The Allure of the Large Format Camera

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by Kevin Caulfield, Jul 17, 2013.

  1. Kevin Caulfield

    Kevin Caulfield Subscriber

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    We spent a few days in Lorne in the middle of the school holidays, and each morning I went down to the pier to take some photos before and during the sunrise. I did this for three mornings and it was only on the last morning that I set up the large format 4 x 5 Wista for a few shots as the sun was rising. There were only two other people on the beach, apart from several fishermen way down at the end of the pier. Both the others were taking snapshots. Within one minute of starting to set up the camera, both people had come racing over to see the camera and both were surprised that you can still get "old fashioned" cameras like that. They were genuinely impressed.
     
  2. zsas

    zsas Member

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    For sure that's true! As almost exclusively a 35mm kinda guy, if I ever run into you LF folks, I'm so thrilled to check out the rig:smile:
     
  3. Jesper

    Jesper Subscriber

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    The first question I always get is "How old is it?" and then I watch their jaws drop when I tell them that I bought it brand new and that they are still being produced (I have a Wista 4x5 and a Wista 8x10, both field cameras).
     
  4. paul_c5x4

    paul_c5x4 Subscriber

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    The second question is often "Can you still get plates for that ?" - Well yes, Ilford and others still manufacture glass plates, but at ten quid a pop, it is much cheaper and easier to shoot film.
     
  5. rbeech

    rbeech Member

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    Where ever I set up my 8x10 Seneca I usually attract a small crowd.
     
  6. munz6869

    munz6869 Subscriber

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    This happened with me and my Wista wandering around Brisbane on the weekend. I love it - I meet folks of all kinds on travels with the 5x4'!

    Marc!
     
  7. Klainmeister

    Klainmeister Member

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    It's part of the fun shooting LF. That said, it's also the only camera I have used publicly where people recognize I am taking an 'important' image and will mind not stepping into the frame.
     
  8. Alan Gales

    Alan Gales Member

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    When using my 4x5 Tachihara I get asked if I refinished the antique camera myself. With the 8x10 Wehman they just comment that it's so big. I wonder what the 16x20 guys hear.
     
  9. Klainmeister

    Klainmeister Member

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    "He must be compensating for something..."

    :tongue:
     
  10. Alan Gales

    Alan Gales Member

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    :D
     
  11. polyglot

    polyglot Member

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    Pffft, I get that when using the RZ. Some people just don't understand what "big" is.

    Occasionally I get comments about how I must be a professional (or "that's a good camera") when I carry my DSLR with vertical grip to kids birthday parties etc. People are generally puzzled to hear that it's my toy/smallest camera, with bonus points for wife-embarrassment-factor.
     
  12. Klainmeister

    Klainmeister Member

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    That's true. I have a lot more respect for a guy who pulls up in a little old Mazda and erects a 16x20 camera than one who pulls up in his lifted Ford and takes a self-portrait with an iPhone.
     
  13. Mainecoonmaniac

    Mainecoonmaniac Subscriber

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    LF camera for me is a practice of photographic meditation. I slow down and struggle with the camera until I get into a zone where my mind quiets enough to insert the film holder, pull the dark slide and click the shutter. The journey is the best part.
     
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  15. StoneNYC

    StoneNYC Subscriber

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    This made me burst out laughing... I'm on the train and now everyone is looking at me... Lol


    ~Stone | Sent w/ iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  16. Tom1956

    Tom1956 Inactive

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    At this age in life I finally got my first 8x10 a few months ago. Now, all that 4x5 stuff seems like 35mm's to me, like ...what's the point? Still have to use an enlarger, still carry around the bulk, so where's the advantag?. Seriously thinking of getting rid of Crowns and a Calumet I've had for 35 years. I mean, if you're going to drag out a beast of a camera, why fool with those little 4x5's and not just go ahead and use the 8x10. With x-ray film, of course. I refuse to pay $10 a sheet for film. That's just absurd.
     
  17. StoneNYC

    StoneNYC Subscriber

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    Keep 1 4x5... X ray film won't be around forever...


    ~Stone | Sent w/ iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  18. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    +1
    xray film is double sided so it kills your chemistry 2x as fast ..
     
  19. Tom1956

    Tom1956 Inactive

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    No, I'm getting tired of owning cameras. Like a woman who doesn't know which dress to wear, so she goes out in stretch pants. Likewise I'm not taking pictures, not really. I'm about to get rid of the whole lot--35's MF, 4x5's, and just keep my Hass C/M and the 8x10. In another thread I was investigating fixing up the Rollei 3.5E I've had since 1976, but I'll be darned if I'm going to pay 225 just to have the front element polished and coated, not when I have a perfectly good CM. The more cameras you own is the less pictures you take.
     
  20. Ken Nadvornick

    Ken Nadvornick Subscriber

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    Each camera I own speaks its own language. Because of this each camera has its own unique way to assist me in saying what I'm trying to say. I decide which one to pick up based on the mood I'm in and the story I want to tell. I would no more intentionally sell off a second or third camera on a whim than I would intentionally forget a second or third language on a whim.

    If I have several cameras from which to choose and I can't seem to ever choose one and so find myself taking less pictures and telling fewer stories, it's not the choice of cameras that is at fault.

    Ken
     
  21. Poisson Du Jour

    Poisson Du Jour Member

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    Any film camera will illicit a response from people. Or even get rid of them with the noise it makes. I cleared the decks at Erskine Falls with a humble 67. :smile:
    PS: Be aware that the area around the pier is a hot spot for thefts from cars, also Erskine Falls and Blanket Leaf.
     
  22. Tom1956

    Tom1956 Inactive

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    What if you had a house full of hobbies, too much junk, and not enough ordinary comfort? Junk lying around everywhere is a ship dragging anchor. I'm tired of all this junk (stuff, equipment, whatever). You guys on this site have been inspiring. I just want to take pictures. I got bit by the bug in 1971, and really want to just get back to it. I thank god it wasn't the golf-bug my 82 year-old-Dad still has. With that, I'll conclude my thread-hogging.
     
  23. Ken Nadvornick

    Ken Nadvornick Subscriber

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    I suppose if I considered my cameras to be nothing more than junk that was interfering with my comfort, then yes, I'd probably want to trash them all and be done with it. But that's not how I think about my cameras.

    I guess YMMV...

    Ken
     
  24. Tom1956

    Tom1956 Inactive

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    Some day if you're ever on the up-side of getting over a horrible illness (TG it wasn't cancer), you tend to see things different. You don't have to have actual cancer of the prostate for that miserable little organ to debilitate you. Now I wanna take pictures and I think a Hasselblad 500 CM is perfectly good for most every kind. Who really needs anything more?
     
  25. Ken Nadvornick

    Ken Nadvornick Subscriber

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    As I said, YMMV...

    Ken
     
  26. jerrybro

    jerrybro Subscriber

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    Tom1956 said
    "The more cameras you own is the less pictures you take."

    There is a lot of truth there. I've got 35mm slrs and rangefinders, 120 tlrs and slrs, and 2 4x5s. I've been photographically dormant for a few years, since I moved and lost the darkroom. Now I've set up another darkroom and am trying really hard to get my mojo back, but it ain't easy. I won't hijack this thread, felt I had to validate the statement.