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  1. #11
    Ian Grant's Avatar
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    Hi Digiconvert

    Here's an offer you shouldn't refuse :-)

    Come down here on Sunday any time, or maybe Saturday evening and have a play with 3 different types of 5"x4" camera: a monorail, a field camera & a press camera and a selection of lenses and I might even let you shoot some images. You can also try the 10"x8" camera.

    The offer is serious :-) and you can also see some 5x4 trannies !

    Ian

  2. #12
    rbarker's Avatar
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    As noted by Donald and others, processing cost (and, availability) for LF transparencies can be an issue. To get started, almost any press or view camera will do. But, if you want to plan ahead, a more versatile "system" like the Toyo (at the less-expensive end of the spectrum) or Arca Swiss or Sinar (at the high end) will provide greater flexibility and (eventually) return on investment. I (too) like the Toyo cameras because of the modular design and interchangeable components.

    One thing to note is that shutter speeds, particularly with older shutters, can vary substantially from the marked speeds. Getting the shutter tested, so you know what its actual nominal speeds are will help a lot in minimizing poor exposures. (Bracketing exposures by 1/3-stops gets expensive with sheet film.)
    [COLOR=SlateGray]"You can't depend on your eyes if your imagination is out of focus." -Mark Twain[/COLOR]

    Ralph Barker
    Rio Rancho, NM

  3. #13
    DBP
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    If you are patient and willing to skip the requirement for a Graflok back, press cameras can be really cheap. I paid less than $70 for each of mine, including lenses.

  4. #14
    pandino's Avatar
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    If you plan on doing landscapes, movements are usually of less importance than in the studio or in architecture.

    That being said, I think a Graflex Crown is a good starting camera and you can find a beater for under $100US. I've done landscape with both the Crown and the Omega-Toyo 45D someone mentioned. When it comes to movements, the 45D could do cartwheels, but I used the Crown 10x as much because it was portable and was easily used handheld.

    I sold the 45D and now use a Shen Hao which gives a nice compromise between portability and features.

    I agree wholeheartedly with Ralph about getting a shutter with accurate speeds. At $5 per image you want to be able to trust your shutter speeds match whatever your meter calls for.

    Don't do this if you're not willing to drop another few grand over the next couple of years, because once you see that positive you're going to be hooked.

  5. #15
    JBrunner's Avatar
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    When you are in the market for used LF equipment what tends to happen is you start looking for the stuff that might do for you, and all the mentioned systems are possible solutions. Eventually you run across a good one (of any type) at a fantastic price, one that means you can change it out later, if you want to try something else. The key to bargain LF gear is vigilance, and patience.

  6. #16

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    The one warning I'd add is that old lenses can be flat and blue when used for tranny. This isn't invariably the case, and no doubt you'll get lots of responses saying I'm wrong; but with 30+ years experience of shooting 4x5 tranny with lenses old and new, I much prefer the effect I get with modern lenses to the effect I get with the vast majority of old ones. Not just very old ones, either: my 210/5.6 Apo-Sironar-N is much cleaner and crisper than my 1960s 210/5.6 Symmar.

    Black and white is another matter. There, I cheerfully use lenses from the first couple of decades of the 20th century.

    Cheers,

    Roger (www.rogerandfrances.com)

  7. #17

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    You don't mention whether you already have these, but you must consider their costs as well:

    1. A tripod. A good, steady tripod that wont wobble in the breeze when you open the shutter for 1/2 a second or longer.
    2. A dark cloth.
    3. A meter. For tranny work, I would recommend a spot meter.
    4. Grads. for landscape work with tranny film, I believe they are a must-have. Otherwise, shoot on reversal film.
    5. Film holders.
    6. A changing bag (or darkroom) to load up and empty the film holders.
    7. A decent bag to lug everything around in.
    8. Film (!). If you plan on going on a longish trip, readloads/quickloads are convienient, take up less space & are less liable to dust spots. On the downside you'll need a holder (the polaroid one works fine) and the film is more expensive than sheets.
    9. Somewhere to process film. In the long run, doing it yourself is cheaper with a Jobo processor, but if you know a lab you trust who'll process 5x4 in E6 then use them.
    10. A cable release & spare.
    11. A loupe. If you are blessed with perfect vision and can compose on the ground glass at F32 them lucky you. If you are a normal human, you'll need a loupe! an old 50mm lens from a 35mm camera works fine.
    12. Time. Lots of it! You can't rush LF. If I've scouted out a location, know exactly what lens, movements film etc I'm going to use I would be pleased if I set-up, shot & packed up in under 30 minutes. That doesn't include waiting for the sun to come out (or go in!), the wind to die down etc.

  8. #18
    roteague's Avatar
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    Great advice in these posts. One thing I can't overestimate enough is the importance of a good tripod.
    Robert M. Teague
    www.visionlandscapes.com
    www.apug.org/forums/portfolios.php?u=2235

    "A man who works with his hands is a laborer; a man who works with his hands and his brain is a craftsman; a man who works with his hands and his brain and his heart is an artist" -- Louis Nizer

  9. #19

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    Just to add to the gear suggestions, if you go the Quickload or Readyload route you can avoid the need for a film changing bag. The bad part of this route is that the film is more expensive. I only use these systems, but investigate the costs prior to going with these. Also, it is easy to find a good used black backing plate Kodak Readyload holder for not too much expense, though finding a good used Fuji Quickload holder can often be closer to the new price.

    Just a note on spot metering and E-6. If you are comfortable with spot metering, and understand the workings of where to point it, you can get great results. However, if you are unfamiliar with spot metering, some people find they burn through lots of film trying to learn. You might consider practising spot metering with smaller format cameras and less expensive films first. As an alternative, you can do incident metering. I am not opposed to spot metering, though the majority of my E-6 is done with straight incident readings.

    I also agree with the recommendation of more modern lenses. You might want to consider an investment in some filters beyond the square grad filter, such as a blue series for night images, or some warming filters. A lens shade is another good item, though many ways to accomplish that.

    Ciao!

    Gordon

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