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Old 08-22-2016   #1
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Default Large format information

I almost can't believe that I'm thinking about film again.

I don't really have any experience or knowledge about large format cameras and photography. But lately for some reason, I'm starting to think about large format.

I was wondering if there are any books or web sites that anyone can suggest where I can learn.

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Old 08-22-2016   #2
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Default Re: Large format information

One fine site for large format photography is Large Format Photography Forum. The home page has links to much information. The forums have answers to many questions. As for books, the most technical is View Camera Technique by Leslie Stroebel. It was published over many years in several editions. Three others are The View Camera by Harvey Shaman, Using the View Camera by Steve Simmons, and A User's guide to the View Camera by Jim Stone. I also like the old Ansel Adams books on the topic published many years ago. If you are interested in the newest gear, check the dates of these before investing. Basic large format photography doesn't change rapidly, but some of the equipment does. However, great photography was done with large format cameras in the 1800s, and those cameras, if in good repair, can still do the job.
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Old 08-22-2016   #3
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Thank you Jim! I'll take a look at that web site. Thanks for the books as well.

At the moment I'm not really sure what I'd be getting into. I usually like to read up a bit and get a feel for things before I decide on anything. Half the fun is doing the research and learning along the way lol.
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Old 08-23-2016   #4
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Research and learning are much cheaper than rushing to the camera store with your credit card. Plunging into a new phase of photography without doing the homework is more of a gamble than a few other things in Los Vegas.
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Old 08-24-2016   #5
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Lol right!
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Old 08-29-2016   #6
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Default Re: Large format information

Quote:
Originally Posted by nu2scene;
Thank you Jim! I'll take a look at that web site.
Thanks for the books as well.

At the moment I'm not really sure what I'd be getting
into. I usually like to read up a bit and get a feel for
things before I decide on anything. Half the fun is
doing the research and learning along the way lol.
I'd suggest newer/newest books. Older books tend to
deal with the view camera as a necessity [for certain
type of jobs], a specialized device possibly needed by
otherwise well-experienced photographers, meaning
film and darkroom savvy practitioners. IOW, only the
particulars of the camera and its movements are new
to their readers. For digital-era photographers newly
intrigued with film, fundamentals, and the flexibility
of a view camera all at once, the situation of these
enthusiasts would not be well addressed in a classic
text, since that situation was simply not anticipated.

Not claiming that I know of a new text sympathetic
to the digital-to-view-camera convert, but hopefully
such a text has been written ... and you would find it
faster by skipping over the classics and checking out
the very latest offerings.

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

Here's a bit of bendare dawndat: Given the nature of
gelatin and silver halide grains, and the effects from
processing chemicals, the IQ potential of a 4x5 piece
of film is not really superior to the IQ potential of a
2x3" piece of film. The main advantage of the larger
film was the reduced degree enlargement ... not for
preservation of resolution, but for the reducing the
loss of tonal richness that results from enlargement
by optical projection. IOW, the lesser the degree of
optical image stretching, the richer the tonality. This
is quite different than the effect of film scanners cuz
scanners are more analogous to contact printing.

So, if you're not making silver halide chemical prints
by enlargement, you can get the same IQ from 2x3"
roll film as you'd get from 4x5" sheet film. Acoarst a
roll film camera and lenses is far more user friendly
than a view camera. Also film processing hardware
for roll film is more user friendly. And expenses are
also much lower for both camera gear and for film.

Sooooo ... when not making optical projection prints
there's no IQ advantage to a view camera, but what
about the camera movements ? Yes those ! Since you
love doing your research, read up on the Scheimflug
principles. Not trying to snow job you. The principles
are actually far less daunting than the name itself
Hint: Be sure you catch the deal about 3 intersecting
planes ... the 3 planes are film plane, lens board, and
subject plane. When the 3 planes are explained there
should be a simple yet thoroughly revealing diagram.

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

Bottom line is that you need to determine your need
for camera movements, or at least your intrigue with
messing around with them. Then choose whether you
work with 2x3" or 4x5".

There are some rare 2x3" view cameras, but it's hard
to judge view camera movement effects because of
the smaller image size at the focusing screen plane/
film plane. Score a trick for 4x5" format on that one.
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Old 08-30-2016   #7
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Default Re: Large format information

Golem is right in that many of the older texts may not take the new LF user back to basics. One new book that should be the bible of LF photographers is Way Beyond Monochrome by Ralph W. Lambrecht and Chris Woodhouse. It is not a casual read, nor inexpensive. However, it has much information not available elsewhere in one book. Unlike most how-to-do books, the photographs are inspiring and very well produced. For an overview with a few chapters available as PDF downloads go to About the new Edition and click on TOC for the table of contents with the available downloads.
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Old 08-30-2016   #8
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Golem, very interesting. While looking around online, I gave seen some people mentioning a 120 film back for a 4x5 camera. Have you any experience with anything like that?
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Old 08-30-2016   #9
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Default Re: Large format information

Jim, that book looks very informative. I think I might be buying it.
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Old 08-30-2016   #10
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Default Re: Large format information

Graflex made roll film backs for 4x5 cameras with a Graflok back. Many of us have salvaged Graflok backs from press cameras and adapted them to our cameras for this purpose. There have been other roll film backs besides the Graflex models.


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