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Thread: Kit recommendations for a complete beginner

  1. #31
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    Re: Kit recommendations for a complete beginner

    Quote Originally Posted by mikeacar View Post
    Oh, and a followup question...

    I guess you could take one of those film holders loaded with photo paper and use it to test the light-tightness of your new-to-you camera?

    -- Mike
    Yes... the only thing to keep in mind is that, for historical reasons, actual sheet film sizes are slightly smaller than nominal sizes, and the film holders take that into account. So 4x5 film is actually slightly smaller than 4x5 inches, and if you cut your paper to exactly 4x5 inches it may not fit in your holders. Yes, this is a minor nuisance if you're trying to cut a sheet of 8x10 printing paper into four pieces.

  2. #32

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    Re: Kit recommendations for a complete beginner

    Quote Originally Posted by Oren Grad View Post
    Yes... the only thing to keep in mind is that, for historical reasons, actual sheet film sizes are slightly smaller than nominal sizes, and the film holders take that into account. So 4x5 film is actually slightly smaller than 4x5 inches, and if you cut your paper to exactly 4x5 inches it may not fit in your holders. Yes, this is a minor nuisance if you're trying to cut a sheet of 8x10 printing paper into four pieces.
    A good point, thank you.

    I'll be careful to measure the film holders and cut the paper in a clean, well-lighted place so I don't screw it up

    -- Mike

  3. #33

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    Re: Kit recommendations for a complete beginner

    Quote Originally Posted by BertieWooster View Post
    Sounds like a good afternoon! Get any nice results? I'm hoping for one with a Polaroid holder, since I have two packs of ancient Polaroid Type 669 Polacolor ER film here (expired 1984) that I got from a house clearance sale. Might give some interesting results.
    Make sure you get the right type of holder. There were, I think 3 kinds; the 545, which was for sheet film with a 3 1/2" x 4 1/2" image size, the 550, which was for pack film with a 3 1/2" x 4 1/2" image size, and the 405, which was the for the smaller 2 7/8"x3 3/4". Fuji made the PA-45, which is the same as the 550, and the PA-145, which is the same as the 405.

    It looks like the 669 goes in the 405. I'd be surprised if your film still works, but if you get the right holder, at least you can pick up some newer Fuji film and have a little fun with it if it doesn't.

  4. #34

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    Re: Kit recommendations for a complete beginner

    Quote Originally Posted by mikeacar View Post
    Oh, and a followup question...

    I guess you could take one of those film holders loaded with photo paper and use it to test the light-tightness of your new-to-you camera?

    -- Mike
    Set your camera up in a darkened room, take the back off and shine a flashlight inside. Any pinholes in the bellows will announce themselves.
    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.

  5. #35

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    Re: Kit recommendations for a complete beginner

    Bertie: "i say ol' egg... why don't you ring up our favorite newt fancier, and ask Gussie Finknottle what he'd buy. He's into that sort of sport, what? Me? I'm having one of Jeeves's."

  6. #36
    Jac@stafford.net's Avatar
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    Re: Kit recommendations for a complete beginner

    You can start with what is considered a wreck and learn a lot of LF reconstruction which I personally consider tragedy, or begin anew which commits you the real practice of LF photography right away. It is really that brutal and simple. Very best in your quest.

    With luck I will post a FS of a Graflex with a famous fast aerial lens for what I believe it is worth - less than shipping. It is a trend I hope to begin.

  7. #37

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    Re: Kit recommendations for a complete beginner

    When I was attending RIT in the late 1970s, the beginners view camera outfit consisted of the following:
    4x5 Calumet monorail camera
    210mm f/5.6 Schneider Symmar (convertible) lens with shutter release
    6 4x5 plastic film holders, Riteway or Lisco
    4x5 Polaroid backTripod - mine was a B&J wooden one but most were heavy metal ones
    Weston light meter, don't remember the model number
    focusing cloth
    all neatly fit inside a bulky bakelite case with handle on top.. . was bear to carry for long distances

    For taking the Zone System course one had the option of:
    8x10 B&J wooden Commercial view camera12" lens (assorted brands to chose from
    4 8x10" plastic film holders
    B&J wooden tripod
    spot meter (can't remember the make)
    focusing cloth
    no case provided but a cheap army surplus backpack was universally used
    Using an 8x10 and making contact prints was heavily encouraged for the Zone System course that I took. Using Super-XX film also pretty much a given. FG-7 in a 9% Sodium Sulfite solution most often used even though HC-110 was supplied for free from Kodak. Actually all Kodak chemistries were supplied for free from Kodak!!!

  8. #38

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    Re: Kit recommendations for a complete beginner

    Quote Originally Posted by John Kasaian View Post
    Set your camera up in a darkened room, take the back off and shine a flashlight inside. Any pinholes in the bellows will announce themselves.
    That sounds far too simple.

    -- Mike

  9. #39
    Corran's Avatar
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    Re: Kit recommendations for a complete beginner

    It really is that simple. Make sure the bellows are extended a moderate amount, else the leaks will not be as obvious.
    Bryan | Blog | YouTube | Instagram
    All comments and thoughtful critique welcome

  10. #40

    Re: Kit recommendations for a complete beginner

    Quote Originally Posted by Jac@stafford.net View Post
    You can start with what is considered a wreck and learn a lot of LF reconstruction which I personally consider tragedy, or begin anew which commits you the real practice of LF photography right away. It is really that brutal and simple. Very best in your quest.

    With luck I will post a FS of a Graflex with a famous fast aerial lens for what I believe it is worth - less than shipping. It is a trend I hope to begin.
    Thanks - I really do want to start with something decent. I am currently checking eBay roughly every three seconds, and am counting down the days (17 now, I think) until I can get into the 'for sale' forum.

    I have narrowed down my 'wants' to either a good quality field camera, or a monorail, [edit: or a suitably flexible press camera, but I've just realised that means I haven't actually narrowed anything down much] but I'm really looking for something with at least one lens included to save me some trouble.

    In the mean time, I have actually bought this terrible old wreck, not so much as something I hope to really use much, but more as an interesting restoration job.

    Click image for larger version. 

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