Equipment for Shooting 5 x 4 transparencies for a first timer.

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by digiconvert, Jul 10, 2006.

  1. digiconvert

    digiconvert Member

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    OK I have done some 6x6 transparencies and I love them. I would like to try 5x4 transparencies but don't want to spend a fortune - I've just celebrated 25 years of marriage and would like a few more :smile: - any suggestions on gear for this at a reasonable price ? I have seen Crown Graphics cheap on e-bay and have also seen the Bulldog DIY camera. I guess the expensive bit is going to be the lens with the latter , I assume a pinhole and chromes don't mix too well. Any ideas ?

    Thanks ; Chris
     
  2. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    A Crown with a lens and shutter in good working order is a perfectly suitable setup for shooting chromes. If you don't need the rangefinder on the Crown (if it has a rangefinder), there are lots of inexpensive wooden field cameras, or older, heavier monorail cameras, if weight is not the issue.

    What are you photographing?
     
  3. digiconvert

    digiconvert Member

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    I enjoyed photographing local landscapes with my previous chromes, I would not be too concerned about architecture work so the fall and rise is not essential-though I am sure I would want to play with this feature.
    I am also beginning to like studio work and the thought of chromes that size really appeals.
    In the end I just enjoy photography (even though I have lots to learn) and love the look of chromes !

    Thanks for the response; Chris
     
  4. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    A Crown actually has pretty good rise, but front tilt, which is good for landscapes, is indirect. If by "studio work" you mean still life, then a monorail would be more useful, but it's not as portable as a field camera. If you're doing portraits, then a Crown or a wooden field camera would be plenty. Check out the camera reviews on the main page at lfphoto.info to get a sense of the options.
     
  5. MattCarey

    MattCarey Member

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    A camera with a bit more tilt is the Burke and James press camera. It is also cheaper.

    A Burke and James or Calumet monorail can be had very cheaply (under US$100).

    Matt
     
  6. Dave Parker

    Dave Parker Inactive

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    I would recommend a Calumet C400 series or a Toyo/Omega 45 series, both are very inexpensive as far as large format, yes, a bit heavier, but will give you the movements you want for still life and still be usuable in the field for landscape, basically all you need is a light tight box that will hold a film holder and allow you to focus..

    Myself would not do pinhole work on slide film, slides really shine when everything is done right, I think the pinhole concept would detract from what slide film is for.

    R.
     
  7. raucousimages

    raucousimages Member

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    I can hear the collective groan from the other members but here I go again. I am a big fan of Toyo. Look for a Toyo 45D or 45E. They are monorail cameras (great in the studio) but they take down into a backpack for field use very easy. They are good cameras with full movements, parts and accessories are easy to find and the prices are low.
     
  8. Dave Miller

    Dave Miller Member

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    I think spending a fortune, and 5x4 trannies sit together quite nicely. :tongue:
    I have a Crown Graphic and would suggest it is very suitable for this use. Here in England MPP produced a very similar press camera, equally suitable.
    Before you go too far checkout the processing costs if you haven’t already done so. I’m thinking of your marriage too.
     
  9. raucousimages

    raucousimages Member

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    P.S. Also look for Omega View. Same as toyo just with the omega brand. Several on ebay for under $200.00 USD. And I second checking out prices on film, processing and quality printing. Shooting chromes ain't cheap but I love the thrill of viewing new chromes for the first time.
     
  10. Dave Parker

    Dave Parker Inactive

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    I have to agree 100%, the Omega/Toyo monorails are a great bargin and offer pretty much everything you will get with a much more expensive camera, the one I have has never let me down, still takes great images, one of the best buys I have ever made for a large format camera!

    R.
     
  11. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Hi Digiconvert

    Here's an offer you shouldn't refuse :smile:

    Come down here on Sunday any time, or maybe Saturday evening and have a play with 3 different types of 5"x4" camera: a monorail, a field camera & a press camera and a selection of lenses and I might even let you shoot some images. You can also try the 10"x8" camera.

    The offer is serious :smile: and you can also see some 5x4 trannies !

    Ian
     
  12. rbarker

    rbarker Member

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    As noted by Donald and others, processing cost (and, availability) for LF transparencies can be an issue. To get started, almost any press or view camera will do. But, if you want to plan ahead, a more versatile "system" like the Toyo (at the less-expensive end of the spectrum) or Arca Swiss or Sinar (at the high end) will provide greater flexibility and (eventually) return on investment. I (too) like the Toyo cameras because of the modular design and interchangeable components.

    One thing to note is that shutter speeds, particularly with older shutters, can vary substantially from the marked speeds. Getting the shutter tested, so you know what its actual nominal speeds are will help a lot in minimizing poor exposures. (Bracketing exposures by 1/3-stops gets expensive with sheet film.)
     
  13. DBP

    DBP Member

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    If you are patient and willing to skip the requirement for a Graflok back, press cameras can be really cheap. I paid less than $70 for each of mine, including lenses.
     
  14. pandino

    pandino Member

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    If you plan on doing landscapes, movements are usually of less importance than in the studio or in architecture.

    That being said, I think a Graflex Crown is a good starting camera and you can find a beater for under $100US. I've done landscape with both the Crown and the Omega-Toyo 45D someone mentioned. When it comes to movements, the 45D could do cartwheels, but I used the Crown 10x as much because it was portable and was easily used handheld.

    I sold the 45D and now use a Shen Hao which gives a nice compromise between portability and features.

    I agree wholeheartedly with Ralph about getting a shutter with accurate speeds. At $5 per image you want to be able to trust your shutter speeds match whatever your meter calls for.

    Don't do this if you're not willing to drop another few grand over the next couple of years, because once you see that positive you're going to be hooked.
     
  15. JBrunner

    JBrunner Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    When you are in the market for used LF equipment what tends to happen is you start looking for the stuff that might do for you, and all the mentioned systems are possible solutions. Eventually you run across a good one (of any type) at a fantastic price, one that means you can change it out later, if you want to try something else. The key to bargain LF gear is vigilance, and patience.
     
  16. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Member

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    The one warning I'd add is that old lenses can be flat and blue when used for tranny. This isn't invariably the case, and no doubt you'll get lots of responses saying I'm wrong; but with 30+ years experience of shooting 4x5 tranny with lenses old and new, I much prefer the effect I get with modern lenses to the effect I get with the vast majority of old ones. Not just very old ones, either: my 210/5.6 Apo-Sironar-N is much cleaner and crisper than my 1960s 210/5.6 Symmar.

    Black and white is another matter. There, I cheerfully use lenses from the first couple of decades of the 20th century.

    Cheers,

    Roger (www.rogerandfrances.com)
     
  17. markbb

    markbb Member

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    You don't mention whether you already have these, but you must consider their costs as well:

    1. A tripod. A good, steady tripod that wont wobble in the breeze when you open the shutter for 1/2 a second or longer.
    2. A dark cloth.
    3. A meter. For tranny work, I would recommend a spot meter.
    4. Grads. for landscape work with tranny film, I believe they are a must-have. Otherwise, shoot on reversal film.
    5. Film holders.
    6. A changing bag (or darkroom) to load up and empty the film holders.
    7. A decent bag to lug everything around in.
    8. Film (!). If you plan on going on a longish trip, readloads/quickloads are convienient, take up less space & are less liable to dust spots. On the downside you'll need a holder (the polaroid one works fine) and the film is more expensive than sheets.
    9. Somewhere to process film. In the long run, doing it yourself is cheaper with a Jobo processor, but if you know a lab you trust who'll process 5x4 in E6 then use them.
    10. A cable release & spare.
    11. A loupe. If you are blessed with perfect vision and can compose on the ground glass at F32 them lucky you. If you are a normal human, you'll need a loupe! an old 50mm lens from a 35mm camera works fine.
    12. Time. Lots of it! You can't rush LF. If I've scouted out a location, know exactly what lens, movements film etc I'm going to use I would be pleased if I set-up, shot & packed up in under 30 minutes. That doesn't include waiting for the sun to come out (or go in!), the wind to die down etc.
     
  18. roteague

    roteague Member

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    Great advice in these posts. One thing I can't overestimate enough is the importance of a good tripod.
     
  19. HerrBremerhaven

    HerrBremerhaven Member

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    Just to add to the gear suggestions, if you go the Quickload or Readyload route you can avoid the need for a film changing bag. The bad part of this route is that the film is more expensive. I only use these systems, but investigate the costs prior to going with these. Also, it is easy to find a good used black backing plate Kodak Readyload holder for not too much expense, though finding a good used Fuji Quickload holder can often be closer to the new price.

    Just a note on spot metering and E-6. If you are comfortable with spot metering, and understand the workings of where to point it, you can get great results. However, if you are unfamiliar with spot metering, some people find they burn through lots of film trying to learn. You might consider practising spot metering with smaller format cameras and less expensive films first. As an alternative, you can do incident metering. I am not opposed to spot metering, though the majority of my E-6 is done with straight incident readings.

    I also agree with the recommendation of more modern lenses. You might want to consider an investment in some filters beyond the square grad filter, such as a blue series for night images, or some warming filters. A lens shade is another good item, though many ways to accomplish that.

    Ciao!

    Gordon