Just to re-enforce what others have said, I would go for the 5x8 back for several reasons. A beginning 8x10 user has already has a lot on their mind,
bellows factors can be confusing. The 4x5 allows a polaroid check of the center of the 8x frame to confirm exposure. The cost of the polaroid is far less than a guess exposure on 8x color in my mind. If your do not plan to shoot color, the 4x back is still very useful for confirmation of the little things you may be unsure of! Just my opinion!
I guess I'm going against the grain on this one. When I bought my 8x10 Wisner I also bought a wide angle bellows and a 4x5 reducing back. I never use either. Total waste of money for me. I thought I would shoot polaroids with the 4x5 back before shooting with 8x10 film but I never do. And it's way to much work to carry around an 8x10 and just shoot a 4x5 film so I only shoot 8x10.
If you plan to take the camera out of the house the reducing back is just another thing to lug around. (as is the wide angle bellows).
The camera you plan to buy is a work of art... if you buy the reducing back down the road it should fit fine.
However, if I was purchasing a 4x5 I would instead buy a 5x7 with a reducing back. This leaves room for future expansion without adding too much cost and weight.
I have both a 5x7 and a 4x5 back for my 8x10 - they came with the camera. I rarely use the 4x5 and have never used the 5x7.
There are only 2 real uses for a 4x5 reducing back; to be able to use longer lenses than a 4x5 will normally accomodate and to use Polaroids for exposure/composition tests. Otherwise, it's just easier to use a 4x5. As far as 5x7 goes, if you're going to carry the camera, why not just shoot 8x10? You can crop if you want and there are more film choices. I'd only use the 5x7 if I wanted that format ratio for some reason.
I can also confirm that reducing backs are hard to carry; they're big and off the camera the GG is somewhat vulnerable especially in a backpack.
Also keep in mind that if you put a reducing back on an asymmetric camera, your movements are no longer asymmetric because the swing/tilt points are no longer in the same place relative to the GG. The swing/tilt points for an 8x10 would probably be outside a 4x5 GG.
Wow, for a change, APUG is actually saving me money! Though there are compelling reasons both ways, I think for now, I'm going to leave the backs. The bulk and the weight of the equipment is a big deterent for me. Steve, you make an excellent point with respect to the asymmetrical tilt. Thanks for the tip.
Thanks for everyone's opinions! I appreciate the time you guys took to help me out.
Df, I am going with the Fujinon 300 C/8.5 or the 450 C/12.5 to begin with. So no, Tom, I am not starting out with the 150 XL!! That will have to be a future purchase. I was actually going to PM you for some tripod head recommendations. I will be going with the Berleback tripods.
Df, I am going to do mainly landscapes with the camera. I really like hiking and exploring Southern Ontario. Of course, I may not hike too far with this setup. I'll have to build up some strength first!
Just trying to be the person my dogs think I am.
IMHO, unless you've got a real reason for a reducing back, you don't have a need. I bought a 4x5 back "just because" it was cheap (and seldom is anything "'dorff" ever cheap,) Do I use it? Nope! A waste of time and $$. I had thought it might be useful in shooting LF color(color 8x10 film is dreadfully expensive) and confirming my set up with polaroid proofs, but B&W is pretty much all I shoot and I've gotten pretty good at exposure(a couple of times I've even gone out without a meter and results were astounding!) Realistically, if I really needed to shoot 4x5 color I'd use one of the Agfas or the Crown Graphic anyway.
Perhaps if I ever had to part with the ol' Gal I'll get a few extra $$ for having one "in the kit." Thats my only reason for hanging on to it (unless some philanthropic soul wants to offer me lots of $$$ for it!)
I think keeping things simple as possible when starting out is a better course to sail. Put your resources into making photographs. My 2-cents.
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I have a 4x5 reducing back for one of my 8x10's, and I do use it. If I'm only shooting 4x5 then I usually take a 4x5 camera, but sometimes I want to shoot with really long lenses and it's hard to beat 30" of bellows with a 4x5 back for a long lens for 4x5, or even with a 6x7 roll film back. I have one 8x10 that will allow me to shoot comfortably with a 150mm lens; extreme movements aren't possible but the movements I can get are sufficient. (This is when I'm using a 150mm lens that covers 8x10 on a flat lensboard; a recessed lensboard would make this a much more useful combination.)
I can't comment on 5x7, because I don't own anything in 5x7 and I don't have any interest in owning anything in that size. I find the more squat aspect ratio of 4x5/8x10 fits my "normal" vision better, and I shoot 6x12 when I want something that's wide. I struggle with 35mm these days because the aspect ratio just doesn't feel right to me, so I generally shoot with the idea that I'll be cropping to an 8x10 print. But this is all based on what I like...what you like might be completely different.
You mentioned 6x17. I believe that all of the 6x17 backs that I've seen are actually made for a 4x5 Graflok back. I'm unaware of a 6x17 solution that's made for a 5x7 back, although one might exist that I'm unaware of.
I wouldn't worry about ordering a back at the same time as you order the camera for "an exact fit"...I'd be shocked if a back ordered at a later date from a manufacturer like Ebony didn't fit perfectly. I've never heard of anyone ordering a reducing back for a 50+ year old camera and getting one that didn't fit if it was made for the same model (and sometimes when the back was made for a different camera completely)...Ebony should certainly be able to produce a back that fits their camera quite well in the future.
Best of luck.
Film is cheap. Opportunities are priceless.
Wow - great stuff. The Fujinons are fabulous lenses. I'd be concerned, though, the 300 might not have quit enough coverage for all around landscape work. If you're doing B&W, you've got a world of fine lenses out there. For 50 years, the classic 2 lens outfit has been a 10" WF Ektar and 19" Artar. VERY hard to beat, even today.
Originally Posted by luvmydogs
The Berlebachs are really fine. In the bad old days, we left the tripod heads in the studio when we went into the field. I still do, unless it is some persnickety architectural job. With all the movements you have on the Ebony, there isn't any need for a tripod head. Save weight, save money, save... complexity.
You'll come in with a kit under 25 pounds... not bad ! A well fitting backpack and you're set.
"One of the painful things about our time is that those who feel certainty are stupid,
and those with any imagination and understanding are filled with doubt and indecision"
Thanks for your tips, Df. Would I go to the auction site for those lenses you mentioned? I just checked the image circle for the 300 and 450 again, and I think I might just go with the 450 to begin with. The 300 C has an image circle of 380, it does seem it could be a bit tight for landscapes.
Originally Posted by df cardwell
And regarding backpack...yes, that could be interesting. Not sure what I would use, but I was going to wait until I get the camera. It's an 8 week wait! Brutal.
Just trying to be the person my dogs think I am.
My 2 cents worth - my 8x10" Sinar Norma came with a 4x5" reducing back. I have therefore used it quite a bit, for studio work it can be handy to have the full 600 mm draw of the 8x10" bellows available, otherwise I would need to break off work and fit a central support and second 4x5" bellows (450 mm), on the downside I find I need to be very careful when pulling out the sheath from a 4x5" filmholder on the reducing back to make sure I don't pull the holder back and fog the film. My 8x10" Norma AND the back cost a shattering £99 from a DEALER - I still haven't gotten over it - if I had seen the reducing back for the regular price of £150 or so, I probably wouldn't have bothered - using a 4x5" back standard and 4x5" bellows would be just as easy. Only good reason for a reducing back is if you don't already have a 4x5" camera and need this size only occasionally.
When I bought my 8X10 KMV I also bought a 5X7 back (I was a 5X7 user before getting the KMV). I find that I shoot about twice as much 5X7 film as 8X10. That ration seems to fit well with me. There's no way to know what size will fit best for you until you try it. Personally, I'd play with 8X10 for a while and see if the shape of the image feels too square. If so, then you might want to consider getting another back.