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  1. #1

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    User opinions on reducing backs for 8x10

    I am planning on placing my order for a 8x10 tomorrow, but am not sure whether I should order a 4x5 or 5x7 reducing back as well. For all of you who shoot 8x10 and have reducing backs, do you find that you use them much? I'm just not sure whether it would make sense to shoot 4x5 with a 8x10 (whether it's worth the trouble, with lenses not being able to go too wide, etc.). I'd really appreciate some user opinions on this. I am quite smitten by the 6x17 format, but I'm not sure just how bulky and feasible it would be to put a 5x7 back on a 8x10, and then a 6x17 on top of that. If I do decide to go with a back, I would start off with either 4x5 or 5x7, but not both.

    I currently shoot medium format with my 6x6, so I don't need the versatility of the 4x5 back being able to attach the medium format backs.

    I have an enlarger for my medium format stuff, and at this point, am not really considering a LF enlarger. I won't say never, but it is unlikely.

    Thanks for reading!
    Macy
    Just trying to be the person my dogs think I am.

    website: gallery

  2. #2

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    Think through your end uses. Is it b&w contact prints? Transparincies? Each format is going to have some demands, new film holders, developing trays/ tubes, ect. What do you have now and will it fit into either format or what you plan to do with them.
    If you are planning on contact printing, the 5x7 may be the better choice, larger neg and less square, a nice ratio aspect. If you plan to shoot trannies, the film choices in 4x5 are much better. Also, half a 5x7 is pretty close to 617.
    So, it depends

    Good luck

  3. #3
    Greg Davis's Avatar
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    I have reducing backs for 5x7, 4x5, and 2x3. I use them all for different photographs. Bear in mind that 5x7 is not the same shape as 8x10, but 4x5 is. If you don't want a longer rectangle, go with the 4x5. I recommend getting both, but not necessarily at the same time. By the way, which camera did you decide to go with?

    -Greg
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    Did millions of people suddenly disappear? This may have an answer.

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  4. #4
    Alex Hawley's Avatar
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    If it were my choice, I would buy both the 5x7 and 4x5 backs. Here's why:

    The 4x5 gives the most options; You can use it for contact prints and enlargements, both; several varieties of Polaroid backs and MF rollfilm backs. The 4x5 size has the broadest variety of films available. The longer lenses typically used for 8x10 work also give greater variety to 4x5. And there's nothing to say you can't use 4x5 lenses too. However, the typical minimum bellows length on 8x10 cameras will limit how short the lens focal length can be. The 4x5 gives the most flexibility of all. If I had to limit the choice to one reducing back, it would the 4x5.

    5x7 is a nice size for contact prints, especially portaits and still lifes. A 5x7 enlarger is still a quite feasible piece of equipment for a home darkroom.
    Semper Fi & God Bless America
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  5. #5

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    luvmydogs,
    If you decide that you would like to play with polaroid, 4X5 becomes the obvious choice. 5X7 & 8X10 make great contact prints & 4X5 jewel like contacts.

  6. #6

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    Okay, first off, I don't shoot that much...

    That being said...

    I had to have 4x5 backs for all my 8x10's, and I shoot 4x5. But I shoot 4x5 with 4x5 cameras. Just love Polaroid Type 55...

    I have yet to use a 4x5 back on an 8x10...

    There are two problems with this...

    First, the lenses. A 'normal' lens for 4x5, from 135 to 150mm, is awfully wide for an 8x10 camera. Many 8x10's out there can't even use a 135. They just get too tight in the bellows... And there are only a few lenses in that range that will cover 8x10 if you wnated dual purpose lenses...

    Second. If you take an 8x10 out, you'll want to take 8x10 film. If you now add the reducing back, 4x5 film holders, plus Polaroids, you've got quite a kit! My combined kit weighs in at about 65 pounds...

    When I go with both 8x10 and 4x5, it's in two completely seperate kits...

    BUt, I still recommend getting the 4x5 back... Why? Probably just because you can ;-) And how else could you shoot a 30" lens on a Type 55 negative??? ;-)

  7. #7
    df cardwell's Avatar
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    Photography doesn't reward worrying about every possibility. Get the camera and shoot with it until it's second nature, and you're getting the pictures you want.

    If you get all the options and stuff, it's just the evidence that you don't know what you want to do. One camera, one lens, one film, one developer.

    That's enough to occupy yourself day and night for 3 or 4 years... : ]

    Two formats at the same time ? Like riding two bicycles.
    "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"

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  8. #8

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    You all give good and valid points.

    df - I totally agree with you there. The only reason I am thinking of ordering one back is that it was recommended to me that I order the back at the same time I order my camera so that the fit will be perfect. Now whether or not that is a valid point perhaps you can enlighten me?

    Alex, I'd love to get both now, but $$ is the limiting factor.

    Greg, I am going with the Ebony SV810U.

    Rich, you make an excellent point about having to cart all those different backs, film etc. That is why I'm wondering whether any of you with reducing backs actually use them, or that they're more like you, where you take your 4x5 camera if you shoot 4x5. If that is the case, then I obviously don't want to spend $900 on a back.

    I do like the 5x7 ratio aspect, but the 4x5 seems much more versatile, since, like some of you have mentioned, it takes polaroid backs, etc.

    But as it stands now, from most of your feedback here, I'm not sure whether I should bother with a back!
    Macy
    Just trying to be the person my dogs think I am.

    website: gallery

  9. #9
    df cardwell's Avatar
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    That's a handsome camera. Whew !

    What are doing for a lens, tripod, and holders ?

    [ I can't imagine why you can't get good fit if you order the second back later. Craftsmanship is one thing, sales pressure is another. I can't imagine being able to add accessories as you need them, unless view camera work has become too much of a boutique pastime. ] But I have no experience with Ebony cameras. No enlightenment from me, I'm afraid !

    Will you be able to get it scratched up ? I was lucky: my 8x10 was a wreck when I got it, and I shot with it for 25 years before it was EVER pretty.

    Watcha want to shoot with it ?
    "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"

    -Bertrand Russell

  10. #10

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    Macy,

    I think there is nothing wrong with going the whole hog in one go. I will only say that if you dont intend to do colour or polaroid, I would not bother with a 5x4 reducer. If you want smaller contacts, you can easily crop 5x7 surely?

    I am jealous enough about the 810 Ebony....please don't tell me if you get a 150 XL as well, that would be too much!

    Think hard on the head you are going to put on the Berleback! Sadly Gitzo have discontinued the 1570M head, which I think is great.

    Tom

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