Since the announcement of LomoGraflok 4x5 Instant Back, it has attracted the attention of many photographers! This time, we invited Li Zhe to evaluate the LomoGraflok 4×5 camera Instant Back. As a senior large format photographer, how about his experience? Let’s take a look.
How long have you been photographing with a Large Format Camera?
I started using a large-format in 2015. At that time, the first machine used was a Chamonix machine made in China. So far, it has been with me for five years... I didn't take much, maybe a total of one thousand photos.
What do you like most about the shooting experience with a large format camera? How is it different from shooting with 35mm or Medium Format?
Compared with the 135 and 120 cameras, the biggest difference is the shooting method. The 135 and 120 cameras we use every day are basically SLR cameras or rangefinder cameras.
The viewfinder of a large format camera is upside down. You need to view and focus first, and then calculate the aperture and shutter before shooting. And the shooting speed of a large format camera is completely incomparable with the speeds of 135 and 120. But what he got in exchange was the kind of extreme picture quality and a very fascinating large aperture and shallow depth of field, and the large format can achieve a deep panorama. This is something that most 135 and 120 cameras cannot do.
What are the challenges in shooting with a Large Format camera?
In fact, every step in the process is challenging for beginners. From the beginning of the introduction to the dark loading of the film to the final development, every step needs to be very careful. It is not difficult to take a large format photo, but it takes some patience and skill to take a good photo.
The biggest challenge is, shooting large frames is time-consuming. First of all, we have to carry the camera out!
LomoGraflok Instant Back shooting experience, and photo sharing
First of all, I am very grateful to Lomography for giving me this great opportunity to use LomoGraflok Instant Back.
I have been using ordinary Instant before, but that kind of machine is actually not very playable, because it can’t easily change the lens or focus precisely, so I can only shoot with the camera’s own settings. This is very distressing. After all, when shooting close-ups of still lifes, I still hope to shoot portraits with large apertures and close distances. This back allows me to achieve this ideal.
When I first got this back, I was very excited. The performance of the machine is still very good, and the texture is better than others. I used the Linhaf 2000 camera when I am shooting. It is relatively convenient to use because the viewfinder frame can be directly removed from the back of the large format. Now think about Lomography's best partner may be the old Graffi The Chimney SLR camera, in this way, can quickly take continuous shooting, and now I regret not keeping that machine. The shooting process is actually the same as using a large format film, except that when shooting large format film, we insert the cassette into the rear set. The use of the Instant Back is to remove the rear set and install the Instant directly behind the machine. Get back and shoot. Don't remember to insert the saber after each shooting! Although the process is a bit slower, the experience is very good, especially the image quality, better than all the Instant I used before.
It would be great if Lomography made a full-size 4×5 large format or even an 8×10 large-format Instant Back!
Could you tell us a bit about what you love photographing using a Large Format Camera? Do you shoot with color or black and white?
The most subject matter I shoot with a large-format are some landscapes, architecture, portraits are sometimes taken.
I shoot more in B&W films because color is a bit expensive~ haha. I have filmed hundreds of 4×5 slide films before. With this back in the future, I may travel with it to many places. I think it is very meaningful to use this to take some local cultural photos and give them to the locals!
What advice would you give photographers who would want to try the Large Format for the first time?
- Be sure to choose reliable equipment and accessories, it will really avoid a lot of trouble when shooting.
- Must have a stable tripod and accurate light meter, must pay attention to the details and process of loading the film. Don't install the film upside down, it will be terrible after shooting like this!
- In addition, if you really want to try large format, you must be patient, don't rush, it is easy to make mistakes in the busy!
Thank you, Li Zhe for sharing and look forward to more cooperation in the future! If you want to pay more attention to his work and Jinling Film Photography Shop, you can follow his weibo @金陵银盐馆.
The world's first 4×5 camera Instant Back with Fujifilm Instax Wide photo paper. Get the excellent detail and shallow depth of field from a large format camera on Instax Wide Back. Order now LomoGraflok 4×5 Instant Back for Large Format Cameras, and it is expected to ship in April 2021.