Sunday, 5 September 2010

Large Format

Its not that long ago that I said " Perhaps if I buy a black cloth I will buy a 5x4 camera" . I didn't buy a black cloth but I do now have a 5x4 camera. A Wista 45DX flatbed field in cherry wood. The only lens I have at the moment is a Rodenstock 150mm (standard lens for 5x4) some Provia 100f and a quickload back. I am not sure I will take any photographs for some time because I am still fascinated by the options that it will give me in the field. It is therapeutic to sit behind it  and conjure up the various scenarios where it will be used. I already know some locations at the southern end of Derwentwater (Manesty) where I can spend hours with my new baby. Some of the lens movements I am used to. I have a 24mm tilt/shift for the Nikon and love the tilt for landscape and the rise for buildings. The Wista has these of course, in amazing amounts, but coupled with front and rear swing the options are endless. The second reason for trying some LF is to produce bigger high resolution prints. I am lucky to have a 24" roll fed printer and I can maximise the quality of that with enormous file sizes from scanned 5x4. There is much to be learned about using LF. Some relearning about film, such as reciprocity factor and exposure compensation with bellows. Scanning will be done at first with a 2450 Epson, but that will go soon and a V750 acquired. There seems to be the need to use adjustable film holders, ensuring that the film is correctly in focus. Scanning software in my experience ranges from chalk to cheese in its ability. The bundled Epson works, but specialist software is better and needs time to set up.

How does this effect my OCA work ?. Initially I thought, not much, but if I do Edward Weston as my essay and my later assignment, it would be nice to shoot it all on LF. It may help to get into the role and think more "Weston" rather than switching on a D3.

I will come back to this again.


  1. Hi Nigel - I'm studying Landscape 2 with OCA at the same time as yourself. I noticed your blog from the forum list. I'm a fan of the 24mm PC-E on a Nikon also - very interested to hear how you get on with a "real" til shift!!
    All the best

  2. Hi Nigel

    Sounds like you're getting sorted with your camera too. I will hopefully have a lens (also a 150mm) soon so I can make a start - finally.

    I'm an absolute beginner to this so I think you have a head start. I'm expecting a steep and possibly slow learning curve. Unlike you I'm not used to any movements at all!!

    I've also been browsing these sites frequently too which you're probably already aware of:

    But I think I really have to get my teeth stuck in and try it now.

    There don't seem to be that many large-formatters around here as far as I know.

    I know where you mean at Derwentwater, a very photogenic and popular spot. When you're up this way, give us a shout and we can maybe meet up for a cuppa.

    Good luck with it all



  3. Hi

    I have so may problems being able to write a reply comment on here. Blogspot just doesn't seem to work for me that well.



    I sent you an email with a reply, so hope you saw that, and yes I love my 24mm PC-E and am looking forward to getting the 5x4 outside soon.


    Thanks for those links. Two of them are new to me and its quite exciting to find new sources of information.

    I have ordered some Delta 100 sheets for my first exposures. I need to test for light leaks and I don't want to spoil the Provia. I will let you see the first results when they arrive. Are you going to process the film or send it away. I will use either Palm or Peak Imaging, maybe Palm as they don't use any equipment with rollers, so less chance of damage.

    I am hoping to visit Cumbria just before Christmas. We stay in Threlkeld as I love the northern lakes and only go south to Ambleside for Gaynor Sports. The area between Manesty and Lower Brandlehow is a favorite, lovely moss covered rocks in an old wood.

    Maybe coffee and cakes in Keswick or Ladore then.