I think there is a lot of truth in what RFXB says here.
Long before I started in LF, I was shooting MF with a Mamiya C220 and C3. I always joked with my son (who was already shooting LF) that using those TLRs, especially on a tripod, was just like using the LF, in terms of setup, composition, lens selection, bellows factors, etc. They really introduce you to a "measure twice, cut once" mentality and workflow.
Learning that methodology, combined with the logic that RFXB presented, makes another strong case for MF.
Hmm, maybe that is my problem ...
Originally Posted by wclavey
I thought it was cut twice, measure once!
Warning!! Handling a Hasselblad can be harmful to your financial well being!
Nothing beats a great piece of glass!
I leave the digital work for the urologists and proctologists.
Thank you all!
Thank you all for your wonderful responses. I've read and re-read them over the past day or so and they've helped me with my conundrum a great deal. (I owe some thanks to the folks in the MF forum as well as I posted a query over there as well.)
Through all this thinking I've considered something I never had before: The 6X6 MF format. I used to poo poo it because it took away the ability to make a choice of portrait or landscape but I guess as I've matured I see it now as freeing you from that choice. I think this will probably be my next immediate move. I'll still be able to crop if I want to when printing to a more traditional print size and will gain over 35mm for enlargements. I'll never abandon 35mm, it's too convenient and portable and I think when I move into LF the MF gear will fit nicely when I need to travel lighter than LF will allow. I see the square format as a nice option as well to create some unique photographs in that it's a shape that isn't seen much anymore. Not only am I gaining a larger negative over 35mm but another perspective to work with.
As far as LF goes, I'm 100% sure it's something I need to be doing at some point. I may put it off a little longer until, as others have suggested, I get my darkroom legs under me better. I am still a total novice but I have the process down, what I need now only time and experience can give me and if I get more proficient in the darkroom before tackling LF I think when I make the step up my work will be much better for it.
I'm positive when I do make the step into the world of LF it'll be with 8X10. I've been doing a lot of reading and my desire to use it is based on my wanting to be able to contact print those monster negatives. I see these prints as a great way to do some of the work I'd like to do. I'm also interested in learning some alternate processes and I have in my long term plan to attend some workshops once I acquire the camera.
Thank you all again for your advice. The concept of treating my photography as art and developing a real vision and goal is one that is fairly new to me but the shift in my thinking and attitude has been a good thing for me.
One more comment for you to think about. At my local camera store - the one that still carries wet darkroom supplies, 35mm and MF enlargers sit and gather dust. I do mean dust, not just in a figurative sense.
Last year, two 4x5 Omega enlargers came in the store, for sale, both used, both good shape. Both sold within 2-3 weeks of them arriving in the store.
Locally I see medium format camera systems - some of them in very good shape - selling for 10 cents on the dollar what they sold for new. Used large format cameras and lenses in good shape can fetch as high as 80% or more of that they sold for new.
I've been told - but i cannot verify (maybe others can) that large format sheet films are the only films that are either holding their own or actually increasing in sales over the past few years.
You've got to decide what you want to do on your own, but IMO, right now, large format is in the start of a rebirth, revival or whatever you want to call it.
All those 4x5 enlargers work just fine with MF. My first 4x5 enlarger was really an upgrade over my MF enlarger. I wouldn't be suprised if many people have upgraded their MF darkroom gear over the last few years. Instead of consumer grade MF setups moving up to higher end enlargers etc that all handle MF just fine.
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I'll just add my own feelings after touring various formats and enjoying them all.
MF and LF have very different strengths and capabilities. During a recent trip to Owens Valley I took a 6x6cm rangefinder and a 5x7" LF field camera, they have completely different capabilities. The MF can literally be shot from the hip.
There are some MF systems that push the envelope of resolution and really encroach on the tonality of 4x5 LF; for example, you can shoot 6x12cm on a 4x5 camera, or you can shoot 2x3" / 6x9cm on a mini view camera or 6x8 on a fuji gx680 or mamiya rb67 or fuji rangefinder etc. Use a fine-grained film or slide on MF and you will definitely push the capabilities of 4x5.
Tonality notwithstanding, the main things that separate MF and LF for me are: rapid viewfinder composition, lens speed, and use of roll film.
Bottom line, there are captures that are best made by 35mm, others best made by MF, and others best done by LF. There is no do-it-all camera. The digital makers would like to force us all to use 35mm SLRs, but fortunately that isn't yet the case, so... vive la difference.
Originally Posted by keithwms
And yes, you can shoot 2.25 x 3.25 on an RB67. All it takes is a Graphmatic back. No image cutoff.
Originally Posted by keithwms
tim in san jose
Where ever you are, there you be.
FWIW, I shoot MF, 4x5, 5x7, and 8x10. I have an RB67, a Wisner for 4x5, and an Ansco 8x10 with a 5x7 back. Believe it or not, the 4x5 is the least used, although it was my favourite format for a long time. Once I started shooting large format, I just could not go back to the 35mm, regardless of how convenient it is. The difference between 35mm and even medium format is just too much. If you want to contact print 8x10 and also do enlargements with something else, I would get a used RB or RZ with a lens or two, or even a TLR. They are not very expensive these days and you get used to them quite quickly.
Not exactly true, at least with the Pro SD model and Graflex RH8 back (6X8). When the back is rotated to the horizontal (landscape) position the bottom corners of the negatives are clipped 2 or 3mm each. Not in the vertical (portrait) position.
Originally Posted by k_jupiter
"Pictures are not incidental frills to a text; they are essences of our distinctive way of knowing." Stephen J. Gould