Large format monorail film camera test

Large format monorail camera, manually developed film, scanned and converted from negative to positive:anna






Adjusted levels:





Film camera


Cropped to compare:


Adjusted levels:





Comparing results (respectively DSLR / Film):

The process of using large format camera is far more slow comparing to DSLR not only because of the long process of setting it up, inserting a film and checking focus with a magnifier, but also because of a long exposure. It results in some muscle tension because the subject needs to stay motionless. That makes the camera almost useless for such styles as photojournalism and sport photography.

On the other hand it results in more detailed images, in this example it is especially noticeable in the skin tones.

The monorail film camera has another advantage, front and back standards which can be tilted to alter perspective. That’s not so important if shooting in a studio (at least if a photographer doesn’t aim to create the effect of deformation), but certainly can be effectively used in landscape, architecture and interior photography.

Another feature of the film camera is the presence of scratches, creases and borders that appear during storing and/or developing a film. It might be a disadvantage for the most of fashion and editorial photographs, but might be very useful for documentary or urban lifestyle photography as these defects create a feeling of authenticity which became a trend, partly because of growing popularity of ‘hipster’ aesthetics.

Unfortunately the size, weight and need to assemble makes the monorail camera more difficult to transport comparing to DSLR.

A film needs to be developed to proceed and that takes time and resources, obviously it’s not as easy as downloading files from an SD card when using a DSLR.

To conclude I’d like to say that in terms of time and speed monorail camera really fits my story-telling photography (and my temperament, need to admit) as in most cases I set up the scene, think over a frame and a pose and then capture it. On the other side I’m normally shooting on a location so transportation could be an issue.

Video showcasing Toyo 45All field camera (it’s large format as well and simplifies transportation, however standards’ movements are more limited), but the main principles remain the same

DIY monorail camera×5-monorail-view-camera/




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