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Thread: 4x10 for people

  1. #1
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    4x10 for people

    greetings,
    Hoping to get some real-world advice here.
    I shoot people using a P45 on a Mamiya RZ, and have used a Deardorff in the past.
    Am about to spring for a 4x10 camera for a upcoming project.
    This involves using the panoramic sweep to place people/models strategically, against a natural setting, and most importantly, placing them at varying depths, that is, some closer to foreground than others.
    This would involve overpowering the ambient light with strobes focused on each person - likely as separate exposures on the same sheet.

    Any thoughts on view camera vs. say a 6x17 rollfilm camera?
    I like the slowing-down work process + the ground glass preview + superlarge prints. I'm also assuming, from my Dorff days, that syncing with E;inchrom strobes won't be an issue. I currently have several 4x5 lenses with modern shutters - but not sure if they'll cover 4x10. I do have that monster Kodak Ektar w/c should cover, and I've synced that up before..

    Just wondering if anyone has any thoughts o the workflow before I pull the trigger...
    thanks in advance,
    carlo

  2. #2
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    Re: 4x10 for people

    Color or B&W?

    Do you plan to develop your own or have a lab do it?

    How do you plan to print?

    What focal lengths do you have in mind?

    How much depth do you need?

    Do you need 2.5:1 or more, or would 2:1 suffice for the effect you have in mind?

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    Re: 4x10 for people

    aaargghh. this is when my non-techie side gets woozy!
    thanks Oren,
    1. color bw depends. prbably bw more, as my impression is ready-cut BW film is more easily obtained.
    2. hoping for prints in the 4ft by 10ft size.
    the work is more fine-art tableaux than commercial fashion.
    3. have never been good with movements on view cameras - am hoping that setting a frame, then using a combination of small shifts/swings will get me optimum DOF, then multiple-exposing strobes with strict small grids on them to light individuals.

    I think that would be the overriding factor in favor of a 4x0 - the ability to manipulate DOF...

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    Re: 4x10 for people

    forgot to add:
    1. no I would have labs process, then have scans made.
    2. not sure w/c focal length actually. any ecommends?
    3. the longer horizontally, the better for me.
    as I'm out in the field, 4x10 seems the most manageable n terms of size, weight, hassle factor...

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    Re: 4x10 for people

    On a 4x10 format, the widest lens that will cover with no vignetting is the 115mm Rodenstock Grandagon. For movement, a 286mm image circle minimum is a good rule of thumb. A 180mm Rodenstock Apo-sironar-s and longer focal lengths in that series will be fine.
    In other brands 210mm and longer in a 5.6 aperture should be fine. 150mm, 155mm and 165mm designed for 8x10 would also work. The Schneider 110mm really darkens in the corners, so not so useable.
    I shot a KB Canham 4x10 for several years and my wife as well. Canham was the first to come out with this format. Stephen Harrison did a project in Tibet with a K B Canham 7x17 in which he photographed people and made platinum prints. An excellent video and book resulted from this project. A good thing to look at for ideas.
    Hope this helps.
    Rod
    Last edited by RodK; 2nd June 2012 at 08:41. Reason: grammer
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    Re: 4x10 for people

    Quote Originally Posted by ocarlo View Post
    1. color bw depends. prbably bw more, as my impression is ready-cut BW film is more easily obtained.
    As it happens, the annual no-minimum-required special order period for Ilford odd-size film is open right now; it closes in about three weeks, then film will be cut over the summer for delivery in Sept/Oct.

    There is no factory-cut 4x10 color film available. Most users cut their own, although there is at least one company I've heard of that will take larger film that you supply (likely 8x10 in this case) and re-cut for a fee.

    Quote Originally Posted by ocarlo View Post
    3. have never been good with movements on view cameras - am hoping that setting a frame, then using a combination of small shifts/swings will get me optimum DOF, then multiple-exposing strobes with strict small grids on them to light individuals.
    If your models are not situated in a single plane - say, they're scattered at different distances randomly around the frame - then movements won't help you. You will need to gain your DOF entirely from stopping down.

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    Re: 4x10 for people

    thank you RodK, Oren.

    ok, if movements for DOF won't be a deciding factor, I'll fall back on plain old size of film for enlargements then.
    seems worth the hassles of dealing with cut film and processing.
    also thought that, since I'll be on remote locations mostly, I can shoot "proofs" with my Phase One p45, and save the film for ;later developing..

    although the convenience of a Fotoman 6x12 keeps nagging at me.

    following the same logic (stopping down as only DoF option), should I then go for the widest possible lens for the additional DoF?

    thanks gents..getting close to pulling the trigger.

  8. #8
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    Re: 4x10 for people

    ocarlo,
    ...and have used a Deardorff in the past.
    This involves using the panoramic sweep...(?)
    I am easily confused, so...please bear with me.
    There is a big difference between making multiple exposures, ie...inserting or removing
    subjects within frame, and pulling the shutter multiple times, on the same piece of film.
    ...likely as separate exposures on the same sheet.
    Or, then there is panoramic stitching...in the digital darkroom, which is very dependent on finding the nodal point of the lens used, and having a very stable head for your tripod. A panoramic head would be nice, but is not mandatory.
    ...hoping for prints in the 4ft by 10ft size.
    With prints enlarged to this size...I can certainly understand your wanting to use LF/ULF sheet film for your project.
    To test the waters, at least initially, I would try to convince you to rent or borrow a conventional 8 X 10,
    marking the ground glass with grease pencil for 4 X 10,
    or even use the full 8 X 10 in vertical orientation, and stitch 3, 4, or more panoramic frames together.
    A 4 X 5 camera would also work just as well...maybe better,
    especially for better scanning at a lower cost per scan, and more manageable file size.

    Determining the nodal point on your desired lens and panoramic stitching, can all be learned on your existing RZ equipment...with film or digital back.

    Marc
    Last edited by Penn Lo Photo; 3rd June 2012 at 07:12. Reason: Redundant talking points.

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    Re: 4x10 for people

    Marc,
    sorry if I wasn't very clear.
    1.I don't want to do any stitching because:
    - perfection in landscape isn't my goal. The frame and the setting is just a stage for what I hope to achieve - symbolic tableaux where people can be in the same frame but in different worlds, so to speak.

    2. I have enough strobe heads and power to overpower the ambient, and light 3-4 people individually, AND at the same time. I may have to expose the same sheet several times, however, if the logistics dictate that I cannot light separate individuals w/o stands, cables getting in the way.

    i suppose a rollfilm camera would be easier - but then there's the film size, and that probably takes the cake..

    I do own a 8x10 Dorff, and use the 4x5 reducing back more often. I am aware of the splitter. But if I'm doing heavy duty work on this project, and often in war zones in the Third World, I might as well go with a dedicated 4x10 camera.
    thanks

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    Re: 4x10 for people

    Regarding the widest lens that covers 4x10: The 90mm SA XL (by manufacturers specs) is a mere 6mm short but you can squeeze a bit more out of it. You just may not have any room for rise/fall/shift or front tilt/swing.

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    Re: 4x10 for people

    Based on preliminary experience trying it on whole plate, I'd guess that the 90 SA XL may barely eke out 4x10 at infinity. But falloff will be very substantial; you'd almost certainly want the center filter.

    But to ocarlo: since you have the 8x10 Deardorff, why not do a test setup and see for yourself whether what you have in mind is practical? If you don't have a suitable lens for the 4x10 crop, rent one or, if necessary, buy one with the idea of reselling it if it doesn't work out. The resale market for expensive LF equipment in non-standard formats is very soft right now; all the more reason to run tests and figure out whether it will work before taking the plunge with an entire dedicated kit.

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    Re: 4x10 for people

    thanks Oren,
    One factor me is that, aside from the occasional break, I live and work entirely in UN areas of operations in Africa - hence, any notion of rental or testing is impractical, especially when the need to actually shoot is right here and now.

    I have one shot at buying either a 4x10 or a 6x17 Fotoman, and one shot at getting it here.

    The only other option is to shoot 4x5 on my Deardorff, and crop in. I assume that would still give me a higher scanned file size than my present Phase One P45. It may come to that - and postpone the buying decision for later.
    thanks again

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    Re: 4x10 for people

    A 90mm lens would with a group of people, will have serious issues near the ends of the frame due to curvature of the lens. The'PLANE' is actually a curved shape. So the old guys with even bigger cameras, say 8x20 or 7x17 or larger, would actually line the people up with the rows in a curved shape rather than flat when using a wider lens.
    Rod
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    Re: 4x10 for people

    Quote Originally Posted by RodK View Post
    A 90mm lens would with a group of people, will have serious issues near the ends of the frame due to curvature of the lens. The'PLANE' is actually a curved shape. So the old guys with even bigger cameras, say 8x20 or 7x17 or larger, would actually line the people up with the rows in a curved shape rather than flat when using a wider lens.
    Rod
    I think you are thinking of Curkut cameras that rotated. In that case the group is arranged in the circle with the camera in the center.

    A 90mm lens on a camera with a flat film plane will have a flat object plane. There is no curvature. Magnification across the image plane increases away from the optic axis both creating a flat object plane and perceived object sizes.

    Wide-angle effect is simply a projection problem. View the print from close enough and the effect will disappear. There is no fix for the effect except with viewing distance.

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    Re: 4x10 for people

    thanks gents,
    the process has definitely been made easier thanks to this board.
    I think I will keep the Dorff, and am now looking at ShenHao or Chamonix for a dedicated 4x10.
    also, I'm gonna take my time, as opposed to rushing to grab something online.
    a lot of what I need will just have to be discovered in the process of shooting, esp. as it comes to what exact lens will be the one, though I'm leaning towards a non-wide angle. If I want to place people at different depths, I'll just re-light, and re-expose each one on a single sheet of film, or sandwich a whole bunch.
    hence the fun of it all - the unknowns..
    cheers all

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