I'm interested about long exposure (around 5min exposure) photography with large format film cameras.

Apart from reciprocity failure, it seems to me that the biggest issue is stability against wind.

Is it even possible to do a 5 minute exposure with large format (mostly 4x5)? Does anyone have experience with this, if so any tips?

  • \$\begingroup\$ What kind of problems do you expect specific to the film format? Exposure times of 5 minutes or even much more are not that uncommon with film, especially for night or astro photography.You can find the necessary compensation for reciprocity in the film's data sheet. \$\endgroup\$
    – jarnbjo
    Nov 10, 2018 at 18:32
  • \$\begingroup\$ The biggest issue is wind against the bellow. I'm not sure I can get sharp images, and many people complain about it \$\endgroup\$
    – zzzbbx
    Nov 10, 2018 at 18:55
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yes it is possible. Many people have done it for decades, there are multiple resources available to learn from. One great way to learn is to actually do it and then see what went right or wrong and then make changes to compensate for problems. \$\endgroup\$
    – Alaska Man
    Nov 10, 2018 at 19:23
  • \$\begingroup\$ I bought a ridiculously heavy wooden tripod from Berlebach for this purpose. Which I have never used :/ \$\endgroup\$
    – lharby
    Feb 21, 2019 at 9:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ That might sound simplistic but I'd say that you would probably have the same issue with any kind of camera, not only LF. If there's too much wind, there's too much wind. I'd at least consider a very sturdy tripod and tripod head, or some kind of wind protection (you could buy a photography tent for example) or just favor days when the wind is lighter. \$\endgroup\$
    – MrUpsidown
    Apr 5, 2019 at 11:57

1 Answer 1


It's certainly possible - Danny Spence (http://nightflyphotography.blogspot.com/2010/07/large-format-astrophotography.html) has done some astrophotography with 15 minute exposures on 4x5 film, and a search for "large format astrophotography" will pick up some other examples.

I remember reading something about LF astrophotography in a book several years ago - I think one issue the author came across with very long exposures (as in several tens of minutes, to hours) was that the film could absorb moisture from the atmosphere and distort, so that it was no longer laying completely flat at the focal plane; I think his solution was to improvise a vacuum back from a double dark slide - he drilled a number of small holes through the central plate, attached a small hose (maybe aquariun tubing or similar) to a hole in the back dark slide, and sealed the back side - thus creating a vacuum chamber where the other sheet of film would usually go. he then attached the hose to the input side of a battery powered air pump, so that the suction through the holes in the central plate kept the film flat against the plate.


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