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DPChallenge Forums >> Tips, Tricks, and Q&A >> 4x5 tips?
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03/23/2009 09:29:43 PM · #1
I have my first 4x5 shoot for school on Friday and I'm pretty nervous. We just learned about the cameras today and we don't get them until tomorrow. Does anyone have any tips that I should know?
03/23/2009 10:20:45 PM · #2
Take your time. You'll spend 10x (at least) as much time doing setup and looking at the ground glass as you will shooting.

Make sure you load the film in the holders with the emulsion facing the right way.

Use a loupe on the ground glass to check focus when stopped down.

Make sure the shutter is closed before you pull the dark slide on the film holder.

Code all your film holders.

What are you shooting?
03/23/2009 10:49:07 PM · #3
Remember each shot costs a buck fiddy haha. Im jealous and cant offer any tips cause i dont have one.
03/23/2009 10:52:28 PM · #4
We're shooting the local mission/church here in Santa Barbara. The only requirements are that a) you can see the top of the church, b) you can see the bottom of the church, and c) there is no distortion of the building.

Thanks for the tips! The shutter tip sounds like a very good one to remember!
03/23/2009 10:55:29 PM · #5
Originally posted by Dan_Cottle:

Remember each shot costs a buck fiddy haha. Im jealous and cant offer any tips cause i dont have one.


We each only get three film holders. Then we need to take two identical shots, so we really only get 3 chances to pass. But as a bonus, the handful of local printers are all competing for our business, so they all are going to print this first shoot for free : ) And one shop even gave me my film holders for free too. Too bad no one's offering free cameras : )
03/23/2009 11:02:26 PM · #6
Oh that's disappointing that your not printing them yourself.. What kinda school teaches you how to use a 4x5 but doesn't show you how to print? Thats half the fun haha
03/23/2009 11:06:31 PM · #7
Originally posted by Dan_Cottle:

Oh that's disappointing that your not printing them yourself.. What kinda school teaches you how to use a 4x5 but doesn't show you how to print? Thats half the fun haha


Printing comes later! We gotta learn how to make the camera work first! : )
03/23/2009 11:15:00 PM · #8
it'll be fun to mess with the shift to make sure the building doesn't have distortion. I'm at RIT, and professors ive talked to about 4x5 here say the first thing people do wrong is they dont achieve perfect focus throughout the image because they forget the lens can tilt and get everything in focus
03/23/2009 11:22:31 PM · #9
Originally posted by geinafets:

We're shooting the local mission/church here in Santa Barbara. The only requirements are that a) you can see the top of the church, b) you can see the bottom of the church, and c) there is no distortion of the building.


So you need to take a spirit level with you, just on the off-chance the camera doesn't have them. Some do, some don't.

For distortion-free rendering of buildings, the film plane must be vertical. It's as simple as that. You set the camera up and then square it to vertical both in terms of up-down tilt and left-right tilt, and frame the building by rotating the head around the column. Then you use the rise/fall of the back standard to move the ground glass to where the building *is* in the lens circle.

If you're actually shooting an *elevation*, as o0pposed to a perspective view that shows two sides of the building, then you'll have to square the back also so it is parallel to the facade being shot, and if you're not set up dead-center from the wall you'll be shifting sideways as well, to center the building horizontally.

You need to be aware of vignetting as you shift too far off axis, and you often can't see the vignetting unless you stop the lens down, it may not be discernible at wide open aperture.

But basically, that's what you do:

1. Set up camera on tripod and point it generally at the building, while you establish where you're gonna shoot from.

2. Square up camera vertically (front-to-back tilt of tripod head).

3. Square up camera horizontally (left to right tilt of tripod head).

4. Use rise-and-fall of back standard (ground glass) and (sometimes) front standard (lens board) to slide the building into view completely.

5. Focus.

6. Close & stop down aperture & set shutter.

7. Insert film holder.

8. Remove dark slide.

9. Expose film.

10. Reinsert dark slide with black tab facing OUT to show exposed film.

11. Repeat as needed.

Have fun!

R.
03/23/2009 11:25:54 PM · #10
Originally posted by robshookphoto:

it'll be fun to mess with the shift to make sure the building doesn't have distortion. I'm at RIT, and professors ive talked to about 4x5 here say the first thing people do wrong is they dont achieve perfect focus throughout the image because they forget the lens can tilt and get everything in focus


That's a tad further down the line, LOL. First we gotta learn to use the shifts, and when we get fluent with those we start messing with the tilts for increased (or decreased) depth-of-field. You can get SO screwed up with shifts & tilts in multiple planes that you have to reset to neutral and start over again sometimes.

Unless, of course, you're working with a Sinar P view camera (like I was): these are marvels of concentric engineering that simplify the process amazingly. But of course, I learned on garden-variety Linhof cameras.

R.
03/23/2009 11:31:17 PM · #11
My version of a tiltshift lens involves an old broken 50mm and a garbage bag... lol
03/23/2009 11:33:24 PM · #12
Originally posted by Dan_Cottle:

My version of a tiltshift lens involves an old broken 50mm and a garbage bag... lol


LOL. But seriously, it ain't the LENS that tilts/shifts, it's the whole freaking camera, which is a monorail with front and back standards separately adjustable in every imaginable way, with a light-proof bellows connecting the two. Awesome creatures, these view cameras...

R.
03/23/2009 11:55:07 PM · #13
1.you will need good quality Lupe for focusing.

2.Black cloth to cover view finder .

3.Open lens to full aperture.

4.Focus roughly using the focusing knob.

5.Adjust precisely the composition while looking at the ground glass.(be prepared for upside down image on the ground glass ).

6.Focus precisely with tilts/swings. (Use lupe for focusing & stop down until the most out-of-focus parts look sharp under the lupe,I mean to say u shld go for smaller aperture & slower speed,but in outdoors one shld consider vibrations of traffic etc.Ideally F16,1/125 is good setting but depends upon lighting & subject )

7.Determine the optimal aperture. (For church shoot,i will suggest u to use hand held spot meter for reflective exposure)for 4X5 shoots exposure should be 100% accurate if u shooting on TP(slides)shoot half stop under if u r shooting on negatives then shoot half stop over.

Hope this will help you.
03/24/2009 11:16:47 AM · #14
Wow, thanks for the replies everyone! I feel a bit less nervous the more I read about this all.

I'm getting the camera in a few hours and I'm excited to play with it before the shoot!
03/24/2009 11:55:30 AM · #15
And don't forget, you will be composing your shot looking at it upside down and backwards. That takes some getting used to.
03/24/2009 11:59:20 AM · #16
Originally posted by scarbrd:

And don't forget, you will be composing your shot looking at it upside down and backwards. That takes some getting used to.


That's a funny thing. When I first started, that drove me crazy. But after about 6 months or so of using the big camera, I underwent a perceptual shift, and I actually started *seeing* the images right-side up. Made life interesting when I popped my head in and out of the dark cloth (actually with the Sinar it was a bellows with a magnifying binocular in it) and had to cope with an upside-down world for an instant as my mind changed modes...

R.
03/24/2009 12:32:35 PM · #17
The upside down thing is actually very helpful (after you get used to it)--it really seems to help break the normal view in the mind, so that you can see forms, shapes, composition a bit better. I kinda wish I could set this on my dslr sometimes :-) I read, don't know if it is true, that one of the famous guys back in the day had his 35mm viewfinder fitted with an inverter, because he liked the inverted view camera image approach so much....
03/24/2009 12:35:55 PM · #18
Originally posted by chromeydome:

The upside down thing is actually very helpful (after you get used to it)--it really seems to help break the normal view in the mind, so that you can see forms, shapes, composition a bit better. I kinda wish I could set this on my dslr sometimes :-) I read, don't know if it is true, that one of the famous guys back in the day had his 35mm viewfinder fitted with an inverter, because he liked the inverted view camera image approach so much....


I hear ya. I used to tell my students that, that the inverted image was great for forcing attention to composition at the raw level. As for the inverter, wasn't that Irving Penn? I can't remember for sure, but that rings a bell.

R.
03/24/2009 12:52:08 PM · #19
Originally posted by Bear_Music:

Originally posted by chromeydome:

The upside down thing is actually very helpful (after you get used to it)--it really seems to help break the normal view in the mind, so that you can see forms, shapes, composition a bit better. I kinda wish I could set this on my dslr sometimes :-) I read, don't know if it is true, that one of the famous guys back in the day had his 35mm viewfinder fitted with an inverter, because he liked the inverted view camera image approach so much....


I hear ya. I used to tell my students that, that the inverted image was great for forcing attention to composition at the raw level. As for the inverter, wasn't that Irving Penn? I can't remember for sure, but that rings a bell.

R.


That sounds right! I am terrible with names.

It just occurred to me that when processing some images, one could invert them first on-screen. Clearly wouldn't help at the time of capture, but might be fun to play with when an image demands cropping, etc.

What's your name again? :-)
03/24/2009 10:08:38 PM · #20
The camera has been obtained and the film has been loaded (took me forever, but I think I did it right)! Now for the actual shoot. I only get three tries, so I hope they're good!

Originally posted by sanjivdada:

if u shooting on TP(slides)shoot half stop under if u r shooting on negatives then shoot half stop over.


I just re-read this and I was wondering if you could talk some more about this. I'll be shooting slides, so I should underexpose a half stop? What does that do?

03/24/2009 11:22:13 PM · #21
Originally posted by geinafets:

The camera has been obtained and the film has been loaded (took me forever, but I think I did it right)! Now for the actual shoot. I only get three tries, so I hope they're good!

Originally posted by sanjivdada:

if u shooting on TP(slides)shoot half stop under if u r shooting on negatives then shoot half stop over.


I just re-read this and I was wondering if you could talk some more about this. I'll be shooting slides, so I should underexpose a half stop? What does that do?


With negatives, the cardinal sin is underexposure, which leaves no information in the thin (dark) areas of the image. When shooting positives (transparencies) the opposite is true, because the thin areas are the bright areas and you cannot recover from overexposure. Also, in general, colors look richer and more saturated when underexposed a tad. So, again in general, it's better to err on the underexposure side if you're shooting 4x5 transparencies.

But, of course, the ideal situation is to get it exactly right :-) It's just a matter of knowing what "right" is, and it tends to be a tad less than what the meter calls for, as a rule.

R.

Message edited by author 2009-03-24 23:23:09.
03/24/2009 11:30:17 PM · #22
If I bring my DSLR with me, would it be helpful if I used that for test shots (I don't have any polaroids), then use the same ISO/aperture/shutter speed on the 4x5? Does that translate?
03/24/2009 11:55:04 PM · #23
Originally posted by geinafets:

If I bring my DSLR with me, would it be helpful if I used that for test shots (I don't have any polaroids), then use the same ISO/aperture/shutter speed on the 4x5? Does that translate?


Up to a point that's fine, but it's probably cheating in teacher's mind? I donno... And of course you have to map the ISOs and adjust accordingly, unless your transparency material happens to match the Canon's default list (ISO 100 or 200 I guess?)

Anyway, I'm not sure how well the sensor's sensitivity maps against film's, I have never tested/experimented with this. MUCH better just to bring a proper light meter and use it accurately :-)

R.
03/27/2009 11:55:07 PM · #24
The shoot went great this morning! The only problem I had was non-film related (broken tripod--oops). The worst part is the suspense! I'm only impatient for a few things and photography is one of them. Over 24 hours to see the results! If lugging around this camera doesn't kill me, waiting to see the developed film just might : )

Thanks again for all your help!
03/30/2009 02:17:57 AM · #25
Howz the final result ...no inputs on that ;-)
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