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Thread: Is it worth it to use the Speed Graphic handheld from time to time?

  1. #41
    C. D. Keth's Avatar
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    Re: Is it worth it to use the Speed Graphic handheld from time to time?

    I think it still makes sense to do it if the act and the aesthetic fits your needs. Handholding and producing large negatives is a different look than handholding to make smaller negatives and the impact on human subjects will be different as well.


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  2. #42

    Re: Is it worth it to use the Speed Graphic handheld from time to time?

    If one has no need of a Speed Graphic's curtain shutter, a Crown Graphic weighs less and is easier to hold steady. I own pristine examples of both in both 3.25 x 4..25 and 4 x 5. Any admirer of Graphics would drool over what I have, all acquired over time at reasonable prices. All but one are in storage now as we are living full time aboard a 44-foot boat. I keep a Crown on board with which to play. I develop the negatives on board and scan them on an Epson. I prefer darkroom prints but, alas, no space aboard the boat for a darkroom. In four or five years we will purchase another "dirt house".

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  3. #43
    Recovering Leica Addict seezee's Avatar
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    Re: Is it worth it to use the Speed Graphic handheld from time to time?

    Quote Originally Posted by RLangham View Post
    It's just a money concern. I'm not commercial, and as a young guy working his first job after college, I'm usually on a fairly tight budget. At this point the most basic 4x5" sheet film out there averages slightly more than a dollar a shot. I can develop well but I can't scan (my Perfection isn't designed for anything bigger than 120), and my options for scanning are A: mom and pop photo lab, $10 setup fee plus $1 an image for shitty scans with newton rings in them (they don't even dust the negatives first), or B: mail-in services, usually $5 an image for medium-res wet mount scans. So I have to be a lot more strategic than 35mm, which I can shoot, process and scan for little more than the cost of film. It does materially hurt a little to pull a low-grade neg out of the daylight tank. On the other hand, when I get results, it makes me happy, so I tend to try and be scientific about every stage of the process.
    X-ray film works out to about 25 per 4″5″ negative. See https://www.largeformatphotography.i...echnical+x-ray
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  4. #44
    Recovering Leica Addict seezee's Avatar
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    Re: Is it worth it to use the Speed Graphic handheld from time to time?

    Quote Originally Posted by Drew Wiley View Post
    For very fussy image sharpness in high-vibration environments like around heavy pounding industrial machinery or aboard a helicopter, he attached a gyro; the results were amazing.
    "Never try to teach a pig to sing. It wastes your time and annoys the pig."

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  5. #45

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    Re: Is it worth it to use the Speed Graphic handheld from time to time?

    X-ray film works out to about 25 per 4″5″ negative. See https://www.largeformatphotography.i...echnical+x-ray
    Really? That's fantastic. I could really get on board with that. Do you know a current distributor of that type of film? I made a cursory search through my regular channels and most of the x-ray film I found was considerably more expensive than that--in fact, generally more expensive than my trashy Shanghai Pan 100.

    Where do you get yours?

  6. #46
    Corran's Avatar
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    Re: Is it worth it to use the Speed Graphic handheld from time to time?

    4x5 will have to be cut down from 8x10. Here's what I use when messing around with x-ray:

    https://www.cxsonline.com/text/detai...ation=10011004

    Start reading
    https://www.largeformatphotography.i...example-images

    Single-sided film with easier handling is more expensive. The above cheap film is double-sided.
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  7. #47
    Resident Heretic Bruce Watson's Avatar
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    Re: Is it worth it to use the Speed Graphic handheld from time to time?

    Quote Originally Posted by RLangham View Post
    Can you really get an image quality worth spending the money on by shooting a Speed Graphic handheld?
    Margaret Bourke-White was the master of handheld 5x4. She put many many covers on Life Magazine, at least some of which were hand-held. Dorothea Lang was another world famous hand-held expert.

    Can you do as well? I have no idea.

    Really, how you choose to work is deeply personal. Do what works for you; yours is the only opinion that matters on the subject of "what works for you".

    I will say (I can't help myself sometimes) that the reason I shot so much LF was because I wanted the control of camera movements and the film size. I made some nice large prints, most with the film plane plumb and leveled (one of those that used every movement the camera could make), that I couldn't make any other way. And for that, I was on a tripod 100% of the time. I've never hand-held 5x4 in my life, but not because there's anything wrong with it; it just wouldn't work for what I wanted in my final prints.

    Bruce Watson

  8. #48

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    Re: Is it worth it to use the Speed Graphic handheld from time to time?

    4x5 will have to be cut down from 8x10.
    What kind of cutter would you recommend for that?

    That link does look enticing with those prices. From the forum thread you linked, it seems that the "green" film can be shot as ASA 50, is that correct? And will it work well with d-76 or Dektol?

    Anyways, thanks for the links! This may be my road into doing more LF than before.

  9. #49
    Corran's Avatar
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    Re: Is it worth it to use the Speed Graphic handheld from time to time?

    You'll want to test for yourself but my general rule of thumb for that film nowadays is an EI of 50-80 and developed in Rodinal 1:100 for 6 minutes. It's very high contrast, so I'd start with higher-than-normal dilutions for those developers and shortish development, and then suit to taste. It's cheap enough to experiment .

    Others have nicer cutters, but I've used a simple paper cutter made for scrapbooking. The best part is you can do it under a red safelight - so much easier than you might think.
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  10. #50

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    Re: Is it worth it to use the Speed Graphic handheld from time to time?

    Quote Originally Posted by Corran View Post
    You'll want to test for yourself but my general rule of thumb for that film nowadays is an EI of 50-80 and developed in Rodinal 1:100 for 6 minutes. It's very high contrast, so I'd start with higher-than-normal dilutions for those developers and shortish development, and then suit to taste. It's cheap enough to experiment .

    Others have nicer cutters, but I've used a simple paper cutter made for scrapbooking. The best part is you can do it under a red safelight - so much easier than you might think.
    Well, that's all very good news. I'll have to get around to buying a safelight bulb and borrowing a paper cutter, but that shouldn't be difficult to accomplish. I think based on what you said, I'd start at the high end of that EI range and a very short dev time in 3-1 Dektol and work from there.

    One last thing: when you say double sided, do you mean it has emulsion on both sides? So I could load with either side facing up?

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