Investigating Large Format 5x4

An idea has been growing in my mind for a little while but I have tended to shrug it off as little more than inspired thinking due to some more personal reasons I'm working through outside photography. Yet the more I think about the film camera formats I own and the work I want to create along with the relative costs of certain gear, the more it is starting to make sense.

The notion of shooting serious landscape work on my digital cameras, now the Nikon D810, doesn't feel right these days. While it is an amazing camera for the task, I have grown to love the craft and process of shooting film and feel the lack of that physical craft when I use a digital camera for my personal work. It's the reason why I've been shooting experimental landscapes on my Rolleiflex and leaving the digital Nikon at home, despite the very obvious benefits.

I've been enjoying the Rolleiflex, but square format is not where I want to be for landscape photography. I prefer a rectangular composition. I've also thought about investigating other medium format cameras but something about "going big" seems like the right way to go now, after having seen many of Ben Horne's videos and seeing photographers like Alex Burke at work.

So I'm investigating the world of 5x4 large format view cameras, ordering an Intrepid 5x4 Mark III which will take around six weeks to arrive according to their website. I've ordered a pinhole lens as well to experiment with until I've worked out the rest. My favourite focal length, 35mm, is equivalent to around 135mm on 5x4 format, and that seems like a great place to start. It's where I feel most comfortable for landscapes, and I can get my head around the whole process by shooting black and white sheet film and developing it myself at home.

The other hurdles to jump will be sourcing (generally Kodak) 5x4 sheet film in Australia, finding a lab to develop colour sheet film and scanning it all, but I'll jump those when they come.

Me shooting 35mm Kodak Ektar 100 film at Mount Greville. Photo by Nat Dash.