Usability of warious formats or getting lost?
Looking at the amount of cameras of different types and format piling up in front of me I began to wonder.
Is there a time or do you feel at a point going from finding different formats versatile to feel you get lost in a wilderness of choices in formats and cameratypes? If so at what point?
Yes, a bit. I use 35mm, 120, and 4x5. The fact is 120 would serve all my needs. Hell, 35mm with film like Ektar or Velvia probably would too, there is plenty of resolution there really.
But yes, I could easily simplify down to 120, very easily in fact, but I just like trying new things too much. I had sworn off 35mm a couple of month ago, but now I'm eyeing up a Voigtlander Prominent...
Proving GAS is an incurable decease.
Originally Posted by thegman
I like the ability to shoot square or use the different aspect ratios of the different cameras I have but sometimes I wonder whether I have got to many different negsizes to play with.
When a mechanic works on a vintage De Soto car he probably uses different tools than when he works on a brand new Toyota. It is terrific to have a variety of tools to choose from when one wants to get something done.
I know a home remodeler that sometimes goes to Little Tokyo in Los Angeles and buys unique Japanese woodworking tools, some of which are very different than Western tools and are perfect for some jobs.
I use different formats deliberately. My main 3 are 5x4 (or 10x8), 6x6 and 6x17 I most shoot LF though and the 6x6 is for handheld quick portability it gets most use outside my main project work. The 6x17 tends to be used for specific shots.
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For me format is what is the end results going to be. If its black and white to be enlarged much over 8x10 then is the 4x5 or 8x10 film. Anything smaller or color its digital, unless its really nice then I'll shoot color hybrid. I have a Mamiya 645 with three lens' that has not been used in almost 10 years.
Soeren, I started still photography with a Nikkormat, eventually got a Retina to use as a cycling camera. The Retina wouldn't hurt me as badly if I spilled and landed on it and would cost less to replace.
I moved up to 2x3 (you'd say 6x9) when I'd taken enough wild flower shots that weren't fully satisfactory. On 35 mm, my choices were a close-up of the flower that excluded its setting but showed the fine details or a shot of the flower in its setting with the fine details poorly resolved. 2x3 solved that, more or less. In recent years I've shot mainly 2x3.
Most recently I've moved a little up to 6x12, haven't shot enough yet to be sure that what I gained is worth the expense and effort.
In cine I settled on Super 8 and ran through a number of cameras. Used S8 cameras aren't as reliable as one could want, so one needs a main camera and a back-up for when the main camera dies. I replaced the second cameras, one at a time, with nicer and nicer ..., eventually ended up with a nice kit. For my budget and preferences S8 was the only format that made much sense. 8/8 had no advantages, offered worse image quality because the regular 8 frame is smaller than the S8. Larger formats want more expensive film and larger heavier everything.
I try not to have too much redundancy within formats, so that each camera has a reasonably well-defined niche. There are exceptions (I've got two working TLRs as well as a 6x6 folder, for instance), but settling on a format and/or shooting style narrows down my space of choices quite a lot.
It also helps to have a sense of the cameras as individuals. I can't necessarily tell you *why* some subjects are just an obvious fit for a particular camera, but I can fairly often look at something and say "oh, the Voigtlaender would like that". Presumably this effect is mostly psychological---the truth is, the Voigtlaender doesn't give a damn what I point it at---but it works anyway.
San Diego, CA, USA
The lady of the house has to be a pretty swell sort of person to put up with the annoyance of a photographer.
-The Little Technical Library, _Developing, Printing, And Enlarging_
My personal limit has been to stick with one camera of each format that I'm willing to do darkroom work with. So that leaves me with a 35mm digital, a 35mm film, a 120 and a 4x5. I've been fortunate that each one showed up at a time when I was ready for it
The only exception is a "needs work" graflex from WW2 that I took on as one might take on a stray dog that needs a little kibble and a blanket of its own to turn its life around.
After dealing with that for 30 years I have a practical solution. I make small prints from small negatives and big prints from big negatives. That is, I try to keep my enlarger magnification ratio similar (to some extent). That way I am just as happy with my tiny Minox prints as I am with my 16x20 prints from 8x10 negatives.
Originally Posted by Soeren
What I was doing ten years ago was enlarging everything to 16x20 (even Minox!). The Large Format stuff frequently looked so much better, thus casting doubt on the utility of the smaller formats.