50 sheets of B&W 4x5 (eg Tri-X) will only cost you about AUD$75 here in Australia (eg from Vanbar), and can be obtained even more cheaply from the US. Processing B&W 4x5 is also pretty cheap and easy to do yourself. I therefore find B&W 4x5 to be cost effective entertainment for me. From the prices you have quoted though, it sounds like you will be doing mostly colour work? I rarely shoot colour (in any format) so cannot really help you with deciding whether that is worth the cash. But if you are not earning from it, shooting large quantities of colour 4x5 in Australia may become a relatively pricey hobby...
I buy my film local and from the states. I shoot both 4 x 5 and 8 x 10. I really only notice the cost on the 8 x 10. The auction site is great for deals and a freezer comes in handy. If you wish to scan yourself look at a second hand MICROTEK scanner. If you want help drop me a PM we can talk more.
The $20 a shot estimates seems wildly high. In the US:
Black and white is a $1/sheet, processing it yourself is $.50 or less.
Color negative or transparency is $2/sheet, commercial processing another $2.00, $.50 to $1 if you process it yourself.
You can halve the film costs by buying off-brands or cold-stored expired stock.
Developing $10 a sheet? Not last I looked. $6.50 from Vision Image Lab in Waterloo, and something similar from the Lighthouse in Bondi (owned/operated by Stephen Frizza who posts here).
As for drum scanning, I believe Steve's drum scanner has made it's way from the floor on to a bench but still isn't operational. Are drum scans really necessary? I honestly don't know as I print everything optically. That's somewhat off-topic here anyway - try hybridphoto.com...
Thank you everyone for your prompt replies. Here is some more information which might help orientate the people who have posted or about to post. My aim is to print ~1m posters. I dont think digital would come even close to the quality of 4x5. I am interested in both color and black and white. I have never dealt with old school developing or printing, therefor it seems a bit daunting to do it by myself. I also dont really have any room for setting up a darkroom. Therefore contact prints and home enalrging and developing is out of question? So I was hoping my purchases and workflow could be:
Scanner eg. epson v750
Camera: Shen Hao 4x5
Lenses: wide angle + normal range/macro
Film Holders: ~4-5?
1. Shoot film
2. Send for developing
3. Scan using epson v750 scanner and evaluate negatives suitable for large prints
4. Choose the photos for 1m printing based on step 3 and send negatives for drum scanning
5. Tweak dum-scanned negatives and send for printing
Does this sound reasonable? Would be great to hear how other people work. I have also purchased two books which should come shortly;
View Camera Technique by Leslie Stroebel and Large Format Nature Photography by Jack Dykinga. I am hoping they would help me get started and get an idea of workflows and equipment necessary.
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One lens in sutter on lens board
4x5 holders, less than a dozen to start will be fine
Light meter (substitute DLSR)
That's the bare minimum. Chances are good to great that you can find a ready to shoot kit for little more than the camera alone.
I have been shooting expired 4x5 b&W film. No worries. Cheap. Cheap. 100 sheets of HP5+ was $15 and 100 sheets of unexpired Foma 200 was less.
A 5 liter bag of Xtol costs $10 USD, not sure about the Oz price. You can develop several hundred sheets in 5 liters.
3 8x10 trays will devlop your film if you have a dark space. A daylight tank isn't too expensive if you need one.
Go for it!
EDIT to say: Sorry, I didn't read your last post. That is essentially what I am doing except 1m posters aren't on the horizon.
For proofing scans, the V750 is overkill. Look around for a used Epson 4990 or older model. I just bought an Epson 1680 for $150. It works fine for normal size prints & web posting. Microtek and Canon made similar scanners.
Last edited by Venchka; 02-15-2009 at 07:49 PM. Click to view previous post history.
This discussion now belongs in the hybrid group, but, may I suggest going directly to having LlightJet prints made from your edited digital file. There is no reason to produce a negative from the digital file.
Originally Posted by l2oBiN
You'd be insane not to develop your black and white yourself. Really. It isn't rocket science. Everyone here will be glad to help answer questions.
The scanning stuff needs to be taken up on Hybridphoto.com
That's just, like, my opinion, man...
After being on the side of several d****l workflow discussions, I wonder why people think its great? Its an awful lot of tedious fidgeting work compared to being in the analog darkroom.
I have never dealt with old school developing or printing, therefor it seems a bit daunting to do it by myself. I also don't really have any room for setting up a darkroom. Therefore contact prints and home enlarging and developing is out of question?
Many people with minimal living space successfully set up temporary darkrooms in residences. Its not hard. A 4x5 enlarger is still easily portable.
I have no experience with drum scanners as they are hugely expensive, but your Epson V750 is as good as a flatbed scanner gets I think, and it will scan negatives quite nicely. Take a look at the latest 4 in my gallery of the railroad locomotive. They are all 4x5 negative scans done on a V700.
Even if you only develop your sheets yourself, and then scan them instead of enlarging, you don't need much space at all. You can easily process your B&W sheets in your bathroom if you can make it light-tight. You can even do it (although somewhat less comfortably) without a light-tight room at all, if you are prepared to unload your film holders into a small tank (eg a Combi-Plan) inside a small changing tent (eg a Harrison).