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Thread: Beginning 8x10

  1. #1

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    Beginning 8x10

    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. #2
    Zan
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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
    I shoot mostly digital cameras..... out of my giant Canon...into the sun...

  3. #3

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    Morten,

    You might find this thread helpful:

    http://largeformatphotography.info/l...ic/500806.html

    Mr. Kasaian has done some of your research for you.

  4. #4

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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...871353228&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...871064355&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...871283282&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...871369611&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.
    "Fundamentally I think we need to rediscover a non-ironic world"
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  5. #5
    roteague's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by modafoto
    I am thinking about buying an 8x10 camera to do still life and landscapes et.al.
    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.
    Robert M. Teague
    www.visionlandscapes.com
    www.apug.org/forums/portfolios.php?u=2235

    "A man who works with his hands is a laborer; a man who works with his hands and his brain is a craftsman; a man who works with his hands and his brain and his heart is an artist" -- Louis Nizer

  6. #6
    Ole
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    Quote Originally Posted by roteague
    ... Start with 4x5, learn the basics, then upgrade to 8x10.
    Or go straight to 5x7"...
    -- Ole Tjugen, Luddite Elitist
    Norway

  7. #7

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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. #8

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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.
    "Fundamentally I think we need to rediscover a non-ironic world"
    Robert Adams

  9. #9
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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.
    [COLOR=SlateGray]"You can't depend on your eyes if your imagination is out of focus." -Mark Twain[/COLOR]

    Ralph Barker
    Rio Rancho, NM

  10. #10
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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!
    Film is cheap. Opportunities are priceless.

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