Total noob to large format
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Old 08-13-2016   #1
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Default Total noob to large format

Hi All,

I've just joined PhotoCamel. I've been taking photographs since the early 80's - in those days with Canon FD and a Mamiya RB67. I had a darkroom and used to process and print my own B+W and Cibachromes, although the darkroom gear is now long gone.
I made the switch to digital about 10 years ago with a NIkon D70s. I 've just bought a secondhand Nikon D700 to use with my 105mm Macro lens. I would like to move upto the 5 by 4 inch format because of the movements for architecture and the extra depth of field from the said camera movements.
I have a copy of Ansel Adams' 'The Camera' and have been looking at a couple of Shen Hao and a Wista SP on eBay and I'm sure they would be just perfect for what I need. My question is though how do you find out which lens boards and dark slides these use? Do they all use the 'universal' dark slides and as for the lens boards is there a universal equivalent -I've seen Linhof mentioned and how exactly do you fit the lens to the lense board. I've also see a reasonably priced Fujinon 135mm f8 to go with said camera.
What I don't want to do is buy a camera and then have to spend ages tracking down some obscure type or format of dark slide/lense board afterwards.
Any guidance would be greatly appreciated. Also apologies if this has been asked elsewhere, if so please point me in the right direction.

Regards,
M. Abbott.

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Old 08-13-2016   #2
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Default Re: Total noob to large format

By dark slide I believe you mean film holder and
those are industry standard, no problem.

A minor attempt was once made to set up the
Linhof Technika lens board as a shared standard
but only a few makers "subscribed", prolly cuz
Technika boards aren't cheap and only very few
low price clones were produced.

There are 2 basic challenges to mounting a lens
onto a board. Number 3 is finding a jam nut if
that is missing. Used to be easy. That was then.
Avoid number 3.

Number 1 is making or acquiring a board. Metal
boards are hard to make. Some of them can be
mimicked in wood with simple tools. Others are
not so simple. Wooden boards are better in that
you can usually mimic them.

Number 2 is making the hole. This depends on
your resourcefulness. Metal obviously is a little
more tricky tool-wise, but as it's almost always
soft aluminum, not too bad. Wood is generally
easier tool-wise, but the advantage of metal is
that it's always thin enuf. Wooden lens boards,
especially homemade, may be so thick that the
threads on the lens don't protrude enuf to allow
thread the jam nut onto the shutter. Either be
aware of that when making a board, or you can
cut two circles, one all the way thru, the other
is just milling down enuf wood to get it thinner.

There are a number of standard sized holes so
you can sometimes order OEM boards ready to
use, especially handy with metal ones. Altho it
looks simple, with sizes like 00, 1, 2, 3, acoarst
it's not. There's Compur sizes and Copal sizes and
they both use the same number sequence but are
not exactly interchangeable. And there's various
USA sizes from Kodak, Ilex, yada yaddaa.

Best to have tools or friends with tools and skills.
And best to choose a camera for which you can
make boards, even if OEM borads are metal, it all
hangs on the light trap design as to whether you
can substitute homemade wooden for metal ones.

Formerly common resources like adapters are now
scarce, so you really either need tools and skills or
ability and availability to buy predrilled boards or
just a find an existing ready to use outfit with 2 or
3 lenses.

There's also the condition of the bellows and how
to inspect and replace it. But thaz not what you
asked about. However, do look into that.
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Old 08-14-2016   #3
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Default Re: Total noob to large format

Hi Golem,

Thanks for your reply. I did mean film holder, it's just that it seems whenever I've seen them in ads they've been called dark slides!or DDS's - Fidelity or Graflok or something like that.

Regarding lenses and boards, if I bought the Fujinon 135 which looks like it doesn't come with a board, how do you know which board you need? Is it really just a case of taking the locknut off and measuring the diameter of the thread?
It has a Copal C if that means anything (got that from Thalmann.com).
The Shen Hao is new so I'd expect it to be light tight! 😊
I see why you mean about knowing the right people with a metal shop.

Many thanks again.
M. Abbott.
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Old 08-14-2016   #4
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Default Re: Total noob to large format

Sheet aluminum can usually be carefully cut to size on a table saw with a fine tooth blade. If there is a light trap on the back side of the board, this can be plywood, felt, or even mat board glued in place. When measuring for the correct size hole, some retaining rings have a step on the side facing the lens that should be considered. The holes can be cut on a drill press with the board securely camped down. Sometimes a round hole saw will be the right size. However, plywood of the right thickness, often available in hobby stores, is the most logical choice for material.
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Old 08-14-2016   #5
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Default Re: Total noob to large format

Hi Jim,

Thanks for that. I was hoping it might be as straight forward as that.

The big question for me now is: new 5 X 4 rig or a 24mm PC-E lens for the D700.

In favour of the 5 X 4:

Staggering quality.
More versatile movements.
Against:
Heavy.
Cost per shot? Not really, it's more finding somewhere to do the scans till I get a scanner.
Darkroom access preferable.

In favour of the D700:
Lighter.
Darkroom access not required.
Against:
Less versatile movements, especially rise, apparently due to the pentaprism & flash. Also the Nikon PC-E's can't do rise/fall and swing at the same time (Canons can &#128528. There is a modification that Nikon can do (for a fee) that makes life easier for landscape shots.....Enables rise/fall and swing/tilt in parrallel. Does any one know what that means?
Does it enable you to drop the lens then alter the plane of focus with some tilt.....?

Thanks again,
M. Abbott
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Old 08-14-2016   #6
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Default Re: Total noob to large format

Quote:
Originally Posted by MAXTHEDOG View Post
The big question for me now is: new 5 X 4 rig or a 24mm PC-E lens for the D700.
I recommend using both. I use a Nikon 28mm f/4 PC lens (only has shift movement) on my Nikon film and digital bodies when I only need shift movement.

I use the Nikon 28mm f/4 PC lens with a tilt adapter on my Fuji mirrorless body when I need shift, swing, and tilt movement.


Shift and Tilt by Narsuitus, on Flickr

I use a 5 X 4 rig when I need full movement (shift, swing, and tilt movements on both front and rear standards).


Large Format by Narsuitus, on Flickr
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Old 08-14-2016   #7
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Default Re: Total noob to large format

Hi Narsuitus,


Thanks for that info. Is there such a thing for Nikons?


Regards,

M. A.
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Old 08-14-2016   #8
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Default Re: Total noob to large format

No, there is no such thing for Nikon.

I need a tilt adapter because I am using an old Nikon PC lens (1975) that only has a shift feature. The new Nikon 24mm f/3.5D ED PC-E lens that you are considering has shift and tilt features.
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Old 08-16-2016   #9
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Default Re: Total noob to large format

The lightest of 4x5 cameras weigh little more than many 35mm cameras with their more versatile zoom, perhaps 3 pounds with a compact lens. In addition, you'll need film holders, light meter, and a tripod. Color photography will be much more expensive than with the D700. B&W costs more, too, but you might make one shot do where you'd shoot a dozen times with the D700. Developing B&W negatives requires only a simple improvised darkroom. As for scanning 4x5 negatives, an old Epson 2450 scanner suited my requirements. The Epson 700 is slightly better. More critical photographers might not be satisfied with either. Scanning negatives gives you the opportunity to do exacting photo manipulation with fairly simple photo editors, and convenient digital printing.
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Old 08-16-2016   #10
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Default Re: Total noob to large format

Quote:
Originally Posted by MAXTHEDOG View Post
Hi Narsuitus,


Thanks for that info. Is there such a thing for Nikons?


Regards,

M. A.
You can't insert a tilt adapter between an SLR lens
and its intended body cuz that would constitutes an
extension tube. Such adapter is for an SLR lens on a
shallow-bodied live view camera like a Fuji or Sony.
The difference in flange depths provides a space for
the adapter ... which acoarst is an adapter, and not
merely a tilt mechanism. It adapts SLR lens to live
view cameras. A Nikon lens rear flange must directly
mount to a Nikon body flange if the normal focusing
range is intended.

#######################################


Maybe someone somewhere makes and SLR to M-39
adapter with tilt and/or shift built in, but it will also
need focusing built in. With such a device you could
use enlarger lenses [most are M-39], but this is more
of a studio "product shot" rig. Enlarger lenses are all
normal coverage, no wide angles.

Becuz Fuji has no 24x36 format bodies, a shift lens
is somewhat a waste, definitely a compromise. The
optics can cover about 35x45mm so 24x36 FF allows
shifting due to the oversize image circle. With APSC
the image circle has even greater surplus coverage,
but the shift lens doesn't shift far enuf to get benefit
of that, cuz it's for a larger sensor. Also acoarst it's
no longer a wide angle lens, and except for studio
type table-top product shots, shift lenses are mainly
valued for perspective control with wide angles, to
avoid tilting the camera [or at least minimize it].

-------------------------------------------------------------


Before adapting a FF 28mm shift lens onto an APSC
camera, one should consider just using an ordinary
28 on a FF body and cropping to an off-center APSC
sized area of the FF image. Same thing without all
the fancy mechanism. You can even do this with any
format if your FL is short enuf.

Here's a 4/3 format image, cropped from an APSC
image, allowing the camera to remain level. FL is
10mm, which for 4/3 is same FoV as 20mm for FF.
The camera is held level and the foreground is then
cropped off. Imagine the cost of a 20mm shift lens
for a FF camera !

JoseMalone03-W.jpg


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