I agree to a point: I have some great 16X16 prints shot with a Rolleiflex using rollei superpan 200 but i have been shooting LF since 96(that's 1996) and find it hard to really like my prints made from smaller formats: it goes beyond grain and sharpness there is just a smooth tonal transistion quality to 4X5 and larger that cannot be duplicated with smaller formats. Does that make it better or best? No! Just different and to argue it to death is like Gauguin and Van Gogh arguing about which brush is best. While I'm at it the same comment goes for the endlessly boring film/digital debate.
Originally Posted by Old-N-Feeble
No escaping it!
I must step on fallen leaves
to take this path
Originally Posted by Mahler_one
maybe ... but
8x10 is 2x as large ( at least ) as a 5x7 camera
5x7 contact prints look beautiful,
and if hybrid is a chosen route, you can fine scanmachines ( like the 4780 i use ) that
can numericalize a 5x7 sheet no problems ....
4x5 lenses often can cover a 5x7 sheet without problems
and it (5x7) is like the golden mean ... everything tends to look good in
that rectangle ... portraits, landscapes, architectecture ..
8x10 is a pretty big camera ... heavy bulky = bigger tripod, longer set up and use time ...
lenses often cost a lot more to cover that size negative
film costs a ton more scanmatics cost more
not to mention processing color 8x10 costs a few pennies,
and hand processing 8x10 can be a bit trickier than 5x7/4s5 ...
a 4x5 reducing back on a 5x7 gives all the options of the aspect of an 8x10
(and enlargements if that is what is looked for ) some choices in color negative and chrome films
as well as black and white
8x10 is a nice format though, i have one, and 8x10 paper negatives are sweet
and an old wollensak 1a triple works like a charm . ...
I learned a long time ago that, IMHO, any less than a quadrupling of film size isn't worth the trouble and expense. I'll be shooting 6x12cm roll film (lightweight kit) and 4x10in (stitched 4x5) and I might cut 8x10 down to 5x7 and stitch 5x12in (bigger/heavier kit). For the type of images I'll be shooting I just can't see any significant benefit of having a size in between my chosen formats. I don't want to go smaller than 6x12cm because I want really nice big prints and I can't go bigger than 5x12in (5x7) because I don't think I can handle 8x10+ in the field anymore. If I was shooting studio portraits I'd have a 6x7cm or 6x8cm MF and an 8x10... nothing smaller nor bigger and nothing in between.
It depends on the gear and how it is set up. He has carried an RZ. My RZ, my Linhof TK45 and my Phillips 8x10 all weigh eight pounds.
Originally Posted by jnanian
"If you want to be famous, you must do something more badly than anybody in the entire world." Miroslav Tichı
To answer the original question.....(: If you want a studio camera, get an old Sinar. It will be nice to use and you can resell it for what you bought it for. If you are shooting in the field, get an inexpensive used field camera....Tachihara or Shen Hao. I wouldn't bother with a Crown or Speed Graphic. They are good if you are very limited on funds and only want a larger neg. For me, the main advantage of LF is to control perspective so rise, swing, and tilt are really needed. That said, I haven't used mine in a few years because I now have an enlarger that I can control perspective to a limited extent. The conversations about a larger format has some merit if you need to contact print for alternative processes. If you are enlarging, I see no reason to go bigger except for the fun factor.
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As you're in the UK, look for an old Kodak Specialist half plate, the one with the grey-green finish. It takes standard half plate/5x7 inch/13x18cm holders (all have the same external dimensions) and it's likely to be silly-cheap because it's big, heavy and ugly: I've seen 'em for well under a hundred quid, with a lens and some holders. They fold up quite small for transport, though, so they're good for architecture and landscape as well as for the studio.
Otherwise consider an MPP. In 4x5 inch there's the Micro-Technical or (if you don't want much movement or extension) Micro-Press, plus some very good monorails up to 8x10 inch. You might want to join the Users Club, http://www.mppusers.com/
I have five 4x5 inch cameras (2x Toho, 2x Gandolfi, Titan Pinhole); two 5x7s (Gandolfi, Linhof), an 8x10 (De Vere) with reducing backs for 5x7 and 5x4; and a 12x15 with reducing backs for 10x12, 8x10 and whole plate. I like the 5x7s best.
I went through the same decisions a few years ago and decided that a light field camera was the most useful for me. I got a Zone VI (Tachihara-sourced version) and I've found that it meets my needs very well. I've got a mix of Nikon, Schneider and Fuji glass that have all proven to be solid performers, too. If I get more enthused to expand this type of photography, I would likely get something one step sturdier but I don't believe it's presented a real issue yet. Like you, I wanted to see how I functioned with LF, didn't want to invest too heavily, but feel that I'm getting a good bit of experience with adequate gear so far.
No camera will produce great images on it's own
Originally Posted by Havoc
My first LF camera was a Tachihara, and I still own it. It's great for backpacking, sturdy enough for what I'm doing with it (I made exposures of 1/2 hour without any problem). The only improvement I can think of is the bellows could be a bit longer for long lenses.
Originally Posted by craigclu
Only dull people are brilliant at breakfast (Oscar Wilde)
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For a high school shop project, we were to build a pinhole camera. I built mine from wood, used some aluminum flashing to make the pinhole, and built it to take 4x5 paper. The negs were okay, but the contact prints through the paper neg were unlike anything else. It was a rather interesting project.
I never did get around to trying film in it though, and sadly no longer have it.
Shoot more film.
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