Pictured above is the Tachihara 45GF large format
camera. This camera takes the following films: Films- International 4X5 6X7 and 6X9 with roll film holder.
Large format describes large
photographic films, large cameras,
view cameras (including
pinhole cameras) and processes that use a film or
digital sensor, generally 4 x 5 inches or larger. The
most common large formats are 4×5 and 8×10 inches. Less
common formats include quarter-plate, 5×7 inches, 11×14
inches, 16x20 inches, 20x24 inches, various panoramic or
"banquet" formats (such as 4x10 and 8x20 inches), as
well as some metric formats, such as 9x12 cm.
Polaroid 20×24 inch
instant camera is one of the largest format cameras
currently in common usage, and can be hired from
Polaroid agents in various countries. Many well-known
photographers have used the 235 pound (106 kg),
Most large-format cameras have adjustable fronts and
backs that allow the photographer to better control
perspective and depth of field. Architectural and
close-up photographers in particular benefit greatly
from this ability.
Aside from the focusing action common to all formats,
the special movements of many large format technical and
view cameras allow the front and/or back of the
camera to be tilted out of parallel with each other, and
to be shifted up, down, or sideways. Based on the
Scheimpflug principle, these "movements" make it
possible to solve otherwise impossible depth-of-field
problems, and to change perspective rendering, and
create special effects that would be impossible with a
conventional fixed-plane camera.
Ansel Adams' photographs demonstrate how the use of
front (lens plane) and back (film plane) adjustments can
secure great apparent
depth of field when using the "movements" available
from adjustable large format cameras.
A number of actions need to be taken to use a typical
large format camera, resulting in a slower, often more
contemplative, photographic style. For example, film
loading using sheet film holders requires a dark space
to load and unload the film, typically a changing bag or
darkroom (although users of the most common formats,
4×5, may now use ready-loaded pre-packaged films, which
are more convenient than regular film holders).
A tripod is typically used for view camera work, but
some models are designed for hand-held use. These
"technical cameras" have separate viewfinders and
rangefinders for faster handling.
In general large format camera use, the scene is
composed on the camera's ground glass, and then a film
holder is fitted to the camera back prior to exposure. A
separate Polaroid back using instant film is used by
some photographers, allowing previewing of the
composition, correctness of exposure and depth of field
before committing the image to film to be developed
later. Failure to "Polaroid" an exposure risks discovery
later, at the time of film development, that there was
an error in camera setup.
The 4×5 inch sheet film format was very convenient
for press photography since it allowed for direct
contact printing on the printing plate. This was done
well into 1940s and 1950s, even with the advent of more
convenient and compact medium format or 35 mm roll-film
cameras which started to appear in the 1930s. The
SLR which appeared in the mid-1950s were soon
adopted by press photographers.
Large format's versatility is not limited to film;
large digital capture backs are available to fit onto
large format cameras.
Large format, whether film-based or with a digital
back, will always be used for some applications. For
example, landscape photography, advertising photos of
high value consumer items, much fine-art photography,
images that will be enlarged to a high magnification, or
demanding scientific applications will benefit from the
very high quality of the prints or transparencies
Photographers who have
used large format