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Large Format anyone?

jembo 14 138 United Kingdom
18 Nov 2012 12:33PM
Does anyone here still shoot on large format (4x5 or larger)?
Just wondering as I've always admired large prints from large format - they seem to have a certain quality/depth to them that other format's dont quite achieve.

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thewilliam 9 6.1k
18 Nov 2012 1:02PM
My Sinar kit went on eBay several years ago and I just kept the folding field camera and a couple of lenses.

Although the darkroom wasn't reinstated after our move, I can still develop sheet fim at the utility room sink. Sadly, I haven't used LF since I went digital.

Prints from Large Format do have that special something!
JJGEE 13 7.2k 18 England
18 Nov 2012 2:03PM

Quote:Does anyone here still shoot on large format (4x5 or larger)?

joolsb does.
keith selmes 14 7.4k 1 United Kingdom
18 Nov 2012 4:27PM
Rarely. Hope to do more next year though.
Sooty_1 8 1.5k 221 United Kingdom
18 Nov 2012 5:55PM
I do too, though not for some months.
I use an MPP mk8 and various lenses, and develop in a Paterson orbital processor or an old Jobo.
I got a scanner to scan big nets too. Must get out and do some.....

joolsb 13 27.1k 38 Switzerland
18 Nov 2012 7:50PM

Quote:joolsb does.

Yup, certainly do. A couple of weeks ago, as it happens. Even took the LF kit on a recent trip to Canada…

I'll be shooting 5x4 until I can't get the film any more. Smile
jembo 14 138 United Kingdom
18 Nov 2012 10:36PM
How does scanning the negs compare with making prints the old fashioned way? And will most flattop scanners do the job (I have a CanonScan 4400F) or are there 'proper machines' to to the job for top quality?
Are the movements a lot to get to grips with?
I have darkroom kit and have developed 35mm and medium format 645. I've been fascinated by movement cameras for a while and and wouldn't mind having a go.
Ebay is going to be the best place to source a camera, and there are quite a few old Graflex models. Are these worth considering?
thewilliam 9 6.1k
19 Nov 2012 12:53AM
The benefit of large format is superior tonal quality. The likes of the Hasselblad/Imacon give a dynamic range that nothing else can equal, especially a scanner that hasn't been specifically designed for film.

If you go to the trouble of making large-format negs, it makes sense to have then scanned by a first-rate lab that uses the winning combination of a top-end scanner and a skilled operator.

Large format cameras are now available at a tiny fraction of their original cost and very few are being made so they're likely to ger rarer. Buy well and you shouldn't lose money.
Sooty_1 8 1.5k 221 United Kingdom
19 Nov 2012 9:39AM
Scanning is nowhere near print quality, unless its done commercially on very expensive scanners.
Home flatbed scanners won't do the job unless they have a transparency hood, ie a lid with a scanning light in for transmitted light. A normal reflected light one is no good, and ones that do 5x4+ are expensive. The results are pretty good if you can use a scanner well, but something like an Epson V700 will set you back £500 or so.

Another way is to contact print the large neg and scan the print on a very high resolution to digitise it.

You need to be quite choosy with LF. Old Graflex cameras can be pretty good, as can old press ones, but some have a shutter in the body which becomes lazy. Better to get a body without, or one you can lock open permanently and use a lens in shutter. You will have to survive with a limited range of lenses, and some cameras won't do very wide angles. Do a lot of research before diving in, it can be a minefield, but very rewarding.

Movements can be easy to use, as you see on the ground glass exactly what you're getting, though it can be hard to see everything, but best not to get too involved with them until you have mastered photography with the movements centred.

If you are prepared for it, the rewards of LF are big.

thewilliam 9 6.1k
19 Nov 2012 10:47AM
I doubt that any hobbyist and very few full-time professionals do enough work to justify the cost of even a half-decent LF scanner.

The cost of a top-class scan is quite reasonable and the quality has to be seen to be fully appreciated. Prints made from such digital files are quite simple awesome. The only downside is that you have to entrust your negs to someone else.
joolsb 13 27.1k 38 Switzerland
19 Nov 2012 11:20AM
As regards scanning, I have several 20x16s on my walls from scans off my Epson v700. I also have some prints (at the same size) made from drum scans and it's not easy to tell one from the other. The principal advantage of getting a drum scan is that the post-processing is a lot easier since you aren't trying to wring every gram of tonality and resolution out of a so-so scan.

As for Imacon/Hasselblad scanners being the best? Well, no, it isn't so. I also had some Imacon scans done a while back and the difference between an Imacon and a good drum scan is massive. I haven't tried getting anything scanned on a repro-grade flatbed (like a Creo iqSmart or a Fuji Lanovia) yet but I'm told these are very close to drum-scan quality. Like drum-scanners, they are huge (and hugely expensive) beasts....
mikehit 8 8.0k 13 United Kingdom
19 Nov 2012 11:27AM
When buying a scanner, my approach was to get the Epson V700 for general scanning, but if there was a particular image that looked reallt good I had the option of getting the negative scanned at a prolab to give me the best image quality.
I plan to make more use of my Thornton Pickard but I will be making prints from the negatives rather than scanning. It's just not as much fun otherwise.
jembo 14 138 United Kingdom
5 Dec 2012 9:34PM

Quote:I plan to make more use of my Thornton Pickard but I will be making prints from the negatives rather than scanning. It's just not as much fun otherwise.

That's interesting. What size negs do you shoot and how do you make prints - contact prints or with an enlarger?
annettep38 Plus
7 218 40 Costa Rica
20 Dec 2012 11:47PM
would absolutely love to use it again., still got my toyo field, an old Linhof and all the lenses and backs.
I've got an old drum scanner, all my LF you have seen here is done on it.
problem: nobody develops the tranny film here, can only do b/w myself. And buying the film means getting someone to send it from Belgium or Spain. SIGH.
medium format is easier, but even for the 120 you pay a fortune here.

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