beginner's questions (several) : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

Hi. I read your homepage on LF photography and have been interested in dabbling in it. I shoot exclusively 6x6 now (Rollei), but really like the look of 4x5 shots w/ velvia. I've been considering gettting a used field camera and one lens, like a 150 or 210 or larger. Okay. There are a number of basic things I still don't quite understand about LF photography. I presume that only a single sheet of film is used w/ one holder. Suppose I can manage to load a sheet of 4x5 into the holder (I've yet to attempt this). I guess one first needs to determine the movements, then extension, and then bellows compensation for the exposure (after it's focused). How does one compensate for tilts/rise,etc. I understand that the compensation for extension is based on the difference between teh extended and infinity focus bellows locations, but how does one account for the radial light fall-off from tilts without resorting to complicated equations? Now suppose I have the shot composed and use a standard loupe on the ground glass back to focus. (does one really need a cloth for this? I have a schneider 6x6 loupe that has a pretty big skirt). Now I guess one then removes the ground glass back,inserts the holder, pulls out the drawslide and takes the exposure. Afterwards, one inserts the drawslide, pulls out the holder, and goes on to the next exposure. How does one get teh film developed. Do you just drop the holders off at the pro-lab and they remove the film , or does one need to remove each individual sheet tat home and then drop off all the exposed film in a light-proof envelope?

Finally, I'm interested in a 4x5 view camera. So far , the horseman FA45 or HD 45 look good, and I can get a used one from $700 to $1500 for the FA45 (the $1500 one, while the HD45 is around $700-800). The Lindhof mastertechnika looks really nice, but the cheapest used one I can find is $2500, and I dont really want to spend too much since I'm not sure how much I'll like LF photography, and plus I have alrady invested $$$ in my Rollei 6008 system, which is my primary camera.

Do you have any experience w/ the Horseman or Lindhof field cameras? Any other brands that you'd recommend?

-- James Chow (, September 12, 1997


The light loss due to extension and movements is for the most part neglectible. The only case where you really need to compensate is for extension while doing close-ups.

Some people use a built-in hood to compose. However to focus with a lupe I think a dark cloth is practically necessary in most cases, unless you get a reflex viewer. Those are somewhat cumbersome.

You don't remove the ground glass, but instead insert the holder in front of it (the ground glass is mounted on springs).

Most labs could work with the holders, but some would charge you an extra fee if you give them the film in holders as opposed to giving it to them in a box (you use the box in which the film originally came). All this film manipulation, although it is a nuisance, is really no big deal, and you could avoid it altogether by using quickloads (for 4x5 velvia).

Honestly, apart from the hinge which allows for more front rise, there are almost no significant difference between a Master Technica and a Technica IV. Unless the light weight of the Horseman is essential for you, I would recommend the Tech IV (I have one, although I don't use it these days), which is a very good buy. The HD lacks some important movements. Both the Horseman cameras cannot use long lenses.

-- Quang-Tuan Luong (, September 12, 1997.

Check out Steve Simmons book on Using a View Camera. Also look at the Kodak book on large format photography. It has a good sequence of all the steps needed to take an image. Its shortcoming is that it still doesn't admit that there are other products in the world not made by Kodak. One very good approach is to take a community college class, a workshop or rent a 4x5 package for a weekend & see how you do. You might really take to it. Good luck

-- Dan Smith (, October 05, 1997.

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