Help for a LF Novice

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by Katier, Mar 20, 2009.

  1. Katier

    Katier Member

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    Hi folks,

    As part of my university work I'm doing a project that will involve a lot of architecture imagery and obviously I need to make them the best I can.

    I can handle 35mm and MF no problem but the general opinion is that LF is the way to go for getting the best shots of buildings. I assume the main reason for that is for perspective tilt/shift correction. All of which I'm familiar with in concept.. but never have tried.

    I should add that I'm a Journalism and Editorial Design student taking an elective photography module so I'm having to work extra hard on some skills and self teach to an extent.

    Which is where you guys come in, I can get hold of LF gear from university but never having used it I was hoping you guys would help me with advice etc.

    Thanks in advance

    Kat.
     
  2. Pinholemaster

    Pinholemaster Member

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    I would seek out a faculty member who can show you how to use the gear. If the school has a camera system, but no one one staff who knows how to use it, I'd seek out a local professional photographer who has used LF gear and pick his or her brain.

    The secret is to keep the rear of the camera parallel to the structure you wish to photograph to prevent "keystoning." Then you should parallel the front standard (where the lens is) to the rear standard (where the film goes). That's the basics.
     
  3. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

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    One of the advantage of LF is you can look at the ground glass and see things easier. The glass is just bigger.

    Get a camera and a normal lens. Set it up and play with the controls. See what happens.
     
  4. Katier

    Katier Member

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    Sadly the staff are snowed under to show someone basics. I might be able to get one of the technicians to show me some stuff but not sure how much. Also anything I need to know about working with LF outdoors.. I imagine it's rather more cumbersome and less mobile than my SLR's and TLR.

    Am I right in thinking the film isn't in rolls?
     
  5. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    The technicians at your University should be able to show you how to use an LF camera, and also how the movements work, I add to Nicks suggestion and get a wide-angle as well as a normal lens.

    Have a look at the free pages on the View Camera site, they are quite good.

    Ian
     
  6. winger

    winger Subscriber

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  7. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

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    Wind. It can be a bit like a kite on bad days.

    Light bouncing up under the darkcloth.

    My 8x10 with a lens is not much different in weight then my Mamiya. The 8x10 might be lighter. It really depends on the LF camera and the SLR you are comparing it to.

    Rolls are only used in rollfilm holders [120 film]
     
  8. Katier

    Katier Member

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    Thankyou everyone, I've updated my profile/location. I'm actually at Wolverhampton University.

    On a related note I also have a seperate project where I will be doing a studio shoot creating images of people/person dressed up as a WWI soldier for some posters I'm designing. As I'll be working at probably A2 size, maybe even A1, would you reccomend LF for that too or thing MF will be fine?
     
  9. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Kat, I'd volunteer to help you with the LF side, but I'm not back in the UK for about a fortnight, will be 15 miles from Wolverhampton.

    For the WWI shoot it might lose atmosphere being shot LF, don't I remember you buying a Yashica LM ? That would be ideal.

    Ian
     
  10. Katier

    Katier Member

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    You remember very well Ian :smile: and love it too :smile:

    Ironically I live 15 miles from wolves too (just commute there for uni ).

    I plan on doing the buildings in three stages.

    Stage one will be recceing suitable buildings and taking initial test shots using my *SLR :tongue: (I'm sure you can guess the missing letter) so I can visualise the buildings etc. quickly and easilly.

    Stage two will be planning the end result (it's actually going in a brochure type thing - highlighting the benefits of re-using buildings rather than demolishing and putting some concrete monstrosity up instead ) so figuring out which buildings I'll use etc.

    Stage three will be shooting them properly with LF and probably will take place in about 2-3 weeks ( the hand in is week 13, we're in week 9 next week, but have easter too ).
     
  11. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Kat, you might want to contact the Severn Valley Railway for the WWI army uniforms, they have re-enactment weekends, the WWI /WWII uniforms weren't very different.

    I've PM'ed you.

    Ian
     
  12. Katier

    Katier Member

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    Ooo good idea, thankyou, I've also got a lead in Wolverhampton via the UNI I need to persue.
     
  13. Martin Aislabie

    Martin Aislabie Subscriber

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    Katier, when using an LF to photograph buildings, several things are important :-

    Use a wide angle lens (a wide angle lens on a 5x4 camera is one with a focal length less than 120mm)

    Pick your view point carefully before putting up the camera

    Use a very sturdy tripod

    Choose a calm day (as someone has previously noted, LFs are effected by the wind & can topple over)

    It is essential you keep the back of the camera perfectly upright - there are usually 2 spirit levels on the back of the camera, one for Left/right tilt and the other fore/aft - they both have to be absolutely spot on after all the other adjustments are made.

    Take your time - they are very slow things to work with

    Have a good sense of humour :D


    Good luck :smile:

    Martin
     
  14. dng88

    dng88 Member

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  15. Steve Hamley

    Steve Hamley Member

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    Katier,

    Get Steve Simmons book, or Leslie Stroebel's book, of maybe Jim Stone's (?) book - never seen the last one. All these are good reading for learning the view camera. Simmon's book is basic, Stroebel's book is advanced.

    Read up and you'll have a leg up in the field if you don't have a mentor. A lot of us are self taught, but it isn't the most efficient way to learn when you have time constraints as you do in taking a course.

    Onr thing to keep in mind is that although you can get everything in a plane in focus, a lot of scenes have "depth" to them, and stopping down is the only cure. A simple example is photographing a tree from a moderate distance with a foreground rock. You can get the top of the tree and the rock in focus, but not the bottom of the tree because it isn't in the same plane as the rock and tree top.

    Dry fire the shutter before pulling the dark slide. If the aperture is open for viewing (as in you got in a hurry and forgot to close it), the shutter will not fire. Saves some film.

    Set the camera up when you have time to play with it, and play with it. See what effects movements have on a scene you've composed. See how much rise/shift, etc your lens(es) can take so you know their limitations. Make sure the camera is working properly, movements lock, bellows good (test them in the dark with a flashlight on the inside), and that the lens board lock works smoothly and properly so you don't drop lenses. Clean everything so you don't have dust issues.

    Cheers,

    Steve
     
  16. Katier

    Katier Member

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    Great advice, thankyou :smile: