Migrating back to MF? (from LF)

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by watanabe`, Dec 12, 2010.

  1. watanabe`

    watanabe` Member

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    Hello all,

    Well, I think I've been beaten by LF. About 2 years ago I sold off my 500cm, 80 c t* and 150mm and got a sinar norma 4x5, 20 toyo backs(was in japan, found em cheap) a nikon 90mm sw, fuji 180w and 240 (both the fujis were the ones that could cover 8x10... with the intention of eventually moving up)

    Since the changeover, I've gone out and taken photos something like... 3 times? Part of this is due to going through architecture grad school with a wife and 2 year old, but I guess thats part of it. Shooting the hassy was always possible for spur of the moment things, whereas the Sinar, albeit beautiful, just takes a lot more time to get out.

    Recently have been going through my portfolio and just love looking back at those hassy slides.

    Originally I wanted to do more N+/- development as well, but I'm leaning towards getting some extra backs and just keeping a standard and a N+2/N-2 back as well.

    To be honest, I am considering a 5dmk2 w/a 24mm ts-e as well, but I got a pentax k-x(professor's grant money, went to go document a james stirling building in the Leicester shooting around 7000 snaps) and I've been trying to use it but just hate the toe/curve response(sayonara highlights!). Of course I also can't stand staring at my PC anymore than I do as an architect, much rather prefer a darkroom post-processing to Lightroom, so it's not really under consideration. Finally, I figure I should go with something I know works, and that is the hassy.

    I'm leaning towards the following setup:

    501CM (chrome this time hah!)
    60mm CB
    100mm CF
    180mm CF
    Flexbody
    3~4 backs

    I picked these 3 lenses as they're the least prone to distortion
    What I'm most concerned about is the 100 I'm considering vs the 80... it's a slight change from what I had/loved, but read its a bit better when it comes to barrel distortion (not that the 80 had much, but can remember a few times where I removed some in photoshop, and I'd prefer to stay 100% analog from here on out)... The AOV I think is not too different, and I'm hoping the 60 will alleviate this when I *need* something wider. However, I really loved the 80, will the 100 be too much of a change?

    The last thing leading me in this direction is the larger amounts of shift these will give me vs the 50/80/150. One thing I remember hearing is to use the longest lens possible in any given situation, and I think that the greater shift capability (even if its only through less vignetting) + sharpness of the 60/100/180 is another thing in their favor.


    I guess it's sort of unintuitive to go from 4x5 to a flexbody, especially for potential architectural use, but I see it as being nice to be able to use the glass (color renditioning) I know I love, and get a bit more compositional freedom in terms of ground/foreground, while retaining vertical verticals.

    I guess I'm curious for any feedback on this setup, as well as hearing about others who may have done a similar thing? Egos a bit bruised I guess! Thought that since I was going out with a tripod 100% of the time it wouldn't be that different to have a 4x5 but I found out different.
     
  2. Soeren

    Soeren Member

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    The Sinar Norma is a different beast than anything in the MF area. Im not sure I understand your question but as the technical LF camera handles different from your previous Hassy even considering the use of tripod in both cases I wouldn't substitute one for the other but rather have and use the setup best suited for the task. The Norma is a great old beast, I have one in 5X7" with a 4X5" reduction back, Behind the lens shutter and various lenses with and without shutters. Its not the most used camera I have but occasionally I like the slow aproach, different handling and the possibilities it gives me. I would never get rid of my MF or 35mm gear to get into another system but look into the pros/cons and possibilitis/limitations of what I have andwhat I consider buying . There may be good reason to get a flexbody but if you are going to set up and shoot LF style then why not do it using a LF camera?
    Best regards
     
  3. Jerevan

    Jerevan Subscriber

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    If you are going to lug around a tripod, you are basically going for a smaller format and the same hassle. If you have used the Sinar about three times, I suggest picking one of the lenses you have and try another 5-10 times to get into the comfort zone. Unless you really hate the poor thing. As for the Flex-body, I've never used one. But the small size of that groundglass is going to make it less easy to see the changes you are making. At least from my experience switching between 4x5, 5x7 and 8x10 - the bigger the groundglass the easier to see the actual change. If you think the darkcloth is annoying, get a mono- or binocular viewer instead.

    In the end you may be spending some good money and still be where you are, photographically. I've done that way too many times. But you are not me and "a man's gotta do what a man's gotta do". :smile:
     
  4. hpulley

    hpulley Member

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    Both formats sounds like the right solution to me. I'd never sold a camera in over 30 years of photography until I went digital, the first DSLR I bought I sold and I haven't regretted it but I'm glad I have every other body I've ever owned. I've sold lenses that weren't up to snuff but I can still shoot with the first 126 Instamatic and I'm glad (yes, really!).

    If nothing else, please re-buy your MF system before you sell (all) your LF system just to make sure that it is really what you want. Having to re-sell MF and re-buy LF would be a pain don't you think?
     
  5. watanabe`

    watanabe` Member

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    That's what I thought, but the difference is pretty huge in my opinion; MF = a domke with a lens, film and maybe a sandwich; tripod through the loops/over the shoulder.

    Monorail was really not comparable in my experience, was really excited and brought it on a trip or two and made a few pounds of muscle mass. Of course, ideally I'd like to keep both systems, but right now it's not really possible. I guess it boils down to the fact that I basically haven't been taking photos, so even though the LF setup is capable of producing higher quality than the hasselblad, it's sort of useless given a lazy git like me who doesn't take advantage of it. I don't hate it at all, it's an amazing piece of kit, but looking at what I produced over the 3 or so years I had the hasselblad (few photos attached) and what I've done since makes me question my choice.

    Of course I'd like to have both, but I'm only 25, and already have a disproportionately large bundle of cash tied up in photography. Buying/selling equipment is a hassle, but luckily I haven't lost money (made a few bucks actually), so in effect I'm shifting capital around, I think this is a great advantage of film vs digital actually.


    I realize this is mostly just rambling and probably no questions, just using these forums as a sounding board to get out some things that have been rolling around in my developer.
     

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  6. bobt99silver

    bobt99silver Member

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    I've got somewhat the same question - couple years ago I got a Zone VI field camera and a 150mm lens. I'm interested in landscape/cityscapes and portrait type pictures - so far the difficulty getting good focus, and scanning the results ( I scan mf with a film scanner and the lf with a flatbed) are making me question the utility. On the upside it makes my Pentax 67II seem like a point (focus) and shoot. Also when I take the lf camera somewhere where there's people it tends to draw a lot of comments - which is ok, but does slow things down further. So far I'm planning to keep up with the lf, and learn to utilize movements better, but I think it's more for the learning than the results to this point.

    The MF system you describe sounds kind of complicated in it's own right - do you know why you aren't taking what you have now?

    One thing to consider would be adding a tlr - can be (relatively) inexpensive, small,and quick to use - might make it more likely to bring it along.
     
  7. Barry S

    Barry S Member

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    There's nothing wrong with finding the format that works best for you. As a previous Flexbody owner and a current large format photographer--I wouldn't base your system on any perceived advantages of movements. The Flexbody is of marginal use for architectural work because of the limited image circles of the Hassy lenses. Buying longer focal lengths isn't really going to solve the problem of useful rise and fall with wide to normal lenses. Those are all lovely lenses, but I suggest you buy the focal lengths you prefer. The 50/80/150mm combination is not only a very useful range, but will cost you a lot less than the 60/100/180 lenses. I agree with bobt above--your system sounds complicated--maybe needlessly so.
     
  8. watanabe`

    watanabe` Member

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    Well, thought about it some more and realized I was getting some good advice.

    Decided to scrap the flexbody, and "use" that money towards keeping my 4x5, figure that doesnt make much sense to sell my 4x5 to fund a flexbody purchase. Then in situations where it really calls for movements I can use that and be happy to have it available, but not try to make it my everyday camera.

    Ended up going with the a 501cm, 60mm cb and 3 backs all in EX condition, and a BGN 100mm CF (KEH). Will try this out and if I really miss the 80 I figure I can pick a cheap BGN one later. I didn't use the 150 much so figure that having that having these 2 supposedly sharper lenses, I can choose between what each shot prefers to be and not try to make the 80 do everything (even though it did that so well!).



    Thanks!
     
  9. Jerevan

    Jerevan Subscriber

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    Sounds like a good call, keeping the 4x5" and getting a smaller Hasselblad kit.
     
  10. Soeren

    Soeren Member

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    Oh BTW
    For 4X5" Sinar made some MF filmholders, 6X7cm etc and a "vario" covering multiple formats up to 6X12cm.
    Best regards
     
  11. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    What made you want to go to 4x5 in the first place?
     
  12. Q.G.

    Q.G. Inactive

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    Should you have left-over money, why not invest it in replacing the Sinar Norma (great though it is) with a Sinar P (for Perfect :wink:)?
    The P is easier and faster in use, and will make using 4x5" less cumbersome. And Ps aren't very expensive nowadays. (You don't need a perhaps more expensive P2: the original P is already great.)
     
  13. revdocjim

    revdocjim Member

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    If you really can't afford to own both why don't you pass on Hassy and invest in one of the more reasonably priced MF systems like Bronica, Mamiya, etc.
     
  14. BrianL

    BrianL Member

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    revdocjim, I was thinking the same thing. Bronica made a shift lens. I like Hassey but the price/performance ratio favorsronica in spades. After a certain level of quality, I'm not convinced the quality of the photographer is more important then the lens.
     
  15. watanabe`

    watanabe` Member

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    Was accepted into a master of architecture program, foresaw shifts in my future. Also wanted to be able to make contact prints, so I bought the 180mm fuji W and 250mm that cover 8x10

    Think it's cause I had one and loved it. I'm not blinded thinking that it performs better, but having used one and gotten used to how it works it'd be hard to go to something else.

    There's an idea... love my photoclam multiflex(arca cube) and how fast it is to setup... if the 4x5 became a trunk camera exclusively for architecture shoots then the extra weight wouldn't be an issue and the speed/ease of setting up each shot would be in the P's favor. Seeing that they go for half the cost of the flexbody makes that even more absurd.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 15, 2010
  16. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    If you have a need for what the 4x5 offers, I would keep it, even if you don't use it often. Tilt/shift lenses are good, but they are a compromise between the advantages of smaller cameras and large format. I used to shoot LF at least three times a week, for all sorts of subject matter. I would go through many boxes of film every month. Now I am doing that more with my Mamiyas, and I will pull the SINAR out only maybe once every few months for "pictorial work." I shoot no more than 10 or 12 sheets when I do. I use it more often for reproduction of flat work for other projects now, using Ilford Ortho, Fuji T64, and my new favorite film for halftones, Rollei ATP 1.1. When doing this, I more often than not use the camera with a 6x7 back, as opposed to sheets. I don't view the camera as a waste, though I recently sold off all my DB lenses that I don't use much any more. I kept a 210 and a 90 in shutters. When my 210 cannot magnify enough using all the rail I have, I put the 90 on.

    You never know when you will find another use for your camera, and I also don't think that shooting it once every few months makes it useless to you. Having the Hassy will be a good idea, but I would not sell the SINAR unless you cannot afford to keep both. I am sure it will come in handy.