Does anyone on here use Large Format anymore?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Crawn2003, Oct 19, 2007.

  1. macrumors 6502

    Just a question I ask. I'm a big time Large Format user - Sinar F2 and Horseman 4x5.

  2. macrumors G4

    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
  3. macrumors 68000


    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:
  4. macrumors 604

    Digital Skunk

    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.
  5. macrumors 6502

    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.
  6. macrumors G4

    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.
  7. macrumors 68000


    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.
  8. macrumors 601


    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.
  9. macrumors 6502

    Wow, not that many at all. I guess everyone uses 35mm the most.

  10. macrumors 68020

    Father Jack

    Nearly all colleges in Ireland seem to have abandoned film recently and large format hasn't been seen for a few years ... :eek:
  11. Guest


    when it comes to film i shoot pretty much exclusively medium format.
  12. macrumors 604

    Digital Skunk

    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.
  13. macrumors 6502

    Nope. I use my Hasselblad kit the most.
  14. macrumors 68000


    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.
  15. macrumors 6502

    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.
  16. macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    Yeah, I was thinking about a Hasselblad, but that $30,000 digital back just seemed be be a little out of reach...
  17. macrumors 6502

    Velvia is ~$5 a roll. :)
  18. macrumors Demi-Goddess

    Clix Pix

    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!
  19. macrumors 603

    Large Format still alive

    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.
  20. macrumors 68000

    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.
  21. macrumors 6502

    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!

  22. macrumors 6502a

    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.

  23. macrumors 6502

    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.
  24. macrumors 68040


    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:
  25. macrumors 68040


    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...

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