ACCESSORIES FOR 4 X 5 FORMAT
I am new to large format and I recently bought a 4x5 view camera on the bay, model name - "CAMBO CALUMET 45 SCX".. I am now going to need a lens (150mm.)???, a lensboard, and a filmback for 4x5 sheet-film.
Could any of you experienced, large format guys, advise me as to what model/type/size of the forementioned bits of kit I should look out for that would will fit this particular model and make of camera. I should mention in ending that my darkroom is already geared for 4x5.
Thanks for your time
a 150mm lens is a good starter lens, as it is similar in field of view(FOV) to the 'standard' 50mm in 35mm format.
FYI: 35mm focal length x3 = equivalent focal length in 4x5 format 85mm(35mm)=240/250mm(4x5)
Intended usage: B/W, Color or both?
4x5 film holders are really cheap right now, with many listed on fleabay, craigslist, etc.... I got most of mine for $5-$8 each. fidelity elites are really nice. lisco regal's are nice as well. start out with 5 or so, so you can load a full 10 sht box of film, if you shoot color. I don't know of any b/w that comes in 10sht boxes
darkcloth, or focusing hood(tube). cambo made one, and its handy. make sure your bellows are light tight though before you use the camera. ebay again for these...
loupe. a $5 one from longs should work for starters, or a pair of 3x reading glasses from the 99c store work too. and if you lose either, then you don't have to worry about it that much. backups are helpful to have in this regard, IMO.
Your lens choice for your first one depends a little on the pictures you'd like to make. If I had only one, however, it would be a 210.
They are long enough to work well for portraits, and give a nice image size for stuff like trees and rocks. A lens like a Schneider Symar can cover a 5x7 neg hence gives you lots of room for movements on a 4x5. The 210 is pretty much the standard focal length for a view camera.
For a darkcloth, go to the fabric store and pick out a couple of yards of black or other dark color cloth that suits you. Or get a dark very large t-shirt. If you want to get fancy with the darkcloth buy an equal amount of white and sew it to one side. That way, you don't roast in the summer. For the t-shirt method, stretch the neck over the camera an slip your head into the rest of it. Using the other way around works too.
They are a little easier to deal with than 2 yards of fabric flapping about in the wind and sliding off the camera.
As Dan says, holders are practically a dime a dozen. Pretty much any holder you encounter will fit your camera. There are some exceptions, but they aren't terribly common in comparison to the piles and piles of ones that do. Any that you get, you will want to test with some paper to make sure they are light tight before commiting your film to them.
Lensboards are pretty much specific to the camera although there are a lot of shared configurations. If you have any doubts contact a shop like Midwest Photo, Badger, SK Grimes, or Calumet and tell them you need a board for your model of Cambo. For a few bucks extra SK Grimes will drill the right hole in it for your lens, and mount it if you want.
The nice thing about LF lenses is that you can choose whatever lens you like.
However, if you are a complete newcomer to the LF world you should make sure that the one you are trying to buy has a shutter. With some cameras (Sinar) you can have a separate shutter so lenses may not always have one. Also some older lenses come without shutter.
It doesn't really matter all that much which shutter it is as long as it works.
You can find lensboards in a lot of places. Just search for Cambo to make sure it fits your camera. What you need to look for is the size of the hole in the lens board. They usually come in 0, 1 or 3 depending on the lens. If you have a lathe you can always make the hole bigger (but not smaller).
The focal length depends on what you like to shoot, but my advice would be to start with something between 90 and 240mm.
Symmars are cheap and plentiful, and even if they are not the sharpest lenses on earth they are sharp enough.
Whatever lens you are considering, just make sure it covers 4x5 (very few lenses in the 90-240 range doesn't).
If you plan on getting a very short lens (65mm an shorter) you will need a recessed lens board, but start of with something in the 90-240 range (just my personal opinion).
Kodak Ektars, 127mm & 203mm, are good good and cheap cheap. Wollensaks come in a close second to the Ektars and probably cheaper. A black t-shirt was already covered. No clue what lensboard you need. Somebody will know. That was covered also. A cheap magnifying glass from a dollar store works as a loupe and a taking lens. Develop film in 3 trays if you have a place that is really dark. That is the cheapest way to do film.
Recently expired, 2-3 years, cold stored B&W film for less than half of new price is the best way to learn. The film is fine and you won't wince nearly as hard when you screw up.
Last edited by Venchka; 12-30-2009 at 05:40 PM. Click to view previous post history.
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One thing I saw which I liked, on a darkcloth, was velcro siding around 2 or 3 sides...helps you get a snug fit and comes in handy if it's windy, etc.
Also very cheap if you're just buying fabric to make your own.
Finding a focal length right for you is your own personal choice, but the general rule of 35mm format x3 is good. You sound like you have enough shooting experience already to know that much about yourself.
Do you really need a back for the camera, or do you need film holders? A camera without a back will have to have a back before it can be used with any sort of holder.
As for lenses, I recommend a 210 to start, especially if you will be shooting a lot in studio, or otherwise using many movements. They are just a little longer than a normal lens (think 70mm lens compared to 50mm lens on a 35mm camera), and generally allow more movement. They are the de facto normal lens for most studio 4x5 photographers, even though 150 is technically the normal lens for the format. A slightly long lens is far preferable to me for most things I shoot in studio anyhow. I use a 240 most of the time.
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You should get at least 5 film holders, which is enough for 10 sheets of film. You'll need a loup for fine focusing, and a cable release for the shutter. A dark cloth may or may not be necessary, I'm not sure if your Calumet comes with a a shroud around the ground glass or not. I prefer a wider lens, a 135 is a good bet. A lens with a larger aperture will allow for light on the ground glass, making focusing easier.
A Fuji instant film back with Fuji FB instant film is nice to have. You can shoot a few instant shots and see how well you are figuring out your focus exposure instantly, without having to wait for your film to come back from the lab. You can get Fuji instant film in 100, 500, and 3000 speeds.
Have fun, I plan on dragging my Wista out on New Year's day to get pictures of the first sunrise,
I have a 90, 135 and 210 for my 4X5. I prefer the 135 most for landscapes (so far at least) and it gets used for about half the shots.
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Thanks to all for the fast feedback on the 4x5 format. Yes, I stand corrected, I did mean film-holder and not film-back. I think that the first lens I'll buy will be a 210mm. as I don't do much landscape photography, and the 210mm. seems by general consensus to be the 'normal' lens for this format .