4x5 reducing back on an 8x10 camera

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by Mahler_one, Nov 27, 2008.

  1. Mahler_one

    Mahler_one Member

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    I have often wondered what the benefits are of using a 4x5 reducing back on an 8x10 camera such as my Deardorff. I wonder if anyone might chime in an give me some advice about what benefits a reducing back offers OVER simply using a 4x5 camera.

    Thanks.

    Ed
     
  2. argus

    argus Member

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    - longer relative focal length (use a compendium!)
    - more movements with (nominal) same length than on a 4x5 camera
    - ability to use instant film backs for proofing
    - musculature training while shooting 4x5 in the field using an oversized camera

    G
     
  3. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    My 10x8 has a reducing back because the previous owner used it to do 5x4 Polaroid tests before using !0x8 transparency film. I don't use it. I might for lens testing though.

    Ian
     
  4. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    Gives you a tighter field of view if you can't get close enough, so you don't have to shoot a piece of 8x10 and crop way into it.

    It lets you have only one camera for multiple formats.

    Allows you to use 4x5 Polaroids instead of 8x10 ones.

    It is not the world's most ideal solution, but it lets you use what you have rather than having to buy a whole other camera.
     
  5. k_jupiter

    k_jupiter Member

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    It allows me to sell all my other LF cameras and keep just the Deardorf... and the Speed... and the Graflex... and I might need my 5x7 B&J for dusty, windy days...

    Well, never mind. I think argus nailed it pretty well.

    tim in san jose
     
  6. Alex Hawley

    Alex Hawley Member

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    What everyone else has said, plus, I can enlarge from 4x5 negatives. Don't have an 8x10 enlarger and never will. Does really well for macro 1:1 close ups too.
     
  7. raucousimages

    raucousimages Member

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    I do LF portraits. It is a small niche market and part of the allure is the "big" camera. Sometimes I set up the 8X10 with the 4X5 back because that is what some customers expect to see. It also gives me the option of using 8X10 if there is something I want to shoot in the larger format without setting up another camera. The customer would wonder why I didn't use the "good " camera all along.
     
  8. gbenaim

    gbenaim Member

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    I'll add that small contact prints have a charm of their own. I've just added 5x7 to my 8x10 capabilities only for the purpose of contact printing smaller prints. You might take a look at Ian Leake's portfolio of nudes for an excellent example of using both formats together well. He has a portfolio on apug I think, as well as a website. Paula Chamlee is another photographer who uses small contacts to great effect, check out her Tuscany portfolio. She uses 4x5 and 5x7 as complements to her standard 8x10. One more is Shawn Daugherty, who did a whole series of 4x5 contact prints, his Pondscum series, which are on his website. Not to mention of course the many early photographers who used relatively small film sizes and contact printed, like Sudek. If you mount them right, i.e. in large enough mounts, they can look really nice. I'm actually thinking of doing some of my earlier 4x5 work as contact prints now that Lodima paper is available. Give it a try.
     
  9. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

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    Ignoring the issues that would let you just shoot a 4x5 camera instead.

    1) 8x10 cameras tend to be stronger with larger lensboards. If you want to mount a monster lens that might bend the average 4x5 in half an 8x10 often handles things without a worry.

    2) Longer bellows .

    3) If for some wierd reason you want to mount a rollfilm back with that monster lens.
     
  10. Mahler_one

    Mahler_one Member

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    Great advice from all. I asked the question because I was taking some relative "close-ups" with the Derdorff 8x10, and I noted that the image would look much better "cropped". My lens and the foliage did not allow me to get closer to the subject. Hence, if I had the reducing back with me, I could have more easily isolated the subject, and then-as has been well pointed out here-enlarged the image. Of course, I don't know if I REALLY would have carried the reducing back with me into the field. At my attained age the Deardorff by itself is already enough of a load...add the holders, a few lenses, the tripod...geesh...

    Ed
     
  11. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I don't carry reducing backs into the field, but I have a 4x5" reducing back with a sliding back adapter that I use on my 8x10" Sinar P. It's handy to be able to keep the camera set up on a tripod or a stand all the time and have all the features of a studio camera, and if I want to switch to 4x5", I just change backs.

    The sliding back has a groundglass on one side for composition and focus, and I can have a filmholder or rollfilm back on the other side ready to shoot for portraits. Here's a natural light portrait with a 6x7cm rollfilm back on the 8x10" Sinar P with the 4x5" reducing back and 4x5" sliding back--

    [​IMG]

    It sounds complicated, but it's very quick and easy to clip these things on and off on a Sinar--easier than taking the whole camera off the tripod and mounting another camera.
     
  12. bennoj

    bennoj Member

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    My universal mount for barrel lenses is on a lensboard for my 8x10, so if I want to use the little Petzval I bought from Jim Galli that only covers 4x5 (just) I have to use the 8x10.
     
  13. keithostertag

    keithostertag Subscriber

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    I was told once, and it seems true, that having a reducing back, i.e. having a a bellows much larger "around" than the film format, helps reduce flare from the light bouncing around the inside walls of the bellows.

    Is that a proper sentence? Geez...
     
  14. wildbill

    wildbill Member

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    I regularly use 450mm and 600mm lenses with the 4x5 back on my Wehman. I always carry the reducing back, an instant film holder, some 4x5 holders and lenses from 600 down to 90mm, all of which work on the 8x10. I've picked up my 4x5 only a handful of times since I made the reducing back. Also great for shooting color when the wind's blowing like hell and you don't want to blow $10 on a sheet of 8x10 film only to find that the extended bellows made it fuzzy.
     
  15. PHOTOTONE

    PHOTOTONE Member

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    Versatility, from one camera. Also, 8x10 cameras have more bellows extension, thus enabling you to use "longer" lenses without problems.

    Isn't one of the most popular Deardorff cameras actually a 5x7 camera with a factory supplied 4x5 back?