Originally Posted by kbrede
Start off with a cheap camera with a "normal" focal length lens (135-210mm) and go out and shoot it.
Cambo/Calumet monorails with 210mm lens go for dirt cheap on Craigslist and Ebay. They make great, straight forward cameras to learn on until you decide what you really want.
The later "entry" models are light weight so you may be able to use the tripod that you now use for medium format.
Super thanks for all the advice! Im in the USA, interested in landscapes mostly ,would like to go 8x10 but need to save up.
So prob be an 8x10 field camera with 150mm or shorter lens. There is a camera show every month in Pasadena, CA that i might check out. Thanks again.
Originally Posted by ezwriter
The diagonal for the 8x10 format is about 325mm, so the 150mm on 8x10 is going to be extraordinarily wide, and to cover the format with some movement (i.e. excess coverage for tilts and swings) somewhat limited in availability, and potentially breathtakingly expensive.
A standard 150mm lens (e.g. Symmar, Sironar, Nikkor W, etc.) that covers 4x5 (approx. 160mm diagonal) will of course not cover 8x10.
I do not know what your constraints are with respect to cost, but you might want to do much more research before you start looking at a 150mm lens and put your money down.
Buy the best you can afford. You won't want a clunker. Don't get a flimsy one either or it will shake in the wind. And you'll need a solid tripod and good filmholders - beware of old warped ones. 8x10 will give you a workout, so keep your knees and back in shape. When it comes to lenses, make sure they have enough coverage for 8x10 film. You don't need a lot of them to start out. Get used to one
at a time and save the rest of your money for film. 8x10 is an expensive addiction!
You said that you are starting out in large format so we all assumed that you were talking about 4x5 since most people start there. You can certainly start with an 8x10 if you want but most recommend starting out with 4x5 due to costs. Everything is more expensive with 8x10, camera, lenses, tripod, film holders and film. A lot of people try large format and find that for some reason or other that sheet film is not for them. This is why we suggest starting cheap so if you decide it's not for you then you won't get hurt if you later sell.
If you do decide to go with an 8x10 most people start with a normal lens around 300mm (240-360mm). A real good inexpensive choice would be a Fujinon 250mm f/6.7 single coated lens. I paid just under $300.00 for mine.
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How much money do you have? Send it all to me, plus $100 dollars for postage and maybe I'll send you a camera.
Seriously, if you've not worked in large format before, try to get your hands on a few different ones, hang around with people who own them, or buy a crown graphic as an entry level camera.
I paid way too much for my first LF. I was just so excited about getting an LF camera. It's a big heavy beast of a 4x5. Fine as a studio camera, but not very portable. Can't remember the last time I used it. I got a crown graphic as part of a "selling everything I've got so I can go digital" deal. I was after the 4x5 enlarger, and other darkroom gear, not the crown, but I love it. I've shot thousands of sheets with it. It's travelled internationally with me, and I never go camping without it. As a middle aged woman I find it quite portable, and hike around local trails, and off the trails on a regular basis.
I have an ancient wooden 8x10, acquired by barter a few years ago. Too big and clunky for me to take anywhere, but I enjoy using it for studio work.
I'd love to have an 8x10 (or a 7x17!) I could hike with, but realistically, given my age, size, and chiropractor bills, it's not going to happen. It's not just the weight of the camera, but the tripod, film holders, light meter, and all the other bits and bobs you need. I don't know your age, or what kind of shape your back is in. Weight may not be an issue for you. I'd still recommend getting your feet wet and familiarizing yourself with LF with something inexpensive and 4x5. Once you get a feel for LF, have repeated the numerous mistakes a few dozen times each, then go ahead and move up to 8x10 (or larger). You'll have a much better idea about what you want and need to get the images you want to take.
LF is wonderful, but it's definately not one size fits all. Have fun with whatever you get. Look forward to seeing your images.
About a year ago I picked-up the following 8x10 system for about $1,400US:
Toyo 810G in excellent condition with a new bellows, extension rail and A&S case.
Gitzo G1500 tripod and G1575M head.
360mm Schneider Symmer-S lens in mint condition.
Copal 3 lens board
BTZS 8x10 focusing cloth (my 4x5 Toyo cloth was too small)
5 new Fidelity Elite film holders (Unbelievable purchase from Calumet).
8x10 film holder case from Quality Camera.
Acrilic GG protector and 1 locking device from Toyo repair (missing from camera and I had to pay a local camera repairman to replace a rivet).
I'll admit the stars were truly aligned when I bought the above system but... it can happen!
Cheap DIY option
I've put together a DIY 5x4 camera for £30. Unlike some other projects that require some pretty decent engineering skills, my camera should be within the capabilities of most people. I've written about it in two parts starting here. My intention is to see how I get on with large format using this set-up and, if I like it, start saving for a gorgeous Ebony RSW45.
I wonder, why aren't Plate cameras considered as cheap entry to LF? 70$ for a 130mm lens f3.5-32, 4x5 / 9x12 negative, Fomapan 50 sheets for like 30$ @ fomafoto.com and a lightweight setup! I think its great to learn and eventually resell to get a more modern setup. Of course those cameras are better examined in person, but trustworthy online sellers can also be used. Or am I missing something?
Not everyone has access to the superior driftwood found on Barry sands
Originally Posted by Bruce Robbins
Interesting project BTW, I have a few 9x12 cameras.