In a digital world what are the "defacto" advantages of Large Format?

Discussion in 'Large Format' started by jdrose, Jan 10, 2009.

  1. I like movements, extreme acuity and the long, gorgeous tonality apparent in large landscape prints.
    I suspect there are other advantages.
     
  2. Sure and if you use a BetterLight Scanning back with your 4x5 you'll have far better quality tahn film can achieve and all of those other technical benefits as well.
     
  3. The process itself, speed (lack thereof), contemplative nature of images, care in composition, did I mention speed (lack thereof). For those of us who do photography for the simple pleasure it gives, using large format is a special treat. Few things make me happier than being somewhere I can use my 4x5. It just feels right. I enjoy my other cameras, including digital. They each have their place. But when I am using my 4x5 I feel like a "real" photographer.
    Eric
     
  4. It's very natural feeling. The fact that the actual picture taking sounds like a very quiet click makes you remember that a camera is only a box.
     
  5. With a scan back one can scan a painting or a map or china plate; or a suite/clothes and then print a large format copy in house. One doesnt have to buy film; mail away the trany to be processed; they have them scan it; or us flatbed scan it. There is not a week delay.Thus in house work a scan back can be used.

    But landscape work from a mountain top regular film is way easier; no cables; no laptop.

    Digital with large format is really very very old; our 35 Mpixel scan back was bought when President Clinton was in office. May Company in LA used digital scan backs on 4x5 over 11 years ago; I bought one of their units on Ebay ; our second unit about 7 or 8 years ago. I believe they went to digital MF.

    Here I tend to shoot 4x5 in B&W today for fun; or to shoot a building with a wideangle. Back in the 1960's in wedding work one fellow I worked for in Indiana used MF 120/220 for candids; and a 4x5 speed graphic for formals.

    In pre the photoshop era; the Kitty West retouching courses had one using an Adams retouching machine; one used 4x5 films or MF films with a retouching base; and you really WANTED a face to be at least as big as a dime on the negative; for ease of retouching.
    In drawing and map work the old process camera was the standard until the late 1980's to early 1990's; then Digital 36" wide large format scanners came out; and toner based printers that were digital. Our first digital/scan/print/enlarge 36" combo was about 58 k dollars; it ran a 386DX and DOS. By about the mid 1990's most process camera photographic large format units were being scrapped due to digital; really before Photo.net was born. Once ther were many makers of large format photographic process camera films and papers; Kodak; Dupont; Fuji; GAF; AGFA; plus OEM clones by K&E; Dietzgen; Post too.

    The *arena* of suppliers dropped to just two as volumes disappeared; ie we had Kodak and Fuji. The 2 player rule meant prices rose; no 3rd player to be a price spoiler! Then all production stopped; and the few users bought up others surplus. When I mention how an entire industry that used large format films is now long gone for a decade; and its films gone; it often does NOT register with folks that this can happen with large format pictoral films too.

    The current trend of E6 labs dying off is just an *echo* of what happened 10 to 18 years ago with process camera labs; one got less volume; more scrapped chemicals; prices rose and folks went digital. This process was about complete when the top cpu was a 486; and the Pentium was just coming out; ie the Win 3.11 days.

    Here I used in 4H club surplus WW2 4x5 Tri-x back in grade school; it that time Kodachrome was around in 4x5. Then there was this big stink/lawsuits when Kodachrome is sheets went away in the 1950's; replaced by Ektachromes

    My grandfather used an 8x0 camera to shoot images for the railroads int eh 1920's and 1930's; a civil engineer working on bridges; ballast; grades etc,
     
  6. Thanks. I did not realize that digital was "adversely" affecting film so long ago. That's a new insight for sure.
     
  7. J Eric brings up the concept of LF having a lack of speed today.

    In the 1970's one still had film pack Kodak films; way quicker than film holders.

    With a speed graphic some were equipped with a focus spot; one can focus on an object in total darkness; the bulb in the RF projects two beams to your subject; one just racks the focus to make the beams align as one beam.

    One also had ortho films in use alot; one can develop under safelight.

    There were also enlargers at newspapers were one could place a still wet negative.

    One also had Super-X that had a super high DlogE curve that did not poop out; one did loose highlight details with over exposure. Thus in press work one erred on the over exposure route if in doubt.

    For strobes one had 510volt DC battery packs; recycle time was seconds; the battery directly charged the high voltage flash capacitor.

    As for LF lenses for press usage; there were faster LF lenses in use 50 years ago than today. Here I have a 210mm F3.5 Xenar on a 4x5 speed graphic lens board. Today a LF chap might have a F5.6 Xenar. In astro work the old 178mm F2.5 Aero Ektar was affitted to many speed graphics 50 years ago; today many folks have rediscovered the 1950's typical surplus 5 buck lens.


    Alot of the fast stuff for LF press usage got obsoleted as newspapers went away from 4x5 many decades ago.

    No asa 1250 films; no film packs for quick shooting; no local 4x5 B&W labs; NOW not even any asa 3200 Polaroid anymore for the 545 adapter; except old stock.

    Today a newspaper shoot and scooter is young; he/she uses modern tools; a quick fire dslr; a 1940's to 1950's chap was young too; he used film pack; bulb flash.

    Todays LF user is NOT a press chap; but an older chap with poorer eyes; mostly shooting static objects; plus many of the quick draw stuff was with press cameras; cameras not used as much anymore.
    LF is slower today than the past; one is using more rail cameras; no film pack; folks are older; shooting static objects; not some sports event; wedding One has a subset of tools; an older crowd using them; plus many trick are lost with time.
     
  8. The lack of speed is one of the advantages. I love the quiet look that LF gives you with portraits. As mentioned above the beautiful B&W tonal scale is one of the main advantages and the movements, which are much simpler than people think. If you read some of the technical literature written about LF it can scare you away. It is harder to follow what some of the writers are saying than it is to figure it out for yourself. I love the look of film especially sheets processed in pyro. If Ellis says digital quality with LF is better than film he is probably right. He definately knows more about digital than I do. But for me it will be film. One of the main reasons I use it is because I know how. It would take me years to get as good with digital as with film, and I would rather spend those years making work rather than learning how to do it all over again.
     
  9. "If Ellis says digital quality with LF is better than film he is probably right. "
    But, it sure is expensive. I've seen some 5x7 and 8x10 cameras go for less than a DSLR. Those Better light backs, I saw on their website, that the cheapest is $6,500. The most expensive is $23,000. Those are all 4x5 backs. and they said that it isn't for subjects that have motion. So, it isn't possible to do landscapes because of the wind factor. One area that is increasing is ULF.
    I still say that digital only saves in film costs. If you take a digital image and print it on paper, then, you still have the costs of the paper, plus the cost of the ink.
     
  10. Re I still say that digital only saves in film costs.
    Re Landscapes
    Here with my 4x5 scan back I have shot landscapes and buildings too; I use to a Pentium laptop; now I use an IBM T30 laptop with a scsi adapter.

    Its "works" if one has no wind; no birds; no cars; no folks in the field of view; if there is one can just use a film holder and shoot film too.

    If one has a client the scan back saves time; say ONE week; unless one wants to tack-on next day air charges BOTH WAYS to get the lab to get transparences developed.

    Thus in pro work with deadlines; clients might not want to wait a week; thus film with LF is tending more to be an amateur product; or pro product where time is not really an issue; ie portraits; many calendar shots; one has a 1/2 year time frame.

    The real reason I got 2 scan backs is because of TIME; the local E6 lab died almost 10 years ago; FED-exing fees and rush processing fees added up;the 10 grand back was a great investment; it paid fro itself quickly .
    The scan back is mostly used indoors; with still objects; maps; artwork.

    Its really just a tool; if you tell your client their project will take another week due to mailing away transparencys to be developed; they might just go elsewhere to a person who uses digital; or develops E6 in house.

    The developing of E6 in house would make no sense financialy for me; we have zero work one day; one week; then one week is saturated; the next is mild; one requires weekends; the next week is nothing. I might be mixing up on batch of E6 just for 1 4x5; then dumping all.

    The next day air by 8am or 10am fees BOTH ways are not trival either; if one screws up a trany; or the lab does' one has to resetup the customers artwork; or get it back; they might have taken it out of town too.

    Thus is one doesnt have a local E6 lab; digital is used my many folks for over a decade; as labs died and one still has customers with deadlines.
    One could argue that a electric circular saw is too expensive ; just use a hand saw! :)
     
  11. I wouldn't like to face myself in the Namibian dessert offroading and running out of batteries :) and I havent' seen any prints from 4x5 digi which is arren't flat and has a lock of tonalty. And of course the tempting of forgery of the reality. :) This the big philosophical issue here
     
  12. I forgot to say that I'm not doing commercial work, that thing I left ages ago and I hopefuly never had to get back there. My paintings pay my rent, So I have time to develop and do my own prints. There is no rush. Take it easy and live longer. :) But, if I got to do commecial stuff again it would be digital of course, but again not portrait or any other stuff to private costumers
     
  13. Regarding ULF getting big, the boom was several years ago. The ULF sales have retreated because of the demise of Wisner and the problems getting film.
     
  14. Bruce
    The ULF have retrated that's right but just because people havent look around for other alternatives like Lotus in Austria or Argentum in Hungary both makes cameras and holders in any size you want. And still the most usual sizes of ULF films are on the selfs of many well sorted shops. But of course if you own a camera with unusual sizes than you got to order and by a lot at the same time.
     
  15. Hi Frank: I am the US-Canadian importer for Lotus. A great camera but more expensive than the Wisners were, (and worth it). One of the big problems was when Bergger stopped producing film, another was the difficulty getting affordably priced filmholders.
     
  16. Hello Bruce, yes Bergger were in the repacking :) industry. All films they sold were Forte so they stoped when Forte did so as J&C and Freestyle and many others:)
    But how about Canham don't they do ULF? Or that Argentum thats I think still cheap and do all sizes on order and does holders too. have you tryed it? Practicaly you can order a camrera let's say in 8x20 with a dosen holders and the nice wooden carraing case and the top of that a nice wooden printing frame. They are manufacturing one for me at the moment.
     
  17. The big advantage LF has over digital to me is weight. A Better Light scan back and all the stuff needed to make it run is *heavy*. I looked at it a couple of years ago and found that it would add about 10 Kg to my pack. That would put me up around 26 Kg which is just too much for my old body to withstand.
    The secondary advantage is that film costs so much less. It's true that if you shoot hundreds of exposures per week that digital pays for itself rapidly. But I'm not shooting hundreds of exposures per week, I'm shooting hundreds of exposures per year. Film wins with me, no contest.
    Third advantage of film over digital is that someone else pays for the upgrades. Kodak just released TMY-2 last year. My cost was to buy a new box of film and reap the benefits. Film doesn't really depreciate at all, where digital equipment and the push to have the latest equipment to stay competitive (in the 100's of exposures per week markets) turns one into an equipment junkie. I'd rather spend my time (what little I get for it) photographing.
    Get the cost of digital LF down to under $1K USD, the weight down to 2 or 3 Kg, and stabilize the image quality so it's not an equipment parade like it is now, and I'm interested. Until then I've still got film in the freezer.
     
  18. I love looking at the world through ground glass. But then I like 4x5 black and white negatives. Hey, I like my black and white 11x14 prints from those negs. I also like doing what I've enjoyed for the last 40 years. Ah, the advantage of being an old fart! It's not for everyone.
     
  19. "Sure and if you use a BetterLight Scanning back with your 4x5 you'll have far better quality tahn film can achieve and all of those other technical benefits as well."
    I find this comment offensive.
    I happen to enjoy large format photography using film. I don't need to have this arrogant twit tell me that I'm wrong because I haven't jumped into digital stuff.
    I also prefer Subaru's, fountain pens with bottled ink, Firefox over IE, and fish rather than beef. My preferences are just that - my preferences. The fact that they happen to be different from those chosen by someone else doesn't make them wrong, nor do they make me a Luddite or morally defective.
     
  20. Here is one store that seems to sell ULF film. I have not bought from them. But, at least they have it listed. I've heard that even Kodak will sell ULF film if you order a large quanity. It seems to me that digital is so prevelant in the commercial field, not because it is always better. But, for time constraints. My local camera store still developes E-6 film.
    http://www.viewcamerastore.com/default.php?cPath=29_41
    To me, digital is a more technical process, film is a hands on. Maybe that's another reason why I like film, the old processes, making guitars and wooden boats. Back, when I was lucky enough to have a garage!
     
  21. one of the advantages of shooting film in a digital world
    is that you don't have to spend countless hours infront of a computer
    monitor to post process all your views, or make them look-like they
    were made with a film camera, not to mention the film is tagible, not
    stuck inside a machine ...
     
  22. You asked the questions and the LFer's came out of the Internet woodwork. I can't disagree with any of it, and especially agree with one part. It's just a joy to challenge oneself standing there with the camera. If it takes you just a few minutest to setup, compose and ready to shoot, or like me, 30-60 minutes, everything comes down to the last few seconds and steps, cock shutter, remove film cover and release the shutter.
    It's all about how good you are standing there. Everything else and the world is irrelevant for those few moments. Or so it seems to me. Besides I love looking at a 4x5 transparency on the light table that I took and is spot on. All the technology is nice, but it's about the human side of it, yourself as a photographer.
     
  23. One weird thing a digital back does have over film is backing out the film plane to ground glass error; sometimes as much as +/- 0.007 inches with some rigs. One does a pre scan and you tweak the focus thru a couple of trial scans. Thus I can often shoot an f stop faster. One can also back out the focus shift of a lens too. A digital back is more of a replacement for film for inside work; when one is copying artwork.
     
  24. Here's a quote that I think fits.
    "There is only you and your camera. The limitations in your photography are in yourself, for what we see is what we are." Ernst Haas​
    ...yes it does.
     
  25. Cyr,
    Thanks for the philosophical quote. I do subscribe to that sentiment but I have really enjoyed all the "nuts and bolts" answers as well. Photography is a synergy of art and hardware I think.
     
  26. pvp

    pvp

    The biggest advantage of LF film over digital is also the most obvious one: the simple fact that it's film.
     
  27. To Cyr.
    When Haas made that statement digital wasn't even arund of the corner, so just think about it and I dont realy think it fits in here. but as allways digi people using comments like this to defend their lock of knowledge or lasyness (seen it here in Swedens photo site many times they even call you primitive that says a lot )and just because we others don't wanna get into your game like spending a lots of money and uppdating for the quality or the action we don't like. Or that we are rather outdoors and PHOTOGPAPH insteed of sitting home and try to do images (forge) which J NANIAN formulated so nicely " make them look-like they were made with a film camera"
    To JD
    There is people who buys Picasso and there is people buys a poster of Picasso. That is the big difference. And if you are a push/pull or the on/off guy with a flashing leds as the turn signal on you car you realy should'nt be here. This is an LF secrion of this site, and LF is 4x5" or bigger. Just because you using digi back on your 4x5 camera it doesn't make it to LF. Not to talk about your printing industry. See, what you do is not a geniue handcrafted art it's a poster.
    And to other people with some carazy ideas: "The photographic art it's the art of seeing and feeling trought the whole process" That includs the final handcrafted fine art prints.
     
  28. Added eccentricity.
     
  29. I have found that the ground glass of a large format camera is large enough to accommodate everyone's point of view.
    Thank you for the postings. Very informative and enjoyable.
     
  30. LF (with film) is about as anti-Crackberry you can get these days. It's my middle finger to the texting, cell phone, bff , 24/7 (i hate that term)world we live in today. But what do I know.
     
  31. A silver black and white negative or print is probably the most archival way to store an image.
     
  32. I find this comment offensive. I happen to enjoy large format photography using film. I don't need to have this arrogant twit tell me that I'm wrong because I haven't jumped into digital stuff.​
    I don't think anyone has told you that you are "wrong" - it's only a comment that a 4x5 digital back may provide even better image quality than film in the same view camera. I fail to see a problem with the statement .
    Why is it that many people who use film appear to be insecure dilettantes that require self-justifying their way of working in order to make themselves feel better? That's the part I don't get.
     
  33. Just wait a minute! What do you mean by this?
    "Why is it that many people who use film appear to be insecure dilettantes that require self-justifying their way of working in order to make themselves feel better? That's the part I don't get."
    It could be the other way around too you know with all those digi people . It could be also that Digi people feel they aren't on the right truck too.
    I remember when I made some short surrealistic movies on 35mm film and recorded over to a broadcast standard videotape because I wanted to show it to my friends and to other people and all this because the 35 mm projector wasn't available for my private use. Than when that disappeared it went over to another format again with a loss of quality and than when that one disappeared come new formate the VHS and the films are now absolutely not enjoyable. Of course the original film is still there with it's quality but I still haven't got the 35 mm projector. I don't have the VHS either this days because the DVD replaced it and now I can't show them any longer.
    Now where on earth I can re formate the35mm film to DVD? Not in my hometown anyway.:)
    So, no wonder why that people don't want to use Digi other than mass producing commercial work and specially not people with LF and ULF cameras as they understand and aware of what they got.
    This is pure knowledge!
    Lets say we all know that film is a stable medium and been with us for quite a long time now and our cameras gives quality that no other tool able to give. People who got used to it have big difficulties to give it up for less. Lets say: over my dead body.
    Is this the part which you didn't get? :) That we know what we are doing and why?
    Now the ethical part of that whole we call the photographic art is (and I feel like a tape recorder now) that some of us still wants give a quality print “the original handcrafted image” which is the upper class of its own with all our feelings baked into that silver image. Do you think it's wrong? That we don't want to compete with the printing industry? :) And giving away posters?
    The interesting side of this is the theory is that I have find out that the color photographers have easier to except printing machines as the majority of those never did their own print anyway. And most of them because the lock of knowledge. And now I'm not talking about all artists but some of them and all amateurs. Now it would be like if I got the idea for a painting and do some drownings than I let you paint than I sign it and I sell it under my name
    They are mostly the lovers of the digital today. Anyway, those artists whom worked with black and white are the last one to give it up and this for a good reason. If we are talking about archival quality there isn't any material which you can compare with those prints except some historical alternatives.
    Well, this must be the other part which you didn't get. Is that so?
     
  34. It looks like those that shoot digital in LF are those that shoot for commercial work and can justify the digital backs that costs thousands. Heck, Hasselblad has a MF camera that cost $43,000.00! Maybe they get to write off the cost of the back as a business expense. Those who are amateurs, must have money to burn, to buy a back that cost as much as some new cars. Pros need to have it done yesterday. Because their competitors need it done that fast, too. Then, there are those, that either are amatuers, or do more of a fine art photography. They can take their time, do B&W,don't have the money to spend $20,000 on a digi back.
    There are many people that not only like film, but, can't afford these super costly digi equipment. I don't need to justify using film, even though some comments I've seen on the internet act like we are fools to use something that went out with the stage coaches. I do feel that Frank is right about the B&W users are the last to give up on film. and, the color users don't care if somone else makes their prints. Since, most of them didn't do their prints anyway.
     
  35. Using a large format camera is a very nice way of making pictures out of the physical impressions that real things make in sensitive surfaces.
    Using a digital camera is a convenient way of collecting photometric information about subject matter so that a machine can draw a picture of it.
    Digital can mimic large format appearances to the casual observer but the underlying technical, aesthetic, and emotional factors, the ones that lie outside the world of surface appearances, are very different.
     
  36. Large format attracts more women than digital, and certainly more than the paltry 35mm film enthusiasts. The bellows look really cool, so the ladies assume you must be smart and creative to want to work with such a thing of beauty as a wooden camera with bellows. I mean, who wouldn't dig a large format renaissance man?
    I assume it works the same way with the genders reversed, but have no direct experience to comment.
     
  37. :) Thats it! I'm single, so now I see why I got to finish that 20x24" mammoth very soon. :) And reading between the lines yes, the film is there so as the quality and the print a nice B/W which lasting longer than any other image.
    The ladies have that sense to feel when guys doing it right. The love and the care of course makes they brain translate this to other aspects in life! :) Now, my former wife performed different and it depended on which camera I lay my hand on.
    If it were a Nikon F2 there was no way for me to get out from usual things like shopping and other for me not so interested things but when I took my LF there were no discussions. Than she knew that I went to do intresting things like to creating art which she can put up to the wall. That is thats why I do LF and not for a film.! :) Anyone can understand that, right?
    I must mention to that when I took my Nikon there where always questions about where I go or what I'm gonna do and it's only because she wanted to know if any of her activities would feet in.
    So guys thats why the LF is different. Keith might be very right there. The only thing I would disagree its that renaissance man :) Because I do got a lots of digital stuff at my home even a one billion pixel Kodak easy share. :) God I hope that no one come up with that bright idea to digitalized my oil colors and my canvases. :)
     
  38. Why is it that many people who use film appear to be insecure dilettantes that require self-justifying their way of working in order to make themselves feel better? That's the part I don't get.
    Why is it that many people who use digital appear to be insecure dilettantes that require self-justifying their way of working in order to make themselves feel better for spending a fortune on soon to be outdated equipment? That's the part I don't get.
     
  39. <!-- @page { size: 21cm 29.7cm; margin: 2cm } P { margin-bottom: 0.21cm } -->
    Steve, nobody going to give you answer to that one at least not that strait open as I do it for you. Its a lots of low knowledge guys with cellphones (at least thats how I call the digis) who owns Photoshop, printing machines and thinks that they are Allen.
    Also they had been created and cheated by the industry to buy those nothing worth gadgets which they had to update almost a day to day basis instead of learning real photography.
    It's because the industry find it out that they really had only two chances closing down or find a new toy for the masses. Really just think about it, there is so many functional cameras on the market that they just couldn't sell no more. Now of course digis they wanna have a piece of the cake too.
    Now we aren't effected by this as we always had our old junks as they would say and we knows what those are going for. Don't we? We are a people with the real thing and the knowledge. I don't even know why we bother with them at all.
    If they call me a renaissance man or a primitive man as it happened here in Sweden because I own cameras from the 1898's (which by the way I never had to update) it says it all. Sxxxxd axxxs who won't understand that we know and aware what we got and what kind of quality film and the final print gives. And than I don't even talked about the joy and tranquility of the whole action.
    Now they probably realized this mistake and very aggressively lobbying try you to to make that very same mistake. I can think of some 35mm guy throw in the towel but I still believe in film and I load my Nikon F2 which I don't even know how old he is with just that.
    Anyway it haven't been updated lately either.
    It's like we saying here “the same children play best” And of course until you exist you always going to be a kind of dark cloud in the sky.
    But we are toking about people know nothing and they never going to understand either the meaning and the work flow of the real thing. They don't even wan to try. And just to demonstrate this low know nothing people they just stealing from us everything
    How come the poster called for an image or a fine art and there were a guy in this forum who wanted to know how he can do with a digital camera to copy alternative printing process and of course a lots of images are on the alternative site made in digital
    And somebody please tell me why the digi people need “digital darkroom” for I just really wanna know what exactly digi people does in the dark.
     
  40. Thanks to all the above for the interesting discussion. I have just a few things to add. I must admit, I've never used (nor seen results of) a scanning back on a 4x5. Even if not available yet, I can conceive of a digital imaging device that could produce 'better' images than film. Sadly, I also expect the day will come when film is unavailable and I have no other options. When that day comes, some of us will use digital for some things (even as now)..... and some of us will go back to coating wet plates in an orange tent.
    I spend too much of my workday in front of computers, rather than with people or at the lab bench. Often, the *last* thing I want to do on my time off is to plant myself back in front of a monitor, such as each of us is doing right now. In those spare moments when I have time to do so, the tangible nature of working with solutions, film, light, and my hands gives my brain a chance to function in different ways. I'll also concur with the folks mentioning the continuing utility of cameras older than us with nary an upgrade.
    Finally on trolls: while this may be an artifact of my lurking only in virtual places focused on film (pardon the pun), I've yet to see a digital vs. film 'discussion' started by the analog folks stating that all digital is bunk; the converse is not so true, in my experience.
    Best wishes to all, in all your various media, for the new year.
    Kurt Griffin
    Tucson, AZ
     
  41. Why is it that many people who use digital appear to be insecure dilettantes that require self-justifying their way of working in order to make themselves feel better for spending a fortune on soon to be outdated equipment? That's the part I don't get.​
    My observation, is that for the most part people who use digital equipment really don't care how the photograph gets made. If, by your transmogrification of my statement, you're implying that I am an insecure dilettante using digital - nothing could be further from the truth. I have 13 film cameras and one (1) digital camera. I use all of the cameras as tools for whatever image I'm making - as opposed to a life style choice.
    Another observation from this thread is that for many people it appears that it's more important as to how a photograph is made rather than why. Just read all of the self justifications that abound throughout the thread. Complete with totally inapplicable and nearly incomprehensible comparisons to transferring images to video tape...????
    DH Lawrence, perhaps said it best: "So much depends on one's attitude. One can shut many, many doors of receptivity in oneself or one can open many doors that are shut."
    Why is that I get the impression from this thread that I hear doors slamming shut instead of opening? I think what you really need to do is open your mind to all possibilities in making an image instead of working only within a single paradigm that is constructed around using film and its print as the aesthetic - instead of an aesthetic that includes an interesting image.
     
  42. Steve
    "Complete with totally inapplicable and nearly incomprehensible comparisons to transferring images to video tape...????"
    Sorry if it doesn't went throught but it were a 35mm motion picture a "Movie" film and it meant to demonstrate that technics are changing fast and the original film /movie/ is still there with all its quality but the copy one which were copyed to different video systems as the old fast disspeared say; vent throught a lot of different fofmaing and therefore now its not enjoyable.
    Those are short movies (5-30 minits) from my surrealist period still on the original 35mm movie film enjoyable if one have a 35 mm movie projector to show it.
    With this just I wanted to demostrate that digital system used today might not be available in the future and therefore might not be possible to show your images or the quality be even worst as it is and medium like film which is hudred years old made on glass (in my collection) still possible to enlarge, with high quality as result.
    But of course we living in the free world and any one do as choose or like just don't call your digitaly manufactured poster to fine art print.
    For some of us both "why" and "how" is very important.
     
  43. If, by your transmogrification of my statement, you're implying that I am an insecure dilettante using digital - nothing could be further from the truth. I have 13 film cameras and one (1) digital camera.​
    No, not aimed at you. Just a general observation. I have about 28 film cameras and one (not recently used) digital so I think our views are probably similar.
    Oops.. Looks like I 'transmogrificated' a bit of your post again! (Note to anyone as pedantic as me: Yes, I know that's not a word).
     
  44. For me, as much as I love photography, I also love the hands on approach to it. That's why I love film and especially the old processes. It's not the slamming of doors or anything like that. Making a print in Photoshop with a couple clicks of the mouse, isn't that appealing.
    About that comment on the power saw or handsaw. I would pick the handsaw. When I had that garage, I had a $1000.00 band saw and a table saw that would cost $3000.00 today. But, my favorite tools were the hand plane, chisel, drawknife and spokeshave. I would pick a woodenboat over a Tuperware one any day. It's more fun to do photograhy by hand, than by machine. (or Software). To develope the film, use carbon tissues for the carbon process. Watch the excess colored gelatin leech out from the paper in the warm bath, etc.
    Many people don't care how the photo is made, but, some of us, making it is half the fun. That's why many still make tintypes. This 2 clicks of the mouse for B&W, and 5 for color. That's not for me. But, I will admit for my prints larger than 4x5, I do make digital negs. Because I can't afford a larger camera. Even though I would like to afford about a 5x7.
     
  45. Sure, why not? I'm sourcing after somebody who could make me a huge digi neg for gum printing (didn't find it yet, maybe Jack?) but it's just one stop between and the result going to be a handcrafted fine art print.
    I've got two exhibitions coming up and to one of them I would like to make something special. The other one is very interesting in any aspects as its going to be in Windhoek, Namibia showing of a freeze to death cold and snowy Swedish landscapes. (I think its going to be fantastic) In the country were the majority of people never have seen snow. It would be nice to have it in the big frozen room to add something to the visual as well.
     
  46. LF with film is on the long run saver, no virus can kill your pos or neg so fast as any virus.
    Booth worlds have there pros and cons and I like booth!
    Cheers Armin
     
  47. JD,
    Without getting into the "film versus digital" war, there is at least one example that seems to specifically fit your question. It's depth of field.
    If you're shooting an f:4 or f:4.5 lens on say 8x10 wide open, it's very difficult if not impossible to reproduce that effect of shallow DOF on smaller formats for an equivalent focal length, even 4x5. Reproducing the effect in MF or smaller formats (digital or film) will be impossible. You might check out some of Jim Galli's 8x10 portraits.
    The converse is also true, you can get a large depth of field using smaller formats than is much less easily attained with larger formats using equivalent focal length lenses.
    Cheers,
    Steve
     
  48. Heavens! So much heat. It must be generated by all those dollars we invest.
    Well, I shoot both, and I enjoy the LF film best. Not just habit...that big groundglass is a joy to use, and my kit (Technika with four lenses) fits into a Tamrac bag that I used to use for 2 Nikon F2's and a handfull of lenses. That is, I carry no electronics, listen to the shutters with my ear, and use a magnifier to tell me what I want to know before I release that shutter. And for me, working speed is a big issue, because I usually photograph people with this kit. No polaroids, no step by step, play the hunches informed by lots of experience...my Technika is a #2 pencil in action, no kidding.
    Digital; well, I can ship it quickly, yes. And God knows I can get it on the computer screen quickly. But I can't switch emulsions for a different look, or shoot in the rain (yes, I do that), or bang the gear around in the trunk of the car (yes, I do that too.) If I could sum up what happens to my consciousness when I set out to take a digital picture, "fussy" is the word that leaps to mind. I don't want to be fussy. And I love doing what I do with gear that I paid a few hundred for, twenty and thirty years ago. Yes, the baby still needs shoes...in fact, when I take that Commercial Ektar out of the bag, I am suddenly in company with some wonderful people I made images of, years ago, with that very lens....fun.
    And one more thing: I have never had a mechanical shutter or a camera body just die while sitting on a shelf...but I have had four digital cameras do exactly that. A digital back, too.
    Just my two cents worth.
     
  49. Quite right, Mr. Hamley. I even mentioned that very advantage in an earlier thread just a couple of days ago.
    http://www.photo.net/large-format-photography-forum/00S2sU
     
  50. In a world full of zeros and ones it's nice to just do it all yourself, like there's something very personal about a sheet of film. I admire the innovation that Wayne Belger http://www.boyofblue.com/ displays, that is using a pinhole...no glass between the subject and the emulsion. The same air that touches the subject contacts the emulsion too, that idea tickles me.
    I have an upcoming exhibition in a couple of months which I'm currently wrestling with a selective focus camera to shoot 4x5 B/W and that will provide me with an interesting challenge, I mean an exhibition using digital wouldn't be the same, as much as I like using it. I figure I might do what Wayne does, that is to display the camera as part of the exhibition. I'm sure it would seem a bit weird to whack the old 5D in a glass case?
    I see so many customers buy DSLR's and instantly aspire to becoming this overnight success.....but I bet they wouldn't know which is the emulsion side of a 4x5 sheet. Kinda sad really.
     
  51. Personally I chose Large Format because it's the optimum size to make the most of optics and film size . Any larger and diffraction/stabillity start to cause problems; any smaller and you lose in resolution and optical design becomes more difficult..
    4x5 is also the optimum for portability and until you can find a 200 mega pixel sensor that is guaranteed clean and amortises to £3 per shot for 200-300 shots per year I'll be using LF+Quickloads..
    Tim
     
  52. Kurt, what you stated sounds like the end of the world as we know it..... "Sadly, I also expect the day will come when film is unavailable and I have no other options. When that day comes, some of us will use digital for some things (even as now)..... and some of us will go back to coating wet plates in an orange tent."
    I think some will jump out the windows of multi storey buildings at that point........
     
  53. "Kurt, what you stated sounds like the end of the world as we know it..... "Sadly, I also expect the day will come when film is unavailable and I have no other options."
    That shoudn't be for a long time. They still make vacuum tubes.
     
  54. :) yeah I have a lots of it in my stereo amplifier and it's brand new! Just one year old. I think it's a much better investment than any digi gadgets. :) At least I hear pure clean natural sund.
    Anyway, who cares if film dissaperes? I do my own on glass, and again what would the digis know about it?
    Nothing, however those poster makers have a "digital darkroom" but still the question remain the same. What they do in the dark??:)
    Shut me please! They are all artists who do fine Art! :)
     
  55. The question wasnt about film per se... no one has mentioned that with LF you can get narrow depth of field. Can someone find a 30mm F0.4 lens for my aps digital camera ? - On LF I have my 210mm pentac f2.9 and my aero f2.5 178mm.
    Add to that the fascination your subject gets about your unique looking camera and its long history ( a 1947 speed graphic in my case) and you get a totally different experience of portraiture. The 10 minutes it takes to setup means I have time to chat with my subject and they relax because they forget about being photo'd and whether they're hair looks ok etc.
    Also I concentrate on my shot, taking good care of exposure and composition because I know it must be right.
    Regards film vs digital? Its what works for you. I scan my negs on a flat bed scanner - no enlarger or darkroom needed, but I still sit in front of the computer. On the otherhand, the scanner is capable of superb quality and resolution without spending $$$$$ and if my hard disk crashes, I have the neg for ever.
    Thats what makes it work for me.
     
  56. Hello everybody everywhere,
    Here in Portugal it is getting harder and harder to do Large Format photography. The last time I tried to order some 8x10 inches color transparency film from Kodak, I was told that I would need to order ten boxes (100 sheet), and that would cost me 1500 euros (plus VAT)! My question: how much would I need to charge my client for that reproduction of his painting?
    In black and white, the situation doesn't look better. The last 35mm Tri-X I bought (yes, I shoot a lot of formats: 35mm, 6x6, 6x7, 6x9, 6x12, 4x5, 5x7 and 8x10), cost me eight (8) euros each!
    So I started looking for alternatives and decided to try Fotoimpex in Berlin. I ordered some 5x7 inches Adox film and some 8x10 inches Fomapan film. The quality of the service was very good, and I was very pleased with the quality of the material (They also have odd and ULF sizes!). The tonality of the negatives looks very good, with very good shadow detail and fine highlights. I can even say that I found there what I was missing in T-Max.
    I was specially very amazed about Fomapan: In the 80's I had tried some and found it to be crap. Now this is really another stuff, and I find the film capable of very good results (If you wish, you can see some photographs in ruimoraisdesousa.blogspot.com, under the post: My hometown seen with a 8x10 inches camera). Fotoimpex also have a lot of other interesting items for black and white film users, and I also like their Adolux ATM 49 developer.
    What's more: they send only one pack of film, you don't need to buy 10 boxes. Prices are also very acceptable.
    Guess what? Kodak won't see my money very soon again (maybe except for Tri-X and D-76, which I love), and my Gandolfi 8x10 won't be collecting dust.
    Give a look at their site. I think you won't regret it!
    Now about a digital back for LF: all this $1.000's for a digital back? Are you kidding? I struggle to survive and be able to pay the rent of my studio!... With all this crisis, I am afraid that I will have to shut the door...
    Besides: I do LF (and other film-formats) because I LOVE IT!
    Please, don't take that away from me!
    Have a nice time,
    Rui
    00SBZn-106115784.jpg
     
  57. Digital is an abomination to every to every good photographers that make black & white prints of the highest quality. Can you even think that Saint Ansel or Edward or Brett Weston would even think about using digital if they were living today?
     
  58. Sorry, I saw that I didn't make the links correctly, so I try again: Fotoimpex
    Rui
    00SBfT-106143684.jpg
     
  59. rui, your images are fantastic!
     
  60. robert, I don't think that either and the digital is the gadget a toy for the masses and nothing else.
     
  61. Just a side comment:
    "But I can't switch emulsions for a different look, or ..."
    Actually, you can if you are shooting film, but scanning it for processing/clean-up/printing. My scanner has different built-in settings for various films. I shoot Fuji Reala, but sometimes I'll tell the scanner it is one of the Kodak films. You can get minor or major changes ... sometimes good, sometimes very bad ... with this trick.
     
  62. Thank you very much Frank.
    Yes, I try...
    If you wish click on the link below. There are some more.
    Hope you enjoy.
    Rui
    00SCJh-106307584.jpg
     
  63. The 48mp Betterlight will pretty much equal 4x5 up to 40". Beyond that, I found 4x5 film still wins out.
     
  64. Digital is an abomination to every to every good photographers that make black & white prints of the highest quality. Can you even think that Saint Ansel or Edward or Brett Weston would even think about using digital if they were living today?
    robert -
    ansel adams would have shot digital, and was very excited about new and emerging technologies
     
  65. For me, shooting 4 x 5 is sort of like a Zen meditation. First you focus, then check the composition, then check the exposure and go back and do it all over again and when everything comes together, release the shutter.
     
  66. To j nanian
    We all are intrested. Curriosity is the nature of mankind. But it's far from using it! :) Specialy for artwork. Its got its place in the commercial word.
     
  67. i don't know frank ... maybe you are right, maybe you are wrong
    we'll never know ;)
     
  68. When he made that statement there were no digital cameras! :) But the laser printing come into the book printing industry and some of his books had been printed by this new technik. Nowadays the offset printing is very rare.
    Thats why one must be very careful how to use and when to use statement from others specialy when they are not along with us any longer.
     
  69. where's bill and ted?

    if they were here, i am sure
    they could help us ...
    after all they showed that beethoven
    enjoyed and played the synthesizer,
    and probably would have used it extensively
    it it existed in th e18th and 19th centuries ...


    and it was ... most excellent
     
  70. We can discuss this and coming no where. The ethical part of this is the print. Every print I made is differ from one another as I feel different day by day. All of it are a unic piece of handrafted artwork. I never could make the same print from the same negative as printmaking is a happening.
    Now the big question is this; which one you rather buy the original Picasso or the poster of the original picasso!
     
  71. Image quality. In B&W it isn't even close.
     
  72. All excellent arguments for LF analog. Consider, too, that there are currently over 200 toxic compounds going into the biosphere from the manufacture of computers, digital equipment and other hig-tech hardware. Film production and development constitute less than one-seventh of this number. Also, when you change film you put in a brand new "sensor". You do not have to put up with a digital back which may have become obsolete six months after it shipped or has lost pixels or has in some way been damaged. Dust and heat are big problems with digital capture and more than one of my friends has returned to film for those reasons. This is especially true of photogs who change lenses in the field. With film, it is simple to blow out the camera interior and inspect it prior to fitting the holder. It is not practical to remove a LF or MF digital back, vacuum, swab or brush after each lens change. And then there is the cost of the large digital back. Government and commercial interests can write-off these stupendous expenditures, but it sure takes the fun out of photography for me to think I'd be paying the price of a luxury car just to avoid using film. According to Pop Photography and Eastman Kodak, fine grain reversal 35mm film is equivalent to 14-15 megapixel capture. Using this standard, a 4x5 chrome yields around 166 megapixels equivalent. Are there any digital backs of this size and, if there are, who can justify their cost?
     
  73. I think that having to employ a tripod....then shackle the camera to a laptop, losing the ability to shoot fast shutter speeds with moving subjects simply takes the fun out of using a 4x5 camera hand held. I spend most days cleaning dust and crud from sensors of DSLR's and think film is so much more rewarding....like swapping emulsions during a shoot, or controlling development after the fact...the older style procedure demands more of the photographer than simply photoshopping your way out of a scenario after using a digital back. Some guys have forgotten the challenge that a sheet of 4x5 emulsion offers, as well as the gratification it gives when it all comes together. There seems to be an increasing abhorrence against shooting with a sensor for some reason....why is that?
    I use a 5D, but only for party shots.......
     
  74. j nanian, while he may have been interested in emerging technology, I think once he compared the quality of digital capture for B&W to 4x5 or 8x10, I honestly think he'd still go back to his view camera. I did.
     
  75. dave -
    you are probably right. but then again, he might have used
    something like clifford ross uses, not a dslr or mf size sensor ...


    where's the ouija board? :)
     
  76. No need for ouija boards or guesswork! Adams was actually very explicit in his views on the coming age of electronic scanning/digital imaging. From his own mouth:
    Ansel Adams, An autobiography (1985): "In the electronic age, I'm sure that scanning techniques will be developed to achieve prints of extraordinary subtlety from the original negative scores. If I could return in twenty years or so I would hope to see astounding interpretations of my most expressive images. It is true no one could print my negatives as I did, but they might well get more out of them by electronic means. Image quality is not the product of a machine, but of the person who directs the machine, and there are no limits to imagination and expression"
    See http://www.facebook.com/topic.php?uid=8741471298&topic=5694
    Some of the respondents above might want to take a deep breath, and ponder his words...
    And before anyone responds with "Yeah, but that doesn't guarantee that he definitely would have embraced digital, after a lifetime of shooting and printing film", I'll slip this quote in:
    "To understand the heart and mind of a person, look not at what he has already achieved, but at what he aspires to".
    - Kahlil Gibran, mystic, poet, and artist (1883-1931)
    I think that Adams made it pretty clear that for all his achievements, he aspired to these new technologies.
    Anyway, back down to earth. I'm a wholehearted shooter and scanner of MF film , and even some LF Fujiroids, but I am researching MF digibacks as well as a parallel possibility. Everyone should be guided by their own "whatever works for me" thinking and maintain an open-ended learning process.
    Passionate responses are always nice to read, until sadly they often veer into jibes at "the other side" - completely unnecessarily.
     

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