New to large format - recommendations?

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by Tom Smith, Aug 27, 2004.

  1. Tom Smith

    Tom Smith Member

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    I'm new here and amazed at this fabulous website.

    I'm using a 5x4" for college in September and I haven't really understood how to use it so I'm just trying to learn how to load film and master movements.

    Any tips for a starter?

    If anyone can recommend any large format reading I'd be really pleased.

    Thanks,

    Tom
     
  2. bmac

    bmac Member

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    if you haven't found it yet, www.largeformatphotography.info has a ton of resources and before anyone else mentions it, there is a free article on the view camera magazine website about it as well.

    Brian
     
  3. roteague

    roteague Member

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    I would highly recommend "Large Format Nature Photography" by Jack Dykinga. It is more than just a book about nature photography, Jack has sections on view camera movements as well as how to use the view camera. Plus, you get to look at the pictures as an added bonus!!!

    See: http://www.dykinga.com/books/index.html
     
  4. photomc

    photomc Member

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  5. sergio caetano

    sergio caetano Member

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    Tom
    Welcome to the wonderful world of LF photography.
     
  6. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    A very accessible book for beginners is Steve Simmons' _Using the View Camera_. Stroebel is more thorough, but might be better as a reference once you're oriented.
     
  7. Tom Smith

    Tom Smith Member

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    Many thanks for the welcome guys - I feel like I'm out of my depth (of focus too) with large format. Excuse me if I ask really obvious questions (like how to load film?) in the future.

    I've got my book list and a long weekend so I'll go and try and find some of these titles that you recommend - I've heard of Simmons - he seems to be a popular intro to large format. Will check out Stoebel and the other title too.



    Cheers,

    Tom
     
  8. steve simmons

    steve simmons Inactive

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    Try this web site

    www.viewcamera.com

    There are several articles in the Free Article secton

    Here is some additional reading

    User's Guide to the View Camera by Jim Stone

    Using the View Camera that wrote


    both of these are more easily read than Stroebal which is better as a long term reference rather than an intro book


    steve simmons
     
  9. Tom Smith

    Tom Smith Member

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    Steve

    I'm going to melt with embarrassment. I can't believe you've just replied to my post!

    Can I have your autograph on your book, huh?!

    Thanks for the additional recommendations. I probably will try and find an intro and a reference book. Off to the shops tomorrow to see.

    Cheers,

    Tom
     
  10. raucousimages

    raucousimages Member

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    Buy a lot of inexpensive outdated film (ebay is good) and practice with it. You are going to make mistakes so burn up a bunch of throw-away negs and see what you can do. this will save money,introduce you to your camera and get you over the intimidation we all had when we moved into LF.

    John
     
  11. John McCallum

    John McCallum Member

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    I'll second that, very good book to start with for nature/landscape photography.

    Unfortunately not read Steve Simmons book.
     
  12. BBarlow690

    BBarlow690 Member

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    E-mail me and I'll send you copies of handouts we use in our workshops for film, filmholers, and movements.

    I agree tha film and filmholders will take you about 5 minutes to master, as mentioned previously. If you follow our handouts, movements will take about 10 minutes...it's much simpler than often claimed.

    Bruce
     
  13. mark

    mark Member

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    I read as much as I could and when i realized I wasn't getting anywhere I went out a played with the camera. That is where I learned how to use it. I like the idea of using out of date film, but keep notes. Once I started to do that it was cake. More than anything a view camera seems to take practice to be understood. Play with your toys don't just read about them.
     
  14. Ted Harris

    Ted Harris Subscriber

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    Amen to Bruce's post above. Most of the situations you encounter will require very modest use of movements. It is rare to find a situation where yo need to twist your camera into a pretzel.
     
  15. Tom Smith

    Tom Smith Member

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    Hey - I didn't realise this thread was still going!

    John - I intend to produce the perfect negative after my first exposure. When I come crying to this forum after my first failure, try not to be too hard on me....

    Mark - British summer time is ending. Pretty soon, I'll be in classes like a kid all over again during the day time, which will leave weekends and evenings mostly to photograph. Come on - you must read some of the time?? I'll get the practice okay.....whether I get any better with it...heh heh

    I'd like to see Bruce's notes and read up a bit more, so that I'm not just bending every lever possible. The last time I tried to focus the view camera, it looked really bent and warped when I got out from under the dark cloth. That wasn't so bad as suddenly seeing all these people standing there watching me. They looked like they were going to ask me if I was feeling alright. But you know people. Anything under a blanket, and they suddenly get curious.......
     
  16. Tom Stanworth

    Tom Stanworth Member

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    Hi,

    If time is precious, the best bet would be personal help from someone used to view cameras. Where you try to find such help I don't know and I realise that you may not be asking if this were possible. I have not met another photographer into LF let alond learned from one. I am sure that thuis is by far the fastest route to success and the good news is that LFers tend to be very nice helpful people! Unfortunately I am 6000 miles away!
     
  17. colrehogan

    colrehogan Member

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    I have to agree with Mark. The best thing to do is set up the camera and play with it.
     
  18. John McCallum

    John McCallum Member

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    That's the Story! Start out as you mean to continue. And don't look down :smile:.
    Personally I wish people were harder on me sometimes ;-)
    So true - just don't do anything your shouldn't under there.
     
  19. Tom Smith

    Tom Smith Member

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    "They looked like they were going to ask me if I was feeling alright. But you know people. Anything under a blanket, and they suddenly get curious......."

    - "So true - just don't do anything your shouldn't under there."

    Don't worry John. All I'll do is play with my knobs....... - you know - the big one that puts things in focus. And get practice like every other woman tells me.
     
  20. hbc

    hbc Member

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    welcome to the world of large format, now remmember it is just camera, a box with a piece of glass in front, its your vision or eye, mind that takes the picture. some of the best portraits i ever saw were by mary ellen mark taken with a sx70 polaroid camera still unmistakenly mary ellen mark, i once heard arnol newman at the university of the arts in philadelphia say that his most recogniced photos were taken with a crowngraphic, as simple as 4x5 can get.
     
  21. jovo

    jovo Membership Council Council

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    As you can see, you've gotten great advice so far. Let me add one more useful tool to help make the adjustment to composing upside down and backward a little easier...the viewing card! If you're not already familiar with it, it's simply a cardboard rectangle with a 4x5 rectangle hole cut into it. Close one eye to emulate the non-stereoscopic view the camera lens makes and squint a bit to help see the values apart from the reality of whatever the subject is you're considering and compose that way. When you are happy with what you've chosen, it isn't a big deal to adjust the gg to emulate what you've decided on. My dad told me when I was young to never compose in the camera (and he was referring to a view camera at that time). I'm not sure his 'absolute' rule is always true, but it's a pretty good one to keep in your kit. Good luck!