Anyone using 8x10?

Discussion in 'Talk About Large Format Gear' started by Isabel, Sep 10, 2016.

  1. Isabel

    Isabel Active Member

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    Is anyone of you also using or has experience with 8x10 cameras?
    Which one could you recommend and why?
    I am looking for a field camera that I could also take on a (short) walk so it should not be the heaviest model. The most important thing would be a good bellows extension and the possibility to mount also heavy lenses - so relatively sturdy front panel.
    Any tips? :)

    Isabel, who is so enjoying exploring large format :)
     
  2. Sal Santamaura

    Sal Santamaura New Member

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    As a user of one since 1998, I'd not hesitate to recommend a Phillips Compact II. There is nothing lighter or sturdier. Unfortunately (except for him), Dick Phillips retired, so they're no longer available new, and used prices are pretty high. Mine's not for sale.

    The closest thing made today comes from Chamonix, which attempted to copy Dick's innovative design. In my opinion, the Chamonix version has some shortcomings, such as lack of a handle and focus lock, as well as a fiddly lensboard retaining mechanism and woefully inaccurate levels. Although they may have changed since I last handled one years ago, Chamonix bellows suffered from the same problem many Chinese textiles do, namely an offensive strong chemical odor.

    If you can afford the price and find a clean used sample, go for the Compact II. It will laugh at any heavy lenses you mount on the front standard. :)
     
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  3. Alan9940

    Alan9940 Active Member

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    Been shooting 8x10 with a Deardorff since about 1982. The trouble with buying into 8x10 today is that there aren't many options available new and good used models (like the Phillips Sal recommends) are on the expensive side; though used is generally cheaper than new, of course.

    If you're looking for lightweight, in addition to the Phillips I'd also look for a Wehman. I've never used one, but I've always heard they're good cameras. He also made a lighter weight model vs his standard model, but that one is really scarce and hard to find. If you want to go with a new model and you don't mind thinking outside the box, you may wish to take a look at Richard Ritter's 8x10 (lg4mat.net). He makes his cameras out of carbon fiber tubes and wood. All of his cameras are pretty lightweight given the sizes available.

    Good luck! Let us know what you eventually decide on.
     
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  4. Isabel

    Isabel Active Member

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    @Sal: Thanks a lot. The Phillips Compact II would be absolutely perfect but it seems it is basically impossible to find one... :( What a pity that you are not selling yours ;)
    I had a look at the Chamonix and it seems they increased the rigidity and thus the weight in a recent update so it is now basically the same as a Monorail System I had been looking at which I would then probably prefer due to its versatility and adaptability.

    @Alan: Have you been hiking with the Deardroff? I would go with a "normal" Field Camera if I was not "just" a 1,60 cm "tall" woman :rolleyes: so I have to really watch how much I can carry. It will already look funny - me compared to the huge camera but I don't care about that :p
    Seems the Lehman is also no longer in production and as difficult to find as the Philips...which leaves the Ritter. That one looks very interesting and I will see how much info I can find.
    Thanks so much for the help. Will let you know once I have decided and got it, might take a while though. ;)
     
  5. Mathieu Bauwens

    Mathieu Bauwens Active Member

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    Hello Isabel, I don't kow your budget, but have a look at Gibellini cameras; light and sturdy : http://www.gibellinicamera.com/

    I don't have one myself because it is too expensive for me now but if I had the money I would go for it. For now I have an old Kodak 2D, not so lightweight but usefull in the field. If you want to trek, even a bit, a good backpak is absolutelly necessary.
     
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  6. alexmuir

    alexmuir Member

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    I don't use 8x10, but have seen some cameras that may be worth a look. Shen Hao make a wooden model FCL 810-A which folds flat. Ffordes in UK have one on their site. Also, Mike Walker cameras do a Titan 810 which may suit. Again, on the shop site. I had seen a Wisner Convertible which looks great, but sadly seems to be very rare.
    Alex


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
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  7. Isabel

    Isabel Active Member

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    @Mathieu: Oh wow, they look very cool :cool: and great that they are compatible with Sinar boards. I also noticed that they had a Sinar shutter installed which is exactly what I want to do (have the shutter already here) so that I can use my old barrel lenses. But they are also not really cheap ... I better start looking at what kind of equipment I might be able to sell to afford one o_O.
    I have a normal external frame backpack which I intend to use as it really distributes the load perfectly and then just make myself some protective foam bags to put inside. I think in this case I'll rather go for the best load carrying system an not the easiest photo-backpack. It is all about slowing down anyway :rolleyes:.

    @Alex: Oh more great tips...I can see this is going to be difficult ;). I really like my Walker pinhole camera so another Walker one sounds quite nice. The Wisner seems to be even rarer than the Phillips... The ShenHao also looks very promising and again also uses Sinar boards. I think I will have to make a list with my most important criteria and compare them all.

    I have also been intrigued by the possibility of the Arca Swiss F(ield) monorail as it is not too heavy and what is so amazing is that by just exchanging 3 parts (bellows, back frame and ground-glass-film-holder-frame) I can change between 4x5, 5x7 and 8x10 and the rail fits perfectly on my Arca ballhead/quick release. Unfortunately for a single system it is also quite expensive...but if I consider getting at least 2 systems... Puh, lots of decisions :)
     
  8. mono

    mono Member

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    Isabel,

    I don´t have a 8x10 so far, but I´m very interested how you are getting on...
    Perhaps some day... who knows...

    Would be the right format for Alternative processes...

    Hmmh, thinking... ;-))
     
  9. Isabel

    Isabel Active Member

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    The alternative processing options (especially wet plate collodion) are also one of the reasons why I am looking into 8x10 and using 4x5 feels already very natural to me so 8x10 seems like a "logical" (if you don't think about the financial side ;)) extension.
     
  10. Alan9940

    Alan9940 Active Member

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    Isabel, yes I hike fairly extensively with my Deardorff, 3 lenses, film holders, and misc accessories in a rigid frame backpack; light meter on my belt and carbon fiber tripod. Toss in some water and a snack, depending on how far I'm going, and yeah you're a bit weighed down. ;) But, given that I'm 63 and you are younger (based on your avatar) I don't think you'll have any problems.

    Many good suggestions for cameras in this thread. One I forgot to mention is not too far down the road from me: Keith Canham. He makes beautiful cameras though not cheap. You should check out his offerings, too. I think what your research will ultimately lead to is either something new (generally expensive) or a somewhat protracted search for the best used camera for you. I know...obvious comment...but, personally I'm glad I've had my 'Dorff for many a year. Honestly, I'm not sure I could even afford 8x10 nowadays, if I had to buy everything now. Heck, film alone for it is pricey enough.

    Good luck!
     
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  11. Graham Patterson

    Graham Patterson Member

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    It is not just the camera - it is the lenses, film holders, processing kit, and possibly an enlarger. When I started doing cyanotypes I wondered about going to 8x10 negatives in place of the 5x4.

    I am in the process of converting a basic 8x10 box pinhole camera to something resembling a monorail (note the 'resembling' part!). Since I already have a lens in my 5x4 kit that will just cover 8x10, I can see if the bigger format is worth the cost (to me) without too much outlay. The Jobo can do the film processing, and the Beseler 45 should be able to take a DIY negative stage and light source to let me enlarge to 20x16 in. if I decide to go that way.

    I expect I will stay with 5x4 for the bulk of the time. I carry my 5x4 stuff in a large cooler bag on a little two wheel cart. I don't usually go places that it can't.
     
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  12. Alan9940

    Alan9940 Active Member

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    Lenses for 8x10 nowadays are pretty reasonably priced IMO, film holders are expensive if buying new--I'd look for good used ones, processing can be as simple as a few trays, and enlarging is an option. I've shot 8x10 for nearly 35 years and have mostly done contact prints. I did enlarge a couple negs over the years using the camera as an "enlarger" all on an apparatus I constructed myself. I, also, print pt/pd which requires a negative the size of the print desired; unless you create digital negatives, of course.
     
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  13. Isabel

    Isabel Active Member

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    @Alan: The Canham 8x10 also looks really good - thanks! :)
    I just made a first "estimate" based on some of the cameras you guys mentioned and additional stuff like film holders, development tank (I am not to keen on trays but they are cheaper so maybe...) sturdier tripod/tripod-head, film, maybe polaroid, maybe an enlarger...and wow, that is expensive!
    It seems I will have to start saving now to be able to afford something in a year or 2 or maybe see if I cannot get my partner to help me build my own camera (and fixed wooden tripod) at least as a start to experiment - could just be a very simple box solution... mmmh... :rolleyes:

    @Graham: I might go the same way...it is just (too) expensive to get everything bought just to try and then maybe find out that you will stay with 4x5 anyway. I also have one lens in my 4x5 set-up that covers 8x10 :). Luckily I have a big garden with plenty of possibility for experimenting without having to carry all the equipment around - just take it on the back of our lawnmower... :cool::D
     
  14. Alan9940

    Alan9940 Active Member

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    Isabel, yeah, everything about 8x10 is exponentially more...more weight (in general), more expense, etc. As for developing the film (8x10) , if you don't want to tray develop, I'd look into BTZS tubes or a Jobo Expert Drum on a roller base; either will do a beautiful job. Polaroid? If you're worried about expenses, don't even entertain the thought! ;) I looked into it one time because I was willing to bear the expense, but I found out that you can't really use the stuff in the field unless you have multiple film holders. Just not an option for me. Enlarging 8x10 is also problematic--expense, finding the equipment, etc.

    As for 4x5 vs 8x10 and speaking as one who has shot both formats for nearly 40 years, 8x10 is another whole world! :) Capturing the image is a delight when viewing a groundglass the size of a small TV, I swear, too, that something happens with your brain when viewing your image (during capture) at print size, contact prints are absolutely gorgeous, etc, etc. I like 4x5, but 8x10 is something I'll shoot until I simply can't move the equipment around any longer! :)

    YMMV, of course. :)
     
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  15. Alan Clark

    Alan Clark New Member

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    Alan, if 10x8 is as good as you describe, I am wondering why you use 5x4 as well. Because you have a 5x4 enlarger and can enlarge 5x4 negatives, I guess.
    I have a question for you. If you photograph the same subject with your 10x8 and 5x4 cameras, then contact print the 10x8 negative, and make a 10x8 enlargement from the 5x4 negative, what differences would you see between the two prints?
    It's not a trick question! I'm just curious...

    Alan
     
  16. Alan9940

    Alan9940 Active Member

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    I still use 5x4 for a number of reasons: weight (mostly as it relates to backpacking the equipment), cost, and range of lenses vs my 10x8.

    Funny you should ask about comparing the same scene taken with both cameras... I did that exact thing many years ago. I setup both outfits matching lens focal length as best I could, exposed the same film at the same exposure setting, and processed the film using identical technique. The scene photographed was at infinity, thereby eliminating any DoF concerns. In the darkroom, I enlarged the 5x4 neg 2x and contact printed the 10x8. Both prints were printed to the best of my ability, at the time, and processed the same; including selenium toning. Once dry, I evaluated the prints side-by-side under my normal viewing light. I was amazed and a little surprised to see that the contact print looked just a tad sharper but, more importantly, the contact print displayed a smoother tonality and transition of grays, and had a palpable "presence" to it that was lacking in the enlargement. I will admit that what I'm describing here between the two was subtle, but it was clearly visible and easily seen from normal viewing distance.

    As a matter of fact, during the decade of the 1980's I shot only 10x8 because I became addicted to the capture process with that camera and to the resulting fine prints. As a side note regarding contact printing of 10x8 negs (also applies if you contact print 5x4), they seem to print themselves; that is, very little work--dodging/burning, etc--seems to be required to produce an absolutely gorgeous print.
     
  17. Alan Clark

    Alan Clark New Member

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    Alan,
    Many thanks for such a clear and comprehensive answer.I have been thinking about a 10x8 camera for a number of reasons.

    My home-built 5x4 enlarger is in the sin-bin at the moment because I'm fed up with its eccentricities. So I am limited to scanning and digital printing 5x4 negatives.
    As I do like darkroom prints I have been thinking of making a 10x8 camera and doing contact prints. (I rarely print bigger than 10x8 anyway, these days.)

    I already have some 10x8 film holders, a box of film, and a 300mm lens that may be suitable. And all the wood I need. So it won't cost me much in cash.And I am convinced that I can make a 10x8 camera that is lighter than my 5x4 Shen Hao. (I have a home-built 5x4 camera that weighs only 2 pounds) So muscle expenditure shouldn't be too great either.

    Your post makes a very convincing argument for 10x8, so if I do make one and my wife asks why I need yet another camera, I will tell her that a man on the internet told me to make one...

    Alan
     
  18. Alan9940

    Alan9940 Active Member

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    Well, don't wish to get in trouble with your wife, but we all know that any statement made out there in cyberspace is fact! ;):)

    Seriously, though, sounds like you have everything you need to get started. Post some pics of your camera, once completed. I'd love to build myself a 14x11, but I gave up most of my woodworking stuff years ago. :(
     
  19. Graham Patterson

    Graham Patterson Member

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    I hope to have my 'hardware store special' 8x10 functional this weekend. I think it cost me around $500 for materials, including three film holders. The 270mm f9 G-Claron is the long lens from my Wista kit. I expect to use a Jobo 2830 print drum for developing. I picked that up a while ago.

    My wife is actually impressed that I could do it. She does not see the imperfections and rough bits, naturally! Plus not committing money while I test the water is a point in my favour.

    I think I can modify my Beseler enlarger to take a new light source, stage, and spacer box. The same G-Claron will do as an enlarging lens. It is a process design and should do fine. The enlarger will do 1:1 to 3:1 if my calculations are right, but 20x16 in on the base board would be fine.

    I do not think I will forsake 5x4 for 8x10, as the smaller format is more flexible and portable.
     
  20. KenS

    KenS Active Member

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    Isabel...

    There's nothing wrong with 4x5" negative that an 8x10" negative cannot cure.... as long as you can afford the cost per exposure. I have not been adverse to scanning some of my 4x5" negatives... enlarging to 'approximate' the 8x10 negative (as a negative on 8 1/2 x 11 Pictorico...) while choosing the right 'colour' for your new negative) and using as that as the negative 'of choice' for larger Cyanotype and VDBs. I believe that there are many 'users' making 'digital negatives for a variety of the 'alternative' or.... non-silver print processes.

    Ken
     
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2016

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