Renissance in 5x7 format?

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by BradS, May 21, 2006.

  1. BradS

    BradS Subscriber

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    Is it just me or does there seem to be a dramatic increase in interest and participation in the 5x7 format?
     
  2. John Kasaian

    John Kasaian Member

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    I don't know. It is a nice size for contact printing and the proportioins are very attractive, plus if you have one of the older 4x5s like Agfa,Ansco, Deardorff or B&J you can usually play the game for the cost of a 5x7 back and a few holders!

    Cheers!
     
  3. papagene

    papagene Membership Council Council

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    Dunno... I picked up a Kodak 2D for a decent price because my ancient Beseler can enlarge 5x7's. And I wanted to try my hand at contact printing.
    It would be nice if there was a renaissance of the format.

    gene
     
  4. Dave Wooten

    Dave Wooten Subscriber

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    Maybe if we declared it....that it had indeed begun...

    it is a wonderful format....with a lot of perks, enlargers are cheap, the neg is large enough to make a nice contact, lots of great lens choices...
     
  5. donbga

    donbga Member

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    Interest in 5x7 has been on the up swing for several years now.
     
  6. lee

    lee Member

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    I have had and use a 5x7 for over 15 years now. no renaissance for me.

    lee\c
     
  7. Jim Noel

    Jim Noel Member

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    I just hope that 5x7 use does not decline from its present state. It has been my primary film size for about 20 years.

    It is hard to beat for image ratio, equipment size, available lenses, contact or enlarged prints - It is just the best for me although I have many cameras of other sizes.
     
  8. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

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    I think part of it is all those 4x5 lenses that cover 5x7 and a bit more. Part is 4x5 is so square some of us end up cropping. It's sort of like shooting 6x6 in MF. If you're always cropping then why not shoot 6x9 or 6x4.5? Part of it is alot of the older 5x7s are so cheap.
     
  9. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    The 5x7" Press Graflex and Graflex Home Portrait cameras are the largest practical SLR's around that aren't extreme rarities, so that's another attraction.

    The Canham 5x7"-->6x17cm back probably has done something to boost the popularity of the format as well.
     
  10. JBrunner

    JBrunner Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I have always been surprised that 5x7 hasn't been as popular as 8x10 or 4x5.
    If I had it to do over I would probably give 4x5 a skip and go right to 5x7. The cameras aren't really much bigger and the costs are close enough to make it pretty close to a wash. I wouldn't be surprised at all to see it gain ground, apart from the general LF renaissance.

    Film choices are still a bit of an issue though.
     
  11. Jim Jones

    Jim Jones Subscriber

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    My 5x7 flatbed and monorail aren't that much less convenient than a 4x5, and have the advantage of a long bellows. Since losing a 5x7 Elwood in a darkroom fire years ago, I use 4x5 film in them, though. It is indeed an underrated format.
     
  12. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    i think it is pretty nice myself too.
     
  13. Curt

    Curt Subscriber

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    I bought a Canham 5x7 bellows new last Fall and will be building a lighter weight full featured field camera that will take other backs also. I have everything else because I have a Seneca and Kodak 2D in that format and so I have the lenses, holders, and all the accessories. With it you can contact print and enlarge. It's ideal in my opinion you can use it in the studio and take it out without a great strain. I hope all the attention to the ULF doesn't make the film manufacturers and sellers greedy for a quick buck and ignore the smaller formats. John at JandC had Efke stock sent out and had it cut and packaged in 2x3 because, I would like to think, I kept at him for it.

    Curt
     
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  15. Rob Skeoch

    Rob Skeoch Advertiser Advertiser

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    I see it as a great format if you could only shoot one format. Also with the aging of the population I think more 8x10 shooters will be down sizing in their later years because of the size/weight issue.
    -Rob
     
  16. lee

    lee Member

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    the film size is nearly double the square inches of 4x5 20 ver 35

    lee\c
     
  17. athanasius80

    athanasius80 Member

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    Its also a cool format with nice contact prints, and as a starving student I find that filmholders are cheaper than 4x5. Lenses used to be cheaper, but Gallitis seems to have taken care of that. Now if only a 5x7 Speed Graphic would come my way...
     
  18. Curt

    Curt Subscriber

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    Rob you got that right, that's exactly what I started to think. Do I want to limit myself to shooting by the car on the side of the road with a ULF or have some freedom of range. Since I don't own pack mules it's a smaller camera or a lighter camera.

    Curt
     
  19. DBP

    DBP Member

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    I started thinking about it when I acquired my large format enlarger, a Solar 57. But I didn't seriously look around until I started doing a lot of contact prints (specifically Cyanotypes) and just wasn't happy with a mere 4x5. So I acquired a Century 46 at a camera show (it's truly a piece of art in its own right), and am learning my way around 5x7.
     
  20. BradS

    BradS Subscriber

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    I don't know...maybe it's like buying a new Toyota Camry when you'v been driving Fords all your life. Suddenly, you wake up and realize that there are a million Camrys on the road. That ever happen to you?

    I "accidentally" bought a well preserved B&J 5x7 commercial view a little while back. I've slowly been acquiring all the little extra bits to enable me to actually get out and shoot 5x7....you know, film holders, film, lens boards, etc...I guess I was kinda under the impression that 5x7 was...well, fading. I find that nothing could be further from the truth. Everywhere I look now-a-days, I see something else related to the 5x7 format.

    It does seem like The Perfect Format :smile:.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 22, 2006
  21. Curt

    Curt Subscriber

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    I bought a Jeep Wrangler and don't have to worry about looking like others I just wave as do most of the Jeep owners.
     
  22. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Member

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    Dear Brad,

    Every 5x7 user I have met (and that includes 13x18cm and half-plate users) does indeed see it as the ideal format: big enough to contact print (4x5 really isn't) but small enough to enlarge (5x7 enlargers aren't THAT much bigger than 4x5, and a LOT smaller and easier to find than 8x10). Once you try it, you're hooked.

    For years I suspected it was the ideal format, purely on theoretical grounds, but coukdn't find a camera at the right price -- and then, by chance, about six or seven years ago I got two and a half in one year, a Gandolfi Variant, a Linhof Technika V and a 5x7 back (the half) for my De Vere 8x10 monorail. I was delighted to learn that I was right: it is ideal.

    I've had two or three articles published where I plug it as such (one in Shutterbug), and I'll be pushing it again in the next Shutterbug buyer's guide. I also commend it highly in the free module in the Photo School at www.rogerandfrances.com where I run through the large formats that are currently available, and why you'd choose one over another.

    I don't shoot a vast amount of LF, even though I have cameras from 6x7cm (Linhof) to 12x15 inch (Gandolfi) because it's a hassle -- but with 5x7, for most subjects, the hassle is at the minimum and the rewards are at the maximum.

    Film choice? Still plenty from Ilford -- and remember that you can always switch to 13x18 or half-plate, because the holders have the same external dimensions and differ only internally.

    Cheers,

    Roger
     
  23. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I agree with most of what everyone has said so far: 5x7" (and 13x18cm) is the ideal format. The cameras are close enough in size to 4x5" cameras (in fact, many 4x5" cameras are 5x7" cameras with 4x5" backs!) to be convenient for carrying about, and sufficiently smaller than 8x10" to be - well, convenient for carrying about.

    At the moment I have three cameras in this size: A Gandolfi Traditional, and two antique German 13x18cm plate cameras. The Gandolfi is my main camera, and one of the plate cameras is my "lens test bed" - it has a iris holder, and a rigid front that can hold just about any lens. Coupled with six plate holders with film sheaths for both 5x7" and 13x18cm, a minimum draw of 6cm and a maximum of 65cm, it's perfect for testing lenses! Besides, the size of the film lets me see quickly if the lens covers 4x5" or not.

    I have very little problem in finding film for any of these - try 24x30cm if you want a difficult format!
     
  24. argus

    argus Member

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    13x18cm shooter over here too.

    I like the aspect ratio more than 4x5".

    All the rest has been said before: portability is not a great issue, contact prints...

    G
     
  25. seadrive

    seadrive Member

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    When my interest in photography returned, I was drawn to 5x7, because I knew I'd be limited to making contact prints, at least at first. I also prefer its aspect ratio to the too-squarish 4x5 and 8x10.

    Used 5x7's on eBay were not that much more expensive than 4x5's, and the film choices seemed sufficient. Tri-X, HP-5, Classic 400, Bergger 200, what more could a guy want?

    And being a middle child, it just feels right. :smile:
     
  26. photomc

    photomc Member

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    Sooooo, that's why I like it....add another (2 5x7 cameras), and love it.