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05-05-2013, 11:57 PM   #346
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
Still laughing...

Large format is almost as big a money pit as bird/wildlife photography! It is possible to find an inexpensive Graflex or Tachihara for a couple hundred dollars, but that is only the beginning of woe. My descent into the pit went like this:
  1. Camera (Chamonix 045N-2 field camera, great value but not particularly cheap)
  2. Caltar II-N 150/5.6 (also great value and very practical in the field)
  3. 6 used film holders from the local camera shop
At this point, I am feeling pretty jazzed. I have a working kit with only moderate pain. However, there were a few other things:
  1. Bogen 3028 tripod head + extra center post to fit the Giottos (my ballhead was not quite up to task here and I was very lucky to find the Bogen...highly recommended for this task)*
  2. Very thick reading glasses (old eyes make it hard to see the focus screen and my regular readers were not strong enough)
  3. Caltar II-N 90/6.8 (one must have a wide angle and this lens looks very impressive on the camera)
Ready to go shoot, right? Well, not quite. There were a few other things:
  • Lens boards (nope, the lenses don't come with them and swapping lenses to a single board is strongly discouraged)
  • Cable releases (I only had one and it is best to simply buy new in the desired length and leave attached to the lens)
At this point, I was feeling fortunate that I already owned a couple of the essentials:
  1. Good-sized day pack (you can buy packs with inserts specific to your gear, but $$)
  2. Decent tripod (Yes, it must be sturdy)
  3. Decent light meter
  4. Plastic left-over containers as field lens cases
  5. Cheap plastic focus loupe
Finally set, I start looking for film. Ohhhhh, 4x5 sheets are expensive, particularly color. So I ordered the cheapest from Freestyle (Arista.EDU Ultra, not bad stuff) and started looking at 120 roll-film holders and ended up with:
  1. Calumet C2 6x7 120/220 film holder $ (slips under the ground glass like a regular film holder, but bulky)
  2. Calumet C2N 6x7 120/220 film holder $ (updated version of the above)
  3. Linhof Super Rollex 6x7 120 film holder $$ (not as practical as the C2s, but too elegant to not have)
  4. Fuji loupe $ (as long as we are spending money here)
  5. Several 120 rolls of Acros 100 and Ektar 100
Now we are getting somewhere, finally! The above is a good working kit and, with the later addition of a Nikkor-W 210/5.6, capable of managing most of what a person might want to use a 4x5 field camera for. So out to the field I went and shoot I did!

But wait, there is more! I am not keen on having someone else do my b&w film processing and there is the rub. Practical solutions for 4x5 sheet processing are difficult to find. I tried the "taco" method using a plastic roll-film tank with mixed results (got scratches). Jobo had quit making 4x5 reels for use in their processor tanks along with most of the rest of their line (now available again, but often in short supply). I thought I would have to do tray processing ala Edward Weston and Ansel Adams until I ran across a Unicolor drum and rotary motor unit at the local used camera shop. The Unicolor works great and is good for four sheets per batch with minimal chemical used.

Are we through yet? Well no. I wanted to digitize my work and ended up with an Epson V700 ($$). The V700 is a great tool for 120 and 4x5 and I can't recommend it strongly enough for that application.

Stuff I would like to add/modify/replace:
  • A 60mm lens $$$$
  • I would really like a dedicated pack $$
  • Ditto for decent lens wraps to replace the leftover containers
  • A real darkcloth. The jacket over the head routine gets old.
  • Jobo processing reel and tank $$
  • A Sherpa to carry all the stuff
For those who are keeping count, yes, I could have bought a competent FF dSLR for what I have invested in LF. Was it worth it? Ummm...I don't really use it that much, though the educational benefit has been immense! I also now have a now have a strong desire for a 6x7 kit. And the images...yes, the images...everything they say is true, though getting there is not easy.


Steve


*For those who may be wondering why the tripod angst, with a few notable exceptions large format photography is done on tripod.
Please, Steve, forgive me for actually suggesting someone do something as audacious as go take pictures on a photography forum.

Just because you are unable to control yourself doesn't mean we're all that way. My current 4x5 kit, minus the monorail camera that I'm thinking of selling and the tripod, fits in an over-the-shoulder DSLR bag. 4x5 color is expensive but a roll holder is...well I don't use mine at all anymore, because I think it's silly to set up all that to take a 6x9 shot. Ektar isn't that bad, neither is Fujichrome. 4x5 black and white sheet is near-as-makes-no-difference free to process, and the film isn't that much to buy.

My 4x5 experience has been positive. For those who have never shot 4x5, no amount of hand-wringing or useless faffing about on the internet will prepare you for what it's actually like to be under the cloth, looking at the ground glass.

4x5 need not be expensive, people. I bet my 4x5 kit, all told, is cheaper than a K-30 and some adequate zoom lenses. It consists of:

manfrotto tripod with Bogen head ($150 for the tripod, another $50 for the head, so $200 so far.)
Super Graphic 4x5 field/technical camera (Great camera, wonderful for landscapes and even works handheld), $300
Ape Case large SLR bag ($42)
Schneider 210mm f/6.1 in Copal 1 Shutter ($220 or so)
Schneider 150|265 f/5.6|f/12 convertible in Compur shutter ($150)
Wollensak Graphex 135mm f/4.7 (suprisingly good, cheap lens) ($120)
Wollensak Graphex 90mm f/6.8 ($100)
Rodenstock 75mm f/6.8 ($250)
100-year-old Soft-focus Meniscus 100mm f/5.5 in Copal Press (Fantastic little toy): $100
Fujinon 300mm f/5.6 (Also the primary lens on my 8x10, nice double-duty there): $300

Spotmeter: $100
Dark Cloth: $30
18 Film Holders (came free with cameras, estimate value at $15 each) $270
Filters (Cokin P system, bought at Ritz on clearance): $50
Graflex Grafmatic (these things kick ass) $95

Grand Total of a truly excellent 4x5 kit: $2327. That's a camera, SEVEN lenses and all the accessories you need to make it go. A K5-II and DA* 16-50 are $2086 at the best prices I could find, and that doesn't even include an SD card!

You also don't need to go this crazy to start with. A decent field or monorail camera and a basic 150 like my Schneider and a few holders, and you're off to the races.

Laugh if you feel like it, Steve, but if someone wants to shoot 4x5, the only way to know for sure if it's something they'll like is for them to actually do it, not talk about it on the forums.

05-06-2013, 01:26 AM   #347
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It's funny how we interpret the words written by others and how the 'meaning' differs between reader and writer.

I really thought Steve was laughing at his own financial pain at going down that particular road, doing so to give an 'eye-opener' to others.

After all the negatives, he then plays the trump card with
QuoteQuote:
the educational benefit has been immense!
(Note that I know little to nothing about photography . . .or taking photographs and need to learn a lot more before opening my mouth . . . . I'm still learning when to do - and not do - that)

Maybe it's just me, though
05-06-2013, 05:11 AM   #348
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An update on some of the Pentax pieces on my shelves as I swap unwanted items for upgrades or new items:

SV and H2


SP, SPII, ESII and SP F


K1000, K2, KX
05-06-2013, 06:04 AM   #349
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QuoteOriginally posted by garythesnail Quote
It's funny how we interpret the words written by others and how the 'meaning' differs between reader and writer.

I really thought Steve was laughing at his own financial pain at going down that particular road, doing so to give an 'eye-opener' to others.

After all the negatives, he then plays the trump card with (Note that I know little to nothing about photography . . .or taking photographs and need to learn a lot more before opening my mouth . . . . I'm still learning when to do - and not do - that)

Maybe it's just me, though
If you look at the timestamp, my post was written at 3 in the morning.

I should have waited till daybreak to write that. At the time I wrote it, something about his post just hit me completely the wrong way, and I didn't manage to catch all that was written.

My apologies.


Last edited by unixrevolution; 05-06-2013 at 06:25 AM.
05-06-2013, 04:10 PM   #350
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Erik, that wasn't a dig at you - more of a general comment on how the same words are read differently by different people. I just thought that Steve's passage managed to allow the two of us to illustrate this.

What on earth possessed you to check in at 3am? That 's some commited forum participation (I'm lucky - no funny 'shift' patterns at work and once my head hits the pillow . . . . .. zzzzzzzzzzzz )
05-06-2013, 10:19 PM   #351
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QuoteOriginally posted by garythesnail Quote
I really thought Steve was laughing at his own financial pain at going down that particular road, doing so to give an 'eye-opener' to others.
That's what I thought too!


Steve
05-06-2013, 11:21 PM   #352
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QuoteOriginally posted by unixrevolution Quote
Grand Total of a truly excellent 4x5 kit: $2327.
About the same amount here, though my total only has three lenses, but also includes a scanner and the price of the Chamonix new. The total is less than what I have invested in my other photo gear combined (film cameras, lenses, other scanner, and digital kit) by about $500.

The whole long rant was intended to be semi tongue-in-cheek, but truth is, I was unprepared for all that was involved. I was also unprepared for who totally cool the whole concept is. The view on the ground glass and the amount of control that is available with the (almost) full movements of the Chamonix totally blew me away. I mentioned that it was a huge learning experience. It was indeed. Much of my understanding of DOF, perspective in composition, and limits of film photography was learned with the view camera. (Translation: There is precious little DOF with a 4x5 image, perspective is governed by the position of the lens relative to the subject, and a big negative buys you SOOOO much in terms of tonality and detail.)

I may have given the impression that the bulk and weight of the kit is excessive. In some ways this is true. In some ways not. The Chamonix with 150/5.6 weighs in at about 3.5 pounds and folds down to almost nothing with the lens stowed separately. A 6x7 roll-film holder brings the weight up to about 4.25 pounds (about the same as a Pentax 6x7 with normal lens and waistlevel finder). 4x5 film holders hold two sheets each and three (6 exposures) weigh about the same as one of my 6x7 holders. A 4x5 field camera is a quite workable medium format alternative, though wide angle can be problematic ($$ for the shorter lenses).

Actually taking a photo can be a lot more persnickety than with most 35mm and MF cameras. The camera is generally assembled to and "zero'ed" on the tripod first and all changes made from there. Film holders for the session are positioned adjacent to the tripod where they are readily available, but will not be in the way. Composition and focus are straight-forward enough, but usually requires a loupe to confirm Scheimpflug adjustment of the plane of focus when that is needed. Again, much depends on the subject. A straight and level shot of the beach is a relatively simple matter. Another shot of the relatively close adjacent lighthouse might be something else entirely.

Exposure is a multi-step operation that requires careful attention to detail to avoid a confrontation with the "dark-slide demon" and/or the "double-exposure imp". Exposure times tend to be long and most subjects at moderate distances require fairly small apertures and some use of the camera's movements to manage reasonable DOF and perspective. You can do some real impressive "near/far" compositions, but it takes skill. Total time per shot varies. The shortest I have managed from camera in bag to exposure is about eight minutes. Once set up, things move fairly quickly. An assistant is useful.

4x5 film is expensive. Ektar 100 is $3.50 USD per exposure with another $2.25 USD per sheet for processing (Citizen Photo in Portland). Arista.EDU Ultra 100 (B&W) is somewhat less money at about $0.75 USD per exposure and pennies to process if you do your own. 120/220 roll film is a lot less expensive.

I guess I still sound a little like a wet blanket, but the results are truly worth the trouble. It just takes a lot of dedication.


Steve

Last edited by stevebrot; 05-06-2013 at 11:46 PM.
05-07-2013, 05:11 PM - 1 Like   #353
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6x7 MACRO

I've always enjoyed macro photography, and having aquired a Pentax 6x7 I decided to try BIG macro. I added the 135mm Macro lens, and finally found a set of extension tubes in good shape. These have auto diaphragm, but don't couple the meter for full-aperture metering. It is a bit ungainly, but my old Leitz table-top handles it pretty well. This gives a good working distance from the subject, but is still pretty imposing. I'm afraid live critters may die of fright when the shutter fires.
Name:  67MACRO.jpg
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05-12-2013, 06:05 AM - 1 Like   #354
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first film set up

Pentax P30t
Sigma Super Wide II
Ilford HP5+
Hoya HMC G[XO]
Attached Images
 
05-12-2013, 08:15 AM   #355
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QuoteOriginally posted by Mr Manual Quote
Pentax P30t
Sigma Super Wide II
Ilford HP5+
Hoya HMC G[XO]
That looks like gear
05-12-2013, 01:08 PM   #356
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QuoteOriginally posted by Nesster Quote
That looks like gear
Nesster, your declarative is missing an object - 'to me'. To you this may be 'gear' but to someone in full time education - such as myself - who has no disposable income, a reasonably fast and threateningly sharp 24mm prime coupled to a two-tone bantam mf 135 body manipulating solar radiation onto a 36*24mm rectangle of traditional emulsion film engineered to develop sensual grain, that is 'camera porn'. Actually, to describe my camera as porn is derogatory.
To me, this is 'camera erotica'.

Furthermore, the 'READ ME' of the Pentax Film SLR Discussion states 'Only post about Pentax film SLRs in this section!' so you can take your Nikon and your Fujica and use them to inflate your damaged ego in some other forum.
05-12-2013, 01:56 PM   #357
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QuoteOriginally posted by Mr Manual Quote
Nesster, your declarative is missing an object - 'to me'. To you this may be 'gear' but to someone in full time education - such as myself - who has no disposable income, a reasonably fast and threateningly sharp 24mm prime coupled to a two-tone bantam mf 135 body manipulating solar radiation onto a 36*24mm rectangle of traditional emulsion film engineered to develop sensual grain, that is 'camera porn'. Actually, to describe my camera as porn is derogatory.
To me, this is 'camera erotica'.

Furthermore, the 'READ ME' of the Pentax Film SLR Discussion states 'Only post about Pentax film SLRs in this section!' so you can take your Nikon and your Fujica and use them to inflate your damaged ego in some other forum.
Now, how do you read what I wrote in this light I thought I was being complimentary: gear as in real gear. For what it's worth I think your lens + camera is exceedingly fine camera porn, I was admiring the layers of interesting things going on with the lens. Not only that, but I believe I gave you thumbs up reputation 'like' for that photo. Jeez, I guess I have to be more explicit with things. If you knew me for a while you'd see I'm maybe the least gear-snotty person around here, and I'm always taking the side of the 'lesser' gear rather than pushing for the 'best' all the time. For the record, if my only camera was yours - or the Program Plus, which is another in a similar form - I'd be happy. Unfortunately I don't have the time to shoot and process as much as I'd like so I have to take my frustrations out on playing with cameras. that's a sad thing.
05-12-2013, 02:12 PM - 1 Like   #358
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QuoteOriginally posted by Mr Manual Quote
Nesster . . . . . .
QuoteOriginally posted by Nesster Quote
. . . . . I thought I was being complimentary. . . . .
Funny how the written word keeps being misinterpreted on internet forums.

On the plus side, Mr. Manual is Cornish - those guys are nearly as bad as us Welsh folk - and there's a possibility that he's reading and writing in his second language, too

I'm sure you can kiss and make up.
05-12-2013, 03:01 PM - 1 Like   #359
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QuoteOriginally posted by Nesster Quote
Now, how do you read what I wrote in this light I thought I was being complimentary: gear as in real gear. For what it's worth I think your lens + camera is exceedingly fine camera porn, I was admiring the layers of interesting things going on with the lens. Not only that, but I believe I gave you thumbs up reputation 'like' for that photo. Jeez, I guess I have to be more explicit with things. If you knew me for a while you'd see I'm maybe the least gear-snotty person around here, and I'm always taking the side of the 'lesser' gear rather than pushing for the 'best' all the time. For the record, if my only camera was yours - or the Program Plus, which is another in a similar form - I'd be happy. Unfortunately I don't have the time to shoot and process as much as I'd like so I have to take my frustrations out on playing with cameras. that's a sad thing.


Wow. The I never thought the differing connotations of the word 'gear' could have such drastic implications. To me, photography equipment put down as 'gear' is akin to calling it is 'bottom of the barrel'. I'm not sure if that idiom carries in American English. Apologies for explaining myself in doublespeak.

As for my response to you, I'm afraid you were the subject of a rage that has been boiling for the past week. I won't bore you with the details as I've already offended you with the emotion. The most I can offer you is a heartfelt apology for being so pedantic over the specified forum content and for my pretentious justification of why my camera was not 'gear' in my understanding of the word.

Thank you for responding to me as up until I read your second comment I was considering no longer contributing to this forum for fear of being shot down again when, in fact, I was never shot down in the first place.
I hope that if we ever fall into discourse again I will be able to convince you that my previous comment was out of character. Not entirely out of character, however, as I do occasionally use my keyboard as a verbal punching bag but only when provoked

Thank you for taking time to notice me in this vast forum and, again, I apologise for my impudent and inconsiderate response.
05-12-2013, 04:23 PM   #360
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QuoteOriginally posted by Mr Manual Quote
As for my response to you, I'm afraid you were the subject of a rage that has been boiling for the past week.
no harm... I've been feeling the same about a 'new age / humanist' therapist who advertises around town and her insufferably accomplished kids... plus we went to a relative's Bat Mitzvah, which must have cost all my take home pay for a year. I can't but feel resentment over our own messy, disappointing and sad lives (our son died a year ago February)...

Interesting about the word gear. I will keep that in mind. I admit I felt the need to go do an ebay search after seeing your lens + shade. I will post up an ad if I see it of the lens. That's my era of growing up and as you know, things we attached to then are still powerful after all these years.
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