Is LF anything for me ?

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Soeren

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I am thinking about upgrading to LF but I am uncertain about the opstacles I might meet.
Doing nature shots and "partial" landscapes I often wish I had a
Tilt-shift lens and a larger negative.
I find the slow mode apealing and think I would like the better quality of LF negs but there are some "snakes in paradise"
My Darkroom is of the temporary kind so a big monster of an enlarger is out of the question. Maybe contactprinting is the ansver but that demands for a bigger neg than 4X5 in.
Then I could settle with something like 6X9 but can I find something with the movements of LF with that filmsize ? Will a 6X9 enlarger be much bigger than one for 24X36 - 6X6 ? The treads I have read indicates an increase in bulk and weight compared to my Nikon equipment but not by much I think.
Di any of you move up and then down again if yes why. Those of you who shoots LF could you share some thoughts on the opstacles, pro/cons and the ideal format for different subjects.
I do mostly nature, Close ups ( I know, not practical with LF), Not real landscapes but small parts of them and a bit "studio" work with stills etc.
Regards Søren
Happy holidays
 

Ole

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Søren, I don't think anyone can answer that but yourself.

My main reason for moving to LF was to make it easier to produce small prints, since it's easier to get the perspective right when you can see the image full size on the ground glass.

4x5" is now the "standard" size, and there are a lot of cameras to choose from. Perhaps you can find an old folding 9x12cm plate camera? They are/were very common in Germany, and even spread to Norway. Since you are right in the middle, it shouldn't be too hard to find one? Many of them have at least some movements, such as rise and shift. Tilts and swings are rarer, but even a simple camera is enough to find out if you like the big negatives.

5x7" is a wonderful size. Small enough to be portable, yet large enough to make wonderful contact prints. And if you ever get room for it, 5x7" enlargers tend to be even cheaper than 4x5" ones - probably due to size:wink:

Moving down again, there's 6x9 (and 6.5x9 plate) folders - from Bessa I to "baby" Bergheil (both Voigtländer ca. 1935). Again, find an old one to try out the size. Nice "pocket cameras", but movements are limited or absent.

Up to 8x10" - I suggest you start with something smaller, then decide if you really want a big one.

What's that about close-ups "not practical"? Here's one - contact print from polaroid negative:
 

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Soeren

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Ole said:
What's that about close-ups "not practical"? Here's one - contact print from polaroid negative:

Not close enough :smile:
Thank you Ole. You are right, as every other equipment question the only one who can make the decision is one self. What i'm after is the isues that could make a difference but are not obvious. As you wrote a 5X7 enlarger is much bigger than a 4X5 dito. But how big are they ? I have never seen one not even a 4X5 and as my darkroom is set up in our bathroom I don't want a monster. The setting up and shooting the LF shouldn't be a big problem at least not one that will put me off. Are there some isues you veren't aware of before you started shooting, developing or printing LF negs ?

Regards Søren
 

doughowk

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You might consider a medium format camera that includes some of the movements of LF. I have a Century Graphic that has some front-standard movements (rise,tilt,shift); and includes a roll-film back for 120mm. I believe Barry Thornton used a Rollei that included some movements. The advantages of medium format include that many commonly used enlargers handle 120mm film.
 

Ole

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Soeren said:
As you wrote a 5X7 enlarger is much bigger than a 4X5 dito. But how big are they ?.

My durst 138S is 210cm tall, and weighs slightly more than I do. Not very movable!

On the other hand I have an old Rajah 4x5" lying in parts (needs new wiring) which is not much bigger than most MF enlargers - if I ever get my darkroom tidied up (I need to remove (!) some shelves), I intend to move it in there for 6x9 negatives.

I think I was aware of all the issues, but found everything a lot easier than I expected. One of the attractions was the very slowness in setting up, composing, adjusting, then moving to another place to start all over again.
 
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Soeren
Ebony make a 6x9 camera with plenty of movements, I understand smaller GG makes focussing in corners harder. 4x5 offers possiblility of different Roll film holders and control/adjustment of perspective can be great for micro-landscapes. Problem is depth of field when subject has no predominant plane for camera movements, use f45 and hope!
I would suggest that you would want to be able to sell the camera should you not enjoy using the Large format, the market for 4x5 is bigger than 6x9 on 120.
Agree that 5x7 is great for contact prints, whereas 4x5 is too small.
Baxter
 
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Soeren

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Ole said:
My durst 138S is 210cm tall, and weighs slightly more than I do. Not very movable!

On the other hand I have an old Rajah 4x5" lying in parts (needs new wiring) which is not much bigger than most MF enlargers - if I ever get my darkroom tidied up (I need to remove (!) some shelves), I intend to move it in there for 6x9 negatives.

I think I was aware of all the issues, but found everything a lot easier than I expected. One of the attractions was the very slowness in setting up, composing, adjusting, then moving to another place to start all over again.

So with 4X5 it's possible to get an enlarger that's pretty movable, Do you think that Rajah will do the job with 4X5 neg, if I can get my hands on one ?
What is the model number if I should Google for it.
The slowness and looking at an upside down reversed image is just what i'm
attracted by :tongue: . I am shooting some MF and like it but LF got something.....

Thanks Baxter. I didn't think of the reselling thing.

Regards Søren
 

Nick Zentena

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The obvious answer is a 4x5 with a rollfilm back. You'll be shooting 120 film. The big problem will be using wide lenses. But if you can live without really wide 6x9 lenses then it gives you almost everything.

When you want a bigger negative you can stick a 4x5 film holder in and use the same camera and lenses.

Enlargers greatly vary. My Durst 1000 isn't too big. It's kind of bulky to move often but it isn't a big monster. Some enlargers are even smaller.

On the issue of weight versus your Nikon. Depends on which Nikon and which LF camera. A F5 weighs more then a lot of light weight 4x5 cameras-)
 

David A. Goldfarb

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I have a bath/darkroom situation, and I use an Omega D-II 4x5" enlarger on a rolling typewriter table.

As far as how practical "close-ups" are with LF, it depends on the shooting situation. With 4x5" or larger, you're usually in what would be considered the "macro" range on a smaller format even with ordinary portraits. Very high magnifications require a lot of light or very long exposures and a very stable camera support, and ideally a camera with a long bellows.

You might consider starting with 8x10", since it produces a decent sized contact print and takes very little space (if you don't enlarge), and nothing beats a big contact print.
 

matt miller

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There are some 4x5 enlargers that are not much bigger than those designed for smaller formats. There are also some SF/MF enlargers that are bigger than some 4x5 enlargers. I wouldn't let the small darkroom size keep you from shooting & enlarging 4x5. There are lots of us who do or have done that. Print size will be your main limitation with a small darkroom. You can get into 4x5 just as cheap as you can get into medium format or 35mm for that matter. There are plenty of good deals out there.
 

esearing

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If only shooting B&W you can pick up a Federal enlarger fairly cheap. They have a single post, small light source/bellows, and are light enough to be moved around. If you are clever you can make a folding base board like a (drop leaf table).

There is also a 6x9 monorail for sale on ebay at the moment.
 

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You could of course buy (there was a url link here which no longer exists) and build your own enlarger :smile:

Hint, hint...
 
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Soeren

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Ole said:
You could of course buy (there was a url link here which no longer exists) and build your own enlarger :smile:

Hint, hint...

And where can I get it :wink:
Ok how much :smile:
Regards Søren
 

Neal

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Dear Soeren,

I used an Omega D2 in a temporary darkroom for years. I kept it in the garage and carried it in. Once I got the hang of it I could set up to print in a bathroom in less than 10 minutes and break it down and clean up in less than 15.

Neal Wydra
 

Ole

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Soeren said:
And where can I get it :wink:
Ok how much :smile:
Regards Søren
You can have it, but you should only use it if you intend to take up building "antique" camera equipment as a hobby.

There are two enlargers mentioned, one fix-focus, the other with three focal lengths. Getting the materials, building the thing and adjusting it until it works would probably take you long enough to turn you completely off LF. Besides, I think it will be cheaper to buy a "proper" enlarger!
 

mark

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Yes you should and no you shouldn't. It is a slippery and often treacherous slope. I wanted movements so I got a Galvin 6X9 view camera. Then I saw a 4x5 Transparency, and said Wow. so I got one of those. The format drove me nuts. Too Square so instead of going back to the galvin which suited me shape wise I moved to a 5x7. Now that I have started contact printing I really want a larger negative to do it with. I have designed a 5x12 and hope to start building it this holiday break. I really hate the shape of an 8x10 negative, so I know 8x10 is not in my future.

As long as you are contact printing there is no need for an enlarger. I do not believe that 4x5 is too small to contact. I think intimate is the right word but you have to shoose you subjects wisely.

See if you can rent or borrow a LF camera and play with it. That is the only way to really tell if you want to move up. Trust your intuition when you play with the camera, not the size of the ground glass. The size of the GG often blinds a person with lust the first time they use it.

LF is not the answer to everything. Many will tell you that it is the only way to go and you should just go really large. This is not true. MF and 35mm have their places and for a lot of things they are just plain better.
 

Bob F.

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When using roll film backs on 4x5" cameras, there are a few things to consider. You need wider lenses than are usual on a 4x5 so wide-angle (bag) bellows become necessary - even for a "normal" 90mm lens. In addition, you may need to mount the wide lenses in recessed lens panels in order to get the lens close enough to the film (depends on the particular camera used); this makes setting the aperture and speed rather awkward. Depending on the type of back, you will have to remove the focussing screen holder assembly after focussing and replace it with the rollfilm holder (it is designed to allow this of course, but make sure everything is locked down well or you will jog the camera). There are however holders that slide in like a normal sheet film holder which are a lot easier to use. Lots of people use rollfilm backs on a 4x5, you just need to be aware of the compromises/difficulties. I use a Bronica for MF 'cos its just so much easier! As always, YMMV...

All told, you are better off using a camera designed for MF if you do not have space for a 4x5" enlarger. Of the enlargers widely available in europe, the LPL model is perhaps the lightest and I can see that David Goldfarb's idea of using a moveable table would work fine with one of those as long as it is strong enough and has large enough wheels to help it roll.

There are a few view cameras designed specifically for 6x7cm and 6x9cm which work better for this format (see http://www.robertwhite.co.uk/large.htm for a few) but as always, they are expensive to buy new so you might prefer to do as suggested previously: rent one or two (say a 4x5" and an 8x10") for a week and/or possibly buy a MF version of the Press cameras that are quite common on the auction site and elsewhere.

Personally, if you can fit a 4x5" enlarger when I would go down that route. Alternately, have a look at some 8x10 contact prints and you may decide that 8x10 is for you - the room & equipment needed to make prints is much less.

There really are a hundred different options - all you can do is get as much info as you can so you can make a reasoned decision. If you have not found it already, http://www.largeformatphotography.info/ is a mine of information on all things LF.


Good hunting.... Bob.
 

ksmattfish

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I use an Omega DII enlarger for my 4x5, and it's not significantly larger than my Besseler 23C enlarger.
 

rogueish

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Ole said:
You can have it, but you should only use it if you intend to take up building "antique" camera equipment as a hobby.

There are two enlargers mentioned, one fix-focus, the other with three focal lengths. Getting the materials, building the thing and adjusting it until it works would probably take you long enough to turn you completely off LF. Besides, I think it will be cheaper to buy a "proper" enlarger!

Dang!
I guess I should have read the whole post before jumping up and PM-ing Ole for this. Guess I was just tooo slooow...
 
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Soeren

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steve simmons said:
http://www.viewcamera.com/pdf/VC_Getting Started.pdf


This is a direct link to an article that might be helpful to you.

It is called Getting Started in Large Format. There are several other articles on the site that might be helpful as well.

For me 5x7 is big enough to contact print so an enlarger is not necessary.

steve simmons

Yes I already read that article but thanks anyway. I have decided to look for a LF outfit and see if I can find a reasonable enlarger for 4X5. alternatively if I find a cheap 5X7 I'll try it out and contactprint the negatives.
Thanks to all for your kind help especially Ole who PMed me some hints.
Regards Søren
 
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