My first view Camera

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by mdeguzman, Dec 11, 2013.

  1. mdeguzman

    mdeguzman Member

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    Hi Guys,

    I am currently using Nikon D800 and I love creating Fine Art images. I would like to try my hand on a View Camera and I would like to use an 8x10. I was searching on the internet and I think my budget fits with a new Chamonix 8x10. Do you guys have any feedback on this camera?

    Also, I am shooting landscapes since I took photography and I would like to have a wide angle lens for my 8x10. I am looking at Rodenstock Sinonar-S 210mm or the Nikkor W-210mm. Any of you who experienced using these lenses on the Chamonix? My concern is which lens board to use and if the bellows on the Chamonix would get in the way for 210mm lens.

    I am really hoping to get expert advice from you guys before I make the purchase.

    Thank you.
     
  2. LJH

    LJH Member

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    Forget the new camera and get a second hand one. Put the significant $$$ difference ($3200+ compared to, say a used 'Dorff for $1200) into glass and/or film. Both of these will result in better images than any new wooden box.

    Possibly the most important thing that you can learn about LF is, unlike digital, the camera makes (relatively) very little difference...
     
  3. Regular Rod

    Regular Rod Member

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    Recommendations from any of us can only be based on what we have personal experience of. I only have two view cameras and experience of one other I had in the past, so the value of advice from me is severely limited. Here goes anyway...

    For landscape work I'm assuming you will want to be carrying your camera and that its weight may be important to you. So, unless you can get it for a bargain price, the older cameras may be not exactly what you want...

    A more modern camera like the Shen Hao FCL810-A will be free of any problems due to age and years of use and weighs only 4.4kg.
    Your lens focal length choice of 210mm is a good one. You might consider buying a convertible lens like the Computar 210 (made by KOWA) that converts to 370mm by simply removing the front element. Two lenses in one. It is a tiny lens, taking up very little space in your bag.

    Bag! Contact Bruce info@renphototech.com and specify yourself one of his amazingly comfortable Photobackpacker rucksacks, you will never regret it. His latest rucksack the P3 takes my FCL810-A and all my other 8x10 gear with ease. You should also treat yourself to one of his Cascade systems for carrying your film holders. Being organised in the field makes an enormous difference to your productivity. http://www.photobackpacker.com/home.php

    Focusing takes a little getting used to. I bought some +5.5 "reading" glasses from eBay and find these more convenient and quick to use than a loupe when under the dark cloth (XXXL black cotton Tee Shirt). A small black folding umbrella can be very useful if working in a breeze, or a drop of rain, to shelter your camera enough to prevent camera shake during an exposure.

    Tripod? Jury is still out for me. I'm now trying a Gitzo GT2540G with Manfrotto 488MGRC3 head, but am still not sure of the best solution for stability, light weight and ease of use...

    Best of luck in your quest.

    RR
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 11, 2013
  4. bdial

    bdial Subscriber

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    If I were going to buy a new 8x10, this would be the one;
    http://www.lg4mat.net/LFcamera.html

    2 pounds lighter than the Chamonix.

    View cameras generally don't need to be matched to a specific lens, as long as the lens board and mounting frame is large enough to accommodate the lens's diameter and weight you're good, assuming the bellows can compress or expand for the focal length.
    I agree with the earlier comment though, most of your money should go to the optics, the camera is just a light-tight box.
     
  5. Regular Rod

    Regular Rod Member

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    [​IMG]

    eBay item number: 221333480845

    $3,400 for complete kit, with lens, film holders etc...!!!

    Looks like a good deal to me.

    RR
     
  6. Two23

    Two23 Member

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    I would say that really, even what digital camera you use anymore makes little difference. The camera is the least important thing about photography. I agree about buying a used one. No point in buying a new one since there is a great selection popping up on ebay as well as here.


    Kent in SD
     
  7. ntenny

    ntenny Member

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    The first things you do with a view camera are:
    (1) get confused by the elaborate workflow and spend some time sorting it out;
    (2) get the hang of developing sheet film;
    (3) stare in amazement at the results.

    You can do all those with any old camera/lens combination. As others have pointed out, the camera makes relatively little difference as long as it keeps the dark in; and you're going to end up buying a whole bunch of lenses anyway, so don't sweat the initial choices too much.

    I'm not sure if this happens to everyone, but in moving to larger formats I discovered that my preferences are *very* different than they were in smaller ones. I don't get much use out of wide lenses in 35mm or MF; in 8x10 I virtually never use anything longer than wide-normal. I compose differently in large format, pick different subjects, and so on. So I'm glad I didn't sink a bunch of money up front into the toolbox I thought I wanted.

    With all that in mind, I'd say you should get an adequate field camera that doesn't break the bank, a couple of cheap lenses of different lengths, start fooling around with them, and see what happens from there.

    -NT
     
  8. Ian C

    Ian C Member

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    From post #1,

    These are 5” x 7” format lenses. They can’t fully cover the diagonal of an 8” x 10” film. You need to check the diameter of the infinity-focus image circle of any lens you might choose and verify that it is large enough to properly cover the diagonal of your film size.
     
  9. Regular Rod

    Regular Rod Member

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    A very important point. The focal length of 210mm is very useful for landscape work but make sure that you choose a lens for 8x10...

    RR
     
  10. Alan Gales

    Alan Gales Subscriber

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    I've got a Fujinon 250mm f/6.7 lens I paid less than $300.00 for used and the lens has an image circle of 398. It's similar to a 35mm lens on a 35mm camera. There are 240mm lenses out there with plenty of coverage too. I know Fuji did make a 210mm that covers 8x10 but it doesn't give you a whole lot of wiggle room if that's important to you.
     
  11. joh

    joh Subscriber

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    If I understand you right, then this is your first contact to analog photography. You will have a lot of learning to do compared to your D800.I'm not shure if it did not make more sense to start a little bit smaller. 4x5 is a common size and the film is a lot cheaper. You must learn to develop your film, to meter, you must learn to operate the camera, scheimplug,...you have no histogram or preview and you can see what you have done first in the darkroom...and so on....
    I myself own a D800e, realy a nice camera but 4x5 film blows it away, even if you only want to scan the negatives. My scanner is 18 years old but he gives me good quality scans with 10000x12000 pixel.
    .....you allways can go bigger some day if you want and if you buy wisley you can use a lot of the stuff even for 8x10.
    only my opinion
     
  12. bob01721

    bob01721 Member

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    And don't forget getting used to "seeing" your image upside-down and backward on the ground glass.
     
  13. Regular Rod

    Regular Rod Member

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    Poor mdeguzman! He might be getting put off the idea by all these downside vibes. I hope he just gets his 8x10 and gets out there making photographs. It was a long time ago, but I remember my first foray into large format with a whole plate Kodak Model B. It was very exciting and frankly I am almost jealous of mdeguzman as he has this tremendous pleasure to come.

    RR
     
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  15. joh

    joh Subscriber

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    you are right Regular Rod, I will never forget the first 8x10 ektachrome I've seen in the 80's, or the incredible look through a 8x10 screen in this times....
    I don't want to stop him, I think it is a good idea to go to analog and to large format, but 8x10 film is little bit expensive in my mind if you start and test.... and test again...maybee he should consider to buy a 8x10 with an additional 4x5 reducing back for learning and testing
     
  16. ntenny

    ntenny Member

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    Who said anything negative? All I see is one post suggesting that it might make sense to jump into 4x5 before larger formats. (Personally I don't think that would make so much difference; sheets are sheets, in most respects.)

    -NT
     
  17. Ronald Moravec

    Ronald Moravec Member

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    A D800 with good glass rivals 4x5 easily. Stitch for 8x10.

    LF is fun, but a whole different skill set and you need to be a weightlifter to go far with a 8x10 kit.
     
  18. Light Guru

    Light Guru Member

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    No a D800 might rival a medium format camera but certainly not a 4x5. Add to that a 4x5 is going to give you camera movements to control the image even more.
     
  19. richard ide

    richard ide Member

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    When you make an enlargement from a negative, everything in the print was on the negative. When you make a fake enlargement from a file, just about everything you see is a computer's interpretation so not in the original file. With the right film and lens combination, I can probably get better than 200mp from a 35mm negative.
     
  20. Kawaiithulhu

    Kawaiithulhu Subscriber

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    I'm just not seeing how this is an appropriate discussion to start on an Analog focused forum where folks come to discuss, you know, film and stuff.

    There's an entire world out there dedicated to all things digital. Don't get me wrong, I'm a software guy who's worked on graphical systems from the inside and know what code is capable of but there's a time and a place.

    Back to our regularly scheduled advice! Perhaps if you more deeply discuss your motivation to expand from your digital background into 8x10 film the others here who have centuries of combined experience with these things may suggest more appropriate items for you. That Nikon can make some pretty pictures but there's something lacking, what elemental need do you want to fulfill that your current camera cannot?
     
  21. richard ide

    richard ide Member

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    Some people just cannot resist throwing in little turds about digital on an analogue site.
     
  22. TimFox

    TimFox Member

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    8x10 is fun, but the glass and film are much more expensive than with 4x5. I would recommend starting out at 4x5 which is a huge improvement over smaller formats.
    One thing to watch for (I was surprised by this when I got my 8x10, although the mathematics is straightforward):
    Although exposure (f-stop and shutter) are the same regardless of format, the depth of field at a given f-stop decreases with increasing format size. I was aghast when I repeated a 4x5 cityscape shot that I liked, using the 8x10, and did not close the lens down farther.
     
  23. Light Guru

    Light Guru Member

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    Yup that's why large format lenses have apertures unseen in smaller formats. The use of f45 and f64 is rather common in large format.
     
  24. Kawaiithulhu

    Kawaiithulhu Subscriber

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    That's my cue to set up a link to: http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/f64/hd_f64.htm Group F/64 who thought this whole small aperture thing was a pretty neat idea. And it may give the original poster ideas to think about :cool:
     
  25. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    One big advantage 8x10 (or larger) has over 4x5 is less of a need or even no need for an enlarger.
     
  26. darinwc

    darinwc Subscriber

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    I dont know why this has to devolve into a discussion about the posters motivations or 4x5 vs 8x10 or digital vs. film..

    The guy asked a general question about a camera and indicated that it is with their budget. Why not just stay silent if you dont have anything pertinent to say?
    -And if someone wants to buy new, we should be applauding them because they are keeping the manufacturers in business.


    Regarding the chamonix.. I cannot comment on the 8x10 but I have handled 4x5's and they seem better built than my Shen-Hao. The focus knobs are larger (on the 4x5 at least).
    The rear focus knob is a really nice feature (otherwise you have to reach around your camera to focus). It looks like the newer 8x10 has a bail back which really helps keep your camera from getting out of alighnment when inserting a film holder.

    Well good luck on your purchase! Return back here for advice anytime!
    Darin