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Author Topic: Large Format Film  (Read 28737 times)
marcmccalmont
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« on: February 13, 2007, 07:13:04 PM »
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I find myself retaking shots of landscapes that I love trying to improve on what I've done. Does it make any sense at all to invest in a used large format field camera? A lot of the scenes in Hawaii are not static the clouds and waves make it difficult to stitch multiple digital images. Your thoughts and advice?
Thanks
Marc
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Marc McCalmont
Kirk Gittings
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« Reply #1 on: February 13, 2007, 07:18:12 PM »
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I shoot both DSLR and Large Format. Primarily, thought not exclusively, it is DSLR for commercial work and LF for my art, but anything I consider a really important image I try to take LF. The diversity of the different approaches is really stimulating.
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Kirk

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marcmccalmont
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« Reply #2 on: February 13, 2007, 07:27:06 PM »
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I shoot both DSLR and Large Format. Primarily, thought not exclusively, it is DSLR for commercial work and LF for my art, but anything I consider a really important image I try to take LF. The diversity of the different approaches is really stimulating.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=100751\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

What size would you recommend? 4x5 5x7 or 8x10. I travel to Japan every month so 13cmx18cm is still available and film is cheaper there.
Marc
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Marc McCalmont
Sheldon N
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« Reply #3 on: February 13, 2007, 11:06:56 PM »
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Head over to ...

http://www.largeformatphotography.info/forum

and search the archives. It's a great resource for all things LF.
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Stephen Best
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« Reply #4 on: February 14, 2007, 12:59:26 AM »
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What size would you recommend? 4x5 5x7 or 8x10. I travel to Japan every month so 13cmx18cm is still available and film is cheaper there.
Marc
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=100756\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

4x5 for colour, 8x10 for B&W. If you're going to scan them you can get away with 4x5 for both.
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pcox
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« Reply #5 on: February 14, 2007, 05:51:27 AM »
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Stephen -
Just curious - why recommend the two different sizes for different types of film?

Cheers,
Peter

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4x5 for colour, 8x10 for B&W. If you're going to scan them you can get away with 4x5 for both.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=100804\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
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Peter Cox Photography
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marcmccalmont
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« Reply #6 on: February 14, 2007, 10:25:44 AM »
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Stephen -
Just curious - why recommend the two different sizes for different types of film?

Cheers,
Peter
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=100834\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Why would you stay away from 5x7?
Can a epson 4990 make a proper scan or must or be sent out?
Marc
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Marc McCalmont
Kirk Gittings
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« Reply #7 on: February 14, 2007, 11:21:28 AM »
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What size would you recommend? 4x5 5x7 or 8x10. I travel to Japan every month so 13cmx18cm is still available and film is cheaper there.
Marc
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=100756\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

I prefer 4x5 especially when traveling. It is much more manageable on a trip with readyloads for film. I have been traveling to Northern England of late working on a new book project. I have a very well designed 4x5 field camera kit and with readyloads, which I buy in England for airport xray security sake, it is a pleasure to work with.
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Thanks,
Kirk

Kirk Gittings
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bob mccarthy
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« Reply #8 on: February 14, 2007, 02:51:41 PM »
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Why would you stay away from 5x7?
Can a epson 4990 make a proper scan or must or be sent out?
Marc
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=100881\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]


Try finding a 5x7 film holder. Plus available film types are shrinking by the day.

The 4990 (or 750 for that matter) does well up to 13x19, above that the better scanners show an improvement. Drum scans (done well) are best.

The consumer grade (ie 4990) do not meet the specs the manufactures claim for them. Most don't exceed 2000 dpi.

Bob
« Last Edit: February 14, 2007, 02:52:10 PM by bob mccarthy » Logged
Stephen Best
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« Reply #9 on: February 14, 2007, 03:18:32 PM »
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Just curious - why recommend the two different sizes for different types of film?
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=100834\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

If you're shooting 8x10 B&W you can just contact print it ... also on platinum/palladium and maybe develop accordingly. The whole exercise is elegantly simple and the results can be exquisite.

If however you're going to enlarge or print digitally, 4x5 will give you much the same quality as 8x10 except for huge enlargements. Today's optics and film resolutions are excellent and there's a ton of information in a 4x5 transparency/negative. A lightweight 4x5 kit (with lenses etc) will weigh about the same as (or maybe even less than) a pro digicam kit, but 8x10 is a more serious undertaking. An 8x10 will however give you a larger view so there will be no surprises with focussing. The aim is to see exactly what you're going to get on the ground glass, spotmeter with care and the results will be predictable. Unless you're fighting light or wind, a single exposure should be all that's required. Once you get your technique down, you'll know when you've got a great print the instant you trip the shutter.

When I was first looking at scanners I checked out a number of flatbeds and the results were awful. Scitex was good though but very expensive. So I went with the original Imacon Flextight and later upgraded to a Flextight 848. For best quality, you need something that will hold the original flat. Scanner specs are generally meaningless. If you can't afford a Flextight (or baby drum) find someone to do the scans for you. I do raw (unclipped & unsharpened) scans for others at a very reasonable price.
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pcox
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« Reply #10 on: February 14, 2007, 03:24:33 PM »
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Stephen -
I still don't understand why specifically recommend 8x10 only for B&W?

Cheers,
Peter

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If you're shooting 8x10 B&W you can just contact print it ... also on platinum/palladium and maybe develop accordingly. The whole exercise is elegantly simple and the results can be exquisite.

If however you're going to enlarge or print digitally, 4x5 will give you much the same quality as 8x10 except for huge enlargements. Today's optics and film resolutions are excellent and there's a ton of information in a 4x5 transparency/negative. A lightweight 4x5 kit (with lenses etc) will weigh about the same as (or maybe even less than) a pro digicam kit, but 8x10 is a more serious undertaking. An 8x10 will however give you a larger view so there will be no surprises with focussing. The aim is to see exactly what you're going to get on the ground glass, spotmeter with care and the results will be predictable. Unless you're fighting light or wind, a single exposure should be all that's required. Once you get your technique down, you'll know when you've got a great print the instant you trip the shutter.

When I was first looking at scanners I checked out a number of flatbeds and the results were awful. Scitex was good though but very expensive. So I went with the original Imacon Flextight and later upgraded to a Flextight 848. For best quality, you need something that will hold the original flat. Scanner specs are generally meaningless. If you can't afford a Flextight (or baby drum) find someone to do the scans for you. I do raw (unclipped & unsharpened) scans for others at a very reasonable price.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=100936\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
« Last Edit: February 14, 2007, 03:36:19 PM by pcox » Logged

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Stephen Best
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« Reply #11 on: February 14, 2007, 04:35:12 PM »
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I still don't understand why specifically recommend 8x10 only for B&W?
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=100938\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

The advantage of 8x10 (over 4x5) is somewhat better quality for really big prints (bigger than I'll ever do) and a larger view when composing, checking focus etc. On the downside, everything just gets bigger, heavier and more expensive. Fujichrome 4x5 costs me AUD $15 (film and development) - about US $12 - which is workable as I rarely shoot more than 20 sheets in a week's trip. It's also fairly easy to obtain. Colour film for 8x10 on the other hand is rare and the costs would be prohibitive. I'd also have to send the film out for scanning.

I made the decision a while ago that if I was going to keep on doing LF, it had to be with the lightest kit available. You don't want to end up hating your gear because you lugged it around all day and didn't see any shots. Most interesting shots are far away from where you've parked the car. I no longer do B&W but if I did I'd shoot 8x10, tray develop myself and contact print ... even if it meant having heavier gear. The advantages of the process and results outweigh the inconveniences. For colour I see practically none.
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pcox
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« Reply #12 on: February 14, 2007, 04:38:05 PM »
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Thanks for clearing that up, Stephen. I shoot 4x5 myself, and had considered going up to 8x10. I hadn't investigated film availability though, hence my confusion.

Cheers,
Peter

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The advantage of 8x10 (over 4x5) is somewhat better quality for really big prints (bigger than I'll ever do) and a larger view when composing, checking focus etc. On the downside, everything just gets bigger, heavier and more expensive. Fujichrome 4x5 costs me AUD $15 (film and development) - about US $12 - which is workable as I rarely shoot more than 20 sheets in a week's trip. It's also fairly easy to obtain. Colour film for 8x10 on the other hand is rare and the costs would be prohibitive. I'd also have to send the film out for scanning.

I made the decision a while ago that if I was going to keep on doing LF, it had to be with the lightest kit available. You don't want to end up hating your gear because you lugged it around all day and didn't see any shots. Most interesting shots are far away from where you've parked the car. I no longer do B&W but if I did I'd shoot 8x10, tray develop myself and contact print ... even if it meant having heavier gear. The advantages of the process and results outweigh the inconveniences. For colour I see practically none.
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Peter Cox Photography
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Stephen Best
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« Reply #13 on: February 14, 2007, 04:50:07 PM »
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I shoot 4x5 myself ...
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=100949\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

You've got some lovely shots and I really envy you your lighting. Lighting here is a bugger.
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pcox
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« Reply #14 on: February 14, 2007, 04:59:20 PM »
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You've got some lovely shots and I really envy you your lighting. Lighting here is a bugger.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=100953\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Heh. Lighting here is a bugger too, most of the time. Sometimes we get lucky though. Thanks!
« Last Edit: February 14, 2007, 04:59:39 PM by pcox » Logged

Peter Cox Photography
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Stephen Best
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« Reply #15 on: February 14, 2007, 07:32:47 PM »
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Heh. Lighting here is a bugger too, most of the time. Sometimes we get lucky though. Thanks!
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=100955\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

I hitchhiked around Ireland 20 years ago. All these helpful locals (who all had relatives in Australia ... did I know them?) would pick me up from a sheltered spot under a tree, take me down the road for a few kms then drop me off in the open and it would then proceed to rain ... again. It's my dream though to return to Ireland or maybe the Hebrides for a month or two just taking photos.
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marcmccalmont
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« Reply #16 on: February 16, 2007, 08:05:43 PM »
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Thanks for all of your input
Marc
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Marc McCalmont
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« Reply #17 on: February 20, 2007, 02:25:02 PM »
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Hi Marc:

Hope this input is not too late.  In reading you post, I wasn't sure if you're looking for to just make larger prints or “absolute image quality” in large prints.  I also wasn't sure whether color or B&W is your primary medium.  My experience and the other photographers I backpack/travel with is with color transparency film capture, scanning and digital output (LightJet, etc.).

For my landscape work, I use Hasselblad and 4x5.  I find myself using the 4x5 more because of the flexibility (movements, QuickLoads, ReadyLoads, etc.).  A couple of my buddies that I travel with use 5x7 and 8x10.  However, I notice they are using their 4x5s more because of the ease of use with QuickLoads (pre-loaded film and a holder).  They have separate backpacks for 4x5/5x7 and 8x10.  Let me tell you, the 8x10 backpacks are big and heavy, once you start putting 4-6 film holders in there.

For absolute quality, one of the guys will shoot 5x7 or 8x10.  When you see a 30”x40” or larger print from 8x10, it is pretty amazing, but a costly endeavor ($100 for the drum scan/$100+ for printing).  You can still get 8x10 Velvia and Provia from Japan, but it is over $300/box.  Shooting 5x7 and 8x10 is a labor of love and expensive.  The film [color transparency] is getting harder to get and you end up having to order it directly from Japan through a dealer who will help you do that.

Shooting 4x5 will get give you the ability to make larger prints, do panoramas (2.5x5; 2x5 film size when cropped), etc.  You can put an entire 4x5 field camera 2-3 lenses, light meter, film, loupe, etc. into a “technical pack” and pack all day with it easily.  If you want to do 5x7, Canham makes a 4x5/5x7 camera that will do both—you have to watch your lens selection though, some reasonably priced lenses don’t have a large enough image circle for 5x7.

Bottom line [for me and the way I shoot] is that I find a 4x5 field camera is a good compromise between “absolute image quality” and convenience.  QuickLoads (Fuji)/ReadyLoads (Kodak) are great, because you don’t have to spend the evening loading film after dinner!  QuickLoads and ReadyLoads cost more than sheet film, but I find the convenience welcome.

For proof prints from 4x5 (up to 16x20 and possibly 20x24) the Epson V700 scanners work well—just ask Charlie Cramer, I did.  As one poster indicated, the Hasselblad/Imacon Flextight is excellent.  One of my buddies doesn’t send any scanning out anymore for his 4x5.  He just uses his Imacon FlexTight.  If you go larger, 5x7 or 8x10, you are either going to have to buy a larger and/or more complicated scanner or send it out.

Again, these are my experiences from shooting: color transparency film, scanning and digital output.  Hope this helps.

Rich
NGOphotographer
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Danijela D. Karic
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« Reply #18 on: February 20, 2007, 04:18:02 PM »
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I find myself retaking shots of landscapes that I love trying to improve on what I've done. Does it make any sense at all to invest in a used large format field camera? A lot of the scenes in Hawaii are not static the clouds and waves make it difficult to stitch multiple digital images. Your thoughts and advice?
Thanks
Marc
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=100748\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
I do appreciate attention to detail and therefore I highly admire LF photographers. However, you do have to realize that without a good scanner you are better of with digital. So, I guess it is only fair to ask yourself how much is this exercise going to cost? and proceed accordingly. I am in the similar position at the moment with regards to LF digital Lenses and Digital back and I can honestly tell you, it's not easy at all.

Regards
Danijela
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marcmccalmont
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« Reply #19 on: February 20, 2007, 05:59:10 PM »
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I find my 17 x 22 prints (iPF5000) from my 5D quite nice but.... I love the color and detail of the 5D but... I like sunsets and sunrises here in Hawaii but... the waves move so stitching a larger picture is out. I find the 5D's dynamic range perfect for daylight shots (my D80 is a bit limited) so multiple exposures would capture what I want in the sunsets and sunrises but... the waves move, so I thought if used film cameras were getting cheaper maybe a 4x5 or 5x7 camera with print film (I understand 10 stops or more of dynamic range?) would give me the resolution and dynamic range that I'd like? After all the responces on this thread and one on the large format forum the most reasonable way to go seems to be a metal 4x5 field camera with ready loads (provia?) I travel to Japan every other week so the film is available to me. Or a used 5x7 with a 4x5 reducing back and I would then have the option of either aspect ratio and larger film if necessary but more costly. Looking at the ads on ebay, if a camera is in excellent shape they seem to hold their value. Still looking and thinking. I wish I was rich or did this for a living then a medium format digital back would be the answer but my budget is $3000 not $45k! Oh 5% B&W and 95% color. I love color. I would use the large format for only those few times it makes sense, probably less than 5% of my images.
Thanks
Marc
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Marc McCalmont
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