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Thread: I'm ready to shoot my first LF negatives -- help!

  1. #1

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    Apr 2020
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    I'm ready to shoot my first LF negatives -- help!

    I am ready to pull the trigger and make my first LF test photos. So excited!

    Gear: Linhof Super Technika V, three lenses (150mm, 180mm and 210mm Schneider f/5.6), cable release, heavy Gitzo tripod, a focusing loupe, and tons of 4x5 Ilford FP4 film. No dark cloth to frame+focus, a black t-shirt should do. I also have a Jobo 2500 drum and reel, Ilford DD-X, stop, and fixer.

    I am practicing loading the film holders first under light and then in the dark with two sheets that I sacrificed, loading the Jobo reels, first at light then under dark, focusing with open iris, stopping down, closing the lens blades, cocking the shutter, sliding out the dark slides and firing. Everything seems under control.

    I have extensive experience developing 135 and 120 Ilford FP-4 (the only film I have used since the 1980s!) and the developer/fixer combo. 10min in DD-X at 68F should work with the inversion technique.

    How many shots should I take and what parameters should I vary?

    I thought taking two pictures with each of the three lenses, bracketing the shots by -1 and +1 to have some latitude whether the exposures came out well with the developer combination. That'll be six photos. Or should I just use one lens and bracket the exposure and use different f/stops to get a better feel for depth-of-field? Its sunny outside, so "Sunny 16" = 1/125 sec and f/16 as a starting point?

    Good plan?

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    ic-racer's Avatar
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    Feb 2007
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    Re: I'm ready to shoot my first LF negatives -- help!

    Reads like the only unknown is how the shutters work. If you already know your favorite way to expose and process FP4, you would want to know the shutters are giving the correct speeds to get your exposures correct. If all you have to test this is bracketing, then do that.

    I'd then probably look for situations to use every one of the camera movements to see what they do on film (if you are new to view cameras.)

  3. #3

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    Re: I'm ready to shoot my first LF negatives -- help!

    ~Just Do It~

    Get out there and burn film. It's the only way to get started.


    Bernice

  4. #4
    Scyg's Avatar
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    Jan 2017
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    Re: I'm ready to shoot my first LF negatives -- help!

    Quote Originally Posted by Bernice Loui View Post
    ~Just Do It~

    Get out there and burn film. It's the only way to get started.


    Bernice
    Couldn't agree more.

  5. #5

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    Re: I'm ready to shoot my first LF negatives -- help!

    Just trying to avoid newbie mistakes by learning the ropes from the masters in this forum

  6. #6

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    Jul 2008
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    Re: I'm ready to shoot my first LF negatives -- help!

    Plenty of mistakes will be made, plenty will be learned or can be learned from those mistakes. All part of going up the learning curve or the first steps to any road of a journey is the first foot forward.


    Bernice

  7. #7

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    Oct 2015
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    Re: I'm ready to shoot my first LF negatives -- help!

    As ic-racer said, it would be helpful if you knew how accurate your shutters were vis-a-vis speed. Then, do some testing, if you're so inclined to really crawl down the rabbit hole. Then, just takes pictures. Unless you're planning to be an architectural photographer, learning the camera movements is no big deal; you won't typically be using that many or applying extreme adjustments.

  8. #8

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    Apr 2020
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    Re: I'm ready to shoot my first LF negatives -- help!

    Being in the same spot as you this week, my determining factor was the size of my developing tank-- I have the SP-445 Stearman, so I took 4 exposures with 2 lenses-- two sets of two. Since I was using Fomapan/Arista 400, and a number of people suggested treating it as ISO 200 instead of 400, I shot each set at 0 and +1.

    Personally, I prefer the way the 400 came out, so I'll shoot the next round at box speed.

    I'd tested both shutters previously by recording the shutter cycle and measuring the time in Audacity, so I knew the shutters were reasonably accurate (within a few percentage points).

    It's a bit of a letdown, though, really-- all that work for a single "Click!".

    Good luck!

  9. #9

    Join Date
    Jul 2010
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    Chichester, UK
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    Re: I'm ready to shoot my first LF negatives -- help!

    If you are just starting, write down all the steps for exposing film on a laminated card you can hang from your tripod. It's very easy to forget to stop down the lens or close the shutter when you are starting. It's even easier to do it once you have got it right a few times and your concentration slips!

  10. #10

    Join Date
    Nov 2014
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    28

    Re: I'm ready to shoot my first LF negatives -- help!

    Have a process, as others have stated, you will make mistakes. It is a learning process. Couple key points that I would forget sometimes.
    Factor in the bellows extension or you will get thin negatives on them close-ups and keep track of what film holders are loaded/unloaded/and exposed. I got a few unexpected double negatives and even took the time to shoot a scene just to find out there was no film in that particular holder. Try to keep exposure records of each shot so you could reference back to it if there was a problem with your exposure/film holder.
    Have fun shooting LF
    -Mikey

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