Why not both?? An 8x10 with 5x7 AND 4x5 reducing backs???
I second Alex's susgestion. After seeing his 8x10, I probably would have bought an 8x10. You can bet I'm buying lens that cover 8x10
Ultimately you will need to do what is correct for you. I will say that I fell into the bigger is better camp for awhile. I have at various times shot everything from 4X5 to 12X20.
I have found that 8X10 contact prints do not show much if any improvement over 4X5 enlargements to 8X10 (that is with a Durst condensor enlarger). In fact I prefer 11X14 prints from 4X5 over 8X10 contacts. (yes I have done Azo contacts using MAS Amidol development).
I have two 8X10 Deardorffs that I am thinking of selling because I just don't see that much benefit of contact printing over enlarging. I am thinking seriously of going to 5X7 exclusively. With that format, I will be able to turn out 16X20 prints that will rival the quality of 8X10 contacts but will be 4 times as large. With 8X10 one is pretty much limited to contact prints..with 5X7 you can have contact prints or enlargements---8X10 enlargers are usually very large while my Durst 138S is very manageable.
I realize that this will fly in the face of most who shoot 8X10...but my experience just doesn't bear out that 8X10 is the best choice for me.
I shoot 9x12, 4x5", 13x18, 5x7" and 18x24. Next step is 8x10" and 30x40...
Any 5x7" camera takes 13x18 as well, the holders are the same size. Same with 8x10" / 18x24 - with the exception of old plate cameras, which is why I use 18x24 only.
My current 5x7" camera, a Gandolfi Traditional, has no problems with lenses down to 90mm and probably not with any lens which covers the format. Many of my 4x5" lenses also cover 5x7", but very few cover 8x10". That's another thing to keep in mind!
I also have a 5x7" enlarger, so some of my negatives get enlarged. Jeg kan godt forstørre noen for deg om du bestemmer deg for 5x7" eller 13x18. Jeg har forresten et 13x18 platekamera "til overs"...
Last edited by Ole; 07-21-2005 at 12:35 PM. Click to view previous post history.
Reason: Temporary brain crash.
-- Ole Tjugen, Luddite Elitist
I have recently moved up from 5x4 to 10x8 & 5x7 for enlargement and am unconvinced so far of 10x8 , so much so that I may move to 5x7 only. The 10x8 is very big, the holders are less easy to load, handle etc. A 10x8 glass neg holder is a pig to keep clean. Handling the negs is a pig too. In fact eveything is a pig up until staring that that huge ground glass and printing that whopper neg. I would say that you need to be sure 5x7 is too small first. A 5x7 neg is a lot bigger than 5x4 and assuming you crop 5x4 to a slightly less stubby shape (like I often do) 5x7 is still twice the size, yet it is easily handled compared to 10x8. Negs can be held in one hand for loading, the enlargers are cheaper and smaller, the film is far cheaper and the camere half the size. My 5x7 Walker XL is very neat and robust and a very handy quick to use field camera. Any 10x8 is not! Lenses are a pig. Coverage for 10x8 in a light package is tough - The G clarons make a lot of sense! Coverage is easy on 5x7 and cheaper by far, even for wides. Wides for 10x8, assuming you wish to enlarge to make big prints, need to cover well and not be soft at the edges. You can get away with a lot poorer lens (smaller and cheaper) for contacts. 150mm Lenses good for big enlargements are V expensive or VVVVV Big or both. If you are not going to make whopper enalrgements, then why not stick to 5x7? For contacts, 10x8 is far less of a pain financially as there are more lenses that cover well enough stopped down to produce fine 10x8 contacts. Blow that neg up to 20x24 and they might look quite soft.....more so that a 5x7 neg shot on a modern lens.
The biggest factor by far is this (for me): DOF
Your subject matter makes a big difference here. It seems to me there are far more epic distance landscapes to be had in the US than the UK, where people need to use more foreground interest. We just dont have sweeping deserts to be shot on 600mm lenses from a distance, or the great mountainscapes at distance. I have found it tough to shoot scenes here where DOF is not a major issue on 10x8 more often than I would like. I am going to shoot both the 10x8 and 5x7 for a while and either keep both or sell the 10x8 and settle on the 5x7.
I nearly forgot...travelling with a 10x8 is a killer. They are not airplane friendly. Too big and heavy with lenses for handluggage and too vulnerable for the hold. This is where I really notice the loss of my ebony RSW45 at 1.4 Kg.
In summary for enlarging, I reckong the 5x7 is the ultimate unless the prints get really huge (say over 30" long). The 10x8 will offer creamy grain free images forever, but here in the UK, half the shots would not be 'on' due to DOF constraints. A 10x8 with a 5x7 back is still a 10x8 monster. A 5x7 with a 5x4 reducer is good for (col or mono) packet film, Rollfilm backs, or a canham 6x17 holder etc.
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That depends on the camera. I carry my ultralight 8x10" Gowland with 120mm, 168mm, 8-1/4", 10", 12", and 19" lenses, film, and the usual accessories on the plane in an ordinary padded knapsack made for laptop computers (and I usually have my laptop in there too, for non-photographic purposes). I check the tripod in a Tenba TTP case, and put the empty filmholders in my regular luggage. When I arrive at the destination, I load the holders, the film box and laptop come out, tripod goes over the shoulder on a strap, and I'm ready to shoot. A lighter camera also makes it possible to use a lighter tripod. I usually use a heavier Bogen tripod, but the Gowland does fine on a Tiltall if I want to travel light.
Originally Posted by Tom Stanworth
I'd definately vote for the 8 x 10, once you have gotten into the routine of using it, it does not seem large at all....quite normal, a good neg size if you decide to get into platinum etc....My Wista fits into a shoulder bag ( "Off Shore Angler Bag-15 x 21 x 7) it holds camera and lenses and film and holders....I have not had a problem with the film in airports and it goes with me on the plane.....I need to get a good case for my tripod...I wrapped the box it came in in duct tape and have shipped it with luggage with the head removed and put in my luggage suitcase.....4 x 5 backs are easy to adapt using one from an old graflex, also 5 x 7 from B and J Orbit cameras are available....
I would go with the 5X7. For cameras of comparable features it is much smaller and easier to port and work with than the 8X10, you can use most of your 4X5 lenses, and it is large enough to contact print. And, if you plan to make enlarged prints, either by projection printing or by scanning with subsequent output, either directly to inkjet or to an alternative process via digital negative, you will find little difference in quality between 5X7 and 8X10 until you get into prints larger than about 25X35".
Also, I really much prefer the longer rectangle of the 5X7 format to the more boxier look of 4X5 and 8X10.
My 10x8 weighs in at 4 Kg and my lenses are the smallest. I just find everything ends up revolving around the camera packing requirements! I have taken mine hand luggage, but there is little room left for anything else. It just ended up a nause, along with the packing of the main bag with the tripod (berleback), darkcloth, ancills, holders etc. My 5x7 is so much smaller I can image I will be able to include sun cream and a towel next time!
Originally Posted by David A. Goldfarb
I believe that 5x7 was, is, and always will be the great unknown format. Most of the issues have already been stated here. On a more personal note it was my first camera. I had always lamented not being able to enlarge because 30 years ago 5x7 enlargers were very dear. So I made contact prints with a 15 watt bulb.Still make contacts occassionaly and just sent out several for the print exchange.
8x10 is great but as Mr. Miller states about the facts of limiting size.(enlarging) 8x10 is much more of a committment. Effort and money. As far as traveling-if you have the inclination to do something you WILL figure out a way to get it there. I often foward some of my equipmet ahead to the hotel- and I usually pack up my film and ship it back in the mail to myself. Same can be done for holders et al. 5x7 is almost 100% larger than 4x5 yet has none of the bulk of 8x10. Good luck with your choice-at least today there are choices in 5x7!