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  1. #1

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    New to large format - any tips / suggestions?

    I shoot MF right now (absolutely love it) and after awhile of debating, I've decided I want to get into shooting large format. I'm currently looking to purchase a 4x5 but honestly - I don't know where to even start! Ideally, I'm looking for something I can use both on the road and in the studio without completely breaking the bank. The option to shoot Polaroid would be great too.

    The large format section of KEH seems like it'd be a good place to start looking. They have a Calumet CC403 body for under $150 and I'm curious to hear some opinions on that. Some normal range lens suggestions would be fantastic, too.

    Hopefully this isn't too broad of a question! I've been reading up on 4x5 a lot and I'm curious to see what others think in regards to finding a camera that would suit my needs.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    M.A.Longmore's Avatar
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    Welcome Home PeanutButterWrench !

    I Use An Omega45F Monorail Camera.
    I use it indoors, and I use it outdoors.
    I've never had the pleasure of using a
    Field Type Folding 4X5 { 5 X 4 } Camera.

    The Omega View Cameras are reasonably
    priced, and extremely versatile !
    It's a wee bit too heavy for outdoor adventures,
    so I attached my box to a jogging stroller.

    Enjoy The Weekend !

    Ron
    .
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Black Betty On Wheels 0003.JPG  

    __________________________________________________ ________________________________________________


    Sanjay Sen - APUG Subscriber
    Sanjay Sen, 36, a champion of human and animal rights, died June 3 in a motorcycle accident in Wayne, New Jersey.

    July 23 1975 - June 3 2012

    __________________________________________________ __________________________________________

  3. #3
    polyglot's Avatar
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    Read all the articles on the front page of LFPF if you haven't already. You need a basic camera (monorails are cheap/flexible/heavy/unwieldy so if you primarily shoot landscapes/outdoors, you'll want a folder pretty soon and a decent entry-level body is $500+) with a graflok back, a lens (probably a cheap modern 150/5.6 in Copal 0) in a board that fits the camera, a couple of film holders (they're all interchangeable) and a tripod. Pretty soon you'll want a dark cloth (jacket works OK for a bit) and a loupe, but initially you can get by with the absolute basics. Plus a changing bag for loading/unloading holders of course.

    LF isn't really hard, there's just lots of opportunity to make dumb mistakes.

    The biggest hurdle for me getting into LF was getting hold of the developing gear affordably.

  4. #4
    36cm2's Avatar
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    You may want to also buy a book like Using the View Camera, by Simmons, or View Camera Technique, by Stroebel, before you shell out any real dough. The books are excellent in helping you understand movements and the type of camera, lenses, accessories you'll want. Better to buy well once than so-so twice. Best of luck. You'll enjoy it. Large format is cool.
    "There is a time and place for all things, the difficulty is to use them only in their proper time and places." -- Robert Henri

  5. #5
    Rick A's Avatar
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    I have a couple of Calumet cc-4xx series 4x5's monorails that go out in the field and are perfect for studio work. They are work horses and nearly indestructable. They can be purchased for small money, full movements to learn on.
    Rick A
    Argentum aevum
    BTW: the big kid in my avatar is my hero, my son, who proudly serves us in the Navy. "SALUTE"

  6. #6

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    The Calumets are solid cameras, nice to use, friendly to learn with, and inexpensive.
    But they are heavy, a bit ungainly for landscape use, at least if you're going to be traveling far.
    That said, I've hiked all around Pt Lobos with one.

    I'd say that monorails offer the best bang for the buck considering movements, bellows draw and features. You can go from basic cameras like Graflex Graphic Views, Calumets, Omegas, to fancier cameras like Horsemans, Sinars and Linhof Kardens and not spend half of what a good field camera runs.

    There are some in-between choices like Crown and Speed Graphics or the Burke and James cameras, they are more field camera like, but don't have a full complement of movements. That works fine for lots of stuff, but for doing indoor still lifes and outdoor architecture especially, it will be a problem.
    Also kind of in between are cameras like Koronas, which are wood and fold compactly like the metal press cameras, but are light in comparison, offer slightly more movement and cost quit a lot less than true field cameras.

    In addition to the reading mentioned above, you should establish what your budget will be, then look to what gives you the best value for that money and what you'd like for the primary function. One nice thing about large format is that for optics you are not married to one line of cameras as you are with 35 and MF. With only a few exceptions any large format lens can be mounted on any camera.

  7. #7

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    Today will be my 9th day shooting LF, I have been on a crash course in getting it down before the big shoots come my way in a few weeks, so it has been lots of fun getting it dialed...

    I specifically decided to add it to my tool kit because I have the full ability to print it well. So I knew that I wanted a field camera, studdied up on what was good and created a budget. The point made a few posts above in deciding what you are going to use to soup the film is a good one to think about though...

    I ended up getting two Mod54 6-sheet inserts that go in my already existent Paterson 5 reel tanks, they are simple and fun to use, not hard to load and to avoid mistakes on. I am however looking for a second option as the Rollei Infrared film I am planning to use a lot of is super thin and can easily become dis-lodged from the slots if the slightest current of chemistry or water pushes the film around. I would like to hear what other people are using in order to come up with a backup plan.

    So my advice would be to create a budget and figure out how you want to go about developing the film, then get your self set up and let er' rip!

  8. #8

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    You can buy a Sinar F on ebay for $150. A lot of bang for the buck. I sold mine when I got a Zone VI 4x5. To be honest the Sinar was a lot better camera. If I didn't want to go through the hassle of sellilng the Zone VI I'd have another Sinar. I've still got extension rails, lens boards, and other Sinar pieces. I haven't been able to make myself sell them as I suspect I'll have another Sinar F at some point.

    Mike

  9. #9
    rince's Avatar
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    Hi,
    I was I'm a similar situation just a few months ago. I opted for a ShenHao view camera to be a little more mobile. I currently use a 150mm Nikkor and a 210mm Rodenstock for lenses. I absoluteley love the Nikkor and like the Rodenstock. The already recommended 'Using the Viewcamera' book is an amazing read. I can only recommend getting one if you are not already familiar with LF. I was hooked after the first contact print I did and love the whole experience. Make sure you get a decent loupe and a decent dark cloth as well. Have fun with experimenting and welcome to the dark (cloth) side!
    ---
    There are always two people in every picture: the photographer and the viewer.
    ~ Ansel Adams

  10. #10

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    RE: Lenses...

    What format is your current camera? What focal lengths do you prefer with that camera?

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