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

  1. #61

    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Los Angeles, CA

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

    Repeating wisdom for emphasis (and brevity):

    “Bernice is correct. It also depends on how much you want to do it.”

    “Life is short, get going. Now! but always have fun.”

  2. #62

    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    San Joaquin Valley, California

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

    Learning new stuff keeps your brain active
    Schlepping around a big camera keeps you physically active
    Making photographs in a wet dark room keeps you humble

    It's all good!
    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. #63

    Join Date
    Jun 2019
    Western Massachusetts, USA

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

    I'm somewhat new to large format, only been doing it a bit over a year now, but for me a huge part of the enjoyment I get from the process is working in the darkroom processing film and prints. Shooting with the cameras is also a lot of fun (I also do landscapes), and the big cameras are definitely conversation pieces, but I would highly suggest looking into a darkroom to use. That doesn't need to require a huge investment on your end, there are still darkrooms open to the public in many major cities. You mentioned that you are in the Phoenix area, so I did a quick search on, and found at least one in that area open to the public, called Art Intersection. Their prices look similar to what I've seen other darkrooms charge, and are definitely cheaper than sending out all your work to a lab. This would limit you to black and white photography, so if you wanted color you may still have to send it out. As Ari said yesterday, after two or three trials it becomes pretty easy to remember the process.

    As for gear, I would suggest not buying anything special. For my entry into large format, I bought a Graflex Graphic View II for under $150 (with a lens). It's not a perfect camera, but it works well enough, and I have some photos from it that I think are better than any of the ones I've taken with my newer 8x10 setup. I don't know anything about your area, but at least where I am there exist a few brick and mortar camera stores that have the occasional 4x5. If you find a store like that, you may be able to get a camera for even less than what I spent on the graflex. Brick and mortar stores have less of a market to sell to than online, so sometimes sell niche items like these for less.

    Those are just my thoughts, you don't have to agree with them. I think most important of all is just to make sure you're having fun, and to do what you enjoy. As long as you're following that rule, things will fall into place.

  4. #64
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    South Dakota

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

    Got to thinking and I forgot to mention something important. I have a Nikon D850 and state of art lenses so I don't really --need-- any large format stuff. And yet I've been putting most of my effort this year into large format. I shoot entirely different things with the D850 than I do with the large format. For color work I use the D850. I use the 4x5 and 5x7 to do something different. Since last August I've been doing wet plate photography on tin using lenses from 1840s to 1860s. It gives me a look I just can't get from the D850. I also shoot b&w film and dry plates for this reason. I'm not trying to replicate what I do with the Nikon; in fact I'm doing the opposite. While I do have modern lenses for my 4x5--75mm, 90mm, 135mm, 180mm, 300mm, I also have a set from 1905 to 1930 (Dagors, Heliar, Tessar, Velostigmat) and a set of 8 lenses from 1844 to 1865. I've mostly been using that latter set this year as I get an entirely different look than I would with modern lenses.

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

  5. #65

    Join Date
    Dec 2019

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

    Kent, are we related? Are you the brother I always thought was out there? Are we cut from the same cloth? You're freaking me out!! LOL.

    This is what I'm looking for in large format. I don't know exactly what that is or looks like, but I know it's different than what I can do with my D7200.

    Very interesting....

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