23 December, 2009
So if you are a Large Format Photographer you will no doubt have heard the news
that Fuji are to stop manufacturing 5x4 film in the popular quick load format.
Obviously most digital only shooters will shrug their shoulders and ignore it, but in the world of Large Format Film Photography this is potentially a big deal. QuickLoad was one of the things that made it easy for me to get into 5x4 view camera photography in the first place - it was so simple to use and operate.
Well, what is my response? To be honest, it is to shrug my shoulders as well. I've been pretty close to switching for some time now anyway. I had a close look at David Tolcher's dark slides in November on the ALF workshop and in the recent batch of Fuji Velvia 50 film that I ordered a few weeks back, I added some sheet film intending to try it out.
Why? To be honest, QL film is getting rather expensive, has a restrictive range of films and what is more I seem to be getting one or two sheets failing on me on almost every trip out. Then there is the issue of that flimsy card blowing in the wind and moving the camera.
I love Large Format Photography too much to be put off by having to learn another skill - loading and unloading double dark slides - for goodness sake I had to learn so many other skills to manage to operate the camera competently in the first place.
And what about the argument that I might be tempted not take the LF gear on spec? Well I'll simply leave loaded slides in my bag permanently - just like I do now with QL - ready to go.
Will it put others off from converting to the dark side in the future? It might. But to be honest, if you are ready for LF you are ready. Nobody shoots LF because it is quick and easy. They do it because there is a pleasure to mastering a craft, it slows your photography right down making you invest time in making your images which pays back in spades and the results are superb. Finally, nothing, I mean nothing in photography beats holding and looking at a well exposed 5x4 transparency on a light box. If you disagree, you've never seen one of David Ward's or Anna Booth's 5x4 transparencies.
What I won't do is run both systems - can't see the point. I suspect I just bought my last box of QL film. This morning I ordered a Harrison Pup changing tent and 10 dark slides. Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more...