upgrading to LF
I have the chance to buy a Linhof 4'x5' camera technika. I am using with great satisfaction my Bronica EC TL, but always wanted a bigger negative. But my enlarger can do only 6x6cm, so then I have to buy another enlarger... I read on this forum a time ago that it is so difficult to get good results and at the end it is not worth it compared to the great results that you can obtain with MF film
Everybody thinks different regarding each format.
You can get superb results with MF, I will not deny that!
If you want to go LF, don't do it only for the bigger negative but for the possibilities (read: movements) the cameras have to offer.
Great results can be obtained in any format with practice. It is only necessary to develop ones skills to suit the format. These skills are different for small , medium and large format. Even going from 4x5 to 8x10 reguires new knowledge, vision and skills.
Is the change worth it? In my opinion. a definite YES.
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I have a Bronica S2a system, and I have a Technika (as well as a few other LF cameras). They do different things. There are some things kinds of photography that are easier to do with an SLR, and some things that are easier to do with a large format camera that has movements or with a big rangefinder camera, if you choose to use it that way. Lately, I tend to shoot more large format and use the Bronica less, but it still has its place for some kinds of portraits, work with longer lenses, and a few other things.
I agree with the above post that by working with different formats, you can learn what each format does best.
Or of course buy an MF camera with movements, or use a rollfilm back on 4x5 inch.
My own view is that 4x5 is a small step up from rollfilm, while 5x7 inch is a worth-while step. But then, a 3x enlargement off 56x72mm (Linhof's 6x7) is the same size as, and can be made indistinguishable from, a whole-plate contact print.
Too much depends on what you want to do, for anyone else to answer this for you.
Roger (www.rogerandfrances.com -- you might want to take a look at the free large format module in the Photo School on the site)
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I couldn't agree more. I've been chuckling about the word "upgrading" in the title. Many people seem to feel this way when going to larger formats (whichever is bigger than what they've typically been using). I don't really consider it an "upgrade" but, rather, choosing the tools/techniques that best match the photographic vision, goals, and requirements.
Originally Posted by Jim Noel
If LF is right for your needs, by all means... give it a try!
Like David said. Different things for different tasks.
I don't think a MF camera with movements is the right comparison. The advantage of something like a MF SLR is it's a lot smaller and quicker to use then LF. If you start using movements you give up that speed. Which leads me wonder why not use the LF?
There's no question you can get smoother tonality, and have the opportunity for larger prints with a 4x5. Having used 4x5 as well as MF, Hasselblad and Mamiya 7, for many years though, I really believe the single most important unique advantage of 4x5 is the ability to use camera movements, as has been stated. Just the ability to tilt the standard, front or back makes all the other hassles worthwhile for me. Also, while equipment (used) is much cheaper now, it is still a formidable process to set up a 4x5 darkroom.
Using TMAX 100 in my MF cameras I get negatives that print beautifully to the largest size I generally use, 11x14. Using multiple backs with a MF camera, one can even use zone system development. There's much to be said for MF. I'd encourage someone to use a 4x5 if they genuinely enjoy the entire process, the slowness, the precision, the upside down and backwards view under a cloth, AND the ability to shift, tilt etc, not for basic quality of image, unless one prints regularly larger than 16x20. I genuinely love to get out with my 4x5 but at my mature age can no longer hike uphill for miles with a 4x5 pack. So the 4x5 is used when I'm not on a serious hike.
Think this one through carefully. If possible, rent or borrow a 4x5. See if the whole process appeals to you. If so, go for it. Try not to get caught up in LF snobbery, "...my negative is bigger than yours." When looking at a great print, most people can not tell the size of the negative, nor do they care.
I went from 35mm with a short stop at 645 and 4x5 and am now at 8x10 large format. If you are quite happy with the medium format, I would recommend staying there. Using a 4x5 in many ways like using the smaller formats. You really need a enlarger and full dark room setup to get the best of the 4x5. Also, large format format learning curve can be rather steep (depending on the camera model)- see this list of what can go wrong: http://www.largeformatphotography.info/mistakes.html
My first shock on using a 4x5 large format was seeing how long it took to set up a camera to take one shot and still mess up the picture. However, when everything work, the resulting picture was great, at least enough to keep me trying.
I then tried 8x10, and was delighted in the resulting contact prints and since stopped using the 4x5 and 645. I also like the fact that an elaborate darkroom and enlarger is not needed to do contact prints. But the 8x10 did bring about a new set of problems- more expensive and less choice of films, much bigger camera to pack and carry around, more ways to get your finger caught in something and longer setup time. I still use my 35mm equipment for most anything that moves and color macro photography.
I've recently started using 5x4 in addition to MF and 35mm. I still use all three regularly. The main reason for me going to a LF camera is movements with the larger neg size being a side benefit. The other benefit I've found from using larger formats is that the techniques have filtered down to my usage of smaller formats. I now tend to be a little more circumspect with the 35mm and MF in respect to framing, composition and exposure. Before I tended to look for a keeper or two per roll. Now I try to treat each frame of 120 the same way as a sheet of 5x4 and it's having a positive effect on my picture taking. I have to admit though that most of my better pictures are still coming from the old Rolleicord. Maybe it's just familiarity, or the fact that one has to be in the mood to pack all the LF equipment.
I regard LF as being an expansion rather than an upgrade to my kit.
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