Field camera for portraiture
I am completely new to the Large Format things so I need help . I am getting into portraiture seriously so at first I thought about a 4-5 monorail but considering my travel schedule, a monorail is not very practical.
So I am looking for a field camera to reduce my carrying weight. However, I heard that field cameras do not have the same extensive movements as monorails which are extremely important for controlling DOF in portraiture. I'm kind of confused since based on forum discussions, it seems that only some products photography and architecture require such movements. I wonder if the Shen Hao TZ45 IIa is sufficient for fashion portraiture.
I am also getting interested in Fuji instant pack films FP100B and FP100C but this instant film topic confuses me....I reckon I need Polaroid 550 or Fuji Pa 45 holder? Do they fit Shen Hao TZ45IIa? These holders are also extremely hard to find
Extensive movements are usually needed for architecture, not portraiture.
A basic Speed or Crown Graphic will do as a starter kit. Remember to keep it simple, especially when starting out.
There are monorail cameras that break down into very small packages for travel.
All the standard instant film holders fit modern field cameras.
We can not say if a Shen Hao will work for your vision. You'll have to try one out to see if it works with the way you see.
I did a lot of portraits with a field camera until I got a rail camera in the studio. I still use the field camera for outdoor portraits. In the studio I usualy only use rear rise/fall and shift because it is easier than adjusting the camera stand. You can do great portraits with a field camera, in fact one advantage is that as they are smaller they can be less intimidating to the subject.
DIGITAL IS FOR THOSE AFRAID OF THE DARK.
I started with a Crown Graphic for portraits. Decided the lens was too short pretty much right away. Longer lenses on a Crown get tricky, as it has limited bellows extension. Tele-lenses, with shorter bellows requirements are available like a 270mm. I've personally never been all that excited about the Shen Hao Fields. I think the older grey Toyo 4x5 is the camera I'd look for as a starter 4x5 Field for portraits. Light, tough, inexpensive (around $500), boards widely available, fairly long bellows (easily handles a 300mm at head and shoulders distance). Previous poster was right about movements not being critical. Sometimes, I might use front swing a tiny bit to bring two side-by-side subjects into the same plane of focus, or maybe a little front tilt to pull focus in a portrait with two rows of subjects--minimal movements.
Works great with a 10" lens (Commercial Ektar).
A 180 - 210 will easier to manage with at first.
All the movement stuff is not really important for portraiture.
A Crown will let you make a living in portraiture for a long time.
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Welcome to the forum.
I have a Shen Hao TZ45-IIA, it's first rate and of excellent build quality, in fact it's much better than excellent. The longest lens I have is a 240mm and it has plenty bellows draw for that. As to movements, more than enough for portrait, landscape and most architectural work.
If you find a human subject that requires a view camera's movements, I'd really like to see that person.
Kidding aside, portraiture requires (my opinion) a 1.5x - 2.5x magnification lens - I use a 300mm w/4x5 and a 485mm w/8x10. Standards are straight and verticle with rise, fall, and maybe a shift but no funny business re: tilts or swings, front or rear.
Mostly though, I'll use an RB or Hassy for the portraits as people don't care to sit still and the medium format cams are simpler.
"Beer is proof that God wants us to be happy."
Frank, an interesting comment of yours. It begs the question, given that I use the same film and lens aperture for my Shen Hao as I would for my Mamiya RB, why would my sitter have to "sit still" for the field camera and not the Mamiya?
SLR versus ground glass would be an issue I think. None of that hold still while I load a holder.
Only reason I can think of for movements is why you don't want "normal"
Presumably the larger negative is attractive. A pre-measured length of string has usually got over the problem of focus for static sitters, a bit different though for fashion models on a cat-walk.
Originally Posted by Nick Zentena