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  1. #1

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    Large Format choice

    Hey there,
    This is my second post here after the introduction about myself.

    I am planning to buy a large format even i didn't start using film yet, but until i can choose a large format i will shoot some film rolls and see where i can go from there, so my question simple complicated is: What and where i can find a new 8x10 large format camera brand "New"? which names i should look for?

    In large format, which factors or things i should look for when choosing one? Say i want one for outdoors and landscapes and so, i know lightweight camera is a better idea but i will not make weight as a limit factor, so if one large format doing great job for landscapes due to features or performance over another one less features but it is so lightweight i think i will go with high performance, i always use tripod in most of my landscapes and sure for large format definitely i must use tripod, so it will not be a big issue, also mostly in my area i don't go or walk for long distance so that i feel so tired carrying heavy camera, but in all cases, if there is a great 8x10 lightweight and high performance for landscapes works then it will be big plus or bonus.

    Also when i will find a large format body, what accessories i should look for rather than a lens and a film sheet/slide? What can you recommend me as a lens for landscape wide angle shots?

    I appreciate all the answers, and giving me more options will be fine but i hope to narrow it to 2-3 options to select, and i know that each to his own preferences and taste or need.

  2. #2
    bumbersdad's Avatar
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    Go to bigcameraworkshops.com. Rob will steer you in the right direction. Other than holders and lenses, you'll need a tripod -- a very good tripod and a lens shade, filters, meter, and on and on. I like to carry a couple of reflectors too.

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by bumbersdad View Post
    Go to bigcameraworkshops.com. Rob will steer you in the right direction. Other than holders and lenses, you'll need a tripod -- a very good tripod and a lens shade, filters, meter, and on and on. I like to carry a couple of reflectors too.
    Thank you very much!

    Which tripod do you recommend?!!!
    What is a lens shade, and let's say i read about it, do you have any specific lens shade i should look at?
    filters? you mean UV, Polarizer, ND,...etc? I have many of them for my digital cameras, do i need different filters for large format lenses? or what do you mean by filters?
    Meter? Which one?
    Why do you use reflectors? and which one do you use?

    sorry for these questions, but really some answers will give me more lights to see what i have and what i am missing and where to look or what to look.

  4. #4
    mjs
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    I don't know where you're located, geographically, but new large format cameras are made by Wehman, Phillips, Tachihara, Chamonix, Ebony, Shen-Hao, Arca-Swiss, Linhof, K.B. Canham, Toho, and Wista, at least (there may be others I've forgotten about.) Some of these folks (Phillips?) may have retired or stopped making that size camera, I'm not sure.

    Aside from the large negative, the distinguishing characteristic of view cameras are the movements you can make with the front and rear standards. Generally speaking (one can always find exceptions, of course,) portraiture requires the fewest movements, architechture and still life the most, and landscape is in between. Every photographer using large format equipment has their own preferences but most agree that rise and fall, tilt and swing movements on the front standard are most convenient, as well as tilt and swing on the rear standard. Other movements such as shift left and right on the front standard, tilts on the lens axis as well as at the base of the standard, on either or both front and rear standards, are convenient but then others say that the reduced rigidity that comes along with more movements, especially with lightweight cameras, is not worth the convenience. Again generally speaking, monorails often have more movements than do folding 'field' cameras, but they're usually less convenient to carry around in the field, too.

    Note that the weight of the camera is more important than you may realize, in part because everything else you will end up using will be larger than required for smaller cameras as well. For example, in order to hold the larger, heavier camera, your tripod will be substantially larger and heavier than one for your medium format camera. Similarly, 8x10 film holders are larger and heavier than, say, 4x5 film holders. Lenses are often larger and heavier than lenses for smaller cameras, particularly if you decide that you like some of the earlier designs currently popular. You also need to carry a focusing cloth, a light meter, shutter release cables, and possibly other stuff with you as well. The camera itself may end up being only half the weight of your kit, or less, even if you try to keep things lightweight.

    Where you can get this stuff depends on some extent on where you are located in the world and what purchasing options you have available to you. This forum is a good resource, as is the large format site www.largeformatphotography.info In the US, retailers such as Badger Graphic Sales and Midwest Photo Exchange are sources for both new and used equipment and advice. There are others, of course, and many more around the world. The Internet will help you locate those proximate to you. And, of course, there's always E-bay and it's unique combination of opportunity and risk.

    Is it possible that you might be able to meet up with a large format photographer near you, see what they have, maybe try using a camera before you buy one? This might prove the most helpful to you.

    Good luck!

    Mike
    Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming– “Wow! What a Ride!”

    — Hunter S. Thompson

  5. #5
    bumbersdad's Avatar
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    You're looking at a steep learning curve. Possibly the best thing for you to do right now would be to study Ansel Adam's classic photo books, The Camera, The Negative and The Print. As far as a shade, any shade that doesn't vignette your negative is fine. As far as filters, for black and white you'll want a red and yellow to begin with, perhaps others as you go along. Gels will work with most lenses; if you use glass, you'll need the size that fits the individual lens. As far as a meter, I use an older Pentax Spotmeter. That, though, gets into the zone system, and that's far too complex to discuss in a short time and small space.

  6. #6

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    There's a lot of information for begining LFers at the LargeFormatPhotography website. The forums are usually especially interesting for beginners -- any question you can come up with has probably already been asked and answered, so search the archives (and look at the dates on the posts before you append your own posts; no point in reviving a 10 year old thread).
    Bruce Watson
    AchromaticArts.com

  7. #7

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    A weekend workshop is an excellent way to get jump-started. It may cost a little, but it will save you lots of time and help you choose your gear. I wish I had taken one when I was getting started. Learning on your own is not just more time consuming, it is also more expensive.
    Large format photography can be a very rewarding experience - good luck with it.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by mjs View Post
    I don't know where you're located, geographically, but new large format cameras are made by Wehman, Phillips, Tachihara, Chamonix, Ebony, Shen-Hao, Arca-Swiss, Linhof, K.B. Canham, Toho, and Wista, at least (there may be others I've forgotten about.) Some of these folks (Phillips?) may have retired or stopped making that size camera, I'm not sure.

    Aside from the large negative, the distinguishing characteristic of view cameras are the movements you can make with the front and rear standards. Generally speaking (one can always find exceptions, of course,) portraiture requires the fewest movements, architechture and still life the most, and landscape is in between. Every photographer using large format equipment has their own preferences but most agree that rise and fall, tilt and swing movements on the front standard are most convenient, as well as tilt and swing on the rear standard. Other movements such as shift left and right on the front standard, tilts on the lens axis as well as at the base of the standard, on either or both front and rear standards, are convenient but then others say that the reduced rigidity that comes along with more movements, especially with lightweight cameras, is not worth the convenience. Again generally speaking, monorails often have more movements than do folding 'field' cameras, but they're usually less convenient to carry around in the field, too.

    Note that the weight of the camera is more important than you may realize, in part because everything else you will end up using will be larger than required for smaller cameras as well. For example, in order to hold the larger, heavier camera, your tripod will be substantially larger and heavier than one for your medium format camera. Similarly, 8x10 film holders are larger and heavier than, say, 4x5 film holders. Lenses are often larger and heavier than lenses for smaller cameras, particularly if you decide that you like some of the earlier designs currently popular. You also need to carry a focusing cloth, a light meter, shutter release cables, and possibly other stuff with you as well. The camera itself may end up being only half the weight of your kit, or less, even if you try to keep things lightweight.

    Where you can get this stuff depends on some extent on where you are located in the world and what purchasing options you have available to you. This forum is a good resource, as is the large format site www.largeformatphotography.info In the US, retailers such as Badger Graphic Sales and Midwest Photo Exchange are sources for both new and used equipment and advice. There are others, of course, and many more around the world. The Internet will help you locate those proximate to you. And, of course, there's always E-bay and it's unique combination of opportunity and risk.

    Is it possible that you might be able to meet up with a large format photographer near you, see what they have, maybe try using a camera before you buy one? This might prove the most helpful to you.

    Good luck!

    Mike
    Hey Mike,

    Thank you very much for your valuable post.

    I will buy a book about large format photography system and i will keep reading here so i can have better knowledge about large format.

    First i should tell you that i live in Ajman city, United Arab Emirates, Middle East of Asia Continent.

    Unfortunately, i didn't see one photographer using large format, even medium format that wide used here, so really i should depend on myself to search or research about large format before i get one and use.

  9. #9

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    Ok, forget about the body and lens as i will try to give more deep search and reading about it, and about the link you posted of large format forum in fact i am registered there a while ago and asked questions there but didn't get straight forward direct answers, it is like no one want to give their own answers and telling me to search about the answers myself, then why i ask questions if i can find everything by myself.

    Let's make it in another simplier way,

    Large format System:
    ==============

    Body: I will see what i will choose

    Lens: what brands should i stay with, don't worry about the price, it depends on my if i will go with that or used, just recommend me one or 2 brands that are the top in your opinion and then it is up to me

    Lens shade: what is that? and is there any brand you prefer or also there are many and i have to get lost to choose which?

    Filters: i think i have idea about filters, i have books about filters and i have some already so i will give it more reading.

    Meter: Do you mean light meter? if so then i have Sekonic L-758DR, is it good to use with large format or any film camera or you recommend something else?

    Film holders: any recommendation will be fine

    Film Media: will see which sheet or slide i will go with, i will choose few to start and stay with, in color for landscapes i know one already that i like.

    Tripod: I have almost 5 tripods, is there any model i should go with?

    Something else: open to give me your advise and recommendations.

  10. #10

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    Chaminoix may be easier to obtain since they're made in China. If you search the threads here I think you will find most people who have them are very satisfied.
    There have been one or two issues with the cameras and they're discussed.
    Tripod, I would get one that's rated for about twice the weight of the camera. That's a personal opinion.
    Carbon fiber will be much lighter than aluminum or wooden legs and more expensive.

    A lens hood or shade is put on the front of the lens to keep extraneous light from striking the lens and reducing contrast or increasing flare. Most of your accessories from the digi cam will not fit LF lenses. If you're careful in building your outfit you can get some very decent small and lightweight lenses with the same filter sizes. Initially you might want to learn without using them.

    The Sekonic you have is good!
    Lenses made by Schneider, Rodenstock, Nikon and Fuji are good. There are others but I can't remember. Because of where you are, new lenses will be the best bet.
    If you decide you want a special lens like a Petzval or other unique lenses check with JimGalli here on the site. He can tell you a lot about them. I'd search online to see if you like the effects.
    Last edited by John Koehrer; 02-08-2010 at 12:31 PM. Click to view previous post history.
    Heavily sedated for your protection.

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