I am new on this forum, and thinking about getting into LF. I have expirience with 35mm and some with MF. I have enlarger for up to 6x6cm format. My question is: What is better for begginer to get, 4x5 inch and enlarger or 8x10 inch and make contact copies? What equipment? Well, as cost is issue, is it cheaper 8x10inch and contact prints(avoiding cost of 4x5 inch enlarger)? Main interests are: b/w photography and: Different type of portraits(including full figure, nudes, models books...), architecture, different types of still life photography, urban landscapers... "Real"(nature) landscapes are out because of lots of land mines in my country, and getting visas for traveling abroad is really hard. I live in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Check largeformatphotography.info for lots of information about getting into LF, camera reviews, and such.
My first LF camera was an 8x10", because I like contact prints, and I preferred working on the larger groundglass with the idea that the final print would be exactly the same size as I saw it when I composed it. Now I shoot 4x5, 8x10, and 11x14, and each has its place. I still prefer 8x10" to 4x5", but sometimes the ease of use and quick setup of the 4x5" makes it a more practical option. If I'm out in nature, I'm more likely to be under the darkcloth with the 8x10", but if I'm in a city where cops are suspicious of tripods and you have to keep an eye on your equipment all the time, I'll use the 4x5" with a folding viewer.
I just want to mention 5x7", a brilliant compromise between the size of 8x10 and the portability of 4x5. In much of Europe the size is known as 13x18 - film and holders are almost but not quite interchangeable.
5x7" is large enough to contact print, small enough to enlarge.
Best of all, it is about the largest film it's possible to change in a changing bag, so like 4x5 you're not dependent on a mule to carry 50 extra holders - or returning to the darkroom every 6 shots or so...
In a different question you asked about upgrading your MF enlarger. If you're looking to do that then just get a 4x5 enlarger. The price difference won't be much. The extra money you spend on the bigger enlarger will be saved on the cheaper 4x5 camera , lenses and film holders.
Thanks. Ole, less than 8x10 is to small for me for contact prints...
Oh, to mention, any equipment and dealers advice, please only in Europe. USA or Japan or else I think would have too much shipping costs...
Well, there's always Lotus Viewcameras - http://www.lotusviewcamera.at/ - they make really nice cameras.
Robert Wite in the UK is probably the best place to buy new LF gear, http://www.robertwhite.co.uk/ . Used stuff I find on www.ebay.de, where the prices are a lot nicer (for the buyers) than in USA, and both prices and selection are better than UK (see how nice it is to be able to read several languages http://apug.org/forum/html/emoticons/smile.gif ).
Lots of links to producers and resources on www.f32.net
I have no plans to move to anything bigger than 13x18 myself, the only change I want is something lighter than a Technika 13x18. An Ebony 5x7, for instance...
I've contacted printed a fair amount of 4x5, and while not optimal, for certain subjects it works pretty well. Strong graphics in cyanotype, nicely matted, can be quite striking and intimate; kind of like peering through a keyhole.
Still, with ~ 20 sq inches of film, it seems a shame not to at least enalrge to 11x14, a size which separates the Svens from the Goats if you're packing a camera big enough to make negs for contact prints.
Thanks. I will look everywhere you said, except ebay, I don't have credit card, and no way to get one(sallary to small for bank to give me cc).
haris, a credit card isn't of much help on ebay.de anyway.
Most Germans don't seem to have them. I mostly buy by sending cash (small sums) or direct bank transfer (when the price is higher than the transaction fee).
Didin't knew that Ole, thanks.