Welcome aboard neighbor, film, APUG AND large format! Now I see where you're located, that I didn't in your other post.

I don't want to discourage you, far from it, but I will say that you've bitten off a pretty big chunk going straight to large format with little film experience. Most people learn film in smaller formats first. What you're doing is certainly possible, and maybe even easier and quicker in the long run, but fair warning, it IS going to be challenging at times. Even long time film shooters make comical errors starting into large format. I've made them all and discovered some new ones, I think.

The large format home page is a great resource for large format info. Note that their forums (also excellent and highly recommended) are down this weekend for upgrades and the home page may be intermittent, but it's working now. If you can't get it just wait until the upgrade is done, then read, read, read:


What drew you into large format to start with film? And, maybe a dumb question, but do you like working slowly and deliberately to get just what you want on film (or whatever medium?) Large format is in many ways the antithesis of the digital you're used to, with 35mm and medium format being in between. Where digital shooters are accustomed to being able to "spray and pray" and do their editing and culling of bad shots later, film cuts that ability down substantially and large format laughs at it. With 35mm you can still shoot a lot (though it gets more expensive if you do) and can shoot almost as quickly as digital, the difference mainly being having to stop to load another roll every 36 shots. With medium format you can shoot a bit slower but still pretty fast, but have to change film every 8-16 shots depending on format and camera. With large format - well, if I hurry, I can set up an initial shot and get an exposure made in 10 minutes. Some people can do it in less than half that time. I can expose more sheets of the same subject at different exposures and such more quickly of course. It's an entirely different mind set and way of working even than 35mm or medium format film.

Just a suggestion but - you could get an all manual 35mm camera of good quality and 1-3 lenses for probably less than $100, use it (ideally) with a separate hand held meter as that's what you'll be doing in large format, and learn film and exposure much less expensively and with far less frustration than starting with large format, then sell it off for what you paid.

Large format is fun, the quality is superb, and you can do things with the plane of focus not easily done any other way. It is not really difficult but the gear does NOTHING for you. You do everything and it does only what you tell it. From metering the scene to thinking about how you want it to look to manipulating the focus plane to keeping your film holders organized, it's all up to you.

Can we assume from your enjoyment of Photoshop that you will be scanning your film and working in what we call hybrid workflow? They don't like us discussing that in detail here but presumably it's ok to ask. It's different form darkroom work. (You can talk about hybrid workflow with large format all you like over on the large format forum.)