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  1. #1

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    Oct 2002
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    4x5 reducing back on an 8x10 camera

    I have often wondered what the benefits are of using a 4x5 reducing back on an 8x10 camera such as my Deardorff. I wonder if anyone might chime in an give me some advice about what benefits a reducing back offers OVER simply using a 4x5 camera.

    Thanks.

    Ed

  2. #2

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    Dec 2004
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    - longer relative focal length (use a compendium!)
    - more movements with (nominal) same length than on a 4x5 camera
    - ability to use instant film backs for proofing
    - musculature training while shooting 4x5 in the field using an oversized camera

    G

  3. #3
    Ian Grant's Avatar
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    My 10x8 has a reducing back because the previous owner used it to do 5x4 Polaroid tests before using !0x8 transparency film. I don't use it. I might for lens testing though.

    Ian

  4. #4
    2F/2F's Avatar
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    Gives you a tighter field of view if you can't get close enough, so you don't have to shoot a piece of 8x10 and crop way into it.

    It lets you have only one camera for multiple formats.

    Allows you to use 4x5 Polaroids instead of 8x10 ones.

    It is not the world's most ideal solution, but it lets you use what you have rather than having to buy a whole other camera.
    2F/2F

    "Truth and love are my law and worship. Form and conscience are my manifestation and guide. Nature and peace are my shelter and companions. Order is my attitude. Beauty and perfection are my attack."

    - Rob Tyner (1944 - 1991)

  5. #5

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    It allows me to sell all my other LF cameras and keep just the Deardorf... and the Speed... and the Graflex... and I might need my 5x7 B&J for dusty, windy days...

    Well, never mind. I think argus nailed it pretty well.

    tim in san jose
    Where ever you are, there you be.

  6. #6
    Alex Hawley's Avatar
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    What everyone else has said, plus, I can enlarge from 4x5 negatives. Don't have an 8x10 enlarger and never will. Does really well for macro 1:1 close ups too.
    Semper Fi & God Bless America
    My Photography Blog

  7. #7
    raucousimages's Avatar
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    I do LF portraits. It is a small niche market and part of the allure is the "big" camera. Sometimes I set up the 8X10 with the 4X5 back because that is what some customers expect to see. It also gives me the option of using 8X10 if there is something I want to shoot in the larger format without setting up another camera. The customer would wonder why I didn't use the "good " camera all along.
    DIGITAL IS FOR THOSE AFRAID OF THE DARK.

  8. #8
    gbenaim's Avatar
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    I'll add that small contact prints have a charm of their own. I've just added 5x7 to my 8x10 capabilities only for the purpose of contact printing smaller prints. You might take a look at Ian Leake's portfolio of nudes for an excellent example of using both formats together well. He has a portfolio on apug I think, as well as a website. Paula Chamlee is another photographer who uses small contacts to great effect, check out her Tuscany portfolio. She uses 4x5 and 5x7 as complements to her standard 8x10. One more is Shawn Daugherty, who did a whole series of 4x5 contact prints, his Pondscum series, which are on his website. Not to mention of course the many early photographers who used relatively small film sizes and contact printed, like Sudek. If you mount them right, i.e. in large enough mounts, they can look really nice. I'm actually thinking of doing some of my earlier 4x5 work as contact prints now that Lodima paper is available. Give it a try.

  9. #9

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    Ignoring the issues that would let you just shoot a 4x5 camera instead.

    1) 8x10 cameras tend to be stronger with larger lensboards. If you want to mount a monster lens that might bend the average 4x5 in half an 8x10 often handles things without a worry.

    2) Longer bellows .

    3) If for some wierd reason you want to mount a rollfilm back with that monster lens.

  10. #10

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    Oct 2002
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    Great advice from all. I asked the question because I was taking some relative "close-ups" with the Derdorff 8x10, and I noted that the image would look much better "cropped". My lens and the foliage did not allow me to get closer to the subject. Hence, if I had the reducing back with me, I could have more easily isolated the subject, and then-as has been well pointed out here-enlarged the image. Of course, I don't know if I REALLY would have carried the reducing back with me into the field. At my attained age the Deardorff by itself is already enough of a load...add the holders, a few lenses, the tripod...geesh...

    Ed

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