Monthly Archives: March 2014

Who in their right mind would shoot 4×5 film with a view camera when digital is so much easier?

Well as far as I now I’m in my right mind so why am I shooting 4×5 film? The same reason that a dog licks his balls. Because “he can” ! In this case I’m shooting B&W film because I can and I like it!

Several months ago I latched on to a 4×5 Cambo view camera with a 210 lens.

Cambo 4x5 view camera with 210mm lens

Cambo 4×5 view camera 


i couldn’t pass this up. $400 for camera, case, 2 lenses ( 90mm and 210mm), a bunch of 4×5 holders, light meter, bag bellows, and polaroid adapter which is pretty much unusable do to a lack of film availability.

So lets compare for a second, a digital verses 4×5 film image:  The 4×5 image shot on Arista 200 film  was developed in Ilford Ilfosol 3. The film was scanned with an Epson 700v scanner and colored in photoshop. Guess which one is digital.


sunkistB- 1 hour anfd30 minutes of time invested


sunkistA- one minute and 20 seconds of time invested

If you guessed sunkistA then you identified the digiital camera file.


Initially I invested $400 but that began to grow. I needed to develop these images so I checked out the  view camera store at 

They sold a product called the BTZS 4×5 B&W Film Tube Kit which was ideal for processing 4×5 film.

Kit for processing 4x5 film

Kit for processing 4×5 film

This kit sells for $165 and is well worth it.

I also utilized an app called Massive Development Chart. This app gives you information concerning any possible combination of flim and developer that you could even imagine plus the app walks you through the processing steps with a development timer. .

Due to the cold weather I’ve stayed in the studio for my view camera photography at this point.

So isn’t it a lot easier to shoot with digital. Yes, it is but there is nothing like handling the film and processing it. There is always something magic about seeing you image come up after development. You have to be precise. Even taking the the picture has a number of steps.

1. compose the image with aperture wide open.

2. take a light meter reading

3. stop down your aperture and set shutter speed based on the meter reading

4. slip your 4×5 holder into place

4. Cock the shutter

5. Pull out the dark slide from the 4×5 holder

6. using a cable release trip the shutter.

7. slide dark slide back in place into the 4×5 holder.

On top of that you need to load the film holders with film in total darkness. The film has notches on it to indicate which side the emulsion is on. Put the film in backwards and, well, you have no photo. Screw up one step and you have no usable image.

Then you have to develop the film and make sure the temperature is right and the processing times are correct.

As you can see THIS IS A LOT MORE FUN!

Below are some examples a the images I produced with my view camera:

Liberty because of the 2nd ammendment

Liberty because of the 2nd amendment

lead trumps silver

lead trumps silver

successful hunt

successful hunt


repica navy revolver civil war vintage

replica navy revolver civil war vintage