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Large Format anyone?

keith selmes 14 7.3k 1 United Kingdom
21 Dec 2012 10:35AM

Quote: What size negs do you shoot and how do you make prints - contact prints or with an enlarger?
Speaking for myself, half plate and 4x5, on I have tried contact printing on Printing Out Paper, but that is no longer available, so I tried blueprint paper, also called cyanotype, sometimes called sun prints I think. Also scanning and printing digitally. I would usually scan before anything else from fear of damaging the negatives in some way.

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joolsb 13 27.1k 38 Switzerland
21 Dec 2012 10:37AM

Quote: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.

Thee's a place I know in Zurich that still processes 5x4 so I'm sure there must be a lab still processing film in one of the larger French cities. And then there's always Peak Processing in the UK - if you don't mind trusting your precious film to the French post. As for buying film, I use Badger Graphic in the US...
jembo 14 137 United Kingdom
21 Dec 2012 11:23PM
I've been watching some clips on You Tube of Clyde Butcher. He has some serious darkroom stuff for large format;


wildworlds 5 44
22 Dec 2012 9:13AM
The great thing about forums like this are how they can provide inspiration and this thread has inspired me to sell off my Sinars, buy myself a field camera and get out and shoot some large format again. I will probably stick to B&W. I have seen De Vere 504 enlargers (my personal favourite) on ebay for around 250 quid which I think is OK, and the rest of the equipment can be picked up cheaply. But what surprised me is the cost of film and paper. £ 132.77 for 100 sheets of FP4 and £158.00 for 50 sheets of Ilford Galerie. With materials costing that much it is going to be a seriously expensive hobby unless...... I can make some decent money out of it!Wink
User_Removed 8 4.6k 1 Scotland
22 Dec 2012 10:42AM
Shooting large format is something I have never done. When I was selling a lot of pictures to magazines back in the 70s/80s I used a variety of 6x7 roll film cameras as, at that time, they would only accept medium format transparencies for front covers.

But now, with more time available to me and no work pressures, I am tempted to try "new" aspects of photography. Along with having a digital camera converted for astro-photography, having a dabble with a large format camera has an appeal. Ideally (I think), I would initially go for a "cheapie" like a Speed Grapics that would take both 5x4 cut fim and roll film holders.

Maybe next year?
wildworlds 5 44
22 Dec 2012 11:27AM
Speed Graphic sounds good to me. After all a large format camera is so simple that as long as you can get some "reasonable" movements, shooting landscapes for example only a few degrees are necessary, almost any camera is fine. After a few weeks you get to love Dr. Scheimpflug!
I fancy a traditional wooden camera for no other reason than I just want one. I know they have their drawbacks, but what are the recomendations if any, of the various makes?
Sooty_1 7 1.5k 221 United Kingdom
22 Dec 2012 12:29PM
General comments for the above two posts..

It all depends on how much you want to spend.
I take it you want a field camera, so I would suggest something like a Shen Hao, unless you want to spend quite a lot on a new one. Others are Horseman, Linhof, or even Walker or Ebony if you have deep pockets. For a start though, a secondhand Shen Hao would be my recommendation.
For lenses, a standard 150mm, or if you like wider views, I suggest either a 120mm or a 90mm, the better quality that you can afford, something like a Nikkor or a Schneider Super Angulon.

I still use an old MPP Mk8 for landscapes, B+W FP4+ film, Ilford chemistry and a Paterson Orbital processor for developing.

Movements are not usually necessary outdoors unless you're doing architecture, unless you have a real need to change the plane of focus. I would consider it desirable, rather than necessary.

Speed Graphics mostly have a shutter in the back, so you can use barrel lenses, but they tend to get lazy as they get older, so it might be better to use a lens in shutter.

Look for an international back, which you can remove to add a roll film back, with enough "gape" to fit fatter backs (like some Polaroid ones or Grafmatics), and maybe a rotating one for convenience.

Wooden cameras are much less precise if you're used to studio monorails, but then they don't really need to be.
For a play project, why not get a film back and try making a simple box pinhole, the focal length will be the thickness of the box to the film plane, and the aperture can be easily calculated. Film can be processed in trays or simple tubes if you don't have processing equipment, though with some ingenuity, it is possible to do LF on quite a small budget, and there are a lot of resource sites online.

It is possible to use your camera as an enlarger, using the projection method.

wildworlds 5 44
22 Dec 2012 2:00PM
Hi Nick some good points raised. My reason for wanting a wooden camera if for no other reason than they look pretty! I am not sure I entirely agree with the point about movements though. Being able to use a swing front (or back for that matter) is the way to get the ultimate dof. I also think that your choice of lenses is a good one for anyone starting out. (I use 90mm 180mm and 210mm Rodenstocks in DB which I will convert back to copal) I have a Sinar 360mm which is in a fixed DB. That will go along with the Sinar shutter. What needs to be mentioned is that with the shorter lenses like the 90mm the bellows will be very compressed and often a recessed lens board is necessary. So if anyone is getting into LF bear that in mind. What particularly caught my attention was the idea of a little project building a pin hole or similar. I think that is a great idea and one I am going to pursue with a group of kids I work with. Thanks! Yet more inspiration!Smile
wildworlds 5 44
22 Dec 2012 2:14PM
Just had a look at the Ebony RSW45 5x4 Got to have one it tickes all the boxes for me!Tongue
Sooty_1 7 1.5k 221 United Kingdom
22 Dec 2012 2:41PM
I want to make a fixed focal length box for a 75mm I have, I can shim the lens for accurate placement around the infinity focus and just stop down a little.

I agree, I find 90 is about as short as I can go on the MPP without recessed panels. I have a recessed panel for my 75mm. Another thing to remember with field cameras is that too short might have the baseboard in the bottom of the shot unless you can drop it, and too long might not focus fully, dependent on the bellows extension.

The Ebony is a great camera, just ask Joe Cornish!
thewilliam 9 6.1k
22 Dec 2012 7:01PM
The problem with baseboard cameras is that we have to focus with the front standard which is fine for landscape but a pain for closer work. The master who taught me still-life studio work would always shout at anybody who didn't focus with the rear standard of the monorail.
wildworlds 5 44
24 Dec 2012 1:37PM
Valid point. Thatís why cameras with the ability to use the rear standard to focus were developed. When shooting still life, millimetre perfect positioning of the subject is often necessary. By using the front std. to focus. i.e. moving the lens ....fractionally changes the viewpoint. Shooting still life on LF means constantly changing and fine tuning of camera movements until the shot if finally lit and exposed. And depending on which make of camera is used depends on how easy those movements are to use. Tongue
RogBrown 11 3.1k 10 England
24 Dec 2012 2:07PM

Quote:with the shorter lenses like the 90mm the bellows will be very compressed and often a recessed lens board is necessary.

We used to use a bag bellows in my day.
wildworlds 5 44
24 Dec 2012 2:16PM
Quite right! But bag bellow do nont compensate for the ability for the front and rear standards to come together. Bag bellows only allow for greater bellow compression than std. bellows On many cameras the front and rear standards touch at a point greater than the focal lenght of the desired lens. Bag bellows also allow for greater movements than std. belows with any lens.
wildworlds 5 44
24 Dec 2012 2:30PM
I stand to be corrected here as I donít have a camera in front of me...... but I am fairly certain that Sinar "f" will focus on infinity with std. bellows, a std. flat lens panel and a 90mm lens. What you donít have.....because of the bellows compression are any movements.

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