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Thread: Interested in 4 x 5

  1. #1

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    Apr 2020
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    Interested in 4 x 5

    I am interested in 4 x 5 photography.

    What recommendations do you have for ways to learn, get started, spend less than $750 to get started?

    I need to learn what I don't know but I don't want to wait till I learn it to get started because that day may never come.

    I will have to find a lab for processing too.

  2. #2
    Gary Beasley's Avatar
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    Re: Interested in 4 x 5

    You can start with a fairly cheap crown graphic or an older foldup. I would think seriously about processing your own film and contact printing( if b&w) so you can keep your costs down.

  3. #3
    jim_jm's Avatar
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    Re: Interested in 4 x 5

    Lots of good information on the LFF Home page. For starting out with 4x5, you should be able to find a variety of cameras and other needed equipment for well under your budget.
    A good book to start with is "Using the View Camera" by Steve Simmons.

    Welcome to LFF!

  4. #4

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    Re: Interested in 4 x 5

    I'm pretty new to LF myself. To start with the last question, I would suggest shooting B&W initially to learn. Process it yourself, the necessary equipment is cheap and readily available. I've been using Arista EDU 100 and 200 as a cheap option with which to learn the camera, movements, and keep the price of mistakes as low as possible.

    As far as gear is concerned, the advice I received was to think a little bit about what you want to shoot, as choice of kit will follow subject matter/environment. Also to consider what kind of lens(es) you may expect to use, as the widest and narrowest in coverage won't necessarily work on all cameras. While it makes sense in 35mm and medium format to choose the camera first and then the lenses you want, with LF it seems more common to consider what kind of pictures you'll expect to take (landscape, architecture, portraits, macro, etc), determine the focal lengths you expect to use (75-90mm and 150mm maybe good starting point for landscape and architecture, 180-240mm for portraiture, etc) and make sure the camera will work with the chosen focal lengths.

    You could get a press camera, like a Crown Graphic or similar, which leads to a certain style of working. Or you could get a field camera, Intrepid sells very inexpensive cameras, and at their 4th generation design I'm sure you could find one of the earlier ones used for an attractive price. Or you could go for a monorail/studio camera, like a Sinar, Toyo (who also make field cameras), or similar.

    I'm by no means an expert, just passing on the advice I received when I started on my LF journey.

    Let us know what you end up getting and how things work out!

  5. #5

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    Re: Interested in 4 x 5

    Steve Simmon's Using The View Camera is an excellent primer on the subject, out of print but used copies should be readily available.
    There are plenty of good inexpensive used cameras too----Calumets and Graphic Views with a lens should be well within your budget if you don't mind monorails.
    While you're waiting for your copy of Using The View Camera to arrive, binge read the LF Home Page( click on the light blue banner ^^^above^^^) and ask your questions right here. After 30 days you can access the FS section which usually has some very decent equipment---and at least the sellers here will be more knowledgeable than many of the sellers on eBay.
    Setting up a B&W darkroom to develop those big beautiful negatives is easily done and if you scan your negatives that eliminates the need to hunt up a 4x5 enlarger(also eliminates some of the fun, IMHO)
    The thing is, this isn't rocket science and you can do it on a budget
    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. #6

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    Dec 2018
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    Re: Interested in 4 x 5

    I would recommend a Calumet CC-400 monorail...maybe a 135 or 150mm lens. Basic and bulletproof camera, and they made a gazillion of them..very easy to find cheap. A Crown Graphic (press camera, not a lot of movements) would work, too...but it won't teach you as much.

  7. #7

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    Re: Interested in 4 x 5

    An inexpensive monorail camera is the best for learning movements, and ideal for certain types of photography like still life and architecture. Field cameras can certainly be used for these, but many times one needs to work around their limitations.

    My first LF camera was a Super Technika V with three lenses. I had seen their ads in Photo Technik magazine where they showed all kinds of photography. A year later, I bought a Sinar F2, and suddenly everything became much easier. I bought a Wista 45D after I moved to Japan, and like it for its compact size. I use it when I know I won't need much in the way of movements.

    Kumar

  8. #8

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    Re: Interested in 4 x 5

    Calumet or Intrepid seem like suitable candidates that are in my price range. I had originally planned on a press type camera. I want to resist buying something and immediately wishing I'd bought something else. That's probably a good reason to take a more traditional route and avoid the press cameras.

    I had been planning to take some darkroom classes before the virus kinked that up. I bought a couple of cheap 35mm film cameras recently to refamilarize with film.

    I'm primarily interested in architecture and landscapes initially. I'm thinking something around 135 mm and 210 mm for lenses.

    I do need to do more reading and it seems like I came to the right place for that as well.

    Thanks for the suggestions.

  9. #9

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    Nov 2017
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    Re: Interested in 4 x 5

    Monorails have more movement while field cameras are easier to take outside. I went for a field camera because I want to take it outside. Got a Wista 45 because easy to find, sturdy and reasonably cheap. It's more important to have a decent lens with a correct working shutter. Get a focal length that suits what kind of photos you want to take. If you're going to develop yourself, a tank for 4x5 and then enough film holders that you can fill your tank with film to use your chemicals efficiently. I get them in multiples of 3 holders because I can fit 6 sheets in a Jobo 2520.
    Expert in non-working solutions.

  10. #10
    Gary Beasley's Avatar
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    Re: Interested in 4 x 5

    Once you have gotten yourself equipped and shooting film if you have decided on the field camera, hiking, landscape route have a look at grafmatics or the Fuji clone of it. Six sheets carried in half the space as duplex holders. I use them all the time for my outings.

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