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Thread: Lost Art - Hand Held LF

  1. #1

    Lost Art - Hand Held LF

    Surprised no one has even brought this up,...but I think that many LF shooters h ave overlooked a great opportunity. That opportunity is the use of LF cameras, h and held...when that rainbow or other event happens in just seconds. I use my Su per Technika V both on a tripod and in the hand held mode. Sometimes,..when oppo rtunity strikes...I can grab the V and make the shot when others are still unpac king their tripod. Any thoughts/...or are my views out of vogue.

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Mar 1998

    Lost Art - Hand Held LF

    Richard the last time I saw someone actually using a handheld 4x5 was at a ku Klux Klan Rally in Vidor, Texas in 2000. And he was using a rollfilm back on is Linhof Technika (things were moving to fast for me to notice the type. I agree that it is a forgotten art.

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Dec 1998

    Lost Art - Hand Held LF

    I'm sure there are plenty of Graphic users out there who agree whole- heartedly. Being "out of vogue" is crap, for it implies that someone else dictates your (or my) style. I say do your own thing the way you want, and enjoy it.

  4. #4

    Lost Art - Hand Held LF


    I always hand hold my crown graphic, usually bounce out of the explorer and off chasing trains, deer, turkeys, antique autos, and anything that catches my eye. only thing that goes on a tripod is the 8x10

  5. #5

    Lost Art - Hand Held LF

    I agree that there is (still) a place for this kind of photography, and although I don't have anything focusable like a Super Technika, I've played around with handholding homemade/prefocused LF cameras (see for example 1x14.html). For me at least, the biggest strike against handheld LF shooting (except in rainbow-like "emergencies") is the cost of film and processing: tripod work always results in a far higher percentage of keepers than handheld work, and at several bucks a sheet I personally can't afford to be snap-happy ala Cartier-Bresson in his prime. But then too I suppose that that "risk" is part of what makes the handheld LF successes so rewarding. Anyway, thanks for your post, Richard; it makes me want to go out and experiment some more (without the tripod)!


  6. #6

    Lost Art - Hand Held LF


    I have just sold my Tech V, but was a happy owner for a time. I had all the equipment needed to use it hanheld, including grip,viewfinder and cammed lenses.

    The fact is that I Never used it (not even once), mainly due to high weigth.

    Probably guys with Graflexes have had better luck.



  7. #7

    Lost Art - Hand Held LF

    These URLs always get broken up. In the one listed in my post above there should not be a space between the 1's in hand-held-11x14-html.


  8. #8

    Lost Art - Hand Held LF

    Of course there are reasons it is a lost art ....

    Manual metering is awkward while handholding an LF camera. Film holders and darkslides are awkward while handholding an LF camera. Depth of field is poor at f8. Film speeds are too slow, especially in color.

    Bottom line: you'll get better results from MF.

  9. #9
    Whatever David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2000
    Honolulu, Hawai'i

    Lost Art - Hand Held LF

    I'm always toying with the idea of getting a Speed Graphic or Technika, then I just think of how much easier my medium format SLR is to deal with (no need to change cams and stops when changing lenses, rollfilm, spot metering prism, easier to handhold, etc.), and I come to my senses. I have enough 6x6 backs to use the zone system or multiple film types in medium format, so sheet film doesn't hold that attraction. I guess if I wanted one camera to bridge the gap between medium format and a view camera, I would do it, but I'm happy with my 6x6cm system for what it does well and with my 8x10" system for what it does well, so 4x5" handheld doesn't really make sense for what I do right now.

  10. #10

    Lost Art - Hand Held LF

    Handheld 4X5 photography is still viable but doens't seem to be appreciated by most in this group. It is a different kind of photography in most cases - unless you are just in a hurry or are prohibited from using a tripod.

    I just purchased a Grafmatic to use with my B&J with an eye toward occasional handheld use.

    Both of these cameras are lighter than the Linhof Master I once had.

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