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  1. #11

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    Sorry, I don't agree with that.
    You can mount your MF camera on a tripod and get the "same" result (in looks that is ).

    The diference would be in the grain than. (6x7 against 4x5 inch)

    Peter

  2. #12
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    Yeah, I also don't agree, Scott. The more automated camera is always going to give you more time to interact with the subject. And the RB/RZ system uses ground glass and a waist-level as well, so you can shoot in that mode if you wish.

    Look, the RB/RZ and hassie systems have been the portrait cameras of choice for decades. There are many good reasons. Not the least of which, if you are interested in capturing fleeting expressions, then medium format is far better at doing that than a view camera.
    "Only dead fish follow the stream"

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  3. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by keithwms View Post
    Yeah, I also don't agree, Scott. The more automated camera is always going to give you more time to interact with the subject. And the RB/RZ system uses ground glass and a waist-level as well, so you can shoot in that mode if you wish.

    Look, the RB/RZ and hassie systems have been the portrait cameras of choice for decades. There are many good reasons. Not the least of which, if you are interested in capturing fleeting expressions, then medium format is far better at doing that than a view camera.
    If the photographer has the camera on a tripod and is looking directly at the subject, and is taking the picture with a cable release, I don't see why medium format should be any better than large format at capturing fleeting expressions. The difference is in the convenience of getting ready for the next exposure, is it not?
    Charles Hohenstein

  4. #14
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    Charles, since they are shooting to roll film, an RB or RZ can shoot at much faster frame rate, and built-in metering (if you do use an AE prism) means that metering is very quick as well. Another big advantage is the ability to recompose very quickly. You have the rotating back etc. and completely reconfiguring the camera can be done in seconds. N.b. there is a lovely and inexpensive zoom lens in the RB/RZ repertoire, and a dedicated SF lens too....

    With LF you are ducking under a dark cloth, changing out a film holder and withdrawing dark slides etc.... pretty much every time you shoot. (Unless you use a press camera) I mean... show me a spontaneous looking LF shot. It can be done but it's way more difficult.

    Unless the original poster is planning on making use of tilt/shift or the unique effects of antique lenses, then I see no reason to delve into LF for this. The portrait capabilities of the RZ system are very well established. There are good reasons why this is so, and why people tend to go to MF for portraiture versus LF for landscape and architecture and other more static subject matter.

    And no, I am not discouraging the use of LF, I am simply answering the original question.
    Last edited by keithwms; 03-27-2009 at 08:15 AM. Click to view previous post history.
    "Only dead fish follow the stream"

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  5. #15
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    Wirelessly posted (BlackBerry8330/4.3.0 Profile/MIDP-2.0 Configuration/CLDC-1.1 VendorID/105)

    I shoot landscapes in both formats and, for that type of shooting, greatly prefer 4X5. If you are really only doing portraiture work, though, I recommend sticking to MF unless you will need to produce prints over 16x20 regularly. You won't need swings and tilts.MF will be more efficient and affordable.
    "There is a time and place for all things, the difficulty is to use them only in their proper time and places." -- Robert Henri

  6. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by TheFlyingCamera View Post
    large format portraiture generally means you set up the camera, pose the subject, then take a half-step aside to fine-tune composition, expression, etc, then take the picture. You're not looking through the viewfinder at the moment before exposure. It's a different style of working, and when done well, gives portraits that you can't get with a smaller format camera, because the camera is no longer an intermediary/barrier between you and the subject. Done right, you can get the subject to forget they're being photographed at the moment of exposure, because they're looking at/talking to you, not a box with a funny piece of glass in front of it.
    This is a good description of an effective portrait photography session. As others have mentioned, the only "error" might be the assumption that this working style is limited to LF. I use the exact smae technique with MF. My experience is that less fiddling with film holders and the slightly quicker pace of MF (Hasselblad, in my case, on tripod) always makes for a more effective portrait session and better portraits in the final product. That said... I LOVE the beauty of a person captured on a large piece of film. It's a thing of absolute beauty... but I find it more difficult to achieve.

  7. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by keithwms View Post
    ... dedicated SF lens too....
    Although this really isn't asked in the OP, it is a very good point. A soft focus lens is a key part of a portrait photography "kit". It makes almost any woman and many men over the age of, say, 30 (an age picked out of thin air) look better. I have a SF lens for LF but there is no such thing for Hassy -- the only shortcoming of the Hasselblad system that I have ever noticed. There are a number of decent SF filters, but nothing beats a real SF lens.

  8. #18
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    Keith-

    I was NOT talking about "spontaneity". I was talking about natural interaction and the removal of the mechanical interlocutor. I agree that for "environmental" portrait work, or "journalistic" portrait work, a large format camera is not going to be the appropriate tool. However, in a studio, on a tripod, with large format you can get out from behind the camera (there's no point to hiding behind it because once the film is loaded, you can't see through the lens anyway). With smaller roll-film formats, because they are prism finders, you have to keep your eye in the camera while working, especially when working hand-held, because a tiny movement can throw off your composition. You are creating an artificial barrier between subject and portraitist when there's a camera on your face. Perhaps because we're photographers, we forget that it isn't normal to have a conversation with a mechanical box.

    Another advantage to portrait work with large format cameras is the depth-of-field control you have, and I'm not talking about applying movements here. How many of you have actually seen/used a traditional large-format portrait camera? Most of them have very minor if any rear standard movements, and none in front. You're not applying significant movements in order to control depth-of-field. The depth-of-field control I'm talking about comes from the focal lengths of lenses you're using - a 14" f5 lens has very shallow depth-of-field wide open, and even stopped down to render an entire face sharp, will nicely blur out the background creating that "3-D" effect people so like in portraits. Yes this can be done with smaller formats, but it requires exponentially faster lenses, slower films, and very small amounts of light (in the studio).

    If you are working outdoors with natural light, it is a different equation.

  9. #19

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    Brain, Imagons were made for Hasselblad, you just have to look for them, and then, when you find one, pay a lot of money for it. ($1000,- aprox used). There was one for a Hasselblad on Ebay, but the prices......

    I have the 250mm Imagon for 4x5 inch, and a 200mm Imagon for my Rollei SL 66.

    The 150mm S(oft)F(ocus) for the RB is a lot cheaper, but you need the camera for it.
    It uses more or less the same priciples as the original Imagon made by Rodenstock, Germany.

    Peter

    Addition: check this number on Ebay: 120397288106
    Last edited by archphoto; 03-27-2009 at 09:37 AM. Click to view previous post history. Reason: Addition

  10. #20

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    Thanks Peter. Maybe it is the $1000 price that makes me not see them! It might be cheaper for me to get a Mamiya and SF??? In the meantime I make effective use of Softar filters.

    I use a Fuji 250SF for 4x5.

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