Large Format cameras

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by Rob A, Feb 28, 2005.

  1. Rob A

    Rob A TPF Noob!

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    hey guys, i was just wandering where online i could look at purchasing large format cameras? and also what makes are good for large format? film, not digital. thanks guys
     
  2. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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  3. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still

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    There are a few different designs of LF camera available: point-n-shoot (sort of), range finder, field camera/press camera, monorail, SLR, TLR, etc... What are you going to be using it for?
     
  4. Rob A

    Rob A TPF Noob!

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    im going to be mainly using it for landscapes, big ones like the type ansel adams took. i believe he used one for some of his? thanks guys
     
  5. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still

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    Then you probably want a 4x5 field or press camera. The cheapest way to get started would be with a used press camera such as a Speed Graphic or Busch. These are available for under $300 used with a press lens; many under $150.

    There are many fancier field cameras available: Toyo, Calumet, Wisner, Horseman, Ebony, Zone VI, Shen Hao, and on and on. These cameras start at about $600 for a new one without a lens, and go very, very expensive.

    Press cameras don't have as many movements as a good field camera, and may not be able to accomodate the longest focal lengths. Press cameras usually have no rear movements (although I have seen folks modify theirs so it did have rear movements), and limited front movements. The simpler models (like an Anniversary Speed Graphic) may only have rise, and maybe a drop bed. The Super Speed Graphic has pretty much all the front movements: rise, shift, swing, tilt, and a drop bed. Press cameras are usually built very tough. I use a Super Speed Graphic with Schnieder lenses for most of my LF landscapes; I love it. To check out more about Speed Graphics go to
    http://graflex.org/

    Press lenses are cheaper lenses, sometimes in very simple shutters. Many of them are pretty decent lenses if they are in okay shape, and they go pretty cheap ($75-$200). Higher quality 4x5 lenses will be $300+ for used.

    Besides the camera, a lens, and film you'll need:
    lens hood, filters, etc...
    dark cloth
    film holders
    cable release
    tripod (big enough to handle a LF camera)
    light meter
    a loupe comes in handy for focusing
    and something to carry it all in.
     
  6. Rob A

    Rob A TPF Noob!

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    wow, thanks loads!!! :thumbsup:
     
  7. Rob A

    Rob A TPF Noob!

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    its guna come to ALOT of money isnt it :/
     
  8. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still

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    You can't skimp on the tripod ($150 to $200), but with almost everything else you can buy less than top of the line.

    older Speed Graphic with press lens $200
    100 sheets 4x5 BW film from Freestyle $40
    lens hood $5
    cable release $5
    4 used film holders $40
    light meter $60+ or use your 35mm SLR
    make your own darkcloth, and maybe you already have a backpack.

    I think you can get started for around $500.

    Hmm, I guess you also need either a darkroom or a film changing bag to load your film. That's probably another $25 for a dark bag.

    Well, it's not real cheap, but it sure is fun. ;)
     
  9. Rob A

    Rob A TPF Noob!

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    cool, well im in the UK, but with it being a fully manual camera, will i be able to use an american one over here with emglish film and bateries? i have family over there and they visit regulary? how much ar the field LF cameras? thanks for ll ur help!!!
     
  10. Christie Photo

    Christie Photo No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    In addition to field cameras, look at some view cameras. A field camera in on a bed rather than rails, and may limit some movements of the film standard (rise and fall, maybe tilt.)

    If you think you'll be doing much wide-angle photography, you'll need either a wide-angle camera or a recessed lens board.

    A view camera has a front standard to hold the lens and a back standard to hold the film. With short lenses, the rear element of the lens needs to be MIGHTY close to the film. If the camera cannot accomedate this, you won't be able to focus. I think 6.25 inch is normal focal legnth for 4x5.

    Make sure the bellows have no pin-holes.

    Like all cameras, the lens is so very important. If you're buying old lenes, make sure they're super multi-coated, especially for color trans photography.

    You'll also need some film holders. You load two sheets of film into each holder. So, if you want to be able to load ten sheets, you need five holders. These, or course, are loaded in the dark, so if you need to reload while out shooting, bring a changing bag.

    Don't forget a focusing cloth. I keep a lupe with my cameras too.

    No TTL metering. Gotta bring the meter along.

    Good luck! And have a bunch of fun!

    -Pete Christie
     
  11. Christie Photo

    Christie Photo No longer a newbie, moving up!

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  12. Rob A

    Rob A TPF Noob!

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    ok, thanks!! :) u guys are helpfull!
     

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