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Thread: Newbie LF 4x5 Questions

  1. #1

    Newbie LF 4x5 Questions

    Hi everyone! I am new to LF and have been googling for about 2 weeks in search of up to date information. I wanted to get some specirfic recomendations from current LF photogs. Based on what I have read I should start off with some sort of graphic; wether ie be the crown, super, or speed. I have approx 800(US) to spend and want to do one very specific thing. Take 4x5 portriat polaroids using Fuji's instant film. I know I will have to get a fuji holder for the camera. But what else is necessary? What is the average cost of a good condition model of that camera? I don't know if I will be under or over bidding for specific models. If I should be going a different direction camera wise let me know. The 800 will need to include everything to get started. I would prefer to handhold the camera but a tripod is not out of the question. Any extra advice or a point in the right direction would be amazing. Thank you so much in advance,
    -Michael

  2. #2
    Corran's Avatar
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    Re: Newbie LF 4x5 Questions

    Seems for that specific goal a converted Polaroid would be the way to go.
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  3. #3
    David de Gruyl's Avatar
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    Re: Newbie LF 4x5 Questions

    Camera body, lens board, lens, film holder / polaroid back, film

    If you are hand holding, then a camera with a working rangefinder is a really good idea. I had to go through a couple crown graphics before I found one with a working rangefinder.

    Consider whether you want a modern lens or not. Make sure the rangefinder and the lens you will use are calibrated the same. You will most likely get the lens and lens board with the camera, if those work you just need the film and filmholder and you are good to go.

    I use a flash (Metz hammerhead, but that isn't important), which comes in awfully handy for hand holding the camera.

  4. #4
    jp's Avatar
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    Re: Newbie LF 4x5 Questions

    You'd want to make sure your choice has a graflok back (rather than a normal flat steel bow) so the fuji holder will fit under it. This means pacemaker or super or crown, and not anniversary or preanniversary in most cases. You'd also want to see that the lens's shutter has x-sync if you want to a modern flash.

    Look at closed auctions for price ranges. Crowns and supers go for more than pacemakers, as they are a little lighter with a focal plane shutter. A decent pacemaker is probably $150-350 and a crown/super $300+. Buy as nice a condition one as you can afford.

    If you like narrow focus and handholding, it's do-able, but one has to be careful as the depth of field can be quite small and holding the camera different shooting versus composing/focusing could move you a couple inches out of focus if you're not intentional about keeping things in the plane of focus.

    Another handholdable option is a graflex r.b. SLR. Again, a graflok back would be needed to use the fuji holder. This is a LF camera meant for handholding. A r b super d is what you'd want and you'd want to verify it has a graflok back. This would use up most of your budget, but it's the most purposeful option for handheld portraits. No x-sync on this.

    You'd also want a tripod, and if you don't have a rugged tripod go get a tiltall for <$100. Leitz and marchioni varieties are more sought after than modern or new ones.

    For lighting, you could buy a 5-in-1 reflector kit to use existing light ($40), a couple of aluminum brooding/work lamps with daylight bulbs ($10-20), or a cheap monolight (such as a white lightning or paul buff) with a stand and a translucent umbrella which can be used as either a soft box or a reflective umbrella which also lights the room. ($200+)

  5. #5

    Re: Newbie LF 4x5 Questions

    Corran, which type of polaroid body would be able to use the fuji film holder when converted? Is conversion as simple as slapping a new back on the camera?
    @David thank you for the advice. Best place to buy besides that darn acution site?

  6. #6

    Re: Newbie LF 4x5 Questions

    @Jp I don't mind using a tripod as super narrow DoF will be used for these portiats. Thank you for the recomendations. I also use a bunch of Alien Bees so x-sync would be important as well. How would I know if the shutter is x-sync compaitble?

  7. #7
    jp's Avatar
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    Re: Newbie LF 4x5 Questions

    shutters that are x-sync compatible have a selector switch to choose x, m, whatever as flashbulbs have a different sync than electronic flash. googling for shutter/lens manuals will also tell you more details. Shooting a test shot with no film should show the flash illumnating through the camera lens and onto the groundglass.

  8. #8

    Re: Newbie LF 4x5 Questions

    So I spent the last couple of hours googling polaroid conversions for 4x5. Looks like a little work for a decent product. Pros/Cons of this setup? Thinking of a 100 series 4x5 mod. Next question: can I buy a pre converted polaroid for less than a grand anywhere? Razzy's are super clean but its a lot of money. But since 800 is my budget it may make sense to buy a preconverted one. Thoughts?

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    unixrevolution's Avatar
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    Re: Newbie LF 4x5 Questions

    I had the exact same thought occur to me, and I ended up with a Super Graphic, Fuji FA-45 holder, Vivitar pistol grip thingy, and some lenses. I already had a monorail setup, and I integrated the two. The FA-45 was about $150, the camera was $700 but came with 12 film holders and 2 lenses. The now-indispensable grip was $40.

    The setup is shown in "Handheld mode" in my avatar.
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  10. #10
    Corran's Avatar
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    Re: Newbie LF 4x5 Questions

    Quote Originally Posted by michaelbehlen View Post
    So I spent the last couple of hours googling polaroid conversions for 4x5. Looks like a little work for a decent product. Pros/Cons of this setup? Thinking of a 100 series 4x5 mod. Next question: can I buy a pre converted polaroid for less than a grand anywhere? Razzy's are super clean but its a lot of money. But since 800 is my budget it may make sense to buy a preconverted one. Thoughts?
    I've seen a guy on ebay selling a converted one for $500. Just check out ebay for a week, they pop out pretty frequently, either new or pre-owned Razzles, etc.

    Mine is from Alpenhause.
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