Finally serious about large format...

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by Stephanie Brim, Aug 23, 2006.

  1. Stephanie Brim

    Stephanie Brim Member

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    Okay. I left for a while because Gear Acquisition Syndrome was getting the best of me and I had to get away before I bought too much. During September, though, I'm selling most of the gear that I don't want/need anymore and I think it's time to get myself a 4x5 before I go to Colorado in October.

    Give me some options as to various ways I could go on a budget that is no more than $200. I'd like to spend only about $150 because I'm also planning to get a Bessa R2M and 35mm Nokton next year if I can swing it. I was thinking Crown Graphic before, but could I get something with more movements on my budget?

    Also, I plan to use the standard 127mm lens...but something wider, such as a 90mm, would be nice.
     
  2. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    You could almost certainly buy a Crown Graphıc for around 100 USD on Ebay, but the 127mm lens wıll have little coverage for movements, if your lucky you mıght pick up a good f6.8 90mm Angulon as well for under 100 USD. Wollensak 90mm WA is another option.

    Unfortunately its unlikely you'll fınd a camera wıth more movements ın you budget.

    Try a wanted add here ın the classıfıeds.

    Ian
     
  3. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Member

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    Dear Stephanie,

    If you can stand the weight and don't mind a bigger format, seriously consider a half plate/5x7 inch/13x18cm Kodak Specialist. For some reason these sometimes go for very little more than the value of the lens that comes with them, possibly because many people don't realize that the sizes are interchangeable and the film is still available. Of course the problem may also be that they're ugly as sin and they weigh a ton. But I've seen them reasonably often at camera fairs in Britain and Europe for the equivalent of under $200.

    Cheers,

    Roger
     
  4. Stephanie Brim

    Stephanie Brim Member

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    If I sold my Canon P I'd have more money to spend on a large format camera...but I don't want to. So...cheap is the name of the game here. The camera itself can be a complete beater user...but I'd want the glass to be really nice. I care more about getting the right lens than I do about getting a cosmetically mint camera, which should help things. I'll go looking around.
     
  5. Stephanie Brim

    Stephanie Brim Member

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    What is keeping me away from 5x7 is that the film is considerably more expensive than 4x5. I'd almost be better off waiting, saving, and spending money on an 8x10 for how much money I'd be spending on film with as much as I'll shoot. Heh.

    I want to start with 4x5 due to the relatively cheap price of the film, ease of finding development materials, and cheaper enlarger down the road.

    Also, I don't know of a photo supply store in Iowa that stocks 5x7 film. It has to be special ordered and that costs a lot of money.
     
  6. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Member

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    Dear Stephanie,

    Yes, 5x7 is more expensive, but I find I shoot less of it. Not sure what you mean by 'development materials' as if you tray process it's obviously the same.

    Enlargers often cost about the same for either format; it's just that 5x7 enlargers are a lot thinner on the ground. But then, 5x7 is big enough for a contact print, and 4x5 isn't really. I actually prefer 5x7 to 8x10 (and I have both).

    Finally, I'd have thought you'd mail-order the film anyway.

    Don't take any of this as argumentative. All I'm trying to do is (a) evangelize for my favourite format and (b) suggest counter-arguments.

    You might also want to see the free 'Large Formats' module in the Photo School at www.rogerandfrances.com.

    Cheers,

    R.
     
  7. Stephanie Brim

    Stephanie Brim Member

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    I'd never accuse you of being argumentative. :smile:

    You're actually right about the contact printing thing and since it's the only thing I'd be able to do for a while perhaps I should consider 5x7 more seriously. I don't have a credit card, though, and I'd want to be buying Arista EDU Ultra film. :wink:

    I'll think about it, though. What are the odds of me finding a 90mm or wider lens that would cover 5x7?
     
  8. argus

    argus Member

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  9. Stephanie Brim

    Stephanie Brim Member

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    I knew what the ballpark equivalents were, but that's helpful. Ideally I'd want a 75mm lens, but a 90mm would work just fine.
     
  10. argus

    argus Member

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    I'm afraid your proposed budget will not allow for such a lens...

    G
     
  11. Stephanie Brim

    Stephanie Brim Member

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    Yup, would have to go 90mm. And that 210 that Jim Galli is selling wouldn't be too bad of a lens to compliment a set either...

    Bah, GAS returning...
     
  12. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Member

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    On a very tight budget, roughly zero. Remember though that 90mm on 5x7 has about the same coverage as 65mm on 4x5 inch. If you can find an old 121/8 Super Angulon, that will be much like a 90 in coverage AND will give you modest movement. I sold my last one to a friend for a couple of hundred dollars.

    A 75mm on 4x5 is about like 105mm on 5x7 inch.

    Other, older lenses can sometimes be very cheap but ultrawides are rare and (do not forget) extremely hard to focus.

    Give it some more thought, though... And I'm sure Freestyle with either take cheques/checks or set up an account.

    Cheers,

    R.
     
  13. Stephanie Brim

    Stephanie Brim Member

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    Yeah...I think that, regardless of the contact printing problem, I should stick with the 4x5 idea. Next year will afford me more fundage and I can add a 5x7 to my arsenal then. =p
     
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  15. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    A 90mm Super-Angulon f:8 covers 5x7", and can be found for surprisingly little money.

    But it's really wide, about like a 65mm on 4x5" or 30mm on 6x6!

    A 120 or 121mm Super-Angulon is a more "moderate" wide, and offers plenty of coverage. Both those lenses are designed to cover 18x24cm, or almost 8x10".
     
  16. df cardwell

    df cardwell Subscriber

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    With 4x5 enlargers readily available, AND 4x5 cameras, THAT is an easy way to go.

    A Crown Graphic is an OUTSTANDING camera, and more than sufficient for a lifetime of LF shooting ! The 127 Ektar is a dazzler --- get a basic kit that you don't have to spend a year learning how to use, and go make pictures.
     
  17. df cardwell

    df cardwell Subscriber

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    ROGER

    The Kodak Specialist will NEVER be found in the USA !

    info: Made by Kodak London, it's a transition camera between the 2D, and the Kodak Masterview ( calumet CC series ).

    I don't know if was intentionally kept out of the US market, or made only for Europe, but it will only be found in the back of new Land Rover Defenders outside photo shows over here ( which are not brought into the USA either )

    Here's a picture of a Specialist:
     
  18. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Member

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    Dear Don,

    How interesting. Thanks. I had long (and evidently incorrectly) assumed it was made on both sides of the pond.

    I totally agree about just taking pictures, but I can't say I agree with you about 'a lifetime of shooting' from a Crown Graphic, especially with a 5-inch lens.

    Cheers,

    R.
     
  19. phfitz

    phfitz Member

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    Stephanie,

    "I was thinking Crown Graphic before, but could I get something with more movements on my budget?"

    Graphic View or Graphic View II would have more movements and fit your budget, just make sure it has the tripod mount with it. The Crown Graphic would be a better choice for wide angle lenses and is easier to carry.

    The film is not the expense, it's all the film holders, you can never have enough of them.

    Another vote for the Kodak Ektar 127/4.7, great lens!

    Good luck with it.
     
  20. juan

    juan Subscriber

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    I second the recommendation of the Graphic View cameras. There are also frequently Calumet and Kodak monorail view cameras for sale within your budget. I've carried monorail 4x5 cameras in the field for years, so don't think you have to have a field camera.

    I have contact printed 4x5s with good success. It's just a matter of learning the right subject matter to fit such a small print.
    juan
     
  21. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council

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    If you don't mind a beater, look for an old Agfa/Ansco 4x5 tailboard model. They can be found reasonably, and they are actually in original design a 5x7 camera, so you can pick up a back for it and have both. Better, find a 5x7 model and later add a 4x5 back if you can work it out that way. If you go with the Arista.EDU Ultra (which is a VERY nice film), you can get 25 sheets of 5x7 for $15.99, which is about $10 cheaper than a box of Ilford HP5+ in 4x5. Develop in Pyro to save yourself even more money. Most 90mm lenses will cover 5x7, although older, less expensive ones may have very limited movements. Unless you're a wide-angle diva, I think you'll find them to be TOO wide- I know I seldom shoot with my 90 on 4x5, and almost never use my 75, unless I'm doing architecture. My 110 WA Dagor feels about right on the 5x7. That's another lens you should keep an eye out for - the 4 3/8" WA Dagor. They don't show up often, but you can sometimes get them for a very reasonable price when they do - I found mine for about $100 a few years ago.
     
  22. mark

    mark Member

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    COlorado, October, 4x5 color film......hubba hubba. We'll hope all the rain does not knock the leaves off too soon.

    see my PM that will be coming in a few seconds
     
  23. waynecrider

    waynecrider Member

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    I read over this thread quick and here is my pov. The Graphic and a 135mm or 150mm for just about anything Colorado is the best first bet. Light, fast to setup or can even be used handheld, sufficient rise for landscapes (verticals are less so) if the lens allows it, and with a Graflok back useable with a rollfilm back, although it can be a pain, but it does allow using cheaper film and getting more pictures. If you could budget another lens a 207-210-240 would be nice to own as a second for distant vista's. Your budget tho must include enough film holders, a changing bag to reload when tripping, better tripod head (for verticals), a possibly larger pack, a loupe for the GG and perhaps strange size filters/hoods and even filters you may not own. Color film is still expensive to buy and develop and b&w sometimes doesn't do for spectacular landscapes and skies, and which can merge all things green into 1 color. For b&w you'll definitely need a yl/gr filter with 2 stops compensation. 400 iso film is now 100 and watch your dof/shutter speed. Frankly, when I read about peoples LF budgets and their travel plans I sometimes cringe. There's always more cost/more time associated with LF then expected and it's not a fast shooting traveling format unless you have experience with it and time to do it. Not to put you off, and relating from my own personal travel experiences, if I was moving around a lot with others while sightseeing I would carry a 35mm or MF outfit instead. If I was planted with a a lot of time on my hands and a car available to roam, then I might take the 4x5. As it is, I rarely carry my 4x5 out of my state preferring my MF which allows me quite big enlargements, cheaper film and affordable processing. It also allows me to use the camera for all subject matter including family spontaneous shots. Also you know you MUST carry on your film so either put the film thru the scanner or beware the TSA agent that wants to open the box. I like the 4x5 format, but I feel that it's important to make the right choice that leads to the proper kit for the circumstances you'll experience in your travels. A planned specific photographic trip to shoot LF is much different then a visit to the relatives trip or just a vacation. Of course for local area shooting stuff while home it's easier to deal with.
     
  24. Nathan Smith

    Nathan Smith Member

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    Stephanie,

    I guess you'll need to make some decisions as to what you most want to use it for, starting with studio vs landscape, ie do you want to carry the thing around? You can pick up an old 4x5 Calumet or Kodak rail type camera quite cheaply on ebay, but they're not compact by any stretch of the imagination. Press cameras like the Crown Graphic are a relatively cheap alternative that is more portable. As others have said, the 127mm just barely covers 4x5, it was actually designed for 3¼x4¼ or so I'm told. 150mm or 165mm would probably be more useful.

    I agree with the idea of a 5x7 as it would allow you to use both 5x7 & 4x5 film (with a 4x5 back) but you'd be hard pressed to get the camera, both backs, and a lens for $200 or less. Possible, but not easy - and shipping on one of these cameras tends to be $25 or so, too.

    In any case, one extremely important thing to consider is the condition of the bellows. A few pinholes can be patched easily enough, but a new bellows is probably going to wind up costing over $200.

    So, decide what you're most likely to use the camera for and be patient. If you're careful you can pick up something within your budget, use it, learn from it, and if & when you're ready for something else you'll be able to sell it for at least what you paid for it.

    Nathan
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 23, 2006
  25. Jim Jones

    Jim Jones Subscriber

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    Welcome back! Years ago I used 5x7, until I lost the enlarger in a darkroom fire. Since then I use 4x5 backs on both a monorail and a flatbed 5x7 B&J. They are a bit heavier and bulkier than 4x5 cameras, but the longer bellows is handy. Each cost under $100. The later Speed Graphics can be modified for front swings and better tilts. My much abused older B&J Press, unlike the Speed Graphic, has generous front slides and tilts and a revolving back. It also uses square flat 4" lens boards, which are easy to fabricate. Its all metal body should last forever. Other B&J press cameras have more or less features. The later Speed Graphics have their advantages, though, including usually a focal plane shutter. When you don't need a between-the-lens shutter, the options for lenses are cheap and plentiful. I get by with no shutter at all with the longest lens on the view cameras.
     
  26. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    a 5x7 is nice, but big and you would need a larger tripod for it. a lot of the lenses that cover 4x5 can pretty much cover a 5x7 sheet of film too, but reducing backs can be hard to find, if you aren't getting a "kit" already.

    crown graphic is a nice camera.
    for a 127 lens you might consider a 127 tominon.
    people suggest they don't cover 4x5, but they do :smile: and they don't cost
    too much $$ as for a 90mm lens, you might look into a wollensak raptar, or a wollensak exwa 3 1/2" both cover 4x5 film nicely and if you decide eventually you want/need a 5x7 camera, the exwa will cover 5x7 stopped down all the way. both lenses are inexpesive compared to some of the over the top glass out there. if you are into super angulons ( 90mm ) i have has a "chrome barrel" one for years and it will cover 5x7 as well.

    oh, a tiltall tripod will hold a crown graphic and they are pretty low-priced.

    good luck

    --john

    ps. if you decide on speed graphic you can use really inexpensive barrel lenses too! ( focal plane shutter )