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Thread: Handheld 4x5

  1. #11
    David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
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    Somehow, portraits of living children were made using much more cumbersome equipment than handheld press cameras and slower materials than modern films in the past. It's not that absurd an idea.

  2. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by esearing
    I've said it before...Why not use the right tool for the job. For consistant results, Fast moving kids requires 35mm or medium format if you must have the large neg. Don't pound screws with a hammer.
    Just as the experience of shooting 35, MF and LF are all different, the point of view displayed by 35, MF and LF photography tends to be different. I don't see anything inherently wrong with applying the large format "eye" to children. I'm clawing at that particular learning curve myself. While, with 35mm, one tends to explore a subject, thinking out loud with the shutter, more of this has to go on with previsualization with large format (I'd venture a guess...) Likewise, the same exact shot captured with 35mm, MF and LF will each have different aesthetic characteristics, so I think I'd have to respectfully disagree that one camera or another is required for chasing down good images of children.

    I would like to hear more from the handheld 4x5 shooters among us. I suspect that would be mostly Graflex and Linhof folks.

    - Does the graflex or the linhof have more "travel" from infinity to the closest rangefinder focus position? My top-rangefinder crown will focus up to five or six feet, but the bellows actually goes out a few inches longer than is serviced by the rangefinder mechanism. Would a Linhof permit closer rangefinder focusing?

    - What are the mechanics of good rangefinder focusing where you have separate focusing and framing ports and a dynamic subject? Do you frame up with lots of "wiggle room" for later cropping, then focus with the rangefinder and shoot? When a subject is not so very active, I find I can usually focus, then frame and lean forward and back to compensate for any post-focus movement of the subject. What do other handheld LFers do?


    -KwM-

  3. #13
    David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
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    It depends on the lens, but on my Tech V, I can usually focus to about 3.5 feet with a 135 or 150mm lens before exceeding the length of the cam. I think the near distance is about 5 feet with a 360mm lens, and somewhere in between for a 210mm lens.

    I set the finder for the focal length and approximate subject distance and leave a little crop space, since it's not as precise as groundglass or SLR viewing. Then I'm usually looking through the viewfinder, only checking the rangefinder occasionally if the subject moves significantly.

  4. #14
    Max
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    To be clear, I don't have any delusions of chasing her around, trying to get action shots. I also have dogs, and when it's time for action (which is rare for me), I pull out the AF. For me, that means either my wife's point'n'shoot or one of those not-to-be-named-here cameras - my 35mm body is a Nikon FM.

  5. #15
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    Here is an example of work done with a handheld Speed Graphic circ 1954 on a dark day in December. I don't remember the exact settings but I can assure you that the aperture was wide open (probably a Wollensack 135) because the uncropped image shows signs of coma at the extreme corners.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Earl-II.jpg  
    I love the smell of fixer in the morning. It smells like...creativity!
    Truly, dr bob.

  6. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by juan
    Speed Graphic, strong flash, zone focus. Weegee.
    juan
    I'm no Weegee, but I have had some spectacular successes and spectacular failures with my Super Graphic hand held.
    Failures: hand held landscapes and outdoor reportage
    Successes: Using flash bulbs, the original "light saber" flash attachment and Polaroid film, I made a great indoor kid and party camera. The original flash works great with 4 D batteries and flash bulbs; the zone focus works fine at f16 between 6 and 9 feet; and the Polaroid film, color or B&W gives instant feedback. You could, of course substitute a strong potato masher electronic flash and save $$$$ on flash bulbs, but I had an abundance of them along with the original flash unit.

  7. #17

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    All of these successes have inspired me to give it another go. I have figured out how to use the range finder on my pressman but I am a bit confused at how to figure the zone focusing. Is this how it would work?

    1-decide how far away the subject will be, or at least close to it.
    2-Set aperature and this is where I get confused. If I set at F-16 then I get pretty good dof. If I keep it wide open how do I figure out what distance to keep the subject between? Is this a trial and error thing.
    Technological society has succeeded in multiplying the opportunities for pleasure, but it has great difficulty in generating joy. Pope Paul VI

    So, I think the "greats" were true to their visions, once their visions no longer sucked. Ralph Barker 12/2004

  8. #18
    David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
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    Weegee recommended memorizing two distances, and always using those distances. Henri Cartier-Bresson did the same. One suggestion I've read is to practice at home or other places by setting the focus for, say, 8 feet or 6 feet, walking up to various objects, and when you think you're at the distance you've selected, check the focus and see if you were right.

  9. #19

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    It always pays to listen to the old guys.
    Technological society has succeeded in multiplying the opportunities for pleasure, but it has great difficulty in generating joy. Pope Paul VI

    So, I think the "greats" were true to their visions, once their visions no longer sucked. Ralph Barker 12/2004

  10. #20

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    Are you calling David old?

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