New to film, Question.

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by JeffMFoto, Oct 10, 2013.

  1. JeffMFoto

    JeffMFoto Member

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    Hello everyone.

    I am new to this forum and am looking for some information. I am a Grad from a two year digital photography program and am looking to get back to the roots of photography and shoot more film. I am looking for a 4x5 camera, any suggestions? any information would be appreciated. Thanks

    Jeff M
     
  2. Konical

    Konical Subscriber

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    Good Morning, Jeff,

    Check the archived messages in the APUG Forum; there's voluminous information (and lots of opinion!) available here. Also see the largeformatphotography.info web site for a good primer on LF.

    Konical
     
  3. Alan Gales

    Alan Gales Member

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    Hi Jeff. There are three general ways to go, monorail, field and press camera.

    Monorail: With a monorail you have full movements so you can shoot anything with them. They are also the easiest cameras to learn on and are the cheapest due to all pros going digital. The downside to monorails is sometimes weight and always bulk.

    Field: Field cameras are lightweight, most fold up, and are great in the field. The downside is price and you don't have all the movements of the monorail.

    Press: Press cameras like Speed and Crown Graphics fold out fast and can be hand held. They are cheaper than a field camera but have even less movements.


    When people ask me which large format camera to buy, I always ask them 2 questions. What are you going to use it for and how much do you have to spend?

    Alan
     
  4. JeffMFoto

    JeffMFoto Member

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    Thanks guys,
    As for what I am going to shoot, I'm blessed to live in northern Ontario therefore so I'm thinking mostly landscape. I want full control so from my understanding monorail would be the way to go.
     
  5. Regular Rod

    Regular Rod Member

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    If you are on a tight budget you might like to consider the Travelwide.


    [video]http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/wanderlust/travelwide-45-camera/widget/video.html[/video]


    $99! Bring your own lens.


    richard
     
  6. Alan Gales

    Alan Gales Member

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    You don't need a lot of movements for landscape photography. You are probably going to do a lot of hiking so a light weight field camera is most likely what you want.

    You need lots of movements for product photography and architecture.
     
  7. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    Alan is giving such good advise, anything I might add would be superfluous.
     
  8. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    Oh, well, maybe I could add one thing: if serious hiking is intended then lightweight tripod and lightweight lens and lightweight meter would be worth seeking also. Just make sure that the lightweight tripod is really up to the job.
     
  9. Alan Gales

    Alan Gales Member

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    Check out the homepage over at Large Format Photography Forum. There is a wealth of free information there.

    I'm a member there as well as quite a few other APUG members. Both are nice forums with good people.

    Welcome to APUG!
     
  10. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    LFPF seems to be down at the moment. Check back later.
     
  11. Alan Gales

    Alan Gales Member

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    Thanks Brian. I'm just trying to pay it forward! :smile:
     
  12. JeffMFoto

    JeffMFoto Member

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    Thanks all for the input.
     
  13. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    Welcome to APUG.

    As you are in Ontario, and are interested in Large Format, I would suggest wandering through Rob Skeoch's Big Camera Workshop website: http://www.bigcameraworkshops.com/

    Rob contributes here regularly, and was (is?) a long time APUG advertiser.
     
  14. Terry Christian

    Terry Christian Subscriber

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    If you want to shoot landscapes and other stuff outdoors, I'd recommend a field camera. Tachihara, Wista, Shen-Hao, etc. They fold up, are quite light (especially the Tachihara), and offer most movements, though extreme use of those movements will be limited and you may not be able to use some extreme focal lengths. As with everything else in photography, it's a trade-off.
     
  15. winger

    winger Subscriber

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    And there are some field cameras with a fair amount of movement. Not quite like a monorail, but you really don't want to haul a monorail through the woods. I've done it and I recently bought a field camera.
     
  16. Vaughn

    Vaughn Subscriber

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    I have haul full-sized monorails miles thru the redwoods and backpacked them into the mountains (in big hard-sided cases, too). But I was in my 20's, 6'4", 220lbs, and fit as a fiddle. Obviously lacking in common sense, too, LOL! But they belonged to the university and I had no LF of my own (just my tiny little Rolleiflex).

    Now I am much smarter (and almost 60, 6'3" and 250 pounds)...I haul my field 8x10 in a nice pack and only carry around about 60 pounds of camera stuff...:blink:

    But when I started working for the university photo program, we bought a Tachihara, a couple Horseman Woodsmans and a Shen Hao, all in LowaPro packs for the students...and do they thank me... I prefer the Horsemans. The Tachi did not survive student (ab)use. The Shen Hao is nice, but pretty heavy.

    I also recommend a single lens to start out with -- I prefer the 150mm, but anywhere from 135mm (watch out for minimum coverage) to 210mm will do as a 'normal' landscape lens. The Caltar IIN is an excellent lens (rebadged Rodenstock) for the price and the 150/5.6 is sharp, light and fast.

    Vaughn
     
  17. Tim Boehm

    Tim Boehm Subscriber

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    check out the Toyo 45AII. Superior build quality, but it's a little heavy; about 6 lbs. It only has about 300mm of bellows, a little more actually. It's also a folding, double rail camera, with very smooth movements and controls. I would not recommend a monorail for the field.
     
  18. Rolfe Tessem

    Rolfe Tessem Subscriber

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    Your first LF camera will probably not be your last, so don't shoot for the last on the first purchase. Start with a Crown Graphic and see if it suits your style and go from there. You can sell it on for what you paid for it when you fine-tune what you like and if and when you reach its limitations.
     
  19. RalphLambrecht

    RalphLambrecht Subscriber

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    any old 4x5 wii do. watch not to buy a heavy studio beast.they are a pain to take into the field. building your own is aslo an option
     
  20. TareqPhoto

    TareqPhoto Member

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    My first 4x5 was Speed Graphic and didn't use it at all yet because i wanted something with more movements, so i bought my first 4x5 field camera as a kit [lens lens board, lens wrap, aluminium case], i advise you to go with this one as it will be a great start, that 4x5 field camera kit is: Shen Hao HZX4X5-IIA.

    Welcome to Lf world and good luck!!!
     
  21. Alan Gales

    Alan Gales Member

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    Jeff, there is a Tachihara in so called pristine condition on Ebay right now with no bids and about a day and a half left at $500.00. You can expect to spend about $700.00 for a nice field camera along the lines of a Tachi or Shen Hao which are at the low end of the price range.

    The Tachihara is a nice extremely light weight wooden camera with a very bright fresnel screen. A Shen Hao is a slightly heavier but more stable wooden camera without the extremely bright fresnel. As far as which to buy it's a bit of a toss up.

    Most likely whatever you buy as a first camera you will later sell and buy what you really want. The important thing is to go out and shoot so you learn what works for you.
     
  22. Black Dog

    Black Dog Member

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    +1 votes for the field camera from a keen hiker and LFer!