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Medium Format & Large Format Cameras Digital and Film.

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  #1  
Old June 1st, 2011, 02:56 AM
Dawid Loubser Dawid Loubser is offline
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Default Twice bitten, not shy (LF)

Some photographs want to be made, and I have had the most incredible luck making this one. I was on the beach when visiting family in the Cape, bag with my ole' Linhof Technika over my shoulder. A single unexposed sheet of HP5+ film left (I know, this sounds so clichéd, but...)

It was mildly windy, and this little moth flew right past me, and sat in a bush (a variety of Fynbos that grows right onto the beach). Sitting still on the swaying small branch, it was just asking to be photographed. I only had my 1950s, single-coated 150mm Symmar lens with me, but I set up the camera, composing the following 1:1 Macro of the little moth. Focusing on the swaying little moth was tricky (every two seconds or so, it was in focus) but I was amazed at how pleasant it is to be able to tilt the focus plane in Macro work to get the subject in focus (I have never done a LF macro before). I had to shoot at wide open aperture, and push the film to ISO1600 to freeze the motion in the dark-ish underbush. I slid in a film holder, held my breath, timed the subtle swaying of the branch to where it was when I focused, and fired the shutter, hoping for the best.

The moth sat there for about 10 minutes afterwards, and then flew away. The (large-ish) print from this against-all-odds negatives is my all-time favourite darkroom print (to date) - what do you think?

Twice bitten, not shy

(Linhof Technika V, 150mm Schneider Convertible Symmar at f/5.6, Ilford HP5+ @ ISO1600 in undiluted D76 developer)

Lessons I learnt:
  • You don't need a macro lens when you have a huge sheet of film
  • You'd need a 40mm f/1.4 diffraction-limited tilt+shift Macro to duplicate this look in 35mm in anyway
  • HP5 pushed to ISO1600 in large format looks better than Ilford Pan F @ ISO32 in 35mm
  • Always take the chances you are compelled to take - they will work out when you do your best
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  #2  
Old June 1st, 2011, 03:04 AM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
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This is a treasure, Dawid!

There's such a lightness to the picture as if the moth is hovering. Those round berries/seed-pods balance out the picture very well.

Did you have a tripod with you?

Who cares about grain in a giant piece of 4x5 film, it simply is not important! I love that you used HP5 since that's what I just stocked up on and knowing you could push it to ISO 1600 and get such a wonderful result gives me hope for low light work!

This is my last picture to look at before going to sleep! I'm happy to have seen it!

Asher
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  #3  
Old June 1st, 2011, 03:15 AM
Dawid Loubser Dawid Loubser is offline
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Glad you enjoyed it, Asher! Yes, I never carry my Linhof without a tripod slung over my back, there would simply be no point :-)

Except for the rare occasion of use Ilford Technical Line Film at ISO6, I shoot HP5 almost exclusively in large format, it's simply the mot flexible film with the highest dynamic range for the format, especially if one has to stop motion. You will have an absolute ball with it in 8x10in, I assure you :-)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Asher Kelman View Post
This is a treasure, Dawid!

There's such a lightness to the picture as if the moth is hovering. Those round berries/seed-pods balance out the picture very well.

Did you have a tripod with you?

Who cares about grain in a giant piece of 4x5 film, it simply is not important! I love that you used HP5 since that's what I just stocked up on and knowing you could push it to ISO 1600 and get such a wonderful result gives me hope for low light work!

This is my last picture to look at before going to sleep! I'm happy to have seen it!

Asher
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  #4  
Old June 1st, 2011, 04:01 AM
Sandrine Bascouert Sandrine Bascouert is offline
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I really don't know what to say except that it's just beautiful. It doesn't help that much I know.... :)
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  #5  
Old June 1st, 2011, 07:12 AM
Jim Galli Jim Galli is offline
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Oh Yeah!! Gorgeous. Infectious. Brute force tonality. Did you use some sort of stand development? Curious because of how lovely the grain is, even with push dev.

Bravo!
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  #6  
Old June 1st, 2011, 09:17 AM
Dawid Loubser Dawid Loubser is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Galli View Post
Oh Yeah!! Gorgeous. Infectious. Brute force tonality. Did you use some sort of stand development? Curious because of how lovely the grain is, even with push dev.

Bravo!
Thanks Jim, coming from you that is a real compliment (you know about smooth tones with your larger format contact prints...)

Nope, standard development in undiluted D76 in a Kodak Rubber Tank on a steel hanger. I guess when you have twelve times the area of 35mm, grain really doesn't matter much... I am so glad I did this experiment, I now do not have the slightest hesitation to push HP5+ to ISO1600 even for extremely critical (whatever that means in the context of art, in anyway) work.

When one considers the entire image, this beats the pants off digital (any digital)for high ISO, which is a very curious thing for any film-based setup to be able to do. Even MF backs have a lot of noise at ISO1600, and often subtle banding.
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  #7  
Old June 1st, 2011, 01:46 PM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
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Dawid,

I really enjoy not having to think of what size anything might be made in LF as one can do anything one wishes beyond MF with hardly any limits. Being able to push a great B&W film to 1600 like this means that there's far still more latitude to test.

What conditions of time, temp and agitation did you use?

Also scanning without fluid mounting is so effective at this size, at east!

Asher
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  #8  
Old June 1st, 2011, 06:49 PM
Rachel Foster Rachel Foster is offline
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B&W was a superb choice!
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  #9  
Old June 1st, 2011, 11:37 PM
Dawid Loubser Dawid Loubser is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rachel Foster View Post
B&W was a superb choice!
Thanks Rachel! Since I didn't (and still don't) have anything else in 4x5in, it was not a "choice" per se, but then again, in my opinion, B&W is a superb choice for most photographs :-)
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  #10  
Old July 5th, 2011, 06:37 PM
Geoff Goldberg Geoff Goldberg is offline
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Really a lovely shot. Makes us all realize (remember?) what we used to do with film and you have done so exceptionally well here. Congrats!
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  #11  
Old July 6th, 2011, 01:06 AM
Bart_van_der_Wolf Bart_van_der_Wolf is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dawid Loubser View Post
The (large-ish) print from this against-all-odds negatives is my all-time favourite darkroom print (to date) - what do you think?
Hi Dawid,

I like the tonality. Is it a scan of the print, or did you scan the negative?

Quote:
Lessons I learnt:
  • You don't need a macro lens when you have a huge sheet of film
  • You'd need a 40mm f/1.4 diffraction-limited tilt+shift Macro to duplicate this look in 35mm in anyway
  • HP5 pushed to ISO1600 in large format looks better than Ilford Pan F @ ISO32 in 35mm
  • Always take the chances you are compelled to take - they will work out when you do your best
BTW, you mention Linhoff Technica V, but isn't the Super Technica V a 6.5x9cm film camera? If we're talking about the same camera, then a 35mm equivalent setup would have required a 55-60mm lens at f/2. The tilt and shift capability of the Technica would be an obvious benefit for Macro photography, but one could use a 45mm T/S lens with extention tube(s) on a 35mm camera for a similar effect. A 25mm extension tube gives an approx. 0.8x magnification factor. Just to put things into perspective for people with a 35mm perspective on things, and who might be inspired by your image to try something similar.

I agree with your lesson about seizing the opportunities, however unlikely success might look at first. If you don't try it, you'll never know.

Cheers,
Bart
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  #12  
Old July 6th, 2011, 03:11 AM
Dawid Loubser Dawid Loubser is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bart_van_der_Wolf View Post
Hi Dawid,

I like the tonality. Is it a scan of the print, or did you scan the negative?
Thanks, Bart. It's a scan of a silver-gelatin print.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bart_van_der_Wolf View Post
BTW, you mention Linhoff Technica V, but isn't the Super Technica V a 6.5x9cm film camera? If we're talking about the same camera, then a 35mm equivalent setup would have required a 55-60mm lens at f/2. The tilt and shift capability of the Technica would be an obvious benefit for Macro photography, but one could use a 45mm T/S lens with extention tube(s) on a 35mm camera for a similar effect. A 25mm extension tube gives an approx. 0.8x magnification factor. Just to put things into perspective for people with a 35mm perspective on things, and who might be inspired by your image to try something similar.
No - A Linhof Super Technika (medium format) is a completely different camera to a Linhof Technika (large format, which I use). This is indeed on 4x5in sheet film. Medium format pushed to ISO1600 would not look quite this grainless. So my equivalency statement holds - you'd need a basically diffraction-limited tilf+shift 40mm f/1.4 to do this in 35mm. Of course, a 45mm Tilt+Shift f/2.8 on extension tubes would come close-ish, but that lens is not optimised for high magnification, whereas symmetrical LF lenses fare extremely well, even at 1:1. Anyway, I am by no means saying this is the only way to achieve a result like this, but I think that it would be extremely difficult to do so with the same quality, using smaller formats. Carefully composed and focused images with the utmost image quality is, after all, the domain of large-format cameras - they excel at this.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bart_van_der_Wolf View Post
I agree with your lesson about seizing the opportunities, however unlikely success might look at first. If you don't try it, you'll never know.

Cheers,
Bart
Indeed, and the thrill of not knowing! Precisely what a professional doesn't want, but precisely what an excited hobbiest does...
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  #13  
Old July 6th, 2011, 03:30 AM
Bart_van_der_Wolf Bart_van_der_Wolf is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dawid Loubser View Post
No - A Linhof Super Technika (medium format) is a completely different camera to a Linhof Technika (large format, which I use). This is indeed on 4x5in sheet film. Medium format pushed to ISO1600 would not look quite this grainless.
I see, I didn't know there was a Technika V, I thought the Technika Master was the only one. In any case, 4x5inch does give much more leaway for higher ISO film, and D76 doesn't hurt either ...

Cheers,
Bart
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  #14  
Old July 6th, 2011, 09:27 AM
Ruben Alfu Ruben Alfu is offline
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Hi Dawid,

Regarding the beauty of the photo, I can only second what has already been said. This is a special reward for the passion and dedication of any photographer. Congratulations!

Ruben
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  #15  
Old July 7th, 2011, 12:51 AM
Dawid Loubser Dawid Loubser is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruben Alfu View Post
Hi Dawid,

Regarding the beauty of the photo, I can only second what has already been said. This is a special reward for the passion and dedication of any photographer. Congratulations!

Ruben
Thank you kindly, Ruben. When I switched mediums about three years ago, I was hoping to achieve great results after about two years of intense practice and experimentation, and it is indeed a great reward for me to start producing work of the quality that I was hoping to achieve.

There is no going back for me now... I have been shooting 4x5in sheet film for about a year, with only two lenses (standard, and tele). I certainly like the format (and process) enough to, at some stage, start making the investment of a really good wide-angle lens also. Then I will be all set :)
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