Large Format Photography

How’s this for an example of the evolution of photography. On the left is an image taken with a Sinar 8 X 10 studio view camera and on the right is an iPhone 8.  


I used to love shooting with my Sinar. I had an 8 X 10 model that also had a 4 X 5 back that I could switch to when shooting “small” format. With the 8 X 10 the standard lens was a 300mm and for the 4 X 5 I used 3 lenses, a 210mm short telephoto, 150mm normal, and a 90mm wide angle. The controls on a Sinar are so precise it is like using a medical device. Photographing with a view camera makes you use different switches and gears in your head. The image is upside down and reversed and you hold a dark cloth over your head to see the image and focus. A small lupe is held up to the ground glass for focusing. Quite different to the autofocus cameras of today. The sheets of film were loaded in complete darkness into the film holders. The film had notches that had to go into the correct corner to ensure the film was loaded properly. When I started in the studio we had hot lights so I had to deal with long exposures and I had to use gels to correct the lights to the film color balance. Later I switched to Broncolor studio lights which made life a lot easier. Shooting large format cameras in the studio is a lot of work. High end product work is difficult but can be creatively and financially rewarding. I do miss the old days of photography. I have so much knowledge from this era that has little use today. I would love to shoot or teach how to use Sinar cameras but there seems to be little demand for this kind of work. Not every aspect of film photography was the best especially when considering the cost, quality and time when compared with the digital workflow but I still miss those days.