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04-12-2011, 08:35 AM   #1
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med to lg format

medium to large format...
am new to using this format so any and all advice is appreciated.
please rec. any larger format cameras

04-12-2011, 10:11 AM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by lyvette Quote
medium to large format...
am new to using this format so any and all advice is appreciated.
please rec. any larger format cameras
Try APUG at http://www.apug.org/forums/home.php
04-12-2011, 10:20 AM   #3
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To be clear...you are looking to get in to film that is 4x5 or larger?

I have a 4x5 Graflex Graphic View and a 4x5 Cambo Legend, which both cost around $250 used that are very good cameras.

If you have any specific questions feel free to send me a personal message and I will try and answer them for you.


EDIT:

APUG is good but for large format I would recommend http://www.largeformatphotography.info/forum/index.php

Last edited by dhugo3; 04-12-2011 at 10:21 AM. Reason: added link
04-13-2011, 06:05 AM   #4
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The first question you must answer is if you want the camera to be used out in the field or rather in a studio setting. Field cameras are generally made of wood and designed to be portable. They fold down to the size of a medium book. The Tachihara is among the most popular field cameras but it's discontinued now and used ones have gotten expensive on ebay.

You are better off considering a new Shen-Hao or Chamonix. The way this works, I believe, is by ordering a particular model with certain customizations and the camera is then built for you in China and sent to you by mail. This is still cheaper than a used Tachihara and the quality of these Chinese-built cameras is beyond reproach.

If you do not necessarily want to shoot out in the wild, you should consider a monorail camera. They feature a front and a rear standard mounted on a single rail connected through a bellow. Because they are made of metal, they are considerably heavier than field cameras. On the upside, they allow for much more movement than a field camera. Both the front and rear standard offer rise and fall, shift and tilt.

They are also modular in that you can extend the rail and add an arbitrary number of additional standards and bellows. This is important if you intend to use very long lenses (the bellow needs to be at least as long as the focal length of your lens to allow focusing to infinity) or want to do macro and close-up work.

A good choice would be a Sinar F which I use myself. You can get a decent one for around $400 or less on ebay. They are very easily extensible in that accessories such as rail extensions and bellows are widely available and, more importantly, the Sinar is relatively light-weight. A basic model is around 8lbs (without lens and lens board tho, mind you) so it's near the upper limit of what some might consider portable. It's basically the lightest monorail outfit available (an Arca Swiss is lighter but also much more expensive).

Also check out A large format photography home page. The site covers all of the basic topics. It also has a very active forum.

Cheers,
Tassilo

04-13-2011, 06:31 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by vparseval Quote
A good choice would be a Sinar F which I use myself.
Probably the most cost-effective way to get into LF.


Steve
04-13-2011, 11:33 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by vparseval Quote
...
On the upside, they allow for much more movement than a field camera. Both the front and rear standard offer rise and fall, shift and tilt.
My Wisner Technical Field has those movements on both standards and it's a wooden field camera.

Last edited by tuco; 04-13-2011 at 01:28 PM.
04-13-2011, 11:39 AM   #7
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For large format go to Large Format Photography Forum

Buy used equipment. My largest cameras are over 80 years old and work properly and my 4X5 is about 10 (Shen Hao). For medium format apug is a good place to start.
04-17-2011, 11:57 AM   #8
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LF can range from 9x12cm to 16x20in or larger. For portable LARGE format, some folks turn the back of a delivery van into a blackbox, with a pinhole in a side wall, and cover the opposite wall with sheets of photo paper or a large emulsion-coated sheet. An aircraft hangar has also been used as a pinhole camera... but it's not easy to move. And I have suggested using even larger spaces as cameras. But I digress.

The basic question for going LF is: Why? For the lens movements, the perspective and DOF control? For the resolution? Just to do something different? You have too much money and/or free time? The answers will inform your choices and purchases. Have fun!

04-17-2011, 01:19 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by RioRico Quote
You have too much money and/or free time?
A definite requirement...

...cameras can be had for relatively cheap (Sinar F), but lenses start at $250 (used) and go up from there. A decent 3-lens kit with lens boards is pushing $1000. Add in film holders for sheet and roll film and you are in it another $150. Film costs range from about $1 a 4x5 sheet for Foma B&W up to about $3.5 a sheet for color negative film. C-41 processing starts at about $2.50 a sheet. Cost to process your own B&W varies with technique, but figure four sheets of 4x5 require the same chemicals as a 36-exposure rolls of 35mm.

Worth the effort and expense? I bought my Chamonix about a year ago and am still asking myself those questions. The negatives are incredible and the camera movements have made all the difference for a couple of shots, but overall I am still not fully convinced of the wisdom of the purchase. Perhaps if I spent more time with the Chamonix and less time with more portable toys such as my FSU rangefinders?


Steve


(BTW...if money is no object and the ultimate field camera is your goal...this would be my first pick...Canham DLC2)

Last edited by stevebrot; 04-17-2011 at 01:42 PM.
04-17-2011, 01:32 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by tuco Quote
My Wisner Technical Field has those movements on both standards and it's a wooden field camera.
Pretty much ditto for my Chamonix (no rear rise/fall).

Regarding the statement that a Chamonix or Shen Hao is cheaper than a used Tachi? A new Tachihara (yes, they are still available) can be purchased for less than a new Chamonix and about the same or more than a Shen Hao (depends heavily on model). (Tachihara at MPEX).


Steve
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