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

  1. #11
    Corran'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
    I think what I mean is, as long as I'm getting better sharpness and resolving power than 35mm, I'm happy. Conversely, if I could have shot it easily on 35mm, I wish I would have saved the money and done that instead.

    I have done a lot rating my Shanghai film @ 100 (box speed), f/16 and 1/120 on sunny days, going down to 1/60 on overcast days--sometimes f/11 and 1/120 instead. If I need to expose it more than that, often I'll just make a note to push process it. I've been nervous about using f/22, since I'm so used to 35mm where the diffraction gets noticeable at f/16 and bad at f/22, but at any rate, I'll take your advice and try f/22. FWIW I've heard that f/128 is not only available but also very usable on some large format lenses--that's surreal to me. At any rate, thanks for the advice! The picture looks great, by the way! Is that straight from the scanner?



    Cool! I've wanted to buy a Polaroid 800 that they have at my local antique store and use it for 4x5" and 120, but haven't gotten around to it.
    RL,

    You'll want to ditch your preconceptions from 35mm shooting. f/22 is the most common aperture for shooting LF and many/most lenses are optimized for those apertures. Many here shoot 4x5 commonly at f/32 and f/45 for DOF considerations. Diffraction is absolutely a non-issue for most as very few are enlarging anywhere near to the size needed to see diffraction. For 8x10 and 8x20 I shoot at f/64 and f/90 commonly (contact prints).

    Also, sharpness and resolving power are not the sole reasons to be shooting LF (or anything larger than 35mm). There is no comparison between 35mm and LF in terms of tonalities and at middling apertures (f/8ish) LF still has very shallow DOF compared to small format. That's a big part of what handheld 4x5 images bring to the table IMO. I still shoot 35mm and 120 though btw...

    Polaroid cameras will need to be converted to shoot 4x5, so if you can do that cool or there are plenty of shops doing that work nowadays. And if you want to shoot handheld I do suggest getting 400-speed film like HP5+, especially with a Speed Graphic where you can still use really fast shutter speeds.
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  2. #12

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

    But every time this issue comes up there is the claim of”waste of film”. What does that mean? In who’s opinion? That’s what I don’t get...

    OP, do what makes you happy!
    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.

  3. #13

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

    I completely understand “the money concern”. LF is expensive!

  4. #14

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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.
    Then shoot from tripod and work slowly and carefully.

    If money is that much of a concern -- don't take this as skepticism, I've been there too -- think about shooting roll film until you can afford sheet.

  5. #15
    Corran's Avatar
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    Re: Is it worth it to use the Speed Graphic handheld from time to time?

    A suggestion: go to your local library and see what computer equipment they have to use. Very likely to have an Epson scanner like the V700 that you can scan your film on.

    LF can be expensive but doesn't have to be. You don't shoot as much, naturally, so a few $5 scans are cheaper than 36 $0.50 scans...
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  6. #16

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

    With the same amount of camera movement LF will be sharper than 35mm because there is less enlargement to get to the final image. 35mm has faster lenses for low light but with plenty of light LF can come out ahead.

  7. #17

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Fromm View Post
    Then shoot from tripod and work slowly and carefully.

    If money is that much of a concern -- don't take this as skepticism, I've been there too -- think about shooting roll film until you can afford sheet.
    I mean, I basically do. I would say the bulk of my work has been and continues to be 35mm. 4x5" has been a pretty recent experiment. I like what I've gotten out of it so far, though.

  8. #18

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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
    RL,

    You'll want to ditch your preconceptions from 35mm shooting. f/22 is the most common aperture for shooting LF and many/most lenses are optimized for those apertures. Many here shoot 4x5 commonly at f/32 and f/45 for DOF considerations. Diffraction is absolutely a non-issue for most as very few are enlarging anywhere near to the size needed to see diffraction. For 8x10 and 8x20 I shoot at f/64 and f/90 commonly (contact prints).
    Hmm, I see. I will say that both the Optar and the Xenar I will shortly be replacing it with both only go up to f/32, if I remember right. I will certainly look at getting some better film soon... I'm about done with this Shanghai nonsense, but for sometimes 25 dollars and free shipping, there is a case to be made for it. Thanks for the advice!

  9. #19
    loujon
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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
    I mean, I basically do. I would say the bulk of my work has been and continues to be 35mm. 4x5" has been a pretty recent experiment. I like what I've gotten out of it so far, though.
    Dan may be suggesting you could use a roll film holder with your Speed Graphic so you can still produce negatives with your S G and depending on frame size you can make up 16 frames per roll and negative sizes available 6x4.5 6x6 6x7 6x9 6x12 all on 120 roll film

  10. #20

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

    Lou, I like 6x12 but oh! do 6x12 roll holders cost. 2x3 (6x9 is a poor metric approximation) would probably be better for the OP.

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