My first time using a 4x5 camera

Discussion in 'The Black & White Gallery' started by doobs, Oct 21, 2007.

  1. doobs

    doobs TPF Noob!

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    Subject is boring I know, but the clunker was big and awkward and we didn't take it further than outside the local darkroom. What do you think though? I think these fellas make some good lookin' pictures. I have no idea what the camera was, what film it was (except that it was in the film holster for 5 years supposedly) but I remember he kept saying that it was f/64. It was interesting to use and fun as well! The building is a little overexposed at the top, I think, but I'm done editing this for the night. Tell me what you think.

    [​IMG]
     
  2. Sw1tchFX

    Sw1tchFX TPF Noob!

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    does it really have to be that big? I can't even see the whole thing, and I doubt anyone else would.
     
  3. Mike Jordan

    Mike Jordan TPF Noob!

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    It's not the lens that makes it big... it's the negative. This is probably digital contact print. ;)

    I have two 4x5 cameras that I haven't used in a number of years. It's going to be awhile before digital does better resolution wise than a large format image. But digital is a lot more convienent.

    Mike
     
  4. nealjpage

    nealjpage multi format master in a film geek package

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    The grain is a lot more pronounced than i would've thought for 4x5. Or is it the compression from uploading the image?
     
  5. doobs

    doobs TPF Noob!

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    Compression. I think it was a high speed film as well. It was heavy overcast out.
     
  6. Bobby Ironsights

    Bobby Ironsights TPF Noob!

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    DUDE! That's as grainy as hell! For four by five those grains must take the skin off your fingers.

    High speed, and it's been five YEARS or more in the holder? You need new film to see what LF is all about.

    P.S. Press Camera's (I assume that's what you have) aren't "clunky" they're DURABLE, and a good melee' weapon in a serious fight.
     
  7. doobs

    doobs TPF Noob!

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    Haha, it wasn't mine actually, it was an instructors. It was much grainier than I had expected. He had it on a tripod and I had to get under the cape and everything. I have no idea what it was, I knew we shot it at f/64 though, which was crazy to me. I'm guessing some of the grain could have been attributed to the scanner. I thought it was cool, and I'd like to get one, but I have no idea what I would be looking for.
     
  8. Helen B

    Helen B TPF Noob!

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    There are many different kinds of 4x5 camera to choose from, over a very wide price range. I started with a borrowed Sinar and my own MPP S92 back in the early seventies. I still have the MPP, but I have added others, as one tends to do. Each different type has its advantages and disadvantages.

    Of the new cameras, one of the nicest and cheapest is the Chinese-made Chamonix 45N-1. There is a six-month waiting list for these - mine is one of the '100 days' cameras mentioned in the link. They are $700 give or take a dollar or two for shipping. They are made of carbon fibre, aluminum (black or grey) and maple or walnut. I've decided on the maple/black combination. I have a simple Ebony RW45E, and I may sell that when the Chamonix arrives.

    Cameras similar to the metal MPP can be had for $150-$200. Graflex cameras of one kind or another are more common in the USA.

    I have a Polaroid 110B converted to 4x5. This is handy to carry around, and very easy to use hand-held.

    There are also simple cameras like the Fotoman.

    The most versatile cameras are probably the monorails. I use a Sinar P2 which is part of a large, very easy to use system. Prices for used P2s are remarkably low - about the same as a new D300. Other second-hand monorail cameras like the more portable Arca Swiss seem to sell at closer to their new prices.

    I'm only scratching the surface here. I'll write more if you want, and I'm sure that others will chime in.

    Best,
    Helen
     
  9. Mike Jordan

    Mike Jordan TPF Noob!

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    You can get 4x5 cameras very cheaply. I have a Bush Pressman that my wife picked up at a garage sell for $10 and a Brand 17 that I got for about $45. The Brand 17 gives me tilts and swings. As long as the camera itself is light tight (and you have to check with the older used ones becauses the bellows will probably have pin hole leaks if it wasn't taken care of) almost any will do a good job that you can stick a 4x5 film holder on. What's important is the lens. And the shutter. There are a lot of lenses and shutters out there and some of them are really good, but there are also a lot of not so good ones. The shutter assembly could be gummed up and the springs worn so that it isn't shooting near the speed that you think it is. The good news on a lot of shutters and lenses, there are a number of places that they can be cleaned and fixed fairly reasonably. Just make sure it's someone that knows what they are doing on the shutter.

    The other part that can be a pain is the lens mount board. A view camera can use a lot of different lenses, but you have to have a lens board that fits the front of the camera and has the proper mount hole for the lens. Getting a couple of lens boards was the hard part for me and the Brand 17, but I found a place that would make them based on the lenses I had and the camera. But they aren't hard to make if you have the tools. All it is is a good solid piece of wood or metal, painted flat black and with a hole cut out in the exact middle that the lens can fit through.

    Film is another issue, although you can find it on the internet. I started buying the ready loads since it was easier to deal with than loading my own film packs. That reduced the dust problem as well. I was just getting back into developing my own black and white when I got into digital. And I've only used the 4x5 a few times after that and only to shoot Polaroid film (I love shooting 4x5 Polaroid).

    They can be a lot of fun and some of the things you can do with the movements you just can't do with regular cameras.

    Mike
     
  10. doobs

    doobs TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for the replies Helen and Mike. I'm most interested in getting an older used one to save money and for the cool factor of having an old one. I'll probably check Craigslist and ebay as well as the camera store down the street. The instructor who owned that camera, said that the camera was cheap, but it was the lens that was expensive. I'm going to check this Wednesday when I go to the camera store to pick up some film, I'll see what they have in stock. I want to get them as cheap as I can get though, hopefully around $10 as Mike did! :p
     
  11. Helen B

    Helen B TPF Noob!

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    You can get very good lenses for $250 to $300 on eBay. Calumet sold rebranded Schneider and Rodenstock lenses as 'Caltar' lenses, and they sell for less than the Schneider or Rodenstock equivalent, so search on Caltar.

    This was shot with a 210 mm Schneider Symmar-S rebranded as a Caltar that cost about $250:

    [​IMG]

    and here is a crop from it, converted to B&W as an example of the capabilities of modern colour negative film as origination material for B&W images:

    [​IMG]

    I get round the lens board thing between my multiple cameras by standardizing on Linhof lens boards, then using adapters. It means that I can use the same lens on different cameras. Another aspect of the versatility of 4x5 cameras is that you can use them with medium format film.

    Best,
    Helen
     
  12. doobs

    doobs TPF Noob!

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    Hmm, I doubt I'll be picking up one of these soon (I am so broke), but this is good information to have for the future. I'm hoping within about 6 months, I could probably shooting with a 4x5 camera. Thanks for all your help Helen and Mike!

    --Dylan
     

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