Large Format choice

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by TareqPhoto, Feb 8, 2010.

  1. TareqPhoto

    TareqPhoto Member

    Messages:
    973
    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2009
    Location:
    Ajman - U.A.
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Hey there,
    This is my second post here after the introduction about myself.

    I am planning to buy a large format even i didn't start using film yet, but until i can choose a large format i will shoot some film rolls and see where i can go from there, so my question simple complicated is: What and where i can find a new 8x10 large format camera brand "New"? which names i should look for?

    In large format, which factors or things i should look for when choosing one? Say i want one for outdoors and landscapes and so, i know lightweight camera is a better idea but i will not make weight as a limit factor, so if one large format doing great job for landscapes due to features or performance over another one less features but it is so lightweight i think i will go with high performance, i always use tripod in most of my landscapes and sure for large format definitely i must use tripod, so it will not be a big issue, also mostly in my area i don't go or walk for long distance so that i feel so tired carrying heavy camera, but in all cases, if there is a great 8x10 lightweight and high performance for landscapes works then it will be big plus or bonus.

    Also when i will find a large format body, what accessories i should look for rather than a lens and a film sheet/slide? What can you recommend me as a lens for landscape wide angle shots?

    I appreciate all the answers, and giving me more options will be fine but i hope to narrow it to 2-3 options to select, and i know that each to his own preferences and taste or need.
     
  2. bumbersdad

    bumbersdad Subscriber

    Messages:
    18
    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2005
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    Go to bigcameraworkshops.com. Rob will steer you in the right direction. Other than holders and lenses, you'll need a tripod -- a very good tripod and a lens shade, filters, meter, and on and on. I like to carry a couple of reflectors too.
     
  3. TareqPhoto

    TareqPhoto Member

    Messages:
    973
    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2009
    Location:
    Ajman - U.A.
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Thank you very much!

    Which tripod do you recommend?!!!
    What is a lens shade, and let's say i read about it, do you have any specific lens shade i should look at?
    filters? you mean UV, Polarizer, ND,...etc? I have many of them for my digital cameras, do i need different filters for large format lenses? or what do you mean by filters?
    Meter? Which one?
    Why do you use reflectors? and which one do you use?

    sorry for these questions, but really some answers will give me more lights to see what i have and what i am missing and where to look or what to look.
     
  4. mjs

    mjs Member

    Messages:
    1,123
    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2005
    Location:
    Elkhart, Ind
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I don't know where you're located, geographically, but new large format cameras are made by Wehman, Phillips, Tachihara, Chamonix, Ebony, Shen-Hao, Arca-Swiss, Linhof, K.B. Canham, Toho, and Wista, at least (there may be others I've forgotten about.) Some of these folks (Phillips?) may have retired or stopped making that size camera, I'm not sure.

    Aside from the large negative, the distinguishing characteristic of view cameras are the movements you can make with the front and rear standards. Generally speaking (one can always find exceptions, of course,) portraiture requires the fewest movements, architechture and still life the most, and landscape is in between. Every photographer using large format equipment has their own preferences but most agree that rise and fall, tilt and swing movements on the front standard are most convenient, as well as tilt and swing on the rear standard. Other movements such as shift left and right on the front standard, tilts on the lens axis as well as at the base of the standard, on either or both front and rear standards, are convenient but then others say that the reduced rigidity that comes along with more movements, especially with lightweight cameras, is not worth the convenience. Again generally speaking, monorails often have more movements than do folding 'field' cameras, but they're usually less convenient to carry around in the field, too.

    Note that the weight of the camera is more important than you may realize, in part because everything else you will end up using will be larger than required for smaller cameras as well. For example, in order to hold the larger, heavier camera, your tripod will be substantially larger and heavier than one for your medium format camera. Similarly, 8x10 film holders are larger and heavier than, say, 4x5 film holders. Lenses are often larger and heavier than lenses for smaller cameras, particularly if you decide that you like some of the earlier designs currently popular. You also need to carry a focusing cloth, a light meter, shutter release cables, and possibly other stuff with you as well. The camera itself may end up being only half the weight of your kit, or less, even if you try to keep things lightweight.

    Where you can get this stuff depends on some extent on where you are located in the world and what purchasing options you have available to you. This forum is a good resource, as is the large format site www.largeformatphotography.info In the US, retailers such as Badger Graphic Sales and Midwest Photo Exchange are sources for both new and used equipment and advice. There are others, of course, and many more around the world. The Internet will help you locate those proximate to you. And, of course, there's always E-bay and it's unique combination of opportunity and risk.

    Is it possible that you might be able to meet up with a large format photographer near you, see what they have, maybe try using a camera before you buy one? This might prove the most helpful to you.

    Good luck!

    Mike
     
  5. bumbersdad

    bumbersdad Subscriber

    Messages:
    18
    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2005
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    You're looking at a steep learning curve. Possibly the best thing for you to do right now would be to study Ansel Adam's classic photo books, The Camera, The Negative and The Print. As far as a shade, any shade that doesn't vignette your negative is fine. As far as filters, for black and white you'll want a red and yellow to begin with, perhaps others as you go along. Gels will work with most lenses; if you use glass, you'll need the size that fits the individual lens. As far as a meter, I use an older Pentax Spotmeter. That, though, gets into the zone system, and that's far too complex to discuss in a short time and small space.
     
  6. Bruce Watson

    Bruce Watson Member

    Messages:
    443
    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2005
    Location:
    Central NC
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    There's a lot of information for begining LFers at the LargeFormatPhotography website. The forums are usually especially interesting for beginners -- any question you can come up with has probably already been asked and answered, so search the archives (and look at the dates on the posts before you append your own posts; no point in reviving a 10 year old thread).
     
  7. Renato Tonelli

    Renato Tonelli Subscriber

    Messages:
    684
    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2007
    Location:
    New York Cit
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    A weekend workshop is an excellent way to get jump-started. It may cost a little, but it will save you lots of time and help you choose your gear. I wish I had taken one when I was getting started. Learning on your own is not just more time consuming, it is also more expensive.
    Large format photography can be a very rewarding experience - good luck with it.
     
  8. TareqPhoto

    TareqPhoto Member

    Messages:
    973
    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2009
    Location:
    Ajman - U.A.
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Hey Mike,

    Thank you very much for your valuable post.

    I will buy a book about large format photography system and i will keep reading here so i can have better knowledge about large format.

    First i should tell you that i live in Ajman city, United Arab Emirates, Middle East of Asia Continent.

    Unfortunately, i didn't see one photographer using large format, even medium format that wide used here, so really i should depend on myself to search or research about large format before i get one and use.
     
  9. TareqPhoto

    TareqPhoto Member

    Messages:
    973
    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2009
    Location:
    Ajman - U.A.
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Ok, forget about the body and lens as i will try to give more deep search and reading about it, and about the link you posted of large format forum in fact i am registered there a while ago and asked questions there but didn't get straight forward direct answers, it is like no one want to give their own answers and telling me to search about the answers myself, then why i ask questions if i can find everything by myself.

    Let's make it in another simplier way,

    Large format System:
    ==============

    Body: I will see what i will choose

    Lens: what brands should i stay with, don't worry about the price, it depends on my if i will go with that or used, just recommend me one or 2 brands that are the top in your opinion and then it is up to me

    Lens shade: what is that? and is there any brand you prefer or also there are many and i have to get lost to choose which?

    Filters: i think i have idea about filters, i have books about filters and i have some already so i will give it more reading.

    Meter: Do you mean light meter? if so then i have Sekonic L-758DR, is it good to use with large format or any film camera or you recommend something else?

    Film holders: any recommendation will be fine

    Film Media: will see which sheet or slide i will go with, i will choose few to start and stay with, in color for landscapes i know one already that i like.

    Tripod: I have almost 5 tripods, is there any model i should go with?

    Something else: open to give me your advise and recommendations.
     
  10. John Koehrer

    John Koehrer Subscriber

    Messages:
    6,371
    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2004
    Location:
    Montgomery,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Chaminoix may be easier to obtain since they're made in China. If you search the threads here I think you will find most people who have them are very satisfied.
    There have been one or two issues with the cameras and they're discussed.
    Tripod, I would get one that's rated for about twice the weight of the camera. That's a personal opinion.
    Carbon fiber will be much lighter than aluminum or wooden legs and more expensive.

    A lens hood or shade is put on the front of the lens to keep extraneous light from striking the lens and reducing contrast or increasing flare. Most of your accessories from the digi cam will not fit LF lenses. If you're careful in building your outfit you can get some very decent small and lightweight lenses with the same filter sizes. Initially you might want to learn without using them.

    The Sekonic you have is good!
    Lenses made by Schneider, Rodenstock, Nikon and Fuji are good. There are others but I can't remember. Because of where you are, new lenses will be the best bet.
    If you decide you want a special lens like a Petzval or other unique lenses check with JimGalli here on the site. He can tell you a lot about them. I'd search online to see if you like the effects.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 8, 2010
  11. TareqPhoto

    TareqPhoto Member

    Messages:
    973
    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2009
    Location:
    Ajman - U.A.
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Thank you very much, John!
    Honestly, i have one website of a person he can build a customized LF as i want, just i have to tell him what i want and the accessories i can get from here and there.
    Yes, i read those lenses brands and i will choose one of them, sure all will be great to use.
    Good that this light meter is fine then, you saved me bucks :D:D:D
    Tripod, hmmmm, i have Gitzo tripods from series 1 up to series 5 which is the most sturdy, but also the ballhead or plate i will use will play a rule, so with Gitzo series 5 which is support 25kg[55 lb] is that enough or not enough? many said it is overkill for digital smaller cameras.
    So is lens shade is like a hood with my digital lenses? OK, i will get it as well.
    What about the cloth? and film holder, cable release?
     
  12. jp80874

    jp80874 Subscriber

    Messages:
    3,494
    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2004
    Location:
    Bath, OH 442
    Shooter:
    ULarge Format
    I talked to Dick Phillips yesterday. He has retired and moved to Texas. No more new RH Phillips cameras.

    John Powers
     
  13. TareqPhoto

    TareqPhoto Member

    Messages:
    973
    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2009
    Location:
    Ajman - U.A.
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Good, one option is out then :wink::D
     
  14. Sponsored Ad
  15. John Koehrer

    John Koehrer Subscriber

    Messages:
    6,371
    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2004
    Location:
    Montgomery,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Tareq,
    The Gitzo's you have will certainly be enough for any camera that you have considered.
    Anything from the 3 series up will work.
    Although you have someone who can build a camera available, I would look for something commercially made simply because the unforeseen errors in construction have been worked out. I mean that sometimes, one movement may interfere with another for lack of clearance.
    I don't mean to be insulting, but if you or the person building the camera aren't familiar with how the movements are used or are supposed to work then how do you know it's right? Although....Take a look at Rayment Kirby cameras, he has some drawing/plans on his website that could help if you have one built.
     
  16. TareqPhoto

    TareqPhoto Member

    Messages:
    973
    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2009
    Location:
    Ajman - U.A.
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Good point!!!
    I think that person is popular because it is recommend in that large format forum by other shooters, so i don't think they will recommend me to him if he is not familiar to what he is doing or designing, but good you told me that, so i will give it more research, and the price he gave me is not that much difference than those well known brands, so i may not get one from him at the end, still i have maybe 8 months to 1 year to decide on a large format unless i can afford good amount of money then i may decide earlier.

    Sorry to say that, but i think i will go with a crazy idea, which is to buy 2 Large format cameras, one for field and outdoors, and one dedicated for studio and still life works.
     
  17. John Koehrer

    John Koehrer Subscriber

    Messages:
    6,371
    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2004
    Location:
    Montgomery,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    There's yet another consideration, you may already have the answer in your last post. Two different cameras. Most not all people will use a flat bed or field camera outdoors for landscapes and the like and a monorail camera for still life or architecture where more movements are needed or wanted.
    Field cameras tend to be lighter and less bulky than monorails especially when you consider bellows length of an 8X10 will be over 30".
    Although it's not new or especially light, one of the best IMO is the Deardorff. Only available used. It was designed to be an architectural camera & has most movements you could want. There's one in the classified section now that has just been refinished. A monorail will have more movements though.
    If you look at photographers whose work you like consider a camera similar to what they use. One of my favorites is Edward Weston & he primarily used a flat bed 8X10.
    His son Brett began with 8X10 & eventually went to 6X6 Rolleis. So bigger isn't always better, it depends on what and how you see and the way you work.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 9, 2010
  18. John Kasaian

    John Kasaian Member

    Messages:
    1,030
    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2002
    Before you spend your loot on new gear, I suggest readng Steve Simmons book "Using The View Camera." It goes into in depth discussions on equipment and will clear up a lot of problems new to LF photographers tend to experience.
     
  19. TareqPhoto

    TareqPhoto Member

    Messages:
    973
    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2009
    Location:
    Ajman - U.A.
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Thank you very much!
    I know that 4x5 is more popular or even more practical, but in fact i will buy that large format only for fun and i will not use it always everyday, so that i want to have something larger than just 4x5, i even was looking to go larger than 8x10 but i think even 8x10 is difficult to find many film and develop these days, so i will stay with 8x10, and i can use a 4x5 holder/reducer so it is like i have 2 in 1, i know it is heavy but really i don't have any big important reason to go with large format rather than for fun!
     
  20. nick mulder

    nick mulder Member

    Messages:
    1,203
    Joined:
    May 15, 2005
    Shooter:
    8x10 Format
    Sinar F1 or F2 might be the ticket
     
  21. TareqPhoto

    TareqPhoto Member

    Messages:
    973
    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2009
    Location:
    Ajman - U.A.
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I choose that for indoors and still life and studio works. [i said i choose or will choose, still didn't buy it yet, maybe next year].
     
  22. nick mulder

    nick mulder Member

    Messages:
    1,203
    Joined:
    May 15, 2005
    Shooter:
    8x10 Format
    Have a sniff around the forums here - you'll find a few examples of people using the F series cameras outdoors also ...
     
  23. TareqPhoto

    TareqPhoto Member

    Messages:
    973
    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2009
    Location:
    Ajman - U.A.
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Yes, but i will use another camera rather than F for outside, each camera for different work, i acn use that Sinar F outside but it is not practical for outdoor, even i heard many who have this camera don't use it much for outdoors.

    Large format is a fun system as well, i will wait and see what i will end up with.
     
  24. nick mulder

    nick mulder Member

    Messages:
    1,203
    Joined:
    May 15, 2005
    Shooter:
    8x10 Format
    Well, ok - but just because many owners don't use it outdoors doesn't infer that it isn't suitable - they might simply not be into outdoor photography, or never thought to try it.

    So while I have your attention: I have, and it works :wink: Chuck a bag bellows on it and you've got some really nice combined tilt and rise/shift capability that you never get with a field camera. Also remember that the main bulk of a camera system isn't the black box - it is the combined weight of the same lenses, film holders and assorted gumph that you'd also be lugging around with your ultra light folder...
     
  25. TareqPhoto

    TareqPhoto Member

    Messages:
    973
    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2009
    Location:
    Ajman - U.A.
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    hmmmmmmm, interesting!!!

    OK, i should read more about it and get better information about LF, but ofcourse once i start to use it, by the time i will get used to it, if you and many there did, why can't we?!!!
     
  26. jbbooks

    jbbooks Member

    Messages:
    173
    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2005
    Shooter:
    Multi Format

    Top of the line, price no object, folding 8x10 view camera and one lens:

    Wood-- http://www.ebonycamera.com/cam/main.SW810U.SW810UE.html

    Metal-- http://www.toyoview.com/Products/810MII/810MII.html

    Composite-- http://www.lg4mat.net/LFcamera.html

    Lens--- Schneider 300mm f5.6 APO-Symmar-L or Rodenstock 300mm f5.6 APO-Sironar-S

    Either of these in a Copal #3 shutter mounted on a lens board to fit the camera chosen.

    Meters-- Pentax digital spot meter and/or what you have if it has a 1degree spot capability

    Lens shades and filters-- http://www.leefiltersusa.com/camera/

    Film Holders-- Toyo or Fidelity

    Film-- Black and White-- Kodak 100 T-MAX or Tri-X 320
    Film-- Color-- Kodak Ektachrome 100 (EPP) or Fuji Provia 100F and/or Fuji Velvia 50

    Tripod-- Possibilities are endless, I use a Feisol CT-3371 and a Manfrotto 400 geared head

    Dark cloth-- BTZS Focusing Hood

    Loupe-- 50mm enlarging lens, such as a 50mm El Nikkor


    The reason that people are reluctant to give you answers to your questions is because almost everyone will come up with different answers to your list.

    At a minimum, at least study the following websites:

    http://www.largeformatphotography.info/

    http://www.ebonycamera.com/

    http://www.toyoview.com/


    Three books I would highly recommend you obtain and use:


    http://www.amazon.com/Using-View-Ca...=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1265869560&sr=8-1

    http://www.amazon.com/Large-Format-...r_1_12?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1265869560&sr=8-12

    http://www.amazon.com/Camera-Ansel-...=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1265869721&sr=1-1

    Have fun!