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  1. #1

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    Help me choose 4x5 camera to buy in 2022

    When I was entering film photography, I was looking for the best camera to buy for myself. Among hundreds of choices and price variations, I ended up liking Leica MP the most, and still till this day, I use that camera.

    Then I got interested in medium format due to its superior resolution comparing to 35mm, and I ended up buying wonderful Rolleiflex 2.8F which is dear to me till this day and I still use it frequently.

    With large format, I must say, I'm hesitating for a long time. I always think, you don't need a new distraction, you have enough cameras, lenses, and generally lots of choices already, you don't need new complications in your life. But now I feel I really want to try it, and as always, I want to choose the best camera for me that I'll like it from day one and that will draw me outside to go and actually use it.

    There are lot of reviews and opinions online. Some are based on the prices of the camera, some are based on what's best for beginners, and I can say, I don't care any of these, I simply want something that I'll like. So, based on my previous camera choices in two different film format, what do you think would be the perfect match for me in LF world?

  2. #2

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    Re: Help me choose 4x5 camera to buy in 2022

    Chamonix.

  3. #3
    Peter De Smidt's Avatar
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    Re: Help me choose 4x5 camera to buy in 2022

    Decide what you want to photograph. For example, a camera that's good for long hikes won't be as ideal in a studio as a specialized camera..... Figure out, generally, what kind of lenses you want to use, super wide, wide, normal, long......
    “You often feel tired, not because you've done too much, but because you've done too little of what sparks a light in you.”
    ― Alexander Den Heijer, Nothing You Don't Already Know

  4. #4

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    Re: Help me choose 4x5 camera to buy in 2022

    I don't have a particular subjects that I usually photograph. I photograph studio portraits and landscapes, street photography and more-abstract-less-real subjects. Really everything that I feel photographing that day. And I use both 35mm and MF cameras in almost all scenarios. Deciding factor is 1) the look I want for the particular photograph, and 2) the weight I'm willing to carry that day, as my Rolleiflex kit is heavier that 35mm, so if I'm going with kids on a local beach, I'll most likely bring 35mm (but not always), or if I'm going alone outside in the woods and I know I have a whole afternoon, I'll most likely bring Rolleiflex with the tripod (but not always).

    So, I understand the questions about choosing what to photograph, but that will vary from day to day. Maybe over time, I'll figure out in what situations I'll bring 4x5 camera, but at the moment, I don't know, I guess it will be the situations where I need tripod, where I have time and where I don't have anything else to carry. But then, I have a studio where I shoot portraits, so why not use LF camera for that too?

  5. #5

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    Re: Help me choose 4x5 camera to buy in 2022

    More questions, more to ponder on..

    35mm and 120 MF roll hand held camera needs already addresses and experiences and own/used. These hand held cameras simply work for "decisive moment" images. No need for a tripod, quick to react then create an image based on serendipity.. This image making goal and need should be addressed given the current 35mm/MF cameras available to be used.

    This LF view camera stuff is much about crafting images, essentially the opposite of "decisive moment" images. Before even considering any of this LF sheet film stuff. What are your expectations from creating sheet film images.. how might these sheet film images meet a need/goal that your current 35mm/MF cameras cannot do or achieve? LF view camera images require a tripod majority of the time does this add or subtract from your image creative style?

    Yes, indeediee there are hand held_range finder 4x5 sheet film cameras easily available. They are more a niche sheet film camera that fits into a very specific need within this LF view camera image making universe..

    ~Does this far slower way, process, technique, process of image creation add or subtract from your image goals/needs?

    ~This is a question only you can answer as to why LF view camera and it this method of image making has specific benifets for your needs.

    Adding more to this LF view camera stuff, what about post process? Film processing, print making via wet darkroom or scan/digital or ?


    Once the entire LF view camera image creation process-system is considered, the camera is a tiny aspect of the much greater whole..
    Bernice


    Quote Originally Posted by hiroh View Post
    I don't have a particular subjects that I usually photograph. I photograph studio portraits and landscapes, street photography and more-abstract-less-real subjects. Really everything that I feel photographing that day. And I use both 35mm and MF cameras in almost all scenarios. Deciding factor is 1) the look I want for the particular photograph, and 2) the weight I'm willing to carry that day, as my Rolleiflex kit is heavier that 35mm, so if I'm going with kids on a local beach, I'll most likely bring 35mm (but not always), or if I'm going alone outside in the woods and I know I have a whole afternoon, I'll most likely bring Rolleiflex with the tripod (but not always).

    So, I understand the questions about choosing what to photograph, but that will vary from day to day. Maybe over time, I'll figure out in what situations I'll bring 4x5 camera, but at the moment, I don't know, I guess it will be the situations where I need tripod, where I have time and where I don't have anything else to carry. But then, I have a studio where I shoot portraits, so why not use LF camera for that too?

  6. #6

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    Re: Help me choose 4x5 camera to buy in 2022

    Quote Originally Posted by Bernice Loui View Post
    More questions, more to ponder on..

    35mm and 120 MF roll hand held camera needs already addresses and experiences and own/used. These hand held cameras simply work for "decisive moment" images. No need for a tripod, quick to react then create an image based on serendipity.. This image making goal and need should be addressed given the current 35mm/MF cameras available to be used.

    This LF view camera stuff is much about crafting images, essentially the opposite of "decisive moment" images. Before even considering any of this LF sheet film stuff. What are your expectations from creating sheet film images.. how might these sheet film images meet a need/goal that your current 35mm/MF cameras cannot do or achieve? LF view camera images require a tripod majority of the time does this add or subtract from your image creative style?

    Yes, indeediee there are hand held_range finder 4x5 sheet film cameras easily available. They are more a niche sheet film camera that fits into a very specific need within this LF view camera image making universe..

    ~Does this far slower way, process, technique, process of image creation add or subtract from your image goals/needs?

    ~This is a question only you can answer as to why LF view camera and it this method of image making has specific benifets for your needs.

    Adding more to this LF view camera stuff, what about post process? Film processing, print making via wet darkroom or scan/digital or ?


    Once the entire LF view camera image creation process-system is considered, the camera is a tiny aspect of the much greater whole..
    Bernice
    Bernice, yes, I'm very well aware of that it's a slower process, requires more thinking and time (and tripod), than 35mm and 120 formats. I don't plan to shoot decisive moment type of photography on the street with LF cameras. I love to shot scenes that I've created in my studio, or portraits, or even landscapes and these are all perfect for LF. When not using digital, I prefer my Rolleiflex for this type of images, but sometimes square format is not ideal. Yes, I can crop, but I'd rather try different camera. I never crop my images and 100% of my photos has visible borders (not to show my framing abilities, but because I love the look with the border). And after all, LF provides a different look than MF, which I like for years but hesitated to make a move.

    Also, one more reason why I want LF is that I can develop for one shot only, rather than the whole roll of different exposures. Sometimes I need that. I need to add more contrast to the particular shot, but not the whole roll, etc.

    I mostly digitize my film these days. I have Negative Supply pro kit, and I already have everything needed for scanning 4x5 format.

  7. #7
    Alan Klein's Avatar
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    Re: Help me choose 4x5 camera to buy in 2022

    Quote Originally Posted by hiroh View Post
    Bernice, yes, I'm very well aware of that it's a slower process, requires more thinking and time (and tripod), than 35mm and 120 formats. I don't plan to shoot decisive moment type of photography on the street with LF cameras. I love to shot scenes that I've created in my studio, or portraits, or even landscapes and these are all perfect for LF. When not using digital, I prefer my Rolleiflex for this type of images, but sometimes square format is not ideal. Yes, I can crop, but I'd rather try different camera. I never crop my images and 100% of my photos has visible borders (not to show my framing abilities, but because I love the look with the border). And after all, LF provides a different look than MF, which I like for years but hesitated to make a move.

    Also, one more reason why I want LF is that I can develop for one shot only, rather than the whole roll of different exposures. Sometimes I need that. I need to add more contrast to the particular shot, but not the whole roll, etc.

    I mostly digitize my film these days. I have Negative Supply pro kit, and I already have everything needed for scanning 4x5 format.
    I started with LF equipment two years ago during Covid to do something new. I had shot a lot of MF before. I bought a Chamonix 45H-1 with 4 lenses. 4x5 scans nicely. You can get an idea looking at my FLickr page to compare the different films and also compare 35mm vs 6x7 vs 4x5 for the scans. 4x5 scans the best of the three.

  8. #8
    Tin Can's Avatar
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    Re: Help me choose 4x5 camera to buy in 2022

    I had a close friend squashed dead by garbage truck

    Not the fault of the truck driver

    I used to visit his grave


    so many now dead I lose track

    I find it strange we bury and remember

    Then archeologist dig up many others

    sacred ground my ass


    I want my ashes tossed to the wind ASAP
    Tin Can

  9. #9

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    Re: Help me choose 4x5 camera to buy in 2022

    One silly question — what is the most desirable camera in the LF world? I'd like to look at those cameras, as there is usually a reason for that.

    When I was looking for the MF camera, I ended up buying Rolleiflex 2.8F which is considered the most desirable Rolleiflex TLR, or maybe even TLR in general by many folks. I didn't know that at the time, and I purchased the camera just because I liked it, but years after I've seen many other TLRs and saw few advantages in 2.8F model. So, I can say I was lucky by choosing this camera, so with that experience, I'd like to look at the cameras that are considered most desirable in LF.

  10. #10

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    Re: Help me choose 4x5 camera to buy in 2022

    Quote Originally Posted by hiroh View Post
    One silly question — what is the most desirable camera in the LF world? I'd like to look at those cameras, as there is usually a reason for that..
    It's silly only because you will get a million and one answers -- just like you will if you are asking about any other film format. And don't forget LARGE FORMAT has LOTS of different formats.

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