Hi Chris, congrats on the new purchase.
Some good suggestions already.
Just a couple things I'd add that could be a little ellusive at first:
- When loading the Fidelity film holder. Hold cross-ways in the left hand and pull the dark slide out a couple of inches to the left. Lift flap at the other end of the film holder open and insert the film there. (I know a fellow who tried for ages to put the film in the other end - caused endless frustration ).
The film box shows orientation of the emulsion side.
- Focussing can take a little while to get to grips with. The best advice I received when starting out, was to spend time learning how to use just the Tilt on the front (lens) standard until it starts becoming familliar.
Apart from being the most commonly used movement in landscape photography, the principals of changing the focussing plane learnt here are the basis for focussing with other movements later on.
Good to see another local going BIG!
Another hint: Unloading holders is easiest upside down! Hold the holder, pull the BOTTOM darkslide partway out. Then it's easy to get a fingernail beween film and holder, and the film slips right out. I wasted lots of time in a pitch black darkroom in the middle of the night before I discovered this.
-- Ole Tjugen, Luddite Elitist
Originally Posted by Mongo
some really good advice here especially from Mongo and I think this is the best one, the more familiar you get with the camera/film/processing the better you'll get. I've come across a few new 4x5 shooters who gave up after a few months because they never got past the basics and produced acceptable results.
There are more LF shooters than you think around Wellington, I shoot 8x10 and have a Shen-Hao 5x12 on the way. There are a couple more 8x10 shooters not far from me. Call by some time.
Thanks alot for all the kind words and advice so far everyone. In just the last 6 months since I've come back to film I've found this place to be such a priceless resource. It's fantastic.
It's a little bit strange. I only shot and developed one sheet, so I'll test a few more to see if it was a one-off or not. One half of the film is perfect, and looks fantastic, while the other right on the edge has a creamy looking solid patch down the border, and another patch about 15mm wide running parallel almost the entire width of the frame. It almost looks like a nicotene stain, although I don't smoke. I'm wondering if it was from inproper film loading. I'll have to sacrafice a piece of film later and make sure I'm loading properly. My darkroom does have a couple of very tiny light leeks, mostly below bench height, and I was standing between them and the film. I wasn't exactly waving the film around, and was pretty quick with it from box to film holder, so I don't think that could have been it.
Originally Posted by Mongo
I need to buy a bag that fits all my stuff in it, so until that happens in a week or two I'm going to be doing alot of backyard shooting. It should give me the time to take things nice and slow, with a drink in one hand and perhaps another one in the other It's a very uninspiring location, but that'll allow me to focus more on the technical side of things, rather than looking for a great shot right off the bat.
Originally Posted by Mongo
We'll have to see how things pan out. I might try another this afternoon and see what happens.
Some of my best work has been at places that were "uninspiring"...it's amazing what you can find to photograph when you really look.
Originally Posted by ChrisC
Also remember: You can set up a shot without actually taking a picture. It's a great way to learn to use the camera.
I'd think twice about the drinks, though...the times I pulled the wrong dark slide were when I was adjusting to new medications (for back problems) and was a little buzzed. Just a cautionary tale from one who's been there...
Film is cheap. Opportunities are priceless.
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I also have the Shen Hao... I assume you have found www.lfphoto.info - if not, there it is ...
One thing I always do is to cock, fire and re-cock the shutter before I remove the darkslide - if it does not fire, it means I still have the shutter open for focussing... It also exercises the shutter (useful if it's old) and reminds me to double-check that I have set the correct aperture and speed (my "favorite" error: light changes and I forget to take a new light reading).
Your fogging sounds a bit like insufficient fixing - is it possible that whatever processing method you used didn't cover the film properly?
Anyway, enjoy and take your time - I do and still make a pig's breakfast of it at least once at every location...
My suggestion is to use also a Polaroid or Fuji back (the chepeast with the chepeast filmpack) to check what you are doing, to avoid mistake, to understand tilting and so on...
After a couple of years of 4x5 I added a 5x7, but honestly I still prefer 4x5.
And I'll add one more even to that -- make sure you've reinserted the dark slide before pulling the film holder. Failing on this one will *really* fog your film...
Originally Posted by GaussianNoise
Photography has always fascinated me -- as a child, simply for the magic of capturing an image onto glossy paper with a little box, but as an adult because of the unique juxtaposition of science and art -- the physics of optics, the mechanics of the camera, the chemistry of film and developer, alongside the art in seeing, composing, exposing, processing and printing.
Yes, it is true. Sometime I pull the darkslide from the holder just to make the film been exposed and the I push it back in the holder...
My english is getting worse and worse...
Thanks for that. I'll have to keep my eyes peeled for people out shooting LF. I can't recall seeing anyone (mind you I haven't really been looking until reciently) but I'm sure I'll bump into someone somewhere along the way.
Originally Posted by claytume
That hadn't crossed my mind, but now that I look at it I think I can zero in on that being the problem. Looks consistant with what a couple of my books show insufficiant fixing to look like. Thanks for putting my nerves to rest!
Originally Posted by Bob F.
On a side note, I'm also looking for some sort of backpack so I can take it on day-tramps around some of the walking trails around here. My usual camera store only had 2 camera backpacks, both of which just looked completly wrong without even having to try them on. Would I be best taking a punt and ordering one from off-shore, or do you think I could get away with using a normal pack, and packing things seperatly inside it? The latter sounds tempting now, but eventually when I get a selection of lenses, unless I make a custom lining with foam, it could get quite tricky.