MF with a LF camera?

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by photomc, Jun 28, 2004.

  1. photomc

    photomc Member

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    This may have been covered but did not find it..how many of you use a roll film back on your LF camera? Crown/Speed Graphic, Busch Pressman, etc.
    Was wondering because with prices at a low, I was considering adding another Mamyia 645 body for back-up or even parts, but then I have a Crown Graphic and it would seem like just adding roll film back would be nicer, giving a 6x7 or 6x9 negative.

    Any thoughts, advice..how do you focus, basic workflow using a roll film back on LF camera.

    Thanks,
    Mike
     
  2. jd callow

    jd callow Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I use a 6x9 roll back. The GG on my sinar has markings for the film area which makes framing and focusing easy. The 6x9 praportions are very dramatic. Roll film is of course cheaper and available in greater varieties than sheet.

    It does not replace an MF camera, but does offer a nice option.
     
  3. Alex Hawley

    Alex Hawley Member

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    I've used some of the older roll film backs, specifically those made by Graphic and Calumet. This biggest nag I had with every one of them was they were prone to light leaks. Maybe it was just a function of there age. I was able to finagle the Calumet to where it didn't leak too often. All depended on when/how the darkslide was pulled.

    As far as work flow goes, there's the extra steps of having to remove/reinstall the ground glass-for this reason and the way it attaches, a Grafloc back is mandatory. Someone in a forum said the Calumet was designed to be inserted like a film holder with the ground glass still on - darn near busted the GG trying to do that.

    The other thing is one has to be very fastiduous in advancing the back to the next frame immediately after exposure. There was no interlock to prevent double exposing.

    As far as focusing goes, there's no change. Use the GG or on the Graphic, the range finder.

    Aside from all that, they ain't bad. If you want to shoot MF rolls and have the advantages of a view camera, a roll film back will work. I haven't used mine though since I went to 8x10. Why I'm still hanging on to it I don't know.
     
  4. Flotsam

    Flotsam Member

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    I use a Singer Graflex 6x7 holder on my Toyo View. My darkroom isn't set up to enlarge 4x5 so it allows me the versatility of camera movements on a format that I can handle.
    My experience is identical to Alex's and he covers all the points that I would make. I never noticed any light leaks when I used it in the studio but the first time I took it out in bright sunlight I noticed a problem. Now that I am aware, I just drape my darkcloth over the back of the camera while the slide is out (I swear that I will work out a more elegant solution... someday).
     
  5. JohnArs

    JohnArs Subscriber

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    Hi

    I use the Sinar 6x9 and Toyo just push under the groundglass ones. But like the Horsemans 6x7 6x9 and 6x12 more because they work much more constantly. I think on my Sinar one is something broken because it not always works proper!
     
  6. doughowk

    doughowk Subscriber

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    Century Graphic

    I use my 4X5 cameras only with sheet film while using a Century Graphic with both 120 roll film back and 2X3 sheet film. The Century Graphic offers many of advantages of a Crown Graphic while being more comfortable when using it like a 35mm rangefinder camera.
     
  7. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I have a couple of rollfilm backs (6x6 and 6x7)that I use on my Tech V, and I find them very handy. I get the advantages of new formats without having to buy into another camera system, the convenience of rollfilm, and camera movements. Sometimes I may use sheet film for one purpose and then shoot rollfilm for another purpose (say B&W sheets and color or a higher speed film in 120), or I may use the rollfilm back when my longest lens isn't really long enough for 4x5". The rollfilm back is also handy for testing a new film or other piece of equipment or a new lighting setup, or when I'm just shooting casual snapshots that don't really need to be 4x5".

    I've had a Graflex RH10 back and traded it when I got an older Linhof Super Rollex back. The Super Rollex backs with the lever wind (avoid the knob wind Rollex backs--frame spacing problems) are really well made, and the older ones with the tan leatherette aren't so costly.
     
  8. Tom Hoskinson

    Tom Hoskinson Member

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    Wista 6x7 & 6x9 backs, Horseman 6x7 back and Shen-Hao 6x12 back. They all work great and don't have light leaks.
     
  9. papagene

    papagene Membership Council Council

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    6x7 Calumet roll film holders; occasional light leaks - solved by the above mentioned focussing cloth trick. Sometimes I just want to burn some extra film plying around with goofball ideas in my cramped, little attic studio. For definate ideas, I go with 4x5 in the camera.
    gene
     
  10. photomc

    photomc Member

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    Thanks everyone, sounds like a number of you have/do use roll film backs..and also sounds like without the right back, it could be a PITA. Considering prices, will probably just continue with 4x5 for the Crown Graphic and using the Mamiya for the roll film (or the 124 for 21/4x21/4).
     
  11. Flotsam

    Flotsam Member

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    I only have a view camera but it it sounds as if Mike is interested in using the roll back on press cameras. In that case, if you plan to use the rangefinder, light leaks wouldn't be as much of a problem. If you actually notice a problem, a little electrical tape in the appropriate spots when you clamp the back on, would easily solve it. I'm going to try some felt or camera foam on mine as a simpler, more permanent solution. It would seem that the biggest problem on a press camera would be framing. You would still need to pay attention to advancing the film and cocking the shutter as two separate operations.
     
  12. gma

    gma Member

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    I have never understood why anyone would want to go to so much trouble to use a roll film back with a view/press 4x5 camera. There are so many really excellent MF used cameras available at bargain prices nowadays. Am I missing something here?
     
  13. jd callow

    jd callow Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Movements, Macro, less money, more choice in film without having to carry anouther camera (although the roll back is not much smaller than the mamiya 6).

    It is not a perfect solution but... And there aren't that many 6x9 or 6x12 mf cameras out there.
     
  14. brimc76

    brimc76 Member

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    I have a 6x9 Graphic roll film back that I use with my Crown Graphic Special. I have only used it a few times outdoors but so far I haven't noticed any light leaks (I'll have to watch out for them now). I have 6x9 marks on the ground glass for focusing and composing and everything has worked well so far. It's a great way to try a different format without committing to different bodies,lenses etc. It is a bit of a struggle changing from GG to rollfilm back then back again but for a few shots at a time I don't mind and I do it with Grafmatics as well.
     
  15. Alex Hawley

    Alex Hawley Member

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    Another aspect was that MF SLRs with interchangeable lenses didn't catch on until the late 1960's. The Press Cameras were highly popular prior to that. The roll film backs provided another element of utility.

    When those first color slides came back from the Moon, everybody had to have a 'Blad.
     
  16. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    There is a much wider range of 4x5" cameras available than 6x9 view cameras, both in terms of features and in price, so if you want the features of a view camera with the convenience of rollfilm, there are many more options if you add a rollfilm back to a 4x5" camera, plus you get the possibility of using sheet film occasionally.
     
  17. papagene

    papagene Membership Council Council

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    For MF I generlly use a couple of Fuji rangefinders. But they don't focus that close for some of my "studio" shots. And like I said in my previous post, if I am just playing around with some unresolved ideas, running roll film through the 6x7 roll film back is much less expensive that using 4x5 film for experimentation. With 100 iso film, I can still get some excellent prints this way.
    To me, it's the best of both worlds.
    gene
     
  18. Stan. L-B

    Stan. L-B Member

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    For 6X6 I use Hasselblad camera bodies which I can also use on my Sinar P1 by using a Sinar/Hasselblad Panel. They work like a dream with the Sinar field lenses from 90mm through to 300mm and when necessary down to F64! The combination also gives me the full movement facilities of a monorail.

    For 6X9 I use the Fuji 65mm and 90mm (Fixed Fujinnon) which I find very good for copy work.

    But, the full 5X4 has the last word, where it really matters.
     
  19. AndrewH

    AndrewH Member

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    Their are benefits and drawbacks

    When using the RF back you get all of the LF flexibility. You give up some quality in the lenses, though, depending on what MF lenses you are using. Someone here can correct me, but I am pretty sure that (for the most part) with each step up in format you lose some resolving power in the lens. While using the larger film area more than makes up for this when enlargements come into play, when you use a RF back, you are still in 120 size film. This isn't to say you cannot make magnificent prints from a RF back, that isn't the case. Just being technical :smile:
     
  20. Tom Hoskinson

    Tom Hoskinson Member

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    It all depends on the lens, Andrew. On 120 roll film, in 6x6 cm format, my 55mm Rodenstock Apo Grandagon (which covers 4x5) outperforms my dedicated 50mm Hassleblad Zeiss Distagon. My 110mm Schneider Super Symmar XL (covers 5x7) outperforms my dedicated 120 mm Hassleblad Zeiss Makro Planar. In addition, the superior performance of these two example LF lenses easily extends to the 6x12cm roll film format as well.

    The main reason for using the Hassleblad (or my Hasslebladskys) is that they are much faster to set up and shoot (not really of a virtue to me - except for doing film testing).
     
  21. AndrewH

    AndrewH Member

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    There are always exceptions

    I was speaking in general terms. True?
     
  22. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    It was once the case that lenses designed for larger format coverage usually generally had to make some sacrifice in absolute resolution (which was more than compensated for by reduced enlargement factor in the final print), but if we're comparing modern lenses to modern lenses, this is less often the case than it used to be.

    Even for older lenses, there are many exceptions to the general tendency, so it's probably best to compare specific lenses.