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  #11  
Old 11-12-2018, 03:52 PM
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Jim Jones Jim Jones is offline
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LF will be simple if Bethe is available to teach you. Her Chamonix has a few peculiarities that I don't like and would keep me from using that type. However, they are popular, so using them can't be too much different than so many others. Most view cameras are basically simple devices. However, since they can do so much more than most smaller cameras, the photographer has to know more about using them. Fortunately, there are several good books on view cameras. The one many of us consider the best is View Camera Technique by Leslie Stroebel. It is the most comprehensive, but out-of-date (not that this matters much in view camera technique). Stroebel was 6 years older than I am now when he died 8 years ago this month. The last edition (7th) of his masterpiece was published in 1999. A new paperback edition is available. I don't know if there is any updated information in it. Be prepared for sticker shock when shopping for any edition -- they are treasured for good reason. Other useful (and less expensive) books on view cameras are by Harvey Shaman, Steve Simmons, and one or two others. Many of the Ansel Adams books have useful information on view camera use and on fine photography in general. I have two editions of the Shaman book. You're welcome to the older 1977 edition.

The bible on B&W photography is Way Beyond Monnochrome by Ralph W. Lambrecht and Chris Woodhouse. It says little about using view cameras, but almost everything on B&W photography and darkroom work. This is another expensive book, and for good reason. I consider it far more useful and inspirational than the many books Ansel Adams wrote on the subject. However, the earliest Adams books are worthwhile because they are in the voice of Adams.
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  #12  
Old 11-12-2018, 08:25 PM
Johndeere Johndeere is offline
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Thanks for the information on the resources Jim, I appreciate it very much. You have a wealth of knowledge. I wish my interest would have developed in my early years to go beyond 35mm.

I wasted the last 15 years fine tuning my learning curve on digital. Well I think wasted is to hard since I did learn another way to enjoy photography. It's just not what I like and I guess with so many choices in photography you should do what you like.

But at least I'm not limited and can do both film and digital well. Learning MF then LF with film just adds to my bank of knowledge.

You didn't mention your favorite LF camera.
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  #13  
Old 11-12-2018, 09:39 PM
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Jim Jones Jim Jones is offline
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The view camera I've most used was a Burke & James flatbed 5x7, often with a 4x5 back. It is very basic, but does everything a view camera should do. It uses the popular 4" square lens board of its time, an asset in this day of several non-interchangeable boards. The boards are plentiful and easy to make with basic woodworking equipment.

A more recent favorite is the 4x5 Graphic view monorail camera by the Graflex company from 1941 to 1948 or the slightly less pretty but slightly more functional Graphic View II from 1949 to 1967. It also accepts the same lens board as the B&J and many other cameras of the day. B&J also made a monorail view camera in 4x5 and 5x7 that uses the same lens board. The B&J flatbed is slightly more transportable, but all of the monorails are a bit more sturdy.

I've also used B&J and Graflex press cameras where the better versatility of view cameras wasn't needed. They are better at hand-held photography than any view camera. Perhaps Speed Graphic is the best of that lot. The B&J and early Speed Graphics used the same lens board as several cameras listed above until 1947 when they introduced a stamped aluminum board that no one else adopted. B&J lacks a few of the Graphic's quality and features, but is good enough for most. Linhof made a technical camera similar to the above press cameras with basic movements of the rear standard. Quality (and prices) are high. I've never owned or used one. Somewhat similar is the British MPP camera and the rather scarce American Meridian, the poor man's Linhof. I've never owned or used the Busch press camera. It uses a small proprietary lens board that is more difficult to buy or fabricate than the old 4" boards so popular up until perhaps the 1950s or 1960s.
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  #14  
Old 11-13-2018, 09:50 PM
Johndeere Johndeere is offline
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What size of film should I consider starting at. I would imagine I would use this camera for landscape photos. Maybe some artistic type of stationery objects, example an old tractor but just parts of it. Or mabe a chair to highlight shades and grain. The landscape would be subjects like barns, covered bridges, trees in a forest you get what I mean.

So what is the best film size for these.
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  #15  
Old 11-14-2018, 01:00 AM
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Jim Jones Jim Jones is offline
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I've always liked 4x5 film. It is big enough to record fine detail. Equipment is plentiful. If you go for analog printing, 4x5 enlargers should be fairly plentiful and not too huge. The film is a lot more expensive than 120 per shot, but you probably won't shoot as much once you are proficient with the larger format. 4x5 negatives can be scanned on fairly affordable flatbed scanners and edited and printed digitally. While getting started one can even photograph a 4x5 negative on an improvised light table with a DSLR and process it digitally. There is a better range of films available in 4x5 than in the larger sizes.

Some photographers prefer larger negatives, although these are best when needed for special contact printing processes or some commercial work. Ansel Adams and Edward Weston did much work with 8x10 negatives, but both used smaller and sometimes even larger formats. Much of the photography from the 1800s that gave America their first look at the Great American West were done on larger formats because it let them make the most of being pathfinder photographers. The best of those large photos are still impressive today. There are photographers on http://www.largeformatphotography.info/forum/ and http://www.apug.org/forum/index.php that use film (or even glass plates) larger than 4x5 who talk about those formats.
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