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Thread: Kit recommendations for a complete beginner

  1. #21

    Join Date
    Jan 2013
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    Re: Kit recommendations for a complete beginner

    Quote Originally Posted by alan_b View Post
    You should be able to find a Sinar F and 150/180/210 lens for $300ish without much effort.
    +1!! a 210 Caltar is pretty reasonable, as is a 121 Super Angulon. A 45 Sinar F2 should run around $350. I've bought two for that thru this forum. L

  2. #22

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    Oct 2019
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    Re: Kit recommendations for a complete beginner

    I just spent my first afternoon shooting LF today. Man, was it a blast. I got a Horseman L45 for crazy dirt cheap. I had no intention of getting involved with LF, but the gear is so cheap these days, I figured it would be fun to give it a try. Look on eBay and see what catches your eye. Sometimes kits come up with a lens or two.

    I already had a sufficient tripod. Get a loupe. You can't focus by eye. Or, at least, I can't. Get a nice big darkcloth. I spent the afternoon under a jacket, and it wasn't really big enough. Also, a good lightmeter and lighting. I only did incident metering today, and I'm glad I had a good handheld meter already. My lighting is a couple of LED panels. They worked, but I was using really fast film. I can see needing a lot more light.

    I spent a few hours blowing off a pack of Fuji FP-3000B, just to learn how to operate the camera and get a routine down. I think it's fine for that purpose, but that's about it. I may do another pack or two of instant film, but I'm going to transition pretty quickly into developing my own B&W film. I think then I should be able to evaluate what I want scanned or blown up. People on this board directed me to the Stearman SP-445. They have a kit that includes a pack of film and enough chemicals to develop it. The cost of film and chemicals seems like an almost trivial expense, compared to shipping and processing. It sure looks easy on YouTube.

    I think it's just an opportunity to be able to do this stuff now. It's a good time to do it, perhaps before it's gone for good.

  3. #23

    Re: Kit recommendations for a complete beginner

    Quote Originally Posted by alt.kafka View Post
    I already had a sufficient tripod. Get a loupe. You can't focus by eye. Or, at least, I can't. Get a nice big darkcloth. I spent the afternoon under a jacket, and it wasn't really big enough. Also, a good lightmeter and lighting. I only did incident metering today, and I'm glad I had a good handheld meter already. My lighting is a couple of LED panels. They worked, but I was using really fast film. I can see needing a lot more light.

    I spent a few hours blowing off a pack of Fuji FP-3000B, just to learn how to operate the camera and get a routine down. I think it's fine for that purpose, but that's about it. I may do another pack or two of instant film, but I'm going to transition pretty quickly into developing my own B&W film. I think then I should be able to evaluate what I want scanned or blown up. People on this board directed me to the Stearman SP-445. They have a kit that includes a pack of film and enough chemicals to develop it. The cost of film and chemicals seems like an almost trivial expense, compared to shipping and processing. It sure looks easy on YouTube.
    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.

    I missed a really cheap 4x5 view camera today because I hesitated. Times are hard and spending money is hard to justify, but I really feel my photography needs a boost.

  4. #24

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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.

    I missed a really cheap 4x5 view camera today because I hesitated. Times are hard and spending money is hard to justify, but I really feel my photography needs a boost.
    I was pleased with them. I shot one that was over exposed and ruined the next 3, but after that I was working with intention and getting results. I feel LF is a great medium to work with. Very different than a hand-held camera, and very inspiring. It was good to see the camera standing there on it's own, while I considered it's relationship to the subject. I feel I learned something fundamental about space and light. I think it will give you a new perspective on photography, just by spending a little time with it.

    I see tons of 4x5's for sale for close to $100 on eBay, so I don't think you missed anything. Someone more knowledgable can correct me if I'm wrong on this, but a camera is just a frame and a bellows, so as long as it's minimally functional and light-tight, there isn't a whole lot more to it. Lenses are crazy cheap. I'm a little over $500 into the situation now, but if I wanted to blow off and process the first 50 shots of film today without spending another dime, I could do it. I'd just have to scan them with an ordinary flatbed, but at least I could evaluate them.

    The Fuji is a crop format that's pretty close to a regular Polaroid size. It's $6 per shot, so it's not something one can use for test shots or anything. The images are good, and it's good for learning the camera, but it's too expensive otherwise. If you're not sure of your exposure, it's just cheaper to bracket and learn to develop on your own.

  5. #25

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    Re: Kit recommendations for a complete beginner

    It's important not to stress too much over your decisions.

    A monorail is the most cost effective and will offer the most flexibility
    A field will be easier to back pack with
    A press offers hand held capabilities mostly at the expense of movements
    If a camera is light tight and can be locked into position, you'll be golden.

    210mm or 150mm from the big names in working Copal shutters will generally be excellent.

    Used film holders are perfectly capable, but test them with cheap printing paper to see how perfectly capable they really are before you rely on them.

    Don't spend/waste your money on any piece of equipment unless you find that you really need it.
    There aren't any magic bullets.

    Get out and take photographs. That will tell you more about what equipment works or doesn't work for you than anything.
    Have fun!
    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.

  6. #26
    Peter De Smidt's Avatar
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    Re: Kit recommendations for a complete beginner

    John gives good advice.
    “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

  7. #27

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    Oct 2019
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    Re: Kit recommendations for a complete beginner

    I'm in a similar boat. I got a slew of used film holders last week.

    Quote Originally Posted by John Kasaian View Post
    Used film holders are perfectly capable, but test them with cheap printing paper to see how perfectly capable they really are before you rely on them.
    I'm going to guess the procedure for this is:

    Buy some inexpensive paper, say 8x10 RC.
    Cut to 4x5.
    Load into holders. Label the paper and each side of each holder so you know which was which.
    Take them out into sun, and turn them over to get exposure on all sides.
    Take them back into the darkroom and develop them.

    Any black spots mean you have a leak.

    Sound right?

    -- Mike

  8. #28

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    Re: Kit recommendations for a complete beginner

    Quote Originally Posted by mikeacar View Post
    I'm in a similar boat. I got a slew of used film holders last week.



    I'm going to guess the procedure for this is:

    Buy some inexpensive paper, say 8x10 RC.
    Cut to 4x5.
    Load into holders. Label the paper and each side of each holder so you know which was which.
    Take them out into sun, and turn them over to get exposure on all sides.
    Take them back into the darkroom and develop them.

    Any black spots mean you have a leak.

    Sound right?

    -- Mike
    Yessir!
    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. #29

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    Re: Kit recommendations for a complete beginner

    Quote Originally Posted by John Kasaian View Post
    Yessir!
    Well alll right.

    -- Mike

  10. #30

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    Oct 2019
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    Re: Kit recommendations for a complete beginner

    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

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