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Thread: start smaller?

  1. #1
    JessicaDittmer's Avatar
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    start smaller?

    I think I have everything now for my 8x10 camera to start learning...but I wonder should I start using my 4x5 I have hidden away first? I have all I need (except film) for it as well - should I start smaller a bit and work up? I don't have a darkroom yet for doing my own printing but working toward it in the new house- designated area which will be the darkroom at some point but we are restoring the house and adding on (other things that have to come first). I do have darkroom equipment but not for printing 8x10 negs- finances will keep that beyond reach for a while I predict. Wondering if I should start with 4x5 and see if I can learn 4x5 printing first and then go from there? encouragement, scolding, stories all welcome...need advice. thanks!
    j e s s i c a | d i t t m e r

  2. #2

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    It doesn't make much difference. You can't get much more minimal than 8x10 contact prints. You'll need a darkroom and enlarger to print from the 4x5.

  3. #3
    JessicaDittmer's Avatar
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    so you think go for it with what I have and contact print the 8x10's to start? I have so much to learn....(saying this in a good way, not a whine LOL- looking forward to the challenge).
    j e s s i c a | d i t t m e r

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    If you've never viewed an 8x10 contact, you're in for a treat. Don't be afraid of it.

    Edit - Just imagine that the only type of camera in existence was the 8x10. Would people be in awe of it, as many are now, or would they just pick one up and use it?

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    Here’s a 1948 film of Edward Weston. In part of the film it shows him making 8” x 10” contact prints in a contact printing frame. The link has appeared here on APUG in the past. So far as I know Weston contact printed all of his negatives and didn’t practice enlarging. Consequently, he became quite adept in contact printing. The film shows him burning and dodging a contact print.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5sF8K1NfHnM

  6. #6
    David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
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    It felt right for me to start large format with 8x10", though I'd experimented a bit with a friend's 4x5" camera before I had my own. I could make more sense of 4x5" and 2x3" after I felt confident with the larger camera.
    flickr--http://www.flickr.com/photos/davidagoldfarb/
    Photography (not as up to date as the flickr site)--http://www.davidagoldfarb.com/photo
    Academic (Slavic and Comparative Literature)--http://www.davidagoldfarb.com

  7. #7
    JessicaDittmer's Avatar
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    thank you so much! I needed to hear this! I'll check out the link, I may have seen this before but I'll bookmark it so I can see it again- I'll go watch now!
    j e s s i c a | d i t t m e r

  8. #8
    Steve Smith's Avatar
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    The only reason I can think of for starting with the smaller format is the lower cost - especially if you think you might have some learning time.
    Otherwise, if you know you want to use 8x10, then start as you mean to go on.


    Steve.
    "People who say things won't work are a dime a dozen. People who figure out how to make things work are worth a fortune" - Dave Rat.

  9. #9

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    The first LF camera I used on my own was an 8x10, and the first prints I made on my own from LF negatives were contact prints. Both spoiled me forever. I've since gone on to work in smaller formats as well. But for me, most of the magic starts at whole plate size (6.5x8.5), and virtually all of the magic of LF is in contact prints, not enlargements.

    YMMV; you'll have to figure out what works for you. But don't hesitate to dive in with what you've got. And don't forget to have a good time, whatever you try and wherever you end up.

  10. #10
    TheFlyingCamera's Avatar
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    Yeah, all you need to print 8x10's is a contact printing frame and a lightbulb. All you need to process 8x10 negatives is either three trays or a light-tight tube (you can DIY with bits and pieces from the plumbing department at your local Home Despot or other hardware store). Seeing the effects of camera movements is all the more dramatic on that big ground glass. You'll quickly realize how little movements you actually need. So go ahead and learn on the 8x10!

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