Large Format Photography
This page contains images taken with a large format camera.
What is a large format camera and why it is used? You have seen large format cameras before in the old movies... those clumsy boxes with bellows... In fact there used to be only large format cameras. Later they were substituted with small and convenient 35mm cameras and now with digital cameras. Why some crazy people still use them nowadays? One reason is photographic resolution. There are two limitations for resolution. On one hand it is the size of the grain on photographic films or pixels of the CCD in digital cameras. On the other hand there are certain optical limitations. A simple way to improve the resolution is to increase the physical media size (film or CCD). See, for example, these images of Moscow Kremlin or Eiffel tower. For comparison of 4x5 and 35mm SLR click on this link: Arctic lake.
There are three major formats of LF cameras: 4x5, 5x7, and 8x10 inches. 8x10 will produce the best resolution, but it is too bulky for traveling. I admire people who make 8x10 landscapes.
I use a 4x5 camera. It is not much larger and heavier than a contemporary professional dSLR. In fact, LF lenses are usually even smaller. However, 4x5 inch sheet film is very bulky, so I cannot make as many pictures as with 35mm or digital camera. However, I usually carry 6x12cm and 6x17cm panoramic filmbacks that can be attached to the same camera. With these filmbacks I can use 6cm wide medium format film that is much easier to carry and change. Besides film size complications, it takes a long time to set up a LF camera. Action photography becomes virtually impossible. Speed of setting up the camera can be very important even when shooting landscapes in rapidly changing light conditions e.g clouds, sunset. However, despite all troubles, pictures taken with large format camera are so realistic and detailed, that looking at them makes you feel that you are there. Another advantage of large format cameras is that most of them allow additional control over the image by changing relative positions and angle between the lens and the film.
For more information see: www.largeformatphotography.info; large format photography forum at www.photo.net; and www.f32.net.