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Thread: Feedback for Architecture with a 6x9 or 2x3 LF

  1. #1

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    Feedback for Architecture with a 6x9 or 2x3 LF

    I'm wanting to begin architectural photography. I've been using two MF cameras. The image quality is excellent however the distortion is bothering me. I shoot a lot of film so I don't want to go broke and scanning images is also expensive. Like most people I want to keep my costs in line.

    This has led me to 6x9 or 2x3 format. I've read a bit but frankly most of the information has often been contradictory. I understand there are always trade offs however I'm already used to trade offs so that is not too large a concern. I'm used to making decisions based on conflicts in performance etc.

    If I was to go 6x9 my initial outlay would probably be my last. Therefore I think I have to skip 'entry' level equipment and go straight to the higher quality equipment.

    After reading the "2x3 Roundup" here at LFF, I'd like to ask some LF users who are shooting architecture with 6x9 LF for their current set ups. Could you also direct me to some images. Finally I'd like to hear as many points of view covering what is important in your opinion if you are all inclined .

    Thanks, Jan

  2. #2

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    Re: Feedback for Architecture with a 6x9 or 2x3 LF

    I did architectural photography (as an amateur) for many years using a Horseman Technical 6 x 9 camera. Linhof makes a similar camera. These cameras are basically field cameras with adequate front movements and very limited back movements. About 5 years ago, I switched to a 4 x 5 view camera, bascially of monorail design.

    The feature of a view camera you use most often in architectural photography is rise. That allows you to avoid converging verticals and at the same time shift the frame so that you don't have an empty foreground and you can include the whole building in the frame. Occasionally you also use shifts to one side or the other. In architectural photography, tilts or swings are not used as often, but on occasion they can be crucial.

    Since most of what I did with the Horseman was houses of two or three stories, its rise was adequate, except for my shortest focal length lens, which was 65 mm, where rise was limited because of the design of the camera. But it would have been difficult to use for larger buildings. Also, in effect, the shortest focal length available was that 65 mm.

    Another possible way to go is using a roll film back with a 4 x 5 camera. The problem with that is that such cameras are not designed to be used with very short focal length lenses. Remember that 90 mm is a short focal length for 4 x 5, but the normal focal length for 6 x 7. Some of the more expensive 4 x 5 view cameras can be used with short focal length lenses and a bag bellows, but if you are insistent on going the medium format way, and you are willing to pay for it, you should look seriously at the Arca Swiss 6 x 9. This a true monorail view camera with movements galore. It is also supposed to be pretty light and folds up in a relatively small space. It can be used with a variety of backs, including digital backs.

    Before you go that way, at least consider 4 x 5 instead. At the time, I was pretty strongly committed to medium format, but after learning more about the subject and comparing prices and features, I decided to switch to 4 x 5.

    Since I do have some experience with view camera photography in both formats, I would be happy to offer further advice if you need it.

  3. #3

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    Re: Feedback for Architecture with a 6x9 or 2x3 LF

    P.S. I don't have much to display, but as it turns out I can show you one picture I took with my Horseman. See

    http://www.math.northwestern.edu/~le...760716a-1.html

  4. #4

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    Re: Feedback for Architecture with a 6x9 or 2x3 LF

    Hi Leonard, thanks for the thoughts. I'm looking at taking this camera into areas where I would like to be able to close the camera up in it's own case for protection. Sometimes these places are full of debris or dirt and dust. I was originally thinking of going the 4x5 route however I quickly realized there were other costs. I also thought of a 4x5 with a roll back and it may still be a solution. I'm pretty certain I'll want to shoot 120 film due to ease of use and cost. The 4x5 holders are bulky and add up in weight when I'm hauling stuff around onsite

    I like the shot you linked have you cropped it? It doesn't seem to have the 2/3 ratio, it looks more like a 4/5 proportion. I'm going to read up on the suggested Arca Swiss to get another perspective. I'll also look into the Linhof 9x6

    I appreciate your offer of help and I'll probably be taking you up on it.
    Thanks, Jan
    Last edited by Jan Normandale; 29-Sep-2006 at 16:39. Reason: typo

  5. #5

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    Re: Feedback for Architecture with a 6x9 or 2x3 LF

    Was that picture Kodacolor or Kodachrome? I noticed you used an Epson 2450 scanner. Mine sometimes scans on the magenta side and creates a magenta cast in the shadows especially if the transparency is underexposed. Any problems like that?

  6. #6

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    Re: Feedback for Architecture with a 6x9 or 2x3 LF

    Hi Jan,
    I bought an Ebony SW23S for architectural photography last year and have enjoyed using it. I was in your position for a few months and spent some time going round in circles before deciding on the Ebony.

    As I see it the other possible cameras not mentioned are the Horseman FA and Linhof Master Technika 23. I just suggest the FA because it's only marginally bigger than their 23 cameras and often the same price. The Ebony has a much greater range of movements than any of the others and is reasonably precise however it's not as precise as the Technika.

    I'm not sure about your requirement for a folding camera, it's very hard to find one that will fold with a large-field short lens. I chose the Rodenstock Grandagon 65mm lens because of it's small size and massive (in 23 terms) image circle. I don't think any 23 camera will fold with this on. The Technika usually comes as a set with a Super Angulon 65mm which is small but won't allow huge movements, I'm not sure if it folds with the lens in place but I think it does.
    I have to say that my experience is that a non-folding camera is a huge advantage becuase you can leave the lens on and it's basically as quick to set up as my Mamiya 6 for many shots.

    I have regularly used 35mm or more of rise etc. in what I do. I don't think either the Technika or Horseman could do this.

    What sort of dirty environments will you use this camera in?

    Matt.
    Last edited by Mattg; 29-Sep-2006 at 21:34.

  7. #7

    Re: Feedback for Architecture with a 6x9 or 2x3 LF

    I used a Horseman 6cm x 9cm, the VH, for about 4-5 years, before I went completely digital. If I were to go back to the 6cm x 9cm format, I'd get an Ebony. They have much more flexibility in terms of movements. I used the 6cm x 9cm format for the same reason that you're suggesting, to save on film costs. I loved the format, and think it's a great choice. The other 6cm x 9cm that would interest me would be the Arca Swiss. But I think they're too heavy. The Horseman was great, but you can't go very wide with it.

  8. #8

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    Re: Feedback for Architecture with a 6x9 or 2x3 LF

    Jan,

    I think any of the 6 x 9 monorails suggested are small enough to pack up readily. My 4 x 5 is a Toho FC-45X. It comes apart readily for transport and I carry it in a backpack. I try to avoid taking pictures in very dusty areas because of worries about the lenses and shutters. View cameras are not particularly delicate and usually can be cleaned easily when exposed to dust.. I have no problem transporting my equipment through dusty areas in a backpack or bag. If necessary, you can put camera and lenses in plastic bags, although you wouldn't want to store lenses that way. I use velco wraps. I think you shouldn't let that affect your choice of camera.

    I had forgotten about the Ebony. It is even lighter than the Arca Swiss and about 2/3 the price, and looks a good choice.

    With respect to the picture I posted, I used a 6 x 7 roll film holder. I would have to check, but I believe that what is there is very close to the full frame, possibly cropped slightly when scanning. Horseman makes both 6 x 9 and 6 x 7 roll film holders, but I chose 6 x 7 because the aspect ratio of the frame is very close to 4:5 = 8:10 = 16:20 ~ 11:14, which are the standard print sizes I used. I don't like the 2:3 = 6:9 aspect ratio. I also have some 2 1/4 x 3 1/4 sheet film holders for the Horseman, but I only used them with b/w sheet film. Were I to get one of the 6 x 9 view cameras under discussion, I would also use it with 6 x 7 roll film holders if they were available. Otherwise I would crop lengthwise.


    65Galaxie,

    The film was Kodacolor. I almost always use color negative film and have done so for quite a long time. At the time I also used Kodak professional color negative film, but on Martha's Vineyard, I had to make do with what was available in 120 size locally.

    About scanning. I was dissatisfied with my particular 2450 for a variety of reasons. For one thing, it sometimes produced a faint banding visible in uniform areas such as the sky. I am much happier with my current Epson 3200. I scan with Vuescan, which allows setting a selected part of the scene to a neutral gray or white, and usually the other colors more or less fall in line. That helps significantly with a scene like that in the picture, with the white of the church and the gray roof. The other colors in the scene, e.g., sky, foliage, are not crucial since there is considerable possible variation without the colors ending up looking implausible. In general I find I get very close to my desired color balance with Vuescan, but I often make some additional minor adjustments in my photoeditor. The main reason for doing that is when adjustments to netural are different for shadows, midrange, and highlights, in which case a curves control is important. I find that I have more control of such things in my photoeditor. Beyond color balance, the picture of the church above required considerable massaging in the photoeditor. Certainly I applied some overall sharpening. In addition, I applied a blur to the sky and used the clone tool to clean up the boundaries between sky and church or trees. I also applied some additional local sharpening. I don't remember the details of other corrections I may have made.

  9. #9

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    Re: Feedback for Architecture with a 6x9 or 2x3 LF

    Howard , thanks for your insights they do help.

    Leonard as before, thanks for your dialogues they are valuable.

    What sort of dirty environments will you use this camera in? - Matt

    Matt I tend to shoot old industrial buildings from the interior. Here's a link to a couple
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/jann/22...7594285445619/
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/jann/25...7594285445619/

  10. #10
    Kirk Gittings's Avatar
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    Re: Feedback for Architecture with a 6x9 or 2x3 LF

    After reading the "2x3 Roundup" here at LFF, I'd like to ask some LF users who are shooting architecture with 6x9 LF for their current set ups. Could you also direct me to some images.


    See my site below. All the recent color work is 6x9 (for about 10 years now). All done with a 4x5 Calumet Widefield and Calumet C2N 6x9 roll film holders. Lenses are in order of most usuage 65, 47, 90. 150, 120, 210. 305.

    Currently we primarily shoot Fuji Pro 160 color negative film and scan it for clients.
    Thanks,
    Kirk

    at age 70:
    "The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
    But I have promises to keep,
    And miles to go before I sleep,
    And miles to go before I sleep"

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