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The Large Format Thread

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I feel like this is kind of needed, and will be useful in a way like the MF thread.

 

Large format describes large photographic films, large cameras, view cameras (including pinhole cameras) and processes that use a film or digital sensor, generally 4 x 5 inches (10x13 cm) or larger. The most common large formats are 4x5 and 8x10 inches (20x25 cm). Less common formats include quarter-plate, 5x7 inches, 11x14 inches, 16x20 inches, 20x24 inches, various panoramic or "banquet" formats (such as 4x10 and 8x20 inches), as well as metric formats, including 9x12 cm, 10x13 cm, and 13x18 cm.

 

(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Large_format)

 

You will need a LF camera, there are view cameras some call them monorail cameras seen below

 

409431787_6a1608ff37.jpg

 

Pros: Full movements, precise, rotating ground glass/film holder, cheap around $100 and up, depending on brand

 

Cons: heavy, bulky, hard to hike with etc.

 

Field cameras, same formats 4x5 etc, except for lack of some movements to keep camera small and portable, examples are Crown/speed graphics, chamonix, ebony etc

 

camera.jpg

 

Pros: Cheap, well made, light

 

Cons: lack of movements, non-rotating ground glass/ film holder, have to move tripod mount to side when changing from horizontal to vertical format

 

chamonix field camera

 

picture_11.png

 

Pros: many movements, some field cameras have full movements, very well made, very light

 

Cons: Price, most field cameras like this are very expensive compared to others.

 

Sheep can talk more about his

 

Lenses:

 

There have been thousands of lenses made over the hundred or so years that view cameras have been made, most lenses are still usable on any 4x5 camera if they have a shutter, some people use lenses with out shutters which can be used on speed graphic cameras. Many companies have made LF lenses over the years, Kodak, Nikon, Rodenstock along with others. prices vary from ~$50- 1000's. I have two Wollensak lenses that were made in Rochester, NY. Most lenses are very sharp, I have shot with 8 or so different lenses and have not really noticed a difference between them in quality, others maybe able to tell different though.

 

90mm in 4x5 is the equivalent to around 20 in 35mm

150mm is the "standard" length in 4x5

210+ is usually considered telephoto

 

135raptar.jpg

135mm%20nikkor%20mpex.jpg

 

Lenses are mounted on specific sized lens boards, which are specific for each company and camera model, the sizes for the lens go from Copal 0.0 to Copal 3, which stands for the shutter size. the shutter is in the lens, which remains closed untill exposure or focusing the image.

(http://www.largeformatphotography.info/lenses-primer/150%20apo%20sironar%20s%20mpex.jpg)

 

Film Holders:

 

Film holders for Large format come in varying sizes due to format, from 2x3 inches up to 20x24 inches. the most common sizes are 4x5, 8x10, which are the easiest sizes to get film for. Each holder holds 1 sheet of film on each side. the film is protected from the light by a darkslide, which is only pulled right before film is exposed in the camera.

 

fidelity45.jpg

4x5-film-in-holder.jpg

 

Large format has notches in it, you will notice them in the top right of the film if the film is facing emulsion side up. loading the holders wrong will waste your film, or in the case of color film, they will be "redscale" how to load holders-

http://zo-d.com/stuff/photography/how-to-l...lm-holders.html

 

Polaroid/Fuji Instant film:

 

Polaroid when in business made amazing films for large format, specifically 4x5, a instant film with a negative also. combined you shot one image and got a negative and a positive. They also made normal instant color and black and white polaroids.

 

Fuji has now made instant film for a few years, it takes the 550 holder/Fuji instant holder. You can get it at BH etc. both polaroid/Fuji instant film can get pricey in large format

 

Roll film holders are also made, in 6x6-6x12 sizes, the most common is 6x7.

 

00KUSw-35686584.jpg

 

 

film:

 

4x5 and LF film are easily available at BH etc, some films are more pricy then others, there are common emulsions such as TMAX 100/400, Tri-x 320, FP4+, Hp5+, E100G, Provia, Astia and others, not all emulsions in 35mm/120 are available in larger formats.

 

Pther stuff needed:

 

A heavy duty tripod, 4x5 cameras are heavier then most cameras. It's better to have a tripod that can easily hold the camera, then having one that barely does and it will shake easily. It needs to be sturdy to hold the camera, most exposures are longer then 35mm/MF because of the slower lenses. The fastest lens for 4x5 is a F2.5 which is a rare expensive lens, the usual starts around 4.5 and up. depending on brand, out of all the lenses i have used the fastest i have ever used is F5.6.

 

Shutter release, important also. keeps you from shaking the camera when you goto make an exposure. At around $2+ an image just for film, not including processing, it gets pricy when you have to shoot two frames of the same image because of a possible shaky image.

 

shutter_cable_release_sm.jpg

 

Dark Cloth, when you focus to the ground glass, expecially in the day time. if you dont have one, you probably wont be able to see the image on the ground glass well. i use a changing bag myself, it makes it so i can change film into holders when out shooting if necessary, along with being able to see the ground glass.

 

you will probably look like this most of the time shooting LF

 

tumblr_kt44fjdhf61qzr6zyo1_500.jpg

 

A level, a huge problem for me is not having a camera level. It can throw off your composition and just look sloppy, spending the few dollars on a level will pay off in the long run. Some cameras have them built in, some don't.

 

 

I used sources for this, many are listed below the text/image that is used. This will probably get updated as questions come up etc.

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Thanks for this Donald. I'm gonna read this later since I know little about LF and it seems fun.

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Looking through ground glass for the first time is almost orgasmic. Ive shot 4x5 once and it was amazing.

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im going to keep on adding to this, i didnt show the ground glass or what the movements do yet, i gotta get to that. or someone else can explain that stuff if they want.

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hahaha, no. A lot of people had been asking questions about 4x5 lately, i felt like a thread was needed to answer some of the questions most people have when they start shooting 4x5.

 

ground glass is the shit like Sheep said. Unlike a WLF where everything is backwords BUT upside right, with 4x5 everythign is backwards, And upside down as shown below. It takes a while to get used to at first, but after a while you will hardly notice and be used to it.

 

 

IMG_47241.jpg

 

When focusing, you move the focusing knobs untill the image looks in focus. Using a Loupe you can see the ground glass up close and make sure everything that you want in focus is, in focus. Having one comes in handy when using movements, sometimes you may tilt or shift and not be able to tell where the plane of focus is. buy one either way, its useful to focus and when you get negs back you can see them up close.

 

Loupe.jpg

 

 

There are also viewfinders that you can attach to the back that will flip the image right, i have never used one and they can be expensive.

 

001.jpg

 

here is more. more to come.

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2 things:

 

Can you explain the movements and all that jazz? I was reading about it earlier and I think I understand most of it, but I might've missed something.

 

Also, where would one be able to get their film developed and about how much does it cost per sheet? I assume most develop their own B&W, but how do you go about getting color done? Leave it in the holder or what?

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M brown i need to get one of those myself, i dont usually photograph things that up close so i dont tend to need one of those. i probably should use one more often though. i have never noticed a problem in my exposures. i need to print out one and put it in my bag though.

 

 

bellow compensation factor, shit is hard to explain in simple terms. your light meter gives you a proper exposure setting BUT that is for Infinity, because of the bellows being so far out, you need to adjust exposure because of the bellows being so far extended.

 

to compensate for that, you put the thing to measure as ill call it, in the frame of your photograph, then use the measuring piece on that site. then you use the equation/guide on that tool. its easier to read up on from the site then me trying to explain more.

http://www.salzgeber.at/disc/index.html

 

 

http://www.largeformatphotography.info/bellows-factor.html

this is the link to a different way to figure it out.

 

 

and mike, i do B/w myself. ill make another post about developing b/w, i pay about 2.75 a sheet for c41/E-6

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for developing 4x5 or whatever size LF film, its possible to develop it in hangers, which hangers go into the tank shown in the background. you set the film in the holders, and there is a clip that flips down to hold the film in. then for agitation you lift them out, tilt them to side to side, then put back in the chemistry. agitation needs to be constant with LF film. i still sometimes mess up film because of not agitating constant.

 

4x5_film_hangr.jpg

not my picture, i got this off of google.

 

so 3 of these tanks, i use for, with the 4th being for the wash.

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In school I did a lot of tabletop stuff on 4x5 and the quick disc was indispensable - the photographers I was assisting at the time were all still shooting product on 4x5, so the bellows factor was always...a factor. But yeah, I don't know many people who shoot close-up with 4x5 anymore. I certainly don't.

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Great thread. I shot a lot of LF in college and it's fucking awesome. such a rewarding feeling when you get a great shot. It's good to get a great shot in any format I guess, but large format is just fun. REally makes you think a lot more about your composition and shit. lately have been debating on going for a DSLR or Large format. the decision is killing my brain...

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I just talked to my dad last night and I'm gonna use his Speed Graphic in the near future. I'm gonna mess around with it later today probably. I'm really excited.

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Can anyone recomend me an inexpensive camera/lens combo? I have no idea how much money I'm willing to spend (if any money at all), but a couple of starting points would be helpful. Also, something to read about movements and whatnot would be helpful.

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Can anyone recomend me an inexpensive camera/lens combo? I have no idea how much money I'm willing to spend (if any money at all), but a couple of starting points would be helpful. Also, something to read about movements and whatnot would be helpful.

 

http://www.keh.com/camera/Large-Format-Fix...999078960F?r=FE

 

http://cgi.ebay.com/Calumet-4x5-Wide-Monor...#ht_1706wt_1138

 

then you just need a lens board/holders. that lens will be so sharp too.

 

here is a link to movement stuff,

http://www.toyoview.com/LargeFrmtTech/lgformat.html

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donald, i just clicked on that ebay link, and it was like 10 SECONDS LEFT! i was like...holy shit, should i bid...but it was a monorail, i want a field camera. i would've gotten it.

thanks for this post man.

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alright, I've gone large.

 

thanks Donald, for putting up with many dumb questions.

 

just waiting on it's arrival now!!!!!

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Large format is awesome in its place. Especially seeing 4x5 positives on a light table... its just unreal.

 

I posted this as a thread but haven't gotten much response... this is a series I've worked on for the past few months... www.wix.com/danmuchnik/manmade I'd love to hear some feedback.

 

Also, I have a bunch of 4x5 film for sale in the classifieds if anybody's interested.

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alright, I've gone large.

 

thanks Donald, for putting up with many dumb questions.

 

just waiting on it's arrival now!!!!!

 

you won that? how much it go for? you haven't really minded answering questions, i don't really get to talk about LF much with people.

 

im getting a Tachihara tomorrow for 500. it will be my third LF camera, who wants a monorail, 2 lens boards and case for cheap.

 

id sell my crown graphic, i like it too much though.

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crown graphics + 135mm Xenar

 

i saw a Tachihara in good condition on ebay, i'll send you the link.

 

i think if i really get into 4x5, i might really consider one of those Chamonix! so beautiful :)

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How can I go about scanning 4x5 with a 4490 until I get a new scanner?

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