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Thread: Hello from Bay Area, CA

  1. #11

    Re: Hello from Bay Area, CA

    Quote Originally Posted by Bernice Loui View Post
    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?

    Digital Printing

    ~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.

    Yes, that is correct.

    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.

    You are so right. I am working myself back from my ultimate goal which is printing large photographs up to 60 inches

    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)



    ~Work space.

    I am lucky since I shoot professional (digital) I own a studio space

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

    Most definitely still researching. CanhamCameras seems to sell on special order. Any experience with any of them? Matt Marrash has a channel and episode on film availability here: Do you have any experience buying from sellers on amazon?

    ~Post exposed film processing system.


    ~Print making system.

    Professional print shops, there are several in the bay area

    ~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).

    [COLOR="#FF0000"]Having a fair amount of experience in the darkroom, I think I can take on the 8x10 challenge and I am looking forward to delving deep into the LF film developing, both b/w and color. That said your advise is pertinent and well received. I am busy sourcing film options.

    ~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?

    Good question. As mentioned I looked into the flatbed vs drum scanning and found that 8x10 could produce good results. An Epson V800, capable of an optical definition of 2000ppi, an 8x10 would give me pixel dimension of 20000 x 16000 (320MP) and a possible print size of 53"x66". There are other considerations, sharpness, color rendition of course.

    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.

    There in lies the rub


  2. #12

    Re: Hello from Bay Area, CA

    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.

    Can you elaborate a little more about your experience?

    Thank you so much!

  3. #13

    Join Date
    Dec 2018
    Oakland, CA

    Re: Hello from Bay Area, CA

    Another source for cameras, lenses, etc is Seawood Photo in San Rafael They usually have a lot of LF gear on hand, and I believe their doors are open, though that may have changed. I've had very good dealings with them.

  4. #14
    Tin Can's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2011

    Re: Hello from Bay Area, CA

    Once you know what you want, put up a WTB here.

    Be specific.

    I bet many want to sell a full kit.

    But not me.

    Good luck!
    wear mask or NOT

    is ???

  5. #15

    Join Date
    Sep 1998
    Buford, GA

    Re: Hello from Bay Area, CA

    Cameras West in Walnut Creek usually has some good stuff used.

  6. #16
    Drew Wiley
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    SF Bay area, CA

    Re: Hello from Bay Area, CA

    Gear is easy to find. It's the whole new learning curve that's the issue. If you want prints as big as you state, LF film, especially 8x10, can deliver stunning results in a manner digital can't, but shooting in 8x10 color is getting quite expensive, right around $30 per shot if you factor development. The latest Kodak color neg films and Ektachrome positive (now available in 8x10) are superb quality products. Not everything can be processed in the Bay Area still, so some film might have to be mailed to southern California. Sinar monorails are wonderful to work with, including the old Norma ones. But the P system is the series best adapted to studio use. It's heavy, so you'll an es pecially solid tripod or studio stand. But if you're willing to spend that much up front, including a professional scan might make sense too.

  7. #17
    Angus Parker angusparker's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    San Francisco, USA

    Re: Hello from Bay Area, CA

    You will probably be drawn to color negative film (C41) , but its not as easy to scan as color slide (E6). Either way its costly to process and find someone to do it. Fortunately in SF there are still a few places that can do color 8x10. I shoot 8x10 and larger but almost exclusively in B&W because its easy to process and optically print without enlargers by contact printing. If you are scanning I wonder if 4x5 isnt going to get you very close to the same quality as 8x10 because of a flatter film plane. Alternatively, the new Fuji 102mb digital camera is pretty amazing, but at $10k beyond your budget but in a few years we may see $5 versions.

  8. #18

    Re: Hello from Bay Area, CA

    Quote Originally Posted by Dugan View Post
    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....
    Thanks, it looks like SF Photoworks does some 4x5 processing - color and b/w

  9. #19

    Re: Hello from Bay Area, CA

    Ooh thank you!

    I was not familiar and it looks like from their website that they have some LF stuff.

  10. #20

    Re: Hello from Bay Area, CA

    Ah yes, I forgot about them. In the past I found them to be a bit on the high side price wise but will definitely check them out.

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