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Thread: Help In Starting LF. Clueless. :(

  1. #1
    Ranie Dib Rain Dance's Avatar
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    Help In Starting LF. Clueless. :(

    Hello, I want to ask what would be a good kit in starting in LF. My target "look" is like this http://www.barnorama.com/vintage-surf-photos/ . Can that be achieved by a 4x5? I have no interest is landscapes, I will only use it for portraiture, but not inside a studio. 4x5 is the size I a most willing to use. Also, is there a 4x5 LF camera that can be hand held? I also would like it not to be too expensive, so the most reasonably priced kit is what I am after. Thanks.

  2. #2

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    Re: Help In Starting LF. Clueless. :(

    Quote Originally Posted by Rain Dance View Post
    Hello, I want to ask what would be a good kit in starting in LF. My target "look" is like this http://www.barnorama.com/vintage-surf-photos/ . Can that be achieved by a 4x5? I have no interest is landscapes, I will only use it for portraiture, but not inside a studio. 4x5 is the size I a most willing to use. Also, is there a 4x5 LF camera that can be hand held? I also would like it not to be too expensive, so the most reasonably priced kit is what I am after. Thanks.
    Sounds like a press camera such as a Graflex Crown/Speed Graphic is exactly what you're looking for. They're hand-holdable (for a LF camera, at least), usually come with a normal lens (135 or 150mm) in a shutter, most even have a rangefinder. Should cost around $300 for a complete setup.

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    Re: Help In Starting LF. Clueless. :(

    Your best bet might be an old press camera. They were intended for handheld use. Also, they fold up and are easy to carry. My Speed Graphic has a coupled rangefinder and a viewfinder, so I don't have to use the ground glass (with the dedicated lens). It also has a built-in shutter, so I can use cheap barrel lenses. A Linhof Technika would also meet your requirements, but for a much higher price.

    The examples in your link gain much of their magic by processing or reproduction "faults". You will have to mess up a lot to get this look.

    Michael

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    lilmsmaggie's Avatar
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    Re: Help In Starting LF. Clueless. :(

    I'm assuming you're referring to the vintage surfing photos.

    While handheld 4x5 is possible, you will find it a bit challenging.

    Since you don't specify a budgeted amount, I'm not sure what a "Reasonably priced kit," means. You need to determine how much you're willing to spend.

    On the budget side, you could get yourself either a Crown Graphic, or Super Graphic
    or Toyo Super Graphic. These will be relatively inexpensive cameras that you could buy from KEH: http://www.keh.com

    Moving up the expense ladder, a Fujifilm GF670 or it's counterpart, the Cosina Voigtlanger Bessa III while not 4x5 may be something to consider if you could find a used one.

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    MIke Sherck's Avatar
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    Re: Help In Starting LF. Clueless. :(

    Note that the surf photos are all wet-plate photographs, using a photographic process which was becoming obsolete about the time of the American Civil War. It's enjoyed something of a revival lately because it provides a different "look" to the photograph than do modern films and papers. If that's what you're trying to duplicate, note that it will require significantly more time and effort to master the process and use it in the field.

    Mike
    Politically, aerodynamically, and fashionably incorrect.

  6. #6
    multi format
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    Re: Help In Starting LF. Clueless. :(

    check out bostik and sullivan -
    they sell "wet plate starter kits " that
    include a brownie box camera retrofitted
    to take metal or glass plates. as long as you
    learn how to coat the plates with collodion
    and sensitize them ... you will be good to go.
    and starting small with one of their brownies will
    save you $$ ( the plates are smaller than 4x5 ... )

    have fun !
    john

  7. #7
    Drew Bedo's Avatar
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    Re: Help In Starting LF. Clueless. :(

    Moving up the budget scale are the Fotoman cameras and the various conversions of Polaroid cameras.

    The Polaroids have a coupled range/viewfinder and have been used in fashion portraiture. The footman are scale focusing o=point-and-shoot.

    Both types are designed for hand-held photography. A Grafmatic back can be useful for quick multiple shots with these cameras.

    Let us know what you do and post some photos!
    Drew Bedo
    www.quietlightphoto.com
    http://www.artsyhome.com/author/drew-bedo




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    Ranie Dib Rain Dance's Avatar
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    Re: Help In Starting LF. Clueless. :(

    Thank you very much for the informative posts. I thought the surf pictures have that look because of the thin DOF. For now I use 35mm film and a DSLR. If it needs to be in a tripod, that is not a problem for me. I will use it only for outdoor portraits. What possible lens could be used for that kind of DOF? I think 4x5 (or smaller) is the most realistic size I am willing to use. My budget will be Hopelfully $500, but it can go over a bit. :P I will check the link about KEH and the Bostick and Sullivan. Thanks!

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    Re: Help In Starting LF. Clueless. :(

    If you simply want the short depth-of-field and vignetted look, and want to dirty up your film or funk it up some how digitally, then a 35mm or SLR with a fast portrait lens will get you close... a 85/1.4 type.

    In 4x5 you might get closer using a Speed Graphic (with focal plane shutter in the camera body) with the 172/2.5 Aero-Ektar. Or Xenotar 150/2.8. Or 135/3.5. But those lenses are more expensive than the standard press lens that usually comes with a Speed or Crown Graphic.

    Another possibility would be the Graflex SLR, like the Super D model modified to use modern film holders (or collect older holders that fit). These usually have the 190mm Ektar that is a beautiful portrait lens but it may be "longer" than what the surf photographer used. You can find modified users complete for $600-$800.

  10. #10
    Ranie Dib Rain Dance's Avatar
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    Re: Help In Starting LF. Clueless. :(

    I saw these on the links that were said.

    First is in KEH, are these camera kits complete?? Can i change their lenses?

    http://www.keh.com/camera/Large-Form...99052489Z?r=FE

    http://www.keh.com/camera/Large-Form...990652290?r=FE

    And this looks like a suitable portrait lens:

    http://www.keh.com/camera/Large-Form...09034834N?r=FE

    The speed/crown graphics look nice. I have an 85/1.4 and 135/2.8 in my slr, but I also want to try large format portraits.

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