Anyone shooting large format?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by george-brooks, Jan 25, 2012.

  1. george-brooks macrumors 6502a


    Oct 31, 2011
    Brooklyn, NY
    I am attending the first day of my Large Format photo class later today and I was wondering if any of all you Apple fans out there are still doing any large format work (or any analog work for that matter). Anyone still using beautiful 20"² sheets of lovely lovely silver, or has the convenience of the 20MP DSLR finally convinced you that the extra quality just isn't worth the extra $ and effort?
  2. firestarter macrumors 603


    Dec 31, 2002
    Green and pleasant land
    I used to shoot a Cambo DS 4x5 camera.

    Too much hassle though... :) Gave up both that and medium format film for a DSLR.
  3. Policar macrumors 6502a

    Nov 21, 2004
    20''X20''? That's ultra large format...

    I have a 4x5 camera that hasn't gotten nearly enough use as well as a 6x7 SLR. I'm not a very good photographer but I was looking through my old slides and they're definitely much nicer than my digital stuff. Mostly it's just because you have to meter and compose so carefully, but velvia and portra have really beautiful colors and black and white film has amazing tonality.

    On the printing side, at least for slides, digital is better. Though C41 and black and white can give amazing prints. If I had the money I would love to take a class in large format black and white. Amazing format. Very jealous.
  4. carlgo macrumors 68000

    Dec 29, 2006
    Monterey CA
    You might consider starting out with a combination of analogue and digital. Take the shot and develop the film yourself, and then scan, manipulate and print digitally.

    I eventually settled on this for 4x5 B&W.
  5. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

    Apr 14, 2001
    Sendai, Japan
    Strictly speaking 4 inch x 5 inch = 20 inch^2 (only inch is squared), so I guess the OP is using 4x5 inch^2 just like the other handful of people on planet earth doing large format photography :)
  6. Policar macrumors 6502a

    Nov 21, 2004
    Makes sense. Although there are plenty of other popular sizes out there: 8x10, 5x7, in some cases 7x17, 4x10, 20x20, etc. I met someone who was an avid 7x17 shooter.

    I really wish I were a better photographer or were taking a class that forced me to shoot more. Large format looks amazing but it's difficult to justify wasting so much in terms of money and resources. And when you go back to digital you really wish all your lenses were t/s lenses.
  7. ppc_michael Guest


    Apr 26, 2005
    Los Angeles, CA
    I still shoot film exclusively, but I've settled on medium format just for the convenience. I still get the 4x5 out sometimes, but it's a bit too large to take anywhere. ;)

    Good luck! Large format is still the best format out there in my opinion.
  8. emorydunn macrumors 6502


    Jun 5, 2006
    Austin Texas
    I love shooting large format. I've got a couple 4x5 cameras and a few boxes of film. Unfortunately my current classes and projects aren't good fits for film, but next quarter I should have time to use it.
  9. chmilar macrumors member

    Sep 25, 2003
    My primary camera is a 4x5. Subject is mostly landscape.

    I have a freezer full of Quickloads (to last at least two years) and my own drum scanner.

    However, I was saddened when I discovered that A&I (in Los Angeles) stopped processing E6 last December. Fortunately, there is another lab nearby (Icon) that continues to process E6 (but for how long?).

    The only competitor to 4x5 in digital are the 60 - 80 MPixel medium format backs on a technical camera. Currently, that is an investment of $35K - $50K to get started. I can shoot and process a lot of 4x5 sheets for that price.
  10. compuwar macrumors 601


    Oct 5, 2006
    Northern/Central VA
    I shot and processed my own 4x5 and 5x7 for years, and unless you need Scheimpflug, the only thing you need to do with digital is shoot multiple frames for most LF-friendly images. I can get 80MP in three shots from my DSLR. Autopano Pro stitches them fine, no need for expensive pano heads either- so if it's just resolution, digital replaces LF quite well, it's tilts and shifts that are the real barrier to entry, but these days, focus stacking can work to get similar results-- in which case it's just a question of time.

    Doing your own E6 isn't that difficult either with a Jobo or an aquarium heater and Rubbermaid container. I don't know if the Kodak 6-bath kits are still available though, or how long they'll be available if they are. Badger Photographic used to sell Velvia in 5x7 in the US. That was sweet.

  11. shaunymac macrumors 6502

    Feb 5, 2008
    I did for a bit but getting rid of the chemicals were so liberating for me! No more mixing and storing in jugs! Now, the only thing I have to figure out is how to spend less time behind the computer. I'm slowly working the latter out!
  12. george-brooks thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Oct 31, 2011
    Brooklyn, NY
    One of my professors has a 16x20 and a 20x24. I would love to shoot with it sometime, if only Ilford and Kodak didn't require you to make special bulk orders for anything larger than 8x10. I have been doing a bit of 8x10 recently as well but find it prohibitively expensive and hard to work with in post. Image quality is out of this world but generally not worth the expense.
  13. macjonny1 macrumors 6502a


    Jan 10, 2006
    Large format will always be better than digital
  14. Prodo123 macrumors 68020


    Nov 18, 2010
  15. george-brooks thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Oct 31, 2011
    Brooklyn, NY
    Ya but its still a scanning back. Good luck shooting anything that moves! Its practically like being back in the days of Daguerre!
  16. Mad4WDW macrumors regular

    Apr 5, 2010
    Hasselblad Analogue

    I'm still shooting medium format analogue, not often though now and when I do I generally scan in the negs to manipulate.

    I've used the Hasselblad H series digital medium format cameras and digital backs on the Hasselblad CM bodies and while its good I'm increasingly just using my DSLR. I moved to a D800 from a D90 and that has closed the gap significantly

  17. MacCruiskeen macrumors 6502

    Nov 9, 2011
    That's funny, one of the reasons I still mess around with the chemicals is precisely that: to spend less time in front of the computer (you'll find that's more productive than sitting behind it!). I have to do that all day at work, and I have other digital projects to work on, so for me, photography is (in part) a refuge from that (as is the time I spend in the kitchen).

    I've got a Speed Graphic and a Shen-Hao field camera for 4x5, though practically these days I'm getting a lot more use out of my RB67; it is easier to take on the bike. I do need to use up my quickoads and the 400 sheets of FP4+ I've got in the freezer.

    chmilar: I'm going to assume you're familiar with Freestyle? They usually have whatever is available for E6 processing. For myself, I don't do enough color to worry about it (I'm partially color blind, so printing is an issue). When I do, I usually send to Praus is Rochester.
  18. Macshroomer macrumors 65816


    Dec 6, 2009
    After shooting digital professionally for nearly 20 years, I am just about done with it. I use it for about 8 weeks a year for some ad and corporate work with a D800 / D4. The main thrust of my work now is black and white fine art printed by hand in a real darkroom. I use 6x6, a 6x12 back on a Chamonix 45N-2 and 4x5 with the same camera, the resulting prints simply blow away anything I see from a computer print. The camera, 5 lenses, 12 film holders, a host of filters, step up rings all fit into a Lowe Pro Flipside Sport 15L AW and with a full camelbak and a carbon fiber tripod, it tips the scales at just over 21 pounds.

    Scaling back digital in favor of film for fine art is the best career move I have ever made, I am doing really well in terms of income and could not be happier shooting large format film and not sitting in front of a darn computer.

    So yeah, you could say I use large format...:)
  19. george-brooks thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Oct 31, 2011
    Brooklyn, NY
    Nothing beats a silver print! Well... except maybe Platinum
  20. MacCruiskeen macrumors 6502

    Nov 9, 2011
    What do you think of the Chamonix? I almost ordered one, but ended up getting a good deal on a lightly-used Shen-Hao. I've got a photobackpacker case for it so I can carry it in my bike's pannier.

    It's funny how when you're out in public with a big camera, it becomes a conversation-starter with random strangers.
  21. sim667 macrumors 65816

    Dec 7, 2010
    I still shoot 6X6 or 6X7 with holga's but I never got round to buying a 6X7 proper camera (I was craving an RB67 or a RZ67) and I never acquired a 5X4 camera, but used loads...... tbh, I still have access to that stuff from work when I do use it, so I dont really need to buy one.....

    I want to give my aunts 10X8 a go though

    And yeah im still shooting black and white analogue as I can process and print for free at work..... When I went to iceland I used a hasselblad xpan..... wicked camera :)
  22. MacCruiskeen macrumors 6502

    Nov 9, 2011
    RB67's can be had for not very much money these days. The Mamiya lenses are excellent and cheap. You can get a pretty complete kit for less than the cost of an average digitoy, and the RB67 can be used to crush them into little piles of rubble, too.
  23. mynewromantica macrumors regular

    Aug 3, 2009
    I shoot exclusively film. Mostly 120, and some 35. But I do shoot on a Calumet 4x5 every once in a while. I am the assistant for a photographer that only shoots 4x5 portraits. There are a LOT of people out there still shooting film. Even large format film.
  24. sim667 macrumors 65816

    Dec 7, 2010
    Yeah I know, about £300....

    and to think I nearly paid about £2000 for one 8 years ago.

    I still dont have £300 though :D
  25. Consultant macrumors G5


    Jun 27, 2007
    My 4" x 5" camera sits in a box. Way too much work.

    Same as my German medium format camera.

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