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Thread: Thinking hard about taking the LF plunge.....

  1. #11

    Join Date
    Dec 2019
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    94

    Re: Thinking hard about taking the LF plunge.....

    WOW, you all have said important things to help me. Let me try to address them....

    Jim Noel. I totally see your point and this is EXACTLY why I have not already moved to LF. My experience with b&w development is admittedly dated. I go back to the 80's. What I do remember was the post-shot phase has just as many variables and skill involved as the pre-shot. For me, I would rather spend my time setting up, planning and taking that shot and spend very little amount of time on the back end.

    Oren Grad. Great question. To me, the attraction to LF is the thoughtful nature of it. The fact that you can control so much of the perspective is really exciting to me. I love the idea of finding a "cool view" of a landscape and then returning to that place at the right time of day and weather to capture that view in the most impactful way. What I'd hope to get out of LF would be a handful of badass b&w prints to hang on my wall.

    Two23. Yeah you summed it up for me! But you and Jim have me rethinking where I need to go with this. If developing b&w has evolved to the point of making pancakes, well, what is my problem?

    I really just need to learn more about the process and investment. It would be great to find someone local that shoots LF. I know the local community college offered a class in LF, but you needed a camera to enroll. I have a tendency to get into hobbies and not always follow through. Drives my wife crazy. She holds that over my head a lot!!!

    Thank you all.

  2. #12

    Join Date
    Dec 2019
    Posts
    94

    Re: Thinking hard about taking the LF plunge.....

    Holy smokes!! You guys are calling out some really expensive cameras for a rookie!! I was hoping to spend about $700 or less on all the gear (less a tripod).

    If I were to stick with it, maybe 1k would be about right.

    I love the looks of those cameras you suggested!

  3. #13

    Join Date
    Nov 2019
    Posts
    8

    Re: Thinking hard about taking the LF plunge.....

    Quote Originally Posted by AdamD View Post
    Holy smokes!! You guys are calling out some really expensive cameras for a rookie!!
    Amen to that - I've held off commenting as I'm in the same position as you (absolutely no experience, but wanting to get in to it for a while bunch of different reasons). Have a look at the Intrepid field camera - it's much lighter weight and cheaper than some of the options, and probably won't last as long, but it's a damn site cheaper! I'm about 3 weeks in to my waiting time (6-8 weeks, but with the holidays in aiming the longer option, and add on delivery to the US) - I'll post my experiences here when it arrives!

  4. #14

    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Los Angeles, CA
    Posts
    4,856

    Re: Thinking hard about taking the LF plunge.....

    Quote Originally Posted by AdamD View Post
    WOW, you all have said important things to help me. Let me try to address them....

    Jim Noel. I totally see your point and this is EXACTLY why I have not already moved to LF. My experience with b&w development is admittedly dated. I go back to the 80's. What I do remember was the post-shot phase has just as many variables and skill involved as the pre-shot. For me, I would rather spend my time setting up, planning and taking that shot and spend very little amount of time on the back end.

    Oren Grad. Great question. To me, the attraction to LF is the thoughtful nature of it. The fact that you can control so much of the perspective is really exciting to me. I love the idea of finding a "cool view" of a landscape and then returning to that place at the right time of day and weather to capture that view in the most impactful way. What I'd hope to get out of LF would be a handful of badass b&w prints to hang on my wall.

    Two23. Yeah you summed it up for me! But you and Jim have me rethinking where I need to go with this. If developing b&w has evolved to the point of making pancakes, well, what is my problem?

    I really just need to learn more about the process and investment. It would be great to find someone local that shoots LF. I know the local community college offered a class in LF, but you needed a camera to enroll. I have a tendency to get into hobbies and not always follow through. Drives my wife crazy. She holds that over my head a lot!!!

    Thank you all.
    I, too, have been holding back on reply since I’ve seen this discussion many times before...

    Consider a few points... if you can’t work contemplatively with a 35mm or medium format camera, it’s not going to be much easier with LF. You’ll slow down, but mostly because of the additional work involved in the mechanics of operation... not the “visioning” or whatever you choose to call the “artistic aspects “.

    If you have poor follow-through and don’t want to upset your wife, start minimalistic until you “prove yourself”. I know the concern, by the way. I have a brother like that and he’s now twice divorced because of it (and possibly other factors). But I digress... there are affordable entry points like monorail cameras. shop eBay for Cambo SC, or Toyo. The difference between these and prior suggestions is that you’ll have to basically work from your car trunk (and the nearby environs) rather than a backpack. Speed graphic are option too, but those won’t offer perspective control like the other options.

    Whatever you do, do the soul-searching that Oren suggests. Decide if your committed or not, and make a productive move toward whatever your goal may be. I find that indecisiveness and “analysis paralysis “ leads to half-baked dreams that never come true.

    Good luck. You can choose your level of involvement as long as you realize the implications of each option!

    EDIT: why not contact the college professor and ask if you can get an introduction to one of the students. Maybe a tour of the gear and a in-person chat will help.

  5. #15
    Tin Can's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Posts
    13,473

    Re: Thinking hard about taking the LF plunge.....

    Everybody buys the wrong LF camera the first time. EVERYBODY!

    I have a few now, understatement...

    I bought 3 new ones, one was a 4X5 toy in plastic, it cost little and still works. Then I bought an 4X5 Intrepid and an ULF Chamonix. I sold them both at a loss, too delicate for my rough hands. Glad they are gone!

    Once you get into developing film it can be done well in a closet with 3 trays, the rest is refinement.

    Many of us have spare cameras, not me! LOL

    Put up a WTB in 30 days when the advertising section opens to you.

    "WTB 4X5 camera with good bellows, ground glass and a lens with working shutter. Also want 2 very nice film holders". Don't specify much more and see what we have to sell you. Excluding me!

    I expect you may be surprised by what pops up.

    Many members have given me gear, sold me very good deals and I have also bought much of what I want right here.

    Way more people read and follow us here than ever comment. More than once a nonmember joined this forum specifically to GIVE me gear and they were gone!

    Perhaps that's why I comment so much and make new threads constantly.
    sin eater

  6. #16
    Jim Jones's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Chillicothe Missouri USA
    Posts
    2,755

    Re: Thinking hard about taking the LF plunge.....

    New LF cameras can be expensive, but have little advantage over older and moderately priced equipment. I've owned many LF cameras and lenses over the past 60 years, and most were perfectly satisfactory. Perhaps the LF equipment that I used more than any other was a Burke & James 5x7 with an additional 4x5 back and a good Kodak lens from about 1950 that together cost about $225. For instruction books, Leslie Stroebel's View Camera Technique is perhaps the best, but expensive and doesn't cover the latest in equipment. Often overlooked is the excellent Way Beyond Monochrome by Lambrecht and Woodhouse, also expensive and just for B&W film. Other LF photography manuals by Steve Simmons, Jim Stone, Harvey Shaman, and others may be all the beginning photographer ever needs. Studying one or preferably more of these books may save the beginning LF photographer money when purchasing equipment. This forum is great for quick answers to specific questions.

    Brian Shaw in post #14 gives fine advice. The camera is only a tool. It is what someone does with whatever tools are at hand that is most important. I shouldn't say this here, but digital cameras are the best on-the-job teacher of photography, coupled with books or internet studying for inspiration.

  7. #17

    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    Location
    San Joaquin Valley, California
    Posts
    8,983

    Re: Thinking hard about taking the LF plunge.....

    All good advice here.
    My 2-cents: stay curious and 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.

  8. #18
    Foamer
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    South Dakota
    Posts
    1,801

    Re: Thinking hard about taking the LF plunge.....

    Everything I have is used. If I quit using something I can resell it for about what I paid. January and February are the best months to buy used gear. It tends to go higher in warmer months. I see Ebay and buy/sell forum as a sort of library where I can leave a deposit and check something out as long as I want.


    Kent in SD
    Qui sedes ad dexteram Patris,
    miserere nobis.

  9. #19
    Foamer
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    South Dakota
    Posts
    1,801

    Re: Thinking hard about taking the LF plunge.....

    Devloping black & white. For years this intimated me and I sent everything out. Not only did the processing cost money but also the postage. The killer for me was the week and half turn around. I finally bought a SP445 tank and small bottles of a few chemicals and started doing my own. My thought after doing the first one was, "Cripes, this is easy. Should have been doing it long ago." Color is a bit more involved but after doing b&w for awhile now I think I could do it with the SP445 if I wanted.


    Kent in SD
    Qui sedes ad dexteram Patris,
    miserere nobis.

  10. #20

    Join Date
    Jul 2016
    Location
    bay area, CA
    Posts
    10

    Re: Thinking hard about taking the LF plunge.....

    keep an eye out on craigslist. i looked for months, then found a great deal on a toyo 45a. needed new bellows, but the price was adjusted accordingly. maybe i did buy the right one the first time? would/could be a first for me. love it. did a day trip to yosemite yesterday and shot almost 40 sheets, many more than expected. but now that im familiar and comfortable with it, the shots seem to come much faster. kinda missed my pentax 67, but this was my first 4x5 only photo outing.

    keep your eyes open and good deals will show up

    john

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