Large Format fun – LomoGraflok back for 4x5 cameras and Fujifilm Instax Wide film

June 20, 2022  •  Leave a Comment

Large Format fun with the LomoGraflok back for Fujifilm Instax Wide on 4x5 cameras

Getting into 4x5 large format film photography can be daunting. And while it is rewarding to work with analogue materials, there is some anxiety around wasting film as you learn the ropes. This is where the LomoGraflok is great - it puts the fun into 4x5. Let me tell you how it works and give you some tips to get right into it...

To my eye, Fujifilm Instax Wide is the best version of this instant film – not just because the prints are a good size, but they also appear to be of better quality than the smaller mini and square prints. There are three principal variants of the film - colour on a white or black border, or black and white (Monochrome) on a white border. All three are nice, I have to say that I like them all. A couple of notes before you start: the ISO of all three is rated at 800 – I meter and expose it slightly lower at 640 and like the results. The film has a narrow exposure range or latitude, so it does not do well in high-contrast light – you will have to sacrifice either the shadows or highlights. I estimate it to have around five stops of overall latitute.

The back itself is simple to use. The only real difference between this and a normal 4x5 film holder is the increased distance of the film plane from the lens. So, you get a mask to insert that lifts the ground glass further back, allowing you to compose and focus before closing the lens. You then remove the mask and ground glass, then attach the film back, securing it with Graflock sliders. Next, switch on the back and a small blue pilot light tells you that all is good. Assuming that you have some large format experience, you will have a routine something like this: meter your scene; set the aperture and shutter speed and cock the shutter. Then (only then!), remove the dark slide and make the exposure. Replace the dark slide and press the eject button to get the Instax magic happening.

A few final notes: like most Lomography products, this is made primarily of plastics and I consider it delicate enough and handle it gently. It's not going the be an heirloom, OK! It uses four AA batteries and I pack a spare set – it is easy to forget to switch the back off after you eject your print, and pack your kit away. Surprise, surprise, the batteries are dead next time you use it.

All in all, great fun and a low-stress way to enjoy the purest analogue photography in large format.

 


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