There is an article on our web site called Getting Started in Large Format - it is in the Free Articles section.
Other possible books include User's Guide to the View Camera by Jim Stone and Large Format Nature Photography by Jack Dykinga
Agreed. But there's no need to think of your first LF camera as a lifelong commitment. Why not jump right in! Think of it as "Ready, Fire, Aim."
Originally Posted by wiseowl
Set a budget, buy any used LF camera that fits your budget and plan to live with it for a year or so -- and then sell it. At the end of the year, you'll have learned the ins and outs of LF and you'll have gained first hand experience regarding the pros and cons of the particular camera you used. You should get back most of what you paid for the camera, so it needn't cost much beyond film and processing. And you'll have a clearer idea of your actual needs when you're ready to buy a camera to keep for the long term.
Or... rent a LF camera for a weekend now and then. You're right. "Reading is no substitute for experience."
Completely understand!! As a matter of fact, I had already purchased the Crown Graphic before I found APUG, not that I think I would have understood the comments any better. As you said...there is no subsitute for experience. This side of the pond I would say go for a Crown or Speed because of price, but on your side I really am not aware of all that is available. Perhaps some of the good folks on your side of the pond will add to this. You did not say if you have a 4x5 or 5x4, enlarger so that leaves things a bit open. Have you considered if you plan to enlarge or contact print? If you do go with 5x4, try to get at least 2 new holders (used ones can be hit or miss sometimes) and when you get them, take one sheet of film out of the box (you will be wasting this one) and in the day light, learn to load the film into the holder. After a bit of practice, try it with your eyes closed, then in the dark (I actually still close my eyes while loading film)
Originally Posted by wiseowl
I really envy you, because there is nothing quite like "seeing" your first LF negative. The first 8x10 I ever saw, was at lee's darkroom and it just took my breath away...So a fair warning, if you decide to go with 5x4, watch out because you may find the LF bug gets you and you will be looking at 10x8 in no time.
Good luck, and keep us posted on the progress.
I'm just the other side of the Severn in Bristol. Where are you in south Wales? Feel free to e-mail me.
There are 10 types of people in this world - those who understand binary and those who don't.
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I like both the Stone and Simmons books. They are not expensive, so why not get both? As for Stroebel, I'm convinced that he could make anything sound dull.
I accidently bought two copies of the Simmons books on Amazon (don't ask!!). I've been meaning to send it back for eons and have still not got round to it. I was going to say you can have it for the postage if you want, but sending £2 in the mail seems a bit daft. If you mail me your address, I'll send it to you, if you want it. It hasn't even been opened. If you don't want it, if anyone else does (UK only), just ask.
Stephen, East Sussex is a bit too far, but thank you for the offer.
Steve Simmons, Thank you for the link and book suggestions.
Nick Zentana and DPHPhoto, thank you for the links
bob01721 Realistically that scenario is very likely what will happen, I'm just to prepare as much a possible.
Photomc, my intention is to get an enlarger in the future, but initially to contact print.
Chazzy, thanks for the second opinion.
gwatson, thats a very generous offer, I've PM'd my address to you.
I know that April is a way off, and this LF workshop isn't cheap, however
I would really recommend it having done two of them. Joe Cornish and David Ward are at the forefront of UK LF photography and the wonderful Gower must be on your doorstep, you lucky *******!
I have got all of the 3 main books and feel that the Dykinga book will get you going quickest unless you want to fall asleep, when you should reach for the Stroebel. The web links above are all good and I found them indispensible initially to prioritise what to buy etc.
Then I went on a Joe Cornish workshop, it all fell into place and LF flirtation became a true passion.
Another book I would suggest is "View Camera Technique" by Leslie Stroebel. It's currently in its seventh edition. I've not read Steve Simmons's book, so I have no idea how they compare, but it's the book I read to learn how to use a view camera.