LF is sooooooooo small

Discussion in 'Camera Building, Repairs & Modification' started by argus, May 10, 2005.

  1. argus

    argus Member

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    I spent the evening designing the filmholder for my homebrew LF camera and 4x5 negatives look so small right now...
    Should I adjust my camera design to accomodate 8x10 already?

    Problem is that 4x5 negatives are still easy to find here in Belgium but I've never seen a shop that sells the bigger stuff.
    I've read that 5x7 is also difficult to get. Is it easy to buy online?

    And now the technical question: I bought a box of Polaroid 559 "silk" that was over date (a real bargain) to fit it in the holder. The thickness of the negatives feels less thick than regular MF or 135 film. Is this correct of does the size of the negatives give it a more flexible feel?

    G
     
  2. Alex Hawley

    Alex Hawley Member

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    I would recommend going with 8x10. I found there's a whole world of difference between 4x5 and 8x10 with the larger size actually being easier to use. A bonus of the 8x10 is that you can use reducing backs to adapt it to 5x7 and 4x5, so one really gets three cameras in one.

    You may be disappointed in the polaroid color film that's past date. I bought some expired type 59 recently and the colors have shifted way off. Its good to use for abstract work though.
     
  3. James Bleifus

    James Bleifus Member

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    I'm with Alex on the 8X10. I started with 5X7 but recently moved to 8X10. What a difference. I also have a 5X7 back so I'm able to revert back down when an image demands. Go 810, you won't regret it.

    Cheers, James
     
  4. gchpaco

    gchpaco Member

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    There are a bunch of compromises involved with going to 8x10, and unless you are contact printing (which is a perfectly legitimate technique, mind!) I find 8x10 a hard sell. 4x5 negatives do sometimes come off as small, but only until you start working with them (enlarging, scanning, what have you). Are you prepared to deal with the weight costs, the rigidity requirements, the lenses, the $70 film holders, the cost for film, the depth of field issues?

    I don't know what kind of camera you are making. If you're making a monorail, which is the way my Bender is designed, you can swap out the rear standard (and bellows) if you decide 4x5 is really too small later, and if you make the front standard big enough to handle the larger shutters. This is much lighter than 8x10 + reducing back.

    If you really want to go with the bigger negative, then go for it, but know what you're getting into.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 11, 2005
  5. argus

    argus Member

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    gchpace,

    it is a monorail that I'm building. I guess interchangeable backs and bellows are a good option. The filmholders I will make myself.

    The only reason I see for not choosing to go 8x10 is the difficulty in finding sheet film of that size. I'm not that kind of an online-buyer.

    G
     
  6. Peter Schrager

    Peter Schrager Subscriber

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    TRY FIRST

    Argus-You should go out and try to find a shop that will rent you an 8x10 first. You need to try it before you go the full distance. Seems like alot of work for a format you know nothing about. Just remember that you will not be able to enlarge these negatives-only contact print in that particular size.
    Best, Peter
     
  7. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

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    Argus if you're making it yourself then I saw screw 4x5. Screw 8x10 to. No reason to limit yourself to the formats others invented and liked. If I was building one for myself the choice might be 10x20. Okay hard to find lenses. 10x15? Certainly bigger then 8x10.

    In many ways 5x7 is the perfect format. The camera isn't much bigger then a 4x5 so you can hang a 4x5 back off it not feel like you're lugging a lunk of extra weight. Many 4x5 lenses cover 5x7 so lenses cost less and can do double duty. It's big enough to contact print.

    Placing a reducing back on an 8x10 might make sense in the studio but out in the field? Even a light weight 8x10 is heavier then a 4x5 and many 5x7. Odds are the 8x10 won't handle short lenses very well. The chances an 8x10 will handle real short 4x5 lenses is pretty low.

    You should be able to order 5x7 or 13x18 film easily enough. Both will fit a 5x7 camera but need different holders.
     
  8. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member

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    Another vote for 5x7" here. My 4x5" has hardly been used since I got 5x7", and 8x10" is seriously bigger.

    I've got a 8x10" for "rebuilding", but I doubt it will see as mych use as the 5x7" when I'm finished with it.

    Another plus with 5x7": Many 5x7" enlargers will fit in a "normal" house - 8x10" enlargers are a different matter. 5x7" can be contact printed, or easily enlarged.

    I buy most of my film - all sizes - online. But my local pro shop can get me anything I want: 9x12cm, 4x5", 5x7" and 13x18cm, as well as 8x10".
     
  9. noseoil

    noseoil Member

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    I'll leave the size to you, but Ole is right about online film buying. There is very little to choose from here in Tucson, a city of 1/2 million people, but a wealth of choices on line, so that is where I shop for sheet film.

    Think about how you shoot, landscape, city, architecture, abstract, people? How much stuff can you lug around comfortably to take the shots you want and how far are you willing to walk with that much weight? Good luck on your project. tim
     
  10. rbarker

    rbarker Member

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    I Leica 8x10, too. :cool:

    [​IMG]

    But, I still shoot 4x5 when I want to enlarge (instead of making 8x10 contact prints). From a materials perspective (film, enlargers, etc.), 4x5 is probably an optimal size. Like many others, most of my ordering is online. Cheaper than driving the 35 miles to the nearest store that stocks anything LFish.
     
  11. colrehogan

    colrehogan Member

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    I agree with Ralph, though most of my printing is done via contact prints and I am primarily shooting 8x10 these days. I order my film and supplies online as opposed to having the local camera store order it for me (they don't have anything larger than 4x5 (filmwise) in the store anymore).
     
  12. Jim_in_Kyiv

    Jim_in_Kyiv Member

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    I can understand why you feel that way about 4x5. I shot my first 4x5 slides recently and looked at the result and thought, "Cute, but small." Seems that I never think that way when doing B&W, even when contact printing. Part of it could depend on what you're going to do with it.
    I used to shoot 5x7 and love the size. Had a monorail B&J and a car, so it travelled a bit. If you're going to carry the thing outside at all away from your vehicle, size issues will play a HUGE role.
    If you haven't played with 4x5 much yet, then enjoy it first! It changed everything about the way I shoot. I worked on 4x5 for about 5-6 months before I dusted off the 5x7 and put it to use. Making FNG mistakes is a lot cheaper - like the time I went to a Shuttle launch with the film loaded in backwards. Remember, I said cheaper, not less of a heartbreak.
     
  13. Peter De Smidt

    Peter De Smidt Member

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    Remember that you'll be using smaller f-stops with the 8x10 than the 4x5. As such, you'll need to use longer exposures and subject movement can become a real problem. Plus rigidity becomes a much bigger issue. You'll need a *very* sturdy camera head and tripod, and if you use longer lenses you might need a monopod for under the front standard.

    -Peter
     
  14. Donald Miller

    Donald Miller Member

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    I vote for 12X20....

    Seriously, I have used 4X5, 8X10 and 12X20. I find that 4X5 enlargements are virtually indistinguishable from 8X10 contacts. 5X7 enlargements can look very good at 16X20 print size.