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Thread: New here and Stoked!

  1. #1

    New here and Stoked!

    Hi everyone!

    I just 'inherited' my first 4x5 system after years of dreamong about owning one. It's a Horseman LX with a Rodenstock APO 150mm 5.6, 4x5 Lisco MkII holders as well as a Horseman 6x7 rollfilm back.

    I have used a very capable Toyo 4x5 a long time ago, and had no idea of the technicalities and laws involved. I have just begun my 'formal' educational journey about the magical world of LF.

    One of the things that struck me immediately is the overwhelming amount of information regarding lenses and combinations available.

    Since I like to shoot wide (16-20mm in 35mm terms), I naturally looked at lenses like the 45mm Rodenstocks, only to find that I would not be able to achieve infinity focus, and have virtually no movement with them. Thus, it looks like I'm limited to 75mm lenses if I wanted to retain some movement.

    My first questions, if I may, are;

    1) Assuming I shoot 4x5
    - Do I need a bag bellows or a recessed lens board with the Rodenstock 75mm lens, or both?

    2) Assuming I shoot rollfilm (likely will get a 6x9 or 6x12 back in addition to the 6x7 I already have)
    -Do I need that bag or recessed board with the Rodenstock 75mm lens, or both?

    3) Is 75mm my minimum option if I want to shoot both 4x5 and rollfilm while maintaining some degree of movement? Again, bag and recessed board or both are needed?

    Howevere, funds are very limited, so I'll have to weigh my purchase decisions very carefully.

    Right now I am shooting nature and landscapes with the camera, and hope to do interiors and architecture, but will explore just about any subject! It's like this camera has opened new doors in a dusty attic and that's just the beginning!

    Again, thanks for having me here, and I look forward to the day that I can start helping other mebers out.


  2. #2

    Re: New here and Stoked!

    First, welcome to the LF world.
    I'm not that familiar with your Horseman LX, but some general tips to start with.
    As you already seem to know, LF photography needs much more time and/or gives you much more time for each shot. So the style of shooting is very different to 35mm. I.e. maybe you will get different preferences with LF as compared to 35mm. Many others report the same thing, like shooting short lenses on 35mm and (relatively) longer lenses with LF. The fact that you can shift the front/back changes a lot.
    But for a first tip. Get to know the camera and the movements (shifts, tilts and swings) with your 150mm lens. E.g. with the 150 lens you may have to use say 10 deg tilt in order to get everything sharp. That is quite visible, as compared to maybe 2-3 deg with a 75 or 90. What I'm trying to say is that the wide-angles reacts much "faster" and are more difficult to learn LF with.
    The first accessory should be a fresnel lens for the ground glass. That makes it much easier to see the whole picture without a hotspot in the center. Then a bag bellows should be nice.
    About the second lens, a 90mm f/8 (or a Rodie... f/6.8 or the rebranded Caltar which is the same but somewhat cheaper) is much easier to find than a 75mm. On a LF camera a 90mm is plenty wide. Again, the ability to shift the film plane around in the image circle while not tilting the film plane (which causes buildings etc to look like they're falling down) often does make the lens appear a lot wider than the comparable 28mm on a 35mm camera.
    About lens brands, just about any lens from the big four is "good enough". For most there is absolutely no way to tell the difference between a Schneider, a Rodenstock, a Nikkor or a Fujinon in the same category. The "specialty" lenses like the Sironar-S lenses or the Super Symmar XL lenses comes with a premium price tag anyhow and the "normal" lenses in the same category are still very good.


  3. #3

    Join Date
    Feb 2005

    Re: New here and Stoked!

    Welcome to LF!

    6x12 backs are expensive, even used; perhaps a cheaper option is to shoot 4x5 and then crop.

    With the 6x7 back, the 75mm is equivalent to about a 35mm on a 35mm camera. If you want really wide that won't do it for you.

    I have never used the Horseman, but I find to get full movements with my 75mm I need a bag bellows. For slight front rise you probably do not need one though.

  4. #4

    Re: New here and Stoked!

    My calculations regarding a 6x12 back (I'm thinking of buying one too).

    A basic 6x12 back can be found on the auction site for <$200.
    I can get 120 roll film developed for little more than it would cost to get 1 sheet of 4x5 developed.
    I would recoup the cost of the 6x12 back in about 15 rolls of film.

    Edited to add:
    Failed to take the cost of film in to account. Payoff would be in about 11 rolls.
    I've got my gear, now what?

    Photography Blog

  5. #5

    Re: New here and Stoked!

    Thanks for the detailed replied Bjorn and Ron, and for the welcome.

    Please forgive the fact that I may have overlooked some details.

    The LF I now have comes all fitted - the GG has a fresnel and comes marked with 6x7, 6x9 and 6x12 grids. I also have a loupe, so in effect, it appears ready to shoot. All I'm missing it seems is a focusing cloth, but I just used a black shirt in the meantime.

    As regards whether the will be a need for bag bellow for full movements with the Horseman LX, perhaps a link to the camera would help:

    Please do not misconstrue that I am asking other to read specs or manuals for me. I just need to get to grips with all the technicalities first in order to understand the impact of the specs.

    Thanks Bjorn, for the heads up about the amount of movement and how they affect lenses of different focal lengths, and Ron, for clueing me in on a 75 not being much wide on a 6x7 back. A friend will be lending me his Rodie (is that what it's referred to here?) 45mm just for the heck of it and there are both bag bellows and the Rodie 75mm f/4.5 on ebay right now.

    One option of 6x12 backs seem to be this one which is a lot cheaper than the Horseman:

    Has anyone tried this rollfilm back before, and is it a good filmback?

    Thanks once again for your kind and insightful replies.

    I forgot to add: 4x5 film supplies as well as processing services here are severely limited.

  6. #6
    Resident Heretic Bruce Watson's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    USA, North Carolina

    Re: New here and Stoked!

    Congratulations on your new toy. Take the time to learn to use it and you will be fine. To that end this thread on starting out with a short lens may be of interest.

    Bruce Watson

  7. #7

    Re: New here and Stoked!

    Thanks for your wisdom Bruce.

    I was about to say that "What Bruce Watson said in Post #5 in the link made a LOT of sense" then came back here and realise who posted that link!

    Sigh. I do so love screaming wide vistas but I guess wisdom and practicality does it for me, and especially since I have a friend's Rodie 45 to play with ... at least for awhile. I would need a bag bellows for that right? What about a recessed board? I read some terrifying things about ebay recessed boards on that thread ...

    It also doesn't help that another friend is whispering '58XL' in my ears.

  8. #8
    Wayne venchka's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007

    Re: New here and Stoked!

    Welcome aboard!

    Regarding wide angle FOV and 6x7 negatives: 45mm on my Pentax 6x7 is very wide. Approximating 22mm on 35mm film. I also own a 17-35 zoom for 35mm and like what both lenses can do.

    Shooting 4x5 and framing for 2x5 is a good way to get the feeling of long narrow images without breaking the bank for a 4x10 or 7x17 camera.

    In 30 days you can shop the treasure trove here at this forum. A far better place to shop than online auctions. In the meantime, learn to use what you have. Many folks here would say that you might be 10 years away from buying your second lens. Even then, you might still use your 150mm lens 90% of the time.

    I forgot to add: 4x5 film supplies as well as processing services here are severely limited.
    In general terms, where are you? Everything you need to process B&W film can be ordered and shipped in.

    Good luck!
    Deep in the darkest heart of the East Texas rainforest.

    Wayne's Blog


  9. #9

    Re: New here and Stoked!

    Thanks for sharing that venchka!

    I'll have to look into 2x5!

    I'm in South East Asia, where 99.999% shoot digital. Oh well, the fogure's not exact, but the perspective is there.

    Gotta go. Will be back again to read and study more tomorrow.


  10. #10

    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Czech Republic

    Re: New here and Stoked!


    to that 6x12cm rollback in the link:

    it seems to be similar to DaYi 6x12cm rollfilm back I have had a while ago (I'd say it's the same one missing only the label, but the image might be misleading) - it worked well, I did not have any lightleak issues with it. I was very content with it. But I sold it in the end because of other investments .

    As Bjorn has noted, in LF you should not just matematicaly convert the numbers from 35mm. For me, in small and medium format I used wide angles a lot (19-28mm), but in LF my most used lens on 4x5 is a 135mm one (though if I had a 120mm I think that would be ideal), the 90mm was nowhere so close. In 5x7 my most used lens is 210mm and 305mm, and the 150/160mm lenses are used only occasionally (a 210mm would approx. be a 140mm on 4x5, 160mm would be something like 105mm).

    Yes you surely can use wider lenses, especially for architecture, but for landscapes, you can make do with movements in a lot of cases. And don't forget that Wide lenses are more difficult to focus, more difficult to compose - because of the way light hits the groundglass. ANd the wider the lens the harder (it works in reverse too, my 480mm is f/9 and is so bright that it's very easy to focus even in relatively poor light).

    (And btw. welcome among us )

    Jiri Vasina

    @ Google+ | @ Facebook | @ flickr

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


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