here is my first sheet film photo ever : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

Hello folks,

Today I shot my first sheet film (4x5") photo ever. I did already shoot roll film and Polaroids with my large format camera, but today I did *it*. It was also the first film ever I developed on my own.

Camera: Graflex 45 Super Speed Graphic Lens: Graflex (Rodenstock) Optar 4.5/135 Shutter: Graflex 1000 Nr. 2A Film: Classic Pan 400 (don't know which emulsion this actually is, it's a very inexpensive film from Exposure meter: Weston Master V with my hand as a grey card (+1 stop) Exposure time: 1/2 sec. Diaphragm setting: f/16 Filter: none Berlebach 7003 wooden tripod with FLM/Statec 32F ball head and cable release Developer: Agfa Rodinal (1+25; 7.5 mins.) Fixer: Agfa Agefix (1+5) Wetting agent: Agfa Agepon (1+200)

Here's the result, scanned directly from the negative (about 8x enlarged) at 1200dpi and the resized with Agfa 1240UT:

And here's a detail (scanned at 1200dpi and not resized):

You can read the distance scale on the camera's lens (this is a FED-1e Soviet rangefinder camera from 1946), you can read all the book titles and numbers, and you can read which model this rather ancient CD player is. Great ;-) I was really fascinated by the detail large format offers (still a huge improvement over 6x9), and I was very happy that developing was rather easy and much fun. I loaded and unloaded the film in my changing bag, but dust wasn't such an issue. I have yet to develop a better washing technique, because despite the use of a wetting agent, there are some slight streaks of water on the negative.

Yeah, large format is FANTASTIC ;-)


-- David Haardt (, July 03, 2001


Here's the second one:

And a detail of the second one:

I like the bokeh in this picture very much.

-- David Haardt (, July 03, 2001.

Well, actually dust IS an issue. Look carefully at your scan an you will see many hair lines and dust particles. Maybe it is the scanner surface, check it out anyway. Oh, and congratulations. I feel sorry for are now stuck with great quality and tones, it will be hard to go back to smaller formats.....:-)) Cheers, Jorge

-- Jorge Gasteazoro (, July 03, 2001.

Congratulations on your fine efforts-I wish you many years and many locations for enjoying your hobby, craft and accomplishments!


John Bailey

-- John Bailey (, July 03, 2001.

You just now REALLY started photography. Welcome : )

Wish a good light

-- Martin (, July 04, 2001.

I must respectfully challenge Martin's comment. Large format snobbery is an unfortunate attitude. One should only be using a large format camera if that is the right tool for the imagery he wants to make. Often it is not, and the user gets bogged down in equipment concerns and love of detail to the detriment of ideas, meaning, and authenticity of expression. God, I've seen so many technically beautiful but emotionally dead LF pictures. Don't let that happen, David...

-- Sandy Sorlien (, July 04, 2001.

I understand Sandy's comment. However, the snobbery holds true in any format. I switched to large format (along with wanting to do huge prints) to force myself to slow down and truly understand the technical photographic process. Now I find that I have a greater understanding of what I am doing technically and create more "meaningful" images because I have a more intuitive feal for the process. I hope this move allows you to simply become more thoughtful and creative with your photography. I find that it is a lot of fun to use this format. Good luck!

-- Jon Paul (, July 04, 2001.

A year ago, I was watching a documentary on public television about George Eastman and the early days of Kodak and photography, etc. I learned then perhaps a touch of what David discovered and Martin eluded to: large format photography, as the passion we users know it, (which began very early in photography's history with the invention and evolution of huge glass plates negatives, laborious and skill-intensive darkroom processes, etc.) is more closely born of a fundamenatal and passionate pursuit of the medium.

George Eastman's quest of the more convienent rollfilm camera was largely driven by his desire to be financially successful ie, to escape the crushing poverty into which he was born and to be able to financially provide for his mother in her old age.

His invention, the rollfilm Brownie camera became a huge success because it catered to the amateur masses, not because it was successful with professionals or passionate pursuists, or because the rollfilm negatives it used could approach that of the glass plates already in use.

So yes David, your's is a discovery grounded in history, not a view based on snobbery. Andre

-- Andre Noble (, July 05, 2001.

Hi David,

Congrats on this big occasion! I've just acquired my 4x5 Linhof and have just put a couple of rolls through so far, I'm very excited about trying a BIG neg soon...I guess you'll all hear from me too when this happens!

I've been a 35mm user for years with never enough $$$ to go to a bigger format, that is until I got this outfit! I'm really enjoying how I'm slowing down and LF is making me think more which can only be good.

I look forward to seeing more photos from you you just have to get that sucker outside into the landscape!

-- Andrew McPhee (, July 06, 2001.

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