Large is one of the formats


Over the last 200 years, there have been countless variations on the basic premise of a light-tight box. Some of these are now obsolete. Discontinuation of specific film formats is one reason. But many more remain usable. That is one of the joys of shooting film: there is so much on offer. So, whether you opt for a large-format brass field camera, a fully manual camera, a high-end 35mm SLR, or something in between, there is plenty to choose from.

Talking of large format with their bellows, ground-glass screens, and use of single sheets of the film instead of rolls, that are the dinosaur that existed since the dawn of photography. There is no one "large format camera," you can still find: 5x4 (the most accessible format) followed by 10x8.



Everything about large-format photography is slow, and cumbersome, making a tripod mandatory. That's just the start of the inconveniences: images are viewed upside down and back to front on the ground-glass screen. Film-holders are tricky to load. Cocking and closing your lenses to prevent accidental from exposing is another issue. Cost of a sheet of film is high, and you might wonder why anyone would bother. 

However, the flip side of all this is that large format makes you think ahead and work harder than any other film format. Because the effort and cost invested, it is quite significant that every photograph naturally has great importance. This, in turn, makes you pay more attention to what and why you are making a photograph. Large-format photography is not for any immediately available photograph. It will force you to become a more thinking photographer.