I just loaded my own Sinar in the truck and am going to head out in a few minutes. But a couple of other suggestions. I think it would be more difficult and less rewarding to use a roll-film back. The smaller image is much more finicky to focus and quite a few roll-film holders don't hold the
film on a very precise plane. One might get pretty frustrated trying to sort
out why certain images aren't in good focus. After one learns the basics,
then you can transfer those skills if necessary to a roll-film back. And full
4X5 film does give a much more usable neg or chrome with less issues
with dust spots or inevitable film blemishes. If you're planning on a home
color darkroom somewhere down the line, then color neg film makes the
most sense, but without actually printing it, it's difficult to guage your progress. Scanning and viewing on a monitor is a pretty crude form of evaluation since 4X5 film is really meant to hold dramatically more visual
information than you can see on a screen. Some labs can offer you both a
contact sheet and a disc, and that might be helpful getting to first base.
I agree with most of the rest, but less issues with dust and blemishes with sheets? You load film holders in a clean room? I have few 4x5 dust problems now but none with 120 (at least, none on the film prior to exposure - in the darkroom of course just clean the thing and make another print or learn to spot.) That was true with Quickload and Readyload but other than rapidly diminishing and expiring film via eBay or very expensive import of remaining Quickloads those aren't that practical anymore.
I also don't have any problem evaluating a 6x6, much less 6x7 or 6x9, transparency on a lightbox with a loupe. Totally agree about negatives being hard to evaluate without printing and about the smaller ground glass image being finicky and more difficult to work with, though.
"roll-film back. The smaller image is much more finicky to focus and quite a few roll-film holders don't hold the
film on a very precise plane."
I have used roll film backs in view camera for certain projects that I needed a view camera and a lower cost film, due to the volume, and never ever had a focus problem, with hundreds of shots.
Perhaps I am just lucky to have several Graflex roll holders and view camera that everything worked perfectly the first time, every time. However, that is what the equipment is designed so if it doesn't, something else is wrong. JMHO
I've never had a problem focusing as such nor with film flatness with mine. But I do find the smaller image harder to work with, especially if movements are being used.
Originally Posted by fotch
In my use I was mainly copying flat works, art, photos, etc. For restoration, a 16x20 print or larger would be made for the artist and then later re-photographed and reproduced to the original size. Other than bellows extension, no movements used. Always razor sharp.
Originally Posted by Roger Cole
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Yeah Roger, I always load filmholders in a true cleanroom, but if I have to
use a changing tent it's got a clean poly liner inside it. Rollfilm holders are
infamous for inaccuracy. Certainly not all of them were precisely made,
and not all view camera backs seat them ideally. But I guess it depends on one's standard. With my Horseman 6x9 holder I can get images way sharper than the best of med format SLR or rangefinder lenses, but that's because of the huge advantage of plane of focus movements on a view camera, esp if one is a long focal length junkie like me. With a conventional camera all one can do if stop the lens way down. And then the Horseman back is one of those with a solid reputation for quality control, but requires removal of the std 4x5 back. The only interest I personally have in this is for very long backpacks as I gradually enter further into geezerhood and want more room for food in the pack, and want to travel the high passes a bit faster. But the downside is that it takes a much slower film (25) to equate to the detail I typically get in
4X5 with a more convenient speed. Not complaining, esp since my day
camera is usually 8x10 anyway. The biggest nuisance with small film is
that it is more fragile, more electrostatic, and little blemishes are proportionately bigger in the print. And the only film out there in 25ASA
with a very long scale compared to larger format films is Efke 25, which
is a little more blemish prone than films by Ilford, Kodak, or Fuji. But I
have gotten some wonderful images with it. Colorwise, we've now got
Ektar, which will take a fair degree of enlargement from roll size.