5x7 vs 8x10 as next step from 4x5??

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by morkolv, Jul 21, 2005.

  1. morkolv

    morkolv Member

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    Hi!!

    A small (?) voice keeps telling me that I should (read as: _need_) to step-up to a larger format from 4x5. I've been playing with LF for approx a year now, developing my own BW film for the last 6 months, and c-41 for the last two. Great fun, but so far more process than good photographs :smile:

    And as my current process of the (smallish?) 4x5 negatives are of the ehhmm .. alternative grey area type.... I would like to try out a larger negative and contact print on fiber paper.

    I've seen that several consider 5x7 as a good format and trade-off between several factors such as format, size, cost, weight.... There seems however to be more 8x10 gear and film on the market

    BTW, I usually shoots outdoor (although with reasonable distance from the car :smile:

    So what should I target on the auction site ? 5x7 or 8x10 ?? pros & cons..

    :smile:
     
  2. TheMissingLink

    TheMissingLink Member

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    Morten,

    perhaps you can answer your question(s) by yourself.

    Would it be physically possible for you to drag the euqipment after leaving your car's seat? There are nice light-weight cams out ...

    Do you think about enlarging or would it be an option for you "only" to make contact prints? Do you already own an enlarger capable for one of these sizes?

    What about the budget with getting a new toy? Would it be passible for you to pay more per sheet (compared to 5x7)

    As you have used 4x5 as an appetizer ... are you sure you don't want to change from 5x7 to 8x10 a few weeks later? Recognizing the difference between handling and results makes avid for more and more ...

    These would be some of my spontanous thoughts if I would have to ask this question
     
  3. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

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    5x7 is a nicer shape for me. 8x10 produces a bigger negative and therefore bigger contact prints. But I like the look of 5x7 prints for more things.

    Depending on your current lenses they may cover 5x7. Less likely they'll cover 8x10.

    If you get a 4x5 back for the 5x7 you can use the same camera for both formats without too much hassle. You can do the same thing with 8x10 but 8x10s tend to weigh more and not go that wider. So the hassle factor is bigger.

    More films seem available in 8x10 then 5x7.

    You have a better chance of finding a 5x7 enlarger. If you find an 8x10 enlarger it'll be much bigger.

    Used 5x7s tend to be cheaper then used 8x10s.

    What to look for? Depends on why you're thinking of moving up.
     
  4. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I contact print both 5x7" and 8x10".

    I think in general that 8x10" is a more useful format. It produces a nice sized contact print, and as you note, there is more film and equipment available. I started from 8x10" so building up an 8x10" lens kit, it was easy to go up to 11x14" and down to the smaller formats without having to start from scratch.

    Composing on the 8x10" groundglass is also an attraction of the larger format. I like working 1:1, knowing that what I see on the glass is the same size as it will be in the print. 8x10" is about the size of a notebook or a sheet of paper, so there is something familiar about it.

    One reason to shoot 5x7" is if you like the more rectangular shape of the frame. I shoot 5x7" because I have a Press Graflex, which is the largest practical SLR, though I gather they made an 8x10" version.
     
  5. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Morten

    You know deep down you should go 10x8 really :smile:

    5x4 to 5x7 is like swapping from 6x4.5 to 6x7 not significant enough, my 10x8 goes quite long walks up hills etc and sure its not as light as 5x4 its definately fun & worth it

    Ian
     
  6. Alex Hawley

    Alex Hawley Member

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  7. Frank Petronio

    Frank Petronio Inactive

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    I know a lot of fine art photographers who have gone to 5x7 because it is still a managable camera size. (I used to use a 5x7 Wista Rittereck that is a really neat camera if you ever find one.) But at this point, I doubt that I would go to 5x7 or 8x10 for contact printing only, with little chance of scanning or enlarging without a huge expense. So if I'm limited myself to contact printing due economy, I think I would splurge on an ultra large format camera. A nice vintage 11x14 for portraits, or a 7x17 or 12x24 for scenes. Of course the film is expensive but if you aren't good at rationalizing pointless expenditures of time and money then why are you here?

    My wife calls this Frankonomics.
     
  8. John Kasaian

    John Kasaian Member

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    The Link, Nick, David, Ian, and Alex are right on target. There is nothiing else quite like 8x10 and if that is what you want to shoot, go for it. IMHO,there is no advantage to going from 4x5 to 5x7 to 8x10 over going from 4x5 straight to 8x10,

    Cheers!
     
  9. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

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    Unless you like wide angle lenses. Even my 5x7 can only go so wide. So people interested in ultra wide 4x5s wouldn't like it. I doubt many 8x10s will go wider then my 5x7 or even close to it.
     
  10. morkolv

    morkolv Member

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    Thanks!!

    Yes, 8x10 seems the right thing to do :smile: A switch to 5x7 would however enable me to "re-use" the 210 mm which covers, and to develop it in my Jobo expert drum. So I will lock for a 8x10 camera with 5x7 reducing back, at least to have that option available.

    A self teached crash course in "Frankonomics" are being planned!!

    As for enlarger 5x7 or 8x10, the answer is NO, no room for that etc!! The last year i LF however are not comforting with respect to credibility in such matter, ever heard of the project managers worst nightmare... uncontrolled scope-creep ? (or more running)

    I will go looking for a used 8x10.. and there might just be a another "Ops, I just bought.... " thread...

    Al the Best :smile:
     
  11. Joe Symchyshyn

    Joe Symchyshyn Member

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    Why not both?? An 8x10 with 5x7 AND 4x5 reducing backs???

    joe
     
  12. mikebarger

    mikebarger Subscriber

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    I second Alex's susgestion. After seeing his 8x10, I probably would have bought an 8x10. You can bet I'm buying lens that cover 8x10 :wink:

    Mike
     
  13. Donald Miller

    Donald Miller Member

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    Ultimately you will need to do what is correct for you. I will say that I fell into the bigger is better camp for awhile. I have at various times shot everything from 4X5 to 12X20.

    I have found that 8X10 contact prints do not show much if any improvement over 4X5 enlargements to 8X10 (that is with a Durst condensor enlarger). In fact I prefer 11X14 prints from 4X5 over 8X10 contacts. (yes I have done Azo contacts using MAS Amidol development).

    I have two 8X10 Deardorffs that I am thinking of selling because I just don't see that much benefit of contact printing over enlarging. I am thinking seriously of going to 5X7 exclusively. With that format, I will be able to turn out 16X20 prints that will rival the quality of 8X10 contacts but will be 4 times as large. With 8X10 one is pretty much limited to contact prints..with 5X7 you can have contact prints or enlargements---8X10 enlargers are usually very large while my Durst 138S is very manageable.

    I realize that this will fly in the face of most who shoot 8X10...but my experience just doesn't bear out that 8X10 is the best choice for me.
     
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  15. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Morten,

    I shoot 9x12, 4x5", 13x18, 5x7" and 18x24. Next step is 8x10" and 30x40...

    Any 5x7" camera takes 13x18 as well, the holders are the same size. Same with 8x10" / 18x24 - with the exception of old plate cameras, which is why I use 18x24 only.

    My current 5x7" camera, a Gandolfi Traditional, has no problems with lenses down to 90mm and probably not with any lens which covers the format. Many of my 4x5" lenses also cover 5x7", but very few cover 8x10". That's another thing to keep in mind!

    I also have a 5x7" enlarger, so some of my negatives get enlarged. Jeg kan godt forstørre noen for deg om du bestemmer deg for 5x7" eller 13x18. Jeg har forresten et 13x18 platekamera "til overs"...
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 21, 2005
  16. Tom Stanworth

    Tom Stanworth Member

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    I have recently moved up from 5x4 to 10x8 & 5x7 for enlargement and am unconvinced so far of 10x8 , so much so that I may move to 5x7 only. The 10x8 is very big, the holders are less easy to load, handle etc. A 10x8 glass neg holder is a pig to keep clean. Handling the negs is a pig too. In fact eveything is a pig up until staring that that huge ground glass and printing that whopper neg. I would say that you need to be sure 5x7 is too small first. A 5x7 neg is a lot bigger than 5x4 and assuming you crop 5x4 to a slightly less stubby shape (like I often do) 5x7 is still twice the size, yet it is easily handled compared to 10x8. Negs can be held in one hand for loading, the enlargers are cheaper and smaller, the film is far cheaper and the camere half the size. My 5x7 Walker XL is very neat and robust and a very handy quick to use field camera. Any 10x8 is not! Lenses are a pig. Coverage for 10x8 in a light package is tough - The G clarons make a lot of sense! Coverage is easy on 5x7 and cheaper by far, even for wides. Wides for 10x8, assuming you wish to enlarge to make big prints, need to cover well and not be soft at the edges. You can get away with a lot poorer lens (smaller and cheaper) for contacts. 150mm Lenses good for big enlargements are V expensive or VVVVV Big or both. If you are not going to make whopper enalrgements, then why not stick to 5x7? For contacts, 10x8 is far less of a pain financially as there are more lenses that cover well enough stopped down to produce fine 10x8 contacts. Blow that neg up to 20x24 and they might look quite soft.....more so that a 5x7 neg shot on a modern lens.

    The biggest factor by far is this (for me): DOF

    Your subject matter makes a big difference here. It seems to me there are far more epic distance landscapes to be had in the US than the UK, where people need to use more foreground interest. We just dont have sweeping deserts to be shot on 600mm lenses from a distance, or the great mountainscapes at distance. I have found it tough to shoot scenes here where DOF is not a major issue on 10x8 more often than I would like. I am going to shoot both the 10x8 and 5x7 for a while and either keep both or sell the 10x8 and settle on the 5x7.

    I nearly forgot...travelling with a 10x8 is a killer. They are not airplane friendly. Too big and heavy with lenses for handluggage and too vulnerable for the hold. This is where I really notice the loss of my ebony RSW45 at 1.4 Kg.

    In summary for enlarging, I reckong the 5x7 is the ultimate unless the prints get really huge (say over 30" long). The 10x8 will offer creamy grain free images forever, but here in the UK, half the shots would not be 'on' due to DOF constraints. A 10x8 with a 5x7 back is still a 10x8 monster. A 5x7 with a 5x4 reducer is good for (col or mono) packet film, Rollfilm backs, or a canham 6x17 holder etc.

    Tom
     
  17. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    That depends on the camera. I carry my ultralight 8x10" Gowland with 120mm, 168mm, 8-1/4", 10", 12", and 19" lenses, film, and the usual accessories on the plane in an ordinary padded knapsack made for laptop computers (and I usually have my laptop in there too, for non-photographic purposes). I check the tripod in a Tenba TTP case, and put the empty filmholders in my regular luggage. When I arrive at the destination, I load the holders, the film box and laptop come out, tripod goes over the shoulder on a strap, and I'm ready to shoot. A lighter camera also makes it possible to use a lighter tripod. I usually use a heavier Bogen tripod, but the Gowland does fine on a Tiltall if I want to travel light.
     
  18. Dave Wooten

    Dave Wooten Subscriber

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    I'd definately vote for the 8 x 10, once you have gotten into the routine of using it, it does not seem large at all....quite normal, a good neg size if you decide to get into platinum etc....My Wista fits into a shoulder bag ( "Off Shore Angler Bag-15 x 21 x 7) it holds camera and lenses and film and holders....I have not had a problem with the film in airports and it goes with me on the plane.....I need to get a good case for my tripod...I wrapped the box it came in in duct tape and have shipped it with luggage with the head removed and put in my luggage suitcase.....4 x 5 backs are easy to adapt using one from an old graflex, also 5 x 7 from B and J Orbit cameras are available....
     
  19. sanking

    sanking Member

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    I would go with the 5X7. For cameras of comparable features it is much smaller and easier to port and work with than the 8X10, you can use most of your 4X5 lenses, and it is large enough to contact print. And, if you plan to make enlarged prints, either by projection printing or by scanning with subsequent output, either directly to inkjet or to an alternative process via digital negative, you will find little difference in quality between 5X7 and 8X10 until you get into prints larger than about 25X35".

    Also, I really much prefer the longer rectangle of the 5X7 format to the more boxier look of 4X5 and 8X10.

    Sandy
     
  20. Tom Stanworth

    Tom Stanworth Member

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    My 10x8 weighs in at 4 Kg and my lenses are the smallest. I just find everything ends up revolving around the camera packing requirements! I have taken mine hand luggage, but there is little room left for anything else. It just ended up a nause, along with the packing of the main bag with the tripod (berleback), darkcloth, ancills, holders etc. My 5x7 is so much smaller I can image I will be able to include sun cream and a towel next time!
     
  21. Peter Schrager

    Peter Schrager Subscriber

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    5x7

    I believe that 5x7 was, is, and always will be the great unknown format. Most of the issues have already been stated here. On a more personal note it was my first camera. I had always lamented not being able to enlarge because 30 years ago 5x7 enlargers were very dear. So I made contact prints with a 15 watt bulb.Still make contacts occassionaly and just sent out several for the print exchange.
    8x10 is great but as Mr. Miller states about the facts of limiting size.(enlarging) 8x10 is much more of a committment. Effort and money. As far as traveling-if you have the inclination to do something you WILL figure out a way to get it there. I often foward some of my equipmet ahead to the hotel- and I usually pack up my film and ship it back in the mail to myself. Same can be done for holders et al. 5x7 is almost 100% larger than 4x5 yet has none of the bulk of 8x10. Good luck with your choice-at least today there are choices in 5x7!
    Best, Peter
     
  22. Tom Stanworth

    Tom Stanworth Member

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    If you do consider 5x7 and want a wide camera, look at the walker 5x7XL....It is rock solid, cheap (comparatively) and very easy to use. It is essentially the same in concept as the Ebony SW45 except bigger and made from ABS. It is also cheaper.....takes the Canham 6x17 better than anything else on the market etc etc.

    I am very pleased with mine.

    Tom
     
  23. Joe Lipka

    Joe Lipka Member

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    I went from 4x5 to 5x7 based on the ability to use the same lenses for both formats and still get a bigger negative. The only disappointment was that 5x7 while a wonderful size just doesn't hang well on the wall. It's fabulous as a hand held portfolio, but it's not "gallery" sized.

    Here's one other thing to think about. How do you plan to show your final print?
     
  24. sanking

    sanking Member

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    Another nice 5X7 to consider is the Shen-Hao. Also very similar in design to the Ebony, and rock solid with about 600mm of bellows draw. I purchased mine directly from the factory for less than $1100. The 5X7 model Shen-Hao is especially well built, with nice teak wood and titanium metal.

    Sandy
     
  25. Alex Hawley

    Alex Hawley Member

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    I would agree that 5x7 is the better format if you want to stay with enlarging. As Don Miller pints out, a 5x7 enlarger is still very manageable; both in cost and physical size. An 8x10 enlarger is a sizeable, and lets say permanently fixed, piece of machinery.

    Still, I would vote for the 8x10 camera body with the reducing backs. Once you experience the different sizes, you will know which direction to follow.
     
  26. wm blunt

    wm blunt Member

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    I have seen many wonderful 4x5 and 5x7 prints in galleries and museums.