Mechanica vs. electronic shutter / Getting a higher vantage point / Book lead

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by foto-r3, May 8, 2006.

  1. foto-r3

    foto-r3 Member

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    Dear friends,

    I'd like to hear your opinions about any of these issues.

    About the mechanical/electronic shutter, I have used mechanical cameras all my life and prefer them. Now I have the chance to get a wide angle lens with an electronic shutter and was wondering if there are some special LF nuances that one should take into consideration, or on the other hand are we just dealing with the usual pros and cons of mechanical/electronic equipment.

    Also, I was wondering what solutions users adopt when they need to get a higher vantage point to shoot LF (and using an external source is not an option, i.e. going into an adjoining building, climbing a hill, etc.) For handheld use I might even consider using a ladder but I don't know how it would work with LF, and scaffolding seems a little excessive!

    Third, anyone ever hear of a book by Anouk De Wit called "Architectural Diary - Architectural Photography"? I have yet been able to find a copy and wonder if it is really worth hunting for.

    Best.

    Mark
     
  2. avandesande

    avandesande Member

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    As far as I know electronic shutters require a bulky external unit for timing/power.

    What kind of shutter is it? If the lens is cheap enough you could always get one on ebay that it will screw in to. I think the mells grott stuff is ilex size(but check first!)

     
  3. darinwc

    darinwc Subscriber

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    The Ilex shutters require a big external controller box.

    There are a few electronic copals out there that have a little battery compartment attached that ive heard good things about. They are reputed to be very accurate and they have a wider range of speeds than mechanical shutters. But i've never used them myself.
     
  4. glbeas

    glbeas Member

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    I have an electronic Copal on my Korona. I found the battery box can be removed and the battery relocated to the back of the lensboard. I also found you can run the shutter on two AAA batteries, getting rid of the ridiculously expensive and hard to find battery it originally used.
     
  5. PhotoJim

    PhotoJim Member

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    I'm just getting into LF but to me, they don't make a lot of sense on LF cameras unless you absolutely need very high shutter speed precision. With E6 film it can be a good thing, but if you can get good accurate exposures on E6 with a mechanical shutter already then the need is obviated.

    In 35mm, electronic shutters are a godsend (they are of greatest value with the very high shutter speeds, 1/500 and higher, speeds that LF shooters often don't even have and very rarely use). Despite that, mechanically-shuttered cameras are still attractive because of their increased utility in severe cold (where batteries tend to fail).

    Mechanical shutters seem more than good enough to me for large format.
     
  6. glbeas

    glbeas Member

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    Oh they are quite good enough, but the beauty of the electronic shutter I have is not the accuracy but the fact I can set a time up to 32 seconds on it. Thats really nice!
     
  7. PhotoJim

    PhotoJim Member

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    And here I thought that counting elephants (or Mississippis or whatever) was part of the experience. :smile:
     
  8. glbeas

    glbeas Member

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    That would work if I could spell Missislippi.:tongue:
     
  9. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    A ladder and a tall tripod like a Majestic are one way to get a high vantage point when you just need to get above the cars. Architectural photographers who work in cities do rent portable scaffolds when necessary. I had a Majestic that went up at least 12 feet. It had a set of extension legs and a rapid column inside a geared column. I never used it at that height, but I would think it would require stabilizing the camera at the top, say with a Bogen Magic Arm between the top of the column or the camera and the ladder.

    I sold the Majestic to George Losse, so if he sees this, maybe he'll have some insight.
     
  10. p krentz

    p krentz Member

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    ST.Ansel used to use a 1/4 inch thick aluminiun plate on the top of his Traval-all. Pat :D
     
  11. egdinger

    egdinger Member

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    Adams had a Travelall?! I need proof of this!
     
  12. Jim Jones

    Jim Jones Subscriber

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    He had a platform that I believe was moved from vehicle to vehicle (including a Cadallic!) as he wore the cars out. Page 228 of Ansel Adams Letters and Images edited by Mary Street Alinder and Andrea Gray Stillman, shows a platform on top of a station wagon which I can't identify. His famous Mount Williamson, Sierra Nevada, from Manzanar, California, 1945 on page 261 was taken from a platform on an unidentified car. It gave him about a 12 foot high vantage point. I use a platform on the topper on my pickup for the same purpose. Another way of getting elevation is to add a couple of legs to a ladder to make a tripod. It looks like Darius Kinsey didn't have that feature on his tall tripod.
     
  13. Jim Jones

    Jim Jones Subscriber

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    Bingo! Page 63 of his Camera and Lens from the 1970 five volume set, shows Adams with 8x10 on the platform on top of his Travelall. He says in the caption that the platform had been used on four previous cars. A google search for Ansel Adams +Travelall leads to other images.
     
  14. bart Nadeau

    bart Nadeau Member

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    In a previous incarnation we used a platform on a GM van to shoot stills and video all the time. Worked great to get a little elevation.
    At one time Cambo sold a three leged latter with a tripod head on the top.

    Bart
     
  15. Jim Jones

    Jim Jones Subscriber

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    When shooting from a platform atop a vehicle, wedging props between the frame and ground eliminate much of the problem of a swaying platform.
     
  16. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I think that's called an "orchard ladder." Steve Simmons recommended them somewhere over on lfphoto.info.
     
  17. Richard Kelham

    Richard Kelham Member

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    I sometimes had to shoot from the roof of my car – without props – but then it was a Volvo! Normally there is a range of answers depending on how high you need to go: from standing on your camera case right up to hiring a hydraulic hoist which I did for one job (but only MF). It was then I discovered I suffered from vertigo.

    I used to have a no.3 Compur Electronic shutter – great for timed exposures up to 30 seconds, but, since it was mostly used in the studio with electronic flash, an unnecessary complication. Quite apart from the battery problem they are virtually impossible to get fixed if they go belly-up. My advice is to avoid like the plague...
     
  18. p krentz

    p krentz Member

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    It was an International Harvester, built almost as well as their tractors. Pat :D
     
  19. egdinger

    egdinger Member

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    I know, I happen to have one sitting in my driveway. Thats why I was so curious, they are often wrongly identified. And now that I think about it would make a good shooting platform, hmmm...