New to large format...workflow idea...

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by sperera, Mar 10, 2009.

  1. sperera

    sperera Member

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    Just bought a Sinar F2 and a 150mm Schneider lens....I still havent got a proper lens panel (waiting for it to arrive), I haven't got the trigger cable, no film yet, etc etc so I've just been messing about looking through the camera with an ill-fitting Arca Swiss recessed panel my friend gave me that I have taped up to the front.....

    As i keep on saying in my threads I have a Nikon D300 digital camera with which I do all my 'money' jobs on our web site www.ulookfierce.com. The plan with the 5 x 4 Sinar is to start a personal project I've always wanted to do - people portraits in b+w (no mystery here!) but felt the 'beauty' of image I'm after can only be achieved with a 5 x 4 camera and its lenses. I'm inspired by Karsh and people of that genre and my personal style is combining natural light with flash triggered by Pocket Wizards.

    So my idea is to use the Nikon as my 'polaroid' to check I have the lighting I want when firing off the flashes.....sure, it may be regarded as cheating in this forum (heh heh) but hey, its a cheaper way instead of wasting a whole load of expensive polaroid film......or is it.....should I use Polaroids instead?
     
  2. brummelisa

    brummelisa Member

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    Will you photograph your subjects with the same lightning and background every time? In that case you could use the DLSR to see that it's ok and then continiously use the same ratio during sessions.

    I don't think that you are sheating when using a digital camera. But you should probably know that you can not use the old 'What You See Is What You Get' - thing.

    Film, as you know have other dynamic data than digital and the display won't be able to show exact how the image looks like. You may use the histogram.

    Me, I use a Flash meter and just take a reading on the lit side of the face and increase the exposure with one f-stop (so it becomes lighter).

    / Marcus
     
  3. sperera

    sperera Member

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    the plan is to compose the one shot for the person, in the one carefully considered location, with considered lighting...be it natural light coming in or with the help of flash......the idea is to create the one composition and take the one or two shots and that's it...session over....

    .....this will be in sharp contrast to the pressure I normally have in fashion type shoots where we're moving around and changing things, outfits, locations etc and having to get on the spot inspiration....

    what you're saying is exactly what I'm fearing...that what I see on the Nikon screen is gonna be miles away from what gets registered on the T-Max 100 Im planning to use.....

    ....perhaps I should use the Nikon to get the image going the right way with the flashes and then perhaps take an instant film shot to see if this translates into film or not......

    what you are doing is good actually as that obviously works for you and makes sense to me.....there's no cheating the light meter at the end of the day.....I will have to find out how much latitude T-Max 100 has when developed normally I guess....any ideas on who's tested this film out meticulously and could offer advice?
     
  4. Pinholemaster

    Pinholemaster Member

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    Aid the economy, buy Polaroid/Fuji instant film. Grin.

    The dynamic range of a Polaroid doesn't match your sheet film, either. Best to learn your flash meter to make sure the ratio between daylight and the added strobes are what you want.
     
  5. sperera

    sperera Member

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    hahahah yes....aid the economy indeed.....yes, the flash meter is the obvious tool to solve the mysteries....I have a Gossen Mastersix I bought recently 2nd hand too.....its old but does the job....came in a nice leather case too.....niceeeeeeeee
     
  6. archphoto

    archphoto Member

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    Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm, some here would love to see you fry your D with your studio-lighting......................

    Sync voltage's of any older flash will do that !!!!

    Please get yourself a Wein Safe Sync from B+H before you hook things up !

    And YES there are quite a few good flash-meters on Ebay for not too much.
    Learn how to use them and become a full member of the LF community.

    Peter
     
  7. domaz

    domaz Member

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    Don't forget that taking portraits with a 4x5 requires considerable patience on part of the photographer AND the subject. It's also a bit hard to get used to because once you put the film holder in, all you can do is hope your subject doesn't move and ruin your composition. After trying it myself I can see why Speed Graphics have those nice supplementary focusing gadgets like rangefinders and framing sights.
     
  8. sperera

    sperera Member

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    using the camera now....depth of field

    actually....as I'm new to 5 x 4 large format I'd like to run this past you....

    .....the depth of field issue is what I'm trying to get in my head as the lens starts at f5.6 all the way to f64 and you see a great amount of beautiful bokeh on what I'll call 'the focusing aperture' f5.6....

    my Sinar f2 has a depth of field calculator on one of the focusing knobs....I've learned how to use it....they say to focus first on the furthest point you want in focus....mark it on the ring and then focus on the nearest bit you want in focus.....this in turn lets you know you need say f16 to get the area you want in focus (superb actually....what a great way of knowing what's going to be in focus as opposed to those crappy depth of field preview buttons on DSLR's)

    so, in order to get a person in focus within the scene I was thinking of say focusing on a card held behind the person by an assistant (my wife!) IF said person is not leaning against a wall or a chair or something I can focus on....and then I focus on the tip of the nose for example.....or their belly if they're fat! hahhahaha.....anyway.....so this give me say f16 depth of field needed....

    so....once thats established I measure light on the face....if the ambient light gives me '15 (what I think is okay for a person to stay still at) at f16 or over then I dont need flash but if not then I'll put flash in and thus start measuring ....(by the way, remember I haven't used a meter, film etc in over 10 years!) till the flash gives me enough light to shoot at f16....

    am i missing anything?
     
  9. sperera

    sperera Member

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    guys guys come on...the FORCE is strong in this one....I can do it....I have lived on the dark side but I now see the light!
     
  10. sperera

    sperera Member

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    i have a Hasselblad magnifier i use to check images on the dslr in broad daylight that I've been using to see images on the ground glass.
    I also bought (with the Sinar prchase) a bellows with a magnifier (cant remember the name of the thing!!!!!) that allows me to view at angles as well.....my father-in-law saw it all and told me if all else fails I can become an accordion player.....
     
  11. keithwms

    keithwms Member

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    Disclaimer: anybody highly allergic to digital may as well ignore my post....

    I think it's totally fine and practical to use the digital for proofing your LF work. I have found it to be a very valuable tool for LF slide. And no, I don't care if somebody considers me a traitor for that; anybody who's shooting 8x10 slide on an academic budget knows very well where I'm coming from :wink: People who shoot $1 film shouldn't lecture people who shoot $15 film on how to proof!

    There are various adapters that allow you to mount a dslr directly on your LF camera, although because the sensor is so far recessed into the DSLR, you will need to refocus or use some focusing "stops" to go back and forth from digital to film , which is a pain. But anyway, the dslr can of course give you colour metering, histograms etc., whether you use it as a digital back or as a standalone camera.

    Aside: another option that I have thought about is attaching a dslr to the WLF of a medium format camera. In that mode, it may be possible to get a digital proof and go straight to the film shot without moving anything at all. I am working on such a setup with a mamiya rz. Shooting tethered, I allege that you can get a full screen preview of the whole shot (not just a crop) plus metering info etc. and have a decent instant proof shot.

    Anyway, do also consider Fuji instant film, which is available in 4x5 and is superior to polaroid in almost every respect. You can put a PA45 back on your LF camera and proof with the Fuji materials. In fact, you may find that the Fuji materials are so good that you stop thinking about the resultig prints as mere proofs. I have been extremely satisfied with fp100b in 4x5 format, as a final print.
     
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  12. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    For portraits, you're usually in bellows factor territory, so don't forget about that when you calculate exposure and set the power on the lights.

    Even with the Sinar DOF calculator (and don't forget to rack the knob back halfway after calculating the desired aperture or refocus on the desired focal point), the attractive DOF zone for portraits is usually on the thin side, say from the tip of the nose to the ears. You can get more with enough light, but it may or may not be the look you're after.

    If you do go for a thinner DOF range, the trick I use for portraits with a view camera is to attach a string to the tripod with a knot at the end, measure from the camera to the tip of the nose, and while the subject or assistant is holding the string in place, focus on the near eye. Then when you're ready for the real shot, after setting the shooting aperture and shutter speed, cocking the shutter, inserting the filmholder and removing the darkslide, you can check the focus distance quickly before making the exposure. It can feel a little silly, but it's very reliable, even with 8x10" and larger and a fast portrait lens wide open at f:4.5 or so.

    If you can't do this (say you're photographing a toddler who doesn't know to hold still), then you just use more light, stop down more and make more exposures to be sure you've got a good one. Even with the string trick, I usually make a minimum of four, but typically 6-12.
     
  13. sperera

    sperera Member

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    ...can you explain this bellows factor issue.....??????? I have a Schneider 150mm f5.6 L lens and a dare I say 'normal' bellows.....and yes, im definately after the shallow depth of field....that's the 'beauty' I'm after with 5 x 4....
     
  14. keithwms

    keithwms Member

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    Bellows factor:

    If "m" is the magnification of your subject then you multiply your exposure time by (1+m)^2.

    For example, if you want to photograph something at 1:1 (same size on film as in reality), then m=1 and your factor is (1+1)^2= 2^2 = 4.

    So if you hand metered a 1:1 macro subject and determined the exposure to be, say, f/16 and 1 sec, then the correct exposure (including bellows factor) would be 4 seconds.

    If you are doing portraiture in b&w in 4x5 or smaller formats then bellows factor is unlikely to be a major issue- you never get anywhere near 1:1 :wink: On the other hand, it is quite plausible to do 1:1 portraiture with an 8x10 camera or larger. In any case, while you are learning about bellows factor, I (and many others) would strongly recommend using fuji instant film until you feel confident.

    This may all sound like greek to someone shooting 35mm or any system that meters TTL (through the lens) but... really it's just a quite simple application of the inverse square law.
     
  15. brummelisa

    brummelisa Member

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    I shoot only with a Sinar F2 4x4" and only have children (age 4-12). I have actually very little out of focused images and maybe that is because of:

    1. I use the same models over and over, so they are used to it. And know the important of standing still.
    2. I usually shoot waist up. But I have a couple of headshots
    3. I shoot outdoors during summer so often I can have f-stops like f8-f16. and speeds like 1/60 It's not much, but with a tripod it's enough.

    OT! One plus with LF is that it forces one to really slow down and I usually during a session shoot 10-20 photos where one quarter is really good one that I print in my darkroom later on.

    / Marcus
     
  16. sperera

    sperera Member

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    you got THAT right...Greek indeed!!!! hahhahahahahaha thanks for your time on this....much appreciated....I WILL get myself some Fuji instant film for sure....FP3000B is your recommendation or the FP100B....whats the difference? which holder should I get for that then....are the Polaroid ones okay...for example the Polaroid 545 mag or the 545 pro???
     
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  17. keithwms

    keithwms Member

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    3000b is faaast! and fun. You can shoot handheld LF with that stuff!

    Actually my recommendation would be fp100b. Love it. Also try the colour version, fp100c. Sweet stuff. And of course, if you're just proofing, you can shoot the smaller (and less expensive) version rather than 4x5, if you wish.

    I dunno about the polaroid holders, I just picked up a Fuji PA45 holder whcih is light and well made. I don't recall which previous polaroid packfilm holder is approriate but the 545 is the individual sheet film holder, right? You do not want that one. All the fuji films are pack films, not individual sheets.
     
  18. jimgalli

    jimgalli Subscriber

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    Just one more humble opinion. If it's shallow dof and rich film tonality that you want to set this project apart from day to day DSLR shooting, you didn't go far enough. There's a whole world of beautiful beautiful antique lenses with amazing results on 10X8. Why not turn the clock back to 1948?
     
  19. sperera

    sperera Member

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    you make a good point my friend.....plus you've made me smile!!!:smile:
    by the way.....i think there will be more and more and more people like me coming abck to film within the next 5 years I think....what do you guys think on this forum? has anyone noticed a trend back???? people like Nikon-guru Ken Rockwell (love him or hate him) are constantly calling film the 'real' RAW and he's making people sit back and consider their options.....
     
  20. Captain_joe6

    Captain_joe6 Member

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    Honestly, I wouldn't trust a digital camera with my exposure metering for LF. Get a good flash meter for that, then work out all your calculations from there. Digital sensors are somewhat different than film in terms of response to light. There is a reason that Seikonic makes a meter that will profile your digital camera. Manufacturers can only bet trusted so far.

    On the other hand, I think it's about the best idea in the world to tether a digital camera and shoot it to get a sense of the lighting itself, in terms of light placement and relative intensity. Its just plain cheaper to snap a digital image, look at it on a nice screen, then adjust your light placement accordingly. Modeling lights are pretty vague I've found.

    And yes, get a safe sync. Better to spend a few dollars there than a few thousand on a replacement camera. Oh the joys of electronics.
     
  21. sperera

    sperera Member

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    was thinking of just hooking up a Pocket Wizard!
     
  22. jeroldharter

    jeroldharter Member

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    Just asking: why TMAX100?

    With TMAX perhaps TMY-2 (ISO 400) would be more versatile and allow the option of some faster shutter speeds if needed.