Giant Format Images: Is It Price Getting Into?


It’s correctly tough to overstate how a lot completely different giant format pictures is in contrast with 35mm or 120 movie, a lot much less digital. Is it value it?I’m on no account an knowledgeable in giant format pictures — I’ve been borrowing an outdated press digicam from a buddy and have been working my means by a number of packing containers of 4×5 sheets after having him present me the ropes together with his a lot nicer discipline digicam. Although I’m not an knowledgeable, I’ve been seeking to put money into a 4×5 digicam and all the issues which might be wanted together with it after having had sufficient expertise to really feel snug taking pictures it and sufficient to see worth in it.


The precise price of the digicam and lens is definitely not that unhealthy in contrast with medium format. At a store in Pheonix, AZ I visited the opposite weekend I noticed two of the cleanest press cameras I’ve ever seen and so they, with accompanying lenses, price a cool $399. (In contrast with the cheapest option at B&H costing greater than $2,000) That stated, if $400 was all it took to be totally vested, I’d already be knee deep into it. In reality, the digicam is however step one. More often than not, the cameras are usually not offered with a lens so proper there you’re including not less than $100 or extra. Then there’s the price of the movie holders… Maybe what makes giant format pictures most distinct from the opposite codecs is the necessity for movie holders. Certainly, with giant format you shoot by sheets slightly than rolls. Classic holders used could possibly be had for round $10 a holder however a brand new set of 2 Toyo holders is $150.

Then you definately get to the movie… the price of movie is the place it begins including up and quick. For one, in case you’re taking pictures C-41 or E-6 and don’t have a strategy to develop them at dwelling, you’re not less than $four a sheet to mail it in. The most cost effective scans I’ve ever discovered are nonetheless $5 for something first rate — if you’d like them scanned on a drum scanner, the price is nearer to $50+ a sheet. For now, I’ve discovered a strategy to shoot, develop, and digitize my sheets for round $four/sheet. For C-41 or E-6, I don’t know that I’ll be capable of get away for lower than $15 a sheet.

Lastly, this all assumes that you have already got a strong tripod. If not, that could be a should. Non-compulsory gadgets that may make life simpler embody an Epson scanner; the v800 and v850 are able to handing 4×5 sheets and as much as 8×10 sheets. Additional, in case you had been receptive to creating your personal B&W at dwelling, you may get a Patterson tank with the insert for lower than $100.

As a footnote to this whole part, all of my analysis has been in a 4×5 digicam. Attempting to get into 8×10 pictures presents completely completely different prices and challenges. 

Picture by Matt Seal


Evaluating movie that appears fairly grainy in 35mm format, the grain is so attenuated in giant format that whereas nonetheless noticeable, it’s way more pleasing. Maybe extra importantly, the decision is simply unreal. With a minimal of 15 instances the floor space of a full body digicam, 100% crops nonetheless retain sufficient sharpness that you simply’ll marvel the way you had been ever glad earlier than. 


I shuttle on this consistently. I sincerely can’t resolve if it’s one thing I wish to get into or one thing I ought to let go of. I determine that with the price of an honest discipline digicam, holders, a greater tripod, and a v800, the full price is within the upwards of $2,000. To additional complicate the matter, I truthfully don’t know what I’d use the digicam for in my on a regular basis life and even on journeys. Trying to fly with a 4×5 digicam and movie holders can take up lots of house that might and would in any other case be used for different digicam gear that enables for extra pictures for a similar price. I truthfully don’t know what I’ll do. If anybody has any ideas/recommendations they’re keen to share, please depart a remark.

Picture by Matt Seal

Photographs used with permission