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Thread: Call me crazy but...

  1. #1

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    Call me crazy but...

    You have no idea how many times I'd just want to say F- it all and sell my Nikon F4 & F5 kit a long with my RZ67 kit and replace it with a nice Speed Graphic. I mean, who says I can't take a 4x5 on vacation? I might get strange looks at the zoo or county fair, but who really cares? I have two monorails right now and obviously can't take them anywhere without much hassle. I could have a blast with a Speed or Crown graphic as my only handheld camera. Shoot HP4 with sunny 16 and be happy!

    Yes I know its probably a dumb idea, but It's one that's been with me for a few months now.

    Just my 2 cents.

  2. #2

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    Re: Call me crazy but...

    There are quite a few options out there for handheld 4x5s if that's what you really want to do. Frankly, it doesn't sound like LF suits your style of photography very well, based on what you've been using and where you want to shoot.

    If 'classic photography' is your thing, why not just trade in your Nikons for a nice Leica M6 and a 50 'Cron and be done with it?

    BTW - if you do decide to go the LF handheld route, I'd suggest HP5 rather than FP4...those couple stops will make all the difference.

  3. #3
    Corran's Avatar
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    Re: Call me crazy but...

    Why does he need a Leica and Summicron? It isn't going to be any better in IQ really, but it will of course be smaller. If that's the only problem I say get a Nikon F and use the lenses he has. Or if he wants a RF, maybe a Canonet or similar.

    That said, I think there's something to be said for shooting handheld 4x5 for enjoyment, as anyone knows if they've followed my posts about my Polaroid conversion.

    As long as you can afford the film - go for it!!
    Bryan | Blog | YouTube | Instagram
    All comments and thoughtful critique welcome

  4. #4

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    Re: Call me crazy but...

    I took a trip out SW US this summer. I hit Zion, Grand Canyon N. Rim, Page, Monument Valley, Canyonlands, and Arches Nat. Park. Went on quite a few hikes as well, including a 10 mile hike at G. Canyon.

    My camera bag consisted of my 5Dmk2 with a couple lenses, and my Pacemaker Speed Graphic w/ MC Super-Angulon 75/5.6. And I mostly shot with the SG :-)

    So yes, it's very feasible.


  5. #5

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    Re: Call me crazy but...

    No doubt. I wasn't really trying to discourage the OP from going LF if that's what he wants to do, I guess I may have been reading between the lines a little and it sounded to me like he was describing a style of photography that could have been better suited to a small camera.

    As for using LF press cameras handheld, I guess that's what they were designed for in the first place, so I say go for it! It's obvious from the last couple posts here that others have been quite successful with these cameras. I guess maybe I'm a little biased and should've stayed out of the conversation - when I think of LF, it's specifically because of the fact that it tends to be a slower, tripod based process, not as well suited to handheld (or Steet type 'grabshot' use) as something like a Leica. My bad.

  6. #6

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    Re: Call me crazy but...

    Rawhead - that's a beautiful shot BTW! Mark one up for the Graphics!

  7. #7

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    Re: Call me crazy but...

    Quote Originally Posted by Cletus View Post
    when I think of LF, it's specifically because of the fact that it tends to be a slower, tripod based process, not as well suited to handheld (or Steet type 'grabshot' use) as something like a Leica. My bad.
    Probably why I get 80-90% keepers with my LF gear compared to 50% or lower with my 35mm and MF kit.

  8. #8

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    Re: Call me crazy but...

    If you want "keepers" of high quality, then a good medium format rangefinder like a Fuji 6x9 or Mamiya 7 - or a DSLR with a good lens - is going to produce the best results. Not that you can't make good pictures with anything but in terms of hitting focus, good exposure ranges, ability to handhold in lower light, cleanliness of the film, bang for buck ~ Just my two cents after using nearly all the options.

  9. #9

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    Re: Call me crazy but...

    I have this same crazy idea and I have been packing my 4x5 Crown Graphic around at least once a month. So far my results are not what I would prefer but I have figured out there is a bit of a learning curve with this camera. I do agree with Cletus though, I think it is better to work with Tri-X or HP-5 than the 100 and 125 film I've been using so far.

    I just wish Kodak produced 12 sheet boxes instead of 10. At least then I'd get two Grafmatic loads from a box of Kodak Portra.

  10. #10

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    Re: Call me crazy but...

    Not crazy nor dumb. A 4x5 Crown Graphic has been my main camera for about four or five years. I take it every where and only use it hand held or on a monopod...same as a small format camera. Even on vacations and business trip. I get lots of question but not really any strange looks.

    Go for it!


    Here are a few examples...of snap shots with the Crown Graphic. These are all hand held, range finder focus, sunny-16



    Quito - from front of la Basilica



    camping at Bodega Bay




    Bodega Bay

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