I wanted to share an overview of a large format camera system and how it is assembled. In this video I cover my Ebony 4x5 system as well as my Shen Hao 6x17 panoramic 120 roll film back.
The view camera. Quite possibly the simplest design in camera systems, yet one of the most difficult to work with. The 4x5 format was my first step back into the world of film following a nine year hiatus in the digital world . I have a deep appreciation for the large format medium and the utmost respect for the masters of this craft. Now four years into my journey with large format film, I finally feel that I am coming into my own as a large format shooter. Large format more than any other, really requires the photographer to slow down the process of making images. it requires a great deal of visualization to take place before the shutter can be clicked and initiates a very selective process when it comes to deciding whether or not to make an exposure. Challenging though it may be, I find it extremely gratifying and rewarding to work with this system. its heavy, time consuming to set up, challenging to compose an image with, and difficult to re-position once set up. However when it all comes together there is hardly a camera system or image sensor that can beat the results. My decision to go back to film and to work with a 4x5 view camera system was really the beginning of my transformation toward becoming a better photographer. it required me to really be present with what I was doing rather than just point and shoot. It helped me to develop the ability to visualize the final image and wait for the right moment to make my exposure. Most importantly it saved my relationship with the art which I love so dearly. I have made a commitment to work with film and camera systems that require me to put a great deal of thought into the process of image making and though I have begun to move more into a medium format system, I will continue my romance with the view camera as long as I can still purchase sheet film for it.