Thinking of investing in a 4x5 large format camera, and looking for experiences of those who also shoot medium format on them.


thewilliam 11 6.1k
25 Jan 2016 2:30PM
My field camera was a half-plate Toyo and the larger format gave several advantages.

The first was that the 5x4 back, which I generally used, was fully rotating and this makes life easier when doing landscapes. The second advantage was that movements were more generous. The downside was that very wide angle lenses could be a problem because the belloows was fixed and we couldn't get the lens near enough to the film plane. If I expected to use wide-angle, I took the Sinar P with its bag bellows: heavier but a delight to use.

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CBumpkin 11 30 United Kingdom
26 Jan 2016 2:27AM
To answer your original question—about using roll film on a 5x4—I have. A roll-film back on field camera movements was possible with a monorail Linhof Technikardan, or a film back on most LF field cameras. The issue that cropped up most was light leakage: a long exposure could result in fogging as there was never a totally light-tight fit between film-holder and back. The same could be true of a 5x4 with DDS; but as one poster notes, when you get it right the result is bliss. However, you do need to be a first-class printer!

As for camera movements, yes you will get used to swings and tilt; using apertures then ensures everything from your toes to infininity is in/out of focus. Rise and fall aligns architecture and perspective too. Expect to take time: your instant light-effect grab shots simply do not happen. Oh, and learn to see upside-down too: if you use a WLF with your MF, you're half-way there.

Loading sheet film: it was always done in a changing bag, at night; at least that way film was always handled in absolute dark. Lastly, processing is a pain if you are using sheet film. I used a Jobo, but its constant agitation was a real challenge. Now I use digital, thankful my darkroom days are history.
Consulo 15 840 10 Scotland
26 Jan 2016 11:46AM

Quote:My field camera was a half-plate Toyo and the larger format gave several advantages.

The first was that the 5x4 back, which I generally used, was fully rotating and this makes life easier when doing landscapes. The second advantage was that movements were more generous. The downside was that very wide angle lenses could be a problem because the belloows was fixed and we couldn't get the lens near enough to the film plane. If I expected to use wide-angle, I took the Sinar P with its bag bellows: heavier but a delight to use.



I'd particularly like to pick up on that last point.

One of the options open to me is a rail camera, and I'm not entirely against the idea. I know that they require greater set up time and that they are heavier, but how was your experience using the two different LF cameras in the field? Would a monorail weigh about the same as my medium format kit or quite bit more (that kit consists of my RB67, 2 backs and 3 lenses)? I ask this I always read complaints about the weight with a monorail camera, but I'm still fairly young and I'm quite strong as well thanks to a weight lifting regiment, so whilst my mamiya kit is admittedly heavy I've done long hikes with it and managed.
keithh 15 25.5k 33 Wallis And Futuna
26 Jan 2016 12:15PM
P2 on its own was about 14lbs and could be a bit ungainly due to its high centre of gravity.

I'm afraid I pulled out of LF when people stopped demanding it and Polaroids started forming the biggest cost of any large job.
thewilliam 11 6.1k
26 Jan 2016 7:00PM
Beware of monorail cameras.

Although it pains me to agree with Keith, I have to admit he's right about the Sinar P and P2. They're wonderful to use in the studio because the middle of the frame remains sharp as we apply tilt and shift, provided the lens has been properly mounted on its board.

With a field camera, we have to adjust tilt and focus in baby steps and it takes far longer to set up.

My Toyo and a few lenses weighed far less than the equivalent Hasselblad kit if we exclude the film holders.


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