How You Can Get in to Large Format Photography Cheaply

Large format photography is interesting to most photographers, but it's an expensive pool to even dip a toe in to. The Nicos Photography Show has created a guide on the cheapest way to try your hand at this coveted type of image creation.

My thirst for interesting and vintage cameras is unquenchable. These days, anybody can try film photography for pennies and I — like most photographers — fully recommend you do. However, there are still some photographic mediums that are seen as elite and too expensive to try. The issue for me was that to even "have a go" at large format photography required either friends in the industry who already do it or a sizable wedge of Benjamins to get started. Photographer Nicolas Llasera is one of the former and somewhat of an expert at large format photography, teaching about the art through YouTube and workshops.

Large format photography has a look that is distinct, although I respect that it might not be that distinct to non-photographers, which makes it all the more difficult to justify the purchase to my other half. In this video, Llasera takes you through a plethora of body, lens, and accessory options to help you get started with 4x5 imagery without the risk of bankruptcy. 

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Robert K Baggs is a professional portrait and commercial photographer, educator, and consultant from England. Robert has a First-Class degree in Philosophy and a Master's by Research. In 2015 Robert's work on plagiarism in photography was published as part of several universities' photography degree syllabuses.

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I think I am into my setup so far for about $550.

Calumet monorail and Rodenstock 210mm lens - $125 on ebay
Schneider Super Angulon 90mm - $140 on ebay
Graflex Crown Graphic - $150 locally (no lens)
Various FIlm holders - $50
Polaroid 127mm (from a Polaroid 110) - $40

Not bad for three lenses, two cameras and accessories.

That sounds great! Have you got any results you'd be willing to share? I'd love to seem them.

Getting an affordable large format setup would be wonderful! The bigger format gets harder it is to hide from the lady though hah.

Another major problem. I have enough vintage cameras that it might get lost in the fray and she won't notice. Maybe.

One of these days, I'll buy me a 4x5 setup, but I want to get a medium format camera before then. Last year, I found that a dark cloth would have been ideal for photographing the total solar eclipse. I used a windbreaker to drape over my DSLR so I could block out the surrounding light. A dark cloth is on my buy list for April 2024.

After watching my local camera shop for years (large format cameras show up fairly frequently there) waiting for the right price I purchased this w/ a full kit, case, lens, film holders, instruction books, manuals, and cloth included for a song a couple of weeks ago. Looking forward to shooting with it. Omega view 4x5 w/ a Calumet 150mm f/5.6