I never liked the 8x10 aspect ratio and always found myself printing 11x14s over any other size. For that reason, and the fact that 11x14 is the first format one can fit a life-sized head and shoulders shot onto the film, I chose 11x14.
As others have commented though, it is much less portable. Considerably so. But, if you are in the studio, no contest - 11x14.
I'm hoping to get an old Century Studio camera for indoor portrait work and have pondered the same question. As weight is less of an issue than it would be for landscape work you are left with the question of cost.
Equipment cost (secondhand) isn't any worse than a pro digital set up. 11x14 will cost more initially, especially if you need to buy more holders, but equally it will resell for more. There will be a lot more choices in 8x10 than 11x14, but if you can find an 11x14 that has all the features you want then what does it matter?
Film choice will be more of an issue in 11x14 unless you are happy with the standard Ilford and Kodak B&W offerings.
Film cost is another thing, but you could always get an 8x10 reducing back made for an 11x14 camera (if it doesn't already have one).
My choice? Given that I want a particular type of camera which was available in both sizes, I am hoping to get an 11x14. I will probably use a reducing back to start with, but I'll always have the option of 11x14 without further expense or modification required.
Thanks, one more newbie question. What are enlarger? Or we just do contact print?
If you want to enlarge, 8x10" is much more manageable. If you want to contact print, 11x14" is a nice sized exhibition print.
I shoot both, and I contact print those sizes, but if I were enlarging, I'd probably stick to 8x10", just because it's so much easier to deal with in terms of equipment and film availability.
Jensen Optical was making some enlargers up to 16X20 until they went out of business...or at least it appears that they are out of business.
Originally Posted by MonoAsia
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From the sounds of things, I would suggest getting an 8x10 first and seeing if you can manage using the camera. You can get into a decent 8x10 camera for just a couple hundred dollars. With getting into 11x14, it will cost you a couple thousand dollars between the camera, film holders, lens and film.
Pick up a cheep 8x10 camera off ebay, a few used film holders and a cheeper lens and give it a try. Most 8x10 cameras can be used on smaller tripods, but if you go up to 11x14 you will have to buy a heavier tripod also.
Personally, It would be hard for you to move from shooting small formats up to 11x14. It will be hard for you to manage the camera. Shoot 8x10 for abit and get used to working with the larger camera, then you can always turn around and sell everything for the same price you purchased it for if you want to move larger.
As per your interests, i.e. Studio portraits and nude I feel the 11 x 14 wins hands down....
1. contacts from the 11 x 14 are quite nice and have an on the wall presence that 8 x 10 as a contact does not have. If you are wanting to make a few bucks and a name for yourself doing this the 11 x 14 does set you apart from most of your competition....to your customers the "gee whizz factor" can have a positive marketing impact.
2. I personally do not feel that the physical difficulties of the larger formats cameras should deter you in the least...as Kerik has mentioned "8 x 10 is not ULF" also you will be using your camera mostly in a studio situation...11 x 14 and up were quite common a few years back in the studio....also some of the older cameras have 8 x 10 reduction backs, or you can fashion your own, they are not hard to find....
3. lenses...good points about the larger aperature lenses...however for portraits also there are lots of choices, even 4 x 5 lenses will cover when "pulled" for portraits...
for portraiture and close subject to lens distances you do not need the designed coverage you need to cover 11 x 14 as you would shooting landscapes at infinity..
4. 11 x 14 is the smallest size on which on can photograph a human head at 1:1
5. An exercise I did when I moved up in format size....above my desk I posted, made from typing paper, the various format sizes and I litterly looked at these for months. This helps put in perspective the wall presence of the different formats and helps your compositional vision....
6. A few hours, days or weeks, whatever...(in my case a little over a year) practicing dry firing the camera, setting it up, composing, inserting the holders etc will put to rest your apprehensions of the "larger cameras" also you will find that you hone your skills and your dev technique with your smaller film choices...which in the long run becoms a plus...
hope this helps.......
Dave in Vegas
(14 x 17 )
I must say that for portrait & nude in the studio I'd back the bigger format too: much more 'presence' in the contact print and a much nicer image shape than the stubby, ugly 8x10/4x5 format.
The lens can be a significant problem unless you have the right camera. For example I'd love to use my 21 inch f/7.7 Ross on my Gandolfi 12x15 but the camera is so old (pre World War One) that the lens board ain't big enough for the flange. Unless I have a new front made, which is maybe $1000, I have a VERY limited choice of longer lenses.
But if you're considering enlarging, think hard about 5x7 inch/13x18cm/half plate -- and my own feeling is that these make beautiful contacts, too, with a jewel-like antique quality (most old prints are quite small).
There's a free module about the various formats, their advantages and disadvantages, in the Photo School at www.rogerandfrances.com, which you might (or might not) find of use.
I personally was left with a bad taste after doing some business with them--I well understand if they did go under as I would never buy from them again---I do have a Durst L-184 but I would go elsewhere B/4 I spent a dime there. Bad business practices--period!!
Originally Posted by Donald Miller
This subject keeps coming up again and again…... Some people have had fine results with Jens, while with others the results were not so fine. But he does know Durst enlargers, and he does have a vast inventory of parts. I have personally dealt with him several times, and I have always been satisfied. His web-site doesn’t seem to be up, but yes, as of a few weeks ago, he is still in business and selling enlargers.