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  1. #1
    highpeak's Avatar
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    Need you input about camera selection

    I am facing a difficult choice right now, I have too many cameras, and too many lenses, I found it does not help me to take better pictures, try to reduce things to minimal.

    Here is my situation:

    I have 3 4X5 cameras, one is Chamonix (I really like it), one is Sinar F1, and the other one is Speed graphic (to use brass lens with it).

    I also have a Deardorff 8X10, just got it, didn't shoot it yet.

    and here is the problem, I really want to get a Chamonix whole plate camera because I like that format and the camera is really light.

    The question is, do I keep the 8X10 and crop to WP size or just go for the WP camera? and if I decided to go big, I will have to let go all of my 4X5 gears, has anyone here found 4X5 really necessary even when you have a bigger camera?

    My shooting subject will mostly be city or suburban scenes, sometime landscape when hiking.

    Any suggestion is welcome and thanks.

    Alex W.

  2. #2
    Sanjay Sen's Avatar
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    I find the 4x5 "necessary" when it's not convenient to carry the 8x10 (too big/heavy), when I want to shoot color (8x10 color is not cheap!), and when I want to enlarge (though I haven't gotten around to that yet).

    Edit: I am also trying out 5x7 with a reducing back to see if I like the format. Right now I feel it's too small for contacts, and too large to be enlarged. But that may change.

  3. #3

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    Or if you want to use a rollfilm back.

    Reducing backs aren't a big hassle. I like my Shen FCL 8x10. It's light enough and goes wide enough that it can easily handle anything between 5x7 and 8x10. It could even handle anything but extreme wide angle 4x5 if I had a back for that format.

    I bet Chamanoix could make you an 8x10 with various reducing backs. One camera but a bunch of backs. Backs cost a lot less then whole cameras or even just a set of bellows.

  4. #4
    phaedrus's Avatar
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    I'd like to second the cautious thought about carrying weight. A 4x5 with 4 lenses, enough film holders, tripod and other accessories is about as much as I can carry for extended hikes.

  5. #5
    highpeak's Avatar
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    Thanks for your response. Well, I think I will keep one (maybe two) of the 4X5 cameras, sell the Deardorff, and try out whole plate camera. One thing concerns me is the film issue for whole plate camera, still ponding for a decision :<

    Alex W.

  6. #6
    Jim Noel's Avatar
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    I still have two 4x5 cameras, a field camera and a Sinar Norma, along with Deardorff 5x7 and 8x10 plus the 7x17.

    I find that the one I could most easily do without is the 4x5 field camera. I keep it in fear of not being able to get 5x7 film at some time in the future. My everyday camera is the 5x7. It is probably used for 75-80% of the images. The Sinar is just unbeatable in the studio, but I don't carry it around.
    [FONT=Comic Sans MS]Films NOT Dead - Just getting fixed![/FONT]

  7. #7

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    Shooting 4x5 has the least restrictions on film sizes, either on a cost basis, or availability. You also have the advantage of shooting Polaroid materials, or using Fuji Instant (pack films). However, if you like working with the larger ground glass of an 8x10, then maybe the reducing backs idea would work better. My choice of 4x5 is mostly based upon Kodak Readyload and Fuji Quickload, convenient packet systems not available in 8x10.

    Ciao!

    Gordon Moat Photography

  8. #8

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    Brett Weston is quoted as saying, "There is nothing photogenic more than one half mile from the road."
    He used an 8x10.
    On the other hand, my Deardorf V8 sat unused for 4 years because I thought 8x10 contact prints were just too small. My V8 came with 5x7 and 4x5 reducing backs, but as I already owned a Super Graphic, I never availed myself of the "world's largest 4x5 camera".
    Alex, if you truly want to simplify, why get an odd-sized format will severely limit your choices of film and paper? While the 'dorf is indeed heavy, it's very versatile and it's still the gold standard for 8x10 field cameras. You can crop down to full plate size or acquire a 5x7 back for even more intimate contact prints. Keep one 4x5 for enlarging, and you're good to go.
    Best of luck with a difficult decision. I applaud your epiphany that more is less.

  9. #9

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    Put whole plate crop marks on your 8x10 GG before you decide to sell the 8x10.

    Steve

  10. #10
    highpeak's Avatar
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    Deckled Edge, checked your website, wonderful work! I have a question through, why "G l e n n W i s h o n��" with the question marks?

    Thanks again for the input, I almost made my mind, I will keep 4X5 for sure, and won't let the Deardorff go for a while, I will compare the whole plate camera once I get it with the 8X10.

    As for film, I know its very hard to get whole plate size film, and there is no color film for it. It's fine with me, I love B&W, if I really want color, 4X5 can do the job.

    Alex W.

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