"Itching to get into Large Format" - I think there's a cream for that now....
Really, get a Crown Graphic and some decent lenses...probably a 210mm and a 90mm (wide and someone normal) and start shooting. I outfitted my system for about $450 with a Crown, 90mm Linhof, and 210 Symnar-s with 10 4x5 holders. That's pretty amazing considering the quality of the photographs it can produce. Remember, lenses on 4x5 don't need to be quite as sharp since you are playing with a lot more real estate, so paying the extra dough for some of the higher quality stuff becomes less and less noticeable in the final output.
Some really great advice. I'm trying to learn things about the format for now, my plan is to take things slow with the RB67 while reading up on large format photography.
My shooting tends more towards landscape and architecture. I want the LF for both the resolution and the ability to do movements for architectural work. I don't have much experience in that, but I figured I'd use this as a way to learn. I think I would go with a 4x5 and something that is more portable. From my reading, I think think the type that might suit me best is a field camera.
I never did own anything resembling a large format "beginner" setup. I simply bought the best 4x5 camera and lens system I could realistically afford and never regretted it. But I did just get one lens
at a time - in fact, I worked with only one for about a decade until slowly branching out. I guess it
depends on what you expect. For about 2 yrs I worked in med format, but the quality jump from there into 4x5 was far greater than from 35mm into MF. Then 8x10 became my favorite format. But
I still shoot them all as occasion or whim demands.
It's a worthwhile format, the negs can be beautiful. But be forewarned, if you print in a darkroom and live in a dry climate, dust on the neg during exposure is a real problem. It's still something I struggle with to the point that I will shoot up to three holders on a key shot that I could nail in one frame with medium format...
I started using it this past Spring with a inexpensive Toyo and three lenses, got hooked and now have a full blown Chamonix system with 7 lenses including one I bought brand new...
The worst starter camera is a Crown Graphic, the deficit of all but minor movements means it can be a very limiting camera. I have been using one for about 6 years in Turkey, but had other 5x4 cameras in the UK.
This is from another Forum today:
"I bought a Speed Graphic a few months ago, because I thought using barrel lenses would be cool. But it's too cool for the likes of me! My main frustrations with the camera were the difficulty of switching from landscape to portrait mode, and the size/weight/handling.
So this month I bought a Super Graphic, and I love it! The rotating back is awesome. I didn't realize that having more (and easier) movements would be so useful. The ground glass is better than the Speed. The size and weight are more appealing, and despite what others say, I think the styling is beautiful."
I started using a Super Graphic about 3 years ago, I'd become frustrated by the Crown Graphic and had taken my Wista 45DX to Turkey but would have to decide on whether to take the Crown or the Wistya depending on whether I'd have to shoot handheld, I wasoften travlleing with a backpack so taking both wasn't an option. The Super Graphic meant I'd one camera that I could use for everything, plenty of movements, a rotating back etc.
There's plenty of other camera options but I'd suggest finding an LF worker near you and seeing if you can go out and see cameras in action.
Large Format is so much fun, and so different! Its completely different to small formats, so its not about supplanting them. Its an addition, a new skill and medium. Apart from cruising the large format forum (another site), the best article I've read for newbies is this;
Originally Posted by Edman22
I ended up buying the same Camera brand new from Badget Graphic, a wonderful shop in the US with a new Rodenstock 240mm lens and a second hand Super Angulon F8 (also based on recommendation from Kenny). These are cheap, plentiful, small and wonderful. The Tackihara folded up is smaller and lighter than my D50 DSLR (the smallest and light DSLR).
You can buy second hand for a field camera, but unless you buy something really heavy and solid, they can sag/flex over a few decades, and the Tak is cheap new anyways. So why not support a company with your Wallet? The whole setup will cost lest than an L-series lens.
Film is cheap, as you use bugger all.
Personally, I would try and see if you can borrow or rent a camera before committing - I thought that LF was where I wanted to be, but to be honest after having a play with one (albeit, small), I am not so sure now.
Originally Posted by hoffy
i agree with hoffy
not sure where you live, maybe there is a LFer nearby
and you and he/she can go on a safari together
and swap cameras &c. i would have suggested renting one
but there are so few pro stores around nowadays
that it might be easier to just get together with someone ..
if you live in / near RI i would be happy to show you a speed graphic
( focal plane shutter ) + crown graphic too ( both just p/shoot 4x5 press cameras / boxes
with nothing but a tiny bit of rise, and a toyo cx ( monorail camera so you can do movements to
straighten out architecture, and do looming foreground &c landscape shots ...
the toyo is currently for sale here in the classifieds
( http://www.apug.org/forums/forum379/...lows-more.html )
thanks rick for the cue !
Architecture is a different beast. If your talking outdoors then more then likely you going to go reasonable wide angle on the lens and a camera with plenty of movements such as a rail with perhaps a bag bellows. Indoor architecture usually requires lights, light balancing materials, light stands etc to do it right. Do yourself a favor and either checkout a library book on it or peruse the local bookstore for literature. If you just want to do the odd city street thing you might not be hassled, but I've run into over zealous security at downtown firms that made me wonder why I should even do it, and it wasn't that I needed it. Then they call the police and that's another story.
Starting out with a cheap used monorail like a Cambo/Calumet is a good way to go. A monorail is straight forward and easy to learn movements on. They are awkward to backpack with but some people do it.
If you later decide you want a press or field camera you can always sell the monorail for close to what you paid for it. Monorails do make great portrait and still life cameras and can compliment a press or field.