We Tried Busking With a 4x5 Large Format Camera

Large format cameras have been increasing in popularity over the last few years. With startup manufacturers producing new large format cameras, the allure has grown significantly. Among large format cameras, the most popular type is the 4x5 camera. We decided to take this camera out into the city and photograph strangers.

In a recent video, Alex and I took a large format 4x5 camera out in Leeds city center to do something called photography busking. Instead of performing some kind of music or a song, we took photographs of people and let them keep the pictures. 

In order to do this, we needed to use instant film. Currently, there are no reasonably available options for shooting 4x5 instant film. Due to this, we used the Lomography Graflok instant film back. 

This Lomography Graflok allows you to shoot Fujifilm Instax Wide film with a 4x5 large format camera. This means you can shoot instant film with high-end large format lenses. 

Lenses such as the Schneider 150mm f/5.6 produce beautiful, sharp results with a shallow depth of field. On a 4x5 camera, it produces results that are similar to a 40mm f/1.2 lens on a full-frame camera. However, Instax wide film is much smaller than 4x5 film, so using the Graflok back will produce results similar to a 55mm f/2.0 lens on a full frame camera. 

A test shot of Alex.

Check out the full video linked above to see how we got on. 

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2 Comments
BubbA Gumphy's picture

Man, I was busking back in the 1980s and didn't realize it. I got permission to photograph the patrons of a punk rock bar and gave each subject a 4x5 Polaroid as a keepsake and to generate more interest in the patrons.

Busking...Hey, grandkids - gramps was busking before busking was cool.

Usman Dawood's picture

That’s soo cool :). Awesome photos!