new to large format

Discussion in 'Medium Format & Large Format' started by denada, Jul 26, 2016.

  1. denada

    denada No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    hi all,

    just got a calumet 4x5 monorail with a schneider kreuznach technika symmar f5.6 135mm lens. i don't know anything about it, but it was only $100 including shipping and sally mann shoots in large format. so i want to too. she was 8x10, but i'm starting smaller to learn.

    from the photos, it looks like the a segment of the bellows might be slightly bent. this matter at all, as long as they don't leak? description said the camera worked well and seller had 100% positive with over 1,000 sales. there was only 5 minutes left in the auction, so i went ahead without doing proper research. photo prompting the question here.

    sounds like i'll need developing tubes. which are more expensive than the camera. do i really need to spend $75 for three tubes or $175 for a kit? if so, which should i go for? looks like the kit just includes three more tubes and a tray with holders, but as i have to do this in the dark maybe those holders make a big difference? and maybe being able to do six at a time instead of three is worth the extra cash?

    i'll need a tripod, of course. i've been using an old vhs camcorder tripod for my other cameras. probably won't work for this thing. any recommendations?

    anything else i'll need?

    thanks!

    edit: oh man, all the sudden my v600 really sucks.


     
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2016
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  2. unpopular

    unpopular Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I have never used this "tubes" system. It's not by any means 'standard'. I used something like the FR tanks. It wasn't an FR. I forgot what it was. But the same idea. The FR tanks are available on ebay for like ten bucks. Some people don't like them, I never had a problem.

    The 'standard' way of developing is in the dark using tanks and hangers. I've done that also. It's not that bad if you have the facilities.

    Last you can tray develop just like paper, only emulsion-side up (irrc) and in complete darkness, though you have to process each sheet individually. These latter methods allow 'inspection' processing. Though that method kind of gives me the willies with panchromatic film.

    ETA - it was a Yankee tank. Similar principle to the FR tanks. They cost about $40 new
     
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  3. unpopular

    unpopular Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Wait. Are those tubes pretty much just PVC pipes? Do you have to turn off the lights for fill/dump still??

    BTW - the bellows look fine. If they're stuck like that just reinforce the fold with some tape.

    You very likely will have some light leaks with this camera. That's not entirely not to be expected. So long as you're just dealing with pinholes, a good light proof tape and a flashlight in a dark room should be fix anything you encounter.

    Larger issues will need to have the bellows repaired or replaced. It's likely you can get stock bellows for it still. I think there is a factory in China that makes aftermarket bellows for various cameras that have reasonable prices (and come in a sexy Commie Red color), though they will cost more than you paid for the camera.

    If you need custom bellows made, it won't be worth it. Consider it a loss, or build your own. They're not tapered, so they shouldn't be too hard to pattern. But i've never had any luck doing it.
     
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  4. denada

    denada No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    yes, you have to turn the lights off to load them. good to know about the tanks. it looks like i'll have to pay a little more than $10 for a tank with 4x5 hanger, but much less than $75 or $175. youtube results fooled me into thinking with tubes was the standard way to develop sheet film. thanks for setting that straight.
     
  5. 480sparky

    480sparky Chief Free Electron Relocator Supporting Member

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    You can always develop in trays as well. But you'll need to do so in total darkness.

    My preferred method is a Patterson System 3 tank with a MOD54 insert.



    Once loaded properly, developing is a daylight operation at the kitchen sink.
     
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  6. unpopular

    unpopular Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    For tanks and hangers you will need complete darkness, ideally with a sink.

    I suppose you can do it with a tub of some kind and a few buckets. But a sink would be WAY better.

    Otherwise use a daylight tank. Honestly, I think the daylight tanks, either Patterson, Yankee or the older FR tanks will be much better for someone new to 4x5.

    If you have a good darkroom with a good-sized, flat bottomed sink, tanks and hangers are easy to load and you can adjust development time for individual sheets or to inspections. But none of this is going to be something you'll be doing as a newbie anyway,
     
  7. Tim Tucker

    Tim Tucker No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    The lens you have is a Schnidier convertible. It is what they call "Linhof selected", that is after it passed Schnidier's QA it was submitted to Linhof. They perform a more exacting QA before selecting it for sale with one of their cameras.
    It is convertible as in if you remove the front element group (just screws out) it becomes a 235mm f12 lens. Though I think you'll notice a drop in quality.

    I wouldn't worry about kinks in the bellows, but check for light leaks. Pinholes are not difficult to fix with a bit of tape.

    For developing B&W film, by far the easiest is with something like the Patterson MoD54 tanks. You can load them in a light tight bag, which you'll need to load the dark slides anyway, (do you have a dark slide or two? Should be standard dark slides but worth checking). Developing 4 or 6 at a time is the most economical as you have to mix a litre of chemicals just for one anyway. You'll also need a thermometer and litre measuring jugs (normally x3 so you can prepare developer, stop, and fixer in advance).

    I would also recommend a x4 to x6 focussing loupe a necessity for accurate focussing and dof determination.

    I think the biggest problem is using one of these cameras if you're used to fixed lens and focal planes. I would thoroughly recommend Ansel Adams first instruction book "The Camera" as it deals in detail with the actual mechanics of using one of these.
     
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  8. limr

    limr Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

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  9. denada

    denada No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    thanks for all the replies.

    have a meter. went with the paterson tank, as my sink is located right outside my darkroom and it just sounds nicer than developing in the dark.

    looks like the tripod head for large format is the same as any other camera. so i'm going to try the old vhs tripod -- which is quite heavy duty -- before buying another.
     
  10. 480sparky

    480sparky Chief Free Electron Relocator Supporting Member

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    Tripods are pretty much the same, but you may need to find a 3/8" QR plate as most LFs have a 3/8" thread on them.
     
  11. denada

    denada No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    got the camera today. slower shutter speeds are sticky, despite the seller description saying otherwise. sounds like CLA takes over a month and costs as much as the camera ($100+). that's frustrating. the cost is whatever, but waiting to shoot for 6 weeks is not what i'm after. i'm not sure how useful it is at 1/30+, but i'm going to find out.

    doesn't look like i can use a cable shutter release for this lens? when i press the little lever, it makes the camera shake on my current tripod.

    is a bogen 3033 tripod with a 3047 head appropriate for this camera? from my googling, both parts seem to be enough but not overkill. figure i should check here before buying. also interested in suggested offer for that getup on craigslist? asking is $200.

    thanks!
     
  12. 480sparky

    480sparky Chief Free Electron Relocator Supporting Member

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    From your photos, I don't see anywhere a cable release can attach. But there might be something behind the shutter release lever. Judging by other photos of the same lens on the internet, it appears there is a connection. But maybe yours is broken off?

    Given that long exposures are more common when shooting LF, I find it hard to believe a lens doesn't accept a cable release.
     
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2016

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