I want a LF camera... someday.

Discussion in 'Medium Format & Large Format' started by Samriel, Sep 7, 2008.

  1. Samriel

    Samriel TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2007
    Messages:
    325
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Fukuoka, Japan
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    Well, I'm basically quite new to photography with only 8 months of owning a dSLR and trying to shoot more than the typical snapshots. I've used the time to shoot as much as possible and I discovered I positively love photography. I've been shooting a bit of everything, trying to find my "niche", and I'm slowly progressing towards that goal. So far so good.
    Now, recently I've been really wanting to do some film shooting (maybe because of some threads around here...). Don't ask me why, I just feel like going to the darkroom and developing some film. I've NEVER used film since I got interested into photography, I have NO idea how to develop film etc. Basically I'm an absolute beginner when it comes down to film. But I really feel like doing some film photography, and doing it BIG - I mean large format, no MF or 35mm film. I really enjoy slowly creating a scene, be it a still life scene or a nude, and then setting up the camera and slowly taking the shot. I somehow feel LF would really be a pleasure to work with as a change of pace to the rather dynamic digital workflow (not to say I don't like my digital workflow). I can use a darkroom for free, so I won't have to bother with making one at my (rather small) home. I also have somebody to teach my the basics of film developing.
    So, here I am, thinking of how to get my hands on a LF camera. However, I find that I have a serious knowledge lack when it comes to LF, so what I basically want to ask could be summed up with the following few questions:

    1. Any good entry level books on LF photography and cameras? I've seen someone mention some Ansel Adams books when talking about LF. Also, any good website about LF photography?
    2. A recommendation for a beginners 4x5 setup? As cheap as possible, used is OK (probably even a must).
    3. A recommendationf for a beginners 8x10 setup? Same conditions as above.
    I hope I'll get a better idea of what I need (both money and know-how wise) to start with LF. Any advice appreciated!
     
  2. terri

    terri Administrator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2003
    Messages:
    25,317
    Likes Received:
    2,082
    Location:
    In the mental ward of this forum
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    Samriel: I've moved this thread to where the appropriate film-geeks will see it. :lol: Hopefully you'll get some good feedback here!

    You may also want to check out these sites for more information:

    APUG, an all-film site.

    Large Format forum, LF discussions only.

    As someone who has has her eye on a 4x5 camera for some time now, but has yet to pull the trigger (mainly the "lack of time" factor), I can feel your pain.

    Go for it! :D
     
  3. Steph

    Steph No longer a newbie, moving up!

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2006
    Messages:
    1,314
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Steventon, Oxfordshire, UK
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    As way of introduction, I found 'Using the view camera' by Steve Simmons quite good. It gives you an idea of what is involved in large format photography.

    This website is full of resources about the basics of LF photography and they also have a forum dedicated to LF.

    I cannot recommend a set up. I am a bit in the same situation as you. One day I would like to buy an LF camera. I read a lot (and I mean a lot) about LF photography but at the moment I don't have the time nor the money to realise that dream.

    Finally, just for drooling, have a look at this website. The range of LF equipment they sell is impressive and some of those cameras (such as Shen-Hao) are not so expensive (when compared to high-end dSLRs).
     
  4. Steph

    Steph No longer a newbie, moving up!

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2006
    Messages:
    1,314
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Steventon, Oxfordshire, UK
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    An interesting read I forgot in my previous post: CLICK.
     
  5. Samriel

    Samriel TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2007
    Messages:
    325
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Fukuoka, Japan
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    Thanks for moving the thread to it's proper place terri. Should've looked more for an appropriate forum. I guess I just got so overexcited I forgot how to think straight... thanks for the links too, I'll be getting down to reading them these days.

    Steph, thanks for the links as well and also for the book recommendation! I'll try to find a copy around here.
     
  6. JC1220

    JC1220 TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2005
    Messages:
    439
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    Maine
    Define "cheap?"

    You don't want to go so cheap you end up with a crap camera that is plagued with technical problems and light leaks, it will make you hate your decision.

    4x5 and 8x10 on the cheap would start with finding a Calumet Monorail camera. A 4x5 with lens can be had for around $200. You may find a whole kit even for $500 or less these days. These will also give you all of your movements front and rear. Another choice would be a Burke & James available in monorail, flat beds or press, or a Graflex if you want a press style camera with the sacrafice of rear movments and some front.

    You will also need film holders, dark cloth, a solid tripod, shutter cable.....

    New equipment would be Shen-hao, Tachihara, Toyo. In 4x5 new outfit you are looking at $1500-$2500

    The least expensive entry and maintaining a quality setup will be 4x5, used.
     
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2008
  7. Samriel

    Samriel TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2007
    Messages:
    325
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Fukuoka, Japan
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    Sorry, when I meant cheap I meant "comparatively cheap", not "crappy cheap". Basically the most economical entry level setup, without any technical problems, light leaks etc.
    USD500 for a used kit sound promising, I was expecting more. How much would I need to give out for a used entry-level 8x10 setup?
     
  8. Bifurcator

    Bifurcator TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2008
    Messages:
    3,312
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Japan
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    I want to build one. :D
     
  9. Samriel

    Samriel TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2007
    Messages:
    325
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Fukuoka, Japan
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    Bifurcator, since you're living in Japan as well, do you maybe know some place (online or normal store) where to get a cheap LF setup? I don't mind if it's not in Fukuoka, I'll check it up.
     
  10. epatsellis

    epatsellis TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2008
    Messages:
    524
    Likes Received:
    18
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    I built this 8x10 for about $40, using common hardware store hardware:

    [​IMG]


    My 20x24 has hit a wall, due to time constraints, but things are slowing down at work and I can get back into it soon.
    [​IMG]
     
  11. JC1220

    JC1220 TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2005
    Messages:
    439
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    Maine

    I would expect to pay the same as for a new 4x5 setup, $1500-$2500. 8x10 monorails run around $600-$800 on their own. A used Tachihara field camera will run around $1000. If you can find one, an 8x10 Kodak Masterview will run you $1200-2000, it has become somewhat of a cult camera and has driven the price up a bit.

    Most of these cameras have available reducing backs so you can shoot smaller formats and even roll film. So going with 8x10 and still being able to photograph 4x5 or 5x7 is an option for you.

    The biggest help to you will be another photographer who can mentor you a bit.

    Personally, I say go for the 8x10 with a reducing back, its the best of both worlds, with the draw back of probably not being able to enlarge the 8x10's but contact printing may appeal to you, especially with the release of the new Lodima paper.

    Best,
    JC
     
  12. Helen B

    Helen B TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2007
    Messages:
    3,296
    Likes Received:
    465
    Location:
    Hell's Kitchen, New York
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    Here's a link for those interested.

    Good luck,
    Helen

    PS It might be worth adding the Chamonix 45 N-1 to the Shen-Hao, Toyo, Tachihara list of new, low-ish cost LF cameras.
     

Share This Page

Search tags for this page
4x5 field camera
,

16x20 camera

,
20x24 chamonix field camera
,

20x24 camera

,
20x24 view camera for sale
,

chamonix camera review

,
chamonix view camera review
,
lf camera
,
press camera
,
shen hao vs chamonix