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Thread: Age vs. Format

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    daleeman's Avatar
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    Age vs. Format

    Iíve been considering downsizing. Not just the household, but camera formats too. I may not be blessed to have a 7x17 but I do enjoy 4x5, 6X6 and then 35mm.

    As a heart patient and I'm not as young as I used to be, I would like to know otherís experiences with downsizing formats to parallel oneís aging process or the successes of holding back ageís ravages and still using medium to large format cameras. Does one change subjects from mountainous hikes to table top and be happy with that?

    Also as one may let go prized film cameras has any one found success in spawning new younger film shooters with their equipment is all of it doomed to be sold on EvilBay?

    Lee

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    Fifty-one years old here with a neurological issue. I can't walk very far because, if I do, I may not make it back to the car. Also, my hands are very often fumbly and/or shakey. Overall weight isn't a big issue but handling of a bulky camera is. I decided to avoid 8x10 or ULF but I want the control of a view camera. So I bought a compact 4x5 kit dedicated solely for 6x12cm roll film... plus a slightly larger 4x5 kit that has 7 inches of rear shift for those times I can handle the added bulk/weight/fussiness of 4x5 sheet film. I want the rear shift on the bigger camera so I can stitch 3 sheets together for final image sizes of 4x8 and 4x10. SSHHH... don't tell any one that I'm a "hybribastard"!!

    ETA: Since my degradation is in and around the basal ganglia of my brain it also makes me forgetful and confused sometimes... during those times I can be a bit of an A-hole too. Those are the times I need to better recognize my disposition and stop posting on forums.

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    Quote Originally Posted by daleeman View Post
    Iíve been considering downsizing. Not just the household, but camera formats too. I may not be blessed to have a 7x17 but I do enjoy 4x5, 6X6 and then 35mm.

    As a heart patient and I'm not as young as I used to be, I would like to know otherís experiences with downsizing formats to parallel oneís aging process or the successes of holding back ageís ravages and still using medium to large format cameras. Does one change subjects from mountainous hikes to table top and be happy with that?

    Also as one may let go prized film cameras has any one found success in spawning new younger film shooters with their equipment is all of it doomed to be sold on EvilBay?

    Lee
    Hi Lee,

    I can't provide much input on the downsizing question but I did want to chime in on the "spawning new younger film shooters".

    I hope that I'm not alone in just starting the journey to learn to appreciate the finer points on film photography while coming from the digital age. My wife recently brought home a box full of old cameras (Argus C3 caught my imagination in particular) from her grandparents and it sparked a new fascination in me to learn film shooting and developing. There is certainly something extra special about a fine photograph taken on a single exposure of film compared to sorting through 500 photographs on a digital looking for that "one good one" and all the "enhancements" that are so easily applied to digital.

    I decided to take the plunge and have been scouring the web for a good deal on a nice MF to pursue my landscape work on. I finally decided on a RZ67 and have taken the leap, just today, in to the great unknown and I can't wait to "begin". The affordability of very nice equipment on the used market made this a reality for me. I believe that being forced to slow down and really think about each shot (too easy to 'not' do with digital) will make me a better photographer and make me appreciate photography even more.

    I'm not all that young compared to some (mid 30s) but I wonder if at some point in one's life, the desire to return to the roots and try to mimic the old masters, becomes a strong urge for many. As such, film should have a long, although, niche life ahead of it. It may be a lot like music, some people, older and younger, still like listening to vinyl. Does that mean that records will replace CD or MP3 ever again, probably not, but that doesn't mean that they won't live on and continue to be appreciated?

    I would sincerely hope that you could find someone to share your equipment and knowledge with, someone that will appreciate every moment and opportunity. They are out there, don't give up the search if that is something that is important to you.

    Tom.

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    Lee,

    Why not sell it on APUG? That way you know it will go to somebody who will use it. Maybe you can contact a high school or college photography program near you to find a student who has discovered film. The school itself won't want it, but young people do show up here now and then, rebels from art schools who want to go their own non-digital route.

    I can't help you about downsizing, as I have been upsizing from 35mm to 6x6. We are only a few years younger than you and we tried to downsize in our last move, but ended up with the same size house. Our downsizing project now is to get rid of the 30 years of accumulated junk while adding a darkroom! Good luck with yours.

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    Lee,

    While I'm a mere 40 years of age, I have gone through the downsizing process already. Basically, I stopped the trend I started years ago, going from 35mm to 120, and then 'graduated' to 4x5 via two different cameras, and finally 5x7. Upon acquiring the 5x7 I stopped and wondered why I was doing it, and sold off my 4x5 kit to focus on medium format.
    My realization was that I really didn't see any benefit to shooting 4x5 compared to 120. Quality of the final print is not even a consideration, because with good medium format lenses, and films like TMax, Acros and Delta, it's already ridiculously good. It's maybe besides the fact, but since I've fallen in love with the 35mm format again, and prefer it over any other camera.

    So for me the downsizing was primarily for practical reasons, but it also helped consolidate my camera collection, growing with all sorts of unnecessary gadgets that I really didn't need, and just boiled it down to a few really solid cameras. Hasselblad 500 system, Leica M2 system, a Pentax KX system, and a nice Rollei 35. Those are my main cameras and I really don't see much need to ever get something else. Finally, it does offer some health benefits for me, simply because I am very tall, and sense budding back problems that will only get worse by schlepping around an enormous backpack.

    What it ultimately resulted in is the use of fewer cameras, which means more consistent output. It helps me get more familiar with each camera I use, to the point that they are very much second nature, and intuitive tools to use. The benefit is that they get out of the way when I use them; I don't have to think about what to do. This also helps me generating more consistent output.

    So now there's this profound peace of mind of knowing that whichever camera of mine I pick up and use, it'll be an intuitive tool to just enjoy what's in front of the lens, creating negatives that I know practically at the time of exposure how they need to be printed in the darkroom. I recognize negative contrast upfront, focus and depth of field, and also have confidence that I nailed the shot, for the most part. There's tremendous freedom of creativity in that, because now I am free to focus on the areas where I most need to improve - with vision, content, gesture, emotion, framing, and so on. I'm a staunch believer that simplicity helps vision; getting away from focusing too much on the camera, equipment, film, developers, etc, is a step closer to getting down to what truly matters - the prints.

    My point is, regarding your request, that I don't think that necessarily age has all that much to do with it, but rather to find something that suits our vision, our idea of fun, weed out the unwanted elements that get in the way, and select a couple of tools that help us achieve what we want to achieve. The benefit is that this allows us to really focus on the photography, which to me IS the print. Without it, there isn't photography.

    I hope that makes sense, and that it might contribute some inkling of benefit to the choices that lie ahead for you.
    "Often moments come looking for us". - Robert Frank

    "Make good art!" - Neil Gaiman

    "...the heart and mind are the true lens of the camera". - Yousuf Karsh

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    daleeman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Old-N-Feeble View Post
    ..... So I bought a compact 4x5 kit dedicated solely for 6x12cm roll film...
    Hi Mike,

    We first chatted on a thread I wrote about getting your Photo MOJO back. I've been working on mine, getting out on short walks in hopes of energizing my MOJO to take more photographs. 35mm rangefinders this weekend (rain, wind and age reasons)

    Have you had any success with photographing the old bridge yet?

    Lee

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    ROL
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    Not admitting age (though my body tells me otherwise), but I no longer carry LF overnight (with "camping gear") into the backcountry, but I still use it on day hikes and of course anywhere else it doesn't need to be carried. I only carry 6X7 MF or digital P&S overnite now. I find there's almost no reason to carry LF great distances any longer, there's simply nothing I can't print to any logical size I wish with MF film (equipment). But honestly, I would rather hike with no image recording gear, than feel like I have to shoot any more film. 35mm no longer has any relevance for me. Digital surpassed its capabilities a long time ago, and if I want to include process in my photography, I'll use and enjoy larger film formats.

    I'm not optimistic about "younger shooters" and film. Film will only become more and more boutique. IMO film is now an alternative process. Most people (creators and viewers of imagery) are only concerned with the final image, not process. I look at it this way. I've never shot on, nor have I ever coated my own glass plates, or fumed metal to obtain an image. Its just the way things are. If you care about an image making process, then pass it on. People will find it, when they are ready, if ever.

    I personally don't care whether a movie is shot on nitrate, safety film, color, B/W, or digitally. All I really care about is whether there is a compelling story and characters I can identify with. It's the same with photography. If the picture tells a compelling story, it doesn't matter much to me how it was made, filmed, painted, sculpted, etc.

    Do what makes ya happy.
    Last edited by ROL; 04-23-2012 at 02:24 PM. Click to view previous post history.

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    daleeman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thomas Bertilsson View Post
    ...... What it ultimately resulted in is the use of fewer cameras, which means more consistent output. It helps me get more familiar with each camera I use, to the point that they are very much second nature, and intuitive tools to use. The benefit is that they get out of the way when I use them; I don't have to think about what to do. This also helps me generating more consistent output....
    My point is, regarding your request, that I don't think that necessarily age has all that much to do with it, but rather to find something that suits our vision, our idea of fun, weed out the unwanted elements that get in the way, and select a couple of tools that help us achieve what we want to achieve. The benefit is that this allows us to really focus on the photography, which to me IS the print. Without it, there isn't photography.

    I hope that makes sense, and that it might contribute some inkling of benefit to the choices that lie ahead for you.
    Thomas,

    Makes a lot of sense. On top of this age starts to walk in a day at a time.
    With so much in the way of choices in formats, I often find myself wishing I had so-N-so with me for this or that.

    I really hate to think about off-ing the 5x4 that Tachihara is so good looking. People almost want to pose for it because it is cooler than their iPhone camera. But as you said shelping a huge back pack about is getting harder on the body.

    Had my father's Leica IIIF CLA'ed so my M2 is not lonely when I go out to shoot 35mm. My dad's Roleicord is out for CLA now and that may replace my entire Hassy collection because I mostly use the 80mm CF anymore anyway. So downsizing the heavy stuff might give me more control over fewer things as you spoke of and make the lighten up for age thing more easy to accept.

    Although it would be so hard to cut so much stuff loose.

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    Quote Originally Posted by daleeman View Post
    <snip>I've been<snip>getting out on short walks in hopes of energizing my MOJO to take more photographs. 35mm rangefinders this weekend (rain, wind and age reasons)

    Have you had any success with photographing the old bridge yet?
    LEE: I'm glad to read that you're out photographing again. I've driven by that bridge three more times for inspiration. I'll take some shots of it this weekend for darned sure.

    OP: All I can suggest is... don't make a hasty decision which you may regret later. I'm not all that old... but old enough to have made more mistake than I care to remember.

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    hey lee

    there are a lot of people in a race to outdo everyone around them.

    do what you enjoy, and enjoy what you do.

    have fun
    john

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