large format for portrait shooting.


lkkang

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Jan 6, 2007
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It is a always very troublesome to shoot a 4x5 portrait.

- Focusing is the biggest issue here...
- loading of film is slow, and subject cannot keep still...:cry:


I am trying out something , and like to seek some knowledge / comments.
Mount a focusing device on the 4x5 field camera ( those focusing device used commonly for RangeFinders ).

STEP 1 : place your subject on the stage and do some rough composition.

STEP 2 : look through your ground glass and get the exact focusing point you want, then look thru the rangfinder focusing screen and get the exact same spot to be focused.

now, the camera is all SET !

You can now remove the camera from the tripod and shoot like a DSLR, just re-load , focus thru the rangefinder focusing screen and fire..
reload and fire again for a different posture.


is this workable at all ?

thanks in advance
Billy
 

mamypoko

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Dec 18, 2007
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Billy,

That's what I did on my Speed Graphic.

1. Focus on rangefinder first on the distance you want the focus to be, adjust rail accordingly.
2. Adjust lens position so that it matches the rangefinder according to the groundglass.
3. Lock both and shoot.

A pic I did using this method - Grandparents - After | Flickr - Photo Sharing!

Only thing is that the distance is fixed, so you have to adjust your body to match the RF.
 

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Shadowleong

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Mar 7, 2011
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You mean getting one of those stand-alone rangefinders meant for old scale focus cameras right?
They are only able to give you a distance reading, you have to transfer that to your camera when you focus,

UNLESS you can find a way to couple them, the Speed and crown graphics does this by having a spring metal part that is always in contact with the focusing rail,
So as you focus on the rail, the spring pulls the metal part and moves the rangefinder image,
If you never couple the 2 (Focusing rail and rf). Your RF image will be spot on even when your focusing is off!
If you intend to shoot like DSLR that you really need them to be coupled if not you'll only be shooting via scale focusing

A pity I thrown away the RF unit on my speed if not I can show you how it works, maybe next outing I can demo, easier to explain
 

losheng

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Oct 29, 2006
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That's very much how the press cameras work. Even till the last Crown Graphics, it has separate windows for composition and focusing. The viewfinder window takes care of parallex errors, and the rangefinder window takes care of focusing. So you look through the rangefinder to focus, and then then viewfinder to compose.

The other difficult part about shooting 4x5 portraits is the shallow depth of field. It's pretty tricky to get the eyes in focus, given how shallow the depth of field is, and how slow it is work with the 4x5. :)

ls

is this workable at all ?

Billy
 

lkkang

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Jan 6, 2007
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Thanks for the clarification.. appreciated.

I have never played with a Crown Graphic... sorry.
I always thought that the focusing on the graphics is coupled to the focusing mechanism of the camera, that is.. when you do the focusing on the camera, the focusing screen focusing point will change accordingly.

Billy
 

lkkang

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Jan 6, 2007
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thanks bro, so this thing will sure work :)

Billy,

That's what I did on my Speed Graphic.

1. Focus on rangefinder first on the distance you want the focus to be, adjust rail accordingly.
2. Adjust lens position so that it matches the rangefinder according to the groundglass.
3. Lock both and shoot.

A pic I did using this method - Grandparents - After | Flickr - Photo Sharing!

Only thing is that the distance is fixed, so you have to adjust your body to match the RF.
 

Shadowleong

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Mar 7, 2011
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Ohhh after rereading I understand! Paiseh 师父! means you prefocus, lock both then walk until its infocus on the rf right?
 

lkkang

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Jan 6, 2007
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yes yes.... this is precisely the point.

First, we ensure that the ground glass is focused at point A, then we adjust the range finder focusing device to focus onto the exact spot ( point A ).
Now, both the camera and the rangefinder focusing device is focused at the exact same spot. Tighten all screws.

We are now free to load and re-shoot the models frame after frame.

- imagine we can just load the film and remove the dark side, then move and position the models and immediately fire off.
- re-load and re-position the models again and fire off immediately again.

This is precisely what I want to achieve :thumbsup:.

Ohhh after rereading I understand! Paiseh 师父! means you prefocus, lock both then walk until its infocus on the rf right?
 

Shadowleong

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Mar 7, 2011
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Uhh this then is doable! If kiasu then stop down abit more lor, Get HP5+ for the extra speed then can shoot f16 and higher handheld
 

losheng

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Oct 29, 2006
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Aha .. I see. So it's a decoupled rangefinder essentially. That definitely simplifies the camera design, at the expense of some amount of flexibility.

Ok, here's a really crappy low cost idea basing on the same concept - as long as the model is not too far away, you can attach an extensible pole to the camera, along the direction of the lens axis. First calibrate the ground glass focusing to the length of the pole. And then you can move around the model, and as soon as the pole touches the model, you know the camera is in focus, and you can drop the pole to fire the shutter.

Audio in-focus confirmation comes free: "Ouch! You are poking me!"

... ok ok .. that's a pretty crappy idea ...

- imagine we can just load the film and remove the dark side, then move and position the models and immediately fire off.
- re-load and re-position the models again and fire off immediately again.
 

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lualua

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Visit site
Nikkornos said:
Make a

T L R
The Gowlandflex TLR is designed for this purpose folks! Peter Gowland, the man himself has shot tons of playboy centre folds with his self made cameras which he later marketed.
 

zguy

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Jan 10, 2003
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Aha .. I see. So it's a decoupled rangefinder essentially. That definitely simplifies the camera design, at the expense of some amount of flexibility.

Ok, here's a really crappy low cost idea basing on the same concept - as long as the model is not too far away, you can attach an extensible pole to the camera, along the direction of the lens axis. First calibrate the ground glass focusing to the length of the pole. And then you can move around the model, and as soon as the pole touches the model, you know the camera is in focus, and you can drop the pole to fire the shutter.

Audio in-focus confirmation comes free: "Ouch! You are poking me!"

... ok ok .. that's a pretty crappy idea ...
ha actually this is a practical idea from what i read else where. but instead of a pole. you use a string tied to yr camera/tripod. Do a one time calibration by having the model pull the string tight to her eyes and you adjust focus and lock all screws. any new positions just have the model pull the string to her eye again. let go the string when ready to shoot.
 

Shadowleong

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ha actually this is a practical idea from what i read else where. but instead of a pole. you use a string tied to yr camera/tripod. Do a one time calibration by having the model pull the string tight to her eyes and you adjust focus and lock all screws. any new positions just have the model pull the string to her eye again. let go the string when ready to shoot.
Usually people use a retractable tape measure haha!