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  1. #1

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    Itching to get into large format

    I was a 35 mm shooter for a long time. I started shooting with a 5D2 a couple of years ago (I held out for as long as I could). Well, as my luck would have it I recently came upon a mint condition RB67 Pro-S with some very nice lenses. The bigger medium format film is blowing me away. I love working with it. Now I'm thinking I might love large format even more because...well the bigger the better right?!

    Anyways, where do I start?? What sort of budget should I look at for decent gear? I don't want to jump into it immediately, but by the time I do I would be willing to shell out maybe 1-2k (I'm okay with good quality used gear).

  2. #2
    jp498's Avatar
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    The real tough question is not "where do I start", but "where do I stop"...

    There is a massive variety in LF as it was used for 100+ years. Speak more about how/what you wish to photograph.

  3. #3
    Terry Christian's Avatar
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    Itching to get into large format

    From 35mm to medium format is indeed a quantum leap in quality, but when I started shooting large format, I didn't get the same sense of improvement, although it is indeed nice.

    The cost of everything will depend on the size. 4x5 is quite economical, but upon going up to 8x10 the price of everything jumps exponentially.

  4. #4
    Rick A's Avatar
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    Rick A
    Argentum aevum

  5. #5
    ChristopherCoy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rick A View Post


    Is that what we would refer to as a "shameless plug"? LOL LOL

  6. #6
    Jim Jones's Avatar
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    Start with a few good books on LF photography. A forum with much valuable information exclusively on LF is http://www.largeformatphotography.info/forum/http://www.largeformatphotography.info/forum/. People have been using LF equipment for a long time, so there is a wealth of cameras and lenses, new and old, available online and sometimes in stores and other venues. Since great photos were made long ago, old gear in good condition is still practical. 4x5 film has the advantage of better digitalizing on mid-range flatbed scanners than does medium format.

    LF cameras are usually used on tripods. Don't skimp here. While cameras often come and go, a good tripod should last a lifetime. New tripods are not necessarily better than old ones; just more expensive. I have several types and sizes of tripods, but most often use two ancient Tiltalls.

    A large format press camera is closer to what you have used than the more versatile field or monorail view cameras. Field cameras are more transportable than monorail. For studio work, the monorail is often preferred. Which type of camera should be determined by your subjects and style of shooting.

    Knowledge is power. Books are a great source of knowledge, but the internet can be even better. Feel free to ask any question here and on other sites. We all had to begin LF photography sometime.

    edit -- Rick thinks and types faster than I can!

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Edman22 View Post
    I was a 35 mm shooter for a long time. I started shooting with a 5D2 a couple of years ago (I held out for as long as I could). Well, as my luck would have it I recently came upon a mint condition RB67 Pro-S with some very nice lenses. The bigger medium format film is blowing me away. I love working with it. Now I'm thinking I might love large format even more because...well the bigger the better right?!

    Anyways, where do I start?? What sort of budget should I look at for decent gear? I don't want to jump into it immediately, but by the time I do I would be willing to shell out maybe 1-2k (I'm okay with good quality used gear).
    Yep, that how it starts. In my own experience I started the same way except for the digital. I went from various 35mm bodies to the larger negatives from Pro-S, Hasselblad and Rollie, then on into the grander LF. Then I went from LF to 35 again and am reasonably happy with the weight and portability when traveling and hiking. So I'd start really cheap. Simple camera, reasonable lens, say a 210mm, 4 to 6 holders, heavier tripod, and a handful of filters hopefully you have on hand. Force yourself to go shoot at least 5 holders a month and develop and print. If you can do it for a year it's time to upgrade. Keep it under at a grand or under.
    W.A. Crider

  8. #8
    Rick A's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChristopherCoy View Post
    Is that what we would refer to as a "shameless plug"? LOL LOL
    Heck yes!!
    Rick A
    Argentum aevum

  9. #9

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    Start with a Crown Graphic. 4x5, lightweight and not too expensive.

  10. #10

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    Google Large Format Photography Forum and then click onto the Home Page. There is a wealth of free information there.

    Large format 4x5 cameras and lenses can be less expensive than medium format equipment. It all depends upon what you want. I have seen monorails sell for less than $100.00. Just add a $150.00 lens, cable release, a black sweat shirt for dark cloth, a cheap 4x loupe and a few film holders (5 would be great so you can load a whole box of film) and you are ready to go. You can even use your dslr meter if you don't have a hand held meter.

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