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  1. #1
    stradibarrius's Avatar
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    is LF really complicated?

    is LF a lot more difficult than shooting MF? As much as I love photography I don't like or care for the extreme details like formulas and ratios.
    "Generalizations are made because they are generally true"
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    Barry
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  2. #2
    David William White's Avatar
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    What you see is what you get.
    Considerably AWOL at the present time...

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  3. #3
    TheFlyingCamera's Avatar
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    It's only as complicated as you want to make it. The one thing you REALLY have to know about is exposure compensation when focusing. The simple rule is that when focused at 1:1, you have to add two stops of exposure comp. At 1:2, you add only 1 stop. This is seldom an issue when shooting with smaller formats if you are doing landscape or even portraiture (a 4x5 portrait, even a tight headshot, is still not even 1:2 reproduction). It's pretty easy.

  4. #4
    Barry S's Avatar
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    Large format is simple--a piece of film, a lens, and an empty box. A couple simple rules are all the math you need.

  5. #5
    Mainecoonmaniac's Avatar
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    Yes and no. It's easier because the camera is usually a lot simplier. The hard part for me is looking at an upside down image on the ground glass. The swings and tilts took a while for me to learn. Once you've mastered LF cameras, it's very rewarding. I learned a lot through using Polaroid type 55. It gave me instant feed back. It's going to be harder because Polaroid is no more

  6. #6

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    Do the bellows extension math once for each lens, mark it on a ruler, tape measure or your camera bed, and you never have to do it again. Or just eyeball the extension and add 1/2 stop for every additional 20% of extension over the focal length. Bring a table or graph along for reciprocity corrections at various speeds and you will be math free, until you start adding filters. The only time I start to get confused is when I'm combining bellows extension with long reciprocity corrections, then my brain sometimes swells. But slowing down and being careful takes care of it.

  7. #7
    jnanian's Avatar
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    hi barry

    a lf camera is only more complicated because you
    have more things to remember ...
    for example : " did i close the shutter after i focused "

    and it is cheaper than film, because you can
    shoot paper negatives when you are learning the ropes
    and process your exposure in 2 mins, instead of shooting rolls of film


    have fun !
    john

  8. #8
    Paul Sorensen's Avatar
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    Actually, the issue with bellows factor is not much different than using an extension tube or other macro device. If you not doing closeup type work, you will not have to deal with it much. It becomes a bigger issue on larger formats, where a head and shoulders portrait can be approaching 1:2 or even 1:1.

    The other issues that might seem confusing have to do with movements. There are formulas or rules for determining the plane of focus but most of us don't to too much with that and can get what we need from eyeballing it.

    The only thing I would say about large format is that it does take a lot more time. There are a bunch things to check that you don't have to do with MF or especially don't have to do with a modern whiz bang 35mm. Of course, many of use find that the benefits of slowing down and paying attention to everything outweigh the costs in time.

  9. #9
    Mainecoonmaniac's Avatar
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    I think for some applications 4x5 is excellent. It slows you down so it makes one see differently. I like cook so I see it like cooking from scratch with a stove verses microwaving a tv dinner. One is more an art and the other is just do what is necessary to get the job done to eat.

  10. #10
    keithwms's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stradibarrius View Post
    is LF a lot more difficult than shooting MF? As much as I love photography I don't like or care for the extreme details like formulas and ratios.
    Don't sweat the formulas; we don't photograph formulas.

    Just try LF and see if the simplicity of the gear appeals. That's definitely LF's main attraction to me: simplicity. Less gear and gizmos... just you, your film, some bellows and a lens. Photography in its purest form; you add the complexity, not the gear. Limited and limitless at the same time.

    If you decide, in the future, to use the analytical approach to optimize this or that technical element in your images, then fine. But you certainly don't have to do that. Remember, Weston developed a deep intuition based on ~zero analytical training, and he used some of the simplest gear possible. Adams was far more analytical, but did he install BTZS formulas on his iphone?
    "Only dead fish follow the stream"

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