Moving from 35mm to MF - Composition & Focus with WLF

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lilmsmaggie

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Well, the last roll of HP5 shot with my Minolta X-700 was a total waste.

The shutter is not operating properly, :sad: and repairing would probably cost far more than purchasing another one; so now I've decided to focus my attention on acquiring a MF kit. I've received lots of good suggestions and recommendations from people here. :D One question remains:

Learning to compose and focus with a WLF for the MF newbie. I've heard that the image is upside down and reversed, so for a newbie, I suppose this would be quite foreign and a little difficult to get use to. I wonder how many rolls of film I'd have to go through before I got the technique down.
 

Q.G.

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The image is not upside down. Only left-right reversed.
You get used to that very quickly (you realy do). So much so that you don't even notice when switching between waist level finder and other camera with prism finder; you automatically and instantly adjust. And after having used the camera with wait lever finder and think back about the images you've captured, they appear right side round before your mind's eye.

You can, of course, practice using the finder without having to use rolls of film. :wink:
 

asp.artist

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Its just reversed. You don't get into the reversed /upside down fun until large format. And, depending on how clear the WLF is, it won't take that long. I much prefer WLF and ground glass now after about a year of MF and LF. It seems strange to look into those little viewfinders.
Anne
 

Barry06GT

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With a prism finder, it is just like any other SLR.

Heck, my Bronica ETRS with a 80mm lens, is smaller than my D200 with the 18-200 VR lens.
.
 

Sirius Glass

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What they all said: Left-Right reversal with a WLF and like a 35mm SLR with a prism.

Steve
 

MattKing

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The image will be upside down if you have a 6x4.5 format camera, and want to shoot a vertical :smile:.

Don't worry about this though, because for most people with a 6x4.5 camera, a prism finder is their primary finder, and they use a WLF as an accessory finder for special purposes.

Even with a 6x4.5 verticals are quite doable, once you have familiarity with your camera.

But generally, a WLF is better as your main finder if you shoot square.

If you want to know what it's like getting used to the laterally reversed image, just think how easy it is to use your mirrors when you drive or ride a bike.

Matt
 

Vaughn

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I sometimes mess with the students' brains when I check out a TLR (Rolleicord) to them for the first time. I have them focus on me, then I tell them to follow me with the camera. I then quickly move to the right or left, and they'll always move the camera the wrong direction. Sort of my way of saying, "This is something really different -- go out and have some fun! Think square!"

But you will quickly adjust and think nothing of it. At least not until you want to expose two or three images that are side-by-side on the film and you want to print them as a single image. Then you will have to rethink all that stuff!

I just finished a roll, testing a 6x4.5 folder (a recent donation to the university). Shot some out-of-date Tech Pan. It was a challenge getting use to the orientation of the image being across the film rather than along it. A couple more rolls and I'll be use to it. Then I will also know what to tell the students who want to check it out.

Vaughn
 

Krzys

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One thing when using a WLF, unless you are very tall, is that people photos close up will have a very low perspective and it may appear that they are towering up and falling over backwards.
 

bdial

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The neat thing about a WLF is it's flexibility, you can set the camera on the ground and work much more comfortably than crawling on your stomach to compose a low angle shot through a prism. You can brace the camera sideways against a wall or a tree with better control if you left your tripod at home, You can also use it to get a high viewpoint if you are in a crowd.

Once you can hold the camera upside down over your head and compose you've mastered the WLF.
 
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2F/2F

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It is reversed left to right, but not top to bottom. It won't be an issue when shooting, I think...as long as you are not totally lost in your ground glass and ignoring the word around you (certain to make for crummy pix anyhow, IMO), you won't have a problem knowing which way to move the camera. However, you may be in for some surprises when you look at your negs for the first few rolls! "Say...I thought that was on the left side of the picture...."

Most medium format cameras accept prism finders as well as waist-level finders. I prefer to use them, myself, though I do like and enjoy waist level viewing as well. I have a prism for my Mamiya TLRs, and really, really want them for my Mamiya RZ and M645. Finding a good deal on non-metered prisms for these systems in good condition has so far proven difficult for me.
 
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lilmsmaggie

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The image will be upside down if you have a 6x4.5 format camera, and want to shoot a vertical :smile:Matt

Uh ... The MF camera I'm looking at getting is a RZ67 which can shoot 6x4.5 does that mean when I switch from a 6x7 back to 6x4.5 the image is upside down :confused:

Oh, and I've seen footage of Annie Leibovitz shooting at the Chrysler bldg. with a Mamiya attached to a neck strap. Anyone know what kind of strap that might be?

One of those might just come in handy.
 
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polyglot

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The image will never be upside down on an RZ unless you turn the camera upside down.

The reason other 645 cameras do that is because they don't have the rotating back, which means you need to turn the whole camera on its ear like you would a 35mm to get the other orientation. The image is reversed left-right with respect to the camera body, so when you rotate the camera 90 degrees, that becomes a vertical inversion but then of course left/right is not reversed any more.

Don't worry about it. It's really easy unless you want to track moving subjects, which takes a bit of getting used to.

The neck strap: you can use any (make sure it's nice and wide, preferably springy), just make sure it has the right Mamiya lugs on the end to attach to the camera.
 

Laurent

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I got so used to my rolleiflex's WLF that, when using the crappy digi*** P&S I use for unimportant images and using the back screen... I tend to be unable to frame properly at first sight because the iamge LOOKS reversed ;-)

But may be I should ask for a neurologist ?
 

Laurent

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Spiritual adviser.

My wife may play this role :
- you DON'T need any other camera !
- why is film/paper/developer/fixer so expensive ?
- do you STILL need film ? I though you bought some last month (of course I did :rolleyes:smile:
 

Vaughn

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WLF, difficult to hold high, like over a fence or bush. Also difficult to shoot straight down at the ground.

Jon

I would say the opposite, Jon, but then I have done all that with a Rollei TLR and not some heavy beast of a MF camera. Over-the-head shots over crowds, and shots straight down over the edge of buildings (arms stretched out) are WLF's forte.

Vaughn
 

Jon Shiu

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Well, taken in the context of ease and accuracy of composition and focus, it is not easy for me to use the wlf by holding the camera upside down and at arms length! For subjects like landscapes over brush and pointing down at things on the ground it adds complexity.

Jon

ps I suspect people have different perspective because of the subjects we shoot. I shoot primarily landscapes, where a foot or so higher viewpoint makes a big difference in perspective, and where precise leveling and framing are needed. I also shoot a lot of graveyards and stuff washed up on the beach, where pointing straight down is common. I have never been in a situation where I wanted to shoot over a crowd or straight down the face of a building. I sometimes also have glare on the screen from bright overhead sun.
 
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Being able to hold a WLF camera over your head upside down at arms length makes it possible to shoot pictures over fences or tops of crowds that you could not do with a prism finder. It's not a case of being the easiest or most convenient. Sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do to get the picture. If you don't have a step ladder it may be impossible to get that shot over the 7 or 8 foot fence with a prism finder.

Dave
 
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lilmsmaggie

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Being able to hold a WLF camera over your head upside down at arms length makes it possible to shoot pictures over fences or tops of crowds that you could not do with a prism finder. It's not a case of being the easiest or most convenient. Sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do to get the picture. If you don't have a step ladder it may be impossible to get that shot over the 7 or 8 foot fence with a prism finder.

Dave


Ugh! - just watching Annie Leibovitz standing on one of those eagle heads with 6 lbs of MF camera hanging around her neck while shooting a male model was enough to give me a serious case of vertigo.:tongue:
 
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