First time 8x10 stress reduction thread

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by Michel Hardy-Vallée, Apr 5, 2011.

  1. Michel Hardy-Vallée

    Michel Hardy-Vallée Membership Council

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    Although I'm not investing right away into LF gear (would need kit, enlarger, etc), I decided to give it a shot by renting an 8x10 Horseman for the Easter weekend. Clever me: I have the kit for the whole weekend for the price of a single rental. I also chose 8x10 because it's big and I will contact print, thus avoiding the need to find another enlarger.

    I had the choice between three Symmar lenses: a 240mm/f5.6, a 300mm/f5.6, and a 360mm/f6.8. I went for the 300mm, being bright, a perfect normal for the format, thinking it would serve equally well for landscape and portraits.

    Then for the film I mostly had the choice between Ilford and Ilford, so I thought I would go with HP5 for the speed, and limiting the risk of screwing up. With contact prints, grain does not exist.

    I'm still dithering about developer, but I might go with HC-110. I can always buy Ilford stuff from the store. I have read that DD-X can be very nice with HP5, but would it make a difference in contact prints?

    I already have a spot meter, will find something to make a dark cloth, and I have a small loupe I can use to check focus if needed. I'm reading again bits on focusing & all that stuff in the meantime to refresh my memory on the logic.

    Now, can anybody just tell me to stop worrying about lens, film, and developer choice, just so I am not perpetually in a second-guessing mindset between now and Easter?
     
  2. guitstik

    guitstik Member

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    Relax and enjoy.
     
  3. Whiteymorange

    Whiteymorange Subscriber

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    Good moves. Don't over think this. As guitstik says: relax and enjoy.
     
  4. Dave Ludwig

    Dave Ludwig Member

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    Relax. In with the good air.....out with the bad. Its like 6x7 or 4x5....only Really BIG.
     
  5. Vaughn

    Vaughn Member

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    A 300mm/5.6 is my standard 8x10 lens (a Fuji W)...I do landscapes. It should be fine for portraits...maybe a little on the short side for heads-and-shoulder, but still will do fine.

    HP5 is great as is HC-110. Have a great time with it!

    Vaughn
     
  6. jp498

    jp498 Member

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    It's just a different sized camera. There are much more potentially stressful things.

    Sounds like good choices so far.

    Use a jacket for a darkcloth. You'll need film holders if they don't come with the rental. Make sure the film holders are clean and stay that way at all times. A cable release is highly useful too, and a solid tripod.

    Shoot some and develop the same day/night. Then go back out for more.
     
  7. Michel Hardy-Vallée

    Michel Hardy-Vallée Membership Council

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    Feeling better already!

    Yes, I have film holders with the camera, and I have a long cable release. With the camera I rented a Manfrotto 161 with a 160 head. It looks like a @#*$&@$% brute!
     
  8. Rick A

    Rick A Subscriber

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    The only thing left to do is set the beasty up and get familiar with "her". Treat it like a woman and you'll have a great time making photographs. I talk to my camera(self) all the time, seems to help keep me from making too many mistakes.
     
  9. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

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    Sounds like a good choice, though just about any camera, lens and film will be fine. You issues are probably going to center around getting the whole scene in focus, making sure the lens is stopped down when you fire the shutter, avoiding camera movement during the exposure, forgetting to flip the darkslide, inserting the film in the holder wrong, giving enough exposure and getting even development of the negatives.

    In a month you will be posting that you are looking for an 8x10 enlarger :smile:
     
  10. caseymcnamara

    caseymcnamara Member

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    Just take the ficking picture . . . get out of your head.
     
  11. greybeard

    greybeard Member

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    If you have used small and medium format exclusively up to now, you may be put off by the number of knobs and adjustments on a view camera. Take some time to practice setting up, which you can do indoors and/or at night even if there isn't anything good to photograph. Between "pictures", return each of the adjustments to their "neutral" positions, so that you start from the same arrangement each time; this will greatly reduce the stress associated with recognizing that something isn't right in the image, but not knowing what swing, tilt or shift was left over from the previous setup.

    When you start to work with film, remember to treat the groundglass much like a proof print--look at it from well back so you can see the whole thing at once. Focusing with a loupe may be necessary, but won't help you see the composition, which is where big cameras really earn their keep.

    Have fun, and don't worry too much about processing---you're setting out make pictures, not take them, and that happens mostly in the camera, not the darkroom.
     
  12. dpurdy

    dpurdy Subscriber

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    One thing to remember or understand is that a view camera is not so easy to discover the image in. With an SLR you can put the camera to your eye and look around at things to find interesting framing and composing, you can easily make focus and framing decisions with your finger on the button. A view camera will drive you nuts if you try to use it like that. You will be bent over trying to see right side up and straining and stressing your eyes to see focus and alignments. With a view camera you need to do as much seeing and thinking and deciding as you can without even looking through the camera. It is perhaps helpful to have a card with a 4x5 inch hole cut out in the middle to look at the picture through. You might spend a minute to figure out how far to hold the card away from your face to match the view of the lens. When you find a picture you want to try to make then decide where the tripod should be and how high the camera should be and put it there. Then level it up and put it to zero settings. Then try to methodically find the edges you want in your picture with the rise and fall.
    Most of the stress of LF is with the head under the cloth trying to make decisions. IMO.
    Dennis
     
  13. pgomena

    pgomena Member

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    And pack a small measuring tape to figure bellows extension on close-ups.

    Peter Gomena
     
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  15. Jesper

    Jesper Subscriber

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    Don't try too many movements at first. Save swing and tilt for later when you feel more comfortable working with the camera and settle for some rise/fall to begin with until you feel comfortable working with the ground glass image.
    Start of with stationary objects so you don't feel stressed about time (if you want to have people in the picture you can set up everything except the final focusing before you place them in the picture).
     
  16. Michel Hardy-Vallée

    Michel Hardy-Vallée Membership Council

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    Speaking of which, is bellows factor something to consider when working at normal distance (up to 3 feet) ?
     
  17. pgomena

    pgomena Member

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    Three feet with an 8x10 puts you well into bellows-extension range.

    A twelve-inch lens at 12" bellows is at infinity focus. No bellows extension factor needed.

    A twelve-inch lens at 24" extension will cut your light transmission by two stops. Likewise, 6" of extension will cost you 1 stop, 3" of extension will cost you 1/2 stop, etc. Think inverse square law - the intensity of the light decreases by the square of the inverse of the distance between the film plane and the lens aperture diaphragm. Double the bellows, quarter the light. Just guessing, but an object at 3' will probably require at least a stop of exposure compensation. The rule of thumb I learned in school is that you do not need to compensate for bellows extension at distances greater than 8 times the focal length of your lens. You're safe at 8' and beyond with a 12" lens.

    Peter Gomena
     
  18. Ian C

    Ian C Member

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    We can choose the minimum number of stops of light falloff that triggers the need to compensate.

    The bellows compensation formulas require us to define subject distance = film-to-subject distance.

    At subject distance = 8f, the light falloff is 0.46f.

    That’s close enough for some purposes, but too crude for others.

    We get the following subject distance as a multiple of f and the accompanying falloffs:

    8f, 0.46f

    10f, 0.34f

    15f, 0.21f

    20f, 0.12f

    30f, 0.10f
     
  19. eclarke

    eclarke Member

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    Yep, worry about the picture:smile:
     
  20. Thebes

    Thebes Member

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    The gear you chose is fine.
    A heavy black t-shirt makes a fine darkcloth, torso hole fits over an 8x10, stretched a bit the neck hole works well for 4x5. I've used worse real darkcloths and most are also much heavier.
    I didn't see mention of tripod and head. Its nice to have a good solid tripod and a heavy duty pan tilt head. The camera will seem ridiculously large. Afterwards even a 4x5 will seem small.
    Consider "shooting" for a few hours without film to practice, get a feel for movements, working the shutter, etc.
    Remember bellows factor.
     
  21. Michel Hardy-Vallée

    Michel Hardy-Vallée Membership Council

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    I received the film today, so there's at least one part of the equation I'm wedded with now.

    Concerning bellows factor, I've seen all sorts of formulas hither and thither on the internet. What I think I'd like to have is a table calculated for a specific focal length at various focusing sizes. Anybody know of a good one?

    Thanks to all for the kind words too, I'm really eager to play with the brute!
     
  22. mark

    mark Member

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  23. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    Definitely relax and have fun.

    Be sure to try a portrait where the head nearly fills the frame. First time I tried this my brain flipped the image upright, way cool!

    Try this link for bellows factor compensation;

    http://www.salzgeber.at/disc/disc.pdf
     
  24. pgomena

    pgomena Member

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    It's not that difficult, folks! It's easy to figure bellows factor to within 1/3 stop. We'll take an 8x10" camera with a 12" lens.

    Let's assume that calculating within 1/3 stop is as accurate as your exposure is likely to be or need be in any case.

    At infinity, the distance between the film plane and the aperture diaphragm is 12".

    If you're focusing at a relatively close distance (say 6 feet), you extend the bellows beyond 12". Measure the distance between the film plane and the aperture diaphragm. Let's say it's 16".

    The inverse square law tells us that a bellows extension of 24" (twice the focal length of the lens) will require two stops of exposure compensation (intensity of the light is quartered). 18" of bellows extension (1.5 x focal length) will require 1 stop of extension compensation (intensity of light is halved). Our 16" of bellows extension is about 2/3 of the distance between 12" and 18". We need 2/3 of a stop bellows compensation. 14" would give us 1/3 stop compensation. You can make a chart very quickly this way if you need.

    14" = +1/3 stop
    16" = +2/3 stop
    18" = +1 stop
    20" = +1 1/3 stops
    22" = +1 2/3 stops
    24" = +2 stops
    28" = +2 1/3 stops
    32" = +2 2/3 stops
    36" = +3 stops* (* the math whizzes in the group will say that this is not entirely accurate, since the inverse of three times the focal length squared is 1/9th the light transmission and not 1/8th. Open up a smidgeon more.) I figure your camera probably doesn't have more than 30" of extension, so you're probably safe using this chart. If you're doing extreme closeups, use the measuring system in the download provided above. It's more accurate.

    The math is not that tough. I never got better than a "B" in math after I was introduced to algebra.

    Peter Gomena
     
  25. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    It's even easier with the things Mark and I suggested. :whistling:
     
  26. Michel Hardy-Vallée

    Michel Hardy-Vallée Membership Council

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    OK, here's how I'm going to stop worrying and learn to love the bomb: this PDF is a simple chart I calculated in Excel for a 300mm, based on the formula Ian C passed.

    There are two important thing to remember: at 300mm we have infinity focusing, so no bellows factor. At 600mm we are at 1:1 reproduction ratio, which needs 2 stops compensation. Beyond that, it's all tight macro work.

    Which means that for any non-macro work with a 300mm, I should expect at most a 2 stops correction. Negatives being negatives, minute errors will not be dramatic. Still, what I did in my chart is to put in bold every 1/3 of a stop increases.

    So, armed with a measuring tape (or the camera's, since it's a monorail), I do a quick check of bellows length, match with my chart, and I can adjust exposure within 1/3 of a stop.

    The next time, with a different lens, I just have to recompute my table.
     

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