Week 36 - Lensless Camera Manufacturing Co. 4x5 Pinhole Camera, received at Christmas 2014 from my wife, Brenda. I have been weighing whether or not I wanted to delve into large format film photography for some time, I thought a 4x5 pinhole camera would be a good jumping off point. Some of the obstacles for me for large format film were the cost, reliable processing, and the ability to scan the negatives myself. I've pretty much been keeping to small and medium format cameras, because I could pick them up at flea markets, craigslist, and yard sales for a few dollars. I don't have a lot of extra money to spend on my hobby, and I really just enjoy the process of shooting photos and developing them myself.
When I first started using the 4x5 pinhole camera, I found a technique referred to as the "taco method" using a Paterson two reel film tank for developing 4 sheets of film. I successfully used this method for over 70 photos but when I saw the kickstarter for Timothy Gilbert's SP-445 developing tank, I thought this would be a great option for processing my 4x5's. My tank arrived a few weeks ago and I was eager to give it go. On labor day, I loaded up 4 of my film holders with Arista EDU 100 and took a quick trip to downtown Hanover to shoot photos of St. Matthews Church on Chestnut Street and then to the square to shoot photos of the cannon display there.
I have to confess, I'm a bit afraid of the dark and only use a changing bag to load my film in holders and developing tanks. I found that loading the SP-445 from the film holders in the changing bag was a bit cumbersome, but with more practice it will go more smoothly. I think that I might invest in a larger film changing tent, especially if I wind up shooting more 4x5 film. The tank only uses 16 oz of developer for 4 sheets of 4x5 film, which is awesome! I followed the tips from the kickstarter project videos for processing and the only issue, which is very minor, is that there was a small amount of leakage around the caps. It wasn't enough to be a problem, but perhaps the next time I use it, I will follow the tip of wetting the O-ring around the lid before closing it up.
The negatives came out well, I used a 1+1 solution of Kodak D-76 for 9 minutes. I previously had scanned my 4x5's in two passes on my Epson V500 Photo, then stitched them together in Photoshop. About six months ago, I bought an old Epson Perfection 2450 Photo flatbed scanner and hooked it up to an old iMac, creating a dedicated 4x5 film scanning station. The scanner cost $12 plus shipping from ebay and I bought the dead iMac from Craigslist for $35. I was able to fix the iMac and load an old version of Photoshop on it to use the scanner.