ULF vs LF Where does it begin

Discussion in 'Ultra Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by photomc, Dec 10, 2007.

  1. photomc

    photomc Member

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    Have seen a few post referring to what I consider LF, as ULF and was wonder what is the consensus of where ULF begins? In my mind ULF would include the following common formats - 7x17 and 8x20 in the pano formats, 11x14, 14x17, 12x20, 16x20 and 20x24 as the most common UL Formats in use today. The formats of 5x12, 5x14, 7x11 are more like a pano version of 8x10, this based the fact that all are < 80 sq. in. = 8x10. The only more obscure formats of 8x12, 8x14 and 10x12 being somewhere in between LF and ULF.

    Just curious what others consider ULF to be, or if there is a historic or more recent guide to describe ULF.

    TIA
     
  2. Dave Wooten

    Dave Wooten Member

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    The answer is 14 x 17 and up is ULF. 4 x 5 and 5 x 7 compact LF. 8 x 10 - 11 x 14 LF.
     
  3. Brian Bullen

    Brian Bullen Member

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    I'd say it begins at 10x12 and goes up from there. 10x12 =120 sq. in. 7x17 119 sq. in.
     
  4. Colin Graham

    Colin Graham Member

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    My thoughts follow yours but I think for convenience a lot of formats fall under the umbrella of ULF. Film orders, odd sized trays, miscellaneous techinques; I shoot 5x12 and have never considered it ULF but I post questions in the ULF forum simply because it shares some of the foibles of the larger banquet formats.
     
  5. Sanjay Sen

    Sanjay Sen Member

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    I always thought that it's the image diagonal that is considered. I am not sure, but if that is the case, then 5x12 (for instance) will be ULF as it has an image diagonal that is larger than 8x10, if you consider anything larger than 8x10 as ULF.

    I guess you will get as many opinions as there are LF/ULF photographers!
     
  6. sanking

    sanking Restricted Access

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    For me ULF is anything that has a diagonal dimension longer than 8X10. By that standard 5X12 and 7X11 qualify, though just barely.

    If I were forced to adopt a less liberal standard, ULF would be 11X14, and anything with a longer diagonal than 11X14. That would include the common (and uncommon) formats of 10X12, 7X17, 8X20, 12X20, 14X17, 12X16, 18X22, and 20X24.

    Sandy King
     
  7. RobertP

    RobertP Member

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    Sandy, You forgot 16x20. I always thought the rule-of- thumb was anything larger than 11x14. 11x14 included
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 10, 2007
  8. JBrunner

    JBrunner Moderator Staff Member

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    I have always considered anything that exceeds 81 sq. inches as ULF.
     
  9. ReallyBigCameras

    ReallyBigCameras Advertiser

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    Back a few years ago, I used anything > 80 in. sq. as my qualification for ULF status for an article I wrote on currently available ULF cameras or View Camera. In other words, anything with an film area greater than 8x10 met my definitions of ULF. That, admittedly arbitrary, definition excludes 5x12 and 7x11. My reasoning for this is that, logistically speaking, those two formats aren't significantly different to manage in the field in terms of weight and bulk (considering cameras, holders, lenses, tripods, etc.). In fact, in terms of bulk (and possibly weight), a 5x12 system (camera and holders) would take up less space in a pack/bag than a comparable 8x10 system. For 7x11, the weight/bulk issue is pretty much a wash compared to 8x10.

    Anyway, that's the definition I've been using, but it's not meant to be exclusionary in any way. It's just where things, in my mind, start to go from big to REALLY big. Of course, shooters of 5x12 and 7x11 encounter similar product availability issues o those shooting the > 80 i. sq. formats. So, again it's a bit arbitrary.

    Kerry
     
  10. walter23

    walter23 Subscriber

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    Anything from 4x5 to 8x10 is LF (and the 6xX panoramic backs when used on a view camera can be considered LF as well). Anything larger is ULF. That's the absolute truth, the words and definitions are 100% unambiguous, and there is no element of interpretation possible.
     
  11. PHOTOTONE

    PHOTOTONE Member

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    So, by your definition, 2 1/4 x 3 1/4 sheet film, and 3 1/4 x 4 1/4 sheet film are not Large Format at all but medium-format, even though they are sheet-film?
     
  12. dslater

    dslater Subscriber

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    Hmm - actually, I'd buy that - though the 3.25x4.25 is pushing it a bit. However, I still find walter's definition to be a bit arbitrary. Seems to me that's it's just a personal opinion, not a definition.
     
  13. photomc

    photomc Member

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    Thanks Guys, interesting responses - some expected and some unexpected. Nice to hear what everyone else uses for a guide.
     
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  15. scootermm

    scootermm Subscriber

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    Im floored.

    every one of you has it all wrong. let me shed some light...

    4x5 - sub mini format
    5x7 - mini format
    8x10, 7x11, 10x12, 11x14 - small format
    4x10, 5x12, 7x17, 8x20 - anorexic format
    14x17, 12x20, 16x20 - medium format
    20x24 - large format

    its so simple.
     
  16. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member

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  17. Paul Cocklin

    Paul Cocklin Member

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    I think the more appropriate measurement is by pain.

    Large format = moderate lower back pain when hiking more than 1 mile roundtrip.

    ULF = a crippling inablility to move the next morning after a 1 mile hike.

    Some days I shoot LF, some days it feels like ULF. :smile:
     
  18. Hugo Zhang

    Hugo Zhang Member

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    An interesting survey from Mamutphoto a while ago...

    Tiny (35mm and medium format) : 11 - 10%
    Small (4x5 to 8x10) : 66 - 60%
    Panoramic (5x12, 7x17, 8x20) : 11 - 10%
    Medium (11x14, 12x20) : 10 - 9.1%
    Large (14x17, 16x20) : 9 - 8.2%
    Mamut (18x22, 20x24) : 3 - 2.7%
     
  19. JBrunner

    JBrunner Moderator Staff Member

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    On further reflection, ULF seems to begin at about the spot my wallet ends....
     
  20. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member

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    I think I once posted that "ULF" is what you say when you realize you've just bought a very large camera, and you realize you need more darkroom space, and more storage space for the negs and proofs, and you can't make small proof prints, and you need a bigger lightbox, and even your garbage can isn't big enough for the rejects.
     
  21. Sanjay Sen

    Sanjay Sen Member

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    That's more like my practical definition of ULF as well.
     
  22. epatsellis

    epatsellis Member

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    Paul, don't you mean a crippling inability to move the next morning after a 100 yard hike???


    erie
     
  23. Paul Cocklin

    Paul Cocklin Member

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    erie, you may have hit on something there. ULF has the ability to alter distances. It makes 100 yards feel like a mile.
     
  24. walter23

    walter23 Subscriber

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    I've already told you the absolute dogmatic truth. Do not question it with examples of ambiguities because there are no ambiguities.
     
  25. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member

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    I still like the definition another website uses, that LF starts at 100 square centimeters. That includes 9x12cm, but excludes 6.5x9cm.

    By stretching that definition a little, ULF starts at 600 square centimeters. 8x10" is 500 cm^2, so falls below that limit. 24x30cm (9.5x12") is 720 cm^2, and is above the limit.
     
  26. David Brown

    David Brown Subscriber

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    Isn't that what you used to shoot?

    :D:D:D