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Thread: 5x8: do I need vertical orientation?

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Near Seattle

    5x8: do I need vertical orientation?

    Seriously considering my 3rd LF camera. Currently using 4x5 and have decided that 5x8 is my best next step. Can't decide if I should consider a landscape only or if the additional size and weight for a 5x8 that will also do portrait orientation is worth a look. In my current 4x5 I take about 50/50 portrait and landscape. I understand it's a personal decision based on my shooting style. Any thoughts from a landscape user who misses shooting portrait?

  2. #2

    Re: 5x8: do I need vertical orientation?

    Hello Dave,

    I thought about the same question at great length before ordering a horizontal only 5X8. My take on the subject is based on the fact that;

    If a vertical orientation is needed I can turn the camera on its side. That this is a bit awkward is offset by the fact that it will rarely be used

    The reduction in bulk and weight is very attractive.

    Having said that, will you miss the easy use of vertical format orientation?

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Dec 1997
    Baraboo, Wisconsin

    Re: 5x8: do I need vertical orientation?

    If your work is divided 50/50 between vertical and horizontal in 4x5 I think you'll want the ability to easily use vertical in 5x8. I do think we "see" differently with different formats and make very different photographs with larger formats than we did with smaller. But 5x8 isn't such a radical departure from 4x5 as to cause you to switch from making half your photographs in vertical to making verticals so rarely that you're willing to turn the camera on its side every time you want to do it. Just my guess of course, I've never used 5x8. But when I changed from 4x5 to 8x10 I found myself using wide angle lenses more often but I don't think my basic ratio of roughly 75% horizontal/25% vertical changed all that much.
    Brian Ellis
    Before you criticize someone, walk a mile in their shoes. That way when you do criticize them you'll be
    a mile away and you'll have their shoes.

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Nov 2005

    Re: 5x8: do I need vertical orientation?

    I have just gotten started with 5x8, I had to make the same decision about a reversing back. I opted for the reversing back on a Chamonix 5x8. Here is an example with the nikon 120sw shot last week. I wasn't sure how often I would need to use it but I am glad I have it available.

  5. #5
    Vaughn's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Humboldt County, CA

    Re: 5x8: do I need vertical orientation?

    Part of the reason for 5x8 is to get away from the blockiness of the 4x5 proportions and take advantage of the sweeping movement found in 35mm, 5x7, etc. It seems a shame to not use it for vertically orientated subjects.

    If the camera is light enough for your tripod and head to turn it on it's side, and if the camera movements are easy to use when on its side, then I see no problem going that way. Camera operation would be much easier with a reversable back, so it is just a matter of deciding if the weight reduction (which I can't imagine being that great...2 or 3 pounds?) is more important than ease of use.


  6. #6

    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Czech Republic

    Re: 5x8: do I need vertical orientation?

    When I was choosing my Chamonix 5×8, I was (temporarily) also thinking of ordering the only horizontal one. Then luckily decided otherwise - yes, it's a bit bulkier, but I shoot quite a lot of vertical compositions.

    Also I have made arrangement with Hugo to have a reduction back for 4×5"/9×12cm sizes (it has not arrived yet, unfortunatelly). You would not have this option on the horizontal-only camera. I plan to use the smaller size for color, the larger for BW.

    In the end it's a personal decision based on shooting style. But if you choose horizontal-only, you can not change your mind later. On the other hand the added bulk for reversible one is negligible...

    Just my opinion.

    (I have finally ordered a new V700 scanner, so will start posting LF photos again in few weeks)
    Jiri Vasina

    @ Google+ | @ Facebook | @ flickr

    My books @ Blurb (only heavily outdated "Serene Landscape").

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