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Fun with Medium Format FILM Images!

dave.gt

Well-known member
It's slower and much more methodical than 4x5 (mostly because the film is exponentially more expensive). But, it's actually easier to work with since the gg is larger. Once you pull the camera out, you truly *mean* to take a shot. There's no wandering around looking through a viewfinder nor spray-n-praying shots. You leave the camera in the case until you've walked around and visually/definitively decided exactly where the shot it going to happen. Then, you spend the next half-hour setting up and tweaking eveything. It's very relaxing. Yet, it is still a decently "portable" camera, unlike 11x14 or 16x20 (the massive Polaroid).

Now, once in the darkroom, the view of a drying 8x10 neg/chrome is beautiful. The 4x5 is cool, but still "feels" like film as it needs to be enlarged and printed. The 8x10 is like looking through a window at the scene. If you print a neg, the details are ridiculously vivid and the tonality is unbelievable. 151mp digital color is sweet, but can't touch a 8x10 B&W neg! If you've ever seen any of the Durst 8x10 enlargers...well they look like a Delta drill press.

One of these days when I get some free time, I'm going to embark on doing some 8x10 glass plate work!
Ok, the last few weeks have had the earmarks of changes coming: Autumn and those things I should have done or at least seriously considered in the past.

Would it not be better to begin working with 4x5 just to get my feet wet?:)

What would you recommend as a starting point for a beginner in using a large format 8x10?:)
 
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docholliday

Active member
Ok, the last few weeks have had the earmarks of changes coming: Autumn and those things I should have done or at least seriously considered in the past.

Would it not be better to begin working with 4x5 just to get my feet wet?:)

What would you recommend as a starting point for a beginner in using a large format 8x10?:)
This is the perfect time of year to get out with a LF camera. It lets you slow down, enjoy the process and the weather at the same time! I'll first say that LF is *very* subjective as there are infinite possibilities for "kits". Most LF people are fairly rabid with their stuff and rightfully so considering the discipline needed. You find a kit that you are comfortable with and that's your baby.

The thing about 4x5 is that it's easier to get film, lenses, and accessories as well as being much more portable. If you're shooting outdoors, don't drag a rail/tech cam out. Get a wood "field" cam. You don't need all the movements as you would in studio, just some rise/fall and tilt/swing mostly, but being able to fold it down is nice. Yes, there's metal field cams, but they just don't give the same satisfaction as a Wisner or Wista (I have both, one in cherry and the other mahogany). Packed up for a hike, it can actually be lighter than some MF systems!

The best part about both 4x5 and 8x10 is that you don't need all (or get) all the bells-n-whistles that even a MF camera has. None. I've hiked with nothing but 2 lenses, a half dozen backs (that's only 12 shots!), and a t-shirt as a dark-cloth. No meter as I did a lot with my 503 bodies, just my eyes and practice. It all fit into a small pack with lunch and I had a great relaxing day returning with 2 unexposed sheets.

8x10 becomes more of a dedicated endeavour. When you start packing for it, you want to have a plan in place on where to go, how to get there, and mind the weight and time it takes to do so. If you drive, it's much easier, but to get good shots, you still gotta hike away from the beaten path most times. If you're riding, you can actually convert a hard saddlebag into a "carrier" for your LF + backs and sometimes ride into a few nice areas.

The biggest reason I got into 8x10 was that I wanted to do direct contact printing and direct positive (plates). 4x5 just isn't as satisfying contacted. It really needs enlarging to highlight the quality. It's the same with a 151mp sensor - you really don't appreciate the differences until you've printed something 6' or so and admire the details. My "wallet" prints nowadays are all 8x10, even in digital. I don't do anything smaller and my typical print size is 30x40 for personal work. A friend of mine that shoots with me a lot recreationally likes to not even do prints. He prefers to do all of his stuff in adhesive vinyl and wallpaper rooms with it. It's truly unique to shoot some high mp shots of a fall forest landscape, wrap a room, and walk in. You truly feel like you are sitting in the forest! Every so often, he just rips the vinyl off the walls and prints another scene for that room. It does help to have a UV cured, grande format printer, though.

The other thing is that you can find 4x5 field cameras in really nice shape for cheap. 8x10s are usually beat up, old, or the bellows will need a lot of care. My 8x10 forced me to learn how to fold my own bellows as I have a habit of crushing or puncturing them at some unopportune times. Trying to get a great shape Deardorff is near impossible or ridiculously overpriced.

A suggestion is that either format, I'd pick up the best loupe you can find for focusing and carry a small notebook to "chronicle" your learning process. You'll start to see patterns and come up with unique things to make it work for you. For example, I carry a grease pencil as I like to draw on my ground glass. I also use a oversized black t-shirt instead of the traditional focusing cloth (wrap the bottom around the camera and clamp, then put your head in the neck hole and hands into the arm holes). I also carry chunks of Cinefoil to make lens "hoods" and other flags. The whole bottom of my LF camera is covered in random chunks of gaffers tape so that I can peel a piece and create what I need. I'm a studio rat, so I tend to never fall for the gimmicky accessory crap and just make what I need.
 
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docholliday

Active member
Ok, the last few weeks have had the earmarks of changes coming: Autumn and those things I should have done or at least seriously considered in the past.

Would it not be better to begin working with 4x5 just to get my feet wet?:)

What would you recommend as a starting point for a beginner in using a large format 8x10?:)
Oh, and also, the flipside of what I just wrote is if you can find a nice 8x10, you can also get reducing backs for it so that it can shoot 4x5. The camera is still heavy and bulky, but at least you'll save some money on film! You can get creative and make "custom" film holders like 4x10" to get panos if you wanted.

Also, you'll want to prepare to process your film. Color will be a nightmare, but B&W is easy with a daylight hanger tank. I use a Jobo Autolab to run mine and I have an old Ilford roller transport processor from when I printed Cibachrome that I've converted to processing 8x10 film. For large film, manual processing isn't fun, but can be done. To lower the chemistry required, you can make processing tubes out of PVC schedule 80 and caps. Insert film/print, figure out the necessary chemistry volume to put about an inch of liquid all the way across, cap the tube, and roll on the table.
 

dave.gt

Well-known member
So, I am happy shooting MFD, with the Studio's H5D-50c and a Leica S.

My background of course many years ago was 35mm film. I still use it periodically. I prefer 120 film and the two MFD cams I use are perfect for what I have been doing for several years. No studio work anymore though. I am considering the overall perspective of the 4x5 in the future for specific projects. An 8x10 certainly is interesting!

Overall, MFD is a sweet spot for most of what I do. Currently, I am shooting a Mamiya 7II, with a ton of expired film in the freezer. Maybe soon I will have some images to post.

So, yes, I will be trying to match up MFD (and MF film) for what I enjoy it for and then a large format in the future for specific projects I have in mind.

Thanks for the discussion, now to prepare for a sunrise visit to our lake with the S and M7II. Hoping to find something worthwhile as I did last year.

Leica S 006
Vario 30-90mm:
IMG_0629.JPG
 
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dave.gt

Well-known member
Oh, no, time is flying by and I have too many projects that I need to finish!:0

I have the M7II loaded and waiting on more Fall color as we have only a tinge of color at the moment. I also "discovered" the exposed film sitting in my desk drawer that needs processing.

Realistically, I must develop some of my own again, so, it is time to order some fresh chemicals and set aside some time late at night, after the laundry is done.

I love the smell of developer after midnight!:)
 

Hausen

Active member
I hope to contribute again to this thread soon. After being sidetracked with my 907x I am back with a film buzz again and a little Rolleicord Vb series III just landed on my desk. Rolleis have always been my favourite film cams and I see a series of double exposures coming up.
 

anyone

Well-known member
Hm, is this now medium or large format?

Malefic 6x17, Schneider Super Angulon 90mm/8, Center Filter, Adox CHM 125, Scan with Flextight

Now with the final image, after a little bit of dust clone stamping, adjusting curves, cropping:

Bild1_cropped_web.jpg

Learning to compose with the panoramic format.
 
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dave.gt

Well-known member
Medium Format.

Some of us want to match different formats with certain tasks. I don't think MF will replace smaller formats or large format replacing either. perhaps I should have posted elsewhere. :)

Carry on.
 
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darr

Well-known member
Hm, is this now medium or large format?

View attachment 176869

Malefic 6x17, Schneider Super Angulon 90mm/8, Center Filter, Adox CHM 125, Scan with Flextight

PS: This was a quick test for my new camera to get acquainted with the panorama format, so it's unedited "out of camera".

I go by film size. If it was shot on 120/220 film regardless of camera model, it is medium format to me. :)
 

docholliday

Active member
I go by film size. If it was shot on 120/220 film regardless of camera model, it is medium format to me. :)
That's how I look at it too. If it was 120/220/620 (width of 60-61mm) and typically on a roll, it's MF. LF is typically sheets and 2x3" or larger (rolls for those Cirkut cameras).

What's weird is in printers, where "large format" is up to 17" wide, "wide format" 22"-44", and "grande format" for 64" and larger.
 
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