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Thread: New to this world, looking for advice.

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Nov 2020
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    New to this world, looking for advice.

    Hello.

    After trying all sorts of digital cameras and lenses and processes, all to put off what I knew was coming, Iíve arrived at the point where I want to go back to analogue. But if thatís going to happen, I want to go properly back to analogue. More than 35mm, probably more than 120. I keep being drawn to 5x4, and since Iíve found direct positive paper Iíve become hooked on the idea.

    But cameras, lenses, backs. Iím lost! What I know is that I want to shoot direct onto paper, but also like the idea of the Lomo Instax Graflok back thatís coming.

    I think the Lomo back limits me to 5x7, but I do love the idea of printing 8x10. I canít imagine what that must feel like. That may be a future step up.

    I donít know where to look at with regards to cameras, lenses, or backs. Do most cameras have Graflok backs? Are there any UK shops youíd suggest, or is anyone here selling? Iím in no great rush, but keen to start. Iím happy to wait for the right gear.

    All help appreciated. Feel free to point me at reading material, Iím happy to research.

  2. #2
    Tin Can's Avatar
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    Dec 2011
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    15,365

    Re: New to this world, looking for advice.

    Welcome

    Read this starting page

    https://www.largeformatphotography.info/
    2022

  3. #3
    ic-racer's Avatar
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    Feb 2007
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    5,820

    Re: New to this world, looking for advice.

    Last time I helped someone in a similar situation was about 9 years ago. We found a very nice Graphic View on Craig's list for $120 with lens and film holders. He went all out, we got a D3 OMEGA for free and a Jobo with a small crack, but otherwise looking new old stock for $600.

    Thing is that even though he had about 15 years experience with digital photography, all the prints were pretty bad. It is not like you can just buy some gear and make great B&W prints. I'd give it the same time commitment as learning violin. So, for the first month or so you will be learning how to tune and doing scales. So, likewise you will be learning how to load film holders, and how to use the shutter and ground glass and how to focus and compose upside down and backward, etc.

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Nov 2020
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    3

    Re: New to this world, looking for advice.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tin Can View Post
    Welcome

    Read this starting page

    https://www.largeformatphotography.info/
    Thank you. Went through it last night. 4x5 or 10x8 is where Im headed, and that page cleared up a lot about the accessories and other bits and pieces. Thank you.

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Nov 2020
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    3

    Re: New to this world, looking for advice.

    Quote Originally Posted by ic-racer View Post
    Last time I helped someone in a similar situation was about 9 years ago. We found a very nice Graphic View on Craig's list for $120 with lens and film holders. He went all out, we got a D3 OMEGA for free and a Jobo with a small crack, but otherwise looking new old stock for $600.

    Thing is that even though he had about 15 years experience with digital photography, all the prints were pretty bad. It is not like you can just buy some gear and make great B&W prints. I'd give it the same time commitment as learning violin. So, for the first month or so you will be learning how to tune and doing scales. So, likewise you will be learning how to load film holders, and how to use the shutter and ground glass and how to focus and compose upside down and backward, etc.
    Part of the journey though right I know Iíve got a lot of failures coming, but it will be fun.

  6. #6
    Alan Klein's Avatar
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    Jun 2015
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    New Jersey was NYC
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    947

    Re: New to this world, looking for advice.

    Hello P1505. Nice nickname. I was like you earlier this year and jumped into 4x5 after shooting medium format mainly when shooting film. It's rewarding and frustrating at the same time. I won't give you any recommendations since I don't know enough about the subject. Maybe if you defined what you shoot might help everyone here to give suggestions. Good luck.

  7. #7

    Join Date
    Feb 2020
    Location
    Denver, CO
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    9

    Re: New to this world, looking for advice.

    I'd start w/ 4x5. It's way cheaper than 8x10. Make sure you get along with it properly before investing in 8x10.

  8. #8

    Join Date
    Feb 2020
    Location
    Virginia
    Posts
    61

    Re: New to this world, looking for advice.

    Direct to positive is its own beast and is as expensive as film with fewer knowledgeable resources. If you want to shoot paper, consider shooting paper negatives and contact printing them. The price is less than 1/2 the cost of direct positive. And you have the additional control of a negative that you can experiment with. In either case you will have to work at contrast control.

    Take a look at the Large Format Friday videos on Youtube. Many alternatives are discussed there in the two seasons so far.

    https://www.youtube.com/c/MatMarrash/playlists
    Last edited by jmdavis; 23-Nov-2020 at 12:27. Reason: Add Large Format Friday Link

  9. #9

    Join Date
    Dec 2019
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    189

    Re: New to this world, looking for advice.

    P1505,

    Welcome to the best group on the internet. Seriously, I have found the people in this forum to be super knowledgeable, very kind and considerate and all around super good people. With the plug out of the way, please let me offer my limited knowledge take....

    I myself am pretty new to LF but what I can suggest is this. Keep everything super simple right away. Don't dig into all the details on every camera and lens. Avoid analysis overload. Just get into it and start doing it. You can ask all the questions you want here and get all the answers, but until you go through the entire process 10 times, you just haven't experienced it yet to know what and where you might want to focus on (pun intended).

    It sounds like you have some very specific interests and that's very helpful. But, you'll serve yourself better by having some first hand experience to guide the next round of questions.

    I'd suggest getting a relatively inexpensive camera, an good lens the rest of the rig and go shoot.

    Don't do what I did for 15 years!! I just read a lot and dreamed about one day I'll give it a try. Had I just did it back then, I'd be really good today!!!

    Good luck!

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