First steps in large format

As told in my former post, here come the first images done with a pre-anniversary Speed Graphic and a Schneider Super Angulon 90mm f8:

Ta Som, Angkor, Graflex & 90mm-f32, Delta 100 & FX39

Another one with a decent light (5 mn sunlight before the daily monsoon storm…)

Preah Khan, Angkor, Graflex & 90mm-f32, Delta 100 & FX39

As stated before, before I took the decision to enter the large format “madness”, I read a lot, especially

It convinced me that, while on a budget (this time I didn’t sell my other gear), one could buy a vintage (1936) camera and a used coated lens (manufatured in the 70’s) and produce breathtaking results, at least technically. I haven’t forgotten that a good photographer with a crappy camera can produce stunning pictures, while the other way around, a fool with the best gears ever manufactured will still shoot crap. This is why I struggle to improve my skills, but having a LF camera kind of motivates me while it forces me to slow down. And that’s a good thing in my opinion, even if it keeps you from taking some pictures.

I won’t mess with “is it better than the top digital cameras + top lenses?“.

What matters is how I enjoy the 15mn I need to set it up, how it forces me to go back to the basics, and how pleased I will be if one day I shoot a photo I love, it will be stored on an amazing media.

So, how come it’s the cheapest kit I ever bought?

  • Speed graphic pre anniversary + 1936 135mm Zeiss: 130 Euros
  • 5 film holders: 100$
  • Schneider 90mm f8 (Biogon “like”) with shutter: 250 Euros

My bare FM2 cost me 600 Euros back in 2002, My bare F100 800 Euros, My bare D300 1000 Euros, same price for my Hasselblad kit.

My LF gear cost me less than 500 euros. And I get 4″x5″ (-;

I know I have to pay big bucks for film, but B&W is rather cheap (less than 0,7 Euros a sheet) and I process it myself. And as I already mentioned it, LF is a slow process, I shot 12 scenes (with backups on Portra just in case) while staying one week at Angkor. All in all 24 sheets for a trip. Quite furgal isn’t it? The 12 were exposed OK and sharp. And 8 out of 12 were “keepers”.

You may see for yourself:

In the next post I’ll deal with the detail I manage to squeeze out of film sheets with and “OK” flatbed scanner. Stay tuned!


About dreamlenses

Amateur photographer, seeking for photo gear (no matter film or digital) that keeps me from flare and distortion!
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