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Thread: Beginner's Large Format Question

  1. #1

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    Beginner's Large Format Question

    Hello,

    I'm new here and new to large format. I'm looking for a 4x5 camera probably under $2200 (cheaper the better) including lens.

    I shoot with Hasselblad 500c/m mostly. I do black & white self developing (Tmax100+d-76) at home and I want to step up to 4x5 and shoot long exposure landscape & seascape. I also want to do color negative self developing at home but I have no idea where to begin.

    I've been looking at jobo for color develop and cameras such as toyo, widerness, linhof and read every articles on http://www.largeformatphotography.info and still pretty confused. I'd love to get a 8x10 but I don't think I can afford $20 a film and the weight of the camera. It would be great if I'm missing something about the 8x10.

    Can you guys give me some directions for camera, lens?

    I'm a big fan of Mike Stacey's works.
    Last edited by rustyair; 1-Apr-2012 at 12:10.

  2. #2

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    Re: Beginner's Large Format Question

    Welcome.

    We all started out confused.

    You might post your locale and see if there's anyone close to you that you could hang out with.

    You may also try renting a complete kit.
    You can't depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus. ~ Mark Twain

  3. #3
    Unwitting Thread Killer Ari's Avatar
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    Re: Beginner's Large Format Question

    Cameras and lenses can be had for pennies on the dollar these days.
    If $2200 is your budget, you could spend a fraction of that amount on gear, and have lots left over for film.
    A monorail is cheap, strong, and will teach you the basic camera movements.
    Older single-coated shuttered lenses are plentiful, especially in the 210mm range.
    Get to learn how to use the camera, and buy lots of film with which to practice.
    Jobo tanks are excellent for processing several sheets at a time.
    You know your B&W processing already; B&H sells the Tetenal Press Kit for home colour development (C-41 process).
    It's cheap, very easy to use, and gives great results.

    And yes, the search function here will give you lots to read up on.
    Good luck.

  4. #4

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    Re: Beginner's Large Format Question

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Barendt View Post
    Welcome.

    We all started out confused.

    You might post your locale and see if there's anyone close to you that you could hang out with.

    You may also try renting a complete kit.
    Very good idea.
    Go buy some film, and release the magic.

  5. #5

    Re: Beginner's Large Format Question

    KEH is listing a Wisner Traditional 4x5:

    http://www.keh.com/camera/Large-Form...991144730?r=FE

    Not cheap at $810, but rated Excellent and they are reputable.

    I started with a Wisner and I still have it. Landscape photography does not need a large range of camera movements, but I find I do need longer lenses for it. The advantages of the Wisner are its wide range of usable focal lengths and movements. Landscape photography, for me, leads into architectural photography and being able to use the 72mm and 90mm Super-Angulon XL lenses, with movements that take full advantage of them, makes the Wisner a great architectural camera, as well. One caveat, however, is that it does require a bag bellows for these larger wide angle lenses.

    Lenses such as a Rodenstock 90mm, f6.8 Grandagon-N; a Nikon 210mm, f5.6 Nikkor-W and a 150mm Schneider, f5.6 APO-Symmar—all mounted in black face Copal shutters would be great value and performance for the money and could be obtained within your budget. If you have to, wait on the 150mm focal length and start with just the 90 and 210mm lenses. Those two lenses will be, by far, the ones you will use the most and you will not need a bag bellows for the 90mm Grandagon-N.

    As to 8x10, leave that for later when you are more experienced and have some appreciation of the exponentially increased expense and logistical effort that are required by such a large increase in film area.

  6. #6
    Light Guru's Avatar
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    New cameras are not to expensive ether. I recently picked up one of these https://www.badgergraphic.com/store/...t_detail&p=120

    I know your looking into the jobo but whee you already do hand developing of smaller format films you may want to check this out.
    http://www.mod54.com/index.php

    I have not done any color negative developing myself yet but a have done a E6 once. It's not to different then developing B&W. There are several videos on YouTube you can watch. Both E6 and C41 kits are available from http://www.freestylephoto.biz/

    As for lenses they are easily found on eBay.

    Best of luck to you!
    Zak Baker
    zakbaker.photo

    "Sometimes I do get to places just when God's ready to have somebody click the shutter."
    Ansel Adams

  7. #7

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    Re: Beginner's Large Format Question

    A $100 Calumet 400, a 210mm lens from Schneider, Rodenstock or Nikon (or an older 203mm from Kodak or Wollensak) in a good working shutter, a used Tiltall tripod off ebay and a stack of film holders mght set you back all of $300. Add a box of Arista.edu Ultra 100 or some Ilford FP-4+ and you're in business!
    I steal time at 1/125th of a second, so I don't consider my photography to be Fine Art as much as it is petty larceny.
    I'm not OCD. I'm CDO which is alphabetically correct.

  8. #8

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    Re: Beginner's Large Format Question

    Rustyair,

    John's suggestion is really workable. The advantage here is that you get a camera to learn on very in expensively. From there you can upgrade one thing at a time. LF isn't like small format, brands don't matter much, things interchange easier.

    My 400 has been a lot of fun and I now understand what's important for me in 4x5 and how it all works and I've built up the rest of the infrastructure, enlarger, tanks for developing, et al.

    (Shameles self promotion alert )

    Given my new-to-me camera body arriving this week I'm seriously getting ready to sell my 400 series Calumet for that $100 John talked about. The bellows are young and it would have two lens boards, it's in fine working condition. Just add a lens, holders, film, and tripod setup and your ready to take pictures.
    You can't depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus. ~ Mark Twain

  9. #9
    Indiana, USA chassis's Avatar
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    Re: Beginner's Large Format Question

    I started in large format last year. I went with a Toyo 45AII and haven't regretted it. My first lens was a 150mm Nikkor, followed by a 58mm wide angle Schneider, and a 280mm soft focus lens.

    With your budget, you have alot of options. It's hard to go wrong, so read some more on this site, and go where your heart takes you. Sources of equipment include this site, APUG.org and craigslist. The auction sites are OK but prices tend to be higher.

    Good luck and let us know what you decide.

  10. #10

    Join Date
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    Re: Beginner's Large Format Question

    Thank you all guys! I'm leaning towards Ebony cameras and Sinar. A used Ebony RSW45 sounds great if I can find one. Sinar also looks interesting. I will look into Toyo, Calumet 400, Wisner as well. It's gonna be a long night!
    Last edited by rustyair; 2-Apr-2012 at 19:14.

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