4"x5" photography (images included)

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by FrankieTDouglas, Nov 23, 2007.

  1. FrankieTDouglas macrumors 65816

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    Mar 10, 2005
    #1
    Have many of you ever used a view camera? I spent the last few months working with a 4"x5" view camera, basically treating it like a snapshot camera to record my friends and fellow students. Most of what I done was more process based than conceptual. But if you've never worked with a camera like that before, the process essentially is...

    Throw a black sheet over your head and peer into the back of this camera. Have your scene freeze. Use two knobs to focus in precisely on some aspect of your composition. Then lock your camera down and click the shutter. I'd develop six images at a time in a pitch black room, usually going about a half hour in absolute darkness while rotating the negatives through the various chemicals before I could turn the lights on and finish the development process. Once finished, I had a nice negative that was four inches by five inches in size.

    All total, I made around 200 exposures with that camera. Thought I'd share a few I submitted to Ilford for their online student gallery, and also to encourage any of you, if you ever get the chance, work with a view camera. It may not directly contribute to new things in your portfolio, but it will help instill discipline that few other camera models can. This will easily translate over into your other photographic work.

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  2. seenew macrumors 68000

    seenew

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    #2
    those look great, i'll be using a view camera in my large format class next quarter. I'm thinking of focusing on landscapes.
     
  3. Kamera RAWr macrumors 65816

    Kamera RAWr

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    #3
    Really great pictures. I especially love the composition in the first and second photos. I've toyed with the idea of buying myself 4x5 camera to play around with, especially for landscapes.

    Again, great job! :)
     
  4. mcarnes macrumors 68000

    mcarnes

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    #4
    I've gotten used to seeing nothing but crappy stuff on MR (and the internet in general), but these are quite good. The view camera is a beast to tame, isn't it?
     
  5. GoCubsGo macrumors Nehalem

    GoCubsGo

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    Feb 19, 2005
    #5
    Nothing beats a view camera. Try to get your hands on an 8x10. :)
    I love your photos. What ilford film was it? I used Ilford Fp4 through school, it was rather inexpensive and forgiving of my f-ups.
     
  6. BigJohno macrumors 65816

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    #6
    I love the first one. MY fav! Good work

    Edit: and the last one. Wait all of them are good! :)
     
  7. pdxflint macrumors 68020

    pdxflint

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    Oregon coast
    #7
    I really concur with the other posters... nice work - thanks for sharing (not just the photos, but the idea of slowing down...) In my first ever photography course in college I could only use medium format and 4x5 film. Luckily, the school had some Yashica twin lens reflexes and 4x5 view cameras for us to check out. Since we had no light meters, we used variations on the "sunny 16" rule, and got generally good negatives. (Here's a variation of the rule a guy named Joe Sonneman uses with good results.)

    I really enjoyed playing with the tilt lens, and framing my shots upside down... :) Sometimes I forgot to pull the cover off the film holder... but I learned. View cameras are a definite "hands-on" technology, and the skills you learn in order to master them are rewarding.

    I especially like number 2, and 6, but they all are nice.
     
  8. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    #8
    (Raises and waves hand quickly...) ME, ME, ME!!!

    I didn't think "snapshot" and "view camera" could go together. You must be using a Speed Graphic?

    Well, so much for the Speed Graphic.

    You forgot tilt, shift, swing, drop and raise!

    And also the reason we have awkward paper sizes today: 4x5, 5x7, 8x10, 11x14, 16x20. I'm glad the ink jet paper manufacturers are providing us with full-frame papers.

    I have a c. 1915 Korona cherry 4x5. It has a pre-WWII Schneider 210mm lens. It produces amazing images, but I don't have a 4x5 enlarger so I don't really use it much. The bellows is relatively new (early 1980s) and I give it a nice oiling ever couple of years to keep it in good shape. Oh, and Korona merged with Eastman many, many years ago to form some other photography company...
     
  9. Sdashiki macrumors 68040

    Sdashiki

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    Behind the lens
    #9
    View cameras are awesome, and if you were so inclined you can build your own 4x5 camera...

    While not THAT easy, if you are handy and like photography its something to try. There are lots of ways to convert old polaroids to 4x5. Some build their own locking back, others take a Graflok from Speed Graphics etc.

    Or if you have money burning in your pocket, you can buy one already made...(some sell for $5000, no sh*t)

    Ill take this time to whore my site, click my sig link.

    While my site doesnt focus on 4x5 format, it has some helpful info and links for doing medium format instant photography using vintage stuff.

    I only bring it up because I just updated it today! :cool:


    One day I hope to have a nice 8x10 view camera, my own darkroom, and all the time in the world to photograph the national parks. Oh, and I hope to win the lotto too! :rolleyes:
     
  10. ChrisA macrumors G4

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    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #10
    I like your work. But seeing it on a computer monitor, I wonder if you could have had the same result using 35mm film or a DSLR?

    4x5 is on my list of things to get. I shot medium format for years and I miss the larger format but I decided that If I got back to film it will be 4x5 film

    I think the major thing you did was slow down and think. When you have to spend several minutes to get each shot you think about thinks like what is in the background, how each shade will be rendered as a tone on paper and so on and so on.

    Ithink people can greatly improve their work by just using a tripod. While it will make the images harper by eliminating camera shake, that is a minor thing. The major effect of the tripod is improved composition. You tend to look at the frame, think "what if i move the tripod to the left two feet, now lower it. Check the frame's edges and the bubble level. Any time you have a cooperative or a static subject you can use a tripod.

    The upside down image in the view camera actually helps with composition. You see it more in an abstract way. Lines, symmetries and patterns show up better when the subject is upside down.

    I'm a bet surprized you did not use a daylight tank. I can load a tank inside a changebag with no darkroom. then process the fil in the bathroom with the lights one. If you take film the the local one hour processing place, they don't even have a darkroom there, you don't really need one at home to do film either.
     
  11. Photomax macrumors regular

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    Nov 26, 2007
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    Seattle
    #11
  12. milozauckerman macrumors 6502

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    Jun 25, 2005
    #12
    The last two are outstanding.

    re: 35mm and digital - as seen on a monitor, or scanned from a consumer flatbed scanner and enlarged, there isn't a great advantage to 4x5 (or medium format, for that matter) over other formats. Unless you need the particular capabilities of a view camera, at least.

    But when you make that first chemical contact print or enlargment... all the trouble is worth it.
     
  13. yeroen macrumors 6502a

    yeroen

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    Mar 8, 2007
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    Cambridge, MA
    #13
    B+W film in medium/large format looks fantastic. I sorely wish I could duplicate the tonal range of B+W film in 35mm digital. It just never comes out looking quite as good.
     
  14. mcarnes macrumors 68000

    mcarnes

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    #14
    Did you use any swing in the last pic? BTW, if she's available and in the Oregon area, PM me.
     
  15. termina3 macrumors 65816

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    Jul 16, 2007
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    TX
    #15
    I'm looking into purchasing a 4x5 or 8x10 camera for my backpacking trips (I can deal with some weight, but not too much. Definitely nothing above 8 lbs, preferably below 5). My budget is super-limited (pref. <$500, realistically <$1000); do y'all have any suggestions? Obviously used is the way to go, but within that is there anything specifically I should be looking at?
     
  16. mcarnes macrumors 68000

    mcarnes

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    #16
    Toyo 45AII is what I used to use for backpacking. You can't store it with a lens attached, but folded it is very tough and portable. You'll still need someone else to help carry overnight gear if you are truly backpacking.

    LF is expensive. No way around it. If you're shooting chromes it comes out to about $5 per shot. If you bracket, that is $15 per composition.

    But the Toyo gives a lot of bang for the buck.
     
  17. termina3 macrumors 65816

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    TX
    #17
    I always backpack in a group of ~8; my pack, w/o water or crew food, usually weighs in at ~30. For a 150lb guy such as myself, you know this is nothing; another 6-7 pounds is manageable, bringing my total to ~42-45 lbs.

    I also don't mind paying a lot per shot; I'm OK with $100/week on a trip. But the $2000 price tag for the camera itself is very difficult for me.
     
  18. mcarnes macrumors 68000

    mcarnes

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    #18
    Shooting B&W negs will be a lot cheaper, because you can home process. Frankly, I don't see the point in shooting chromes anymore. I'd rather have a 5D. But in the mid-90s, chromes are what all pros used. I shot a lot of velvia quick loads back then.

    Calumet used to make a really cheap 4x5 called the cadet if I remember right. But it did not fold and would be hard to take backpacking.

    I actually don't miss the LF stuff. Maybe I've just gotten lazy. The Canon 5D and 24, 45, 90 tilt shift lenses are as good as it gets for landscape work while backpacking, imo. Two shot stitches are a breeze. But the LF experience is certainly unique in it's own way.
     
  19. termina3 macrumors 65816

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    TX
    #19
    Not when you have a moving subject–i.e. the ocean. It's also nice to have perfectly equal exposure across the board.

    That said, the 6lbs of that 4x5 (plus film) you mentioned pales in comparison to a 3lb D70 setup… I think what's happened is I've seen such awe-inspiring shots from 4x5 landscapes–with relatively few from 35mm (or DSLR) cameras. The DSLRs just never seem to be able to capture the bigness of the scene. Maybe it's my technique… that'd make for a cheap fix–practice, practice, practice!
     
  20. termina3 macrumors 65816

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  21. puckhead193 macrumors G3

    puckhead193

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    May 25, 2004
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    #21
    i really like the dock one.
    I would love to one day get my hands on one of those :)
     
  22. mcarnes macrumors 68000

    mcarnes

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    #22
    I haven't looked at a LF camera for about 10 years, so I'm not familiar with that one in particular. But it looks a lot like the AII. The main thing is if you are ok with the limited movements of these folders. The other thing you want to look for is how solid it is. You don't want the standards to move at all when you lock it down.

    You'll need a lens and a lens board if you don't have one, plus shutter. Cable release, tripod, meter, timer, loupe to check focus, dark cloth or a hood, film, a way to load in the dark, carry the film holders, etc. You'll want to practice with this for a while at home before you take it in the field.

    I get tired just thinking about it. But you should most certainly give it a try, just to see what photography is at it's core.
     
  23. Westside guy macrumors 601

    Westside guy

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    #23
    I think at least some of that is the newness of the art form - before Galen Rowell came along, I don't think many people even tried to shoot sweeping vistas (professionally, anyway) with a small format camera. But when I look at shots by people like Galen Rowell, Bob Krist or Darwin Wiggett, I think they're capturing the "bigness of the scene" (to borrow your phrase) very well.
     

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