Hand held large format

Keith Haithwaite

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These are smashing Rob, pity about the damage to the emulsion etc but easily fixed. I always wanted one of these cameras but never seem to amass sufficient funds. :(
 

Ian Grant

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Nice to see someone else shooting LF haqnd held. I shoot HP5 for hand held work with a Super or Crown Graphic, focus on the GG screen then use the wire finder for final composition/framing.

Ian
 

martin henson

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Ian using your method, I assume you have to put the film holder in after focusing, then recompose then take the shot, say for a portrait, how do you know you have focus correct as you cannot now see the ground glass with the FH in place, and what sort of shutter speed do you need as minimum for handheld shooting using say the Crown Graphic.
 

Ian Grant

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Hi Martin, yes that's how I work hand held however I'm not currently shooting portraits this way. I'm shooting landscapes often where tripods are not permitted, dodging the tourists and having to work fast so a different approach to Rob.

I prefer to shoot at 1/125 @ f22 which is quite feasible with HP5 working in Turkey/Greece, sometimes it's 1/250 if I'm lucky, however 1/60th is OK and I've managed 1/30 @f16. I do have a working range-finder on my Crown Graphic which is calibrated for a 150mm lens so that's an option for checking focus, but not if I've used any front tilts, the wire finder takes tilt into account.

The Super Graphic has a better range-finder which takes inter-changeable cams for each lens, I haven't repaired mine yet mainly because I've not felt the need. It was a £100 camera with issues, parts needed replacing, but has become one of my favourite cameras to use.

What I have found is you need to be able to work fast shooting LF hand held, so between focussing on the GG screen, to cocking the shutter, stopping the lens down, fitting the DDS and removing the slide, final framing and exposure takes about 20 seconds. It becomes instinctive.

I should have added in my first post in this thread those are great images Rob :D

Ian
 
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KenS

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Looking East across the coulee2.jpg


This is the first LF hand-held (non-tripod) exposure I've made using my Linhof monorail.... 3 days after the first of this season's snow-fall, (now 'gone') FP3 @ iso 80. The photograph was for forwarding to a relative who had no idea of what a 'coulee' looked like and so I 'made' this one handheld but somewhat supported exposure while taking my morning's 'doggie' walk ( did not want to humph both camera and tripod while remaining 'in charge/control' of the dog). The base of the camera was placed on top of the 4x4 inch post supporting a 'public sign' to indicate that visitors that they were now in a 'Rattlesnake area'. I used a bubble level to try and make sure 'everything' was within 'acceptable' limits and made this one exposure with FP3 for 1/15 sec at 1/3stop above F22. Film developed as 'normal in Pyroctat HD in BTZS tubes.


Ken
 
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joe monteiro

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i don't intend to be a PITA but my Speed Graphic was used by lots of news photogs who didn't use tripods. There are stops on the rails i have two one set to infinity the other can be set to a distance for portraits or as you wish and more can be added. Depth of field covers a bit on either side of the stop. Straightening up the image that's what enlargers are for. Way back when my Exa 1A seemed to have been similar, waist level with a dim finder not even a match needle meter but it was fun and mostly it worked just use it for what was.
joe

Oh and if you don't shake like i do the weight makes it pretty steady.
 
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Ian Grant

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Joe, I have a couple of Speed Graphics but don't use them hand held because I prefer to use a leaf shutter at slow speeds. Having said that of course I can use them with my leaf shuttered lenses but the reason I don't is I already owned a Crown Graphic (which I leave in Turkey) and a Super Graphic.

I do use some movements when working hand held so prefer the Super Graphic, usually just front tilt and maybe some rise/fall, and as the wire frame finder moves with the front standard it remains a good indication when finally framing, I do compose & focus on the Ground Glass screens which are much brighter than the Graflex original. I have fresnel screens with all except my early pre-Anniversary Speed Graphic, this makes focussing and composing much easier and I've no issues correcting verticals even working hand held.

Ian
 

KenS

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Placed on a 4x4 post isn't quite the same as hand held :D Nice image.

Ian
Ya still gotta hold the camera 'steady' with one hand... even tho the 'mass' was supported by the post such that I could 'focus... adjust the iris... insert he film-holder, remove the dark-slide, cock the shutter, grab the cable release and 'activate the mechanism'.... so i believe there was some still hand-held aspect.

If you've really actually use a monorail, you might better understand the occasional difficulty. While the overall mass is greater than a hand-held large format It is not quite as 'easy' as when I had my Linhof Master Technika , But it IS a LOT MORE versatile in the 'long-run'. I found that making exposures with the monorail when 'mounted' on tripod may have been somewhat 'slower'.

For a while, I lived in a town where walking around with hand-held Graphics or Linhof was a 'implied signal' that you were to be 'seen as a 'real' photographer. 8-(

Ken
 

Ian Grant

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I had a couple of Monorail cameras Ken, I sold both as I actually didn't need them. Versatility is a two edged sword despite a monorail having far better movements I found them impractical for all but studio work. Maybe impractical should be less practical and less portable, also slower to use.

Ian
 

KenS

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Ian,
To each his own... when I started as a 'working" photographer at Agriculture Canada's largest research centre, their
much experienced OLD Linhof hand-holdable (I can't now remember the model) was use more on a tripod than a hand-held..... but it was less than "great" for a LOT of the macro and/or close-up of subjects brought into the ''studio" on a daily basis that (mostly) could never be achieved with their hand holdable Linhof. After I brought my monorail in just to get one particular job done easily/readily due to its much longer bellows extension. I finally managed to encouraged our section head to 'retire' the old 30 Y/O Linhof and invest in a monorail. after a couple of visits from 'Rep's" to 'demonstrate' on our every-day 'requirements' Sinar became our "First' choice. If I were in need of a 'new' monorail camera for 'work' (as of today) Sinar would still be at the top of "MY" list, Their 'off axis' swings and tilts make 'things' a LOT easier.

Ken
 

joe monteiro

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Ian G,
i don't where or when i got this grip but i've used it on various cameras over the years. You can see where the shutter release tapes to the handle, the Speed Graphic has a hand strap on the left side which bears most of the weight then this steadies it. This was "shot" on the flat bed scanner and i'm not sure why it looks twisted but it's not.
joe
 

KenS

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I had a couple of Monorail cameras Ken, I sold both as I actually didn't need them. Versatility is a two edged sword despite a monorail having far better movements I found them impractical for all but studio work. Maybe impractical should be less practical and less portable, also slower to use.

Ian
since the time when I was 'downsized" and forced into "early retirement" i usually find that the majority of my exposures
could not be made with an hand-held large format camera at the slower shutter speeds
Ian G,
i don't where or when i got this grip but i've used it on various cameras over the years. You can see where the shutter release tapes to the handle, the Speed Graphic has a hand strap on the left side which bears most of the weight then this steadies it. This was "shot" on the flat bed scanner and i'm not sure why it looks twisted but it's not.
joe
 

KenS

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View attachment 1260Oops
forgot to attach the pic.
Joe

At my age, (78) I don't think that that unit would 'really' assist any hand holding of my Linhof monorail when it is stretched out for close-ups when the only lens I've "gone out' with on that day is my 240mm lens. I'm not sure I have the strength or the ability to keep ANY 'handled' LF camera steady enough for shutter speeds less than 1/30th second.

Ken
 

Ian Grant

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If I were in need of a 'new' monorail camera for 'work' (as of today) Sinar would still be at the top of "MY" list, Their 'off axis' swings and tilts make 'things' a LOT easier.

Ken
Ken, are you saying you prefer off axis swings and tilts to axial swings and tilts ? It's not something that's bothered me either way, my 10x8 Agfa Ansco has axial tilts & swings while my other cameras are off axis tilts on the baseboard. I tend to set the tilts and any corresponding rise/fall (I rarely use swing) as I set the camera up and usually before I focus and any subsequent adjustments are minor anyway.

I have used a Sinar Norma, if I ever needed a monorail personally I go for a Linhof Technikardan or the similar Horseman L series camera, I've used both.

Ian
 

KenS

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Ken, are you saying you prefer off axis swings and tilts to axial swings and tilts ? It's not something that's bothered me either way, my 10x8 Agfa Ansco has axial tilts & swings while my other cameras are off axis tilts on the baseboard. I tend to set the tilts and any corresponding rise/fall (I rarely use swing) as I set the camera up and usually before I focus and any subsequent adjustments are minor anyway.

I have used a Sinar Norma, if I ever needed a monorail personally I go for a Linhof Technikardan or the similar Horseman L series camera, I've used both.

Ian
Sir Ian,

When working in what was termed as the "Photo-lab" I often used to have a number of similar subjects 'lined up' in a row as a 'group' to show differences... think of an 'array' of petri-dishes with a varying amount of "fungal... or bacterial cultures. Sometimes it may have been plant seed just as they were showing evidence of germination, The contents of EVERY individual dish had to be 'in focus' to be able to see the amount of 'growth' (and often) the comparative 'differences. When using 'off-axis tilts or swings using the Sinar was a lot 'easier' and 'faster' than when using the Linhof .
It IS (somehow) difficult to 'explain' just 'how much easier' it is with the Sinar's 'grid' lines on the ground glass, but
is somewhat difficult to explain in writing, but a LOT easier to actually 'do'.

In all honesty, while I consider my Linhof to be built (as we used to say back in the days when I was working on the dairy farm... and before I 'escaped' to Canada by 'working my passage' on a cattle boat) "Built like a brick sh*t house"
But the Sinar's off axis swings/tilts was a lot 'easier' and 'faster' to get that which was needed to be in 'sharp focus'

Ken
 

Ian Grant

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Ken, I don't doubt you - I asked the question because others seem to prefer axial tilts and swings. This came up a few weeks ago where a video was posted of a photographer side mounting an MPP MicroTechnical MkVII to use the lens axial swing as front tilt. The MPP camera is essentially a Linhof clone.

My own 40+ years experience using LF aside from my 10x8 Agfa Ansco's has always been with off axis tilts and I totally agree they are very fast and easy to use. People like Fred Newman extol the virtues of axial tilts.

There are times when a monorail is definitely a better choice, if I still did studio work I'd prefer one but the odd times I do my Wista 45dX has far more movements than a Linhof Technika or MPP MicroTechnical although less extension.

Ian
 
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