8 x 10 or similar view camera's

Discussion in 'Collector's Corner' started by photogincollege, Jan 23, 2008.

  1. photogincollege

    photogincollege TPF Noob!

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    I was wondering if anyone has experience with these? Ive looked through one and such but never used one, and I hear they are amazing for landscapes? Any advice and knowledge is appreciated, also if this isnt the right place mods feel free to move. Thanks :). Oops I meant foldable view cameras. :).
     
  2. Alpha

    Alpha Troll Extraordinaire

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    Well, I would certainly recommend starting with 4x5 before you move up to 8x10. It's a much easier and cheaper way (in terms of camera, lens, and film costs) to learn how to operate a large format camera well.

    Large format cameras are great for landscapes because of their enormous field of view. However, wide angle lenses can be very expensive (look up the 58mm or 65mm Schneider Super Angulon and you'll see what I mean). They're particularly well suited to architectural work because the movements (rise/fall, tilt, swing) allow to you correct for perspective distortion when shooting wide. They're also helpful when shooting, say, a very tall building, to correct the appearance of the building getting skinnier at the top that you'd see in a small format lens.

    They can also be tons of fun with portraiture. The negs are breathtakingly detailed (though this will show every skin imperfection). And using movements you can selectively focus on certain areas in the field of view. For example you could have one eye in focus and the other out (dunno why you'd want to do that, though).

    However, they do often require you to stop down more than small format lenses. Many LF lenses will stop down to f64, a number of them will stop down even further in 8x10 and larger. As such, you're losing a bit of light.

    There are two kinds of LF cameras: field cameras and monorail cameras. Field cameras are generally lighter weight and fold up, so they're much easier to cart around in "the field." However, their movements are often limited compared to monorails, especially on the rear standard (google that term). Monorails are traditionally studio cameras, because they are metal-bodied, generally heavy, and always shot on a tripod (as opposed to some field view cameras that can be hand held, like the graflex speed graphic). I shoot with a 4x5 monorail and love it.

    In terms of lenses, your standard lens focal length is generally 135mm or 150mm. Anything 90mm or smaller is wide angle. Portrait lenses start at 210mm generally.

    I'd buy a cheap metal-body monorail to start. The first three lenses I would buy would be a 135mm Schneider Symmar, a 210mm Caltar, and a 90mm Super Angulon (the 90mm isn't nearly as expensive as the super wide angle Super's).

    Hope that helps.
    --Max
     
  3. Sw1tchFX

    Sw1tchFX TPF Noob!

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    agreed :thumbup:

    4x5 is FAR more practical than 8x10, especially for a newbie like yourself.

    I've never used field 4x5's, but have used the rail ones quite a bit. They definatly demand attention and patience to use, but the slides or negatives are just stunning.
     
  4. IanG

    IanG TPF Noob!

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    I use 10x8 and also 5x4 and while the 10x8's are great to use the weight makes them less practical.

    Good 5x4 field cameras aren't too expensive and are easy to find, even Speed & Crown Graphics are capable of excellent results and older lenses are often almost as good as current lenses.

    My 10x8 is here, it's fun to use and the results are outstanding. It came from Portland :D

    Ian
     
  5. JC1220

    JC1220 TPF Noob!

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    I'm odd man out on this one.

    Go straight for the 8x10, if you have the resources, and get reducing backs for the smaller formats. Really, I would even say 8x10 is more practical and versitile than its smaller cousins. Larger negative, ability to use smaller formats with the backs, great size to contact print, once mounted on your tripod, its over your shoulder and off you go, just a little more weight.

    If you are going to be oustide a field camera is the way to go, be sure it has all the movements front and rear.

    It won't be cheap, there is little truely cheap about large format aside from the joy of using them, get a good tripod too, a Ries, again NOT cheap but worth every penny and will out last you.

    What else do you want to know???
     
  6. Alpha

    Alpha Troll Extraordinaire

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    One thing I will say about 8x10 is that enlarging can be an expensive endeavor.
     
  7. photogincollege

    photogincollege TPF Noob!

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    Hmm maybe i will check into 4x5 more then, though i did find some amazing plans for building an 8x10. Thanks all :).
     
  8. nealjpage

    nealjpage multi format master in a film geek package

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    Two words: Contact prints! :thumbup:
     
  9. JC1220

    JC1220 TPF Noob!

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    If you start with the 4x5 and think at somepoint you will go larger, try and buy lenses that will cover the larger format. As for building, unless you are a talented woodworker, don't build your first camera, trouble shooting problems your first time out into LF will only hinder the experience.
    Good Luck!
     
  10. Alpha

    Alpha Troll Extraordinaire

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    Yeah yeah I know. Contact prints are great. You're talking to someone with Azo in their fridge. But is an 11x14 or a 16x20 now and again so much to ask for without spending an arm and a leg on an enlarger the size of a pony?
     
  11. IanG

    IanG TPF Noob!

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    Well I bought the camera intending to make contact prints then took one look at the negatives and instantly realised I had to enlarge them.

    I have considered shifting up to ULF but I can't justify it, 5x4 is extremely practical and the 10x8's fine for occasional work.

    One major advantage with 5x4 is I can shoot hand-held if I have to - there are a number of places where getting permission for a tripod is extremely difficult or rather time consuming and living in an area of almost constant sunshine 125th @f22 is the norm with 100EI film.

    Ian
     
  12. JC1220

    JC1220 TPF Noob!

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    Just get a bigger camera!
    Enlarger? BAH!:mrgreen:
     

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