The 50mm Lens

Last weekend while recording the podcast with Cody and Thomas, we were discussing 50mm lenses and our love of them. I knew I owned a bunch of different ones over the years, but didn't realize how many until I started counting them off. Holy crap - I have issues I think. I can't believe the number of 50's I have purchased in the last 10 years (give or take).

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Format Reflections

I was scrolling through my library last night, looking at images I have captured with various film stocks, cameras, mediums and so on. I decided to pull an image from each format I have used as ones representing my "highlight" shots from them. Maybe not the most technically sound images, or the perfect everything - but if I could show one image from that format and how I feel it should be represented, these are my results and why.

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Chamonix 45n-2 Review (Large Format)

Behold the Chamonix 45n-2. After just a few rolls last December on the Graflex Century Grafic (a 2x3 view camera) I was hooked on movements and wanted to progress to the real thing (proper 4x5 view camera). I was working on a 6-month plan to get there. Then I went to play with Johnny and Rebecca this winter in the darkroom and I knew it was time to make the jump to large format. I had been secretly researching large format view cameras for about 6 months and knew I was leaning towards a wood-framed bodies. Functionally, view cameras all do the same basic things. Some have more movements, some have less. But in a nutshell, they are nothing more than a light tight box to carry light from your glass to your sheet of film. Money is well spent in a great lens and a holder that keeps the sheet perfectly flat.

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Pulling Ilford HP5 Plus

Ilford HP5 Plus 400 (4x5) is very new to me, but I have heard how well it works with portrait work and how nicely you can push and pull it. This weekend I wanted to put it to the test by shooting a situation where I would need to pull it in development. I ended up shooting a few situations (just three different shots) and developed each sheet differently (ranging from n-0 to n-2 development times), but this turned out to be my favorite example.

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Large Format View Camera Movements

To continue with my adventure into large format photography I will be stepping into the camera movements. I plan to keep this post in practical language, not technical mathematical proofs as those are plentiful on the web. I do want to dig a little into the Scheimpflug Principle and how I use it to guess-and-adjust my focus, but again, I'm not getting nerdy with it. Various large format cameras have various movements. Usually, the studio ones tend to have em all while the others have a selection. It's something to consider if you're in the market for a body. For my Chamonix 45n-2, I selected it based on all the movements on the front standard and the tilt and swing of the rear standard (no rear shift). For the style I shoot, this was meeting my demands. Some cameras will have more or less, depending. What you choose is ultimately dictated by what you're really trying to accomplish.

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Zone Metering with the Pentax V Spot Meter

Zone Metering was a technique made famous by Ansel Adams and Fred Archer. It's fairly new to me, so I am using it in a very simple format which I'll go over here. I plan to update this post as I learn to use it better. This will be the most basic overview possible to reflect the minimal extent to which I am using the system. We'll call it overly simplified.

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