LF Gear For Rent in Palm Beach, Florida

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Good Day All-

Like many before me, I have been shooting 120 film for a while now, and while I am constantly amazed by the richness and clarity of the images, I would like to try my hand at 4x5. I have read all I can find in the site as well as on Q. Tuan's site and the one thing that's become evident is that it's a whole different animal. However, while most site the extra time required a reason for thinking of large format as a chore, I find it one of the biggest rewards of photography - it's the connection I seek, the image is just all too inadequate means of remembrance.

But I digress. Instead of another "Should I buy camera X or Y posting", I simply would like to know if anyone is aware of a shop in south east Florida (closer to Palm Beach a plus) that stocks and/or rents LF gear. I am specifically interested in 4x5 View Cameras, and while I can surmise the favorites of those on these forums, there is no substitute for my own experience - after all, it is going to be me living with the thing.

As always, thanks in advance for all posts. Scott

-- Scott Rosenberg (scott@srosenberg.com), January 20, 2001


Hello Scott, I live in Palm Beach Gardens and unfortunately know of no large format resources in the area. If you would like to get together some day perhaps we could shoot a bit with what I have and you could get a feel for you are getting into. If this is of interest to you please feel free to contact me directly.



-- Douglas A. Benson (dab@evcom.net), January 20, 2001.

Scott, the above poster is a great offer. It is hard to find someone to introduce you to LF unless you are well connected in the photo industry. I did rent equipment before I got into LF, and found it very frustrating way to approach the field. For starters, the 8x10 kit I rented with film holders and all the necessities was $250 per day! Considering it takes a while to get used to this equipment to see if you really like it, it is not unusual to sink a lot of dough into rental fees. It seems it is much easier to just by some used equipment, low cost and try it for awhile...if you like it, then you can always upgrade. 4x5 feild cameras are one of the best bargains in photography...check out ebay or other used equipment sites. It does take awhile to evaluate if LF is for you...i.e. the hassle of lugging this heavy stuff, using slow lenses, long set ups, spot meters, film holders, etc. all in exchange for a larger chrome. Of course much of this answer is dependent on what your final print size is to be. If you are prininting 16x20 or smaller, a good MF camera can take you just as far...with the loss of movements of course. But if you like to take your time and make master pieces vs. rapid firing an auto camera...than do like I did, go from 35mm straight to 8x10! I have never regretted the move, but I do also shoot a lot of 4x5. And 4x5 is by far a much more practial format to use...and a lot more cost effective.

-- Bill Glickman (bglick@pclv.com), January 20, 2001.

Aperture in Miami Beach is a large rental house.

-- Bob Salomon (bobsalomon@mindspring.com), January 20, 2001.

After you've had your first taste, I would recommend getting a used outfit from Del's Camera (http://www.dels-cam.com). They have a good selection in large format and a 40 day refund policy on all used equipment. If you don't like it you return it and pay only shipping. That will give you a chance to really play with large format without the long term financial commitment. I have returned various items to Del over the last year and there is never a problem. I purchased most of my 35mm and MF gear there too. They are very knowledgable and always happy to spend time with you on the phone and answer all of your questions. Ask for Del personally and tell him that Peter Shier referred you.

For the record: I do not work at Del's, I live 3000 miles away from the store, and I am not a personal friend of or related to anyone who works there. Check out the reviews from other people on photo.net's vendor review page.


P.S. I must warn you that when you see your first prints or transparencies you will never turn back! The first thing I shot was a 4x5 Polaroid and even that blew me away! When I saw my first portraits using TMAX 100 and Astia in natural light I knew I had contracted a terminal case of large format-:)

-- Peter Shier (pshier@mindspring.com), January 21, 2001.

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