Comments and opinions please, 6x7 or 6x9 : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

As you may have guessed this is another beginers type question. I'm not looking for a one format vs another type of response here, just some constructive input. As some of you are aware, I just purchased an Arca-Swiss 6x9 F-Line Metric camera. I am still piecing together my first complete view camera outfit. I choose the 6x9 format because I happen to be very comfortable with roll film, and honestly sheet film and thier associated holders still intimidate me "dust,dust,dust I hate dust". It will be several months before I complete all the purchases required to take my first photo with this camera outfit, so I have ample time to ask questions. I have never been a big fan of the 1:1.5 aspect ratio of 35mm film, in the past I've prefered the standard 1:1.25 aspect ratio i.e. 8x10, 16x20, etc. or a square format over the 1:1.5 35mm format. But now I'm not so sure which film back to purchase first with this new camera, the 6x7 or the 6x9. Lets face it, in the big scheme of things roll film is cheap compaired to sheet film. Should I get a 6x9 film back so that I have the largest film area available just in case I need it, and then plan on cropping most of my shots down to 6x7??? Are their fans out there of the 6x9 format coment please??? Some how I feel that I'll be cheated if I don't get a 6x9 back, but on the other hand I think the 6x7 is the most practicle choice. Feedback Please, I think that I'm over thinking the whole matter. Thanks a lot. Bob Pellegrino

-- Robert Pellegrino (, July 18, 2000


I think it's nice to have the size if you need it--I don't and I miss it.

-- Ed Buffaloe (, July 18, 2000.

I, too, have just become involved with 6x9 equipment, and have the same ambivilance about 6x7 or 6x9 roll film backs. I was surprised to discover that many 6x9 backs actually are closer to 6x8 (Graflex RH8=56mmx82mm), and decided this is the preferable size.

-- Bill Mitchell (, July 18, 2000.

Frustrating if you have a 6x9 roll back, and a 6x6 enlarger though. I'm not bitter though. I'd rather have the 6x9 enlarger, but if I bought a new roll back, I'd now go 6x6 and get the extra shots of film. What's your enlarger? Dean

-- Dean Lastoria (, July 18, 2000.

Robert, the best solution is to try them both (if you have a dealer that will help you out!!) and see what works best for the stuff you shoot. I personally just went through this dilemma, as I shoot architecture and annual report work on a arca swiss 4x5 F-line, and originally I started out shooting with 612 and 6x7 backs (as well as 4x5 on occasion) and I felt that 6x7 (for the sort of work I was doing) was just a little square for some architecture and structure shots, so I traded in on a 6x9 horseman back and am very impressed. But, as I said, it really depends on what you shoot and how you shoot it!! I actually found that 6x7 or 4x5 are my preferences for portraiture and product work, just because the shape is easier to compose for me for those types of things.....good luck on your quest!! ,

-- mark munro (, July 19, 2000.

Buy the 6x7 for portrait; A portrait crop off a 6x9 can sometimes be impractical since many have the tendency to fill the frame. I'd shoot 6x9 for landscapes since a top, bottom, combination crop will give you a panoramic image. My perference is wider (6x9, 6x12) or square. The 6x7 for landscape just looks like it got chopped off and there's more picture that should have been there. Think... autumn forest shots, and crop where needed.

-- Wayne Crider (, July 19, 2000.

Though you say you don't like the 1:1.5 ratio of 35mm, take a look at your 35mm photographs. Do you tend to print full frame or crop?

If you frequently or usually print full frame, perhaps you don't dislike it as much as you think.

As for me, I like the ratio, because that is how I see. I wear glasses, and with the 2 eyes, I naturally get an elongated rectangular view. I find 4x5 a little too close to square. (But I also like the power of a truly square image.)

No question for me, however. I would choose 6x9 because I can always crop. As you say, film is cheap.

By the way, when I started with 4x5 I didn't have any ideas about how difficult it might be. So I just did it. The first time I loaded film the film jumped out of my hand and right into the holder. Well, it wasn't quite like that, but I didn't have any trouble at all loading the film. And dust has never been a particular problem. Some of these problems are vasly overstated. The point is, if you have a chance to work with 4x5, take it. It's pretty easy, and 4x5 sheet film is so much nicer to work with than roll film. Now 8x10 gets interesting!

Good luck.

-- Charlie Strack (, July 19, 2000.

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