want to look for him on YouTube also.

    The Intrepid 4x5 is a decent first camera, but the build quality is such that you can't expect this camera to stand up to much abuse, and it won't last forever no matter how gentle you are with it. Its built to be a First Experience Camera, and it will suffice while you learn technique.

  6. #6

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    Re: First LF Camera

    Most of us don't keep our first camera. Why? Because as we learn on it we learn what we like and don't like. Don't sweat the lack of rear movements. Learn on this camera and then later you can upgrade if you find that you desire rear movements. Instead, you could just add an inexpensive used monorail if you wish. The Intrepid is relatively inexpensive. If you do later sell the camera you won't be out a lot of money. The Fujinon 150 is a great choice and the Toyo film holders are arguably the best. You did good!

    Welcome to the forum, Coittvance!

    Alan

  7. #7

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    Re: First LF Camera

    Quote Originally Posted by Two23 View Post
    Learn to use what you have, paying attention to the times there's a shot you want to take but can't. Go from there. My Chamonix has rear movements but I rarely use them.



    Kent in SD
    I'll add to never use your perception of your own equipment as an excuse---no "keeper" print ever knew the circumstances of it's birth---it comes down to just you and a sheet of film be it in a pinhole in a shoe box or an Ebony with a Rodenstock on it's snout.
    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.

  8. #8

    Re: First LF Camera

    Thanks for the loads of info, definitely going to check out these guides. I only stay so concerned about the Intrepid for that fact that their build quality is rumored to be lower, and I plan on using the system a lot. Just want something that can hold up after a couple of years.

  9. #9

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    Re: First LF Camera

    You've made good choices. The Intrepid will serve well as you learn camera technique as well as handling and developing sheet film; that is by far the best way to decide where to go next if you feel the need to upgrade. FWIW, I have Toyo holders as well as the Fidelity holders I started out with, and the Toyos are just about the best on the market (I would say the best, but there may be something out there that I'm not familiar with). Similarly, my Rodenstock 150/5.6 is by far my most used lens, and differences between the major brands (such as your Fuji) are minimal to non-existent, so again, you have chosen well. Make sure to post some images once you get going!

  10. #10

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    Re: First LF Camera

    Quote Originally Posted by colttvance View Post
    Thanks for the loads of info, definitely going to check out these guides. I only stay so concerned about the Intrepid for that fact that their build quality is rumored to be lower, and I plan on using the system a lot. Just want something that can hold up after a couple of years.
    The "rumors" about build quality aren't just rumors: I own the 4x5 and the 8x10 versions. Both leave something to be desired in terms of materials and engineering. (But to be fair, I am comparing them to my Deardorff, so...)

    To be honest, if you use the camera a lot you can expect to get a year or maybe two out of it before you are having to fix problems: the Intrepid 4x5 is made well enough, but the materials aren't great and you can expect things to wear out fairly quickly. Its only plywood and plastic and aluminum. I've had one for a few months and the base bed is warping already, and I have no confidence that the 3-D printed teeth in the focusing rails will last long. (I bought the 8X10 Intrepid after getting the 4x5 version, and the material/design doesn't scale up to 8X10 well: Intrepid had to replace the bed because the teeth didn't properly mesh with the gears, so the focusing mechanism skipped in places!)

    As a learner's camera, the Intrepid is an excellent choice. But I expect you will decide within a year that you'd like something better - something sturdier and more precision-built, so if the Intrepid gets you through the learning curve year, you've gotten the best it has to offer anyway. If I were you, I'd let go of any expectations that this camera is going to survive heavy usage for much more than a year or so. You'll have to be a bit gentle with it, too.

    Don't get me wrong - I applaud Intrepid Camera Co. for designing a smart, usable, reasonably sturdy (and lightweight!) camera for people to explore large format without paying thousands of dollars just to get started. The only thing you can buy that's cheaper would be something like a Crown Graphic (A very reasonable choice, though not nearly as lightweight, and it lacks certain features), but many people don't care for the "press camera aesthetic", if you know what I mean. I hope Intrepid continues to enjoy success with their ambitious goals, but I also hope they can step up their game in regard to materials and build quality. They've got excellent ideas, but the implementation isn't ideal.

    I hope you will ask questions and seek help when you need it. You'll find there are many people here who have a lot of experience to share. :-)

    Paul

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