A while back I mentioned that I was taking a journey with a 4X5 Camera.  What I failed to explain at the time was why I ended up with a large format field camera as my 4X5 Camera choice in the first place.

Typically we find 2 types of large format 4X5 Cameras.  One is a View Camera, and the other is a Field Camera.  Based on my research and limited use of these cameras these are the pros and cons I came up with.

View Camera:

Pros –
  • Rails which give you lots of focusing control
  • More precise controls (Great for when you need it such as macro or studio work)
  • Movements that allow you to move the lens and/or back of the camera to adjust how the final image looks (Some of these include Rise, Fall, Swing, Tilt, and Shift).
Cons –
  • Really bulky and heavy
  • Very difficult to carry in the field
  • Require a tripod that handles a higher weight capacity

Field Camera:

Pros –
  • Much more compact
  • Packs up small for easy transport (Collapses down when not in use)
  • More lightweight than a View Camera
  • The camera still has some of the movements of a View Camera but not all.  The movements aren’t as extensive (Pro was that you still get some of the function)
Cons –
  • Limited movement
  • The rails are not as precise

Since I plan on using this camera more in the field and not so much in the studio, the portability of the Field Camera won out over the greater movement of the View Camera.

Hope this was helpful if you are considering purchasing a large format camera and can’t decide which direction to go.

Don’t forget to look at the images on my site in the galleries starting at: https://mjvphoto.com/the-art/.  Hopefully you find some of them inspirational for your own photography adventures, or maybe you find an image you want to call your own.

While I share this journey with everyone on the internet, I will attempt to keep explanations simple and easy to understand.  That said, if anyone has a question about something written here, please leave me a comment with the question.  Maybe that will turn into a whole different post or maybe it will be a quick answer that clears it up.