Why i love LF photography...

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roteague

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Great thread!!! By nature, I tend to be very comtemplative. The thing I like most about LF is choosing a composition, taking deliberate steps to setup the camera, meter and expose the image. I don't want to be rushed, I want to feel the moment and enjoy it while it lasts. Also, I prefer having one strong image over a dozen or so lesser images - quality trumps quantity every day for me.
 

mark

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It's a penis thing. Rack that sucker out and watch their eyes pop . Like big feet or hands. Yer packin more than a big camera.....Okay I'll be serious. I hope no one takes that seriously.

I love the large image and the enlargments I can make without any grain, and the methodical nature of the process. I also like the control that doesn not exist with non LF cameras.
 

colrehogan

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If it is, then I'm in trouble. :wink:

My first look through the 8x10 ground glass was one of joy. Okay, it was a normal sunset, but it was the closest thing I've had to a religious experience in a long time. And it was one of those times that I wished I'd had color film. :D

I enjoy taking the time to slow down and consider what I'm doing.
 

SchwinnParamount

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mark said:
It's a penis thing. Rack that sucker out and watch their eyes pop . Like big feet or hands. Yer packin more than a big camera.....Okay I'll be serious. I hope no one takes that seriously.

:surprised: He said 'penis'! :D
 

photomc

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Good Thread...
When I was in my 20's and 30's I loved 35mm, those big fast lens...then in my 40's MF with it's bigger negative started to crep in, along with the older folding cameras, the entire time I was always drawn to the old press cameras..they had a romance..now I own a 4x5 Crown, a 100y/o 5x7 that I just love and the latest is a 5x7 B&J with a 4x5 back and lots of movements..have not really done much with it yet. I know at some point an 8x10 is coming my way, the enlarger will probably get less and less use as contact printing is just so nice..Ziatypes now, plt/pld coming...the slowing down and step by step of making sure everthing is just right..and those negatives, not to mention looking through the GG..LF format for me is romance, it IS PHOTOGRAPHY not unlike that done 100 plus years ago, by people that saw the world we can only see through their work...maybe someday someone can see what the world was like today through the work I have...maybe they won't care, but what a thrill to see the work done and realize what they went through to make the images...it feels good to hold the past in your hands and to let the mind wander ... what images were made with the old camera, just before you coax one more image from it...kinda like using the tools you grandfather, great-grandfather may have left you to build something with..maybe I'm just getting old..
 

Flotsam

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mark said:
It's a penis thing. Rack that sucker out and watch their eyes pop . Like big feet or hands. Yer packin more than a big camera.....
Oh Oh...
:D FOR SALE: One Minox camera. Priced for quick sale! Investing in 8x10 outfit. :D
 

John Bartley

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mark said:
It's a penis thing. Rack that sucker out and watch their eyes pop

:rolleyes:

Now now, it's not how far you can rack it out, it's how much movement you have :smile:

I think the thing that I like the most about LF is the detail. Having seen 4x5 in a contact vs enlarger print, I'm seriously thinking about going to 8x10 so that I can use the enlarger less. I know my skills are poor still, but I really like the detail in a contact print - even mine :smile: !

cheers
 

David

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It's interesting to note the usual correlation between LF and 'old'. When using my 'old' cameras (2 are about 80, another over 50, the baby is around 40) I never think in terms of nostalgia or 'old time photography (or religion). Rather I think in the moment thoughts about what is present. In other words LF gives me an opportunity to see the world and represent it in a very contempory way. The camera is just a tool (forgive the penis allusion) that lends itself to so many modes of expression. I love LF because it is the best tool and gives the most pleasing print that I can find or produce. The contemplative nature of using it is a bonus that probably shows up in the images.
 

BradS

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Why I love large format....

Hmmm, not sure I really do. It takes a lot of time, is expensive and I make A LOT of dumb mistakes. On the other hand, I've learned more photography in the eight or so months that I've been shooting 4x5 than I did in the preceding 20 years shooting 35mm.

A few weeks ago, I had just received a beautiful "new" Wollensak 127mm Raptar in Rapax shutter for a ridiculously reasonable price and was desperate to test it. I fashioned a lens board out of cardboard and black electrical tape and attached the lens to my 50 year old Crown. It was pouring rain. I was stuck inside on a Saturday with a new lens and a box full of fresh, color film.

There's an eight inch tall, colorful, ceramic rooster in our dining room window and I chose it as a test subject. I spent the better part of an hour setting up the shot, calculating the exposure, getting the reflectors set up just right so that the shiney, little bird would be lighted entirely with natural light from the window and finally, exposed a single sheet of Kodak E100G (great film!). I dropped the film at the lab Monday, on my way to work and picked it up the next morning. Looking at the shot on the light table with an un-aided eye, I saw....what's that? Cob webs? Under the rooster's beak? I looked with a loupe...sure enough, cob webs! Oh, yeah, the color is beautiful and the lens has that subtle, Wollensak "glow".

The story illustrates just about everything I like about shooting large format. It is intensely challenging. Old, inexpensive lenses that are widely regarded as not so good are pretty good. Flexible lens interchangeability. You don't have to shoot a whole roll to see the one you want. The enormous satisfaction that comes from getting one right once in a while -- especially after screwing up so many. Finally, the incredible detail that can be captured (sometimes by mistake) amazes even the jaded. These are, I think, the main reasons I stay with it. Well, that, and I've got $100 worth of film laying around the house so, I might as well keep shooting!
 

wildbill

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The ability to make a photograph from my eye level usually isn't possible without my view camera. I'm 6'3" and LF allows me to take the photograph from the same viewpoint as first saw it in without compromise for the perspective. I also feel that having the option of shooting Efke 25, FP4+, JandC 400, Maco infrared, and Velvia etc. all from one camera depending on the light and subject matter is an excellent feature not available in other formats. I currently carry all of the above films on most trips along with a 6x12 roll film holder. Unlimited possibilities.
 

Ole

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mark said:
It's a penis thing. Rack that sucker out and watch their eyes pop . Like big feet or hands.

So why do I use wide-angle lenses more and more?

It's the time aspect to me - at least it was initially. When I went from TF(35mm) to MF, my trash-rate dropped dramatically. Even with less than half the number of frames on a film, I got more good pictures because I took the time to think.

LF is a logical continuation: It takes so long to set up, choose a lens, frame the scene, measure light and determine exposure and so on, that I now have less than 10% "duds". Thanks to the ground glass, the pictures need less enlarging to look good too. 5x7" contact prints instead of 12x18" enlargements from 35mm film!
 

John Kasaian

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Large format photography, like sailing and a very few other things, hasn't changed all that much over the last 100 or so years. I find that reassuring, but also there is a very real sense of place---being out in nature. A sailor might bring back a few really good tales or even a saga if he's fortunate. OTOH, a large format photographer might have a few really good prints or even a masterpiece. For both its a combination of skill, equipment, knowlege, desire, and the right conditions. Of course, its a lot of fun too!
 

Donald Qualls

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I shot some portraits of my Grandmother a few months ago on 9x12 cm, using a 1927 plate camera. Developed the negatives on the spot, in daylight tubes, and made cyanotype contact prints the next day -- prints about the size one used to get as the standard lab prints from roll film.

Later, I scanned the negatives at 2400 ppi, obtaining 88 megapixel files (in which you could count the stitches in her sweater seams), cropped out about a 6x7 area from the best two, dust spotted by hand, burned the resulting 30 and 60 megabyte uncompressed TIFF files to CD, and took them to Costco to be printed at 8x12 and 11x14, respectively -- cost me about $5 for both prints.

With 35 mm, I couldn't print that large without obtrusive grain or pixels showing (I get about 15 megapixels from 35 mm). Even with medium format, I'd have had to get the camera obnoxiously close to fill the frame with her face, rather than being able to crop a medium-format sized image from the full frame. In neither case could I make a contact print large enough to view comfortably.

And the same camera and lens I used for those portraits can be used to record a landscape image that will stand up to enlargement to mural size.

If I could afford 8x10, I'd probably still keep my 9x12 cm equipment, though -- I can carry two cameras, a dozen plate holders, a couple boxes of film, changing bag and storage system for exposed films, all in a bag that weighs under 20 lbs fully loaded (not counting tripod, of course), and the cameras are steady enough on a common tripod made for 35 mm equipment.
 

colrehogan

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I just enjoy getting out there and using the big camera. It's great when you show someone what you're looking at and they say, "Wow, neat!"
 

dr bob

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I began in large format as I was working for the local pro, I trained on 8x10 and 4x5 view and Graphic cameras. When 35mm reached its zenith in the ‘50s, I was able to purchase a Kodak Signet-35 (metal – and I still have it) and thought I’d died and gone to heaven – color yet and easy! After college and first time military, I bought a Zeiss Ikon SLR. After some shutter problems, never resolved, I went to a Yashica-35. I really never liked this and soon went to Nikon FE2, which I still use occasionally. Still I was not happy especially after reviewing some of my early work. Finally I went MF with the Koni Omega and C330f. Then one day while checking some stuff on E-unowhat, I decided to check out my old favorite Speed Graphic. Found one - and then I was back to the future.
 

JohnArs

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LF slows me down and get me out of my head! It is like meditation and of course its the hardest and best learning for to see. Otherwise it gets very fast expensive if your work is just crap. Its totally opposite to my digital part.
 

arkoshkobash

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I don't have the patience for large format very often, but sometimes I like the bigger prints, and then it's worth it. Developing the big sheets with the green light is fun, but it makes me a little nervous, because the film is so expensive. Also, my big prints usually just sit in a box in my room, but I can carry a stack of little square prints in my pocket, and show my friends. I usually end up giving most of them away, but I have the negatives, so I can make more, if I want. I love my little twin lens, and carry it with my everywhere, but I think that someday I'll slow down and do more large format stuff.
 

Ole

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arkoshkobash said:
... Also, my big prints usually just sit in a box in my room, but I can carry a stack of little square prints in my pocket, and show my friends...

Make contact prints! 4x5" contacts fit nicely in a pocket :smile:
 

kjsphoto

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The tonality, the control I have over each image I take. The freedom to really expolre an d take my time rahter than just rattling off images.

That is why I love LF...
 

roteague

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Willie Jan said:
I answer, "yes this is a 800 Mb pixel camera".

More like a 1.5 GB pixel camera.
 
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