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Author Topic: LF for beginners - what to research and read  (Read 1173 times)
NancyP
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« on: October 02, 2013, 08:00:40 PM »
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So shooting LF B&W film, old-style, is on my Bucket List. I need to do some research. Other than hanging out on largeformatphotography.info forum, what other favorite learning sites or resources might you recommend? Or maybe you might recommend a psychiatrist?  Grin

My personal film and printing experience consists of B&W 35mm film some 30 years ago. The practicalities of film processing are trivial, in that I need 1. a tank 2.  to use the existing but largely abandoned darkrooms attached to the research labs at work, and my own reasonably accurate waterbath and timer, access to scales, Erlenmeyers, and milliQ water, etc.  Enlarging is another issue, it's one thing to wheel in and out a cart with bath and chemicals and tank, it's another thing to deal with a 4 x 5 enlarger. (I live in an apartment with a single miniscule bathroom, a home darkroom is not exactly practical).
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BernardLanguillier
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« Reply #1 on: October 02, 2013, 08:14:54 PM »
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This article I wrote in another life may help... it is a bit long though.  Wink You may want to jump to section 4 right away!

http://www.luminous-landscape.com/essays/lf-appeal.shtml

In the meantime, one major thing has changed: there are no more quickloads. This arguably reduces the advantage of 4x5 over larger formats like 5x7. This being said, 4x5 probably remains the most future proof option from a film availability standpoint.

It really depends on whether you intend to scan and what scanner you intend to use.

For what it is worth, my lens line up has changed a lot also, partially as a result of the fact that I do not intend to use 4x5 for landscape that much anymore (I find stitching with a D800 much superior for what I do, especially in terms of image quality)... which drove me towards lenses with a larger image circle at the cost of more weight/volume. The prices have also gone down dramatically on the second hand market which enabled me to invest in lenses I could not have bought before. My current 4x5 line up is:
- Schneider Super Angulon 72mm f5.6 XL + center filter,
- Fujinon SWD 90mm f5.6,
- Rodenstock APO-Sironar S 210mm f5.6,
- Nikkor M 300mm f9.

My beloved Schneider 110mm XL did commit suicide during the years I was not using it... by developping a cracked lens. It remains an amazingly forviging lens for beginners because of its huge image circle, good uniformity and bright aperture making focusing pretty easy.

Cheers,
Bernard
« Last Edit: October 02, 2013, 08:28:57 PM by BernardLanguillier » Logged

A few images online here!
MrSmith
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« Reply #2 on: October 03, 2013, 03:05:56 AM »
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A copy of view camera technique by Leslie strobel and a copy of 'the negative' by Ansel Adams would be useful.
(As would zone IV workshop by Fred picker)
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ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #3 on: October 03, 2013, 03:38:31 AM »
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Hi,

I would consider developing film, can be done in a Jobo tank for 4x5 I think. Wet prints doesn't seem an attractive idea to me. I would go for scanning on a decent flatbed, to begin with.


Best regards
Erik


[equote author=NancyP link=topic=82731.msg668241#msg668241 date=1380762040]
So shooting LF B&W film, old-style, is on my Bucket List. I need to do some research. Other than hanging out on largeformatphotography.info forum, what other favorite learning sites or resources might you recommend? Or maybe you might recommend a psychiatrist?  Grin

My personal film and printing experience consists of B&W 35mm film some 30 years ago. The practicalities of film processing are trivial, in that I need 1. a tank 2.  to use the existing but largely abandoned darkrooms attached to the research labs at work, and my own reasonably accurate waterbath and timer, access to scales, Erlenmeyers, and milliQ water, etc.  Enlarging is another issue, it's one thing to wheel in and out a cart with bath and chemicals and tank, it's another thing to deal with a 4 x 5 enlarger. (I live in an apartment with a single miniscule bathroom, a home darkroom is not exactly practical).
[/quote]
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NancyP
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« Reply #4 on: October 03, 2013, 10:46:40 AM »
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Thank you very much, everyone. Article bookmarked and soon to be read, search for Strobel book initiated, Ansel Adams book dusted off. Have not decided about consulting a psychiatrist or 12-step group for acute sodium hyposulfite deficiency nostalgia attack.   Grin Part of the appeal is the "slow cooking" aspect. I have the notion that at some point in my development as a photographer, I might learn a lot by engaging in the "slow" approach of LF. When I might be ready for some "slow" photography, I don't know. In my personal situation, scanning would seem to be the way to go, merely from practical access issues.
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Hening Bettermann
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« Reply #5 on: October 03, 2013, 04:47:32 PM »
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Concerning camera movements and Scheimpflug in particular, I found Bob Wheelers writings most informative. Unfortunately, his former website bobwheeler.com now returns "Bad request. Invalid host name."
He offered for download a tool for calculating the Scheimpflug angle (and more), a tool that ran on Palm palmtops. The documentation to this tool, called "A large format photographers Vademecum", is imho the easiest-to-understand writing on the topic. I have a copy on my hard disk. If you send me a PM, I could return it as a mail attachment (430 kB pdf). I hope not to violate copyright by doing so?
Good light - Hening.
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Hening Bettermann
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« Reply #6 on: October 04, 2013, 04:07:56 AM »
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It turns out that the PM form does not allow attachments. I try to put a zip here.
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Professional
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« Reply #7 on: October 04, 2013, 04:58:13 AM »
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Yes please, put a zip, i would like to have that PDF file as well to help me in my LF movements, i am new to movements.

Thank you very much for the file  Smiley
« Last Edit: October 04, 2013, 04:59:55 AM by Professional » Logged
NancyP
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« Reply #8 on: October 04, 2013, 10:39:17 AM »
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Thanks! I will have some fun hours reading up.
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EricWHiss
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« Reply #9 on: October 06, 2013, 02:39:44 AM »
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If you are lucky there may be a great local resource like we have here in San Francisco - a large public darkroom - where you can go and not have to set up everything. Perhaps a community college or something like that exists where you are that has already the darkroom set up?   It sure was easier for me to get into LF film when I didn't have to think about the enlargers, making chemistry, etc.     I started with a cheap graflex, but now have both 4x5 and 5x7 linhof technika's, plus some others like the Alpenhause 110b conversions.   Bernard might be right about 4x5 - 5x7 but everything on the 4x5 side is a bit cheaper.
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JoeKitchen
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« Reply #10 on: October 06, 2013, 03:47:18 PM »
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On the LF side of photography, I always preferred the 4x5, since it is the most versatile and easiest to find equipment for.  With the decrease in the use of 4x5 for commercial use, you should be able to find some really nice cameras that were previously $5K or more for less than a grand.  Also, you will have a greater selection of film with 4x5; I always used Tri-X, but did try all of the Ilford b&w film.  Tri-X is great because you can shoot it in so many different ways, not just at ISO 320 (its native ISO).  For my silver prints, I shot it at ISO 80 and pulled the development by 20%.  For contact printing with platinum, I shot it at ISO 160 and pushed the development by 30% with Kodak HC-110.

Insofar as shooting, Ansel Adam's book "The Negative" is a great resource.  

If you plan on doing any silver printing, you may also want to look into books by British photography Tim Rudman, who is a master of b&w printing and toning.  His book, "The Photographer's Toning Book: The Definitive Guide," really is the best definitive guide to toning.  I learned so many toning techniques by reading it.  He also give formulas for any toner (except for Kodak Selenium Toner, which requires a serious chemistry lab and knowledge) you can buy, assuming you feel comfortable with raw chemicals like strong acids.  
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Joe Kitchen
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"Photography is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent moving furniture."  Arnold Newman
"Try not to be just better than your rivals and contemporaries, try to be better than yourself."  William Faulkner
NancyP
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« Reply #11 on: October 07, 2013, 03:42:38 PM »
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I am going to work on first things first. Toning is a little advanced for me, first I would have to get used to the format and start making decent images.
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