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View Full Version : Does anyone on here use Large Format anymore?




Crawn2003
Oct 19, 2007, 03:26 PM
Just a question I ask. I'm a big time Large Format user - Sinar F2 and Horseman 4x5.

~Crawn



ChrisA
Oct 19, 2007, 03:48 PM
Just a question I ask. I'm a big time Large Format user - Sinar F2 and Horseman 4x5.

~Crawn

I'm looking to get into 4x5. I sold off my Mamiya RB67 equipment and
I don't use my 35mm film bodies much any more (except to shoot
transparencies for projection now and them) I figure if I'm going to
shoot film I may as well do 4x5. My scanner can do up to 8x10
so I'm set. I doubt I'll be buying an F2. Maybe a cambo or the like
and a 1950's vintage lens.

One question: assuming black and white. I figure you would
just go for low contrast negs, so the scanner can capture the full
range. I know how to print in a darkroom but I bet shooting
film when you know it will be scanned is different.

I like my Nikon D50 but I miss the quality that I had with the
Mamiya.

seenew
Oct 19, 2007, 03:52 PM
I'm taking a large format course in the winter, so we'll see if I get attached. ;)


I'm so sad they're phasing film out here at SCAD. :( All the freshmen this year are taking digital classes... It makes me wonder if my credits from my past classes will be worth anything. :confused:

Digital Skunk
Oct 19, 2007, 05:18 PM
I'm taking a large format course in the winter, so we'll see if I get attached. ;)


I'm so sad they're phasing film out here at SCAD. :( All the freshmen this year are taking digital classes... It makes me wonder if my credits from my past classes will be worth anything. :confused:

My school's photography majors are getting an education in the past. Most of the teachers know the school can't afford to give them any digital equipment or update the aging computer labs, so they urge them to invest in themselves, but many college students at my school are too lazy and cheap to do that, so they suffer with learning the basics of film processing and then nothing much else. Half of the learning has to be done on their own, which is great for driven students, and makes for a better college graduate, but they have to have the will power to push themselves.

On to the main topic, once large format goes digital, and I have more studio work than PJ work, I will take it on. Other than that, I might do it as a hobby and in my home studio that I may build.

jlcharles
Oct 19, 2007, 05:59 PM
I'd love to get into it, but have no money for it. I love the 6x6 negs from my hassy and would love to try something larger.

ChrisA
Oct 19, 2007, 09:46 PM
I'd love to get into it, but have no money for it. I love the 6x6 negs from my hassy and would love to try something larger.

I've seen 4x5 press cameras sell for $100 with lens and all. The press camera don't have any movements so the lens does not need a large image circle so it could be built small and cheap. That said the hole point of large format is that the camera moves, tilts and riases and so on. Without that medium format is just as good.

seenew
Oct 19, 2007, 11:20 PM
My school's photography majors are getting an education in the past. Most of the teachers know the school can't afford to give them any digital equipment or update the aging computer labs, so they urge them to invest in themselves, but many college students at my school are too lazy and cheap to do that, so they suffer with learning the basics of film processing and then nothing much else. Half of the learning has to be done on their own, which is great for driven students, and makes for a better college graduate, but they have to have the will power to push themselves.


Oh, I definitely see the advantages of knowing both, but I thought it would be a better choice to teach both equally, instead of just flipping it around where the focus is on digital, with a few film electives and higher level classes. I mean, I think a basic understanding of film photography (silver and chromogenic) would help beginners understand what they're doing digitally. You have to know where you've come from to know where you're going.

That's why I enjoy my art history courses, while others fall asleep or constantly complain.

compuwar
Oct 20, 2007, 12:53 AM
I still have two 4x5 monorails and a Canham MQC 5x7 field camera. I haven't shot with them since shortly after going digital, and I keep the 5x7 with a reducing back just in case I start selling enough landscape work to get a BetterLight back for it. I'd ditch my Omega 4x5 enlarger and Jobo and tanks if I thought I'd get anything for them- I just don't see myself shooting film again unless it's just to get rid of the 5x7 Velvia hanging around in the fridge.

Crawn2003
Oct 24, 2007, 10:53 AM
Wow, not that many at all. I guess everyone uses 35mm the most.

~Crawn

Father Jack
Oct 24, 2007, 11:03 AM
I'm taking a large format course in the winter, so we'll see if I get attached. ;)


I'm so sad they're phasing film out here at SCAD. :( All the freshmen this year are taking digital classes... It makes me wonder if my credits from my past classes will be worth anything. :confused:
Nearly all colleges in Ireland seem to have abandoned film recently and large format hasn't been seen for a few years ... :o

shecky
Oct 24, 2007, 11:06 AM
when it comes to film i shoot pretty much exclusively medium format.

Digital Skunk
Oct 24, 2007, 11:19 AM
Oh, I definitely see the advantages of knowing both, but I thought it would be a better choice to teach both equally, instead of just flipping it around where the focus is on digital, with a few film electives and higher level classes. I mean, I think a basic understanding of film photography (silver and chromogenic) would help beginners understand what they're doing digitally. You have to know where you've come from to know where you're going.

That's why I enjoy my art history courses, while others fall asleep or constantly complain.

Agreed, but the department doesn't have any digital courses, the few that they have are related to graphic designers and not photographers. Also, the department teaches only film photography from the bottom up, and grads leave without knowing the nuances digital photography, like white balance.

jlcharles
Oct 24, 2007, 11:27 AM
Wow, not that many at all. I guess everyone uses 35mm the most.

~Crawn

Nope. I use my Hasselblad kit the most.

seenew
Oct 24, 2007, 12:28 PM
Agreed, but the department doesn't have any digital courses, the few that they have are related to graphic designers and not photographers. Also, the department teaches only film photography from the bottom up, and grads leave without knowing the nuances digital photography, like white balance.

white balance you learn in film through the use of the appropriate filters in front of your lens. I'd hope grads would learn about filters! Also, they'll know the basics of color balancing and color temperature, so I think they'll be fine in digital.

But yes, it would be better to have even just one digital survey class.

milozauckerman
Oct 24, 2007, 08:42 PM
Yep. I've got a Crown Graphic and a Shen-Hao 4x5 field camera.

Unfortunately no scanner, so I just look at the chromes every now and then.

Cave Man
Oct 25, 2007, 05:32 AM
Yeah, I was thinking about a Hasselblad, but that $30,000 digital back just seemed be be a little out of reach...

jlcharles
Oct 25, 2007, 07:15 AM
Yeah, I was thinking about a Hasselblad, but that $30,000 digital back just seemed be be a little out of reach...
Velvia is ~$5 a roll. :)

Clix Pix
Oct 25, 2007, 08:26 AM
Been a long time since I've shot with large format or medium format.... In the beginning of my photography class where we were using large format I thought I was going to absolutely loathe it -- and by the end of the semester I really, really hated to give up that camera! I had learned so much and had really enjoyed it. For a while I flirted with the idea of buying myself a field camera but then never got around to it...... I had a Hasselblad for a while, too, that I had bought with ambitious ideas of doing studio-type work but eventually decided that I really preferred 35mm and eventually sold the Hassy.

My first digital, the Coolpix 900, began to sound the deathknell for my film photography and after I bought the 900's successor, the CP990, I found myself shooting more and more with digital and less and less with film.... By the time I bought the CP995 I was shooting exclusively digital.

I wouldn't mind playing around with a Large Format or a Hassy with digital backs now, though -- whooo! At those prices, not gonna happen, I'm afraid. Oh, well, guess I'll have to content myself with the new Nikon D3. It'll feel funny to start shooting full-frame again after all this time!

snberk103
Oct 25, 2007, 10:34 AM
I have a photo gallery on the west coast of Canada, and I get to talk to and see a multitude of photographers and photographs. My perspective is that 35mm colour film is going to be nearly extinct in about 20 years, except for perhaps a few speciality products. For the average consumer, colour digital is easier and cheaper. For the professional digital can actually be better because if gives you the type of control over your prints - paper, ink-sets, curves, printer drivers, etc - that traditional BW photographers have always had with their chemicals, dilutions, toners, temperatures, etc. There will be 35mm colour film made as long as there enough 35mm cameras in use.

My understanding is that the current digital 35mm (equivalent) cameras give a file size that is roughly equal to the information captured by a 35mm piece of film. This is, I believe, why many photographers who shoot for art or even commercial work are moving to medium format and large format film cameras. The amount of information a larger piece of film can capture surpasses a digital camera, unless you willing to spend $10,000, $30,000 or more for a medium or large format digital back. You can buy *a lot* of film for $10,000 - plus the computer needed to handle files in the 100Mb to 600Mb range.

My understanding is that Black and White film and paper is actually an *increasing* market share. As photographic artists look for something "non-digital" ( seen as being "un-artististic") they are moving to traditional materials. I read somewhere that the Rochester Institute of Technology (Rocherster being the home of Kodak) is going to move their film based photography program into their Alternative Process courses.

The photo school I teach is phasing out their darkroom to increase the the computer lab. Once the traditional lab is gone, then large format becomes very much more difficult to teach. Or at least more expensive as the students then have to use colour film and commercial proccessing.

I have a couple of 4x5s, an 8x20, and even a 20x24. The last one doesn't get outside much :D

Just my observations.

carlgo
Oct 25, 2007, 10:49 AM
If all I shot were carefully thought out scenics, I would get an 11X14 view camera and produce nothing but contact prints. I love that perfect sharpness.

However, like everyone else I shoot digital, in the DX format, and that is really easy and gives damn good results.

I did get a Speed Graphic and that is very interesting, but buying film, getting it developed, scanning, printing... all that takes a lot of dedication, time and money. That would also apply to medium format.

It would seem that the medium format people should try really, really hard to find a way to make cheap large sensors so they can compete. $20K+ digital backs are really silly.

Crawn2003
Oct 25, 2007, 11:07 AM
The whole reason I ask is that I've noticed a lot of studios I've been working with lately have "laughed" at the fact that I use a Sinar F2 with a Leaf Valeo back. They don't understand why I don't just use my Bronica medium format and just correct the perspective in photoshop.

I'd rather not have more to do in Photoshop if I don't have to. If I can do it all in camera and not worry about post productions work, it makes it that much more faster for my work flow.

I'm 23 and when I started it was all film. I was taught to correct everything in camera because of film (even though the school and myself have a 4x5 film scanner) and not rely on Photoshop. Now that I'm on my second digital back I'm even more happier with my Sinar and not having to waste more time with Type 54/55 Polaroids or Film Holders.

To each his own I guess!

~Crawn

Mantat
Oct 25, 2007, 01:48 PM
This might belongs to another thread but since there are so many people with medium/large format, I think I should ask...

I want to get into BW photography and I was thinking about getting a medium format camera. I dont want to invest too much since I already have a FF SLR and a crap load of lens to go with it. So I just want a medium format that I could carry with me when I feel more 'artistic' or to do landscape. So it has to be portable and as small as possible while still getting good shots.

it is either that or I get a 35mm range finder.

Thanks!

milozauckerman
Oct 25, 2007, 02:29 PM
mmm...
In terms of medium format, the lightest/smallest option would be a Rolleicord or Rolleiflex TLR (twin-lens reflex - one 'taking' lens and one viewing lens) - thing is, they get pricy for a pristine example. You can get a nice Rolleicord for a couple hundred bucks, but the focusing screen might be a little dark/dirty, there might be other issues.
Mamiya TLRs are a little larger and heavier, but cheaper and generally newer.
The Yashica 124G is a popular entry-level TLR as well, but I've not laid hands on one.

If you've got money in the bank, it would be hard to beat a Mamiya 7/7 II rangefinder, or a Fuji GW670 fixed-lens rangefinder, both 6x7 format.

All of the above, except the Mamiya 7, will probably require you to use a handheld light meter or play it by ear (Sunny 16).

Larger, but high quality is the Bronica SQ-A 6x6 SLR. With the standard 80mm/2.8 lens, mine weighs more than a 5D but doesn't take up much room. I can handhold it down to ~1/60 and get reasonably sharp images.

Nothing will be as small as a 35mm rangefinder and lens.

Sdashiki
Oct 25, 2007, 02:35 PM
If you want the instant-ness of digital, and the format size of medium-large format, you could do worse than a Polaroid pack film camera.

If you were so bold, you can also get other cameras with 4x5 Graflok/spring backs which accept rollfilm backs for 6x6, 6x9 etc.

Polaroid stopped making 665 (3x4 b/w film that gives you a useable negative) but still make the 4x5 version 55. So, if you want not just photos to scan and print/enlarge, but a negative, the only way to go is with 4x5. That is, if you want to use Polaroid film.


<--------- check my avatar for a 3x4 Polaroid i built :rolleyes:

Doylem
Oct 25, 2007, 04:17 PM
It sounds like photography means something different to every poster... which, I guess, is how it should be...

I thought I was 'at home' with Fuji Velvia (on 35mm and 6x6)... but now I feel at home with a digital SLR. But, who knows, one day I may revert to film, maybe even large format. I've seen an exhibition (UK) of prints produced from the negatives of a guy called Sutcliffe. What struck me was the sheer amount of information in avery image: stunning! And this from pix taken more than a century ago. Makes you think...

snberk103
Oct 25, 2007, 11:31 PM
Dear Mantat

If you really want to have some seat of the pants fun with medium format, and want to not spend a fortune.... go to a couple of camera swap meets. I have a number of old (1940s or 1950s) Agfa cameras (different models) that take 120 film ( the 'official' designation for medium format). The cameras cost between $15 and $50 dollars each. To focus you have to estimate the distance by eye, and then set the lense. To get the proper exposure you need to either estimate (its not hard to do after a little practice) or get a light meter (old ones go for $25 to $75 - nothing fancy is needed). Film advance is not automatic, nor does it stop automatically - you have to watch for frame numbers in a window in the back of the camera.

What you *do* get is a finer appreciation of "making a photograph". This is photography you get your hands all over. You need to think your way through each step. You need to know what you are doing with each step - or, you need learn it as you go - hands on. Its wonderful. And the cameras can be very cheap. Agfa made some good lenses in its day. Others did too. Take a chance and have some fun. One thing to watch out for is some cameras of that era too '620' film. This film was close to, but not quite the same, as 120 film. A 620 film camera can be adapted to take 120 film, but its easier to get a 120 camera too begin with. Use either colour negative film, or TCN400 by Kodak or XP2 by Ilford (if they are still made). The last two are BW films that are processed by colour 1 hour machines. Easy, and they are very forgiving films. Work best at 200 ISO and on contrasty days.

Have fun, eh!

Seth

This might belongs to another thread but since there are so many people with medium/large format, I think I should ask...

I want to get into BW photography and I was thinking about getting a medium format camera. I dont want to invest too much since I already have a FF SLR and a crap load of lens to go with it. So I just want a medium format that I could carry with me when I feel more 'artistic' or to do landscape. So it has to be portable and as small as possible while still getting good shots.

it is either that or I get a 35mm range finder.

Thanks!

Paulinbham
Oct 26, 2007, 12:12 AM
For years I backpacked in miles with my 4x5 Linhof, but as I get older and knees ache more, I find myself appreciating digital 35 more and more. I don't miss the processing chemicals - developer, bleach, fixer. I know more than a few photographers that have developed serious chemical sensitivities from working in darkrooms for many years.

With magazine work 35 digital is fine for me. Maybe all I really miss is being younger and being able to carry a 75 lb pack?

For students it depends on the type of photography you are going to pursue in your career. I believe the instant feedback from digital is important in the learning process. Your composition, your exposures can be worked to perfection easier with digital and at a very, very low cost once the initial investment is made.

Maybe the more images you can create early on, the better photographer you will become.

goodrich62
Oct 26, 2007, 09:18 AM
This guy still does and does it very well.

http://www.theloughroad.com/

I meet him when he was still doing some art fairs in the early 90's. His work is truly remarkable.
I have a few of his prints from then, can't afford them now.
Most of his shots are with an Arca Swiss 8X10. I'm hoping to get into one of his work shops maybe in 09.
I'm looking at getting a midium format next year lage is a little to pricey for me.
Rich

seenew
Oct 26, 2007, 11:27 AM
Dear Mantat

If you really want to have some seat of the pants fun with medium format, and want to not spend a fortune.... go to a couple of camera swap meets. I have a number of old (1940s or 1950s) Agfa cameras (different models) that take 120 film ( the 'official' designation for medium format). The cameras cost between $15 and $50 dollars each. To focus you have to estimate the distance by eye, and then set the lense. To get the proper exposure you need to either estimate (its not hard to do after a little practice) or get a light meter (old ones go for $25 to $75 - nothing fancy is needed). Film advance is not automatic, nor does it stop automatically - you have to watch for frame numbers in a window in the back of the camera.

What you *do* get is a finer appreciation of "making a photograph". This is photography you get your hands all over. You need to think your way through each step. You need to know what you are doing with each step - or, you need learn it as you go - hands on. Its wonderful. And the cameras can be very cheap. Agfa made some good lenses in its day. Others did too. Take a chance and have some fun. One thing to watch out for is some cameras of that era too '620' film. This film was close to, but not quite the same, as 120 film. A 620 film camera can be adapted to take 120 film, but its easier to get a 120 camera too begin with. Use either colour negative film, or TCN400 by Kodak or XP2 by Ilford (if they are still made). The last two are BW films that are processed by colour 1 hour machines. Easy, and they are very forgiving films. Work best at 200 ISO and on contrasty days.

Have fun, eh!

Seth

sounds like a glorified Holga.
Which is glorified enough on its own, ha.

shecky
Oct 26, 2007, 11:32 AM
i use a Seagul TLR (http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/247807-USA/Seagull_05440_GC_109_Camera.html) for medium format - after going thru a few ebay'd yashicas i decided to get a new piece of equipment. while not top of the line (its an asian knockoff of a rolliecord i think)the images it takes are very good and i have had no issues with it. its a cheap way to get into medium format.

i also have a few modified Holga's, a DIY pinhole camera, and i am going to be getting a Diana in a few weeks.

Mantat
Oct 26, 2007, 12:31 PM
Thanks for all the links. That is a lot of food for thought... I think I will have to go to a used store and play with them a bit to see which one appeal to me the most.

FrankieTDouglas
Oct 28, 2007, 04:37 AM
I spent the last three months shooting 4x5 film with a view camera. About to put up an exhibit next week with 24 prints from that experience. It's interesting. Not a big fan of the work flow or the need to be so deliberate with every action, not to mention the degree of separation between yourself and the subject you are photographing. But it was a good series and something definitely to build upon. I don't like working in the darkroom though, so all of my prints were from scanning in and using an inkjet.

I will say that using a view camera demands attention. No matter what you say, people listen to you and will do whatever you ask when you have to put a clothe over your head to take their picture.

RealGem
Oct 30, 2007, 12:53 PM
The beauty of digital is that it can be used with medium and large format. No need to revert back to film.

I had a Toyo 5x4 up until 2003 but used Bronicas with a digital back for interiors until last year. I just hire them now if I'm shooting for billboards, as most everything else is doable on my Canon DSLRs.

Recently someone asked me why photos a hundred years old could be superior to the ones of today.

So I gave a mini lecture on large glass plates, and the negative/ film plane size being the larger the better.

It's funny how most people think the more mega pixels the better. But if the lens and chip are teeny they'll still get an inferior image.

§HAMU§
Oct 30, 2007, 01:27 PM
i don't shoot large format, but i shoot medium format film. i use a yashica-12 tlr camera. i love it. i mostly shoot b/w film b/c i can develop it myself.

i prefer to use my yashica over my rebel xt. i enjoy taking the time compose the shot and write down all the settings in my moleskine. it's also fun and rewarding to develop the film myself. since i shoot photography as a hobby instead of a job, i can take the time to work with film and enjoy it more.

i would really like to get into large format stuff, but i already have so much to learn with photography in general.

Sdashiki
Oct 30, 2007, 01:50 PM
The beauty of digital is that it can be used with medium and large format. No need to revert back to film.

I had a Toyo 5x4 up until 2003 but used Bronicas with a digital back for interiors until last year. I just hire them now if I'm shooting for billboards, as most everything else is doable on my Canon DSLRs.

Recently someone asked me why photos a hundred years old could be superior to the ones of today.

So I gave a mini lecture on large glass plates, and the negative/ film plane size being the larger the better.

It's funny how most people think the more mega pixels the better. But if the lens and chip are teeny they'll still get an inferior image.

How can you mention a DIGITAL BACK with a straight face? They have a VERY specific market, and cost more than anything mentioned in this thread so far.

Debunking the megapixel myth is always part 1 of any photo class I teach.