Book on large format?

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by wiseowl, Oct 29, 2005.

  1. wiseowl

    wiseowl Member

    Messages:
    423
    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2003
    Location:
    S Wales
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    Hi,

    is there a good book out there about large format, not so much the movements as I've found plenty that cover this, but the "nitty gritty" of large format. Handling film, loading holders, etc etc.

    TIA

    Martin
     
  2. Monophoto

    Monophoto Member

    Messages:
    1,691
    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2004
    Location:
    Saratoga Spr
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    The book that I bought and have been using as a reference for years is Steve Simmons "Using the View Camera".

    Any LF book that you buy will cover movements because that's such an integral (and unique) part of LF work.
     
  3. wiseowl

    wiseowl Member

    Messages:
    423
    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2003
    Location:
    S Wales
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    Thanks for the very prompt reply, I'll look out for this.

    I appreciate this, but information on movements isn't primarily what I'm looking for. I guess something like "Large Format for Dummies" is what I have in mind. To a large degree what I'm after is something to give me a bit more confidence to make the step into LF. That and the right camera at the right price at the right time. At present I'm inclined to go for a wooden field camera or something like a MPP. But I'd like to understand the differences a little better before commiting.

    Cheers

    Martin
     
  4. laz

    laz Member

    Messages:
    1,118
    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2005
    Location:
    Lower Hudson
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Martin, I believe what Monophoto is trying to tell you is that all books on LF are going to cover movements. A LF book that does not cover movements would be like a cookbook that doesn't cover food.

    Go get Steve Simmons "Using the View Camera". come on back if you have questions after that.

    -Bob
     
  5. Peter Schrager

    Peter Schrager Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,066
    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2004
    Location:
    fairfield co
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    book

    Wiseowl-you can come to the APUG Conference in Toronto and take my workshop. I'll give you all the info you need.....
    Peter
     
  6. wiseowl

    wiseowl Member

    Messages:
    423
    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2003
    Location:
    S Wales
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    Thanks



    I would love to go to the Apug conference, but alas with me being UK based it's a non starter. Thank you for the invitation though, much appreciated.
     
  7. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

    Messages:
    4,679
    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2004
    Location:
    Italia
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
  8. dphphoto

    dphphoto Member

    Messages:
    349
    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2004
    Location:
    Knoxville, T
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
  9. photomc

    photomc Member

    Messages:
    3,575
    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2003
    Location:
    Texas
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Wiseowl, know what you are asking for and not sure there is anything. The 2 links above from Nick and dphphoto are about as good as it gets. AA's The Camera gives a short overview...recall when I first got into LF (all of 3 years ago) I decided to go with a Crown Graphic because of cost (so I thought), but was not satisfied with the limited movements, so went with a wooden field ( to move up to 5x7 and extra movements) then found a good deal on a Burke & James 5x7, with a 4x5 back that had more movements, then well you get the idea I hope.

    The questions you should ask - 1st what do you plan to photograph? If the grand landscape or people, then one of the old press cameras might just do the trick. 2. If you even think you want to contact print - VanDyke, Plt/Pld or some other alt process I would encourage you to think about at least a 5x7, with a 4x5 back. The reason I say this is a 5x7 is a nice size for contact printing, yet 4x5 is nice for an intimate contact print, but can be enlarged. 3. Do you plan to enlarge the negatives? This is very important, if you don't already have a 4x5 enlarger - there are added cost for the enlarger, lens etc. 4. How do you plan to develope the negatives? Tank, tray, drum? Do you plan to do color? If you do enlarge how large to you plan to go...I know there are a lot of questions here, and I don't need to know the answers...but you will.

    My best advice from what I have learned would be, find a local LF photographer...go through the process with them. Try to avoid their on bias, they will have some no matter how objective they try to be. If not can you contact someone here on APUG that might be willing to spend a weekend with you .... the equipment sales for pennies on the dollar right now, but you sound like most of us and do not want to waste time and/or money on a maybe.

    I love shooting LF...it slows down the entire process and I take a lot fewer photographs, but enjoy the ones I do make more. That said, I also, love the alt process, which I understand are not for everyone. Contact printing on silver is fun too! But sometimes an image WANTS to be made BIG!! and if the negative is 5x7 or larger for me...well it's contact print or nothing. I can enlarge 4x5 down, but that is it.

    Good luck in your search, I think you will find some of the best help right here as you know....some of these LF guys give so freely of their knowledge that you could never afford the book/workshop that would give you the same information.
     
  10. wiseowl

    wiseowl Member

    Messages:
    423
    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2003
    Location:
    S Wales
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    This would be the ideal solution, I currently feel that I don't know enough to be able to make a sensible choice of camera (or even what questions I should be asking.), and until I get to use one and get a feel for it am unlikely to. Reading is no substitute for experience IMO.

    As for the possibility of meeting up with a felow APUG member, well that would be good, is there anyone else from S.Wales here?

    Cheers

    Martin
     
  11. stephen

    stephen Member

    Messages:
    55
    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2004
    Location:
    Sussex UK
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    East Sussex any good?
     
  12. steve simmons

    steve simmons Inactive

    Messages:
    368
    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2002
    There is an article on our web site called Getting Started in Large Format - it is in the Free Articles section.

    Other possible books include User's Guide to the View Camera by Jim Stone and Large Format Nature Photography by Jack Dykinga

    www.viewcamera.com


    steve simmons
     
  13. bob01721

    bob01721 Member

    Messages:
    415
    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2005
    Location:
    Orlando, FL
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Agreed. But there's no need to think of your first LF camera as a lifelong commitment. Why not jump right in! Think of it as "Ready, Fire, Aim."

    Set a budget, buy any used LF camera that fits your budget and plan to live with it for a year or so -- and then sell it. At the end of the year, you'll have learned the ins and outs of LF and you'll have gained first hand experience regarding the pros and cons of the particular camera you used. You should get back most of what you paid for the camera, so it needn't cost much beyond film and processing. And you'll have a clearer idea of your actual needs when you're ready to buy a camera to keep for the long term.

    Or... rent a LF camera for a weekend now and then. You're right. "Reading is no substitute for experience."
     
  14. photomc

    photomc Member

    Messages:
    3,575
    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2003
    Location:
    Texas
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Completely understand!! As a matter of fact, I had already purchased the Crown Graphic before I found APUG, not that I think I would have understood the comments any better. As you said...there is no subsitute for experience. This side of the pond I would say go for a Crown or Speed because of price, but on your side I really am not aware of all that is available. Perhaps some of the good folks on your side of the pond will add to this. You did not say if you have a 4x5 or 5x4, enlarger so that leaves things a bit open. Have you considered if you plan to enlarge or contact print? If you do go with 5x4, try to get at least 2 new holders (used ones can be hit or miss sometimes) and when you get them, take one sheet of film out of the box (you will be wasting this one) and in the day light, learn to load the film into the holder. After a bit of practice, try it with your eyes closed, then in the dark (I actually still close my eyes while loading film)

    I really envy you, because there is nothing quite like "seeing" your first LF negative. The first 8x10 I ever saw, was at lee's darkroom and it just took my breath away...So a fair warning, if you decide to go with 5x4, watch out because you may find the LF bug gets you and you will be looking at 10x8 in no time.

    Good luck, and keep us posted on the progress.
     
  15. John_Brewer

    John_Brewer Member

    Messages:
    454
    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2004
    Location:
    Bristol, UK
    Shooter:
    8x10 Format
    I'm just the other side of the Severn in Bristol. Where are you in south Wales? Feel free to e-mail me.

    John.
     
  16. Chazzy

    Chazzy Member

    Messages:
    2,950
    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2004
    Location:
    South Bend,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I like both the Stone and Simmons books. They are not expensive, so why not get both? As for Stroebel, I'm convinced that he could make anything sound dull. :smile:
     
  17. gwatson

    gwatson Member

    Messages:
    146
    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2005
    Location:
    Windsor, UK
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    wizeowl:

    I accidently bought two copies of the Simmons books on Amazon (don't ask!!). I've been meaning to send it back for eons and have still not got round to it. I was going to say you can have it for the postage if you want, but sending £2 in the mail seems a bit daft. If you mail me your address, I'll send it to you, if you want it. It hasn't even been opened. If you don't want it, if anyone else does (UK only), just ask.

    Geoff
     
  18. wiseowl

    wiseowl Member

    Messages:
    423
    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2003
    Location:
    S Wales
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    Stephen, East Sussex is a bit too far, but thank you for the offer.

    Steve Simmons, Thank you for the link and book suggestions.

    Nick Zentana and DPHPhoto, thank you for the links

    bob01721 Realistically that scenario is very likely what will happen, I'm just to prepare as much a possible.

    Photomc, my intention is to get an enlarger in the future, but initially to contact print.

    Chazzy, thanks for the second opinion.

    gwatson, thats a very generous offer, I've PM'd my address to you.

    Thanks again,

    Martin
     
  19. Baxter Bradford

    Baxter Bradford Member

    Messages:
    772
    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2004
    Location:
    Lymington, S
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    Hi Martin

    I know that April is a way off, and this LF workshop isn't cheap, however
    I would really recommend it having done two of them. Joe Cornish and David Ward are at the forefront of UK LF photography and the wonderful Gower must be on your doorstep, you lucky *******!

    http://www.lightandland.co.uk/tours_details.asp?TourID=49

    I have got all of the 3 main books and feel that the Dykinga book will get you going quickest unless you want to fall asleep, when you should reach for the Stroebel. The web links above are all good and I found them indispensible initially to prioritise what to buy etc.

    Then I went on a Joe Cornish workshop, it all fell into place and LF flirtation became a true passion.

    regards
     
  20. wilhelm

    wilhelm Member

    Messages:
    91
    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2004
    Location:
    Houston, TX,
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    Another book I would suggest is "View Camera Technique" by Leslie Stroebel. It's currently in its seventh edition. I've not read Steve Simmons's book, so I have no idea how they compare, but it's the book I read to learn how to use a view camera.
     
  21. John Koehrer

    John Koehrer Subscriber

    Messages:
    6,377
    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2004
    Location:
    Montgomery,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Of the three books mentioned most frequently, I would rate them in ascending degrees of complexity.
    1) Simmons: Using the View Camera
    2) Stone: A Users Guide to the View Camera
    3) Stroebel: View Camera Technique
    As a matter of opinion I think the Stone book has the more user friendly set of illustrations.
    Hmmm, didja notice all three authors names begin with the letter "S"? Do you think that has any significance?