Introduction to Large Format CamerasContinuing on in our film series, we have an introduction to Large Format cameras...
|2x3 Century Graphic, folding camera|
|8x10 Tachihara wood (cherry) field, folding camera|
For something a little more heavy duty or for studio use, a monorail camera is your best choice. Although more cumbersome, these types of cameras feature more movements or adjustments. A basic 4x5 Calumet, Cambo, Toyo, or Horseman camera are good choices. More expensive view cameras have more precise gear driven movements, and are generally part of a system of accessories.
|4x5 Cambo Wide|
If you're wondering why someone would want to shoot large format, the larger negative makes a world of difference. The large negative or transparency has a much higher resolution and will produce a very large and sharp print (4x5 is 16 times larger than 35mm -24x36). You can also make a contact print for artistic or alternative processes, which is still large enough to view without enlarging or magnifying. Perspective control is also one of the neatest things a view camera has the ability to do. You can increase or decrease the depth of field with the swings and tilts (the Scheimpflug principle), or correct convergence with the front and rear standard.
|4x5 Horseman, monorail type|
|4x5 Toyo View|
Large format film comes in individual sheets, whether you're shooting negative, positive, or instant peel-apart film. You can purchase these films from professional photo suppliers and labs, as well as having them process the film for you. Or, for black and white film, you might want to try processing it yourself. Tray processing is easy, but so is scratching the film, and you are also standing in the dark for the whole process. Tank processing is good, but uses lots of chemistry. Rotary drum processing works very well and uses a small amount of chemistry. Read more about where to buy and develop film here.
|5x7 Linhoff Tech, folding camera|
|a large format lens and shutter|
|a lens board to attach lens to camera body|
|4x5 film holders|
* To find large format cameras and accessories, visit KEH.com
* Tilt-shift options
* 4x5 Leonardo Pinhole Camera
* Repurposing- LF film holder to photo frame