35mm or 4x5
PhotoCamel: Your friendly photo community, with free discussion forums, digital photography reviews, photo sharing, galleries, downloads, blogs, photography contests, and prizes.
 

Go Back   PhotoCamel - Your Friendly Photography Forum > Cameras and Lenses > Film Camera

Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 06-25-2012   #1
Vicuna
 
Mister Sith's Avatar
 
Location: Cupertino, CA
Posts: 197
CamelKarma: 8075
Editing OK?: Ask first
Constructive Critique?: Yes
Default 35mm or 4x5

So I'm quite into film photography, and my current main film camera is a medium format Bronica SQ-A, which I absolutely adore.

Recently I've been debating whether to acquire a 35mm SLR or a 4x5 monorail view camera. The reason I'm considering a 35mm SLR at all is mostly because I hate carrying around my Bronica with me on a daily basis; it's just far too heavy to do, plus the film prices are just too high for me to shoot MF on a daily basis. I'm currently eying a setup of a Nikon F with a Photomic FTn prism and a Nikkor 50mm f/1.4, which is running me around $245.

I'm looking into Large Format mostly to further my technical and artistic skill. I have some experience with the format from my school's camera, but I've been wanting to acquire my own to use on my own time to shoot both studio, landscape and fine art photography. Its the next step for me to further my craft of both photo take and print making. Honestly, right now, I'm looking at the cheapest quality set up that I can get. I'm hoping to spend around $300 but I'm willing to invest more in a decent set up.

What do you think would be the more worthy investment? 35mm o shoot day to day, or 4x5 for fine art/skill development?

__________________
Members don't see ads in threads. Register for your free account today and become a member of PhotoCamel to open up the site's many benefits and features.
__________________
~Adi
Canon T1i | Canon 50mm f/1.8 II | Canon 60mm f/2.8 Macro USM | Canon 430 EX II | Bronica SQ-A | Bronica SQ 80mm f/2.8
Mister Sith is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-25-2012   #2
PhotoCamel Supporter DONATED
Bactrian
 
Jim Jones's Avatar
 
Location: Rural Missouri
Posts: 2,342
CamelKarma: 501383
Editing OK?: Yes
Constructive Critique?: Yes
Default Re: 35mm or 4x5

Much depends on the ultimate use of the images. Few people really need to capture images with anything larger than 35mm or digital cameras. Even most point & shoot digital cameras are fine for most internet postings and small prints. For a few discriminating photographers, even 4x5 film is too small for large prints, and certainly inadequate for processes that require contact printing.

A new Nikon D3100 costs about twice the price of your Nikon F Photomic, and is worth it to many of us. Anyone who doesn't enjoy carrying medium format equipment should stay away from the Photomic. The Nikon with a plain prism is lighter, less bulky, and not so top heavy. The Nikkormat is a bit quirky, but a reliable performer. For many years Nikon relied on mercury batteries in their meters. Using such cameras now is less convenient than when those cameras were new. Modern economical digital cameras are approaching the image quality (if not the durability) of 35mm cameras. I now rarely use the Leica and Nikon outfits accumulared over several decades. A DSLR is more convenient. However, for better black & white image quality I still shoot 4x5 film. For many, perhaps the major advantage of large format over 35mm or digital is not the image quality, but the approach to using the equipment. When one sets up a shot with a camera on a tripod, more care is taken in leveling, composition, focusing, and exposing. I may spend an hour sitting up, exposing, and developing one or two sheets of film. The 4x5 outfit that is ready to go at a moment's notice weighs 10 times as much as my DSLR, and contains only 8 sheets of film.
Jim Jones is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-25-2012   #3
F1 Camel
 
Narsuitus's Avatar
 
Posts: 2,790
CamelKarma: 31066
Editing OK?: Ask First
Constructive Critique?: Yes
Default Re: 35mm or 4x5

If I were in your position and were trying to decide if I wanted to spend my $300 on a small format camera or a large format camera to use in addition to my medium format camera for studio shooting, landscapes, and fine art subjects, I would pick the small format camera. However, I would pick a compact digital camera rather than a 35mm SLR or a 35mm compact for the following reasons:
  • It is easy to carry the compact digital because of its smaller size and lighter weight.
  • I like to routinely carry only my compact digital when I am scouting for scenic shots.
  • The compact digitalís cost per image is very low.
  • Compact digitalís immediate feedback is very conducive to learning and decision-making.
  • I like to take inexpensive test shots with my compact digital before I take the more expensive shots with my medium format or large format camera.
On the other hand, if the choice were limited to only a 35mm SLR or a 4x5 monorail view camera, I would select the 4x5.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/11336821@N00/5227596464/
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Range Finders 004 sml.JPG (62.8 KB, 50 views)
Narsuitus is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-25-2012   #4
Guanaco
 
Posts: 347
CamelKarma: 758661
Editing OK?: Ask First
Constructive Critique?: Yes
Default Re: 35mm or 4x5

Might want to try asking this on the APUG forum. There, when you ask a question about film cameras you get answers about film cameras.

With that now off my chest, I'll try to contribute. I've owned a Nikon Photomic FTn since it was new in 1968. I have a 50mm f/1.4 and a 135mm f/3.5 with it. It's a heavy camera, so you'll need to consider that. The mercury batteries could be an issue, but for this wonderful little adapter made in the USA. Here's the link. http://www.paulbg.com/Nikon_F_meter_batteries.htm
This allows use of a 1.4v zinc-air hearing aid battery which results in about 1/2 stop underexposure if you center the needle. 1.5 volt alkaline batteries are over a full stop off and unpredictable (in my experience).
Bob Ogden is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-25-2012   #5
Alpaca
 
Posts: 3
CamelKarma: 10
Editing OK?: Ask First
Constructive Critique?: Yes
Default Re: 35mm or 4x5

35mm always work well, but making magic happen you better snap that good shot ! devolving it take time.. it doesnt matter what film cmera you got because when you scan it, got to make sure you scan it right. If you planning to get your own printing lab, good luck it cost tons of money each shoot !!!

But using 35mm is light and phone to shoot. but remember each shot matter doesnt matter what lens you got
Bulliso is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-25-2012   #6
Bactrian
 
SpeedGraphicMan's Avatar
 
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 1,761
CamelKarma: 352140
Editing OK?: No
Constructive Critique?: Yes
Default Re: 35mm or 4x5

Get yourself a Speed Graphic!

They are reasonably cheap, can be used handheld, and can use even cheaper barrel lenses!

And they weigh about the same as a new Canon flagship DSLR.
__________________
I would like to see Paris before I die... Philadelphia will do...
SpeedGraphicMan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-25-2012   #7
Dromedary
 
tomrit's Avatar
 
Location: Boone NC USA
Posts: 1,527
CamelKarma: 2684
Editing OK?: Ask First
Constructive Critique?: Yes
Default Re: 35mm or 4x5

Unless you are very lucky you are not going to do 4x5 for $300. Yep, it is fairly easy to come up with a camera and maybe a lens for that. But that is just the tip of the iceberg. Tripod, film holders, light meter, focusing cloth, the list just keeps going on and on. Of course you may have some of that already. I have a Crown Graphic and a monorail in 4x5.

35mm, sigh, I have quite a lot of 35mm cameras: Pentax SLR's, a Canonet that I actually love to shoot, several lenses, all the stuff that goes with those. In color, I just shoot digital, there seems no reason to shoot 35mm. In B&W I prefer larger cameras. Digital has replaced polaroid for instant gratification.

I used to have some very nice roll film gear. When I got ill, I had to sell it. I never replaced it. Instead, for fun, I use old roll film folders for most of my B&W for fun work.

I guess I am saying, for me, digital has 99% replaced 35mm. I still prefer film for roll film and 4x5, especially in black and white. In your position, I would go for what Narsuius recommended. If you actually already have digital, then I would go for the 4x5, realizing that it is going to be a bit more expensive than your thought. If you are a died in the wool film fanatic who would never touch digital, then you may like to have a 35mm outfit as a highly mobile outfit.

How is that for being wishy washy? The fact is that there is very little you can not do with that SQ-A, beyond that it is more a case of what you like than what you need. There was quite awhile when I got by with just the Graphic and the Canonet (I generally prefer rangefinder cameras, especially when I have the ground glass option for close up work). On the other hand, in some ways I miss the days back when I only had one camera; never had to try and decide which camera to carry back then.
__________________
Tom
www.tomrit.com
tomrit is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-25-2012   #8
F1 Camel
 
korman's Avatar
 
Location: Switzerland
Posts: 3,544
CamelKarma: 497479
Editing OK?: Yes
Constructive Critique?: Yes
Default Re: 35mm or 4x5

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mister Sith View Post
The reason I'm considering a 35mm SLR at all is mostly because I hate carrying around my Bronica with me on a daily basis; it's just far too heavy to do, plus the film prices are just too high for me to shoot MF on a daily basis. I'm currently eying a setup of a Nikon F with a Photomic FTn prism and a Nikkor 50mm f/1.4, which is running me around $245.
I wouldn't go that way. If you want portable, make it really portable with something like a Rollei 35 or similar. Or switch to a range-finder style camera by Voigtlšnder, Contax or Leica for a different style of photography, although those might be out of your budget. For me the difference between the Bronica and the Nikon wouldn't be big enough and I would end up being frustrated mostly by what I lost by not using the bigger format of the Bronica without gaining many benefits.



About the cost of film, have you really checked how much you save? If I remember the current prices (at least for B&W) correctly, you get only about 3 frames of 35mm film per frame of 6x6. Processing costs seem to be pretty equal for both types roll of film. This doesn't look to be such a big advantage that it can't be compensated for a good part by a leisurely and more conscious shooting style.

Korman
korman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-26-2012   #9
Vicuna
 
Mister Sith's Avatar
 
Location: Cupertino, CA
Posts: 197
CamelKarma: 8075
Editing OK?: Ask first
Constructive Critique?: Yes
Default Re: 35mm or 4x5

Thanks, everyone for the carious responses!

I went into the local camera store and had the good fortune of being able to play around with several of the Nikon F-line, including the F and F2 with photomic prisms, and a F3. I definitely discovered that both the F and the F2 are rather heft cameras, and not much of a weight improvement over my Bronica! Thanks for warning me on that, Jim!
Regarding rangefinders, I've had some experiences with them, but truth be told, I'm just not that big of a fan of rangefinders, so that option has kind of been discounted for me. I just prefer shooting SLR's.

After a day of consideration, I've come a long way on my thought processes of what I want in my next camera. At the same time, I'm around where I started. While I've moved on from the Nikon F to the Nikon F3, and several Canon options, I still haven't decided whether or not to purse a 4x5 or 35mm camera. i reckon it will probably take a considerably large amount of time to finally make a decision, but I appreciate all of your responses in the mean time!
__________________
~Adi
Canon T1i | Canon 50mm f/1.8 II | Canon 60mm f/2.8 Macro USM | Canon 430 EX II | Bronica SQ-A | Bronica SQ 80mm f/2.8
Mister Sith is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-26-2012   #10
F1 Camel
 
Narsuitus's Avatar
 
Posts: 2,790
CamelKarma: 31066
Editing OK?: Ask First
Constructive Critique?: Yes
Default Re: 35mm or 4x5

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mister Sith View Post
I just prefer shooting SLR's.
Since you prefer shooting with an SLR and since you want something lighter and smaller than a Nikon F or your Bronica, I recommend a small Pentax (like the ME, ME Super, or MX) or a small Olympus (like the OM1, OM1n, or OM2).

http://www.flickr.com/photos/11336821@N00/5580899210/


__________________
Members don't see ads in threads. Register for your free account today and become a member of PhotoCamel to open up the site's many benefits and features.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Pentax ME 15b sml.jpg (75.9 KB, 34 views)
Narsuitus is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

« PhotoCamel - Your Friendly Photography Forum > Cameras and Lenses > Film Camera »


Share this topic:

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Nikon 35mm afs f1.8 dx vs 35mm f2 stanboy123 Nikon 4 08-16-2011 08:37 PM
4x5 scanner? Vedauwoo Computers and Software 1 06-21-2009 10:43 AM
Canon 17-40mm vs. 17-35mm vs. 16-35mm II cwfilms Canon 5 11-28-2007 02:39 PM