Beginning 8x10

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by modafoto, Feb 1, 2005.

  1. modafoto

    modafoto Subscriber

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    Hi

    I am thinking about buying an 8x10 camera to do still life and landscapes et.al.
    I want a camera with one lens and shutter to start with and something close to a 50 mm in 35 mm photography (what is this in 8x10?). To this comes some film holders and a tripod (which also will be used with 35 mm if possible).

    What should I consider and how much will it costs me to get a basic 8x10 setup. I am considering 8x10 as the contact printing would be very nice and easy to do at home. 8x10 is furthermore a nice size (mounted 12x16) for competitions. Additionally I have access to an enlarger than can do 8x10 if I want to enlarge it.

    Please shoot with answers and ask me questions if i provided too little info to give an answer.

    Morten
     
  2. Zan

    Zan Member

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    I just got my first 8x10 camera, an old burke and james (battleship grey with red bellows).. I had ever intention of getting the cam, taking the bellows off, refinishing it, and having the bellows replaced. Well, I got the cam the other day and the bellows are MINT.. I got the cam for 338$ plus shipping! I bought a fairly expensive fujinon W 300mm 5.6 (300mm is a "normal" lens for 8x10). Until now, all I have ever used was 4x5. I contact print with a 7.5watt bulb and a metal contact printing frame.. I bought some AZO and amidol and Im going to give that a whirl =) I kinda rambled on, just wanted to let you know that youre not the only 8x10 beginner around... good luck
     
  3. davekarp

    davekarp Member

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  4. Jim Chinn

    Jim Chinn Member

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    What is your budget Morten? If we know what you can afford, we can make some pretty specific suggestions. For under $1000.00 (US) you can easily get a complete kit of camera lens and tripod. A Burke and James, Calumet C1 or Kodak D2. Lenses such as a 12"/300mm Commercial Ektar are very affordable although they may require a cleaning. And a surveyors tripod works nicely, although you have to get a thread adaptor to use the common 1/4" hole found in the older cameras.

    Older cameras are less expensive but are heavier and have less movements.

    Newer field cameras such as a Wisner, or Canham can be found on the used market but expect to pay between $1500 and $2000 for the camera alone. here you get more portability, better quality of construction, more generous movements and in some, but not all cases a lighter camera.

    Here is one on Ebay that would really be perfect for what you are suggesting.

    http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&category=15248&item=3871353228&rd=1

    This looks from the pictures to be in really good shape. Masterviews are a little heavy, but perfectly good for both field work and studio. I personally consider Master Views to be a very "cool" camera. But it will probably go for about $1500.

    Here is another one on the opposite end of the used scale.

    http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&category=15248&item=3871064355&rd=1

    This camera looks pretty rough. It might go for as little as $250 US. If the bellows are light tight it would be a good starter camera. A PIA to transport in the field but adequate for studio work. But if you don't backpack and work mostly short distances from the car it is perfectly good for landscape.

    Of course there is the ubiquitous Deardorf:

    http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&category=15248&item=3871283282&rd=1

    I imagine that this will go for around $1600. You never know with a Deardorf. Sometimes the prices are inflated by the "cult" of Deardorf and reflect a collectors metality that I don't really understand. Other times they go for very reasonable amounts.

    Then there are the Sinars, which always are on Ebay as studios and pros dump there LF gear for Digital. Sinar of course (and Arca Swiss) are the standards for precision cameras. Overkill for what you want to do or for that matter, 90% of us. Also not portable and if somethng critical breaks, you need major dollars for parts or repair. Here is one on Ebay right now:

    http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&category=15248&item=3871369611&rd=1

    I don't really know that much about Sinars, but I imagine this camera sold for $6000-$7000 US new.

    I don't know any of the individuals selling these cameras, just provided the links so you can compare 4 really different used 8x10s. And don't take my price estimates as gospel. They only reflect what I consider to be the current trends on Ebay.
     
  5. roteague

    roteague Member

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    If you want to do LF, I think you would be better of starting with 4x5. The reason I say this, is because LF is a lot different than working with a roll camera, and you are going to need to shoot a lot of film in order to learn how to use the LF camera properly. Start with 4x5, learn the basics, then upgrade to 8x10.
     
  6. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Or go straight to 5x7"...
     
  7. Jorge

    Jorge Inactive

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    I disagree with Robert, go ahead and start with the 8x10, there is no difference in operation and it will force you to pay attention to details since film is more expensive. If anything and you want to start practicing with 4x5 get a 4x5 back for the camera.
    I think Jim covered all the bases with his post with respect to cameras. You will need a 300 mm lens to have a similar view like a 50 mm lens in a 35 mm.
    Of the cameras Jim pointed out to you, the Kodak Master view is an excellent starter camera, but if you can afford a new one, I would recommend a Wheman. It has a similar design as the master view and it is lighter.
    OTOH cameras las Tachihara and Shen hao are not that much more expensive that the Kodak Master View and you could get a new one.

    Here is an example:

    http://www.badgergraphic.com/search_product2.asp?x=2628

    Good luck, hope to see some 8x10 contacts soon...
     
  8. Jim Chinn

    Jim Chinn Member

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    Oops, I forgot about Shen Hao. I have read good reviews from members here and elsewhere. Like Jorge said, A Shen Hao will not be much more then the Materview and much lighter to carry.

    Also, I think going to 8x10 makes sense, especially if you do not have an enlarger that can handle 4x5 negatives. You will burn through some film learning, but the results will be worth it. There is also a wonderful freedom making contact prints because of the simplicity of the process.
     
  9. rbarker

    rbarker Member

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    I went through the 8x10 decision process a little over a year ago. As others have mentioned, there are various older models that are fairly inexpensive (but usually heavy, and sometimes needing repair or refurbishment). I opted for a new Tachihara double-extension model, and have been pleased with it. I wanted something light enough that I could carry it into the field with minimal risk to my (old and injured) back.

    As Jorge said, a 300mm would be the equivalent to a 50mm on 35mm. For older lenses, like the Kodak Commercial Ektars, that's a 12" lens. Lots of choices in that range. I'd suggest looking at the lens articles and comparison charts on the Large Format Photography Info site.

    I found, however, that my preferred angle of view changed significantly with 8x10. So, you might want to experiment a bit with a framing aid to see which focal length you might prefer with the 8x10 format. Just take a scrap of black matte board, and cut an 8x10 rectangle in the middle, attach a string with knots tied at various common focal lengths, and then look through it with one eye. Find the most pleasing composition, then hold the string up to your cheek to determine which focal length would result in that angle of view.
     
  10. Mongo

    Mongo Member

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    I'm with Jorge on this one...I think a jump straight to 8x10 is a good one. If you stick with cheap film it isn't too terribly expensive (i.e., J&C Pro 100).

    Regarding new cameras: You might want to check the weight on the Shen-Hao 8x10 before you consider it. At least in the 4x5, the Shen-Hao is much heavier than the Tachihara (the trade off is more features, including more movements and a Graflock back on the Shen-Hao versus less movements and a spring back on the Tachihara). This is assuming that weight is important to you.

    If low weight is not important and you would consider used, I'm fond of the old magnesium Calumet C-1. 15 pounds with the back and a lensboard, almost every movement (only back rise/fall is missing, and it's not too important), very long bellows, all in a camera that you could probably hammer spikes into boards with. If you can get one in good shape (all screws present, all knobs intact, and bellows in good shape), you'll have one heck of a good camera. And with careful shopping you can get some real deals. I picked up mine for $240 on eBay from a seller who'd photographed the thing so poorly that it looked like the black (read: heavier aluminum) version of the camera. Careful examination of the photos with the brightness turned up on my monitor showed me it really was the green version. (I did take a chance, as not all green C-1s are magnesium, but mine is and it's barely heavier than my restored Korona Pictorial View wooden camera.)

    As to a first lens: although 300mm is the equivalent of a 50mm in 35mm photography, I find that I'm much more likely to use either a long (480mm) or short (210mm) lens on my 8x10...the 300mm doesn't do anything for me even though I love the 50mm on my Nikons.

    Anyhow...there is a LOT of information to be considered. Luckily, there are also lots of very knowledgeable people here who can help. Good luck!
     
  11. John Kasaian

    John Kasaian Member

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    Morten,

    I suspect that a lot of older 8x10 gear available in North America isn't as commonplace in europe. I don't know if you have a preference for new or used equipment either,or a wood field over monorail. Good examples can be found of both types, new and used. FWIW, If the budget will allow I'd suggest taking advantage of the strong euro and weak dollar and order one of the new Deardorffs---you'll probably want to hang on to it for the rest of your life!

    IMHO if you're shooting B&W and foregoing digital then there isn't anything to be gained buying the latest and greatest gear(my opinion---others may disagree!)

    What is commonly available world wide(if anything having to do with 8x10 can be considered common) is lenses. The big Ektars suitable for 8x10 might be a bit harder to come by in europe(I don't know), but Schneider G-Clarons and Goerz Dagors shouldn't be too hard to find in focal lengths from 240mm to 355/360mm and I think would work nicely for you. You might also come across a Symmar convertible(what were they? 360mm & 500mm??)

    Holders are another matter. In the US the ubiquitous wood Kodaks made by Graflex are cheap(est) and most plentiful. Once again I don't know the situation in europe. I've used Agfas and found them to be workable alternatives if they don't leak. The advantage to the Kodaks are that you can take them apart and putter with them. The Agfas I've had were riveted together limiting their potential for rebuilding. For plastic holders I've had good luck with Liscos. They are available used on ebay but they are also heavy. I don't know how the cost of shipping them to Denmark would add to the bill. You'd probably be better off seeing whats available locally. Calumet in Europe and Robert White in the UK would be good places to look for new and used holders. I'm sure there are others as well. Fortunately you probably only need three of the things for a good start.

    For a tripod, I've heard very good things about Berlebach which would probably be easier for you to get ahold of in europe than the US made Ries. If you're on a budget a surveyor's tripod is the way to go(IMHO) IMHO an 8x10 wants a heavy duty tripod. I suspect even lightwieght 8x10s like the Gowland benefit from being atop something with mass and substance---comlpete overkill for a 35mm though!

    Welcome to 8x10!
     
  12. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I think I would stick to European camera models, faced with the same decision. While I have never conciously made this decision, I now have one Voigtländer 9x12, two Linhofs (4x5" and 5x7"), one nameless German plate camera in 18x24cm, and there's a 5x7" Gandolfi on the way.
    There are fewer 8x10" cameras offered on the European ebay versions, but the prices seem to be more sensible too - with the exception of the Gandolfi I bought, which was embarrasingly cheap.

    For lenses I have a 240/420 Symmar, a 165 Angulon, a 121 Super Angulon, and a 300mm Xenar which cover 8x10". I also have some older barrel lenses, but that's not the best to start with.

    Any Symmar between 240mm and 360mm is good. The 240 just covers with minimal movements, while the 360 is the longest which can be found in a shutter. Angulon only on 165 and 210mm, Xenar from 300mm (but the 300/f:4.5 is in a #5 Compound, the biggest shutter).

    I use a Stabil tripod with a Uniloc ballhead, which has no problem at all with any configuration of camera and lens. There's also the new Wolf tripods, http://www.wooden-tripods.com/index.htm which I only found out about today.
     
  13. SteveGangi

    SteveGangi Member

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    There are good deals to be found in 8x10, if you don't mind used equipment. I have a Seneca (very similar to an Eastman field camera) and a 12 inch Commercial Ektar. My 8x10 is actually a lot lighter than my 4x5 (a metal Calumet monrail). What I gained in weight savings, I gave up in extensive movements. However, these old field cameras can sometimes be bought very cheaply, and can give very good results.
     
  14. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Why the US economy is bit unstable, so exchange rates favour Europe.

    I have just bought an amazing Agfa (Asnco) 10"x8" camera from the States. OK shipping and VAT added almost 2/3'rds to the cost, but I have bought a camera at a price far below it's European value even after taxes are paid.
     
  15. modafoto

    modafoto Subscriber

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    This price is ok. $1000 would be a possible amount of money to raise for me in a few months og saving. I am looking at the Shen-Hao 8x10.