Disclaimer: anybody highly allergic to digital may as well ignore my post....
I think it's totally fine and practical to use the digital for proofing your LF work. I have found it to be a very valuable tool for LF slide. And no, I don't care if somebody considers me a traitor for that; anybody who's shooting 8x10 slide on an academic budget knows very well where I'm coming from ;) People who shoot $1 film shouldn't lecture people who shoot $15 film on how to proof!
There are various adapters that allow you to mount a dslr directly on your LF camera, although because the sensor is so far recessed into the DSLR, you will need to refocus or use some focusing "stops" to go back and forth from digital to film , which is a pain. But anyway, the dslr can of course give you colour metering, histograms etc., whether you use it as a digital back or as a standalone camera.
Aside: another option that I have thought about is attaching a dslr to the WLF of a medium format camera. In that mode, it may be possible to get a digital proof and go straight to the film shot without moving anything at all. I am working on such a setup with a mamiya rz. Shooting tethered, I allege that you can get a full screen preview of the whole shot (not just a crop) plus metering info etc. and have a decent instant proof shot.
Anyway, do also consider Fuji instant film, which is available in 4x5 and is superior to polaroid in almost every respect. You can put a PA45 back on your LF camera and proof with the Fuji materials. In fact, you may find that the Fuji materials are so good that you stop thinking about the resultig prints as mere proofs. I have been extremely satisfied with fp100b in 4x5 format, as a final print.
For portraits, you're usually in bellows factor territory, so don't forget about that when you calculate exposure and set the power on the lights.
Even with the Sinar DOF calculator (and don't forget to rack the knob back halfway after calculating the desired aperture or refocus on the desired focal point), the attractive DOF zone for portraits is usually on the thin side, say from the tip of the nose to the ears. You can get more with enough light, but it may or may not be the look you're after.
If you do go for a thinner DOF range, the trick I use for portraits with a view camera is to attach a string to the tripod with a knot at the end, measure from the camera to the tip of the nose, and while the subject or assistant is holding the string in place, focus on the near eye. Then when you're ready for the real shot, after setting the shooting aperture and shutter speed, cocking the shutter, inserting the filmholder and removing the darkslide, you can check the focus distance quickly before making the exposure. It can feel a little silly, but it's very reliable, even with 8x10" and larger and a fast portrait lens wide open at f:4.5 or so.
If you can't do this (say you're photographing a toddler who doesn't know to hold still), then you just use more light, stop down more and make more exposures to be sure you've got a good one. Even with the string trick, I usually make a minimum of four, but typically 6-12.
...can you explain this bellows factor issue.....??????? I have a Schneider 150mm f5.6 L lens and a dare I say 'normal' bellows.....and yes, im definately after the shallow depth of field....that's the 'beauty' I'm after with 5 x 4....
Originally Posted by David A. Goldfarb
If "m" is the magnification of your subject then you multiply your exposure time by (1+m)^2.
For example, if you want to photograph something at 1:1 (same size on film as in reality), then m=1 and your factor is (1+1)^2= 2^2 = 4.
So if you hand metered a 1:1 macro subject and determined the exposure to be, say, f/16 and 1 sec, then the correct exposure (including bellows factor) would be 4 seconds.
If you are doing portraiture in b&w in 4x5 or smaller formats then bellows factor is unlikely to be a major issue- you never get anywhere near 1:1 ;) On the other hand, it is quite plausible to do 1:1 portraiture with an 8x10 camera or larger. In any case, while you are learning about bellows factor, I (and many others) would strongly recommend using fuji instant film until you feel confident.
This may all sound like greek to someone shooting 35mm or any system that meters TTL (through the lens) but... really it's just a quite simple application of the inverse square law.
I shoot only with a Sinar F2 4x4" and only have children (age 4-12). I have actually very little out of focused images and maybe that is because of:
1. I use the same models over and over, so they are used to it. And know the important of standing still.
2. I usually shoot waist up. But I have a couple of headshots
3. I shoot outdoors during summer so often I can have f-stops like f8-f16. and speeds like 1/60 It's not much, but with a tripod it's enough.
OT! One plus with LF is that it forces one to really slow down and I usually during a session shoot 10-20 photos where one quarter is really good one that I print in my darkroom later on.
you got THAT right...Greek indeed!!!! hahhahahahahaha thanks for your time on this....much appreciated....I WILL get myself some Fuji instant film for sure....FP3000B is your recommendation or the FP100B....whats the difference? which holder should I get for that then....are the Polaroid ones okay...for example the Polaroid 545 mag or the 545 pro???
Originally Posted by keithwms
3000b is faaast! and fun. You can shoot handheld LF with that stuff!
Actually my recommendation would be fp100b. Love it. Also try the colour version, fp100c. Sweet stuff. And of course, if you're just proofing, you can shoot the smaller (and less expensive) version rather than 4x5, if you wish.
I dunno about the polaroid holders, I just picked up a Fuji PA45 holder whcih is light and well made. I don't recall which previous polaroid packfilm holder is approriate but the 545 is the individual sheet film holder, right? You do not want that one. All the fuji films are pack films, not individual sheets.
Just one more humble opinion. If it's shallow dof and rich film tonality that you want to set this project apart from day to day DSLR shooting, you didn't go far enough. There's a whole world of beautiful beautiful antique lenses with amazing results on 10X8. Why not turn the clock back to 1948?
you make a good point my friend.....plus you've made me smile!!!:)
Originally Posted by jimgalli
by the way.....i think there will be more and more and more people like me coming abck to film within the next 5 years I think....what do you guys think on this forum? has anyone noticed a trend back???? people like Nikon-guru Ken Rockwell (love him or hate him) are constantly calling film the 'real' RAW and he's making people sit back and consider their options.....
Honestly, I wouldn't trust a digital camera with my exposure metering for LF. Get a good flash meter for that, then work out all your calculations from there. Digital sensors are somewhat different than film in terms of response to light. There is a reason that Seikonic makes a meter that will profile your digital camera. Manufacturers can only bet trusted so far.
On the other hand, I think it's about the best idea in the world to tether a digital camera and shoot it to get a sense of the lighting itself, in terms of light placement and relative intensity. Its just plain cheaper to snap a digital image, look at it on a nice screen, then adjust your light placement accordingly. Modeling lights are pretty vague I've found.
And yes, get a safe sync. Better to spend a few dollars there than a few thousand on a replacement camera. Oh the joys of electronics.