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Using a large format 4x5 camera

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Thread started 05 Apr 2012 (Thursday) 17:59   
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TheBrick3
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I saw a job listing that requires use of a "using a 4x5 view camera with a digital scan back." Is that any different than a regular DSLR? You just figure out exposure, right? Is this camera likely to be digital or more likely to be film?

I think I have really strong portfolios on my website (linked below) and I feel like I understand photography really well, so I can't think of any reason I wouldn't be able to figure it out. But I wanted to ask to see if I am missing something.

Post #1, Apr 05, 2012 17:59:24


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theatrus
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There are a lot of differences.

Its a scan back. Your subject better be still.

Its a view camera - tilt and shift is built in, and focus is a whole other experience.

Photographic principles of course apply, and exposure is similar. But be prepared to meter using a handheld light meter on the scene.

Post #2, Apr 05, 2012 18:13:13


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Higgs ­ Boson
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Better change the word adapt to adept in your About section if you want the job....

Post #3, Apr 05, 2012 18:20:19


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borealis
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No reason you can't figure it out, but it would take a certain amount of practice and study to gain familiarity with using the gear.

Trust me, you don't want to be a GWVC...

Post #4, Apr 05, 2012 18:30:06


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TheBrick3
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theatrus wrote in post #14216644external link
There are a lot of differences.

Its a scan back. Your subject better be still.

Its a view camera - tilt and shift is built in, and focus is a whole other experience.

Photographic principles of course apply, and exposure is similar. But be prepared to meter using a handheld light meter on the scene.

Thanks. The subject would be still. Does it shoot to a memory card or to film?

Post #5, Apr 05, 2012 18:36:54


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whtrbt7
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Whoa large format 4x5 with digital scan back. This definitely doesn't sound like a DSLR. From what you describe, basically they want a large format 4x5 camera like a Sinar X with a digital scan back which is like an analog to digital scanner to convert light into a digital photo. I'm guessing this is for a billboard or something?

Post #6, Apr 05, 2012 18:41:34 as a reply to borealis's post 11 minutes earlier.




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TheBrick3
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It's archival photography of books. It's a permanent full-time job.

Post #7, Apr 05, 2012 18:46:19


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crn3371
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Is this something you'd be trained on, or are they expecting you to be competent with it from the get go? I would think a setup like that would take some skills to master. Kind of like seeing an ad for a big rig driver and saying to yourself "I know how to drive a car, what's the big deal".

Post #8, Apr 05, 2012 18:50:17




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whtrbt7
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I've only seen a single setup with a scan back (didn't know what it was at the time) and it was connected via parallel port to a PC. Files are supposedly huge from what I looked up. Somewhere in the hundreds of MB to GB ranges. Must be some really nice books. Are they providing the equipment?

Post #9, Apr 05, 2012 18:51:00




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flowrider
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Very different. You also have to account for bellows length in your exposure calculations, if you tilt or shift the lens you need to account for light fall off, and finally there's no AF (break out he magnifying loupe!).

Depending on the type of back you may also have to stitch frames together.

Post #10, Apr 05, 2012 18:55:23


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gotaudi
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crn3371 wrote in post #14216817external link
Kind of like seeing an ad for a big rig driver and saying to yourself "I know how to drive a car, what's the big deal".

First thing I thought of, great analogy

Post #11, Apr 05, 2012 19:05:40




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TheBrick3
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whtrbt7 wrote in post #14216818external link
I've only seen a single setup with a scan back (didn't know what it was at the time) and it was connected via parallel port to a PC. Files are supposedly huge from what I looked up. Somewhere in the hundreds of MB to GB ranges. Must be some really nice books. Are they providing the equipment?

Yeah, I think they would be. It's a museum near where I grew up and that museum is a pretty big deal. Between the responses to this thread and looking on the Internet (here's a 20 step guide if anyone's interestedexternal link) is does seem like a substantial learning curve.

I don't think the analogy about car driving is applicable since almost anyone has the ability to drive a car but not everyone is highly skilled at photography. I think it's more like a computer programmer saying they could figure out another programming language pretty quickly.

But they do require an unspecified amount of experience in operating a large format camera along with other less specific photography experience so it's probably not something which would work out. That's a shame, because for sentimental reasons it would be perfect for me.

Post #12, Apr 05, 2012 19:10:43


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redneckwes
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If you've never used one, I don't think you are just going to pick up a 4X5 and start taking pictures.

I had an entire semester of large format, and I think I'd still want a couple of days to get back in the groove before I had to show anyone my work.

Post #13, Apr 05, 2012 19:25:05




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AJSJones
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It's just a big point and shoot! You'll have control over lighting while framing uses a huuuuuuge viewfinder (4x5 inches). Liitle need for tilts swings shifts rise and fall if it's flat copy. If it's a Better Light back, a few test scane will optimize the exposure and off you go!

Post #14, Apr 06, 2012 03:43:11


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themomopan
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Completely different. I shoot 4x5 BW negs on a daily basis and I have to tell you, it's a pain in the ass. If you regularly use a DSLR, you'll need some pretty extensive training to use a 4x5. It's not as easy as it sounds. You have to measure bellows, buy a light meter with a pretty penny, and a tripod that can hold 15 pounds.

Post #15, Apr 06, 2012 03:50:37 as a reply to AJSJones's post 7 minutes earlier.


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