Tech Notes, On Choosing a format

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by gbenaim, Mar 5, 2009.

  1. gbenaim

    gbenaim Member

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    Hi all,

    I just put up on my blog some ideas I've been thinking about regarding the move up to larger formats, prompted by my own experience and questions that keep popping up periodically. Let me know what you think,

    GB
     
  2. archphoto

    archphoto Member

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    I think you are right.

    I have both 4x5 and 8x10 and I use them diferently: 4x5 for my work as an architectural photographer and 8x10 for my free work.
    Sometimes I use the 8x10 to get 4x10, esp with housing estates.

    Somehow I never saw the need for 5x7, it is too much inbetween these formats.

    Contactprints I make seldom these day's of hybrid though.

    Having said that, my customers in Brazil demand D only, I am upfront with the latest, if I would show up with a 4x5 I would get
    teh name of "The old guy" and loose the business that I have right now....

    Sometimes the camera is choosen for you by your customers, what you do in your own time is something else.

    Peter
     
  3. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    GB

    I've been wrestling with this a bit too.

    The idea of working back from the final print is an important concept.

    I added an extra piece of info to my equation, the viewing distance.

    Format:Focal Length = Print Size:Viewing Distance

    The Idea is to keep the perspective of both "the final view" and "the cameras view" at very close to the same ratio.

    I came to the conclusion that one of the reason that 85mm and 105mm lenses are so popular on 35mm film for portraits is that this was driven by the "normal" print sizes of 8x10 and 5x7 being viewed "in hand" or "on desk" or "in a hallway".

    This thought is pushing me to use fairly "normal" focal lengths (35 to 50) with my 35mm film because I'm working toward creating more artsy stuff for larger spaces like living rooms.
     
  4. juan

    juan Subscriber

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    I find that I take very different photos with 4x5 than with 8x10. For some reason, I see 4x5 as verticals and 8x10 as horizontals.
    juan
     
  5. Ralph Javins

    Ralph Javins Member

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    Good morning, Peter;

    In what I am doing with events, the desire of the "customer" definitely influences the camera choice: For what I am doing, it is a digital camera. That is the only way that I can get something in a form that they can take with them when they are driving home afterward. Fortunately, the equipment has reached the point now where I can trust it to deliver an acceptable exposure and focus, and I can concentrate on the framing and timing of the shot. Quickly checking with the display confirms that I have something that is "useable." There have been a few occasions when I have over-ridden the light meter to get the exposure I wanted under unusual light conditions.

    If they want something a little more formal and with some "fine tuning," then a bit of a delay while I run things through PhotoShop is appropriate. So far, no one has exercized the offer of the film option.

    Now if it is something for me, then I can accept the additional time requirement in exchange for the enjoyment of getting the latitude and detail and "feeling" of film, especially in Large Format. I think that is why most of us participate in this forum.
     
  6. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    :confused:

    Fuji Instax 200?
     
  7. BobNewYork

    BobNewYork Member

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    There is a distinction to be made between commercial and personal photography in that the customer dictates, and has the right to dictate, the form of the product. Much of the advertising and product-type photography is required in digi format. It is simply more efficient and convenient to use direct digi-capture for web sites, printing and other promotional uses. We know that a scanned negative or transparency affords substantially greater quality - but if you're displaying on a web site or printing at 150 dpi in a magazine - the clients simply don't care. Even digi-based point-of-sale posters are acceptable because the customers, in general, are not studying these as if in a museum.

    For event photography I offer both. Those that want, or may want enlargements often choose film because I show them the difference between an 1x14 from digital, 35mm and medium format - and side-by-side there's a substantial difference.

    The end-use is the determinant factor. For Apugger's personal use there is no choice but film - and that is as it should be. There are other "fine artists" out there who insist on digi; - they're entitled to be wrong!

    Bob H
     
  8. Chazzy

    Chazzy Member

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    I think that might be too generous. :smile:
     
  9. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    I agree completely about the clients right to define what they want.

    This is a good point, picking an appropriate format is key. I truly believe that wedding photographers in general are offering services that are overkill for what the mass market is really willing to pay for. (What they want is a whole different question.)

    The point I'd like to make here is that the photographer gets to define what products and services he or she is willing to offer and the medium(s) of capture they are willing to use.

    When the definitions don't match there is no shame in both parties walking away from a deal. This happens all the time; product shooters might avoid fashion shoots but happily do portraits, fashion shooters might avoid landscape work but happily do street photography.

    This is exactly my thought with the Instax, it's a low cost/high value option, about $100 for both the camera and 50 prints for wedding guests to take home as a feel good and a marketing tool. It doesn't require a computer, a printer, download time, editing, or PS, or an assistant. Sign the back, add a phone number; it's done, everybody is happy and amazed. They can scan them at home by themselves, they can share them at the water cooler on Monday.

    The only thing the shooter needs to worry about is getting paid fairly for shooting these snaps at the reception.

    I don't offer digital capture but do offer digital output (scanned and corrected by a lab) when the customer specifies that need. I just don't offer or care about work that requires instant output, beyond instant film that is.

    The magic for me is controlling the shot count and shooting to provide the expected output. If the client wants an album with 40 pages I know I will need about 60 finished images which means I need to shoot at least 120 but really no more than 180 shots for the job.

    The big current challenge is getting the client to understand that they don't need 1,000 professional shots to make a great 40 page album. If they can't grasp that concept the client isn't a good fit for me.
     
  10. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    I agree, saw a "framed set" on sale at a local gallery. Two images "Mirrored" in PS side to side then vertically made up the top framed pair, the next pair just below were just mirrored once more side to side making an image twice as wide. This went on five levels deep creating a pyramid of 10 framed prints. $30,000 was the asking price.