How to get the boss to buy me a large format camera?

Discussion in 'Large Format' started by andrew_osterlund, Nov 20, 2004.

  1. Two perspectives:
    1. I work in an architecture firm. We'd like to do more of our own
    photography, and we have some good experience. The boss wants a PC
    lens for a 35mm camera, but is open to considering a large format
    camera instead.
    2. I am an experienced amateur architecture photographer and would
    love to move to large format, but can't afford it.

    If the boss buys the camera, I won't get enough experience with it.
    I could afford to buy one if my boss paid me to use it. Does anyone
    have ideas about how to negotiate this? Thanks.

    The price range we're looking at is around $1200 - I'm considering a
    TOYO field camera.
  2. Purchase the camera yourself and have your boss pay for the additional cost of film and processing.
  3. Andrew:

    As much as I love my Toyo Field Camera, I really would urge you to consider other options for architectural photography. The Toyo 45A series has very limited rise, and not very usable front swing and shift, and no rear shift or rise. These specs are fine for landscape use, but would be very limiting for most architecture. For the budget, you could get a fine used monorail camera, or for just a bit more you could get a new Arca-Swiss Discovery. Both options would be better.
  4. Write a proposal: tell your boss to hold off on the company purchase for a while. You go buy an old Crown Graphic and get the experience. Then present some shots your boss would like. If it works out, your boss can buy the Toyo AND pay you to use it.
  5. Forget the Toyo field camera. It is the wrong tool for the job. A much more appropriate
    choice in this price range is the Arca-Swiss Discovery.

    As to how to negotiate a raise --after you figure this one out would you let the rest of us
    in on the secret?
  6. I'd think for the cost of a PC lens you could get a good used monorail and lens off of Ebay. I see many good looking cameras selling for under $250.

  7. Hi

    Tell your boss thad he should buy the best possible tool for the job and thad you get much more out of a larger neg or slide more fine details etc. and you know most pros use a Sinar for this job.
    So get a Sinar on ebay and two lenses for maybe 1600.- or with only one for the 1200 should be possible!
  8. Andrew,

    Rent or borrow a LF camera from someone in your town and play with it. Show your Boss a couple of knock your-socks-off 'chromes and the rest as they say, will be history.
  9. Andrew, Tell your boss when Architectural Digest comes knocking on the door.............well, tell him they won't unless it's LF.
  10. How? Simple: incriminating photographs.
  11. The Toyo field is a good camera, but like others have said, the wrong tool for the job. You'll need a monorail rail camera with a wide-angle bellows, a 90mm lens and at least one more lens, possibly a 150. Good inexpensive (on ebay) bets are Horseman LE, Kardan Color 45, or Arca-Swiss Discovery, the latter being the most expensive and the best for the job, although Arca accessories, including the WA bellows, are expensive. Horseman stuff is easier to find and at good prices too.

    As for the boss talk, tell him that this is how a true professional architectural photographer would approach the job, so in reality he'll be getting pro results at a great savings because he won't be paying the pro's $800-2000 day rate. And toss in that surely the firm's work is worthy of documenting to a professional standard. 35mm just doesn't cut it.

    The advice of renting or borrowing a 4x5 (any 4x5) and showing the results to the boss is good. People are usually blown away by a 4x5 chrome, especially if you can get him to compare a 35 slide and a 4x5 through a 4x loupe.
  12. Andrew,

    DON"T forget to tell him that it'll be deductible as a business expense... most
    business people understand this aspect of buying capital equipment. However, cash
    flow... now that's a different animal!

    John K's suggestion, as always, is also a very sound one. Rent or borrow a 4x5 to do
    some "test (sale) shots" for the boss... when he sees the image quality he'll be sold!

    I concur with those folks who recommend against the Toyo field camera... wrong tool
    for the job! In addition to the Arca Swiss Discovery, you might consider a Sinar F2...
    it's a light-weight camera and lots of folks use them for field work. There "was" a
    mint condition one on "that auction site" a short while back for a little over US$1,000
    but I see it's gone now. However, there is one listed with a low bid of US$305 at the
    present time (but it only has 17 hours left before it ends.) Do a search on the site...

    Good luck


    BTW... I have no connections whatsoever with the lister of that Sinar F2.
  13. In larger companies; one must fill out a capital allocation request; and justify the item to be capitalized. The monkey is then on the employees back; to figure out the return on investment of the little toy to be purchased; what it will replace; what its operating costs are. There is more than just the camera; there is the lab fees; film; mailing fees; proofing costs. Some firms here just use a high end 35mm Canon full frame dslr or film camera; with shift lenses; for the bulk of their work. They use a local photographer for larger 4x5 negs; tricky taller buildings; more exotic tilts and shifts.
  14. Renting for an important job or two is a good idea.. have someone along that knows how to use it tho on your first outings.. your boss will know all about renting equipment if hes a buisneman. if the results at the sales end warrent the expence hell do it. if not he wont.. thats buisiness.. you want the knowledge and the fun, he wants the profits.. its about profits not fun.. hell pop for a rental even if its not cheap, but the results have to show thier worth. so you need to pick the right job to rent the camera for, maybe at the right time to do several jobs in the same rental time.. youd be better off to rent equipment to find out what you really nead anyway. good luck dave.(boss for 26 years).
  15. For an amateur like me, any monorail will do, and some cheap 135mm sort of lenses. For what you want, that absolutely will not do. To be sure you can get the shots you want, you'll need something with a bag bellows, decent movements, and an assortment of decent lenses with good coverage. Don't forget a serious tripod to put it on. IMO, your budget isn't enough, and you have to consider how you'll get processing and printing done. There are all sorts of hidden costs to doing it yourself. If you don't need that level of equipment, i.e., the locations aren't that difficult, I'd suggest a good DSLR with some correction during post processing will get results suitable for most purposes. For your own purposes, you can get into LF quite cheaply with a used Graphic, Calument, Toyo, or whatever, and it might be best not to mix it with work until you have a system ironed out and are producing good results. I don't want to sound negative, but too many cases of trying to match ones desires with real business needs end up creating problems.
  16. d_g


    don't forget that you need a lot of stuff with your camera : lens, folders, good heavy
    tripod, lightmeter, darkcloth, bag or case, focusing loupe...
    Anyway, i will buy a second hand Arca swiss (discovery, basic, or fline) myself !
  17. Thanks so much everyone - great answers. I've done more looking now, and understand that a Sinar monorail or similar is the way to go over the field cameras. I've seen several great used examples in our price range too.

    Thanks for the confirmation on the proposal idea too. The boss may go for it, especially since times are a little tight.

    Renting one is a good idea too. He does need to see the difference. There's a shop in town, but most of what they have are speedgraphic types. I'll check in there again though.

    Thanks again.
  18. Say what they will, bosses are not always rational. If you can show him images that represent what the camera purchase will mean to the firm, you may gain some price flexibility by stimulating a non-financial region of the cortex. It worked for me years ago, when I wanted to print a 4-color issue of the in-house magazine I produced. I shot the image I wanted to use on the cover, matted to show the exact crop, and handed it to my boss along with the question, "I'd like to print this in color, what do you think?" He loved it, showed it to his boss who loved it, came back and said, "Yeah, go for it." He never even asked how much it would add to the publication budget. This won't work every time or on every boss, but it's good to remember to play to your strength as a creative person. Don't just tell, show!

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