Thinking about trading my 11x14 for 8x10...

Discussion in 'Ultra Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by User Removed, Jun 9, 2006.

  1. User Removed

    User Removed Guest

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    So, it's been a few months since I purchased my wonderful Burke & James 11x14 camera and stopped shooting with my 8x10. However, I have shot several boxes of film so far and have yet to get any strong images that I really like! I'm blaming this mainly on the bulk and weight of using the larger camera. When using the 8x10 camera, I could hike for miles and climb all around to get to different locations. With using the 11x14 camera, I'm somewhat limited to short walks where I have to carry the camera in one hand, tripod in the other and two packs for film holders, cloth, lenses ect. Because of this, I seem to be missing out on alot of good images because I cannot haul the gear. I just do not feel its worth it, just to have 11x14 contact prints over my 8x10's.

    First, I was thinking the format size was giving me problems, so I was about to trade for a 12x20 camera...however, I have yet to do that. I think moving up to a LARGER camera may only limit me more.

    Anyways...I'm really thinking about getting rid of this nice 11x14 Burke & James camera (with 8 holders) in trade for a good quality 8x10. I really enjoy the size of the 8x10 contact print and feel it just fits me better.

    Soooooo....If there is anyone out there that is wanting to move up from 8x10 to 11x14 and think they could talk me out of this camera, lets chat for abit. Its a very clean, perfect working camera...but I feel that maybe ULF is not for me.

    I'm looking for a light weight, newer, good condition 8x10 since my old Calumet 8x10 is going to be retired shortly.

    Has anyone else had this problem, where you feel your gear has limited you in your photography?

    Thanks everyone.
     
  2. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Well, you might just find that 11x14" has one niche for you (maybe portraits or still life) and 8x10" has another (maybe landscapes and architecture), and the other formats do other things.

    There is something about shooting only one format that can give one's work formal consistency, so I can see a case for doing that, but why not shoot both (economic issues aside)?
     
  3. User Removed

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    David, I have been going back and forth from the 8x10 to 11x14 for awhile, however...having this nice 11x14 here, I've wanted to use the camera more.

    I've noticed that when using the larger camera, it limits what type of photographs I am taking. For example, when using the 8x10 camera I would often point up, down, swing it all around, ect...but with the 11x14, I find I'm always shooting from the same standing position, and the images are rather boring. The camera is difficult to really swing all around, get low, get high ect. For some people...this does not bother them of course, but I feel my shots have just become to static with the 11x14.
     
  4. Petzi

    Petzi Member

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    Shouldn't that depend on your tripod and head?

    Anyway, 8x10" has the advantage that it can be enlarged, but I am sure there are people in this forum who are going to tell you that 1.5x or 2x enlargements are inferior to real contact prints, so you will have to go on schlepping your 11x14". Perhaps you need a pack mule like the landscape photographers in the old days. :smile:
     
  5. reellis67

    reellis67 Subscriber

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    Petzi, a llama might be more efficient and easier to work with. I've been considering it for a while, off and on, but I digress. Ryan, I found the same thing when I went to 4x5. At first it was restricting to use compared to my MF gear, but then I after I got used to it a bit, I got the old gear out for certain things and used them both for various situations, kind of like what David is talking about. I just got an 8x10 and right now it seems heavier than hell, kind of restricting, and I'm still not sure about how far I can pack it with my back problems (an elderly driver hit me doing 60 while I sat stopped at the light). I think in time I will warm right up to it, but I can understand if you never got used to it. I never got the hang of a TLR for whatever reason. Sometimes you just get something that doesn't work for you, but that someone else is totaly good with...

    - Randy
     
  6. Rob Skeoch

    Rob Skeoch Advertiser Advertiser

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    Hi Ryan,

    If it was me I wouldn't get rid of the 11x14 just yet. Maybe put it away for a month or two and see if you miss it. I think it might be like a sports car I had once... easy to get rid of, but hard to rebuy when you miss it.

    If you feel contacts are the best way to express your work then you're going to want the bigger camera, and maybe the 12x20 as well. On the other hand if you can live with enlargements I think 8x10 is the way to go.

    Myself I'm finding it harder and harder to hike with the 8x10 kit and am considering one of those miniature formats... you know 5x7.

    I hope everyone has a great weekend and get's some shooting in.

    -Rob
    www.bigcameraworkshops.com
     
  7. User Removed

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    When I mentioned being able to move the camera around, I'm not saying that it's not possible. I use a Ries Model-A tripod which can hold the camera like a rock, and I have full movements on the tripod. However, I find that its difficult to view the WHOLE ground glass while moving the camera around. I find myself viewing only a small section of the ground glass while panning the camera around...when I should be viewing the image as a WHOLE.

    With using the 8x10, you can view the WHOLE image and when panning the camera you can view how the image chances and you can pay attention to how it affects the whole image. With the 11x14, I find I can view a small area, then I have to go back and check certain areas to see whats different. That is difficult because I may pan right past an amazing image and not even realized something happening on the ground glass!

    Well, if anyone wants to move up to shooting 11x14 and has a nice 8x10 they would be willing to trade. Let me know!
     
  8. Petzi

    Petzi Member

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    Why is it so? Is it because of illumination of the ground glass? Or is it because the ground glass is just too big for you to view as a whole from the close distance you have under the focusing cloth? Do you have a fresnel?
     
  9. Charles Webb

    Charles Webb Member

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    Ryan,
    I am not at all surprised at your decision, 11 x 14 for most folks is on the edge of overkill in the first place. I also packed an 8x10 and acessories all over the Rocky Mountains on my back. Got tired of the game one day and went smaller. Have never regreted it! Bigger in some cases is not always better.


    Charlie...........................
     
  10. kjsphoto

    kjsphoto Subscriber

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    Ryan,

    I am in the same boat I have a 8x10 deardroff that is just bulky and I think I want ot get rid of it for a 8x10 Canham instead. Right now I am packign the 5x7 and I really like it. Th droff is just not for me.

    Kev
     
  11. User Removed

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    The ground glass on my camera is a Satin Snow, and its PLENTY bright and sharp. However, when you are under the darkcloth, its just difficult to view the whole image. I have a rather larger darkcloth so I can back up abit to really SEE the whole ground glass...but then my arms are not long enough to reach the camera to move it around!

    I think 8x10 is a perfect size for alot of people, but some 8x10 cameras are more limiting then others. Such as Kevin pointed out, his Deardorff is rather bulky which can slow a photographer down. I've shot with an ArcaSwiss and some other 8x10 cameras which are soooo simple and easy to use, its like shooting a 35mm camera. However, I think that large format slowing a photographer down is a good thing because it makes you think about your image more...but when your shooting with such a cumbersome camera that it slows you down so much that you miss the shot...that is not good!

    This was the case lastnight. I was out shooting at sunset and an amazing scene was before me, however...I just could not get the 11x14 set up as fast as my 8x10, and I missed the shot because the sun set!
     
  12. Robert Hall

    Robert Hall Subscriber

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    Remember the 6" rule. You can't shoot a good image until you have shot a 6" stack of film.
     
  13. Alex Hawley

    Alex Hawley Member

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    I guess one of the advantages of middle age is that one has a great excuse for staying within a few feet of the truck - even with "only" an 8x10.

    Ryan, I guess my only suggestion that may speed up the 11x14 setup is to get a Humvee and mount the camera on top where the machine gun would normally be. It would make a great elevated viewpoint. :rolleyes:
     
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  15. User Removed

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    Haha. Thanks Alex.

    Its just not the speed of the camera setup however. Its not being able to see the whole image, not having the ablity to fully "use" the camera because its so cumbersome, the cost of film/larger paper and chemicals, having to purchase more expensive lenses to cover the format, and finally not being able to haul the camera far distances into the field.
     
  16. Donald Miller

    Donald Miller Member

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    Ryan, I shot 12X20 for a while. It was not my bag. My experience paralleled what yours is. I still have a couple of V8 Deardorffs...but I shoot about four or five times as much film through 4x5.

    Since I converted to a point light source on my Durst enlarger, I can get 11X14 enlarged prints from 4X5 negatives that equal any contact print that I ever saw on Chloride contact paper.

    If you want to check it out sometime, give me a call because I am just down the road from you.
     
  17. Harrigan

    Harrigan Member

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    I have a big camera too but I don't take it out on hikes it takes me out on hikes. What I mean is if want to shoot with the huge camera I find the image first and return with the camera later. This makes the initial hikes a bit more enjoyable as a hike and I can come back later, in the correct light to take the image I want. I tend to save the really good images for the big camera if I can. Rarely, almost never do I set out to hike with the big camera its just too big and heavy to aimlessly carry around. If I know I have a good shot I'll take it back to a pre scouted location.

    I do understand the viewing difficulty you are having. I have the same problem and its much easier for me to see the entire gg at on the 8x10. It sounds like you've made up your mind and if you feel the 11x14 is hampering your style and limiting your ability to make the images you want then go back to 8x10. On the other hand some day you might regret selling the 11x14 and want to go back to it. My ulf was pretty inexpensive and I use it sparingly. Actually its a POS but it functions for the use I give it. I still shoot more 8x10 than anything else.
     
  18. Peter Schrager

    Peter Schrager Subscriber

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    Canham...

    KJS-just want to warn you about the Canham 8x10. I would take a Dorf anytime over one. And yes; I did own the Canham once. The $3500 model. Slippery and slidy all the time. If you do buy one send it to Richard Ritter to fine tune it and make it slow down. Just a word of advice. I now have a lovely Ansco 8x10 View and it is great. Cost only $525 on Ebay. Sorry-didn't mean to barge in in the thread but thought my 2 cents were worth it!!
    Best, Peter
     
  19. Curt

    Curt Subscriber

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    "Ryan, I guess my only suggestion that may speed up the 11x14 setup is to get a Humvee and mount the camera on top where the machine gun would normally be. It would make a great elevated viewpoint."

    Now that's a great idea, I would add one of those boom lifts so you can really get a good look around; imagine booming out over a clift or some house or barn?

    With an 11x14 if someone came running after me I would just have to stand there and die. A built in taser would be a must with an 11x14.

    I have found that the 5x7 works best, it's a whole lot lighter than a 8x10 and bigger than a 4x5 for that "large" feeling and the negative size is just right. I bet Goldie Locks had one.

    Ryan if you are using an 11x14 then stepping down to an 8x10 might be good for a while. p.s. send me you metered light meter, I wait, I wait, I wait. You might be happy with a 5x7 and leave the 11x14 for "sometimes" shots.

    Curt
     
  20. User Removed

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    Hey Peter,

    I'm almost 100% sure Kevin shoots with a 5x7 wooden Canham already, and he loves the camera dearly!

    Do you know how the metal 8x10 Canhams are? I think they are an interesting design..however, I'ver heard some people complain about flex of the sliding rail.
     
  21. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Member

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    Dear Ryan,

    I bought my first 11x14 well over 20 years ago and found it 'overkill' and also overweight. So I sold it and didn't have any ULF for around 20 years until I got my 12x15 Gandolfi.

    For: the huge ground-glass is mesmerizing.

    Against: almost everything else.

    But then, I'm no great addict of big prints: I like 5x7 contacts, and the main reason for keeping my 8x10 is Hollywood portraits.

    I haven't yet tried ULF argyrotypes which may persuade me to keep the camera. Otherwise it's back to 5x7 (I have a Gandolfi and a Linhof).

    Cheers,

    Roger (www.rogerandfrances.com)
     
  22. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    Ryan

    I will consider trading a 8x10 enlarger for your 11x14 Camera, I have 3 8x10s and 1 11x14 enlarger and would consider dropping one 8x10 for a workable 11x14 camera.
    Shipping would be a problem but if you are interested give me a pm.

    Bob
     
  23. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I haven't used 11x14", but I've decided 12x16" (30x40cm) is definitely too big to be useful. So I've settled for 9.5x12" (24x30cm) as my ULF-size. Most of what I do will continue to be 5x7".
     
  24. Dave Wooten

    Dave Wooten Subscriber

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    Ryan,

    1. What is the weight of the 11 x 14?

    2. It seems like everything involved with the format is what is concerning you, i.e. size and weight, the set up and management, and the care and feeding of the beast....you are correct in your observations, 11 x 14 is more than a little larger then 8 x 10! Accordingly, the approach and set up with the camera is different than with the 8 x 10 ( which to me I like more that 4 x 5 because I can see better with 8 x 10!) often on the larger cameras I compose my photograph, looking out of the camera,

    a. Identify my composition looking over the camera and then

    b. identify my boundary corners on the ground glass, check center focus and corner focus lock down and fire.....don t spend a lot of time ooing and ahing on the ground glass...

    3. The Ries tripod is a classic, however, for me, an apprentice geezer beyond my prime, a tripod with geared center post rise and geared forward tilt is a needed blessing. Using a majestic, I give the legs an exaggerated spread to hold the weight and prevent tipping at extensions, then the camera, which is in the car with the tripod head already attached, is lowered onto the post, in this low position. locked and then raised to my comfortable eye level...

    4. I have seen your 8 x 10 work up close and personal, it is lovely, probably you have been in your comfort zone for a while. Your studio shots and nudes are excellent....would love to see some of that work in 11 x 14!

    Keep the camera and continue studio nudes and still lifes with it and get a nice 8 x 10 for your field work....

    just a suggestion Ryan....in any case keep up your good work!

    Dave in Vegas
     
  25. Scott Peters

    Scott Peters Member

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    Ryan, I am really enjoying my 7 x 17 - while not 'small' , I do think it is manageable and it is a different visual with the panoramic. Have you thought of the panoramic format as a 'change'? I did pick up an 8 x 10 Wehman and find it VERY nice in the field, light and steady too. I am enjoying it, but I must admit that I am finding I take the 7 x 17 out more often. Scott
     
  26. User Removed

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    Scott,

    Yes, I remember seeing your 7x17 camera while working with Michael and Paula in Sedona. It was VERY light and quick to use, more then other ULF cameras I've seen. Latly, I find myself shooting in the panoramic format more, and been shooting 5x14's on my 11x14 camera.

    I think if I had a ULF camera that was lighter and more simple to use, I might not be wanting to move back down to 8x10. However, with the cost of lightweight ULF cameras...no way I could afford anything!

    The Wehman cameras are very nice and its probably first on my list for an 8x10 camera. I believe your 7x17 is a custom made Wehman, right?