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Saturday, 06 July 2019


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Am I the only one who sees the incongruity when a group proudly proclaims itself to be "more about images than showing others your equipment" and then restricts its membership to only those who use certain preferred types of cameras?

I use both technical and view cameras for the majority of my photography, but because they are of the medium-format and digital variety, instead of large-format and film, I'm considered a pariah by most groups and am not welcomed by very many.

Which isn't the end of the world, of course, because I'm not much into the social aspects of photography.

But even so, remaining narrow-minded and exclusive instead of open-minded and inclusive strikes me as being a wrong-headed approach at a time when the public's interest in cameras of all types (except those that can also make phone calls, play games, and surf the 'net) is experiencing an increasingly steep decline...

Like Richard I belong to some FB Large Format groups. In addition to that MF, Darkroom and Film FB groups. Way better signal to noise ration than some of the traditional online web forums I have belonged to. I like that on FB it's more about the image than equipment.

@JG re: FB memberships. I don't run any of the LF FB groups, but I suspect one problem is with FB spammers. FB group admin would typically receive hundreds of join requests a week.

However, to be honest, I do not see why there are (at least) three LF groups. Some photogs would just post the same photo on all three groups, which honestly, gets tedious.

There is a long running forum at


lots of pictures online. Some areas restricted to LF, but there are open to all areas also.

YouTube is the place to go for Large Format - there are hundreds of channels, but my favorites are Ben Horne, Nicolas Llasera in Bilbao Spain, and Alan Brock. Young, enthusiastic guys, for whom the outdoor life is as important as the photography.

Inspired by Nicolas Llasera I bought a Cambo 4x5, and I gotta say I have never had as much fun with photography in my entire life.

"Tri Tran Signature Fine Art Lens"

Well, that's interesting, ". . .a single meniscus lens . . ." of about 62 mm for $1,000-1,500, plus about $1,000 for a diaphragm and a tube to hold them.

Single meniscus lenses in that focal length range are commonly sold as a close-up lenses or filters, for waaaayyy less money.

One may, of course, vary the surface powers (radii) of the two surfaces. And, indeed, measuring the powers of a couple of different brands shows different choices.

One may also vary glass index of diffraction, with appropriate surface radii changes to maintain focal length. But I wonder how much this might change the image. I suspect very little.

"Modern lens design and glass formulation allow optimum performance of this Soft Focus Meniscus Lens to be dialed in by precisely controlling the levels of Chromatic Aberration and Spherical Distortion present."

How does one do that with a single element lens? With two spherical surfaces and one index of refraction?

High end coatings are also possible, but does one want that in a lens intended to come close to the uncoated lenses of yore? There is no mention of coatings in the descriptions.

Had I an 8"x10" camera, I'd be trying out my #2 and #3 67 mm C-U lenses.

I have various single element lenses for FF, among them a SIMA Soft Focus 100/2.

Click on image for a larger version.

I'm in the "Film and Conventional" subsection of the Talk Photography (mostly but not exclusively UK-based) Forum, and we have a fair number of members practising LF photography, in most cases not exclusively. We even have social meets and get-togethers.

The blighters somehow persuaded me to buy a 4x5 camera and all the gubbins. Since purchase, I've taken a few hundred 135 film shots... and 6 Large Format!

My intention was to learn to _really_ slow down and take my time about compositions, learn to use movements etc. It turns out my nature is to "work the scene": identify a composition, refine it slightly, take the shot, look for another angle, move on! I'm still hoping I can reform, though (;-)...

Thanks, Mike. I also enjoyed reading that posting from Jody Forster regarding the tribulations of using a K.B. Canham 5x7 camera near the summit of 12,000' Mt Erebus in Antarctica.

I'm very glad to know that your operation and additional rest time has been successful. Go easy on yourself.

The description says "This group is more about images than showing others your equipment," and is strictly limited to 4x5 and up.

However one enjoys photography is fine with me. But let’s be honest: this is all about the ancient equipment and techniques being used, whether or not it’s shown. You can bet every one of these guys has plenty of photos of their cameras!

Quite an interesting Facebook. Never thought of that channel. Still subscribe to photo a tree lf forum. But forum somehow not that interactive. Can’t like it :-)

tech talk stunts your growth

In Acadia National Park the other day, I ran into a middle-aged gentleman shooting hand-held with his Linhof Master Technika. We had a pleasant conversation about the state of LF in this day and age.

after some pictures of mine from the 2004 Olympics won a World Press Photo prize ... I was tracked down by a Dutch pro photog who wanted to know how I shot the pictures (Speed Graphic & Aero Ektar 7" f/2.5 lens) - he loved it, made his own version of my camera (which was briefly called the "Burnett Combo") ... and when it got to be too much to manage, he moved the group to a Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/DancingwithSpeeds/
we have nearly 900 followers, many of whom make some great images with this slightly aging combination... there is a lot of interest in these antiquitarian photo goodies... and rightfully so@!

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