Film format economy

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous Equipment' started by Soeren, Aug 26, 2005.

  1. Soeren

    Soeren Member

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    When Talking relatively traditional cameras e.g. not pinhole, what is in your opinion the most economical format.
    1 Entry price and operation
    1½ price/ succesfull prints
    2 upgrading price
    2½ depreciation

    Regards Søren
     
  2. Paul Sorensen

    Paul Sorensen Member

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    If you are talking used, I think that classic manual 35mm cameras (relatively recent) will be the best for 1, 2 and 2 1/2. (Considering repair costs, purchase price, and overall expected life span.) If you are buying new, I guess 35mm AF mid range cameras for most people. As far as 1 1/2, I think that Medium Format might be better, but that is about the way you shoot and there are 35mm shooters who previsualize and get a decent number of successful prints.
     
  3. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Right now, I think used Sinars in the format of your choice are the most camera for the money.

    1--An F or F1 was a top of the line portable monorail when it came out. For $250-375 today, it's a steal.

    1.5--Well, price/successful print--that depends more on the operator than the camera, but if you're shooting LF and you have a Sinar, you can't really blame the camera.

    2--Upgrading price--there's such a glut out there that if you even need to upgrade (say you want another bellows, longer rail, another standard, format conversion kit) from a basic setup, it's pretty cheap, and since all the stuff is pretty interchangeable, if you want more options, just buy another camera and mix and match parts. To upgrade to a new F2 would be more costly, but arguably unnecessary. An upgrade to a P studio camera is also pretty cheap.

    2.5--Depreciation--I don't see these cameras getting cheaper than they are now.
     
  4. Paul Sorensen

    Paul Sorensen Member

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    I totally agree about the value of LF gear, I was thinking of the additional costs of film and enlarging equipment that need to be considered as well. I am telling everyone I know that now is the time to buy a 4X5.
     
  5. David H. Bebbington

    David H. Bebbington Inactive

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    If you are in touch with other photographers in your area it is more than likely that you will find someone before long who will GIVE you a 4x5" enlarger - this applies even more to 8x10", if you are able to haul an 8x10" enlarger away, you'll probably get it for free.
    Processing equipment can be very cheap - I personally like deep tanks, you can make a mini deep tank line with polyethylene food containers from your local supermarket for about $15. Film costs I find are lower with 4x5" than any other format - I take every shot twice for safety, a day's shooting is seldom more than 8 shots, sometimes just one or two, so while costs per shot are higher, overal costs are lower than MF.
     
  6. Soeren

    Soeren Member

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    How about the additional cost of a darkroom for LF ?
    Doing 35mm and MF I can do with a makeshift darkroom in our bathroom and one portable enlarger. With LF I suspect you have to have a dedicated room ?

    I can do one shot a day with my Nikon making one film last over a month :smile: sorry couldn't resist.
    Are you talking cost/ succesfull shot-print here. I can follow that since I experience somewhat the same with MF contra 35mm
    Regards Søren
     
  7. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    The Manhattan dark/bathroom works for me (see the "Darkroom Portraits" thread for pictures). I enlarge up to 4x5" in it and contact print up to 11x14". I normally don't print larger than 11x14", but I can go up to 20x24" using a print drum, instead of my usual trays.
     
  8. argus

    argus Member

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    My Omega DII doesn't take up more space then my Durst M607 of Meopta enlargers, it's just a bunch heavier.

    You can do LF with a makeshift DR if you don't want to haul around with enlargers way easier than 35mm or MF! the secret is: contact prints.

    A 4x5 contact print is already a rather small but pleasant format to look at.
    When you decide you have enough interesting negs to enlarge, then do it.

    G
     
  9. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    My Omega D-II is on a rolling table, so it's not too hard to move.
     
  10. Soeren

    Soeren Member

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    I shoud have added. 3 medical and physiotherapy costs :D
    Are you guys bodybuilders or what :smile:
    David, the lady back home would get a nervous breakdown if I was to haul such a monster around. I have allready crashed into one door with the enlarging table :sad:
    I just turned a Durst 900 down since I couldn't carry it and thats a 6X9
    Cheers Søren
     
  11. Soeren

    Soeren Member

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    BTW what does an LF enlarger weigh eg the DII?
    Søren
     
  12. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I don't think my D-II is more than 25 lbs (say 10 kg or so), and on the rolling table it doesn't much matter.

    Before I had the D-II, I used my Linhof Tech V with a Graflarger back, enlarging lenses mounted on Technika boards, and a copy stand. That was even lighter, and didn't take up much more space than the camera itself and the copy stand, which I already had.
     
  13. argus

    argus Member

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    Søren,

    start climbing. That will help. In a few years ;-)

    I did'nt weight the DII but it's heavy enough to need 2 people carrying it up the stairs. Luckily I have a permanent DR.

    David's suggetion is interesting... a rolling table (with locking wheels?). Should think about that when I rebuild my DR end of this year.

    G
    (sorry for going OT)
     
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  15. Soeren

    Soeren Member

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    Climbing ? Alpine ? Do you know the danish mountains :smile:
    Yes the rolling table is a great idea except for the doorsteps in our house.
    Anyone wanna buy 132 squareM house with a new kitchen price 1.6 mill Dkr :smile:
    Looks like my idea of LF enlarger sizes is somewhat exaggerated
    Søren
     
  16. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

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    5x7. Ansco or similar should set you back less then $200.

    No enlarger just contact print.

    Depreciation??? Well worse case it'll sell for firewood. But a $200 camera can't get much cheaper.

    Film in 5x7 isn't that expensive.

    It's not that heavy.

    BTW my LF enlarger is much heavier. They all vary.
     
  17. Soeren

    Soeren Member

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    And from 5X7 and up you get decent contacts, or ?
    So in some way the larger the neg the cheaper it gets, to some extent ?
    Søren
     
  18. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

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    Contact prints equal nirvana-) 5x7 is the sweet spot in terms of price. The cameras aren't expensive. The lenses usually aren't. The film holders are reasonable. I figure if you're in Europe you'll use 13x18cm instead. Both will fit the same cameras unless the camera is really old.

    Bigger then 5x7 things get more expensive. 8x10 cameras aren't too much more money but film holders are more expensive. Film is more expensive. You'll usually spend more for lenses. Plus the film format is too squarish. For me 5x7 is a nicer looking format.

    Even bigger cameras really get expensive for things like film holders.
     
  19. Donald Qualls

    Donald Qualls Member

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    Same with mine, and it rolls through the narrow door of the bathroom, er, darkroom with a couple inches to spare. And under the table, I have my paper safe, safelight fixture, extension cords, tub of enlarger accessories, and trays.
     
  20. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Under the table, I have the commode.
     
  21. Jim Chinn

    Jim Chinn Member

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    i guess it really depends on what kind of photography you want to do. LF requires a tripod and pretty static subjects. But if you think LF is what you want to do, then 8x10 is actually the most convenient. You can get 8x10s in all flavors pretty cheap on the used market and no need for an enlarger, you can contact print 8x10 for a nice sized finished product.
     
  22. seadrive

    seadrive Member

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    All us Americans look like The Terminator, didn't you know that? :wink:

    Strong like bull, smart like tractor... :tongue:

    5x7 rocks! Depending on subject matter, 5x7 is often a large-enough print size, and you can't beat contact prints for tonal gradation and sharpness.

    I never in my life thought I could own a 5x7 enlarger, but I soon will. My life is now complete! :smile:
     
  23. rjs003

    rjs003 Subscriber

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    Who's giving away 4X5 enlargers? Please put my name on the list for the freebe enlargers.
     
  24. David H. Bebbington

    David H. Bebbington Inactive

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    The guy who gave me mine (a De Vere 54) only had the one! It was free, although I did give him (unasked) £20 for his beer fund. The enlarger was complete and working, the company technical safety officer (me) freaked when he examined the cold-cathode head and found electrical parts in close proximity to a hollow water-filled plastic diffuser from which half the contents had already leaked and condemned the head immediately, so I had to buy another head for a shattering £25, most of which I recouped when I sold the condenser head which also came with the enlarger. The very kind donor of this equipment was a fellow member of the British Royal Photographic Society and responded to an inquiry of mine on their bulletin board!
     
  25. Donald Qualls

    Donald Qualls Member

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    Aaaah. My nice narrow rolling table also slips neatly between the throne and the tub/shower, and goes back far enough to allow good access to a tray under the bathtub tap, which I use as a holding tray while working, followed by shuffling prints from old to fresh water (in two trays) when I'm done and ready to wash. This is for RC prints; I hope to build a self-siphoning print washer before I'm ready to do fiber based prints that will need a better wash than this.
     
  26. phfitz

    phfitz Member

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    Hi there,

    Can I make a suggestion: GraphicView I 4x5 camera. They were originally designed to be enlargers, just set both standards to the second stop (full back tilt) and raise the front lens board. They wall mount very easily and are now CHEAP as dirt. Light-tight bellows are not a deal breaker for these. Adapting a cold-light head is no problem, they used to make a 'Graflarger' head that fits. More bellows than you need and full movements.

    Just a thought.