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Thread: Hello from Bay Area, CA

  1. #1

    Hello from Bay Area, CA

    Greetings LF community,

    By way of introduction:
    I have been photographing for well over 30 yrs. I started in 35mm and worked for a small newspaper shooting a lot of b/w as well as running the darkroom. I ventured into studio photography a decade or so ago primarily shooting digital where I shoot artists' work for reproduction for everything from web to monographs. In addition, I am working on personal projects which can be seen on social media @LiaRoozendaal. My digital cameras are 42MP which allow me to print images up to 26x17 inches. I am working on a personal project hoping to print up to 60". That brings me to looking into LF film. (I cannot afford a Phase One that can handle that size printing . I am considering an 8x10 monorail camera and scanning the negatives. After some research (Dan Burkholder, among a few others). I understand that for an 8x10 a high quality flatbed scanner works great but that for a 5x4 the resulting file becomes somewhat marginal in quality at larger print sizes and I would have to send the negatives out to be drum-scanned. I am wondering if any of you could point me in the right direction re: camera and lenses and where to look for them.

    LF beginner questions:
    1) Since I will using the LF camera in the studio only, so I am looking at used monorail cameras such as Sinar, Horseman, and Linhof. It looks like the Sinar Norman is a well-liked camera with loads of options including an option to reduce it to a 4x5 which makes it very attractive as I may want to shoot 4x5 in the future. I am not invested in any brand but I do want a good camera that can work straight out of the box, no light leaks in the bellows or adjustment knobs/rails that need fixing kind of thing. Where to buy? I am not sure large auction sites are the way to go as I am unfamiliar with what to ask and look for. My thought is to either find a reputable LF camera dealer or a site like this where enthusiastic/serious photographers sell their equipment. Thoughts on cameras and pointers to dealers or other sites like this selling LF equipment are much appreciated.

    2) Lenses: I understand that for 8x10 a 300mm lens is roughly a 35mm - 50mm lens equivalent and 4x5 (150mm). But that is as far as I got. I am getting confused by so many of the different type of lenses, copal options (lens boards) and which lenses have the ability to connect to strobe flashes (imperative for my studio shooting).

    3) List of things I need:
    Camera - which one and what to look for considering my needs?
    Lens + Correct lens board Copal #0, #1, #2, #3. How does that relate to the lens opening and image circle reaching the edges of the film?
    Film holders (with dark slide): should they be new or are used okay if in good shape?
    Loupe - a favorite brand or type?
    Cable release - are there brands to get or avoid?
    Film - best places to buy (is Amazon reliable or are there small shops online I should consider?)
    Light meter - I have a Sekonic L-358 (no-spot) which I think would work fine, correct?
    Am I missing anything (I have tripods)

    Budget: is 3-4k a reasonable budget to get started For camera, lens or two, at least two film holders and misc?

    I am located in the SF bay area. Any LF photographer who can point me in the right direction locally is very much appreciated.

    A great big thank you for your thoughts,
    Lia

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Dec 2018
    Posts
    331

    Re: Hello from Bay Area, CA

    A hearty "Welcome!" from the Peninsula.
    I don't shoot 8x10, and since Calumet, Gassers, Keeble & Shucat have all gone away..
    Lots of good equipment comes through the FS: & WTB: sections of this forum.
    For other stuff, I can recommend Glass Key on Sutter St., Oscar's Photo Lab, and SF Photoworks in SF....

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Apr 2015
    Location
    Purcellville, VA
    Posts
    689

    Re: Hello from Bay Area, CA

    Greetings from VA and welcome! I, too, am limited to 4x5, but know that you'll find highly qualified experts here, now and in the future.
    Philip U.

    Sine scientia ars nihil est. (Without science/knowledge, art is nothing.)
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/156933346@N07/

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Posts
    151

    Re: Hello from Bay Area, CA

    Welcome. I sent you an IM in case you want to see a couple of monorails, drum and flatbed scanners in person.

    Regards,

    Ned

  5. #5

    Join Date
    May 2018
    Location
    Somewhere between SoCal & Norway
    Posts
    258

    Re: Hello from Bay Area, CA

    Welcome Lia, check out the ForSale forum, there are 8x10 kits that pop up there regularly. Sinar is good, as are many others.

    Lenses - the shutter merely denotes the size of the shutter and hole in the lensboard, 0 being smallest and 3 being largest. You can't choose them, the lens itself dictates what size shutter it mounts to. Larger aperture lenses *generally* use a bigger shutter, but not always. Image Circle is separate, there are tables here and on other sites listing most common lenses and their image circles, so you can check that it will cover 8x10. There's a great lens-primer on this site if you search on the main site (not the forum).
    Loupe - anything 4x and up should be fine.
    Cable release - as a pro you probably have a few lying around already. Any will work, especially in a studio.
    Film holders - used are fine as long as they've been treated well.
    Light Meter - incident works well in the studio, use one myself, although a spot is more useful in the field imho.

    You'll also need a dark-cloth, I use a black t-shirt.

    You didn't mention what you plan on shooting, only that it will be in a studio. That said, many here (Bernice will show up in due time I'm sure) advocate beginning with what you plan to shoot and working back from there to determine what you need, both negative size, lenses, etc. It makes a lot of sense, and can help you avoid spending money unnecessarily. E.g. for portraits you won't need much in the way of movements, will probably want a slightly longer lens, possibly with "character" or slightly less contrast and sharpness than the very latest optical designs, while for architecture you usually want a lot of movements and razor sharp optics, often a bit on the wider side of normal. For landscape, probably something in between, but I'm generalizing.

    Hope this helps!

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    San Francisco Bay Area, California
    Posts
    176

    Re: Hello from Bay Area, CA

    Hi Lia,

    There is an LF meetup group in the Bay Area. Considering the current Coronavirus situation, hopefully the LF group will be able meet in the next few months and you will be able to meet with few members to see their LF cameras and other camera gear and even get some hands-on experience. Check it out:

    https://www.meetup.com/SFBayAreaLFers/

    // Atul

  7. #7

    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Posts
    1,833

    Re: Hello from Bay Area, CA

    Reply beginning with ~

    I am working on a personal project hoping to print up to 60"

    ~Color or B&W ?

    ~Optical-wet darkroom printing or Digital based printer?

    ~Large print often implies greater viewing distances and large rooms for these prints to be viewed. Know what appears to be an iffy large print viewed close up can be more than acceptable at further distance viewing.

    I am considering an 8x10 monorail camera and scanning the negatives.

    ~Why 8x10 ?

    I understand that for an 8x10 a high quality flatbed scanner works great but that for a 5x4 the resulting file becomes somewhat marginal in quality at larger print sizes and I would have to send the negatives out to be drum-scanned.

    ~What are your print goals? These are the defining objectives.


    I am wondering if any of you could point me in the right direction re: camera and lenses and where to look for them.

    LF beginner questions:
    1) Since I will using the LF camera in the studio only, so I am looking at used monorail cameras such as Sinar, Horseman, and Linhof. It looks like the Sinar Norman is a well-liked camera with loads of options including an option to reduce it to a 4x5 which makes it very attractive as I may want to shoot 4x5 in the future. I am not invested in any brand but I do want a good camera that can work straight out of the box, no light leaks in the bellows or adjustment knobs/rails that need fixing kind of thing. Where to buy? I am not sure large auction sites are the way to go as I am unfamiliar with what to ask and look for. My thought is to either find a reputable LF camera dealer or a site like this where enthusiastic/serious photographers sell their equipment. Thoughts on cameras and pointers to dealers or other sites like this selling LF equipment are much appreciated.

    ~Primary objective that drives camera choice is print objectives and goals. LF cameras are essentially a flexi light tight box with a lens on one end, light recording medium on the other (film or digital image sensor or ?) with stable, precise and adjustable supports on both ends of the box.


    2) Lenses: I understand that for 8x10 a 300mm lens is roughly a 35mm - 50mm lens equivalent and 4x5 (150mm). But that is as far as I got. I am getting confused by so many of the different type of lenses, copal options (lens boards) and which lenses have the ability to connect to strobe flashes (imperative for my studio shooting).

    ~What lenses are required to meet the needs of your print image objectives and goals? This defines the camera that is required to support them. Essentially camera choice should be near the bottom of this list.

    3) List of things I need:
    Camera - which one and what to look for considering my needs?
    Lens + Correct lens board Copal #0, #1, #2, #3. How does that relate to the lens opening and image circle reaching the edges of the film?
    Film holders (with dark slide): should they be new or are used okay if in good shape?
    Loupe - a favorite brand or type?
    Cable release - are there brands to get or avoid?
    Film - best places to buy (is Amazon reliable or are there small shops online I should consider?)
    Light meter - I have a Sekonic L-358 (no-spot) which I think would work fine, correct?
    Am I missing anything (I have tripods)

    ~Lighting.

    ~Work space.

    ~Types of film available and what is possible with film today.

    ~Post exposed film processing system.

    ~Print making system.

    ~Will these prints be mounted and framed or ?


    Budget: is 3-4k a reasonable budget to get started For camera, lens or two, at least two film holders and misc?

    ~More than enough $.

    ~8x10 is not a good sheet film format to begin with as the LF learning curve is steep and full of potential costly errors. It is highly recommended to start with 4x5 sheet film to gain some real time, real world experience with sheet film before moving on to other sheet film sizes. Keep in mind, larger sheet film sizes alone does NOT improve print image quality as there are SO many factors involved. Other Got'ya with 8x10 is lens availability, lens types and availability shrinks real fast with increasing film format size as does cost per lens. Know there are over a century (100 years) of sheet film lenses that can be used on view cameras to this day. Likely the most important factors are NOT camera or Lens, it is film availability, film processing (IMO color transparency film is not possible to extremely difficult to achieve any where the goodness and excellence it once was).

    ~Keep in mind each sheet of 8x10 color film today with processing can cost near $20 plus or minus some $.. For that cost what are the real benefits to
    your finished print goals and does this added cost and demand on all related resourced add value to what you're trying to achieve?

    I am located in the SF bay area. Any LF photographer who can point me in the right direction locally is very much appreciated.

    ~Suggested doing a beginning LF workshop day with the SF bay area LF group. No idea if that could happen given the way things are today.


    Bernice

  8. #8
    Drew Saunders drew.saunders's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Palo Alto, CA
    Posts
    671

    Re: Hello from Bay Area, CA

    You should start at the main web page for this forum: https://www.largeformatphotography.info
    There you'll find lots of information. Some of it is 15-20 years old, but LF cameras really don't change that fast. The lens information and charts should answer a lot of your questions.
    You'll be able to see the for sale posts after you've been a member for 30 days. A few good places to look if you don't want to use eBay: http://www.igorcamera.com , https://www.keh.com
    B&H put out an amazingly useful Professional Photo sourcebook almost 20 years ago that's still full of good information, including specs on some of the cameras and lenses that you might be considering (plus the prices when they were new!): https://static.bhphotovideo.com/Fram...SourceBook.pdf

    Hopefully Atul's meetup group will be active again, but at the very least, you can join and use the discussion feature.

    Welcome!

    Drew
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/drew_saunders/

  9. #9

    Re: Hello from Bay Area, CA

    Thanks for your thoughtful response.

    At the moment I am shooting an ongoing project I am calling "Benign Neglect". It comprises of found materials shot in the studio in such a way that they transcend either their original purpose and or their 'rustic' history. Here are a few small samples:

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Mortal Coil-@Lia Roozendaal.jpg 
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ID:	205614 Click image for larger version. 

Name:	1Rusty Regalia-@Lia Roozendaal Photography.jpg 
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Size:	44.0 KB 
ID:	205615 Click image for larger version. 

Name:	02Benign Neglect - Lia Roozendaal Photography.jpg 
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ID:	205616 Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Avi-antics@Lia Roozendaal Photography.jpg 
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ID:	205617

    I would love to be able to shoot these in a large format.
    The reason I mentioned the Sinar monorail is that it seems I can reduce the 8x10 to 5x4 allowing for more options and somewhat less expense. I don't know if there are other brands Toyo, Horseman that make components that do the same thing. The monorail I assume allows for more precise movements so that choice was simple.

    This site is a world of knowledge and info.

    Much appreciated!

  10. #10

    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Posts
    1,833

    Re: Hello from Bay Area, CA

    IMO, begin with 4x5 sheet film. These are essentially table top images. As the film size goes up, trying to manage what is in focus -vs- what is out of focus becomes increasingly difficult. Camera movement can go a significantly ways to aid in this as does placement and composition of objects to be imaged. This is where a view camera has essentially no equal.

    Next question, how do you want these would objects to be rendered in your finished print?
    This essentially defines the potential lens types.

    Studio strobe with the majority of LF lenses is a non-issue for Copal and similar modern shutters. Older shutters like Ilex work fine with electronic strobes as does Compound and countess others. And... shutter speed accuracy is a lesser issue with electronic strobe.

    Based on personal experience and having done SO much table top images using LF, Sinar P would be the ideal choice for a studio camera system due to it's abilities and availability. Know once into the Sinar System, it is essentially a "LEGO" camera system that allows virtually any configuration to meet image making needs by mixing-matching Sinar camera parts to make up a camera the fits the image making demands.

    ~That is the simply and easy part-choice.

    ~Far more difficult, what about film, film processing and post process to achieve your print image goals? If color images are the intended goal, know the film must be properly exposed, processed and lighting used to expose the sheets of film to be of proper color temperature and all. Give up the idea-belief non-compliant color and density and contrast can be "fixed" by software. Fixing up to some degree is possible, but there are very real trade-offs and problem trying to do it this way. Numerous discussion on LFF on this specific topic. This is why no color sheet film for me in recent times. What once was easy to achieve in color transparency or color negative film has become extremely difficult to not possible today.


    Keep discussing.

    Bernice



    Quote Originally Posted by liaroozendaalphotography View Post
    Thanks for your thoughtful response.

    At the moment I am shooting an ongoing project I am calling "Benign Neglect". It comprises of found materials shot in the studio in such a way that they transcend either their original purpose and or their 'rustic' history. Here are a few small samples:

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Mortal Coil-@Lia Roozendaal.jpg 
Views:	26 
Size:	23.1 KB 
ID:	205614 Click image for larger version. 

Name:	1Rusty Regalia-@Lia Roozendaal Photography.jpg 
Views:	26 
Size:	44.0 KB 
ID:	205615 Click image for larger version. 

Name:	02Benign Neglect - Lia Roozendaal Photography.jpg 
Views:	24 
Size:	25.9 KB 
ID:	205616 Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Avi-antics@Lia Roozendaal Photography.jpg 
Views:	26 
Size:	21.2 KB 
ID:	205617

    I would love to be able to shoot these in a large format.
    The reason I mentioned the Sinar monorail is that it seems I can reduce the 8x10 to 5x4 allowing for more options and somewhat less expense. I don't know if there are other brands Toyo, Horseman that make components that do the same thing. The monorail I assume allows for more precise movements so that choice was simple.

    This site is a world of knowledge and info.

    Much appreciated!

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