Photographing Large Format with 5x7 Film Cameras
When you want to get into large format photography but youre not sure where to start, then a 5x7 film camera with bellows may be a good option. While it may not be as popular as 4x5 or even 8x10, large format 5x7 film cameras are seeing a resurgence thanks to their ease of use and portability. They offer a larger negative than a 4x5 and less weight and bulk than an 8x10, making them a practical solution for photographers wanting to explore further than the 35mm film format.
What Are the Advantages of a 5x7 Camera?
When compared to a 4x5 bellow film camera, the image on the glass of a 5x7 is almost twice as large, which makes the negatives easier to view and creates quality prints. A 5x7 is also more elongated than a 4x5, which makes it favorable for landscape shots, and translates well to architectural and even portrait photography.
- Compared to an 8x10 camera, the 5x7 is much lighter and you can easily take it hiking or with you when traveling. At the same time, its not significantly heavier than the 4x5, making it a good option for one large format camera system with bellows, in addition to your 35mm camera.
- You can also use the 5x7 with a much lighter tripod compared to an 8x10, again reducing the weight of your photographic kit.
- The lenses available for 5x7 large format film cameras are abundant, like 35mm cameras, with many 4x5 and 8x10 lenses also compatible, giving you a greater amount of focal lengths at your disposal.
What Kind of Film Is Available for 5x7 Cameras?
Thanks to the expanding global marketplace, film for 5x7 cameras is easier to access, with a wide variety of both black-and-white and color 5x7 film available.
- While 5x7 film may not be as readily available at your photography store as 35mm film, its easy to order it from distributors around the world.
- 13x18cm film is more readily available in European markets, and while slightly larger than the 5x7 size, the 13x18cm film holders share the same external dimensions, and you can use their emulsions in any 5x7 camera.
How Does a 5x7 Film Camera Work?
Like other large format cameras, 5x7s are view cameras and they require a slower approach to photography than modern digital cameras. Conversion charts are available for understanding 5x7 compatible lenses and how they compare to equivalent lenses in 35mm film format.
- Most large format bellow film cameras operate using a tripod, but there are technical 5x7 cameras that are for handheld use, with separate view finders and range finders.
- You can shift the front and back standards up and down or left and right to achieve the desired depth of field, alter the perspective, and create any special effects.