LF setup for a newbie


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sweat100

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Jul 7, 2002
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After reading info on LF camera and seeing negatives and slides taken by them, I wish to try out one myself and learn about camera movements and so on. They are totally awesome. Where would be a good place to get a 2nd hand LF? Should i get a monorail system or a field camera? What should i look out for? How much would a 2nd hand basic LF with 210mm lens cost? Need more advice from experts. :)
 

singscott

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Aug 25, 2004
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Really depending what you want to shoot to decide whatever you should go monorail or field cam. In general mono rail give more movement and field camera are easier to bring around the field to shoot. I have two 4x5 mono rail cameras for sale, if you are interested give me a call. My number is: 9006 4997
 

boochap

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Feb 12, 2002
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for your reference.. i started with a tachihara for 530us$ and separately a nikkor 90mmf8 and 210mmf5.6 for 600+ and 350+ us$.. all in very excellent condition from the ebay.
more affordable than a DSLR system, right? what's more, LF system doesn't depreciate so terribly like digital, value for money. ;p
 

kahheng

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Jan 20, 2002
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I bought a fairly worn Iston 4x5 woodfield from a CSer for $170. Replaced the broken groundglass with a spare one I had. An old Kodak 203/7.7 Ektar bought for US$110 complements the camera with it's petite size. So about $340 for camera and lens.

Would I recommend you to go the same way? Not if you can help it. I'd suggest you buy a modern day camera like a Shen Hao (new or used) with a modern lens in a modern shutter (Copal/Compur - like boochap's Nikkors) for minimal fuss and good initial experiences without having to fiddle with repairs and fudges because one thing or other is not right with the camera or lens.

There are definitely good lens bargains to be had on Ebay but be aware that many old large format lenses will not have accurate/serviceable shutters unless they've been serviced. There are lots of cheap and nice old glass: Tessars (esp. good and cheap; Kodak's versions in the form of the Commercial Ektars are very very good; Xenars are usually safe to buy), Dagors/Dagor types (Doppel Anastigmats), simple three element Anastigmats, even Rapid Rectilinears, which make very nice pictures, but I have bought few at a good bargain that have not needed some fixes or other.

I once bought an uncoated 180mm Voigtlander Heliar in Compound shutter for US$115. Whilst the glass was pretty decent, the shutter was DOA. It took me 5 long man-hours to fix the pneumatic shutter, work out the jam, give it a good cleaning, and reassemble everything. Was it worth it? Well yes. Some old lenses have a look that make modern multicoated optics look boring when you shoot in B&W. But I wouldn't recommend this to an absolute beginner. There's too much to work on unless you don't mind this sort of thing.

If you're buying old LF lenses on Ebay, do it with your eyes open. Also some scratches and marks won't kill especially with so much film real estate in 4x5. What you should be afraid of is uncleanable haze and lens separations.
 

ratboy

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if you want to avoid the hassle of shutter problems
you can also use barrel lens, aka lens " in barrel "
as opposed to the normal lens " in shutters "

These barrel lens are lens without shutters.
and since no shutters = cheaper .. way cheaper

As most LF exposures are rather long in timing
sometime into seconds/mins
you can just use anything, maybe a lens cap as a shutter.

btw, anyone got a copal 0 for sale ? : )
 

student

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Jul 26, 2004
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ratboy said:
As most LF exposures are rather long in timing
sometime into seconds/mins
you can just use anything, maybe a lens cap as a shutter.
This is rather interesting to me.

I have taken landscapes and people photography.

For landscape photography, with tilt and using say f16 or f22, my exposure time are rarely more than 1 second.

And like wise for people photography, my exposure are rarely longer than 1/30 seconds.

The only time when my exposues are more than a second are

1 When I want the effects of slow speed
2 At night
 

kahheng

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Jan 20, 2002
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student said:
This is rather interesting to me.

I have taken landscapes and people photography.

For landscape photography, with tilt and using say f16 or f22, my exposure time are rarely more than 1 second.

And like wise for people photography, my exposure are rarely longer than 1/30 seconds.

The only time when my exposues are more than a second are

1 When I want the effects of slow speed
2 At night
There's always the Packard shutter that you can use with barrel lenses. It's a simple pneumatic behind-the-lens board mechanism. Quite cheap.

Old fashioned they may be, but they're still being manufactured. Some are sync'd. I had one that came with an old studio camera.

Lots of 1800s plate camera lenses can be used this way.
 

d_studiolab

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Jan 11, 2006
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sweat100 said:
After reading info on LF camera and seeing negatives and slides taken by them, I wish to try out one myself and learn about camera movements and so on. They are totally awesome. Where would be a good place to get a 2nd hand LF? Should i get a monorail system or a field camera? What should i look out for? How much would a 2nd hand basic LF with 210mm lens cost? Need more advice from experts. :)
Hi,

I got no experience with LF camera but like you I am alway interested. I ever got a quote from Shen Hao:

The HZX45-IIA cost 485 USD without lens.
The shipment may be 82 USD by FedEx.

And its brand new. Hope this can help you.

Do let me know if you really start with LF. I may want to join you.
 

LucidaM

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Apr 30, 2005
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ratboy said:
As most LF exposures are rather long in timing
sometime into seconds/mins
you can just use anything, maybe a lens cap as a shutter.
He is talking about using f64 I guess. Shooting pepper. Didn't Edward Weston uses barrer lens to shoot nudes under broad daylight?
 

student

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Jul 26, 2004
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LucidaM said:
He is talking about using f64 I guess. Shooting pepper. Didn't Edward Weston uses barrer lens to shoot nudes under broad daylight?
Edward Weston used very long exposures. That is true.

But do you know why? Do you know what kind of equipment he used? Do you know his working methods? Do you know how his negatives look like - although in his hands, the negatives were obviously capable of great photographs?

Do you know that because the expsoures were so long that camera shakes were inevitable when the heavy trucks moved by his house? And that many negatives were ruined?
 

ratboy

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student said:
Edward Weston used very long exposures. That is true.

But do you know why? Do you know what kind of equipment he used? Do you know his working methods? Do you know how his negatives look like - although in his hands, the negatives were obviously capable of great photographs?

Do you know that because the expsoures were so long that camera shakes were inevitable when the heavy trucks moved by his house? And that many negatives were ruined?

I don't know about Edward
but personally, my exposures are long because
i shoot either at night or very early in the morning.....
seldom go out in the afternoon unless its air-con : )
 

student

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Jul 26, 2004
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ratboy said:
I don't know about Edward
but personally, my exposures are long because
i shoot either at night or very early in the morning.....
seldom go out in the afternoon unless its air-con : )

See post #2.
 

kahheng

Senior Member
Jan 20, 2002
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ratboy said:
I don't know about Edward
but personally, my exposures are long because
i shoot either at night or very early in the morning.....
seldom go out in the afternoon unless its air-con : )
:thumbsup:
 

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