Post Your Questions Regardless How Trivial They May Seem

Ian-Barber

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We are a friendly group of enthusiasts who are extremely passionate about analog film especially large format.

We encourage people to ask any questions to which they are seeking answers for regardless of how trivial they may appear.
 

KenS

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Carl,
When someone needs to know 'something' about the how.. or the 'why' making photographs with a large format camera... (I.... along with the majority, if not all, photographers have been there) there is no such thing as a 'stupid' question. There can, however, be stupid answers. There is not one of us who knows 'all we could, should or need to know'.. and, other than reading and absorbing the information that might be gleaned through reading the numerous tomes in innumerable libraries, there is no better way of acquiring the required information and/or advice.

Ken
 

YorkshireBloke

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Hi,

Question: as a slightly experienced film user (memories of film development, printing, learning about the practice of others) what specific large format / camera movements book would you recommend I buy / borrow / read on-line as I start my journey in LF?

Robert
 

Ian Grant

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Robert, something like "Using the View Camera" Steve Simmons, or "View Camera Technique" Leslie Stroebel are the two main books on using LF.

Ian
 

David M

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Ian's suggestions are excellent.
There are many short videos on YouTube but some of them can be rather rambling. Not all of them seem quite accurate, either. As we are a tolerant group, we can call this "different experience" and it's always useful to see other ways of doing the same thing.
There is no substitute for handling your camera and actually making some mistakes for yourself, then referring to the books to discover how you made them.
You may come across libertarian advice on how to insert and re-insert the darkslide. Both Kodak and Saint AA say that white means unexposed and black means exposed. I keep the slide pulled slightly out to indicate the third possible state: empty, but there may be a better way. Dust everything obsessively.
Some photographers like to keep notes of each exposure and it's a useful thing for learning. Only you can decide if you want to continue. If you see the word "densitometer" wait until you've taken a few decent pictures before you go down that primrose path. (This is my personal view of recreational densitometry and others may offer different and better advice.)
 

Ian Grant

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You may come across libertarian advice on how to insert and re-insert the darkslide. Both Kodak and Saint AA say that white means unexposed and black means exposed. I keep the slide pulled slightly out to indicate the third possible state: empty, but there may be a better way. Dust everything obsessively.
The white side unexposed and black exposed goes back a long way, when photographers used assistants it was the only way to be sure which had been exposed, particularly where assistants were often free-lance - so it was a universal system no room for error.

I lost an image 2 years ago when someone exposed over an important image because he didn't follow the convention !!!!

Ian
 

David M

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Yes, I think it's a good thing to be rigid about this. I have read (on another forum) things like "black sounds like blank to me..."
The other compulsory thing in LF is the position of the ground glass.
And here's a pet niggle of my own. We often see questions about the placing of Fresnel screens. Both questioner and answerer may use the terms "in front" and "behind". If you are navigating with respect to the camera, these mean one thing, but if your reference is the viewer, they mean exactly the opposite. Very much less than helpful. Why not say "lens side" and "viewer side"?
 

Ian Grant

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I totally agree about how we describe the positioning of a fresnel as the terms front, back, rear, underneath etc are all ambiguous. I wrote something about changing the ground glass screen on my Crown Graphic and later adding a fresnel about 9 or 10 years ago and realised the need for an accurate description.

It doesn't help that Pacemaker Graphic screen holder frames come in two types both the same casting number, the originals were designed for just a gg screen, so you need to add a fresnel to the outside, viewing side of the gg screen and shim the fittings that hold the screens or the focus hood won't seat properly. Most later Pacemaker Graphics came with a fresnel fitted internally (lens side) and the frame castings were machined to allow for the fresnel or there would be a focus shift. Chamonix made this mistake when they first added fresnels and people using lenses at wide apertures found their images weren't sharp where they focussed, a friend was rather frustrated trying to do shallow DOF portraits.

Ian
 

alexmuir

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The Leslie Stroebel book ‘View Camera Technique’ has been reprinted and updated several times. Try to get the most recent edition. It has a very useful catalogue of cameras and lenses.
Alex


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
 

David M

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There is also Photography with Large Format Cameras by Eastman Kodak, which I think is out of print. There are several editions. As you might expect, it refers to Kodak materials but this is no particular handicap. There's plenty of information available elsewhere, if you need it.
 

Ian Grant

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Not specifically LF books but Langford's "Basic Photography" and "Advanced Photography" were all I read about using a large format camera.

Ian
 

KenS

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From personal experience, might I suggest that learning the 'mechanics' of large format camera 'handling and use' might be best acquired by 'attaching' yourself to the hip of a much practiced LF camera image maker after having appreciating some of the 'basics' from a book about large format camera use . Once you have acquired your 'Beginner's License', might I (and probably a significant number of other contributing practitioners who have signed up to this list), be allowed to suggest the names of some books about the 'art' of good/great photographs that have been published.. and still may grace the shelves of either your local library or "that BIG BOOK seller" that always seems to have "just sold the last copy of the book you want/need... but we can order one in for you"

I believe the 'mechanics' may be best learned by careful observation of the image on the ground glass and 'noting the difference' observed by the last mechanical adjustment.... the 'theory' of the how and the why graces the pages in numeral tomes, but there is a greater advantage of learning the practice of "HOW and the WHY of 'doing' at the hip of those of us who have gone through a similar experience.

The next stage will probably be the basics of the chemical development of the latent images recorded to your film, and then 'hopefully', the preservation of your images for future generations.

Ken

Ken
 

KenS

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A good idea. The books can be intimidating. Where are the nearest hips?
Forgive my weird sense of humour, but.....Look out and over into your neighbour's back yard there's got to be some de-leafed roses sticking their heads above the snow. :cool:
They are also supposed to be good for making into a 'syrup' for the 'young-uns'. (my bad!!!!)

Ken
 

YorkshireBloke

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Hi All,

Thanks again for all the input, the thread will hopefully be of use to others starting up.

I picked up a copy of the Stroebel book (3rd ed.) and got a pdf of the Simmonds introductory work.

Over many years of learning new things my way is to "bone up on books" then have a go! Not reading first doesn't work for me as I could damage something on the first outing in ignorance... Been there, done that.

So thanks again for the help so far, tomorrow my wife and I drive to North Wales to buy Jim Edge's second MPP as he has decided to move away from 5x4, allowing me to give the camera a "new career" in Yorkshire.

Lots more questions to come, I'd better keep donating to the forum running costs fund!

Robert
 

Ian Grant

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Ask Jim to give you a demonstration of using movements. It's best to start with something extreme, I've found that people learn quickly that way as it's easy to explain and understand the principles. Also how to use the preview lever on the lens - have fun :D

Ian
 

KenS

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Personally, I believe the 'best' way is to have a 'someone' more 'real' practical experience 'glued' to your hip 'under the dark-cloth' as a means of learning the 'ins and outs' of the benefits of lens (or ground glass movements) in an 'as it happens' minute. You have to actually see the results 'happening' with the lens diaphragm or.... the physical movements of either the lens or the ground- glass standards are 'adjusted' to meet your needs. For someone really 'new' to large format camera focussing or movement' 'needs. The 'results' of movements might be more readily observed in-doors with 'artificial' lighting on a 'table-top' subject rather than under a dark-cloth out-doors.

Ken
 
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