MF vs LF for landscape : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

I am close to adding a Toyo AII to my equipment. I currently should primarily landscape with Hasselblad equipment. I would love to add 4X5 for certain shots i.e. landscape with foreground subject. MY goal is to gain detail. Any advice as to what I can expect. Another concern has been speed of setup (not to miss the light etc.) and wind hitting the bellows creating movement on a long exposure?

Any advice would be appreciated.


-- Larry Gaskill (, November 28, 2000


Hi Larry,

If you scroll down this "Q&A" page a ways, there's a wonderful section called "Older Messages." Answers to your questions are there in myriad forms and in different categories, but you may want to begin with the section called "Beginner Questions" (obviously you're not a beginner to photography, but these are good intros to LF).

You can pick and choose, but I found the following 42 threads from among 100+ under "Beginner questions" most directly applicable to your question. Thus you may want to begin with these 42 and proceed from there:

* Any way to speed up LF shots? (Family patience question) * Depth of Field - 4x5 * lenses, shutters, and other large format things * Field or Monorail for beginner? * Degrees of movements * Which One Lens for Landscapes? * View Camera Landscape Book Suggestions * Start up costs * Beginner * Exercises for begginers? * Help with focusing problem * LF is it really better? * Another beginner camera selection question. * Getting started in LF * Tilt/Swing? * Large format - first impressions * Is this a good camera for a beginner * Please tell me how easy it is to shoot with a 4 x 5 * Monorail vs Flatbed for Outdoor Field Work * LF resolution compared to smaller formats? * large format Camera movements * Pros and cons of field cameras.... * What type of LF for Landsacpe * LF camera techniques * Newbie for the 1st LF: I have been fed up, how about you! * New to LF - dumb questions? but I don't know * Where do I start? * medium or large format? * How to use Toyo 4x5 * Large Format or Medium Format * books for LF.. * 4x5 Camera Comparison * Which camera do I buy when jumping into 4x5 * Large Format or Medium Format for use on foot and sailboat * Is LF just for pros? * For anyone who's thinking about moving into 4x5 . . . * Camera and lens to begin? * Field Camera with most movements * Difference between LF and MF ? * Where to start in LF photography? * New to LF Photography

Good luck!


-- Simon (, November 28, 2000.

Hello Larry I've used Hasselblad equipment for yearsand its hard to find fault with it. However, I began using 4x5 about 2 years ago. It's all I want to use now. The detail and tonality are exceptional and I don't think there is any going back. My problem is with travelling. I have more opportunity for travel and the Hasselblad's are miles ahead of large format for portability but the results aren't the same. The problem is not so much with the speed of set up or with wind as with lugging the stuff around. If I can drive I'll take the 4x5. If I fly then I'll likely settle for the Hasselblad - maybe even 35mm.

-- Bill Lester (, November 28, 2000.

I've found that with my equpment - MPP Mk7 + Wray 89mm - I can set up and expose a neg within two minutes. This however comes from practice, and from roughly knowing what to set the movements to. However, what I'd recomend for speed, but not economy would be to use a Quickload or Readyload film and holder in place of the standard darkslide (however due to the envelope sticking out during exposure can lead to camera, or rather 'film shake'. One other thing to gonsider is a graphmatic back - excellent bit of kit.

-- David Kirk (, November 28, 2000.

With practice one can setup and take an "easy" photograph in several minutes. By easy I mean either no camera movements or simple ones like rise or shift for composition. If you want to carefully adjust the plane of focus, e.g., with a front tilt, the setup will take longer. For your goal of landscape and foreground, you will want to use tilts. Realize that for distant objects the amount of tilt required is very small. Practice! Following a set routine, e.g., the one suggested by Howard Bond (see the main LF Photography Home page), will speed up the process.

I think the concerns about wind moving the camera are overdone. The exceptions would be very windy conditions, a very long focal length lens or perhaps long exposures in dim light. Use a sturdy tripod and a sturdy head solidly connected to your camera, not some lightweight wonder for 35 mm, and shield the camera with you body (someone suggested an umbrella, but I haven't though it neccessary). Much more likely than then the wind moving the camera is the wind moving parts of the subject, such as leaves or branches. You need to decide whether some blured leaves are acceptable, if not, try for the widest aperture consistent with the dof you want and try to take the photograph in between gusts of wind. In some cases a few blured leaves in a landscape can be a nice effect, suggesting wind and/or "old time" photographs.

-- Michael Briggs (, November 28, 2000.

Larry, I remain a humble amateur and have been doing landscape work with a 4X5 for about 2 years. I agree with all that has been said and will add a few of my own comments. If you are after more detail, you should be aware that the differences in color enlargements to 8X10 and possibly 11X14 will be slight when compared to MF. Those who do B+W claim an improvement in tonality regardless of enlargement size. You can expect very impressive results with 16X20 or larger enlargements and very impressive 4X5 tranparencies.

For a scene requiring camera movements my set up time might be 15 to 20 minutes. I am satisfied that this additional time is rewarded by the results. The challenges I have had with wind are indeed the fact that the slower shutter speeds require some care with moving leaves and flowers. I would add that your selection of camera, tripod, and lenses should consider how far you intend to travel by foot and how much each piece of equipment will weigh. I've used this care in my selection and my loaded pack is about 30 pounds. This could easily be ten or 15 pounds more with certain systems. I initially had some concerns about the fragility of a wooden field, but have not had any problems and think that the potential weight savings is worth thinking about.

You indeed will have times when you will "miss the light" because of the slowness of the system. When possible, I photograph areas that I've scouted before. I set up well before the time when the light will be missed. On shorter outings I will take a MF rangefinder or my 35mm as well for this reason.

All-in all, I'm found using LF to be very much fun and has given me results that would be impossible with smaller formats.

-- Roger Rouch (, November 28, 2000.

Larry: A bit of a technical comment... the Toyo is a sturdy camera. It benefits from a tripod head with a fairly large top surface to support a large area of the camera bed. I also found that although the camera was steady in wind, the Toyo compendium shade (which Toyo is offering free right now) while lovely, is prone to lots of vibration that gets transferred to the front standard. The reason is that this shade is cantilevered from the top. A shade that attaches directly to the lens (Lee or screw in) is less prone to resonance. Good luck.

-- Glenn Kroeger (, November 28, 2000.

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