4x5 portrait photographers and cheap 8x10 (wishful thinking)

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by msbarnes, May 17, 2013.

  1. msbarnes

    msbarnes Member

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    LF photography has always intrigued me but I have never taken the leap. I know that you can enter 4x5 relatively cheap me but many of the large format images that I like were shot on 8x10...

    1. Are there any fashion/portrait photographers that used mostly 4x5. I really like the work from roversi, avedon, and demarchelier to name but I believe they used 8x10 and iin that industry it makes sense to "skip" 4x5..

    2. Is there a cheap 8x10 settup? Learning 4x5 would be more practical/cheaper for sure but if 8x10 is what I like, then maybe that is where I should start. Well this is just a thought. I figured that 8x10 is exponentially more expensive but I have never looked into it. Starting with LF with something cheap like a Graflex seems more logical.
     
  2. bdial

    bdial Subscriber

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    Much depends on your definition of "cheap".
    But cameras like the Calumet C1 and some of the wood cameras like the Koronas, Ansco Views and some of the Kodak views are relatively cheap. They tend to sell for 300-500 USD.
    That said, the camera price doesn't tell the whole story, as you need holders and a lens. 8x10 holders are a good bit more expensive than 4x5s, lenses in barrels can be had cheaply, but good shuttered lenses get pricey.
    One nice thing about 8x10 is that you don't need a huge enlarger to get a nice size print. (as long as you like 8x10 prints).
     
  3. DWThomas

    DWThomas Subscriber

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    In addition to bdial's comments, you also need film, and that's not for the faint of wallet, either. I just made an 8x10 pinhole camera and in looking at film found some sort of conspiracy. The big names sell 25 sheet boxes which approach 3-digit numbers. The house brands that sell for maybe half the per sheet price seem to package in larger quantities, so the "entry fee" is still around or over $100! (That's why this year I'm doing paper negatives!)
     
  4. msbarnes

    msbarnes Member

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    thanks. This is just a thought--I do not plan on jumping on the wagon any time soon because I'm still enjoying 120

    25 exposures for ~$100! man 24 exposures in 120 for less than $10 is a blessing.
     
  5. E. von Hoegh

    E. von Hoegh Member

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    Ummm, no. Those are 10 sheet boxes. http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/533810-USA/Kodak_8095440_TMX_4052_8x10_T_Max.html

    But the upside is that you will think very carefully before you pull that darkslide. :smile:
     
  6. Jim Noel

    Jim Noel Member

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    You neglected to mention X-ray film which is about $40 per 100 sheets. Yes, it takes careful handling, but that can be learned.
     
  7. randy6

    randy6 Member

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    I've old wood field 8x10 cameras turn up at local auctions now and then last one I seen was a kodak No. 2 go for about $400
     
  8. DWThomas

    DWThomas Subscriber

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    Ah! Maybe I only looked at Freestyle, but then again 85 bucks for ten sheets is really out of my impulse buy range! B&H shows 25 sheets of Ilford HP5 for $99.97 which would be a lot more attractive per sheet cost, and Freestyle has their Arista.EDU Ultra 100 as 50 sheets for $123+, but that's still a lot of lattes just to get started! Last year I used the Arista stuff in 4x5 pretty happily, but I could get a 25 sheet box for less than $20 at the time.
     
  9. Alan Gales

    Alan Gales Subscriber

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    I paid $1500 for my used Wehman camera because I wanted to carry it into the field. Like said earlier you can get an 8x10 for a lot less but of course there are always compromises in movements or portability or something which may or may not matter to you. I paid $600.00 for my 14" Kodak Commercial Ektar lens. A 14" lens is close to a 360mm which is considered a "normal" focal length for 8x10. Of course you can pick up a 250-300mm cheaper. A lot of photographers use a 300mm for 8x10 portraits. I paid almost $300 for my Fuji 250mm f/6.7 lens. It's nice for environmental portraits. Long lenses in shutter can be quite pricey. As mentioned earlier lenses in barrel can be much cheaper. New film holders are $200 a piece. You can buy used ones off Ebay for around $40 a piece. As far as film prices go, well I only shoot b&w with 8x10. I have a 4x5 for color.

    I read that Richard Avedon used a Schneider 360mm lens for his American West series portraits. Also check out Yousef Karsh's work using a 14" Commercial Ektar.

    I just wanted to give you some prices on things. I don't want to discourage you though because 8x10 is a lot of fun.
     
  10. msbarnes

    msbarnes Member

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    Ilford seems to be cheaper: 25/$100, roughly for fp4/hp5 (my preference). but still quite expensive indeed.
     
  11. E. von Hoegh

    E. von Hoegh Member

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    It's worth every penny at almost $9 per sheet. I've learned more from using my 8x10 than all the other cameras combined.
     
  12. msbarnes

    msbarnes Member

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    This sounds encouraging I guess going from 120 to 8x10 is not ludicrous?
     
  13. E. von Hoegh

    E. von Hoegh Member

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    If you've never used sheet film and a camera with movements, there will be a learning curve. Use X-ray film for that, or get a 4x5 back to learn with. Get a 4x5 back anyway. There's a huge difference, going from any 120 camera to 8x10.

    Edit - This is about the best online resource. http://www.largeformatphotography.info/forum/forum.php
     
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  15. msbarnes

    msbarnes Member

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    Thanks, yeah thinking about the price is still kind of daunting. I've read about sheet film and heard the experience, I'll look into xray film or get 4x5, which is a lot more portable so not really redundant.
     
  16. E. von Hoegh

    E. von Hoegh Member

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    Using sheet film is not difficult, you just need to learn how and that will involve making mistakes. There's huge list of ways to screw up an LF exposure, so do it the cheapest way possible. You can get X-ray film for about the cost of 4x5, maybe less. If it encourages you at all, I bet it's been 20 years since I trashed a sheet of 8x10 film.:smile:
     
  17. Alan Gales

    Alan Gales Subscriber

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    E. and I both belong to Large Format Photography Forum. A lot of people on there suggest starting out with 4x5 so your initial investment is lower. Buy used and you can always sell for close to what you paid if you decide it's not for you. Of course you can always sell your 8x10 gear in the same manner.

    I started out with 4x5 but I could just as easily started out with 8x10. If your heart is set on 8x10 then go for it.
     
  18. E. von Hoegh

    E. von Hoegh Member

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    I heartily concur.:smile:
     
  19. Mainecoonmaniac

    Mainecoonmaniac Subscriber

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  20. TheToadMen

    TheToadMen Subscriber

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    If you're gonna buy a set, look for a set WITH filmholders. Buying filmholders seperate can be rather expensive. And if you buy an old model wooden camera you might need special model filmholders, that may not be available anymore. So check this first before you buy.
    If in doubt, ask on the forum: http://www.largeformatphotography.info/forum/forum.php
    You can also browse this forum first to get an idea what is out there and what to look for.
     
  21. smieglitz

    smieglitz Subscriber

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    Get an 8x10 from the start if you like those 8x10s from Avedon, etc.

    I think the choice comes down to whether you want to enlarge negatives or make contact prints. I prefer the latter and have done various alternative processes with bigger negatives (5x7 mainly). If you start with a 4x5 I think you'll find you will want bigger prints and then you are talking about buying a 4x5 enlarger, big enlarging lens, bigger darkroom, etc.

    The initial cost of 8x10 is not that daunting (to me at least). You can find nice 8x10 cameras for $400-$500, possibly with a holder or two. An older 300mm lens in a shutter might run $100 more than newer one for a 4x5. And, I think you will slow down and consider your shots more before you release the shutter with the more expensive, larger film. So, don't think of the film cost difference because you will be shooting differently. There are also some technical differences like shallower depth-of-field with 8x10 lenses. And the bulk and weight are quite different between the two formats. You won't be able to carry as many filmholders comfortably with 8x10, but that also fits with the more contemplative approach of the larger format. It also means you probably won't need to invest in a whole bunch of more expensive holders. Backpacking? 4x5 wins but otherwise I'd go with the larger format. Its apples and oranges really.

    And, as others have said, you can probably sell the equipment down the line for about what you paid for it. I think that is probably truer with 8x10 than 4x5.

    You can also shoot smaller formats with 5x7 or 4x5 reducing backs on an 8x10.
     
  22. E. von Hoegh

    E. von Hoegh Member

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    Smieglitz makes good points.
    My 8x10 came with a 4x5 reducing back and two 8x10 Folmer wood filmholders. I've accumulated six more for a total of eight matching holders, the most I've ever taken out is four. I've never enlarged an 8x10, although I plan on building a horizontal enlarger.

    For portraits I use a 16 1/2" Artar.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 18, 2013
  23. DWThomas

    DWThomas Subscriber

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    Thanks for that link, I have a box on the way for pinhole play. Earlier this year I figured I spent enough on filmholders and materials for the camera that I didn't want to add $80+ to the outlay for film (next WPPD, all bets are off!). Hopefully I can repair the hinge tape in one holder by the time I have film in hand. I found some book binding repair tape at Blick's that I believe should work. (Another hazard with antiques of unkknown age and provenance.)
     
  24. Alan Gales

    Alan Gales Subscriber

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    I own a 4x5 reducing back for my Wehman. It's nice to have.

    I looked at Ebay one day and saw 3 film holders plus a Kodak book and some dip and dunk frames buy it now for $30.00 with free shipping. You wouldn't believe how fast I hit the keyboard. Later I purchased a cardboard box full of film holders from a young lady whose father had passed. I have been very lucky!

    How do you like the 16 1/2" Artar? I own a 14" Commercial Ektar but would love to own a 19" Artar for landscape but fear it may be too sharp for portraits. Of course I could always use a diffusion filter in front of it.
     
  25. TheToadMen

    TheToadMen Subscriber

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  26. DWThomas

    DWThomas Subscriber

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    Hehe, you could get lucky, but most of the action in ePrey auctions is in the last few minutes. A couple of months back when I bought my holders, I monitored completed sales for a week or so. The older wooden flavor actually sold for an average of $32 and the newer more modern ones, over $52. Generally the cheaper end of the sales were holders with some flaw - maybe not unusable, but missing latches or minor damage. I suppose over a longer time span you might hit an occasional flyer.