Why does everyone seem to think my 4x5 is a movie camera?

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by mfratt, Dec 28, 2010.

  1. mfratt

    mfratt Member

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    I'd say about half the people who have approached me out of curiosity while using my 4x5 have asked a question under the presumption that I'm making a video. Most recently, in the latest blizzard, some young kids in an Audi doing donuts in the middle of the street thought I was making some "Fast and Furious" film about them.

    It gets tiring having to explain what your camera is and what you're doing to every curious george who comes up to you. Ugh. Besides, what movie camera looks ANYTHING like a monorail?
     
  2. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Member

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    Most professional size movie cameras I have seen have a bellows type lens shade on the front which rivals a 5x4 camera's bellows for size so I think there is some comparison to be made by those not used to seeing such things.

    http://rafcamera.com/images/manuals/kinor-35h.jpg


    Steve.
     
  3. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

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    For the same reason why bystanders think my Mamiya C330F when used at eye level with a prism is either a cine or video camera, ignorance !
     
  4. hpulley

    hpulley Member

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    My Mamiya RB67 gets it too. The human ability to categorize things is interesting at times.
     
  5. amac212

    amac212 Member

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    I can understand how it looks so unrecognizeable to a good portion of the population, but I find it somewhat amusing. I only wish that I'd get $5 for each time someone would ask me that question (both with my MF and LF cameras).

    What's funnier to me, is that they even ask "what are you doing?"... when it's so obvious what I'm doing! (My camera is pointed at something... I'm focusing... maybe even clicked and wound a few times... what more do you need??) :wink:
     
  6. Dan Henderson

    Dan Henderson Member

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    It has happened to me also; it must be a common mistake of the uninformed.

    But what is far more amusing to me is when the occasional bystander will ask to look in the ground glass and then exclaim, "it's upside down!" To which I, of course, reply, "it is?"
     
  7. Jesper

    Jesper Subscriber

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    With a monorail at least you don´t get the eternal "how old is it"-question that you get when using a field camera.
    But if you want a change in questions use a field camera instead (equally annoying though).
     
  8. Pinholemaster

    Pinholemaster Member

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    Cause they are idiots wanting to be on TV.
     
  9. papagene

    papagene Membership Council Council

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    I got the same question in Coney Island last summer photographing Lola Staar's Dreamland Roller Rink.
     
  10. ghostcount

    ghostcount Member

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    Ask 'em to stand in front of it, smile, do something silly and you'll post it on Youtube. :D
     
  11. alanrockwood

    alanrockwood Member

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    Why all the negativity here? It's OK for the non-experts to be non-experts. The fact that they were asking means they are showing interest. Isn't that a good thing? Why be elitist about it? Why not look at the questions and interest as a good thing?
     
  12. wclark5179

    wclark5179 Member

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    My wife calls my Rolleiflex a chick magnet as whenever I'm out using it, usually it's the ladies who inquire about it. Maybe they see it as a work of art or they see an old geezer like me and know they don't have to worry!

    At any rate, I believe many folks haven't seen some of the photo equipment we use!

    Kinda fun!

    Smiles.
     
  13. erikg

    erikg Member

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    Funny, most of the time I get people who think I'm surveying. That's with the 4x5, mind you. Doesn't bother me, I think most people are just trying to be friendly. I'm curious about a lot of things and I ask some dumb questions too. Glad that most people are pretty patient with me. I was shooting with a friend one time years ago, we both had 4x5s on tripods. Someone pulled up and said "is that where the highway is going to go?" Just as I was about to turn and give a straight explanation my friend says in a mock serious voice "that's what we're here to find out, ma'am." Satisfied (perhaps) she drove off. Loved it.
     
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  15. Paul Sorensen

    Paul Sorensen Member

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    Ditto, I am always getting this with my RB67, it seems.
     
  16. mfratt

    mfratt Member

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    Not trying to be elitist, it just gets annoying. Personally, when I'm photographing I like to be in my own space and don't like having to explain what I'm doing to people. But, being a reasonably nice person, I know that their curiosity is genuine and they don't mean anything bad by it do I do give them a (brief) explanation.

    Its just a bit frustrating.

    I also get this with my Rolleiflex, but at least that sort of looks like a miniature Bolex http://farm1.static.flickr.com/127/344473681_7a774f1bbc.jpg
     
  17. largely

    largely Subscriber

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    I agree 100%. It's an opportunity to explain that film isn't dead and explain that film is indeed "still made and available".

    Larry
     
  18. Ken Nadvornick

    Ken Nadvornick Member

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    Last October I was set up on the north rim of the canyon at Palouse Falls.* The camera was my restored-to-like-new Calumet C1 8x10, gleaming and looking very sharp paired with my wooden Zone VI heavy-duty tripod. Add the oversized blue and white Calumet dark cloth and it's a combination guaranteed to attract interested bystanders.

    So I'm under the cloth and hear footsteps. The young lady is a student at Washington State University who is leading a sightseeing tour for about a dozen foreign exchange students. Would I mind saying a few words about what I'm doing to the group? Uh oh. I know it's time for the prepackaged short course on large format photography.

    About an hour later, after having explained it all, and answered a bazillion questions, and let everyone have a GG look, and let them all dry fire the shutter once, and posed for pictures with everyone, and traded email addresses with a few, AND listened repeatedly as everyone apologized for carrying and using digital cameras, I finally got my exposures.

    I wasn't upset one bit by any of this. It was a chance to gain some mindshare for traditional photography, not to mention also being a nice little exercise in international relations. And the coed conducting the tour? She told me she couldn't wait to get her own darkroom set up after she graduated. She was probably 21 years old and had absolutely no idea that film photography is dead.

    All in all, a very pleasant afternoon.

    Ken

    * Palouse Falls State Park is located in southeast Washington State, USA.
     
  19. rpsawin

    rpsawin Subscriber

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    While shooting with a Bronica SQb on a tripod a group of fishermen mistook me for a news camerman and asked me what channel I was with and were they going to be on TV...it was kinda tough to break it to them that I was not with a TV station.

    Bob
     
  20. eddym

    eddym Member

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    I just tell 'em I'm a news cameraman for the Onion.
     
  21. mfratt

    mfratt Member

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    This isn't a movie camera, its a bazooka! Can you stand over there so I can shoot you?

    Haven't tried this, but I'd imagine it would be a good way to get people to leave you alone. And to get the coppers called on you.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 28, 2010
  22. Hikari

    Hikari Member

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    I don't see you have a problem. I was out walking my Newfoundland dog and a kid pointed to it saying, "Mom, look. A poodle!"

    I am happy that people will ask. You never know what these encounters will bring.
     
  23. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

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    When My kids were young I took them to The Tower of London and my youngest son then about five when he saw a Beefeater for the first time jumped up and down with excitement shouting " look dad a beefburger !" the guy heard him and came over said to him " the correct name for us son is Yeomen Warders" :smile:
     
  24. blockend

    blockend Member

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    When you can shoot broadcast quality 1080 video on a camera not much bigger than a credit card, a monorail must look like something from the moonshot. I'd say you're setting up a Punch and Judy show and the bellows are a concertina.
     
  25. 23mjm

    23mjm Member

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    I had some moron ask me "what type of digital camera was I shooting?" I ask him "what makes you think it is digital?" he said "it has that big screen on the back" I was speechless---told him it was a film film camera about as far from digital as I could get. "he suggested I get a digital--they are better" I smiled and ducked under my focusing cloth---saying "keep telling yourself that"

    Oh yea--I was shooting my 4X5 field camera!!! Forgot the mention that to you all.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 31, 2010
  26. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    Last Easter Jeep Safari in Moab, a man told me that his son's digi-snapper could beat the pants of my Hasselblad. I replied, "You must be so proud." He avoided me after that and would not look me in the eye.